Asheville – Karlyn Pickens is wrecking more havoc in smashing volleyballs. She’s back among WNC Sports Award winners for further athletic achievement and personal and team glory.
The Mountain Amateur Athletic Club honored North Buncombe three-sport superstar Pickens, other individuals and several teams from across the mountains at a banquet in the Omni Grove Park Inn Aug. 15. Since then, the 2021-22 academic-athletic year began with a blast in many fall sports.
The WNC awards spotlight all sports except football as an offset — since football generally gets the lion’s share of media attention.
A.C. Reynolds 2021 grads Addie Porter — the state female soccer player of the year — and football-baseball star Carter Lindsay are among individual winners for ‘20-21.
T.C. Roberson volleyball (female major sport), Hendersonville Bearcat basketball and Lady Bearcat tennis are among award-winning teams. Buncombe and Henderson county dominated awards for “Division I” (D1) schools with greater enrollment.
Division II is for smaller public and private schools. Its winners include Murphy football for its state title — the ninth under head coach David Gentry. The Edneyville native retired this year.
Winners were also recognized for 2019-20 since there was no awards banquet in pandemic-affected 2020, MAAC Board Pres. Keith Jarrett noted. Finalists’ athletic stats and GPA were highlighted.
Pickens a Slam Dunk for Award
Pickens won the Larry and Jan Schulhof D1 Female Athlete of the Year award. She won over two 2021 grads in Enka basketball sharpshooter Emily Carver (4.3 GPA) and Porter (4.5 GPA). Those two are among 17 MAAC scholarship recipients.
Pickens will “three-peat” if she wins the award again for this her senior season. She won the D1 Female Athlete of the Year Award for her 2019-20 campaign. She swatted ten home runs as a sophomore and fanned 101 batters. She won in 2020 over Carver and three others.
Pickens excels most as a softball pitcher and hitter. She is rated among the top handful of pitchers nationwide who are seniors in 2021-22. Pickens struck out 207 batters in merely 85 innings as a junior last season. The agile six footer is also all-MAC in basketball and volleyball.
Pickens sports a 4.17 weighted GPA. She credits devoted support of her parents Phillip and Rebecca, coaches and teammates.
Norris, Lindsay, Porter
The top male athlete is wrestler Triston Norris of North Henderson. He received the McNabb Family DI Male Athlete of the Year honor. Muscular, mustached Norris won the state title in the 220-pound class. He was 27-0 in matches as a senior and 152-27 in four seasons.
Knight wrestlers won the Rodeway Inn & Suites award for best Olympic sport team. They edged out Enka for the MAC title. They won the award over Enka wrestling, and Roberson tennis and lacrosse.
Norris won the McNabb award over TCR Ram Brody Whitson who threw balls briskly both as a quarterback and pitcher, MAC premier soccer scorer Asa Blake who was twice all-state, HHS leading basketball scorer Dwight Canady, and ACR two-sport star Lindsay.
Lindsay in turn beat out Whitson, Blake and Canady for the Goforth Builders award for best D1 major sport male athlete. Lindsay batted .333 and stole 12 bases. In football, he starred as a receiver and QB. He and Whitson both had 4.0 GPAs as seniors.
Golfer Luke Ward of TCR took home the Massasoit of N.C., Inc. award for Olympic sport males. Finalists included two wrestlers — Norris, and Enka’s Colby Maxwell.
Addie Porter repeated as winner of D1 best major sport female athlete. The award sponsor is Ann Brandis this year, and was the Schulhofs for ‘19-20. Porter this time beat out Carver, TCR volleyballers Emerson Hoyle (3A state player of the year) and Mackenzie Lynch, and West Henderson acing server Malia Moore. Moore earned a scholarship to Alabama.
Porter also won the D1 female academic for ‘19-20. The reigning male academic winner is Enka wrestler Luke Artz (4.4 GPA). Owen swimmer Samuel Hey (4.15) is a runner-up.
‘Slam Rams,’ ‘Top Cats’
Roberson volleyball averaged an amazing 4.23 GPA as a team in 2020-21. “Wham Bam Slam Rams” were 13-0 in MAC play. They won the HomeTrust Bank award for major sport female teams over three other MAC champs. They are Enka basketball (61-13 over three seasons), ACR soccer (4.16 GPA), and NBHS softball (15-1; 12-0 MAC).
Hendersonville Bearcat basketball won as major sport best D1 male team. These Top Cats beat out MAC champs in Reynolds football and TCR baseball, also Mountain Heritage football and basketball.
The two returning 20-point averaging guards were there. They are current senior Dwight Canady and junior Keenan Wilkins. They are eager to start their quest next month to get back to the 2A state title game — and to win it. Canady said after getting crowned Homecoming king last Friday he welcomes pressure and “teams to take their best shot against us.”
HHS head coach Marvin Featherstone was the school’s sole official at the banquet. He accepted most awards HHS earned.
Tennis Lady Bearcats are the premier Olympic sport female team. They won their second consecutive state crown. Top seed McCollough Perry was a finalist as Olympic female athlete. The team won the Nat and Carolyn Arthur award over West Henderson track, and track and cross country of Franklin and Asheville High. Taryn Keyzer of HHS cross country won the D1 female athletic award.
D2 winners in Olympic sports are Asheville Christian Academy track star Avery Jackson among females, and Asheville School swimmer Patrick Sleader among males. The two D2 academic honors went to ACA swimmers Alexandra Frank and Tanner Townsend.