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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!

Jeremiah Earby only had one opportunity to play a full season of varsity football. And it's safe to say he made the most of it.

The 3-star Cal-bound cornerback recorded five interceptions and 40 tackles, caught for 963 yards and 11 touchdowns, and totaled over 1,000 all-purpose yards to help lead the Bears to the Central Coast Section Division 1 semifinals. He also completed his only pass attempt of the season, a 27-yard touchdown in a 47-46 win against Half Moon Bay with a league title on the line.

"Football season was amazing," said Earby. 

"It was my first full season starting on varsity. It kind of felt like a new experience because my junior year was like having one toe in the water."

Earby only played five games in his COVID-shortened junior season, but was ready to bring his A-game in Menlo-Atherton's top matchups as a senior. He erupted for 221 yards and three touchdowns receiving to go with an interception against Bellarmine, caught for over 100 yards in a marquee win against McClymonds, and caught for over 130 yards and at least one touchdown in both of the Bears' playoff games.

After having one of the best two-way campaigns in CIFCCS football, Earby remained at the top during track season. He won the section gold medal in his signature event, the 400m, with a time of 49.35 seconds. 

"I started running when I was five or six, and that's always been my event," he said. 

"I hate it a lot, but it's what I've always been good at. The end feeling of knowing you gave it your all... I honestly hate it because I feel dead. But I love it too."

Despite his love for track – and basketball, which he also played in high school – Earby is counting the days until he resumes football, and makes his move from the Peninsula to the East Bay.

"I miss football so much," said Earby. "What I'm most excited for [regarding Cal] is just getting up there and getting to work. The workouts, being with the team... I can't wait."

BIO

School: Menlo-Atherton

Sports: Football, track, basketball

GPA: 3.5

Next step: Cal football

Season highlights and accolades: PAL - Bay league champion and First Team All-League member (football); CIFCCS Division 1 semifinalist (football); SBLive First Team All-Central Coast Section (football); CIFCCS 400-meter dash champion (track)

PAST SBLIVE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

2020-21

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