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Prep Sports

Most Valuable Athletes Awards set to debut Wednesday night

Dozens of prep athletes from around area to be honored in DeKalb

DEKALB — Hundreds of athletes from around northern Illinois will converge upon the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center on Wednesday as part of Shaw Media's Most Valuable Athletes Awards.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m.

Sports editors from nine Shaw Media properties — The Times, the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Kane County Chronicle, Kendall County Recorder, Joliet Herald-News, Northwest Herald, Sauk Valley Media, Morris Herald-News and Suburban Life Media — selected 24 of the top male and female athletes in different sports, plus overall male and female athletes of the year, from almost 80 schools in their combined coverage area.

The event will feature a keynote speech by former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman and the event will be hosted by Hub Arkush, general manager of Shaw Media's Pro Football Weekly.

"I love working with young people more than anything, and the chance to be with this many student-athletes who are apparently our best and brightest is always a special treat," Arkush said. "While I covered his entire career and have interviewed him a number of times about football, I'm also really looking forward to seeing Charles Tillman now that he is pursuing his life after football and hear his keynote address.

"It sounds like it's going to be a great night."

Laura Shaw — publisher of the Daily Chronicle, MidWeek, Valley Life, Kane County Chronicle, Kendall County Recorder and Suburban Life Media — said the event gives the company an opportunity to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of athletes throughout northern Illinois.

"It is our priority to be advocates for the areas we serve," Shaw said. "Events like this give a higher level of interaction and engagement with our communities. I am excited to kick this event off with a great group of students and look forward to continuing to build this event in years to come."

The athletes will arrive to a red-carpet reception at the main entrance on the east side of the Convocation Center. Once inside, they will have their photos taken.

There will be open seating at the event, except for VIPs and sponsors. Dinner will be served after Arkush starts the program at 7 p.m.

"When you've spent your life writing for newspapers and magazines and broadcasting on radio and TV, I've found you can't help wondering at times who if anyone is out there reading, watching and/or listening," Arkush said. "The chance to get out and meet and visit with some of those folks is something I always look forward to."

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