High School Sports

The N&O 2017-18 High School Players of the Year, by sport

Here are 18 of this year’s 24 N&O Players of the Year in their respective sports. From top left across: D.H. Conley’s Holton Ahlers (football); Panther Creek’s Morgan Smalls (girls outdoor track & field); Heritage’s Trevor Berk (boys soccer); Carrboro’s Quincy Monday (wrestling); Leesville Road’s Grace Countie (girls swimming); Garner’s Randolph Ross (boys track and field). Second row from left: North Johnston’s Jada Santiago (softball); Cary Academy’s Coleman Mitchell (boys cross country); Green Hope’s Katie Andreini (girls tennis); Southeast Raleigh’s Kyna Robinson (girls indoor track & field); Carrboro’s Destiny Cox (volleyball); Garner’s Kayla Ward (girls golf). Third row from left: Pinecrest’s A.J. Beechler (boys golf); Rolesville’s Nhyla Bryant (gymnastics); Athens Drive’s Zach Brown (boys swimming); Orange’s Jamar Davis (boys outdoor track & field); Cardinal Gibbons’ Gabby Young (girls lacrosse); Apex’s Calli Parlier (girls cross country).
Here are 18 of this year’s 24 N&O Players of the Year in their respective sports. From top left across: D.H. Conley’s Holton Ahlers (football); Panther Creek’s Morgan Smalls (girls outdoor track & field); Heritage’s Trevor Berk (boys soccer); Carrboro’s Quincy Monday (wrestling); Leesville Road’s Grace Countie (girls swimming); Garner’s Randolph Ross (boys track and field). Second row from left: North Johnston’s Jada Santiago (softball); Cary Academy’s Coleman Mitchell (boys cross country); Green Hope’s Katie Andreini (girls tennis); Southeast Raleigh’s Kyna Robinson (girls indoor track & field); Carrboro’s Destiny Cox (volleyball); Garner’s Kayla Ward (girls golf). Third row from left: Pinecrest’s A.J. Beechler (boys golf); Rolesville’s Nhyla Bryant (gymnastics); Athens Drive’s Zach Brown (boys swimming); Orange’s Jamar Davis (boys outdoor track & field); Cardinal Gibbons’ Gabby Young (girls lacrosse); Apex’s Calli Parlier (girls cross country).

In addition to the male and female athlete of the year and scholar-athlete of the year awards, The News & Observer honors one player of the year for each area sport – 24 in all.

The coverage area spans 20 counties, going as far east as Kinston and Greenville, so regional winners were named for the first time in each sport. Our regions are grouped by county: Wake County, Herald-Sun counties (consisting of Chatham, Orange, Durham, Person, Granville, Vance and Warren), southern counties (Lee, Moore, Harnett and Johnston) and eastern counties (Franklin, Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Wayne, Greene, Lenoir and Pitt).

This year’s bios will also include former winners of these awards and more interesting facts.

Five of this year’s athletes of the year are making repeat appearances: Greenfield’s Coby White, Carrboro’s Destiny Cox, Middle Creek’s Owen Caputo, Pinecrest’s A.J. Beechler and Rolesville’s Nhyla Bryant.

Note: years shown on previous winners indicates the year in which the honor was awarded. For example, a player who won this year would be listed as a 2018 winner.

Football

Holton Ahlers - D.H. Conley, Sr.

N.C. Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year.

GPA: 3.8

College plans: East Carolina

More accomplishments: Ranks third all-time in state history in career passing yards (11,198) and touchdowns (145), second in total offense (14,784) and third in total touchdown responsibility (201). Threw for 3,763 yards as a senior with 61 touchdowns to just four interceptions while running for 933 yards and 14 touchdowns.

POTY fact: Ahlers is the first quarterback to win this award since Wakefield’s Connor Mitch did in 2013.

Previous N&O winners: Dexter Lawrence, Wake Forest (2016, 2015); Nyheim Hines, Garner (2014); Vad Lee, Hillside (2011); Josh Adams, Cary (2006, 2005); Daniel Evans, Broughton (2004).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Ricky Person Jr., Heritage; Herald-Sun counties – Payton Wilson, Orange; Southern counties – Nate Thompson, Southern Lee.

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D.H. Conley's Holton Ahlers (12) with the scramble as South Central's Josh Stevens (54) attempts to tackle. The D.H. Conley Vikings visited the South Central Falcons in a high school football game on Nov. 3, 2017 Carl Copeland newobserver.com

Boys Basketball

Coby White - Greenfield, Sr.

N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year.

GPA: 3.4

College plans: North Carolina

More accomplishments: The McDonald’s All-American ended his career as the state’s all-time leading scorer with 3,573 points. Averaged 31.1 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists per game as a senior. He won two Gatorade Player of the Year awards and led the Knights to back-to-back runner-up finishes in the NCISAA 1A playoffs.

POTY fact: White is the first repeat winner since Wakefield’s Darius Johnson-Odom won in 2006 and 2007.

Previous N&O winners: Isaiah Hicks, J.F. Webb (2013); Rodney Purvis, Upper Room Christian (2012); Ryan Kelly, Ravenscroft (2009); John Wall, Word of God (2008); P.J. Tucker, Enloe (2003); Shavlik Randolph, Broughton (2000, 2002).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Jayden Gardner, Heritage; Herald-Sun counties – Jaylen Richard, Jordan; Southern counties – Zavian McLean, Overhills.

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Coby White (0) of Greenfield dribbles between Sal-Bay Young, left, Marque Maultsby (10) and Kenyon Burt (22) of Garner. The Greenfield School Knights played the Garner Trojans in the Millbrook Showcase high school boys basketball event on Dec. 2, 2017. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Girls Basketball

Izabela Leite Nicoletti - Neuse Christian, Sr.

N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year.

GPA: 3.81

College plans: Florida State

More accomplishments: Brazillian U17 national team player became the first girls player from the Triangle to make the McDonald’s All-American Game. Averaged 19.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while leading the Lions to back-to-back NCISAA 1A runner-up finishes.

POTY fact: Nicoletti is the first N&O Player of the Year from Neuse Christian in any sport.

Previous N&O winners: Azura Stevens, Cary (2014); Briana Day, Millbrook (2012); Kristen Gaffney, Green Hope (2011, 2010); Lauren Taylor, Harnett Central (2007); Keauna Vinson, East Wake (2002, 2001).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Elana Ingram, Roxboro Community; Southern counties – Asia Todd, Clayton; Eastern counties – Nyjanique Langley, North Pitt.

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Northwood Temple Academy's Kendal Moore (15) defends as Neuse Christian Academy's Izabela Leite Nicoletti (33) shoots the three pointer. The Neuse Christian Academy Lions and Northwood Temple Academy Eagles girls and Greenfield Knights and Trinity Christian School Crusaders boys played at Forsyth Country Day School in the NCISAA Class 1A Final basketball tournament championships on Feb. 24, 2018. Carl Copeland newobserver.com

Baseball

Trey Whitley - North Johnston, Sr.

Selected in the 28th round of the MLB Draft.

GPA: 2.3

College plans: Wake Tech (signed with Baltimore Orioles instead)

More accomplishments: Posted a 1.26 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 61.1 innings pitched and batted .442 with three homers, six doubles and 19 RBIs. Added 19 stolen bases.

POTY fact: First N&O Player of the Year in baseball to come from outside of Wake or Granville counties since Seth Kivett of Chatham Central in 2006.

Previous N&O winners: Justin Bullock, South Granville (2017, 2016); Carlos Rodon, Holly Springs (2011, 2010); Corey Thompson, Apex (2008); Matt Harrison, South Granville (2003).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Will Sandy, Leesville Road; Herald-Sun counties – Ben Miller, Jordan; Southern counties – Nik Pry, Pinecrest; Eastern counties – Hunter Christopher, J.H. Rose.

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North Johnston's Trey Whitley (12) makes the diving catch in centerfield during the Randleman High School baseball game against North Johnston High School in Kenly, N.C. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Boys Soccer

Trevor Berk - Heritage, Sr.

Top 4A scorer in the state, 10th overall.

GPA: 3.5

College plans: Mount Olive

More accomplishments: Scored 40 goals and had 28 assists for the 4A East runner-ups. Named to all-state team by N.C. Soccer Coaches Association.

POTY fact: Berk’s former teammate Logan Shytle won the same award in 2016.

Previous N&O winners: Ade Taiwo, Cardinal Gibbons (2013); Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler, Athens Drive (2011); Teddy Mullin, Jordan (2010); Stephen Bickford, Green Hope (2005, 2004).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Justin Mecham, Chapel Hill; Southern counties – Hunter Lee, Cleveland; Eastern counties – Jonathan Daniel, J.H. Rose.

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Trevor Berk (10) of Heritage dribbles against Alex Contreras (16) and Jackson Hollenbach (11) of Cardinal Gibbons. The Heritage Huskies visited the Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders in the Wake County Cup championship high school soccer game on Sept. 23, 2017. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Girls Soccer

Molly Niewald - Pinecrest, Sr.

Top 4A scorer in the state, 12th overall.

GPA: 4.38

College plans: Appalachian State

More accomplishments: Scored 47 goals and had 15 assists for the 4A West runners-up. Named to all-state team by N.C. Soccer Coaches Association.

POTY fact: First girls soccer player from Pinecrest to win this award.

Previous N&O winners: Alexandra Kimball, Chapel Hill (2014); Caroline Gentry, Leesville Road (2011); Mollie Pathman, Durham Academy (2009); Jennifer Partenheimer, Broughton (2007); Casey Nogueira, Broughton (2005); Jennifer Perkins, Saint Mary’s (2003, 2002).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Catherine Holbrook, Green Hope; Herald-Sun counties – Elise Ederle, Chapel Hill; Eastern counties – Reily Nelson, Fike.

Volleyball

Destiny Cox - Carrboro, Sr.

USA Junior National Volleyball Team player.

GPA: 3.9

College plans: North Carolina

More accomplishments: Was the 2A title game MVP for the second straight season. Ended the year with 419 kills, 159 digs and 93 aces as the Jaguars won their 61st straight match and second straight championship. Three-time N&O All-Metro pick.

POTY fact: Cox is the first volleyball player to win the award twice since Madi Bugg of Cardinal Gibbons won in 2012 and 2010, and the first to repeat the honor since Gibbons’ Katie Kabbes won in 2008 and 2007.

Previous N&O winners: Briley Brind’Amour, Cardinal Gibbons (2015); Kristen Harris, Apex (2011); Katie Slay, Wakefield (2009); Megan Hodge, Riverside (2005); Arlene Mitchell, Southern Vance (2003); Tiffany Perry, Southern Vance (2002).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Ade’ Owokonorian, Wakefield; Herald-Sun counties – Mackenzi Thornburg, Roxboro Community; Southern counties – Abby Vacha, Union Pines; Eastern counties – Arlanda Faulkner, C.B. Aycock.

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Carrboro's Destiny Cox celebrates the team's championship with her teammates. The Carrboro Jaguars played against the West Iredell Warriors in the high school NCHSAA 2A State Championship volleyball game on Nov. 4, 2017. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Boys Swimming

Zach Brown - Athens Drive, Sr.

NCHSAA state champ in two 4A events.

GPA: 4.1

College plans: N.C. State

More accomplishments: Won the 200 IM (1:48.47) and 100 butterfly (47.70) for the second straight year. Both times were automatic All-American qualifiers. Three-time N&O All-Metro pick ends career with five individual golds.

POTY fact: Brown is the fourth winner of this award to sign with N.C. State in the last six years.

Previous N&O winners: Connor Blanford, Corinth Holders (2016); Justin Ress, Cary (2015); Colin Ellington, Holly Springs (2014, 2013); Nick McCrory, East Chapel Hill (2009); Matth Donch, Knightdale (2007); Charlie Houchin, Enloe (2006); Matt McGinnis, Ravenscroft (2004, 2003).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Ben Scott, Orange; Southern counties – Brent Hoshall, Pinecrest; Eastern counties – Conner Dennison, D.H. Conley.

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Zach Brown of Athens Drive swims in the Men 200 Yard Individual Medley race during the NCHSAA 4A Swimming Championships that took place at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, N.C. on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Girls Swimming

Grace Countie - Leesville Road, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A championship meet MVP.

GPA: 4.0

College plans: North Carolina

More accomplishments: Four-time All-Metro pick won the 50 free (22.54, a new state record) and 100 free (49.69) for the second straight year. Both times were automatic All-American qualifiers. Won five individual golds in her career.

POTY fact: First Leesville Road swimmer to win the award since Hannah Lincoln in 2012.

Previous N&O winners: Julia Poole, Middle Creek (2017, 2016); Hannah Moore, Green Hope (2014, 2013); Torrey Bussey, Cary (2009); Kirsten Smith, Athens Drive (2008, 2007, 2005); Stephanie Glover, Athens Drive (2003, 2002).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Alyssa Wang, East Chapel Hill; Southern counties – Elizabeth Henry, O’Neal School; Eastern counties –Kayla Miller, Rocky Mount Academy.

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Grace Countie of Leesville Road celebrates at the end of the Women 50 Yard Freestyle race during the NCHSAA 4A Swimming Championships that took place at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, N.C. on Saturday, February 10, 2018. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Boys Lacrosse

Owen Caputo - Middle Creek, Sr.

Under Armour All-American

GPA: 4.5

College plans: Duke

More accomplishments: State’s all-time career leader in points (504) finished his senior year with 93 goals and 56 assists for the 4A runner-up, which also led the state in points for the season. Four-time N&O All-Metro pick.

POTY fact: In the award’s 10th year of existence, Caputo is the only two-time winner.

Previous N&O winners: Gannon Morrison, Cardinal Gibbons (2014); Chandler Zirkle, East Chapel Hill (2011); Emil Weiss, Apex (2010); John Haus IV, Chapel Hill (2009).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Tyler Carpenter, Durham Academy; Southern counties – Grant Carteledge, Corinth Holders; Eastern counties – Gabe Smith, J.H. Rose.

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Owen Caputo (22) of Middle Creek carries the ball against Brandon Garcia (12) of Lake Norman. The Middle Creek Mustangs played the Lake Norman Wildcats in a boys lacrosse game that counted for the NCHSAA 4A championship at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on May 19, 2018. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Girls Lacrosse

Gabby Young - Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.

State leader in save percentage.

GPA: 3.86

College plans: Trinity (Conn.)

More accomplishments: Goalie posted an 81.1 save percentage and earned U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors while helping her team to a second straight state championship.

POTY fact: The last five winners of this award have gone to Cardinal Gibbons players.

Previous N&O winners: Jordan Lappin, Cardinal Gibbons (2017, 2015); Shelby Scanlin, Cardinal Gibbons (2014); Sydney Holman, East Chapel Hill (2013); Maggie Auslander, Green Hope (2012); Cawley Bromley, Apex (2011, 2009).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Shannon Wulff, Chapel Hill; Southern counties – Kate McKay, Pinecrest; Eastern counties – Emma Blake Byrum, J.H. Rose.

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Cardinal Gibbons’ Gabby Young (32) shuts down Myers Park during the Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders high school Lacrosse match with Myers Park Mustangs high school in the State Championship 4A-game in Cary N.C. on May 20, 2017. Cardinal Gibbons won the game 19-12. Johnny Johnson newsobserver.com

Softball

Jada Santiago - North Johnston, Sr.

Led state in home runs and RBIs.

GPA: 4.0

College plans: UNC-Wilmington

More accomplishments: Batted .612 with 14 home runs, four triples and 62 RBIs for the 2A East runners-up. Went 1-for-1 in the 2A East final best-of-three series with one home run followed by all intentional walks.

POTY fact: Out of the last 19 winners of this award, six played in the 2A ranks.

Previous N&O winners: Mia Davidson, Orange (2016); Erica Nunn, Holly Springs (2012, 2011); Jenn Ladd, Riverside (2008); Samme Lisowsky, Chapel Hill (2007); Breanna Brown, Jordan (2005, 2004); Jessica Mitchell, South Granville (2001, 2000).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Taylor Smith, Fuquay-Varina; Herald-Sun counties – Rivers Andrews, Cedar Ridge; Eastern counties – Cam Davis, South Central.

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North Johnston's Jada Santiago (7) is congratulated by teammates at the plate after hitting a three run homer to tie the game during the Bunn High School softball game against North Johnston High School in Kenly, N.C. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Carl Copeland newsobserver.com

Boys Tennis

Trice Pickens - Panther Creek, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A singles state champion.

GPA: 4.9

College plans: Northwestern

More accomplishments: Was also the No. 1 seed on the Catamounts’ 4A runner-up teams in 2017 and 2016. Three-time All-Metro pick.

POTY fact: The last four winners of this award were 4A singles champions.

Previous N&O winners: Nick Stachowiak, Middle Creek (2016, 2015, 2013); Wesley Barrett, Apex (2010); Jake Bowling, Green Hope (2009); David Chermak, Sanderson (2005); Will Plyler, Broughton (2004, 2002, 2001).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – James Shaheen, Durham Academy; Southern counties – Banks Evans, Clayton; Eastern counties – Sam Dively, Wayne Country Day.

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Trice Pickens, left, of Panther Creek serves the ball along his teammate Siddhant Pal, right, during their doubles match against Mark Dillon and Sam Dean of Myers Park. The Panther Creek Catamounts played the Myers Park Mustangs in a boys tennis match that took place in Burlington, N.C. on Saturday, May 20 2017. Myers Park won 5-4. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Girls Tennis

Katie Andreini - Green Hope, Soph.

4A singles runner-up.

GPA: 4.42

College plans: Undecided

More accomplishments: Was the top seed for the Falcons as they won the school’s first NCHSAA 4A title in girls tennis.

POTY fact: First Green Hope player to win the award since Melissa Kandinata in 2011 and 2010.

Previous N&O winners: Susanne Boyden, Wakefield (2015, 2014); Maggie Kane, Broughton (2013); Julia Roach, Broughton (2004); Christine Simpson, Broughton (2003, 2002); Rankin Williams, Broughton (2001, 2000).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Savannah Bright, East Chapel Hill; Southern counties – Nina Bohunska, North Johnston; Eastern counties – Brenna Bryant, Tarboro.

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Green Hope's Katie Andreini hits the ball during the SWAC tennis championships, which were played in Cary on Tuesday, October 11, 2016. Christine Adamczyk newsobserver.com

Boys Cross Country

Coleman Mitchell - Cary Academy, Sr.

NCISAA 3A state champ.

GPA: B+ average (school does not use GPA).

College plans: Davidson

More accomplishments: Three-time state champion helped the Chargers to a runner-up team finish this year after winning team titles in 2016 and 2015. Was also an N&O All-Metro pick in outdoor track and field.

POTY fact: Mitchell is the first Chargers runner to win the award since Thomas Graham did so in 2012 and 2010.

Previous N&O winners: Jeremy Brown, Broughton (2016, 2015); Bakri Abushouk, Cary (2013); Blake Williams, Northern Durham (2011); Taylor Gilland, Chapel Hill (2009, 2008, 2007); Sandy Roberts, Broughton (2005).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Neil Mosca, Durham Academy; Southern counties – Laderique McNeill, Harnett Central; Eastern counties – Jordan Richardson, Northern Nash.

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Cary Academy's Coleman Mitchell finished first in the men's 3A race.The NCISAA Cross Country Championships were held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Friday, October 27, 2017. Christine Richman newsobserver.com

Girls Cross Country

Calli Parlier - Apex, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A state runner-up.

GPA: 5.19

College plans: Liberty

More accomplishments: Went from eighth as a junior to second as a senior. Was also an N&O All-Metro pick in outdoor track and field.

POTY fact: Eleven of the last 12 winners of this award were from Wake County, the exception coming in 2009 when East Chapel Hill’s Carolyn Baskir won it.

Previous N&O winners: Nevada Mareno, Leesville Road (2017); Elly Henes, Green Hope (2016, 2015, 2014); Samantha George, Millbrook (2012); Wesley Frazier, Ravenscroft (2010); Heather Beichner, Cardinal Gibbons (2008, 2007); Callan Fike, Athens Drive (2006); Jessica Collins, Eastern Wayne (2002); Alicia Valtin, Western Harnett (2001, 2000).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Katherine Dokhoylan, Chapel Hill; Southern counties – Carmen Alder, Pinecrest; Eastern counties – Halei Ward, Ayden-Grifton.

Wrestling

Quincy Monday - Carrboro, Sr.

NCHSAA 2A 152-pound state champion.

GPA: 4.85

College plans: Princeton

More accomplishments: Won four state championships – the first two coming in Texas, the last two in North Carolina. Never lost to another North Carolina wrestler while going 38-1 this year and 31-1 overall as a junior.

POTY fact: Monday is the first Jaguars wrestler to win this award.

Previous N&O winners: Will Clark, Cary (2015); Phillip Shuler, Southeast Raleigh (2013); John Sparks, Green Hope (2011); Eloheim Palma, Cary (2009); Joey Farnsworth, Cary (2007); Thomas Ferguson, Cary (2006); Colton Palmer, Riverside (2005); Raymond Jordan, New Bern (2004, 2003); Brandon Palmer (2002).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Calvin Atkeson, Ravenscroft; Herald-Sun counties – Josiah Ramirez, Orange; Southern counties – Noah Johns, Clayton; Eastern counties – Christian Decatur, Rosewood.

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Carrboro's Quincy Monday, a four-time state champion, celebrates after winning the 152-pound 2A championship match during the NCHSAA State Wrestling Championships in Greensboro on Saturday, February 17, 2018. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Boys Golf

A.J. Beechler - Pinecrest, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A state champion.

GPA: 4.1

College plans: East Carolina

More accomplishments: The back-to-back state champion won this year’s title in thrilling fashion. He started the second day five strokes back, but made up ground and carded an eagle on No. 18 to score a 1-over-par and force a playoff for the individual title.

POTY fact: Beechler is the first player to repeat the award since East Chapel Hill’s Ben Griffin won in 2013 and 2011, and the first to repeat since Henry Zaytoun III of Ravenscroft won in 2007 and 2006.

Previous N&O winners: Doc Redman, Leesville Road (2015); Stephen Franken, Millbrook (2014); Grayson Murray, Leesville Road (2010); Webb Simpson, Broughton (2004); Brendon Todd, Green Hope (2003, 2002, 2000).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Peter Fountain, Broughton; Herald-Sun counties – Jackson Brimfield, Durham Academy; Eastern counties – Davis Fisher, J.H. Rose.

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Pinecrest's A.J. Beechler pumps his fist after sinking the putt on the final hole of the day, notching his second consecutive round of 68 to win the individual competition during the NCHSAA 4A State Championship for boys golf at Pinehurst on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Girls Golf

Kayla Ward - Garner, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A state runner-up.

GPA: 4.7

College plans: Appalachian State

More accomplishments: Shot 2-over-par at the state championships, finishing behind only four-time 4A champ Jennifer Chang of Athens Drive. Ward ends her career as a three-time N&O All-Metro pick. Also finished third as a freshman, 15th as a sophomore and seventh as a junior.

POTY fact: Wake County golfers won this award every year from 2003-2015 before Chapel Hill’s Gina Kim snapped the streak.

Previous N&O winners: Gina Kim, Chapel Hill (2017, 2016); Jennifer Chang, Athens Drive (2015); Emilia Migliaccio, Athens Drive (2014); Sarah Bae, Athens Drive (2013, 2012, 2011); Katherine Perry, Athens Drive (2010); Courtney McKim, Wakefield (2009, 2008); Julie Saleeby, Broughton (2006); Chris Brady, Green Hope (2003, 2001); Adrienne Millican, Harnett Central (2000).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Katharina Floyd, Northwood; Southern counties – Jaclyn Kenzel, Pinecrest; Eastern counties – Abby Sauls, C.B. Aycock.

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Kayla Ward of Garner blast out of a sand trap. The NCHSAA 4A girls golf state championship was held Oct. 23-24 at the Pinehurst golf club. Johnny Johnson newsobserver.com

Boys Indoor Track & Field

Randolph Ross - Garner, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A championship meet MVP in outdoor and indoor.

GPA: 2.85

College plans: Charlotte

More accomplishments: Ross was the MVP in both track and field seasons. In the indoor season, he won the 500 (1:05.61) by a fraction of a second and won the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 10 inches. In outdoor, he won the 400 (47.58), was second in high jump and took third in 200 to earn MVP honors.

POTY fact: The last five winners of this award have won either the long jump, high jump or triple jump at the 4A state championships.

Previous N&O winners: Marcus Krah, Hillside (2016, 2015); Jon Beyle, East Chapel Hill (2013); Jonathan Addison, Enloe (2012); Wayne Davis II, Southeast Raleigh (2009, 2008); Johnny Dutch, Clayton (2007, 2005); Jesse Williams, Broughton (2002); Steve Taylor, Leesville Road (2001, 2000).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Khaleb McRae, Southern Durham; Southern counties – Josh Faison, Smithfield-Selma; Eastern counties – Tiyae Johnson, Kinston.

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Garner's Randolph Ross clears a height of 5' 8" on his first attempt during the GNRC conference championships at Garner on Monday, May 2, 2016. Ray Black III newsobserver.com

Girls Indoor Track & Field

Kyna Robinson - Southeast Raleigh, Sr.

NCHSAA 4A championship meet MVP.

GPA: 2.96

College plans: Undecided

More accomplishments: Robinson helped the Bulldogs win the indoor title by setting a new meet record in the 500 (1:12.33) and winning the 300 (39.73). In the outdoor season, she won the 200 (24.20) and was second in the 400.

POTY fact: Robinson is the first Southeast Raleigh athlete to win this award since Chrishawn Williams in 2009.

Previous N&O winners: Nevada Mareno, Leesville Road (2015); Ariah Graham, Wakefield (2012, 2011); Samantha George, Millbrook (2010); Andie Cozzarelli, Apex (2008); Patience Coleman, Southern Durham (2007, 2006, 2004); Callan Fike, Athens Drive (2005); Debbie Martin, Apex (2003, 2002).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Kayla Beasley, Hillside; Southern counties – Ciara Robinson, Cleveland; Eastern counties – Jordan Sales, J.H. Rose.

Gymnastics

Nhyla Bryant - Rolesville, Soph.

State champion in the all-around.

GPA: 3.9

College plans: Western Michigan

More accomplishments: Scored a 39.25 to win the small teams division all-around competition. Scored a 9.9 in three of the four events, winning the beam and the bars. Also scored a 9.9 in the floor event. Scored a 38.85 as a freshman, winning the bars, beam and floor, to lift the Rams to the small teams team title in 2017.

POTY fact: This award has only been in existence for two years, and Bryant’s won it both times.

Previous N&O winners: Nhyla Bryant, Rolesville (2017).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – N/A; Southern counties – Tasha Brozowski, West Johnston; Eastern counties – N/A.

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Nhyla Bryant of Rolesville performs in the vault competition during the North Carolina High School State Gymnastics Championships that took place in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday, January 26, 2018. Fabian Radulescu newsobserver.com

Boys Outdoor Track & Field

Jamar Davis - Orange, Sr.

NCHSAA 3A championship meet MVP and N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year.

GPA: 4.45

College plans: N.C. State

More accomplishments: Davis was also an all-state boys soccer player for the Panthers, scoring 19 goals with 11 assists. He won the long jump (22-5) and triple jump (49-10.75) and was second in the 300 hurdles (38.02). In indoor season, he won the long jump (22-2.5) and triple jump (46-2.5).

POTY fact: Last year’s winner, Cameron Council of Northwood, was also the MVP of the 3A championship meet.

Previous N&O winners: Marquavious Johnson, Knightdale (2013); Jon Beyle, East Chapel Hill (2012); Ellis Burkheart Jr., Knighdale (2011); Christian Council, Cary Academy (2009); Johnny Dutch Jr., Clayton (2006); Joe Kindred, Fuquay-Varina (2005); Manny Lawson, Eastern Wayne (2002); Jesse Williams, Broughton (2001).

Our regional winners: Wake County – Ian Delgado, Green Hope; Herald-Sun counties – Cameron Council, Northwood; Southern counties – Asher Prince, Western Harnett; Eastern counties – Jeremiah Ganaway, Hunt.

Girls Outdoor Track & Field

Morgan Smalls - Panther Creek, Soph.

NCHSAA 4A championship meet MVP.

GPA: 4.0

College plans: Undecided.

More accomplishments: Smalls led the Catamounts to their first team state title in girls track and field by setting a new state record in the high jump (6-2.5), winning the long jump (19-3.5) and the triple jump (40-7.5). In indoor season, she won the high jump (5-8) and was fourth in the long jump and triple jump.

POTY fact: Smalls is Panther Creek’s first winner of this award since Cassie Crawford won in 2009.

Previous N&O winners: Sydnei Murphy, Apex (2014); Wesley Frazier, Ravenscroft (2012, 2011); Keni Harrison, Clayton (2010); Adrianne Soo, Durham Academy (2008); Gabby Mayo, Southeast Raleigh (2007, 2005); Andie Cozzarelli, Apex (2006); Michelle Duffey, Hillside (2004, 2003).

Our regional winners: Herald-Sun counties – Jessica Wright, Hillside; Southern counties – Shamonda Bell, Princeton; Eastern counties – Makayla Everett, Beddingfield.

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