Sports

Patterson, Porter, Pickens, Hillier Among WNC Winners

Three Hillier of AHS won the McNabb award, as best overall male athlete from a larger school.

Western North Carolina – Hendersonville’s state champion tennis Lady Bearcats, A.C. Reynolds football and star Jhari Patterson, Lady Rockets soccer all-stater Addie Porter, Asheville pitcher and quarterback Three Hillier, North Buncombe’s Karlyn Pickens, and West Henderson volleyball Lady Falcons are among main winners of WNC Sports Awards for 2019-20.

Winners will be honored on television Saturday, June 27, 7 – 8 pm on WLOS TV 13 with “Football Frenzy” co-hosts Stan Pamfilis and Chris Womack.

The Mountain Amateur Athletic Club announced winners online earlier this month, after canceling the awards banquet amidst the pandemic. Winners are to receive plaques, and finalists to get gold medals. The main sponsor is Ingles Markets.

Two dozen winners were chosen from 125 finalists. Awards were split between male and female, and larger Division (DI) schools and smaller DII.

The two premier individual awards are Division I male and female overall athlete of the year. The McNabb Family sponsors the male award, which Hillier won over Enka wrestler Corbin Dion, Cooper Ingle of ACR baseball and two others.

Reynolds receiver Jhari Patterson won the major sports male star award, from larger-population schools. Here in his final Rocket game, he fights off Belton Pressley (8) of Kings Mountain in round three of playoffs. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Reynolds receiver Jhari Patterson won the major sports male star award, from larger-population schools. Here in his final Rocket game, he fights off Belton Pressley (8) of Kings Mountain in round three of playoffs.

The rifle-armed Asheville Cougar was the baseball catcher and is set to play for Liberty University. He set AHS career marks for home runs, hits, and RBI. He finished as the all-time AHS passing leader for yards, touchdowns and completions. He is all-conference three times in each sport.

Pickens won the female award. She smashed ten home runs and struck out 101 batters in a season, in softball. In basketball, she led NBHS Lady Hawks in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots in 2019-20. Pickens beat out Enka hoops sharpshooter Emily Carver, Maddie Luckett of Roberson soccer, Mccollough Perry of Hendersonville High School (HHS) tennis, and West volleyball’s Malia Moore.

Reynolds won four awards — most among the 14 schools honored — with Addison “Addie” Porter the sole WNC athlete to win two awards. The all-state soccer star won the Larry and Jan Schulhof DI Female Athlete in a Major Sport Award, and the Blue Ridge X-Ray DI Female Athlete Academic Award.

Porter is the first Lady Rocket ever selected All-South/All Mid-Atlantic in soccer. She set a team mark with 35 assists in a season and scored 23 goals. Her weighted 4.52 GPA got her into Vanderbilt.

Other female major sport finalists were Erwin hoops scoring sensation Annabelle Schultz, Hendersonville soccer playmaker Camyrn Coggins, multi-sport AHS standout Emma Smith, Emerson Hoyle of TCR volleyball; Carver, Luckett, Moore and Pickens.

Rockets’ wide receiver Patterson is honored as the Goforth Builders Inc. DI Male Athlete in a Major Sport. He played for NC versus SC in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was offensive MVP of the Western Mountain Athletic Conference and his team.

Patterson beat out leading Rocket tacker Marc Golden, ACR’s Ingle, West hoops career scoring leader Ben Bryson, Hillier, Asheville High School soccer’s Justin Fleer, Owen lineman Saevion Gibbs and two others.

The Reynolds Rockets under coach Shane Laws blasted to a fifth consecutive conference football crown and unbeaten league mark, stretching 40 contests. Such dominance earned them honor as McKinney/Nationwide Insurance DI Male Team in a Major Sport.

Tennis Cats, West Volleyball

Teams from two of Henderson County’s four public high schools won awards. HHS Lady Bearcats won the tennis state 2-A championship. They ended as a perfect 19-0. Jessica Eblen is their head coach. They won as Nat & Carolyn Arthur DI Female Team in an Olympic Sport, over West indoor track and ACR cross country.

John Meyer, North Buncombe’s tennis captain (12-0) and class valedictorian (4.64 GPA), won the Beverly-Hanks Realty Division I Male Athlete Academic Award.

Division II winners included overall female athlete Olivia Sutter of Carolina Day swimming, track and cross country. She is heading to Cornell. Others who are local are Yale-bound Anna Bernstein of Asheville School soccer and tennis (female academic; 4.5 GPA), Asheville Christian basketball’s Tyler McKinney (male academic, 4.7) who scored 22.5 per game, and Carolina Day cross country (olympic female team) which won its sixth state title in a row.