Brentwood senior Elisabeth Laviolette and Ravenwood senior Rex Gainer were both honored as the latest John Maher Builders Scholar-Athletes for the 2019-20 school year.
In addition to the recognition, both are now eligible for a $2,000 scholarship that will be presented to two females and two males selected as scholar athletes of the year by John and Margie Maher of John Maher Builders.
Brentwood softball coach Erica Powell calls Laviolette “one of the best players” she’s ever coached.
“And I don’t just mean athletically,” Powell added.
Laviolette boasts a 4.51 GPA and has more than two dozen state and regional Science Olympiad medals. The National Arts Honor Society member has worked with the Nashville Predators organization – her dad Peter is the former Preds coach – and has served more than 30 hours of service running multiple blood drives as a National Honors Society Board Member.
She was named to the All-District 11-AAA Softball Team for her on field play in 2018 and 2019 and played on two Lady Bruins state-qualifying teams. Brentwood finished fifth overall in the state back-to-back seasons with Laviolette starting and hitting out of the No. 4 or No. 5 spot.
“Even if she had no softball talent whatsoever, she is still someone you want on your team,” the veteran coach Powell said. “She is respectful, she does the right thing, she is a leader and her teammates look up to her.”
Laviolette was named a team captain this year before the season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a left-handed first baseman, she makes plays most people cannot,” Powell said. “Her ability to stretch, jump, sweep tag, dig balls out of the dirt, drop back to the bag on a pickoff, and do the splits to make sure she gets the out is beyond that of most people who play first base.”
Powell called Laviolette a power hitter from her left side. She had three homers in the Lady Bruins three games before the season was canceled this season.
“I have known Elisabeth for four years, and she is without a doubt, one of the best players I have ever coached,” said Powell, who also teaches English at Brentwood. “After seeing her work ethic, personality, character, and intelligence on the field and in the classroom for her entire high school career, I know Elisabeth will be an asset to any school or any team of which she is a part.
“Elisabeth always goes above and beyond what is asked of her.”
Elisabeth is the daughter of Peter and Kristen Laviolette of Brentwood.
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From the basketball court to the classroom and in the community, Ravenwood’s Gainer is another standout student-athlete, according to longtime Raptors basketball coach Patrick Whitlock.
“Rex epitomizes what you want in a student-athlete,” Whitlock said. “He is a hard worker on and off the court and is a kid of character, making the right decisions and serving others.”
Gainer holds a 4.6 GPA and has volunteered through local churches and basketball camps as well as working with the Room at the Inn Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Nashville Mission Academic tutoring program.
On the court, Gainer served as a team captain for the Raptors this season. He was named All-District 11-AAA this year and has earned an All-Region 6-AAA Tournament team nod.
In early February, Gainer knocked down five 3-pointers and scored 17 points in an intense 52-45 win at rival Brentwood to earn a split with the regular season district champs in the storied “Battle of the Woods” rivalry. The week before the big win, Gainer earned Gateway Tire Male Athlete of the Week honors after leading the Raptors to back-to-back district wins. The senior guard averaged 23 points in road wins at Spring Hill and Dickson County.
“I have never heard anyone utter a bad word about him,” Whitlock said. “He is a leader and treats everyone around him with respect.”
Rex is the son of Jay and Krista Gainer of Brentwood.