Several Locals Win WNC Sports Awards - TribPapers

Several Locals Win WNC Sports Awards

DaShawn Stone of Reynolds makes a tackle for N.C. in the Shrine Bowl. He won the MAAC award as the best WNC male athlete from a larger school. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Asheville – A.C. Reynolds’ football squad and free safety DaShawn Stone, ACR soccer goalie Sean Green and basketball star Jenna Barnes; West Henderson soccer and track Lady Falcon, Hendersonville tennis ace Eliza Perry, and Asheville High’s Evangelia Paulk are among WNC Sports Awards winners.

Christ School’s state champion basketball and cross country squads and record-setting miler Rocky Hansen are also recipients of Mountain Amateur Athletic Club (MAAC) awards. The 61st annual banquet was Sunday, in the Omni Grove Park Inn. About 800 people attended, according to organizer Mike Gore who wrote nominees’ biographies.

Eligibility is for playing in spring 2022, fall 2022, or winter 2022-23 sports. This is the 61st WNC awards banquet. There were star-filled slates for such honors as male and female athlete of the year for major and Olympic sports, for larger 4A/3A (“Division I”) schools and separately for 2A/1A and private schools (DII).

Rockets ‘Rock’

Duke-bound Stone won as WNC’s best overall Division I athlete. He was all-state in football, and played for North Carolina versus S.C. in the football Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was also all-Mountain Athletic Conference (MAC) in basketball.

Stone and Rocket linebacker “Masher Asher” Cunningham accepted the McKinney Insurance award as the best male major sports team. The Rockets reached round four in 4A. The team won the award over ACR soccer, and 2022 Roberson and West Henderson baseball which both start new playoff drives this week. Individually, Stone beat out goalie Green and WNC’s leading passer, Lukas Kachilo of West.

Kachilo passed for 43 TDs and 3,380 yards last fall, as West (12-1; 6-0 M7) matched its 1984 squad with a school-record 12 wins, 12 in a row, and reached 3A playoff round three. Kachilo is also all-Mountain Seven in basketball and baseball.

Three-time all-state soccer goalie Sean Green of ACR won as best male in a major sport over Stone, Kachilo, Cunningham, and hoops sharpshooter Chad Clark of North Buncombe (NBHS). Green  He also kicked in football and ran track.

Best DII major sport athlete honors went to all-state, Duke-bound Chase lineman Reagan McCranie. The Shrine Bowler received it over Eric Rasheed of Hendersonville (HHS) football, Asheville School basketball’s Derin Saran, and soccer scorers Davis Kendall (50 goals) of 2A state champion Owen and Cooper King of HHS.

King is the sole reigning all-state WNC male in football for three seasons and soccer for two years — and likely one more time. The 39-goal scorer is the newly-named male recipient statewide of the Wilburn Clary Medal Scholarship which emphasizes academics, character and community service. King is nominated for 2022-23 NCHSAA male athlete of the year.

Swift Rasheed caught 52 passes for 11 TDs and 1,069 yards and had five interceptions. He is second team all-state, and a track standout. The Bearcat morphs into a Western Carolina Catamount this fall.

‘Barnes-storming’ Jenna

Six-foot-three Jenna Barnes of ACR won as the premier DI female athlete. Barnes averaged 14 points in basketball as a force in the “paint.” She said that she will “walk on” in track at N.C. State. The superb leaper and long strider was sixth in the state in the high jump, and the 100-meter and 200m MAC sprint champ.

Barnes prevailed in a field that includes two-sport star Paulk, Roberson’s Tymber Thompson who is all-MAC in three sports, and North Henderson’s three-sport standout Lexie Gunter and all-state volleyball junior Bailey Rowe.

Gunter was all-WNC in basketball, averaging 19 points. She smacked her eighth softball homer of the year last week. Gunter of NHHS and North Buncombe star catcher Juliana Mendoza are sticking with “North” teams in college. They will play softball for North Greenville (S.C.) University.

“Sleek Greek” Paulk called it “amazing” to win for DI female in a major sport. She was the sole WNC female who played for N.C. basketball stars versus S.C. stars in the Carolinas Classic March 25. Wofford-bound Paulk is the WNC district and MAC female player of the year. She averaged 18 points for MAC co-champion Asheville High Lady Cougars, a season after helping lead Asheville School to a 2A private school state hoops title. She beat out Reynolds’ all-state soccer star Halle Skibo, now a standout at Iowa, among others for the MAAC award.

Lady Falcons Soar

West Lady Falcons swept two premier female team awards. They won in Olympic sports, for their 3A state champion track and field squad of 2022. West girls’ soccer won for major sports over TCR volleyball and ACR and Pisgah basketball, reaching playoff round four in 2022 and going 20-4-1. West is led again by all state soccer scorers Marianne Maxon (41 goals) and Emma Chavez.

Asheville Christian’s unbeaten state volleyball champs won as the top DII female major sport team.

The top female in an Olympic sport award is shared by West track star Emma Hall for DI, and won outright by Eliza Perry of Hendersonville (HHS) for DII. Hall won the state 100-meter hurdles and 300m hurdles. Perry was 46-1 in singles and 40-0 in doubles in her career. She led the Lady Bearcats (16-1) to their fourth straight 2A team title, and (with Ramsey Ross) won her third doubles title in a row.

Greenies Earn Gold

Christ School (CS) Greenies won as best DII male team for two state champions — in basketball for major sports, and in Olympic sports for the state’s top-rated cross country squad.

Hansen of CS is the overall DII male athlete. Wake Forest-bound Hansen is a three-time track national champion, and six-time state champ in cross country. He set state records in six track events. The Hendersonville native on April 30 became the first high schooler in the state to ever run a mile faster than four minutes.

Two all-conference local athletes won academic awards — Jacob Asbill (4.76/4.0 GPAs) of Ram basketball and soccer for D1 males, and Melodi Van’t Hoff (4.68/4.0) of HHS soccer among DII females. Scholarship ($1,500 each) winners include Barnes, Clark, Roman Coxie of Asheville Christian, Nidrea Gray (ACR), Gunter, Hansen, Bekka Mull (NBHS), Lucas Parker (Enka), Thompson, and Kirsten Watt (AHS).