On Thursday night, June 1, the best athletes, coaches, and teams from the River Valley gathered for the PREPS All-Star Best of the River Valley awards at the Fort Smith Convention Center.

The night was electric, with good food and keynote speaker former Razorback and current Dallas Cowboy running back Darren McFadden. About 1,000 attended.

The awards were given across all school classification, and Paris, a member of the 3A classification, heard its name mentioned as often as any school in the region.

Among the winners from Paris were Lycia Peevy, Best Female Athlete, Coach K Wesley Davis, Volleyball Coach of the Year, and Race Taylor, the True Grit Award.

Though they competed in a smaller school and community, the wins by Peevy and Davis were no surprise. They have proven time and again how their abilities and goals are not defined by population or school size.

The True Grit Award was presented by owner of True Grit Running, Melissa Vitale. The award is based on determination, perseverance, and excellence.

Those who know Taylor know that he is the epitome of True Grit. He works 20 or more hours a week while landing on the honor roll and excelling on the basketball court, where he averaged 18 points and six rebounds per game. Race took pride in playing defense and generally guarded the opposition’s best player, no matter what position they played.

The state champion volleyball team from Paris was recognized and honored. Also recognized was Ashtan Swanson of Paris for her state title in the 200 meter, and landing on the first or second team were five football players and four volleyball players.

Look for the keepsake edition of the All-Star Preps in the June 14th edition of the Paris Express.