High School Sports

‘Holy Cow,’ Porter Ridge High soph soccer player wins Observer’s Athlete of the Week

Before his high school soccer team began play this week, Indian Trail Porter Ridge sophomore Nathan Ladimir had scored four times all season.

Two of them came in big wins last week.

Ladimir, named the Observer’s Athlete of the Week, scored in a 1-0 win over Rocky River on Sept. 30. Two days later, with his team tied with Myers Park after overtime had ended, Ladimir volunteered to take a penalty kick.

He nailed the game-winner against a powerhouse N.C. opponent.

“I’m not much of a goal scorer,” Ladimir said. “Rocky River, it was right place, right time and a finish. The Myers Park one was a real big one. We don’t have a penalty kick rotation, and I was one of the guys who volunteered. So I was like, ‘OK, let’s see what I can do. I scored and it was crazy.”

Ladimir made the Observer’s #BIG5 list of voting finalists, from a long list of nominees, and ended up getting nearly 22,000 votes for Athlete of the Week.

“Our principal and athletics director got (the poll) and sent it out to a bunch of kids at school,” Ladimir said. “I had a bunch of kids in my classes voting me. It was a really cool experience.”

He said he won’t forget the award or the game he won it for, hitting that PK kick against Myers Park.

“It was a very neat feeling,” he said. “It doesn’t happen often, and I wasn’t thinking about it too much when I scored. It was just utter joy. And, after, I was like ‘Holy Cow, I can’t believe what I just did right there.’”

Note: each Monday, the Observer releases a list of athlete of the week nominees, and a #BIG5 list of finalists. Readers can then vote for the finalists online at charlotteobserver.com/sports/high-school

Previous Winners: Austin Alexander, R-S Central soccer