Kevin Millward, Evans Middle School
One year ago today, Kevin Millward didn't know what was in store in 2003.
Now, as the eighth-grader at Evans Middle School reflects on a year of athletic excellence, he still can't quite believe it.
"I sure wasn't expecting all this," Millward said after learning he had been named Columbia County's Athlete of the Year for 2003. "It's a great honor, that's for sure. At the beginning of the year, I would have never thought of something like that, especially only being in middle school. There's probably a bunch of other people that deserved it also."
No one deserved it as much as Millward.
In January, he traveled to Nashville to compete in the finals of the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition.
"I was really nervous," he said of the big day at the Tennessee Titans practice facility. "A lot of people were watching, and a CBS crew was filming us."
Millward responded to the pressure and won a national championship in the PP&K 12-13 age division.
Then he picked up a baseball bat, and the hits kept coming.
As a member of the Columbia County Dixie Boys All-Star team, Millward returned to Tennessee, where he helped his team take the Dixie Boys World Series title last summer.
"First I won the Punt, Pass & Kick, and I had a pretty good season on the middle-school baseball team, and then we ended up winning the World Series," Millward said. "That was great, especially being alongside my teammates."
Next, it was time for Millward to suit up for the Evans Middle School football team. Thanks in part to his stellar play at quarterback, linebacker and place kicker, the Knights rolled to an unbeaten season.
Currently, 14-year-old is a member of his school's basketball team, which sports the best record in the county.
The Punt, Pass & Kick success built Millward's confidence, and boosted his performance during the rest of the year. Still, Millward admits others played a role in his rise to greatness.
"I give a lot of credit to my coaches and teammates," he said. "If it wasn't for my teammates, we wouldn't have won a World Series or had a great year in football."
Millward doesn't think the coming year will match the past 12 months, but he's not about to let down in 2004. "I'll be starting high school, and I'm hoping to play varsity baseball and football as a freshman," he said. "I'm just going to go out and try to do the best I can."
He has reason to expect something extraordinary will happen again.
"I think I've learned a lot this year," Millward said. "You can go into a game thinking, sometimes you'll win, and sometimes you'll lose. But once you keep winning and don't lose, you have the confidence that every time you do something, there's going to be a great result."
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