HighSchoolOT Honors Elite Student Athletes

CHEERLEADING TEAM OF THE YEAR: Holly Springs Golden Hawks
The Holly Springs cheerleading team was the repeat grand champion at the Wake County Cheerleading Championships earlier this year. They also won the large division championship at the NCHSAA Cheerleading Invitational and at the North Carolina Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championship.

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Timothy Decatur, Rosewood, Goldsboro
Rosewood’s Timothy Decatur holds the NCHSAA record for all-time wins. Last season, he posted a 57-1 record and won the 132 pound state championship at the 1A level.

GAME OF THE YEAR: Raleigh’s Wakefield over Cary’s Panther Creek in boys basketball In the third round of the 4A boys basketball state playoffs, Panther Creek and Wakefield played a close game throughout. Wakefield, after falling behind at halftime, claimed a third quarter lead. But UVA commit Justin McKoy scored with 5.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 73-73 for Panther Creek. After a timeout, Brenon Rodgers drilled a long 3-pointer to lift Wakefield to the win.

Hayden Smith is a three-sport athlete from Harnett Central. The mayor of Lillington nominated Smith for the Extra Effort Award last fall.

GIRLS INDOOR TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Jayda Hunter, Jacksonville
Jayda Hunter of Jacksonville won the 3A state championship in the triple jump and was named to the HighSchoolOT All-East Team in the winter.

BOYS INDOOR TRACK ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Eric Haddock, Southeast Raleigh Southeast Raleigh senior Eric Haddock was named the MVP of the 4A state champion- ship, winning state titles in the long jump and triple jump. He was also named to the HighSchoolOT All-East Team in both events.

MASCOT OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY UNC-TV: Richmond Raider, Rockingham
The Raider of Richmond County High School was voted as the mascot of the year this year.

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Rod Whitesell, Holly Springs
Holly Springs’ athletic department saw its most successful year so far. Football won its first ever conference championship. Boys basketball won the conference title, as well, which was the first winning season for the program. The baseball team, coached by athletic director Rod Whitesell, advanced to the 4A eastern regional championship, as well.

FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY PELLA WINDOWS & DOORS: Chris Murray, North Raleigh Christian Academy North Raleigh Christian Academy volleyball coach Chris Murray led her team to a state championship this season.

MALE COACH OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY PELLA WINDOWS & DOORS: Brad Spell, Clinton
Longtime Clinton soccer coach Brad Spell was named the Male Coach of the Year after leading his team to its first ever state championship this year.

GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Saniya Rivers, Laney, Wilmington Laney’s Saniya Rivers averaged 24.4 points per game, 12.4 rebounds, 4.5 steals, 4.1 assists and 2.2 blocks last season. She was named the North Carolina Associated Press Player of the Year and the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year. Lat- er, she won the Gatorade Player of the Year award.

BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Justin McKoy, Panther Creek
Panther Creek senior Justin McKoy was named the Boys Basketball Player of the Year for 2019. McKoy averaged a double-double, posting 24.6 points, 10.6 re- bounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals each game. He will play college basketball for the defending national champions at the University of Virginia.

BOYS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Banks Evans, Clayton
Clayton senior Banks Evans is the 2019 Boys Tennis Player of the Year. Evans went undefeated in the regular season, then won the 3A singles state championship. He went on to lead his team to the dual team tennis title the next week.

BOYS GOLFER OF THE YEAR: Peter Fountain, Broughton, Raleigh
Peter Fountain of Broughton, the 2019 Boys Golfer of the Year, won the 4A state cham- pionship with a two-day score of 137 at Pinehurst, which was 7-under par for the tournament.

GIRLS SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brenna Murray, Leesville Road, Raleigh Leesville Road goal keeper Brenna Murray allowed just six goals in 24 games this season, earning her all-state honors from the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association.

PHOTOS: CARL COPELAND / HIGHSCHOOLOT

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