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The Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week contest is getting national attention.

Referring to the contest as “the best high school athlete promotion (we’ve) seen in over a decade,” the media industry leader in contesting and promotions named a weekly Sumter area contest the best in the country.

The Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week contest, a partnership between Hines Furniture and The Sumter Item sports department, was named Best Recurring Contest this week in the 13th Annual Second Street Awards, an awards program that celebrates media achievement in engaging communities through promotions. Second Street boasts more than 4,000 media partners across the nation.

The weekly contest, which features four nominees and a winner picked by the voting public, celebrates local athletes throughout the school year, culminating in an Athlete of the Year bracket hosted by The Sumter Item over the summer. Item Sports Editor Tim Leible administrates the contest. Hines Furniture, the Broad Street furniture store owned by the Hines family for more than 50 years, has been the presenting sponsor of the high school sports awards program since inception.

“This is a win for our local athletes, our small business community partners and our staff,” said Vince Johnson, publisher of The Sumter Item. “We have the region’s largest local print and digital audience at The Item, and working with that audience to build up our community is one of the primary things we’re here to do. Donny Hines has been a community leader for years, and he’s leading the way again in this support for local athletes.”

Judges recognized the contest’s cross-platform reach and community engagement, especially noting the digital trading cards of each nominee posted to The Item’s sports departments social media pages each week.

Contest voting occurs each Monday through Wednesday at Follow The Item Sports on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the weekly promotion.