Ashlynn Serepca, Hough Girls’ Soccer: Ashlynn Serepca was ready to get the season started with the rest of her Hough girls’ soccer team on Feb. 28.
But, the all-state, Hough junior forward had one thing stopping her.
Just two days before, Serepca had played for the U18 U.S. National team in England.
USA Soccer has a 72-hour rule for all of its players on their return, meaning they cannot play soccer for three, full days after competing with the national team.
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So, Serepca had to sit and watch as her Hough team hosted defending 4A state champion, Providence, in the season-opener for both teams Feb. 28.
Serepca watched her Hough team beat Providence 2-1.
“As a player, it’s tough to sit and watch your team play, because you want to be out there helping them win, especially against the defending state champions (Providence), who have a lot my friends and (club soccer) coach (also Providence coach Nathan Williams),” said Serepca, who committed to play soccer at University of Virginia as a Hough freshman. “I wanted to be on the field, and I wish the game was one day later, because I could have played. But honestly, I learned a lot about our team watching that game. It was a big win to start our season and gave us a lot of confidence and got our mindset right. ...
“If we can beat the state champs, we know can beat anyone.”
Serepca, a two-time all-state player and the 2016 N.C. Gatorade player of the year, didn’t waste any time making her impact felt as two days later, she scored a goal and had two assists to help Hough win, 3-2, at Mooresville.
Serepca, who has 66 goals in her Hough career, showed her ability as a playmaker with a career-high five assists in a 9-0 victory over Hopewell, March 10.
This past week, Serepca was big again with five goals and three assists in wins over Butler, A.L. Brown and West Charlotte.
While coach Smith says Serepca’s impact on the team on and off the field continues to grow.
“Ashlynn (Serepca) has really stepped up for us this year as a leader because we have a really young team, and that’s why she is co-captain,” said Smith, who starts three freshmen and three sophomores this year. “She’s always been so strong on the ball, but her biggest improvement has come in what she does off the ball. We know she is going to draw a lot of the defenses’ attention, but that gives us an opportunity to make other players’ better. Ashlynn has done a great of finding her teammates and letting the game come to her.”
Serepca has plenty of help on this Huskies’ team as seniors such as goalkeepers, Stephanie Westaway (Samford University signee), Allie Dmytruk (Florida Tech signee), Elise Gallo (Tusculum College signee) and junior, Madison Oracion (University of Maryland commit) also play big roles.
While Serepca has accomplished a lot already as a player, it’s what she hasn’t accomplished at Hough that motivates her most.
“When I was in eighth grade I watched Hough win a state championship” in2 014, said Serepca, whose team lost in the second round of the playoffs as a freshman and third round last year. “This team wants to be a part of that tradition, and our goal to help Hough win another championship.”
Elista Parks, North Mecklenburg Girls’ Soccer: North Mecklenburg freshman forward, Elista Parks had the best week of Vikings’ career with 10 goals and three assists to help the Vikings (7-4-1) to wins over Berry, Rocky River and Vance.
Parks had a career-best four goals in North Meck’s 12-0 win over Vance, March 24.
Parks had a team-high 16 goals and nine assists this season.
Fernando Myers, Hopewell Tennis: The Hopewell senior hasn’t lost a set in singles’ play this season, winning 48 games, while losing only four.
Myers got wins over Hough’s Andres Pazos and Mallard Creek’s Suraj Pendyala last week.
Myers, who only lost 27 games last season, when he won the MECKA 4A conference singles’ title, finished 3rd at the 4A West Regionals and qualified for the 4A state championships.
Owen Copps, Myers Park Baseball: The Myers Park senior has been a huge part of the Mustangs 8-1 start this season.
After Myers Park lost their first game of the year at Independence (2-1) on March 21, they roared back with a 20-1 victory over Garinger, March 24 and a 7-3 win at Providence Day the next night.
Copps was at his best against Providence, March 25, tossing a complete game, four-hitter on the mound, while adding a key double at the plate. He is 3-0 this year with a 1.31 ERA
Copps, a Tufts University signee, was named Greater Charlotte Area High School Baseball Scholar athlete of the year in February.
Jonathan Jagielski, Charlotte Christian Baseball: The Charlotte Christian junior helped the Knights to a perfect 4-0 record last week to win the National Classic Baseball tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Jagielski had his best game in 9-0 shutout of Heritage High, Ark., where hit not only get the win on the mound, pitching six innings of scoreless baseball with six strikeouts, but also went 4-for-7 at the plate with 3 RBI in the same game.
Charlotte Christian is now 10-1 this season.
Cameron Greene, Charlotte Country Day Baseball: The Charlotte Country Day sophomore infielder is batting .358 in his last four games, with a double, two RBI, six stolen bases and six runs scored in the same span.
Greene, who helped his team to a 5-1 record in their recent tournament at ESPN’s Wild World of Sports in Orlando, had his best game of the event, going 3-for-4 with a doubles and two runs in a 19-4 win over Smackover High, Ark., on March 20.
Greene has been a big spark as the leadoff batter this season, hitting. 368 with 18 runs scored, to help Charlotte Country Day to an 11-2 record.
Nick Kuebler, Queens Grant Baseball: The Queens Grant freshman also had a big week, going 10-for-12 at the plate, while also earning a victory on the mound, as the Stallions (7-4) have now won five straight games.
Kuebler opened the week helping Queens Grant to a 12-3 win at Langtree Charter, going 3-for-5 batting with two RBI, while being the winning pitcher in the same game.
Kuebler went for 4-for-6 with five RBI and three runs scored the next night in 20-16 win at Gray Stone Day.
Kuebler is hitting .387 this season, and 2-0 on the mound with 1.00 ERA.
Kenya Livingston, Rocky River Track: The Rocky River junior tied her personal-best high jump of 5-10 to win the event at the Hawk Invitational at West Mecklenburg High, March 25.
Livingston jumped 5-10 at the same meet last year.
Livingston’s jump ties Swansboro’s Hannah Bomber for the top high jump in the state this outdoor season.
The 5-10 mark is also the second best in the nation, behind only Texas’ Highland Park’s Falyn Reaugh, who went 5-11 earlier this month.
Livingston won the 4A state indoor championship in the high jump Feb. 11, going 5-9.
Noah Dolhare, Providence Day Track: The Providence Day junior ran a personal best mile of 4:23.63 in the Dream Mile Qualifier at the Adidas Raleigh Relays at N.C. State on March 24.
Dolhare’s time was the sixth-best mile run in the state this outdoor season.
Dolhare’s personal-best mile came after missing the entire indoor track season after a bout with strep-throat, and “should continue to improve this season,” according to Providence Day track coach Ben Hovis.
Lex Voelker, Ardrey Kell Lacrosse: The Ardrey Kell senior attacker had seven more assists last week as he continues to push the Knights’ offense at a record-breaking pace as “the quarterback,” of the team, according to coach Tim Price.
Voelker, who leads the state with 55 assists, had been a major reason why Ardrey Kell is off to a 9-1 start this season.
Voelker, a University of Mount Olive signee who also has nine goals this season, had his best game of the week with a goal and six assists in a 13-6 win over East Forsyth on March 23.
Kieran Rinaldi, Lake Norman Girls’ Lacrosse: The Lake Norman senior attacker had five goals and eight assists last week as the Wildcats beat Ardrey Kell and St. Stephens to push their record a perfect 8-0 on the season.
Rinaldi took on the lead role, scoring four goals in the 11-9 win at Ardrey Kell, March 20, before coming back two days later as a playmaker with six assists in a 22-1 win at St. Stephens.
Rinaldi, a Radford University signee, has 31 goals and 24 assists this season for a Wildcat team ranked No. 9 in the nation, No. 1 in the state, according to maxpreps.com.
Morgan Bordeaux, Lake Norman Charter Girls’ Lacrosse: The Lake Norman Charter sophomore attacker scored 12 goals and dished out five assists to help the Knights (5-4) go 2-1 on the week.
Bordeaux scored a career-high eight goals and had an assist in Lake Norman Charter’s 17-13 win over Butler on March 20. She had two goals apiece in a loss at Hickory, March 21, and in a home win over St. Stephens, March 23.
Bordeaux has 27 goals and 10 assists this season.
Michael Sanders, Cannon School Golf: The Cannon School junior continue to light up the golf course, firing a final day 66 to earn co-medalist honors at the North State High School Challenge at Irish Creek Country Club on March 25.
Sanders, who is from Davidson, had four birdies and an eagle, to tie R.J. Reynolds’ Zach Brown, who he lost to in a playoff. He shot a one-under par 70 on day one of the tournament.
Sanders, a Louisiana State University commit, also helped lead Cannon School to a team victory as well with the Cougars shooting a school record one-over par in the two day event.
Cannon School junior, Landon Robbins, also shot four-under par for the tournament (71-67).
Matt Miller, Lake Norman Charter Golf: The Lake Norman Charter senior, co-captain shot an even par 70 to earn co-medalist honors with Ashbrook’s Harrison Howe at the Big South Conference match at Green Meadows’ Golf Club in Mount Holly.
Miller, who had five birdies in the match, also helped Lake Norman Charter win as a team by 29 shots.
Miller is currently fourth in the Big South conference in scoring with a 77.3 average, just behind teammate Ian Johnson, who is third in conference, and just ahead of teammate Jacob Rowland, who is fifth in conference.
Huntleigh Williams, Independence Softball: The Independence senior shortstop continued to be hot at the plate, going 7-for-9 last week with three doubles and 10 RBI wins over Vance, Myers Park and Rocky River.
Williams’ best game of the week was her first as she went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and five RBI in a 21-0 victory over Vance.
Williams, who is hitting .480 for the season with 15 RBI, has helped Independence to a 9-1 start.
Northside Christian Girls’ Soccer/eighth-grade class: The Northside Christian girls’ varsity soccer team is getting major contributions from five players who aren’t even in high school yet.
The Knights boast five eighth-graders in Camille Hagood, Megan Miller, Christine Nguyen, Kylie Stinson and Christiana Wright, who have combined to account for 70 percent of their goals (15 goals) and 38 percent of the team’s assists.
Stinson leads the team with nine goals, Nguyen has five goals and four assists and Miller has four goals.
Meanwhile, Hagood and Wright lead the Northside Christian defense.
The Knights’ quintet helped Northside Christian (9-3) win their own Castle Cup on March 24-25, beating Carolina Christian, 4-0, before knocking off Salem Baptist, 1-0, in the tournament’s championship game.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: email@example.com.
HELP US FIND THE ATHLETES
This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through March 26. In most cases, the athletes featured will come from sports that don’t get a lot of recognition. However, the goal is to recognize excellence. If you want to suggest someone to be included in This Season’s Finest column, send email to Jay Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.