Prep Insider Blog

Cannon School girls continue golf dominance; other area athletes to watch (week of Sept. 4)

Concord Cannon’s girls golf team after winning 2018 Charger Invitational, Aug. 27. Left to Right: 
Front: Elena Jacoby, Muskan Uppal, Sophie Holland, Mirabella Calabrase 
Back: Anna Ruth Morrison, Molly Morrison, Amanda Sambach, Coach Pat Whisenant.
Concord Cannon’s girls golf team after winning 2018 Charger Invitational, Aug. 27. Left to Right: Front: Elena Jacoby, Muskan Uppal, Sophie Holland, Mirabella Calabrase Back: Anna Ruth Morrison, Molly Morrison, Amanda Sambach, Coach Pat Whisenant. Special to the Observer

Charlotte Observer Girls’ Athletes of the Week (week of Sept. 4)

Cannon School Girls’ Golf Team: The Cannon School girls’ golf team tries to play to their own standard every time they compete on the course, whether it’s practice, a match or a tournament, according to Cougars’ coach Pat Whisenant.

After going undefeated in nine matches (including four tournaments wins) and winning their fifth state championship in the last six years last fall, the Cannon School girls’ golf team looked just as focused in their first two matches of 2018.

The Cougars’ girls’ golf team opened the season winning the Lady Charger Invitational at River Run Country Club by 59 shots over the field. Cannon School sophomore Amanda Sambach was the medalist, shooting a 72, while junior Sophie Holland was second (73) and senior Muskan Uppal (75) was third.

Two days later, the Cannon School girls rolled to a 21-shot win over Charlotte Latin at Raintree County Club, with Holland shooting a 35 to win medalist honors, Sambach shooting a 37 (third-place) and seniors Elena Jacoby (40) and Mirabella Calabrase (42), finishing fourth and fifth.

“We talk all of the time about playing the golf course, not playing the opponent,” said Coach Pat Whisenant, is his seventh year as the Cougars’ golf coach. “We want our girls to play within themselves and do what they are capable of doing.”

The Cannon School team is loaded with talent once again with five players in the top 115 in the state in the Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA), including Sambach (No. 3, University of Virginia commit), Uppal (No. 11, University of Richmond commit), Holland (No. 22, major Division I prospect), Jacoby (No. 93) and Calabrase (No. 114).

Coach Whisenant admits sometimes “Cannon (School) practices are just as the competitive as the real matches.”

“”We compete every time we play or practice, even if we’re just hitting balls, every girl on our team wants to be the best,” Whisenant said. “The competition just within our team is great for all of our players and helps make them better. They all thrive on that competition.”

While the 2018 season is just begun, and the Cougars’ girls’ golf team is focused on going undefeated again, their main goal is another state championship.

“The first goal we talk about before the season even starts every year is winning the state championship, that’s the first thing we put down,” Whisenant said. “But our girls want to win every match, every tournament, so we just focus on winning the next time we play.”

Thomas Jefferson Academy golfer Katherine Robinson Colton Ballard Special to the Observer

Katherine Robinson, Thomas Jefferson Academy Golf: The Thomas Jefferson Academy freshman recorded a hole-in-one in her first varsity golf match of her high school career, Aug. 27.

Robinson aced the 120-yard, par-three, No. 7 at Cherryville Golf and Country Club with a seven-iron.

Robinson shot a 45 for the round (nine holes) in the first Southern Piedmont 1A conference match to help Thomas Jefferson Academy finish second as a team.

Robinson is one of only two players on the Thomas Jefferson Academy girls’ golf team, along with junior, Sydney Kinter.

Anna McDonald, Hickory Golf: The Hickory senior shot an even par (36) at Boone Golf Club to earn medalist honors at the season-opening Northwestern 3A/4A conference match Aug. 28.

McDonald had seven pars, a birdie and a bogey in her round.

McDonald, a three-time Northwestern 3A/4A conference medalist and player of the year, is ranked No. 12 in the state as a junior golfer, according to the Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA).

Jadyn Barry, Ardrey Kell Volleyball: The Knights’ junior setter had 50 assists, 11 digs and two blocks in a 3-2 five-set win over arch-rival Providence Aug. 28, to help the Knights to first-place in the SoMeck7 conference standings.

Barry also had 17 assists and four aces to lead Ardrey Kell past West Mecklenburg, Aug. 30.

The Knights (6-2, 2-0 SoMeck) had won three straight matches (through Aug. 30 game).

Zoe Weatherington, Charlotte Country Day Volleyball: The Charlotte Country Day senior outside hitter led the Bucs to 3-0 win over Metrolina Christian Aug. 27 with 19 kills, four aces and three digs in the match.

Weatherington, a University of Utah commit, was also honored for achieving his 1,000th-career kill.

Weatherington has 132 kills, 52 digs, 16 aces and six blocks this season to help the Charlotte Country Day to a 6-2 start, including four straight wins (through Aug. 27 game).

Grace Iannarino, SouthLake Christian Volleyball: The SouthLake Christian senior setter also celebrated a historic accomplishment on the volleyball court this week, while leading the Eagles to win over Gaston Christian and Hickory Grove last week.

Iannarino had 21 assists to lead SouthLake Christian to 3-0 win over Gaston Christian, Aug. 28. She was honored for her 1,500th career assist during the same match.

Iannarino, who also led the Eagles to 3-0 win at Hickory Grove, Aug. 30, has 258 assists, 134 digs and 35 aces this season to help SouthLake Christian to a 14-2 record.

Cora Cooke, Myers Park Cross Country: The Mustangs’ junior won the Myers Park Cross Country Invitational Sept. 1, running a personal-best and new meet record 19:46.40. Shebeat the field by 1:49.

Cooke’s run was also 3:35 better than her time at the same event last year.

Cooke helped lead the Myers Park girls’ team to victory as the Mustangs took five of the top six spots with junior Clara Richards finishing third; senior Tyler Brading taking fourth-place; senior Mason Brown coming in fifth; while sophomore Megan Merritt finished sixth at the Myers Park Cross Country Invitational.

Addison Cilone, East Rutherford Tennis/Cheerleading: The East Rutherford senior is doubling as the Cavaliers’ No. 1 (singles) and a cheerleader for the football team.

Cilone was 2-1 in both singles and doubles last week helping East Rutherford to wins over R.S. Central (Aug. 27) and Burns (Aug. 28), while the Cavaliers lost to Polk County, Aug. 29.

Two nights later, Cilone cheered on the East Rutherford football team (3-0 this year) as they rolled to a 70-44 win at South Caldwell.

Cilone works very hard each week to juggle her school work with her responsibilities to practices and games with East Rutherford cheerleading squad and tennis team, according to Cavaliers’ tennis coach, Charles Matheny.

Sarah Perkinson, Myers Park Field Hockey: The Myers Park junior scored three goals to help lead her team to an 8-0 win at Ardrey Kell, Aug. 30, as the Mustangs remained undefeated (5-0) this season.

Perkinson, who leads Myers Park with five goals this season, also had two big games the previous week, scoring the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Charlotte Latin, Aug. 24, and a 3-1 win at Charlotte Country Day, Aug. 22.

Perkinson “has picked up right where she left off last season,” when she was Myers Park’s offensive, team most valuable player (MVP), according to Mustangs’ field hockey coach, Erica Adcock.

Charlotte Observer Boys’ Athletes of the Week

Logan Gilley, East Lincoln Soccer: The East Lincoln junior co-captain scored a school-record six goals to lead the Mustangs to a 9-0 win over Comenius, Aug. 27.

Gilley, a central midfielder, had an assist in the same game.

Gilley also scored a goal in East Lincoln’s 3-1 win at Central Cabarrus, Aug. 30.

Logan Gilley has a team-best 17 goals to go with five assists this season.

Logan’s twin brother, Chase Gilley, also had a strong week with three goals and four assists in the two wins.

Chase Gilley had two goals against Comenius and a goal and an assist to help beat Central Cabarrus. Chase Gilley has 12 goals and 10 assists (leads team in assists) this season.

Alex Campbell/Cole Knapp, Charlotte Catholic Soccer: The Charlotte Catholic junior duo both came up big last week to help the Cougars (5-0-1) remain unbeaten with wins over Ardrey Kell and Mount Tabor.

Knapp, a forward, scored the first two goals of the Ardrey Kell game to give Catholic the lead for good in their 3-1 win Aug. 27.

Three days later, Campbell scored the first and then third goal to help the Cougars to a 4-2 win over Mount Tabor. Campbell also played strong defense in both games as a defensive midfielder.

Knapp has four goals and an assist this season, while Campbell’s two scores were his first two of the year for Catholic.

Concord First Assembly soccer’s Garrison Hankinson Scott Wagner Special to the Observer

Garrison Hankinson, Concord First Assembly Soccer: The Concord First Assembly junior forward had eight goals and three assists in two, Eagles’ road wins last week.

Hankinson started his week with four goals in a 7-1 win at Hickory Grove, Aug. 28.

Two days, later, Hankinson scored four goals and had three assists to account for seven of Concord First Assembly’s nine goals in a 9-0 win at Bradford Prep.

Hankinson, who has 14 goals and five assists this season, has three or more goals in three of Eagles’ five games to help his team to a 4-1 start.

Pierce Memmel, Patton Soccer/Football: The Patton senior had another big week on the football and soccer fields for the Panthers.

Memmel started his week a goal in Patton’s 5-2 loss to Hickory, Aug. 27.

The next day, Memmel has four goals in the Panthers’ 6-0 win over Freedom to improve their record to 4-3 overall. He has 14 goals for the Patton soccer team this season.

Friday night (Aug. 31), Memmel did a little bit of everything on football field making five extra points as the kicker, while booting four punts for an average of 42 yards as the punter. He also scored on a receiving touchdown on offense, and had three tackles and an interception for the Patton (2-1) defense in the Panthers’ 35-13 win at McDowell.

Charlotte Christian football player JD Awolowo Melinda Hicks Special to the Observer

J.B. Awolowo, Charlotte Christian Football: The Charlotte Christian junior had a first quarter for the ages in 58-0 win over Covenant Day, Aug. 31.

Awolowo contributed in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams, returning the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, then adding a 52-yard punt return for a score, and a 21-yard touchdown run all in the first quarter. He also had seven tackles and two sacks for the Knights’ defense.

Awolowo has 13 tackles, three sacks, two catches for 63 yards, a touchdown run, and a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns (258 yards of total offense so far this season) already this season in Charlotte Christian’s (2-0) first two games.

Drake Maye/Elijah Bowick Myers Park Football: The sophomore quarterback (Maye) went 13-for-17 passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns in Myers Park 55-14 win at Providence, Aug. 31.

Maye found senior wideout Elijah Bowick four times for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the Providence victory.

Maye (40-61 for 712 yards and nine touchdowns this season) and Bowick (14 receptions for 359 yards and three touchdowns this season) are part of an explosive, Mustangs’ offense that has helped Myers Park (3-0) outscore their opponents 140-21 in their first three games.

Maye is already a major Division I recruit, while Bowick has committed to play at Virginia Tech.

Tyreese Morris, Stuart Cramer Football: The Storm junior running back rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries to help Stuart Cramer (3-0) stay unbeaten with a 56-18 win at East Gaston, Aug. 31.

Morris, who has 499 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 60 carries this season (8.3 yards per carry) has helped Stuart Cramer to three straight road wins to open the season, winning at Lincolnton, at Mountain Island Charter and at East Gaston.

Kirkland Williams, Hickory Grove Football: The Hickory Grove junior running back had a school-record 295 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead the Lions to their first win of the season in a 66-48 victory over Concord First Assembly, Aug. 31.

Williams, who has 483 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground this season, already had 200-plus yard receiving game this season, with nine catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening, 73-38 loss to Union Academy. Williams also had 253 yards receiving and two touchdowns this year.

Josh Sinkler, South Pointe Cross Country: The South Pointe freshman ran an impressive 17:48.84 in the first high school 5K in his career to finish ninth at the Trojan Invitational at Northwestern High.

Sinkler’s first high school run was is also the 10th-best time in the state for a freshmen so far this season, according to

** Information published today includes statistics through September 2nd.

Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school players with outstanding performances. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.