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2024 Nexstar Sports Awards: Nominees for Next Level Athlete of the Year

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The fifth annual Nexstar Spots Awards and Hall of Fame banquet is set for Thursday, July 11, 2024, inside D.L. Ligon Coliseum on the campus of MSU Texas.

One of three athletes from a Texoma high school currently competing at a collegiate level or higher will be named the Next Level Athlete of the Year, one of 18 honors being awarded in 2024.

The nominees for the 2024 Next Level Athlete of the Year are listed below:

Tucker Horn — Trinity University

During Horn’s final year of college football, the former Graham Steer balled out.

A 3-year starter, Horn completed a program-record 68 percent of his passes, surpassing 700 completions.

The Tigers quarterback ranked among the top 20 in the nation in a handful of passing categories, most notably his 34 touchdown passes against just three interceptions.

Horn was a Gagliardi Trophy finalist, Division 3’s version of the Heisman, and Dave Campbell’s Texas Football recognized him as their Non-FBS Player of the Year.

Horn’s career with Trinity ends with him being one of the best quarterbacks in school history.

Jill Leslie — Oklahoma Baptist University

Leslie, a former Rider Lady Raider, hit the hardwood as a rare two-sport college athlete.

In volleyball, Leslie ranked 2nd in the Great American Conference with a .339 hitting percentage.

She was also top-10 in the conference in points and blocks.

Leslie earned All-American Honorable Mention status, only the second player in school history to do so.

In basketball, she played in 21 games, averaging nearly 27 minutes, scoring 6 points per game, and pulling down 6 rebounds per game, while shooting almost 40 percent from the field.

Shay Williams — University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma

A Vernon Lady Lion turned USAO Drover, Williams continues to dominate the circle and is now a three-time All-American as a junior.

Williams was Sooner Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week eight times on her way to a second consecutive Pitcher of the Year Award.

The Drover’s ace diced up batters left and right, recording 291 strikeouts with a minuscule 1.15 ERA. She threw 4 perfect games in 2024, a new NAIA record, as well as a no-hitter and 11 shutouts.

Williams led USAO to a 30-game win streak and an appearance in the National Semifinals.

The winners will be announced live at the 2024 Nexstar Sports Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 11. Contact Kristin Bierne at (940) 691-0003 ext. 1225 for ticket information, or watch live on KFDX 3 and Texoma’s Homepage.

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