Porter, Pickens, Carver Contend for WNC Award - TribPapers
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Porter, Pickens, Carver Contend for WNC Award

N.C. Female Soccer Player of the Year Addie Porter of Reynolds is among three finalists for best female athlete among larger schools.

– The upcoming 59th annual WNC Sports Awards’ honor for premier female area athlete is between three local sports-stars. One is a young woman newly honored as best in the state in soccer, one just received a similar honor in softball and played in a nationwide all-star game, and the final is a superstar who was MVP in the recent statewide basketball all-star contest.

Last week, Addison “Addie” Porter of A.C. Reynolds was named the North Carolina High School female soccer player of the year. The vote was cast by the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association.

Karlyn Pickens of North Buncombe is the first from WNC ever to be Gatorade’s player of the year for softball in this state. The Tribune featured Pickens in its prior edition which came out two days before the rising senior all-American played on national television.

Basketball sharpshooter Emily Carver of Enka is the other finalist for the Larry and Jan Schulhof Division I Female Athlete of the Year. She is a recent all-star hoops game MVP. The Tribune featured her earlier this year.

Banquet is Aug. 15

The Schulhof award, among the chief awards the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club (MAAC), will present at a banquet on Sunday, Aug. 15. The banquet is in the Omni Grove Park Inn and begins at 5:30 p.m.. Ingles is the naming sponsor. More than 40 local businesses sponsored $60,000 for the awards and banquet, organizer Keith Jarrett said.

The annual awards banquet was held virtually in 2020. It is in person again, but with guests limited mainly to finalists’ families and school officials, Jarrett noted. He said that the 2020 award winners will also receive plaques on Aug. 15. There will not be the usual WNC Sports Hall of Fame inductions.

The MAAC student awards honor achievements in and beyond athletics. There are about 140 finalists from 26 public and private schools in 24 categories. Reynolds and Robbinsville each had 11 finalist athletes, Roberson and Franklin ten, while nine each came from Enka, Asheville School and Asheville Christian Academy.

The divisions are split between “major” and “Olympic” sports and also between Division 1 schools with larger student populations and Division 2. D2 schools are typically private schools and smaller public schools that are further from the immediate Asheville area.

Prolific Porter

Porter averaged two goals per contest by scoring 26 times in 13 games. She added 13 assists. She is the first athlete in WNC to be the number one female soccer player since 2008.

She was presented the award last Thursday at Reynolds. She credited ACR head soccer coach Patrick Gladys for training and support from him, her family, the school and community. The Lady Rockets shared the WMAC seasonal title.

Porter as a volleyball player is also up against Carver, among others, for the award for best female athlete in a major sport.

Porter and Carver are also among 17 scholarship winners already chosen. They each will receive $1,500 scholarships from the John and Darlene McNabb Charitable Foundation.

She reportedly went on Sunday to Vanderbilt to get acclimated for college and soccer there.

Pickens, Carver

Karlyn Pickens is a three-sport standout. The Tennessee Lady Vols commit is heralded mostly for fast-pitch softball. She has above-average velocity and is rated as one of the top handful of pitchers returning to high school. She was 14-1 with an 0.41 ERA and four no-hitters for NBHS this spring. She batted .519.

Pickens was on TV this past Saturday when playing in the L.A. area in the Premier Girls Fastpitch Futures All-American Game for the nationwide squad of rising seniors against rising juniors. She sliced a triple to right field. Pickens struck out two batters in each of the two innings she pitched in.

In basketball Pickens averaged 16.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks for the Lady Hawks. The six-footer was also a net menace in volleyball.

WMAC Basketball Player of the Year Emily Carver carved up defenses. She tallied 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 3.5 assists per game as a senior. The 5-foot-10 guard led Enka to the WMAC regular-season crown.

“App State”-bound Carver added sweet dessert to her high school career. She was the game MVP two weeks ago in spurring the West to victory over the East in the statewide basketball all-star game in Greensboro. Carver scored 20 points and had nine rebounds and four assists.

Four Top Male Finalists

The male counterpart to the Schulhof award is the McNabb Family Div. 1 Male Athlete of the Year award. Reynolds supplies two of the four finalists in soccer leading scorer Asa Blake, and versatile baseball and football star Carter Lindsay. Rival Roberson’s Brody Whitson also excelled in football (as the quarterback) and as a baseball pitcher and hitter.

The other finalist has an ace in the hole. North Henderson wrestler Triston Norris won the 3A state title in the 220-pound class, won often as a heavyweight, and is an all-American wrestler.

Scholarship Recipients

The 17 scholarship recipients include these local scholar-athletes: Reynold’s Marc Golden and Nathan Honea, Asheville’s James Van Cleve, Olyvia Dill of Enka, West Henderson’s Julia Parent, Madison’s Elijah Tipton, and Allie Jarrett of New Manna Christian School.

Check for award finalists and banquet info at wncsportsawards.org.

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