Natalie Lutz, Kings Mountain Tennis/Golf: Natalie Lutz has accomplished a lot on the golf course and tje tennis courts as the No. 1 player in both sports all four years at King Mountain High.
But Lutz had the best week of her career, Oct. 4-8, as she won both the Big South golf and tennis individual championships in the four-day span.
Lutz started her run on the tennis court (Oct. 4) where she beat Boiling Springs Crest’s Maranda Adair, 6-2, 6-2 and teamed with Kings Mountain junior Madelynn Frye to win her doubles match 8-2. Kings Montain won the match 9-0.
Lutz not only helped her finish the regular season a perfect 17-0, but also helps her earn the Big South conference girls’ tennis player of the year. Lutz lost a total of six games in seven conference matches.
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The Kings Mountain girls’ tennis team also finished the regular season at 13-0 (7-0 in the Big South conference).
Lutz also teamed with Frye to win all five matches and claim the doubles’ title at the Sugar Slam V Doubles’ tournament at Enka High, Oct. 6.
Lutz and Frye clinched the match with 8-4 win over Maiden in the finals. Kings Mountain also won the event as a team.
The Kings Mountain senior didn’t have much time to celebrate her Big South conference tennis championship, because on Monday she competed in the leagues’ final golf match of the regular season. Lutz trailed Forestview’s Kasey Owenby by two shots going into the final match.
But Lutz shot an even par, 36, at Crowders’ Mountain Golf Club, to earn co-medalist honors and win Big South girls’ golf championship by one shot.
▪ While winning both the Big South conference golf and tennis championships means a lot to Lutz, she actually did it as a sophomore in the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A conference.
“Winning both (golf and tennis) championships means a lot to me as a senior,” said Lutz, who was also named to the homecoming court Oct. 5. “I won both as a sophomore, but missed winning the (conference title) in golf by a few shots last year.
…So to win both as a senior is a great feeling. Honestly, I did not think I had won in golf (Big South title) because I thought I had to birdie the last hole to win. But when I walked off the hole, everybody started congratulating me because I had won.”
“The last couple months have been a whirlwind, but it’s great to see Natalie (Lutz) finish this way (two championships) in her senior year,” said Robert Lutz, Natalie’s father. “I’m excited to see what else she can do this year, because she’s still got two more with regionals and states in golf and tennis.”
Lutz will look to post the score of her high school career at the 3A State Girls’ Golf Tournament at Long Leaf Golf and Family Club, Oct. 22-23.
Lutz set the school record with a two-day score of 169 (80-89) last year, but hopes to be even better at state this year.
Later that same week, Lutz hopes to pair with her teammate, Frye, to win the 3A state doubles’ championship. Lutz and Frye won the 3A doubles’ title in 2016, but finished as state runner-up last year.
“I want to do better at states (golf) than I’ve done before, and have two good rounds, because last year I had one good day (round) and then one bad day,” Lutz said. “…In tennis, we (Lutz and Frye) want to get back to being state champions after finishing second (3A state runner-up) last year.
…I remember seeing the state champion and the runner-up trophy as a sophomore, and my dad said, ‘Either way you’re going to win a trophy.’ But I want the big trophy, I want to finish first.”
Logan Stuckey, Charlotte Catholic Tennis: The Charlotte Catholic senior, captain has showed her versatility this season going 22-3 overall as she has moved up and down the lineup to fill multiple roles in helping the Cougars to a perfect 19-0 regular season (14-0 in the Southern Carolinas’’ conference (SCC) play).
Stuckey is 22-3 overall this season, going 13-2 in singles, where she has played lines 1-4 this season. Meanwhile, Stuckey is 9-1 in doubles at both the No. 1 and 2 spots.
Stuckey played big last week, winning in both singles and doubles with freshman Kaitlyn Tozzi to help Catholic to a 9-0 win at Ardrey Kell Oct. 1.
Three days later, Stuckey defeated Marvin Ridge’s Ainsley Zubrinsky 7-6 (3), 6-4 in singles, while teaming with Tozzi to beat Zubrinsky and Avery Sager in doubles (8-6) to help Charlotte Catholic to a 7-2 win over the Mavericks.
Kenzie Beatty, Newton Foard Tennis: The senior has struggled at No. 4 singles for most of the regular season, going 5-12 overall, according to her coach, Ryan Gettys.
But Beatty continued to work hard at practice and stepped up when her team needed her most winning in both singles and doubles in the team’s 8-1 win over Draughn in the regular season finale, Oct. 3.
Beatty won her singles’ match 7-5, 6-2 and then also won in doubles (8-5) with sophomore Claire Boger to help Fred T. Foard (13-3, 6-0 in the Northwest Foothills’ 2A conference) to the Northwestern Foothills’ 2A conference title.
Sophie Holland, Cannon School Golf: The Cannon School junior shot a 75, including a career-low 32, on the front nine holes to lead the Cougars’ girls’ golf team to their second straight Girls’ Tarheel Invitational at Tanglewood Golf Club’s Reynolds’ course.
Cannon School also got strong play from seniors Elena Jacoby (81) and Mirabella Calabrase (89) to win the tournament by seven shots.
Holland, who averages a 36.6 per nine holes this season and is ranked No. 13 in the state according to the Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA), is a Division I golf recruit, according to Cannon School golf coach Pat Whisenant.
Anna McDonald, Hickory Golf: The Hickory senior shot a 38 to earn co-medalist honors at the Northwestern 3A/4A conference match at Lake Hickory Country Club at Catawba Springs, Oct. 3.
McDonald, who is ranked No. 11 in the state, is a three-time all-state and three-time NW3A/4A conference player of the year.
Emma Ellis, Charlotte Catholic Volleyball: The Charlotte Catholic senior outside hitter recorded her 1,000th-career kill in the Cougars’ 3-1 win at Sun Valley, Oct. 4. Catholic has now won 13 straight matches after a 2-6 start.
Ellis, a Purdue University commit, has 21 kills, 32 serves received, 11 digs, two blocks and two aces in the Sun Valley victory.
Ellis had 21 kills, 25 serves received, 17 digs, four blocks and an ace in Charlotte Catholic’s 3-1 win at Weddington, Oct. 2.
Ellis also excels in the classroom, where she boasts 4.23 grade-point average (GPA).
Cierra Huntley, Davidson Day Volleyball: The Davidson Day junior outside hitter has been a major force for a Patriots team (22-2) that has won 18 straight matches.
Huntley, a Virginia Tech commit, had 74 kills, 54 digs and 10 aces in four wins last week.
Huntley’s best performance of the week came in a 3-2 win at Statesville Christian Oct. 5 where she posted 30 kills, 18 digs and four blocks to lead Davidson Day to victory.
Huntley has 339 kills, 258 digs, 47 aces and 29 blocks this season.
Keah Green, Concord Robinson Volleyball: The senior has led the Bulldogs (13-5, 8-1) to six straight wins moving the Bulldogs into first-place in the South Piedmont conference (SPC).
Green had 11 kills and two aces in a 3-0 win at Concord Oct. 2.
Two days later, Green had six kills and six digs in Robinson’s best win of the season to date, a 3-1 win over perennial 3A power Cox Mill.
Green, who plans to play college volleyball according to Robinson head coach, Vanessa Colon, has 164 kills, 115 digs and 52 aces this season.
Sienna Joseph, Charlotte Country Day Field Hockey: The Charlotte Country Day goalkeeper recorded 17 saves in a 2-1 win over arch rival and three-time defending NCISAA state champion Charlotte Latin Oct. 2.
Joseph also led the Bucs (9-2-2, 4-0 in the CISAA) to a 3-0 victory over Covenant Day, Oct. 4.
Joseph has 60 saves and seven shutouts this season for a Charlotte Country Day team that has won eight straight games (through Oct. 4 game).
Lauren Richards, Hickory Ridge Cross Country: The Hickory Ridge sophomore ran a personal-best 19:53 to win the Cabarrus County cross country championship at Frank Liske Park in Concord Oct. 4.
Richards headlined a Hickory Ridge team that took the top four spots in the Cabarrus County Cross Country Championships to help the Ragin’ Bulls’ girls’ team to their second straight county title.
▪ Hickory Ridge senior, Sarah Divincenzo, finished as Cabarrus County runner-up, while junior, Isabella Saliba came in 3rd-place, and senior, Kaitlyn Schmidt took fourth-place.
Charlotte Observer Boys’ Athletes of the Week
Eric White, South Mecklenburg Soccer Coach: The South Mecklenburg soccer coach recorded his 100th career win at the school in a 9-0 win at Harding, Oct. 4.
White, in his sixth year as head coach, got big performances from seniors Miguel Alvarez (two goals, two assists), Jonathan Flores (two goals) and junior Adam Charlton (three goals) in the historic victory over Harding, where the team celebrated with a cookie cake after the game.
White, who averaged 18 wins per season over his first five years, has the 2018 South Mecklenburg soccer team (12-4, 8-0 in the SoMeck7 conference) rolling as the Sabres have won 11 of their last 12 games to move into first-place in the SoMeck7 conference.
South Mecklenburg has advanced to at least the third round of the 4A state playoffs each season under White, including a 4A state championship in 2015, when the Sabres went unbeaten at 23-0-2.
Myers Park Soccer Team Defense: The Myers Park defense continues to dominate the competition as the Mustangs have allowed only six goals to go 14-0 (9-0 in the Southwestern 4A (SW4A) conference) so far this season.
Myers Park pitched two more shutouts last week, blanking Independence (6-0), Oct. 1, and Garinger (8-0), Oct. 3.
The Mustangs’ defense is led by junior goalkeeper Jacob Hall and the Myers Park back four in junior center backs Reid Bond and William Blair and outside backs in senior Matt Hedrick, and sophomore Liam Trosch.
Richie Cano, Hough Soccer: The Hough freshman was called up to the Huskies’ varsity team less than a month ago in a Sept. 12 contest, when he scored four goals in his first (varsity) appearance (a 5-4 loss).
Cano has given his team a spark since joining the Hough varsity squad with 11 goals and three assists in eight games as the Huskies have won seven straight to move to 12-4 and 8-1 in the I-Meck 4A conference to sit atop the league standings.
Cano had five goals in two wins last week, with a hat trick (three goals) in a 5-0 win over Vance, Oct. 1.
Two days later, Cano netted two more goals in a 5-1 victory at Hopewell.
Nathan Collins, Charlotte Christian Soccer: The Charlotte Christian junior forward had a game to remember in a 2-1 overtime victory over Cannon School, Oct. 4.
Collins scored the game tying goal with five minutes remaining, and the netted “the golden,” game-winning goal just two minutes into overtime to give the Knights a 2-1 win.
Collins has 17 goals and three assists for Charlotte Christian (5-9-1, 2-6 in the CISAA) this season.
Christian Landis, Providence Day Cross Country: The Providence Day sophomore ran a personal-best 15:25.70 to finish 17th in the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, Oct. 6, in a field that includes 100 teams from 12 different states.
Landis’ time (15:25.70) was not only 21 seconds better than his previous personal-record, but also the No. 3 5K run in the state this season regardless of classification and No. 1 time run in the NCISAA.
Landis’ run is No. 6 in the nation in the sophomore class (2021) and the fastest time for a 10th grader since 2009.
Landis paced a Providence Day cross country team that all finished under 16:50 for only the second time in school history.
▪ Chargers’ junior, Adam Habas ran a 16:16.50, while sophomore, Colter Nichols posted a 16:27.80, with Jason Krell finishing in 16:30.31, and junior, Andrew Riolo running a 16:45.10.
The Providence Day team finished ninth as a team against the prestigious field.
Jamal Worthy, Butler Football: The Butler junior running back had 12 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 29 yards to lead the Bulldogs to 39-22 upset victory over previously unbeaten Myers Park (No. 3 in the Observer Sweet 16) Oct. 5.
Butler (5-2, 3-0 in SW4A conference play) has won four straight games after a 1-2 start.
Worthy has 608 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 96 carries to go with 11 catches for 177 yards and another score this season.
Jaheim Mullen, Hunter Huss Football: The Hunter Huss senior starred on both sides of the ball to help the Huskies to a 38-21 win at Kings Mountain 38-21 Oct. 5. to stay unbeaten at 7-0 (3-0 in the Big South conference).
Mullen, a wide receiver/defensive back, had two interceptions on defense, returning one 10 yards for a touchdown.
Meanwhile on offense, Mullen added three catches for 56 yards and two more scores.
Mullen has 15 catches for 279 yards receiving this year, with four interceptions on defense for a Hunter Huss team that is 7-0 for the first time since 1976.
Elijah Burris, Mountain Island Charter Football: The Mountain Island junior running back put up video game like numbers, again, averaging 18.4 yards per carry as he rushed for 276 yards and a touchdown and had two catches for 75 yards and another score in the Raptor’s 41-7 win over Cherryville, Oct. 5.
The 5-foot-10, 215 pound running back is No. 1 in the state with 1,707 yards rushing (No. 8 in the nation, according to maxpreps) and 20 touchdowns on 109 carries for Mountain Island Charter (5-2, 2-1 in the South Piedmont 1A conference) this season.
Burris, who has rushed for 200-plus yards six times this year (including 320 yards rushing against Union Academy, Sept. 28), also has nine catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Burris has an offer from University of North Carolina and has interest from Appalachian State, East Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, according to Mountain Island Charter football coach, Robert Washington.
Jaylen Coleman, Porter Ridge Football: The Porter Ridge senior running back rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries (12.5 yards per carry) to help the Pirates to 45-7 win at Independence, Oct. 5.
Coleman, who averages 162 yards rushing per game overall, has stepped up his game in SW4A conference play, averaging 174 yards per contest.
Coleman, a Duke University commit, has 1,134 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in 101 rushes this season.
Jalen Houston, West Rowan Football: The Falcons’ junior scored four touchdowns on six touches to lead West Rowan to a 35-14 victory over rival, East Rowan, Oct. 5.
Houston has five catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns receiving, while also taking a kickoff back 80 yards for another score to help West Rowan improve to 4-3 overall, including 1-0 in the North Piedmont conference (NPC).
Houston has 27 catches for 770 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He also scored one rushing and return touchdown.
** Information published today includes statistics through October 6th.
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 email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.