With cancellations happening all over the country, it’s probably no surprise that the State Journal-Register had to find a new way to honor this year’s top high school athletes. Instead of a red-carpet, Best of Capital Region Preps Awards event at the convention center in Springfield,Ad for Capital Preps the organization is preparing for a virtual show featuring an all-star cast of athletes who will announce our local winners. INB’s continued sponsorship is helping the SJ-R to recognize these top athletes for their years of hard work.

According to the SJ-R’s Market Leader and Senior Sales Director Eugene Jackson, the new format will provide a “new path to still be able to recognize these amazing student athletes.” In a recent announcement, Eugene added, “We were able to pivot into a safe way to still recognize the accomplishments of so many student-athletes, but still with the flare our Preps events have been known for.”

It’s absolutely true that the first three Capital Region Preps events were top-notch, allowing each student and their family to enjoy an evening in the limelight.  From top-notch speakers like Mitch Trubisky to ice sculptures and sit-down dinner for close to 1,000 attendees, the events have been first-class. Yet we support the SJ-R’s decision to change the format this year, and anticipate another signature – albeit virtual – event..

Star-studded, Virtual Happening

This year’s event will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18 via YouTube and is open to everyone. The show will feature more than 20 professional athletes as hosts and award announcers. While the SJ-R has been publishing lists of athletes identified as “best” in both the city and area, top award winners will be identified through the June 18 presentation.  Athlete presenters will include New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees, for football; Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams for tennis; Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelp for swimming and diving; and Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, for volleyball. Viewers will have the chance to win autographed gifts and other prizes both before the show airs and during the June 18 broadcast.

Even with these celebrity athletes, the event is about the kids who’ve worked so hard, especially those who are graduating this year.  Some are missing the entire sport season! They’re also missing the traditional awards ceremonies and, possibly, graduation ceremonies.   We’re glad we can still recognize them for their sport achievements.