Best Blog

Best Blog covers the sports scene in and around Johnston County and Garner, including the Carolina Mudcats. The blog is compiled by D. Clay Best, the sports editor of The Smithfield Herald and the Garner-Clayton Record. For more updates on sports in the area, follow Clay on Twitter @dclaybest or become a fan of The Smithfield Herald or the Garner-Clayton Record on Facebook.

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North Johnston rival's standout named NCHSAA Male Athlete of the Year for 2009-10

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Kareem Martin, who dominated the field of competition in whatever he played this season in the Northern Carolina 2-A Conference for Roanoke Rapids, has been presented the NCHSAA's top honor for a athlete.

From an NCHSAA Press Release...

Kareem Martin of Roanoke Rapids High School and Leah Mackley of Pender High School have been named winners of the 2010 Athlete of the Year awards by the North Carolina  High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).

These are the top athletic awards given by the NCHSAA to honor the most outstanding male and female high school athletes in the state. They were presented at the Dean E, Smith Center on the University of North Carolina campus during the NCHSAA's Annual Meeting on Thursday.

Both of the winners were selected by a special panel of media representatives from across the state. They were each presented with the Pat Best Memorial Trophy, named for the former Goldsboro High principal and president of the NCHSAA who died unexpectedly in 1988.

"On behalf of our Board of Directors and the entire membership of the NCHSAA, we congratulate these outstanding student-athletes on their tremendous achievements during their high school careers," said Davis Whitfield, executive director of the NCHSAA. "Both have extremely impressive credentials which are in the same vein as previous winners of this award, and we certainly wish them well in their future pursuits."

Martin is a tremendous three-sport athlete, earning all-conference honors in football, basketball and track.

In football, he was a star who was the 2009 Northern Carolina Conference Defensive Player of the Year and the Lineman of the Year. During the 2009 campaign he had 121 tackles, including 21 for loss, forced eight fumbles, had five sacks and intercepted a pass, while on offense he caught 14 passes for 248 yards and four scores, leading Roanoke Rapids to its deepest run ever in the football playoffs. He was named to several all-star teams, starting for the North Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl as well as being selected for the All-American Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

He was also the Northern Carolina Conference Basketball Player of the Year, with averages of 15 points, 11 rebounds, nine blocked shots and three assists per game.

He is currently competing in track and field and earned the conference championship in both the high jump and the high hurdles, two events in which he has also set a Roanoke Rapids school record. A stellar student who has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and will graduate in the top five percent of his senior class, he will attend the University of North Carolina next year on a football scholarship.

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About the blogger

D. Clay Best has served as the sports editor of The Herald since 1997 and has covered high school sports since 1992. He's gone through many neighborhoods of NFL-fandom including the Cowboys, Raiders and Patriots and is in limbo right now. If that's not enough to require therapy, he also has way too much brain space filled with useless info on the legendary '80s TV series "Miami Vice."