Kathryn Carson, Lake Norman Girls’ Golf, sr.: Kathryn Carson is used to play big in the big matches, no matter where she is playing golf.
Carson, a senior at Lake Norman, has had another standout season for the Wildcats, averaging a 37.0 (per nine holes) this season, had one of her best performances in the final week of the regular season.
Carson first shot a 38 at Mooresville Golf Club, followed by a 32 at Larkin Golf Club in Statesville, to help her team wrap up the North Piedmont conference (NPC) title.
Carson, a four-time all-NPC player, also earned NPC player of the year honors.
“I get most excited for the big tournaments because they have the best fields and usually are on the best, most challenging golf courses,” Carson said. “In high school golf, the state championship is the biggest tournament, and it is all about a legacy. When you say you’ve won a state championship, it’s a big deal that is recognizable across all sports.”
The Lake Norman standout, who will play college golf at East Carolina University, now looks to finish her high school career with a 4A state championship, after finish as 4A state runner-up last year.
Carson, who is ranked No. 4 in the state (N.C. junior girls), according to Tar Heel Youth Golf Association (TYGA), got even better news when she was invited to Dustin Johnson’s World Junior Golf Championships, which will be played Feb. 24-26 at TPC Myrtle Beach.
Taylor Hinson, Gaston Christian Girls’ Golf, sr.: The Gaston Christian senior also had a big week, winning the Forsyth Country Day Invitational at Tanglewood Golf Club, shooting a 73.
Hinson, UNC Asheville commit who averages a 37.0 (per nine holes) this season, is ranked No. 15 in the state by TYGA.
Justin Best, Battalion Baseball - 11-year old (Powered by Under Armour): 11-year old, Cornelius native Justin Best is having a season for the ages for his Battalion Baseball club team.
Best has 20 home runs in 40 games since tournament play began in March.
Best, who plays second base/shortstop and centerfield, is hitting .675 on the season and is on pace to hit 30-35 home runs.
Best, who has hit 11 home runs in the last three weeks alone, has blasted most of his homers well over 300 feet, according to his father, Rick Best.
Katherine PonCooper, Mallard Creek Volleyball, fr.: The Mavericks’ freshman setter had 25 assists in an Oct. 4 win over Vance to set a new-single season, school-record (592 assists at the time), shattering the previous mark of 587.
PonCooper now has 656 assists through her Oct. 10 match, as she has helped her team to a 17-4 record.
PonCooper will have a chance to add to her assist total with two regular season matches, as of Oct. 10, and the postseason remaining.
Morgan Allen, Porter Ridge Volleyball, fr.: Porter Ridge freshman, Morgan Allen, is also having a record-setting season.
Allen is No. 5 in nation with 144 aces this season, averaging 7.2 aces per match (No. 1 in the state).
Allen also leads her team with 610 assists and 357 digs. Her 610 assists is top in the Southwestern 4A conference.
Allen, who is naturally a libero, has played setter primarily for the Pirates, but has seen time in every position on the court, but middle blocker, this year.
Lauralee Hurst and Sidney Bing, Gaston Day, fr.: The Gaston Day freshmen duo had another big week leading the Eagles to wins over Northside Christian and Westminster Catawba to finish the regular season.
Bing had 67 assists in the two wins, and averages 26.9 assists per match this season.
Meanwhile, Hurst registered 37 kills in the two matches, and averages 15.4 kills per match this season.
The duo has led Gaston Day to their first winning record in conference play since joining the Metrolina Athletic conference (MAC).
Both freshmen have started for the Gaston Day varsity volleyball team since seventh grade and were all-conference selections last year.
Sam Russ, Providence Day Volleyball, sr.: Providence Day senior right side hitter, Sam Russ, also had a big week on the court.
Russ first had an 18-point serving run for her team in a 3-0 win over Charlotte Country Day, recording five aces in that span.
Russ followed that with her first double, double of the season with 10 kills and 16 digs in a tough, 3-1 loss to Covenant Day.
Russ is also an all-state softball player for Providence Day, and the centerfielder has committed to play for N.C. State.
Charlotte Catholic Girls’ Tennis Team: The Charlotte Catholic girls’ tennis team is unbeaten this season at 19-0 overall, including 14-0 in SoMeck8 conference play.
The Cougars have been dominant all season, winning 134 of the 144 matches they’ve played in dual play during the regular season.
The SoMeck8 conference champions are led by seniors, Rachel Marthinsen and Megan Leonard, but have gotten big contributions up and down the lineup from juniors, Lizzy Fiepke and Catie Nelson, sophomore, Logan Stuckey and freshmen, Carly Barhorst and Rose Kenny.
Now, Charlotte Catholic looks to continue their perfect run through postseason.
Jenna Thompson, South Mecklenburg Girls’ Tennis, fr.: The South Mecklenburg freshman continues her remarkable run this season, as she went unbeaten in singles’ play (12-0) during the regular season.
Thompson, who is 7-1 in doubles’ play this season, will look to contend for both regional and state championships.
Thompson is the No. 1 player in the state on the juniors’ circuit (14 and 16-year old age groups), according to tennisrecruiting.net.
Emma Goldean, Providence Day Field Hockey, jr.: The Chargers’ junior played a vital role in two big wins last week, as Providence Day knocked off both, Charlotte Country Day on Oct. 4 and Charlotte Catholic on Oct. 6, 2-0 in both games.
Goldean, a central midfielder, had a goal and an assist to in the Catholic victory in addition to six defensive stops in that game. She also had an assist in the Country Day win. Goldean has six goals and seven assists through Oct. 9.
Elliott Schultz, Providence Cross Country, jr.: The Providence junior stepped up for his team when the Panthers’ top runner senior, Hayden Blalock, was out with an injury to start the season.
Schultz ran a personal-best 16:40.92 to finish ninth in the prestigious, Wendys’ Invitational at McAlpine Park on Oct. 1. He also ran a 16:42 at the Adidas Cross Country Invitational in Raleigh and 16:56 at the season-opening, Providence Invitational.
Schultz hadn’t broken 17 minutes entering this season, with a 17:07 last year at the 4A Midwest Regionals his best time on the course.
Now, that Blalock is back in the lineup, the Panthers have a strong one-two punch that could help them contend at the conference, regional and state championship races.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help us find the athletes
This Fall’s Finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Oct. 9. 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 Fall’s Finest column, send email to Jay Edwards at email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.