Of all the awards, honors, and accolades, as well as trophies and scholarships, handed out by the Florida High School Athletic Association each year, one of the most prestigious, if not the most, is the Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team, of which this season two Marathon High seniors, Owen Pitchford and Katerina Nikiforova, garnered the selection.
“They are a true definition of student-athletes,” said Marathon athletic director Lance Martin. “Kat is No. 1 in the class and Owen is No. 2 and they are two of the nicest and most driven students I have seen come through the MHS doors in the 20 years I have been here.”
A total of 24 student-athletes statewide are named to the team each year and for their honors, both Nikiforova and Pitchford will receive a $1,700 scholarship. They are also now candidates to be named the Student-Athlete of the Year for Florida, which would come with an additional $4,600 in scholarships.
“Amazing that our tiny school got not only one but two of the 24 recipients this year for the award,” said Martin. “That shows just how much these two stood out among all the other applicants around the state for the FHSAA to justify giving us two on the team. This is our school’s sixth and seventh recipients of this award, which is amazing for the small size of our school.”
In addition to this award, Nikiforova was also credited for having the best essay submitted with her application. She has been asked to have a video done of her reciting her essay and the video will be played at the virtual awards to be shown on the NFHS Network and on the other FHSAA social media platforms.
Pitchford will be attending the United States Naval Academy next year, and Nikiforova has narrowed her list to one of three schools.
“This really shows and justifies the great job their families, our teachers, coaches and community have done in preparing our student-athletes for the next step in their lives,” said Martin.