The Daily News Athlete of the Year award is our way of honoring the multi-sport athlete. And no two athletes earned it more this past calendar year than La Habra’s Aaron Porter and Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt. Both won two area player of the year awards.
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
In the age of specialization, La Habra High School’s Aaron Porter and Whittier Christian’s Kellian Hunt are rarities.
But this twosome does more than just play multiple sports. They do it very well.
For their efforts Porter, who was the area’s Player of the Year in football and baseball, and Hunt, the cross country Runner of the Year and track Athlete of the Year, are The Daily News 2011-12 Athletes of the Year.
“I’ve really done it my whole life,” Porter said of playing multiple sports. “There’s really nothing new.
“I’ve spent a little bit more in football. I wish I could have spent the same time in baseball. I definitely like football more. But they complement each other.”
Porter’s school year began with football. He led the Highlanders to the school’s seventh Freeway League title and earned CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division Player of the Year and area Player of the Year honors.
The versatile senior rushed for 865 yards and 17 touchdowns and had eight sacks and 23 tackles for a loss as a linebacker. Porter concluded his career with a school-record 388 tackles and 26 sacks.
His baseball season was almost as effective. Porter led the area with 34 RBIs and hit .489. He also had eight home runs to help the Highlanders win their first Freeway League crown since 2004 and advance to the CIF-SS Division 4 second round.
“I had a lot of good memories (at La Habra), great times with each team,” he said. “I loved playing with these guys and I’m going to miss them a lot. But I have no regrets.”
Porter, regarded as one of the top linebackers in the state, is expected to play multiple sports at UCLA. He signed with the Bruins in February.
“I think it’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes. I’m ready to get after it.”
Hunt dominated the area in cross country in the fall and was the area’s top distance runner in track .
“I think it’s a good end to the last four years,” Hunt said. “I’ve had some real good races and memories. I’m really pleased with it.”
The senior finished her cross country season with her third consecutive trip to the CIF State championships after placing third in CIF-SS Division 4 with a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds. She then followed with a 17:58 to finish fourth in Division 4 at the state meet.
“It was easier (this season) in a sense in that I knew what I was doing,” Hunt said of her performance in the fall. “It’s my senior year, so I knew it will be my third time there.
“I was ready for it. I knew the process and how the day worked. But there also was some pressure. I knew it was my last year, and I wanted to do well.”
She felt the same in track and came through with a pair of runner-up finishes. At the CIF-SS Division 4 championships in May, she was second in the 1,600 meters (5:04.19) and 3,200 (11:15.90).
She now will take her act to Biola University.
“I was really happy with the entire year,” Hunt said. “It went really well. We had a good finish to it. I was really happy with my time.
“My goal was pretty much to beat (my) previous best and let the places take care of themselves. I’m happy with the results and the season.”