2018-19 High school Player of the Year winners

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Standout performances by these athletes led to individual and team success during the 2018-2019 school year:

» More:St. Pius wins AAAA Director’s Cup

Baseball

Jonathan French, Parkview: French, a senior catcher, hit .472 with 13 home runs, 12 doubles, four triples and 61 RBIs in 106 at-bats for Parkview, which won its second consecutive Class AAAAAAA championship and finished with several top-20 national rankings. French walked 30 times and had a .585 on-base percentage. French signed to play baseball at Clemson University.

Basketball (boys)

Isaac Okoro and Sharife Cooper, McEachern: Okoro averaged 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.7 steals and Cooper averaged 28.6 points, 8.6 assists and 4.1 steals for a 32-0 team that won McEachern’s first state title in boys basketball and achieved multiple No. 1 national rankings. Okoro, a senior, signed with Auburn University. Cooper, a junior, is an uncommitted five-star recruit.

» All-state teams:Boys | Girls

» All-metro teams:Boys | Girls

Basketball (girls)

Kayla McPherson, Madison County:The 5-foot-6 sophomore guard averaged 28 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals for a 25-3 team that reached the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs. McPherson scored 64 points in a regular-season game against Hart County, and she averaged 18.5 points in two playoff games despite playing with a broken bone in her shooting hand. She is rated by ProspectsNation.com as the No. 4 player nationally in the Class of 2021.

» All-state teams:Boys | Girls

» All-metro teams:Boys | Girls

Madison County sophomore guard Kayla McPherson, the AJC girls Player of the Year, scored 28 points per game this season.
Photo: Sonia Coile/Special to AJC

Cheerleading

Alyssa Sherling, Ola: The senior was the Georgia Cheerleading Coaches Association cheerleader of the year and led her team to a second-place finish in Class AAAAAA. She was a three-time all-region performer and was voted team MVP this year. “She’s an incredibly hard worker. She volunteers, holds a job and gives her all to her team,” Ola coach Stacey Schmuhl said. Sherling will cheer next year at the University of Georgia.

Cross country (boys)

Jalen Murray, Richmond Hill: The senior had the fastest time at the state meet, running the course in 15:58.45 to win the Class AAAAAA individual championship. He was the only runner in any classification to finish in less than 16 minutes. Richmond Hill finished in sixth place in the team competition. Murray signed to run cross country and track at the University of Alabama.

Cross country (girls)

Ellie Hall, Marietta: The senior finished in second place in Class AAAAAAA at the state meet with a time of 18.39.09 and led the Blue Devils to their second consecutive team championship. Hall, the only girl from Georgia to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals, also won the 3,200 meters at the state track meet this year. She signed to run track and cross country at the University of Georgia.

Football

Jadon Haselwood, Cedar Grove: Haselwood caught 53 passes for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns, and his 22-yard reception on a third-and-goal play was the winning score in a 14-13 victory against Peach County in the Class AAA championship game. A wide receiver and safety, Haselwood made 27 tackles and returned two interceptions and two punts for touchdowns. The consensus No. 1 senior prospect in Georgia, Haselwood signed to play football for the University of Oklahoma.

» All-State team | All-Metro team

Golf (boys)

Andy Mao, Johns Creek: The senior was the runaway medalist at the Class AAAAAA championship, winning by an incredible nine shots. He shot a 65 to win the area title by seven strokes. Mao is a four-year starter who helped the Gladiators win the state championship four consecutive years. He qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2018. Mao signed to play golf at Georgia Tech.

Golf (girls)

Tori Owens, Murray County: The senior completed a successful high school career by winning the Class AAA tournament at Arrowhead Pointe. A picture of consistency, Owens was medalist at her region or area tournament from 2016-19. She was runner-up at the state tournament in 2016 and 2017 before winning it all this spring. She works with Georgia Golf Hall of Fame instructor Lowell Fritz and signed with Kennesaw State University.

Gymnastics

Sarah Wilson, Denmark: The junior had the highest all-around score in either division of the state meet, posting a 38.8 to win the individual competition in Class A/AAAAA. Wilson took first place in the uneven parallel bars (10.0), vault (9.8) and floor exercise (9.7) and finished fourth in the balance beam (9.3). Denmark, a first-year school in Forsyth County, was the state runner-up.

Lacrosse (boys)

Drew Michalek, Walton: The senior was a defensive stalwart for the Raiders, who claimed the AAAAAA/AAAAAAA championship — the program’s first state title since 2012. In the state tournament, he shut down three GACA All-American attackers/midfielders, limiting them to three goals combined. A GACA All-American himself, he will play football and lacrosse for Williams College in Massachusetts.

Lacrosse (girls)

Brianna Carrasquillo, Milton: Carrasquillo is one of two players in the Southeast selected to play in the 14th annual Under Armour All-American Lacrosse Classic. The senior midfielder led the Lady Eagles to their third consecutive AAAAAA/AAAAAAA title with 82 goals, 22 assists and 188 draw controls, including four goals, two assists and 10 draw controls in the title game. She will play lacrosse for Yale University.

Riflery

Laci Jewell, Ware County: The sophomore won the individual championship at the all-classification state meet for the second consecutive year and led Ware County to its third consecutive state championship (and fourth overall). Jewell’s score of 298 in the qualifying was a state record, and her final score of 401 (298 in qualifying, 103 in the finals) was a national record. Ware County won the team title by one point.

Soccer (boys)

Omar Hernandez and Tony Saldana, Dalton: Hernandez had 16 goals and 17 assists, and Saldana had 11 goals and 13 assists for a 23-0 team that won the Class AAAAAA championship and finished the season with multiple No. 1 national rankings for boys spring teams. Hernandez, the 2018 Gatorade state player of the year, signed to play soccer at Wake Forest University. Saldana, a senior captain and team leader, will play for Carson-Newman University.

Soccer (girls)

Talia Staude, Westminster: Staude, a center back and defensive midfielder, missed her junior season because of U.S. Development Academy commitments, but returned as a senior to lead her team to its fifth consecutive Class AAA title. She was the top defender for a team that recorded 13 shutouts in 22 matches, and she scored eight goals, including one in a 3-1 victory in the state final. Staude signed to play soccer at the University of Virginia.

Softball (fast-pitch)

Kelley Lynch, East Coweta: The senior pitcher and shortstop posted a 17-0 record and 0.27 ERA and batted .436 with a .584 on-base percentage for a team that went 32-2 and won its second consecutive Class AAAAAAA championship. She allowed only 18 hits and 13 walks in 105-1/3 innings while striking out 236. Lynch, the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruit, signed to play softball at the University of Washington.

Softball (slow-pitch)

Brianna Stubbs, Creekview: The senior left-center fielder had a .614 batting average and .979 fielding percentage for a team that went 20-1 and won its first slow-pitch championship. She had 14 RBIs on the final day of the state tournament, when Creekview won four games by an average score of 17-3 to battle back from the losers’ bracket and win the title. Stubbs signed to play fast-pitch softball for the University of North Carolina.

Swimming (boys)

Jake Magahey, Mill Creek: Magahey broke a 36-year-old national record in the 500-yard freestyle at the Class AAAAAAA meet with a time of 4:15.63. The national public high school record had been held by 1984 Olympian Jeff Kostoff. Magahey also won the 200 free in 1:35.62 at the AAAAAAA meet. Magahey is rated Georgia’s No. 1 and the nation’s No. 4 prospect among juniors by CollegeSwimming.com. He committed to swim for the University of Georgia.

Swimming (girls)

Addie Rose Bullock, Kennesaw Mountain: The senior won the 100-yard butterfly (54.33) and 100 backstroke (54.98) at the Class AAAAAAA meet, leading her team to a seventh-place finish. Those were the third and fourth individual state titles of Bullock’s high school career. Bullock is the No. 1 prospect in Georgia, according to CollegeSwimming.com. She committed to swim for Harvard University.

Tennis (boys)

Joshua Raab, Etowah: The junior concluded his season with a perfect 12-0 record in the Eagles’ No. 1 singles slot and improved his varsity record to an all-time 46-1. Raab did not allow a single opponent to pick up more than two games in a set. Raab committed to the University of Tennessee in October and currently is the No. 1-ranked junior in the state and the 15th-ranked prospect nationally, according to TennisRecruiting.net.

Tennis (girls)

Mary Weston Courville, Columbus: Courville starred at No. 1 singles for the Lady Blue Devils for the past four seasons. She led Columbus to the program’s first state title as a freshman, as well as trips to the finals in 2018 and the semifinals this year, when the Blue Devils finished 21-3. Courville, rated a four-star recruit by the TennisRecruiting.net index, committed to Mercer University.

Track and field (boys)

Tanner Duffin, St. Pius: The senior won the Class AAAA shot put and discus at the state meet for the second consecutive season. Also for the second season in a row, he finished with the state’s best efforts in both events, with a toss of 206 feet, 8 inches in the discus and 70 feet, 2.25 inches in the shot put – both good enough for second in the nation. Duffin will compete at the University of Michigan next season.

» More:St. Pius wins AAAA Director’s Cup

Track and field (girls)

Brynne Sumner, Woodstock: The senior won Class AAAAAAA titles in the 800 and 1,600 meters for the second consecutive year. Her times this year of 2:07.77 in the 800 and 4:53.45 in the 1,600 are tops in Georgia. Her time in the 800 is a state record and No. 8 in the nation this season. Sumner will compete in track and cross country at Villanova University, where both of her parents were star middle-distance runners.

Volleyball

Gabby Gonzales, Walton: The 6-foot-4 senior outside hitter had 539 kills, 237 digs, 34 service aces and 27 blocks for a Walton team that finished 41-3 and won its fourth consecutive state championship. Gonzales was a two-time Gatorade state player of the year and was named an all-American as a junior and senior. She signed to play volleyball at Ohio State University.

Walton’s Gabby Gonzales
Photo: Seth Ellerbee

Wrestling

Kyle Gollhofer, Woodland-Cartersville: Gollhofer won the Class AAAAA championship in the 120-pound weight class and finished with a record of 52-0. The state title was Gollhofer’s fourth in four seasons. He won the 120 division as a senior and junior, the 113 as a sophomore and the 106 as a freshman. Gollhofer is ranked the No. 4 senior prospect nationally in the 120 division, according to IntermatWrestle.com. He signed to wrestle at the University of Northern Iowa.

— Compiled by Chip Saye, Todd Holcomb, Stan Awtrey, Craig Sager, Seth Ellerbee, S. Thomas Coleman and Adam Krohn.

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