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Vote for the News & Observer high school athlete of the week (12.20.21)

·5 min read

Here are this week’s nominees for the News & Observer high school athlete of the week in the Triangle. The poll will close Friday, around noon. Vote as often as you like.

Grant Carey, Middle Creek Wrestling: The Mustangs’ went a perfect 6-0 on the mat winning by pinfall in each match.

Carey won five of his matches at 170/182 pounds with first period pins to take the title at the Heritage Husky Duals Dec. 4.

Carey is 8-0 overall this season with eight pins.

Francesca DiGiovanni, Smithfield Selma Swimming: The Spartans’ freshman won the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle to help her team to victory at the Quad County Conference meet Dec. 1.

DioGiovanni also helped the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay to wins at the same meet.

Dawson Fennema, Sanderson Basketball: The 6-foot-2 senior scored 26 points, had five rebounds and six assists with only one turnover in 20 minutes of play to help Sanderson earn it first win of the season Dec. 2.

Fennema also had 13 points and four rebounds in a 47-46 loss to Cary Nov. 30.

Fennema is averaging 17.7 points and four rebounds per game for Sanderson (1-2).

Francesco Fulghieri, Carrboro Wrestling: The Jaguars’ junior was a perfect 7-0 on the mat, with six pins and a win by forfeit.

Fulghieri won five of his seven matches in the 170-pound weight class, despite weighing in at only 153 pounds.

He won two matches in a win over Page and Williams Nov. 30.

Fulghieri also went 5-0 with four pins and a win by forfeit to win the 170-pound title at the Rumble in the Jungle Tournament at Carrboro Dec. 4.

Fulghieri, who is 8-4 overall this season, was named the meet’s most outstanding wrestler by the (competing) coaches at the same meet.

Israel Guerra, West Johnston Wrestling: The Wildcats’ junior captain went 4-0 to keep his perfect 14-0 record at 113 pounds intact.

Guerra won both matches by forfeit as his West Johnston team beat Eastern Wayne and Southern Wayne Dec. 1.

Guerra won by pin both matches against Millbrook and Triton, Dec. 2. The West Johnston wrestling team beat Triton (40-39) and lost to Millbrook in the team competition.

The West Johnston wrestling team is 11-3 this season.

Jacob Hoffman, West Johnston Swimming: The Wildcats’ junior set personal best times in winning the 100 breaststroke (1:17.69) and the 500 freestyle (6:13.52) in a Quad 4 Conference meet at the Goldsboro YMCA Dec. 1.

Hoffman also helped the 200 medley relay to a runner-up finish, and the 200 freestyle relay finished to a third-place finish the same day.

Joshua Ju, Cary Christian Swimming: The Knights’ eighth-grader won the 100 butterfly (57.29) and 200 individual medley (2:11.48) in a tri-meet with North Raleigh Christian and St. David’s, Dec. 2.

Ju swims year round for the TAC Titans’ club team.

Collin Kuhl, Holly Springs Basketball: The 6-foot-7 junior averaged 15.3 points and 11 rebounds per game as Holly Springs beat Leesville Road, Person and Willow Spring.

Kuhl, who posted a double-double in all three games this week, has helped Holly Springs to a 3-1 record this season.

Pat Malott, Apex Basketball: The 6-foot-1 senior had 27 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and a highlight-reel blocked shot to helped Apex to a 66-47 victory at Fuquay Varina Nov. 30.

He followed that up with 29 points, six rebounds and two assists in a 73-68, overtime win at Heritage Dec. 1. Malott hit two clutch free throws late in the same game in regulation.

Malott also had six points, four rebounds and four assists in limited minutes as Apex rolled to a 75-53 win at Southern Lee Dec. 3.

Apex (3-1) is off to its best start since the 2007-08 season, when the team finished as state runner-up.

Gabby Matthews, Rolesville Basketball: The 5-foot-6 freshman averaged 18 points per game as Rolesville went 3-0 with wins over East Wake, Franklinton and Northern Nash.

Matthews started her week with 19 points in a 53-25 win at Franklinton, Nov. 30.

The next night, she had 19 more points in a 63-36 victory over Northern Nash.

Matthews finished off the week with 16 points in a 55-26 win over East Wake Dec. 2.

Matthews is averaging 15.4 points per game for Rolesville (4-1) this season.

Tia Ormondroyd, Holly Springs Swimming: The Golden Hawks’ freshman won all four events she competed in to help the Holly Springs’ girls’ swimming team to a 30-point victory in a quad-meet with Athens Drive, Cary and Middle Creek, Nov. 30 at Smithfield.

Ormondroyd was first-place in the 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and helped both the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay teams to wins at the same meet.

Alex Smith, Franklin Academy: The 6-foot-2 senior guard scored 11 points as the Patriots won 74-42 at Woods Charter, Nov. 29. Smith also had 23 points in a 72-49 win over Oak Forest, Dec. 2.

Franklin Academy is 3-3 this season.

** Information published today includes statistics through Dec. 4.

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.

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

(To vote multiple times, refresh the page)

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