LAKELAND - Florida Southern's Logan Browning and the Moccasin Volleyball team were honored as the Polk County Male Collegiate Athlete and the Polk County Female Collegiate Team of the Year, respectively, by the Central Florida Polk County Sports Marketing Association. The awards were presented at the 2018 Polk County All-Sports Awards Banquet Tuesday at the RP Funding Center.
Browning, who was drafted last week by the Boston Red Sox, helped lead the Moccasin baseball team to a South Regional Tournament championship and a third-place finish at the NCAA Division II National Tournament. A two-way standout, Browning led the team with a .440 average and a .521 on-base percentage. He also tied for the team lead with 14 doubles while scoring 38 runs and driving in 30 more. On the mound, the lefty was 11-2 with a 3.07 earned run average while leading the team with 127 strikeouts in 114.1 innings pitched.
For his career, Browning finished with 291 strikeouts, which is fourth most in FSC history, while his 24 wins (24-7) is tied for seventh all-time. His 49 career starts are tied for third most for any Moccasin pitcher. He was named to three All-America teams following the 2018 season.
This is the fifth time in the last six years and the sixth time overall since the award's inception in 2003 that a Florida Southern student-athlete has taken home the award. Baseball Nick Diyorio was the first recipient in 2006 while golfer Tim Crouch was so-honored in 2013 and 2014. Basketball standout Kevin Capers received the award in 2015 while golfer John VanDerLaan was last year's recipient.
The Florida Southern volleyball team ended the Fall 2017 campaign as the NCAA Division II National Runner-Up falling to Concordia-St. Paul in the championship match. It was the highest finish of any team in the program's storied history. Finishing with a 30-7 record, the Moccasins entered the championship game o a 24-match win streak, second longest in FSC history.
The Moccasins won the Sunshine State Conference with a 19-1 record and then won three matches to win the NCAA South Region Tournament Championship.
Nicole Mattson finished with 544 kills, the 10th most in the history of the program while her 1,612 career kills is fourth most for any Moc. Allie Geary ended her career with 390 blocks, sixth-most ever, while Bethany Besancenez completed her junior season ranked fourth at Florida Southern with 3,947 career assists.
Mattson was named to the first-team All-America squad while Anna Tovo was a second-teamer and Besancenez was named to the third-team.
The season was the last for Moccasin head coach Jill Stephens who retired from coaching at the end of the season. Stephens, who remains at Florida Southern as Associate Athletic Director / Senior Woman Administrator, finished her 17-year career as Moccasin head coach with a 396-183 record. Chris Keen, who was named the AVCA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year, takes over the program after five seasons with the Moccasins.
The volleyball team is the seventh women's squad from Florida Southern to be named as the Female Collegiate Team of the Year, joining the women's golf team which has won the honor four times (2007, 2009, 2012, and 2013), basketball (2011), and lacrosse (2016).
The banquet honors award winners in 11 different categories, along with more than 45 Ledger Prep Athletes and Coaches of the Year. The evening was highlighted by the induction of the 18th Polk County Sports Hall of Fame class. Included in the Hall of Fame Class was Bob Georges, a member of the Moccasins' 1971 NCAA national championship baseball team and a long-time supporter of Moccasin athletics. Another inductee with ties to Florida Southern athletics was Lorraine Valerino, former synchronized swimming star and founder of the YMCA Flamingo Synchronized Swim Team, who is the wife of FSC graduate and Moccasin Athletics Hall of Famer, John Valerino.
2018 POLK COUNTRY ALL-SPORTS AWARDS RECIPIENTS
Bernie Little Sports Executive Award: Shelly Wilkes and Alex Martins (Lakeland Magic)
Commissioners' Award for Perseverance in Sports: Dennis Brown (McKeel Academy)
Professional Athlete of the Year: Tiffany Hayes (WNBA Atlanta Dream)
Male Amateur Athlete of the Year: Ashton Habeil (Lake Gibson High School Wrestling)
Female Amateur Athlete of the Year: Diamond Battles (Winter Haven High School Basketball)
Male Prep Team of the Year: Lake Gibson High School Wrestling
Female Prep Team of the Year: Winter Haven High School Basketball
Female Collegiate Team of the Year: Florida Southern College Volleyball
Male Collegiate Team of the Year: Southeastern University Baseball
Female Collegiate Athlete of the Year: Ana Richter (Southeastern Univerity Basketball)
Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year: Logan Browning (Florida Southern College Baseball)
POLK COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME - CLASS OF 2018
Bob Georges (Contributor)
Gene Engle (Contributor)
Ron Morrow (Contributor)
Josephine Austin (Winter Haven High School Basketball Coach)
Jason Odom (Bartow High Football / NFL)
Claude Woodruff (High School Football Coach)
Wayne Gandy (NFL and Polk community athletics)
Lorraine Valerino (Synchronized Swimming)