Manatee County’s penchant for developing elite defensive backs is well-documented. There’s also an abundance of wide receivers in college football.
Among that group, Kelvin McKnight was recently tabbed one of the best in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
McKnight, a Manatee High School alumnus, was ranked among the top 10 wide receivers in the FCS by Athlon Sports late last week.
A rising junior at Samford, McKnight came in at No. 9 on the list. He is Samford’s leading returning receiver after registering 70 catches for 896 yards and nine touchdowns last year.
McKnight isn’t the only one racking up accolades or top-level performances lately from the area.
So here’s a look at other Hometown Heroes this week:
Ahead of the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Manatee High School alumnus Brandon Carnes the Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year. Carnes, who is a senior at Northern Iowa, is competing in the 100-meter dash at the national championships, which begin Wednesday in Eugene, Oregon.
Carnes is ranked fifth in the nation with a 100-meter time of 9.97 seconds, and he holds conference and program records in the indoor 60-meter, outdoor 100-meter and outdoor 200 dashes. Carnes completed his Missouri Valley Conference career with 16 titles without losing to any conference competitor in either the 100 or 200.
Carnes did not qualify for the 200 at this year’s national championships after pulling up lame in the NCAA West Preliminary. During the early rounds at the NCAA West Preliminary, Carnes shattered the 200 conference record that had stood for 33 years with a time of 20.25 seconds.
The former Manatee football and baseball star is heading back to the Sunshine State. Sandberg was promoted from Single-A Lakewood to the Philadelphia Phillies’ high-A affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League, on Monday. Sandberg was hitting .268 with 20 extra-base hits this season.
The Lakewood Ranch High School alumnus earned a Florida State League All-Star selection following his first half with the Bradenton Marauders, the high Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. McGarry was one of nine Marauders selected to the South Division All-Star Team, set for Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday, June 17. McGarry racked up 22 strikeouts with a 1.27 earned run average with four saves and only allowed runs in two of his 15 appearances ahead of getting the All-Star nod.
The Lakewood Ranch alumnus earned his MLB debut when the Toronto Blue Jays called him up in early May. Ohlman played in five games for the Jays, going 2 for 9 before he was sent back down to Triple-A Buffalo. The catcher, in his ninth pro season, is hitting .266 with a .403 on-base percentage and .596 slugging percentage with Buffalo entering Tuesday’s action. His best performance over the last 10 games happened Sunday when Ohlman went 3 for 5 with a home run and five RBIs.
After starting his high school career at Braden River, Busby transferred to Sarasota and is now tearing it up at Florida State University. Busby delivered a game-tying triple with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Sunday’s regional elimination game against Auburn.
“I was talking to the bat saying, ‘Hey, we can’t get out with a strikeout or an out,’” Busby told the Orlando Sentinel. “She paid off for me.”
On Monday, Busby continued to stay hot with two hits, which included an RBI double during the Seminoles’ 6-0 victory over Auburn to advance to the Super Regionals.
Along with Florida Atlantic’s Megan Rice, Kinlaw, a junior at FAU, went 23-11 in beach volleyball this season to earn All-Conference USA team honors. The Manatee alumnae also advanced to the National Collegiate Beach Pairs Championship with Rice.
The Manatee alumnus finished his senior season with the third-best batting average for the University of Tennessee-Martin’s baseball team. Kerwin hit .337 to pair with 10 home runs, 16 doubles and 39 RBIs. He also possessed a team-leading .568 slugging percentage.