BY GENE NARDI
On Sunday, March 22, local high school athletic programs were honored at the 39th annual Palm Beach County Hall of Fame Banquet, presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The event honors professional and amateur athletes and coaches from Palm Beach County.
2014 Seminole Ridge High School graduate Morgan Lauer was among the nominees for the Female High School Athlete of the Year. Lauer played flag football for the two-time state champions and now attends Florida Gulf Coast University as a communications major.
“This is my second nomination in a row,” she said. “It’s an honor to be here and be nominated for this award.”
Lauer plays flag football for her club team at Florida Gulf Coast as quarterback and receiver. She is one of the most decorated players in the history of flag football in Florida. She racked up 290 passes in 390 attempts for 2,886 yards, a 74 percent completion average. She also threw for 53 touchdowns. Lauer led the Hawks to a 17-1 record and the state finals her senior year. She completed her high school flag football career with 212 touchdowns, two state titles and a third finals appearance.
Wellington High School quarterback Shannon Patrick was nominated for Male High School Athlete of the Year. “It’s great to be here with so many great athletes from around the county,” Patrick said. “It’s an honor to be a part of something great like this.”
After compiling 3,438 yards in the air, with 52 touchdowns during the Wolverines’ 2014 season, he committed to the University of Pikeville. Patrick’s ability to throw, along with his leadership, was a big part of the Wolverines’ success, propelling them from a previous 4-6 record to a school best 12-2 final record and the District 9-8A crown.
Patrick threw at least two touchdowns in every game in the regular season, and an impressive seven TDs with 406 total yards against Cardinal Newman High School. Patrick also compiled more than 300 yards passing in the district title game against rival Palm Beach Gardens High School, scoring the final touchdown himself.
Wellington High School football coach Tom Abel won the Andrews-Ceravolo High School Coach of the Year award. He faced tough competition in Seminole Ridge flag football coach Austin Bowe.
Bowe has led the SRHS program to an overall 136-13 record and four state titles. In 2014, the Hawks had an 18-1 record and a state finals appearance. In 2014, Bowe was inducted into the United States Flag & Touch Football League Hall of Fame. He also received the Florida Flag Football Coach of the Year Award two years in a row from the National Federation of State High School Associations. “I’m honored to be here, but it’s more about the players than me,” Bowe said. “This is humbling to be nominated.”
Winner Tom Abel had back-to-back 4-6 seasons as the Wolverines head coach in his first two years. In 2014, he led Wellington to a 12-2 final record, the District 9-8A title and a regional appearance.
Abel directed Wellington’s potent aerial attack, tallying more than 2,600 passing yards and averaging over 40 points a game. Defensively, Abel orchestrated a squad that had two shutouts and four times held teams to less than a touchdown. He led the Wolverines to a pivotal 42-15 victory over district foe Seminole Ridge. The win was the first time Abel defeated the Hawks in his eight years with WHS. “It humbles you to be a part of something like this,” he said. “I couldn’t have done this without the help from my staff and the volunteers.”
ABOVE: Wellington head coach Tom Abel with Male High School Athlete of the Year nominee, WHS quarterback Shannon Patrick.