Kershaw highlights LA Sports Awards winners

LOS ANGELES – The calendar has changed to a new year. The Dodgers are getting ready for the 2012 season, but the award-winning performance of Clayton Kershaw in 2011 remains with him.

Kershaw was named the 2011 Sportsman of the Year at the 7th Annual LA Sports Awards presented by AT&T U-verse on Thursday night at Club Nokia at L.A. Live.

“It’s pretty cool,” Kershaw said. “It’s awesome always to get awards and stuff but at the same time we got to get ready for this year too.”

Before moving on with 2012, Kershaw had to be recognized by the LA Sports Council for being one of the Dodgers’ few bright spots in 2011. A true ace, Kershaw ended the season as the top pitcher in the National League, capturing the NL Cy Young Award

He led the majors in 2011 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. He was tied for the league lead with 21 wins. Kershaw became, at 23 years of age, the youngest pitcher to win the National League’s Cy Young since a 20-year-old Doc Gooden did it for the Mets in 1985. He’s also the eighth Dodger to have the honor, the first since Eric Gagne in 2003.

The World’s Fastest Woman, Carmelita Jeter, was named the 2011 Sportswoman of the Year. Jeter, a Los Angeles native, was the female recipient of the 2011 Jesse Owens Award, given by USA Track & Field to the top performer in U.S. Track & Field.

At the World Championships in South Korea, Jeter took home individual gold in the 100 meters and another as the anchor of the women’s 4x100m relay.

She prepped at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance before going to Cal State Dominguez and is thrilled to be honored in her hometown.

“It’s definitely an honor being from Los Angeles,” Jeter said. “Growing up in Los Angeles, high school, college, I did everything in LA, so I never left and so it definitely feels good to be represented and be acknowledged in my own city.”

The Top Moment in Sports in Los Angeles during 2011 was given to the Los Angeles Galaxy for winning the 2011 MLS Cup. Landon Donovan scored the game’s only goal to lift the Galaxy past Houston, 1-0, in the MLS Cup final last November, capturing the third championship in franchise history.

Angels owner Arte Moreno won the 2011 Sports Executive of the Year. Moreno, who is ill, was not in attendance and his award was accepted by new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin won the 2011 Coach of the Year. The Trojans went 10-2 last season, including a 50-0 win over crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans, in their second year of a two-year postseason ban, finished first in the Pac-12 South standings.

Two new awards were handed out. The John C. Argue award was given to honor individuals who have made contributions to the business side of sports. The recipient of the award is the late Chuck Miller. The longtime Chairman and CEO of Avery Dennison, Miller was a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee’s executive committee. More recently, he helped with the development of the Staples Center and the Rose Bowl renovation project.

The new FOX Sports West High School Sports Award was given to Villa Park starting quarterback Blair Boyce. He carries a 4.45 GPA and next year will be headed to Cornell. He volunteers at the Southwest Community Center, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana. He’s a member of the CIF Southern Section Student-Athlete Leadership Council. On the football field he broke 12 school records.

The grandest ovation of the night went to the little leaguers from Huntington Beach. They were No. 5 on the list of Top 10 moments of 2011. The team from Ocean View made it all the way to Williamsport, Pa. and defeated Japan 2-1 to win the Little League World Series last summer 

“We’ve had a lot of great events. This is as special as any of them. This is a high honor and the boys are just amazed to be here,” head coach Jeff Pratto said. “It was pretty exciting.”

After the team hit the stage, they had an opportunity to meet a big leaguer. Kershaw spoke with the youngsters and posed for pictures. The reigning Cy Young winner even offered some advice.

“Come out to Dodger Stadium,” Kershaw said to the little leaguers from Orange County, “don’t all be Angels fans.”

The 7th Annual LA Sports Awards will air on FOX Sports West on March 23 at 10:30 p.m., immediately following the Lakers and the Blazers.