Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk will be the featured speaker at The State Journal-Register’s third annual Best of Capital Region Preps Awards Banquet, which recognizes the accomplishments of top high school athletes from a 12-county area in central Illinois.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. June 27 at the Bank of Springfield Center.
Top athletes in more than 20 sports will be honored at the event. Other awards to be announced include male and female athletes of the year, team of the year and coach of the year.
“I can’t wait for this amazing night to see all the excitement from student-athletes and their families. This is a great honor for the student-athletes to showcase all of the dedication and hard work they have shown toward their craft,” said Eugene Jackson, the SJ-R’s general manager. “I can’t wait for the parents in attendance to see their sons and daughters shine on this amazing night. Just as important are the coaches and teachers who attend the event that have been the backbone of their success.
“I am also thrilled to have Marshall Faulk, a Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion, to be our guest speaker this year as he will bring even more excitement to an already amazing night,” Jackson said.
The awards banquet is presented by The State Journal-Register in partnership with Illinois National Bank, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Memorial Health System. All three businesses also sponsored the two previous events, which featured former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
“Memorial Health System is proud to support the Best of the Capital Region Preps again this year,” said Ed Curtis, president and chief executive officer of MHS. “We are excited to have the opportunity to recognize and honor the hard-working student-athletes who attend this event, and we look forward to having Marshall Faulk at this year’s event to inspire this exceptional group of young people.”
Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 1999, and he helped lead the team to a Super Bowl title during his first season there. That year he also became the second NFL player to get more than 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving.
During Faulk’s career, he earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was a second-team All-Pro selection in 1994, 1995 and 1998. He was voted to seven Pro Bowls, named All-AFC twice and All-NFC three times in his career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. He also has worked as an on-air analyst with the NFL Network.
Pat Phalen, executive vice president of INB, says while the student-athletes at this year’s event have never seen Faulk play, his story continues to be an inspiring one. “It will be interesting for the students to learn what’s really important from someone who had a long, successful career. We’re recognizing a lot of students who have had outstanding high school sports careers. What will he ask them to consider as they think about participating at the next level?”
Student-athletes named to all-area teams receive free admission to the event. Fall and winter all-area athletes will receive a letter within the next few weeks with instructions on how to claim their free ticket; spring all-area athletes will receive their letters soon after.
“The Illinois Pork Producers Association is thrilled to be a part of the Capital Preps for the third year. This event highlights area athletes’ accomplishments while emphasizing the importance of team building and community,” said Jennifer Tirey, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “As a 12-season veteran of the NFL, this year’s speaker, Marshall Faulk, will certainly inspire and motivate our athletes to keep working hard to achieve their own personal goals.”