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Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive California – honoring the male and female athletes of the year in every CIF Section.

Because the SBLive crew gets so immersed in specific sports seasons, it is nice to take a step back to pick a Section honor on a broader scale.

The criteria isn’t too expansive: The starting point is finding athletes who are all-league/all-state performers. Totality of career is also a factor as is winning. Administrator/coach/fan recommendation plays a role as well.

Enjoy as we honor some of California's top athletes!

Forget about the team leading 13 home runs and 54 runs scored. If only for her defense, Dakota Kennedy would still be considered an MVP candidate for the Sheldon softball team.

"She could catch anything," Sheldon head coach Mary Jo Truesdale said. "She was just a force of nature in the outfield and anything that went to her, we just knew she had. She caught balls that in the past other players wouldn't have gotten to. Those catches were like golf gimme's to her."

In 25 years of coaching softball at Sheldon, Truesdale says Kennedy is right up at the top of the list of the best players she's worked with.

"She's probably one of the most talented players I've ever coached," Truesdale said.

And her talent seemed to always come through in the biggest moments. 

In Sheldon's 7-1 Division 1 Sac-Joaquin Section championship win, Kennedy bombed two home runs. 

"In every single game, she made extraordinary plays," Truesdale said. 

Kennedy ended her senior season with a .465 batting average and 42 RBIs. She also posted a 1.565 OPS and stole a team high 14 bases. For putting together a ridiculous season at the plate, starring in the outfield and leading Sheldon to a Division 1 Sac-Joaquin Section crown, Kennedy has been named SBLive's Sac-Joaquin Section Female Athlete of the Year. 

"I gave it my all this year and did it for the team," Kennedy said. 


School: Sheldon

Sports: Softball

Next step: University of Arizona Softball

Season highlights and accolades: Division 1 Sac-Joaquin Section Softball champion

GPA: 4.1



Central Section Male: Nate Johnson, Clovis

Central Section Female: Jazmine Soto, Strathmore

Central Coast Section Male: Mikey Mitchell Jr., Archbishop Mitty

Central Coast Section Female: Jessica Oakland, St. Francis

LA City Section Male: Dylan Kordic, San Pedro

LA City Section Female: Jillian Kelly, El Camino Real

North Coast Section Male: Nico Torrez, De La Salle

North Coast Section Female: Natalie Pasco, San Ramon Valley

Sac-Joaquin Section Male: Jadyn Marshall, Stockton St. Mary's

Sac-Joaquin Section Female: Jzaniya Harriel, Antelope

San Diego Section Male: Nick Herrmann, Torrey Pines

San Diego Section Female: Elise Miller, San Pasqual

Southern Section Male: Thomas Southey, Mira Costa

Southern Section Female: Alyssa Thompson, Harvard-Westlake

2021-22 Northern Section Athlete of the Year: Riley Wickum, Sutter