The Observer begins a feature today to recognize high school athletes in all winter sports.
Boys’ Athletes of the Week
Adrian Delph, Kings Mountain Basketball: The 6-foot-3 Kings Mountain senior guard was brilliant last week, averaging 30.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest in three Mountaineers victories.
Delph, an Appalachian State University signee, had 36 points Jan. 2 in a win over Ashbrook, then came back two nights later with a triple double (27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) in a victory over Forestview.
Friday night (Jan. 5), Delph scored his 2,000th-career point, leading Kings Mountain to a 78-42 rout of Burns scoring 28 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out seven assists in the win.
Delph, who averages 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists per game, has helped Kings Mountain turnaround a 1-3 start as the Mountaineers (11-4, 6-0 in the Big South) have won 10 of their 11 games and are now in first place in the Big South conference.
Billy Hambrook, Charlotte Catholic Wrestling: The Charlotte Catholic junior started his Cougar wrestling career by winning the 244-259-pound (jayvee weight class) title at the Holy Angels’ Tournament (Dec. 30) just three weeks after helping Catholic to 3A state football title (Dec. 9).
Hambrook won the Holy Angels’ title in dominant fashion, pinning his first opponent in 14 seconds, his second opponent in 19 seconds and pinning Uwharrie Charter’s Jace Voss in 46 seconds in the finals. This is his first season on the Charlotte Catholic wrestling team, where he is 6-0 so far.
Hambrook was also a key player on the Charlotte Catholic football as the 6-foot-3, 250 pound offensive guard, earned all-Observer and all-Southern Carolinas’ conference honors.
Hambrook is a Division I football recruit with interest from Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Dartmouth, Elon, Lehigh, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and more, according to his father, Scott Hambrook.
John (J.C.) Ciaramella, Marvin Ridge Wrestling: The defending 3A state champion (170) is off to a perfect 22-0 start on the mat this season in the 182-pound weight class.
The Marvin Ridge senior and Rutgers University signee has already won three tournaments including the Holy Angels’ (at Bojangles’ Arena), Mount Pleasant Invitational and the Rumble at the Ridge (Marvin Ridge).
Ciaramella has now won 65 of his last 67 matches dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season.
Tim Connery, Christ the King Swimming: The Christ the King freshman continues to impress as the 15-year old win both of his individual events, the 100 butterfly (52.24) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.24) to help the Crusaders roll past Carolina Day by 92 points on Jan. 6.
Connery had a big year in the pool as he also made the "A Finals" in three events at the Junior National Championships in Knoxville, TN.
Connery also swam the second fastest, 200 individual medley (IM) in the 13-14 year old age group in U.S. history in August (2017), surpassing 23-time, gold medalist, Michael Phelps mark at the same age.
Girls’ Athletes of the Week
Addie Renner, Myers Park Track: The Myers Park junior had a record-breaking performance this weekend clearing a career-best 5-9.25 to win the high jump at the JDL New Year College Kickoff, Jan. 7, in Winston-Salem, where she competed with college athletes.
Renner’s jump is No. 1 in the state and and No. 2 in the nation for high school girls this indoor season. It also ranks No. 3 in N.C. indoor competition all-time, according to Myers Park track coach Lamont Hayes.
Jirah Sidberry, Rocky River Track: The Rocky River junior won the long jump and triple jump at the Green and Gold NC/VA Border Clash, Jan. 6 at the JDL Indoor Track in Winston-Salem.
Both of Sidberry’s jumps were amongst the best in the state this indoor season.
Sidberry’s triple jump of 37-4, was a personal-best and tied for the No. 1 distance in the state this winter.
Her long jump of 18-2 was the 3rd-best in the state this indoor season.
Chyna Cornwell, Newton Conover Basketball: The 6-foot-4, Newton Conover sophomore averaged 23 points, 15 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per game in two contests last week.
Cornwell had her best game of the week in a 66-52 win over North Lincoln, Jan. 5, scoring 34 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking nine shots.
Cornwell posted the first triple-double of her career Dec. 28 with 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks in a 58-54 loss to Maiden.
Emme Nelson, Community School of Davidson Swimming: The Community School of Davidson sophomore won both of her individual events, the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley, and led both relays to victory as the Spartans beat Mount Airy, Jan. 3.
Nelson set a school record in the 100 backstroke (1:02.14) in the same meet.
Nelson is the defending 1A/2A state champion in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.
Rock Hill South Pointe’s Herron wins national coach of the year award
Rock Hill South Pointe’s Strait Herron is the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl national coach of the year. The award honors the nation’s top high school football coach for exceptional coaching abilities and leadership skills.
Herron led the Stallions to their fourth straight S.C. state title last month, beating Hartsville 38-14. South Pointe has won 20 straight playoff games. Herron has won five state championships in seven seasons.
▪ Mountain Island Charter’s Marcus Graham qualified for the N.C. High School Athletic Association indoor track and field championships in his first attempt at 60 meters. Graham did it on a sore ankle, running in tennis shoes.
▪ Charlotte Country Day’s Ed Walton Field was named 2017 N.C. private school field of the year. This is the fourth year of the award, which comes from the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association. Country Day’s field was dedicated in 2009 to Walton, following his 2004 retirement. Walton coached at the school for 31 years.
▪ Concord First Assembly all-state running back/wide receiver has transferred to N.C. 4AA state runner-up and will play for Mavericks coach Mike Palmieri for the 2018 season.
▪ Morganton Freedom football coach Jim Bob Bryant is leaving to accept the same job at North Paulding High in Georgia. Bryant’s career record is 167-42.
▪ Northwest Cabarrus senior wrestler Chris Linker got his 100th career win last month. Linker began wrestling just six years ago.
Want to nominate an athlete
Athletes of the week highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Jan. 7. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or under-appreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week 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.