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Southerland family celebrates Girls Athlete of the Year honor, Final Four berth in 3-day span

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

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Sabrina Southerland, Armory Track Girls Athlete of the Year and sister of James Southerland — Armory Track

Sabrina Southerland, Armory Track Girls Athlete of the Year and sister of James Southerland — Armory Track

It’s been a very good month for the Southerland family.

First, on Thursday, Sabrina Southerland, a senior at Queens (N.Y.) Benjamin Cardozo High, was named the 2013 Girls Athlete of the Year by the Armory Track & Field Center, an honor won on the back of one of the most versatile track repertoires around. Two days later, her brother James was a key factor leading Syracuse to the Final Four.

Not a bad three days, eh?

“It feels really great,” Sabrina Southerland told the New York Daily News. “I worked hard for it. I know [Cardozo coach Ray James] is happy. I just trained hard, and I guess it paid off.”

The same can be said of Southerland’s brother, the Syracuse sharpshooter who turned a standout Cardozo tenure into a launching pad for a career at Syracuse that has finally taken flight in the Big East and NCAA tournaments. Throughout that late season ride, Sabrina Southerland has been there, as she was when the Orange topped Marquette to earn a berth to the Final Four on Saturday.

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Syracuse star James Southerland in the Elite 8 — AP

Syracuse star James Southerland in the Elite 8 — AP

“I’m so proud of him,” Sabrina said in a phone interview while en route to Thursday night’s game. “It’s been great to see him grow from his freshman year to his senior year.”

Naturally, the male Southerland sibling would echo those sentiments, even if he couldn’t claim to have as much in person experience of her accomplishments as his sister has with his. The pair's success is also the dominant similarly between their athletic careers, with James Southerland a distinct distance shooting specialist for Syracuse while Sabrina Southerland is a do-everything runner for Cardozo who has shined in each event she tried.

Most notably, Sabrina Southerland clocked the best indoor 800-meter time in the nation in 2013, finishing the distance in just 2:03.59 at the New Balance Nationals meet at The Armory Track Center in Manhattan.

Like her brother, Sabrina Southerland will use her talent on the track to pay for a collegiate education. And while she hasn’t let on where she’s headed yet, James claimed that she would decide between Georgetown, Villanova and South Carolina, all of which would be lucky to receive her.

“I haven’t had a better athlete than Sabrina Southerland,” James told the Daily News. “She’s a pleasure to coach.”

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