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Christopher named 2009 Female Athlete of the Year

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By The Staff

By GOOSE LINDSAY

Roane Newspapers

The awards just keep rolling in for former Oliver Springs basketball star Kayla Christopher.

Christopher, who will be a freshman at Chattanooga this fall, and Webb's Faith Dupree will be honored Thursday night by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame as the 2009 High School Female Athletes of the Year at the Hall of Fame's 28th Annual Dinner and Induction Ceremony.

“It's a great honor,” Christopher said. “To be one of only two girls receiving this award means a lot to me.”

Christopher received the award after a phenomenal senior season in which the Lady 'Cat shooting guard averaged 21.1 points, 4.2 steals, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the free throw line.

During her career, Christopher scored more than 2,500 points while being named District 4-A Player of the Year four times and she was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Class A All-State Team three times. Christopher was also a two-time finalist for TSSAA's Class A Miss Basketball Award.

Christopher will share the stage Thursday with several larger than life sports figures including 2009 Professional Athlete of the Year and Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington along with 2009 Thanks for the Memories award winner and University of Tennessee Lady Vol head coach Pat Summitt.

“It's really cool to be there with so many big name people,” Christopher said. “I didn't realize at first how big of a deal this is until I started learning more about it.”

Christopher also thinks Thursday's award is a nice way to cap a great career at Oliver Springs.

“It's weird that it's all over; I still can't believe it,” she said. “I'm glad to have something like this.”

The highlight of the evening will be the induction of 10 area athletes into the  Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. Those 10 include Valerie Bachmann (track), Cotton Berrier (golf), Craig Colquitt (football), Ted Cook (baseball), John Dean (coach), John Heatherly (coach), Debby Jennings (administrative), Al Neil (baseball), Pat Ryan (football) and Phil Savage (gymnastics).

Other special award recipients include John Cook, Sr. (Special Recognition). James Gallman (Male High School Athlete of the Year) and Caleb Leonard (Male High School Athlete of the Year).

Thursday's festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner set for 6:30 p.m. and the induction ceremony set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.gkshof.org.