For the second year, Aiken Communications is proud to host its Best of Prep Sports awards banquet.

The event was created as a way to honor high school athletes from Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield counties.

This year's banquet will take place May 24 at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, 2049 Champion Way, Graniteville. Doors open to the general public at 7:30 p.m.

NFL defensive end and former Silver Bluff star DeMarcus Lawrence will be the event's guest speaker this year.

“There’s no one better to help us recognize the Aiken area's top athletes than DeMarcus Lawrence; he is excelling at the top level of football right now,” said Rhonda Overbey, publisher of the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. “The Aiken Standard has followed DeMarcus Lawrence’s career from Silver Bluff, to Boise State, to Dallas. We know he has a positive message for local athletes about sports on the national stage.”

Awards will be given to the top male and female athletes in all sports covered by the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star newspapers. The finalist for those awards can be found throughout this special section. There will also be an award for Overall Athlete of the Year, Team of The Year and a few special categories.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at convotix.usca.edu. VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet and autograph signing with Lawrence after the event are $25. General admission tickets are $15. General admission seating is first come, first served.

For more information, call Eric Russell at 803-644-2396 or email erussell@aikenstandard.com.

​Eric Russell is the multimedia editor at the Aiken Standard. Contact him at 803-644-2396.