Players of the Year demonstrate excellence

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lakeland High School’s Damontra Milteer and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s Livi Bono demonstrated individual success and contributed to team success this year, helping make them this year’s male and female Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Fall Players of the Year.

Not only are Bono and Milteer premier athletes in the Suffolk area, but also they strive to be great students as well. It is important to both athletes to perform well in their sports and in the classroom too.

Milteer and the Lakeland High School football program enjoyed a historic season. His team finished the season with a 7-6 record and a regional championship berth, a first in school history. The Lakeland senior surpassed 2,000 rushing yards, breaking the school record, and had 23 touchdowns for the season. Against King’s Fork this fall, he rushed for a school record and career-high 322 yards and was the leading runner in the Southeastern District and, for much of the season, throughout Southampton Roads.

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The stellar year led to him being showered with multiple postseason honors. At the end of the regular season, Milteer was named the Conference 27 Player of The Year and the first team running back. From there, he had a spectacular postseason that led to him being named to the 3A VHSL All-Region first team.

“It is great and a big achievement for me to win all of these awards,” Milteer said. “Receiving all these awards makes me want to keep up the work I’ve been putting in.”

Milteer has a humble spirit and is always thankful for his teammates, which makes them even more determined to play alongside him.

“He has always been the most humble guy on the team, no matter how successful he was,” Cavs senior offensive lineman Riley Richardson said. “He always gave credit to the linemen, even when we didn’t deserve it.”

Bono led her team to a state championship berth this year. She is the fourth representative of the NSA volleyball program to win the player of the year award.

In her time at NSA, she has been a part of two state championship winning teams and has placed herself amongst the elite in school history.

This year, Bono was named TCIS player of the year and was a first-team All-Conference and All-State selection. Throughout her high school career, she’s been named to All-Conference teams. During her senior year, she surpassed 1,000 career kills, which made her the second player in NSA history to accomplish the milestone. At 5 feet, 7 inches, Bono has been able to sustain success despite being considered undersized for her position. She averaged more than 15 kills a game this season.

“The backbone of our program is working harder than everyone else because we are always undersized,” Lady Saints coach Robyn Ross said. “That is Livi … she was one of the smallest hitters in the conference. That never stopped her. She found a way to be successful by being smarter and faster than the bigger players, and that is the exact example I want for our young players.”

Bono’s teammates have enjoyed playing with her and are proud of the example she sets for the younger players on the team.

“Playing with someone as talented as Livi has been great,” Lady Saints senior Nicole Wright said. “She has made the whole experience of high school volleyball even more enjoyable.”