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Vote for the Charlotte Observer high school athlete of the week (1.29.21).

Langston Wertz Jr., Jay Edwards
·4 min read

Voting is now open for the Charlotte Observer athlete of the week.

Each week, the newspaper releases a list of nominees after going through nominations from coaches.

Readers can vote as often as they’d like until Friday.

Meet this week’s nominees.

Angie Allen, North Lincoln Cross Country: The Knights’ senior ran a time of 18:05.50 to win the 2A state cross country title by more than 1:18 over the field at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 22.

Allen, the 2A West Regional and South Fork 2A Conference cross country individual champion, also helped lead her North Lincoln girls’ cross country team to a 2A state championship.

Allen, a Princeton University commit, is also currently the valedictorian of her class.

Katie Cruise, Providence Volleyball: The Providence junior setter had 51 assists to lead the Panthers past four-time defending state champion Green Hope, 3-2, in the 4A state semifinals Jan. 19.

Cruise had 18 assists in the 4A state championship match, a 3-0 loss to Cardinal Gibbons at Cary’s Green Level High Jan. 23.

Cruise, an Appalachian State University commit, helped lead Providence to an 18-1 record this season.

Raven Gray, Cox Mill Volleyball: The Chargers’ senior outside hitter had 21 kills in a 3-0 loss in the 3A state championship loss to D.H. Conley at Cary’s Green Level High Jan. 23.

Gray also helped Cox Mill beat T.C. Roberson, 3-0, in the 3A state semifinals Jan. 19.

Cox Mill finished 18-1 this season.

Madeline Hill, Cuthbertson Cross Country: The Cavaliers’ senior ran an 18:11.91 to win the 3A state cross country title at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 23.

Hill, an East Carolina University signee, also led the Cuthbertson girls’ cross country team to a 3A state (team) championship.

Hill won both the Southern Carolinas’ conference (SCC) and 3A Midwest Regional individual cross country titles earlier this season.

Anaiah Jones, Mountain Island Charter Volleyball: The Raptors’ senior outside hitter had 15 kills, 10 digs and two aces as Mountain Island Charter came up one win short of a perfect season and state championship, falling 3-1 to East Wake Academy in the 1A state championship match at Cary’s Green Level High Jan. 23.

Jones also had 17 kills, 12 digs and an ace in a 3-0 state semifinal win over Bishop McGuinness Jan. 19.

Jones finished her season with 296 kills, 165 digs and 58 aces for Mountain Island Charter (18-1).

Miles Phillips, North Lincoln Cross Country: The North Lincoln senior ran a 15:51.39 to finish as 2A state runner-up while leading his Knights’ team to the 2A team championship at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 22.

Phillips, who was also the 2A West Regional runner-up last week, was one of four North Lincoln runners to finish in the top eight, including senior Jacob Scott (third), Stephen Fernetti (7th) and Jared Campbell (8th).

Murphy Smith, Ardrey Kell Cross Country: The Knights’ senior ran a 15:44.65 to win the 4A state cross country championships at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 22.

Smith, the 4A West Regional and SoMeck7 Conference individual champion, also led his Ardrey Kell boys’ cross country team to a third place finish at the 4A state meet.

Michelle Thao, Fred T. Foard Volleyball: The Tigers’ senior outside hitter had 10 kills and 17 digs to lead Fred T. Foard to its second straight 2A state championship, capping a perfect 19-0 season with a 3-0 victory over McMichael at Cary’s Green Level High Jan. 23.

Thao was named the 2A state championship’s most valuable player for the second straight year.

Thao helped Fred T. Foard to its eight state championship in program history.

Thao also had 13 kills, and 14 digs in Fred T. Foard’s 3-0, 2A state semifinal win at West Wilkes Jan. 19.

Lauren Tolbert, Highland Tech Cross Country: The Rams’ junior ran a 19:15.05 to win the 1A state cross country individual championship at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 23.

Tolbert’s state championship time was just one-second off her personal-best of 19:14.

Tolbert was also the 1A West Regional runner-up and South Piedmont 1A conference champions this season.

Caden Townshend, Weddington Cross Country: The Warriors’ sophomore ran a 15:48.47 to finish as 3A state runner-up (individually) at Ivey Redmon Sports’ Complex in Kernersville Jan. 22.

Townshend, who was third place at the 3A Midwest Regional and 13th at the SCC championships, also helped his Weddington’s boys’ cross country to a 3A state runner-up finish as a team.

Townshend ran a personal-best 15:29.40 to win the CRC Invitational at McAlpine Creek Park Dec. 19.

** Information published today includes statistics through Jan. 23.

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

If you can’t see the poll on mobile, click here