Three area athletes were named high school players of the year for their respective sports in a recent article by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Dalton High School's Omar Hernandez and Tony Saldana were named AJC Boys Soccer Players of the Year after leading the Catamounts to their fifth state title in the program's history and first since 2015. Hernandez led the team with 16 goals and 17 assists, while Saldana added 11 goals and 13 assists.
The senior duo aided Dalton to a Class 6A state championship with a perfect 23-0 record and a No. 1-ranking by multiple sources, including nationally by USA Today. Each has committed to play this summer with Dalton's first-year team, the Red Wolves, while Hernandez signed to play collegiately at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Saldana will play at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
After winning her second consecutive Class 3A state championship, Murray County senior Tori Owens was named the AJC Girls Golf Player of the Year. Owens defeated her closest opponent by seven strokes to claim the title this year, and also won each of the four area tournaments during her high school career. She will play golf in college at Kennesaw State University.