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Vote for the News & Observer high school athlete of the week (6.19.21)

·5 min read

Meet the nominees for the News & Observer high school athlete of the week.

Readers can vote as often as they want until Saturday, around noon, when the poll will close.

Graham Aitken, Millbrook Track: The Wildcats’ senior ran a personal-best 2:00.10 to win the 800-meter run in meet against Broughton, Enloe and Leesville Road at Millbrook June 8.

Aitken also helped the Millbrook 4 X 400-meter relay team to victory in the same meet.

Aitken, a Tusculum University commit, also helped his Millbrook boys’ track team to victory over Broughton, Enloe and Leesville Road.

Harper Clark, Cleveland Track: The Rams’ sophomore won Greater Neuse 3A Conference titles in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, while helping the 4 X 800-meter relay to victory at Cleveland High, June 9.

Clark’s efforts also helped his Cleveland boys’ track team to a dominant victory at the Greater Neuse 3A Conference Championships as the Rams won by 98 points.

Olivia Douglas, East Wake Track: The Eagles’ sophomore jumped 4-8 to win the Greater Neuse 3A Conference title at Cleveland High, June 9.

Douglas helped her East Wake girls’ track team to a 3rd-place finish.

Quinton Ely, Millbrook Baseball: The Wildcats’ senior went 4-for-11 at the plate with four runs scored and an RBI, while also earning a win the mound as Millbrook beat Broughton twice before losing to South Garner.

Ely earned the victory on the mound with three strikeouts allowing just three hits in a 10-0 win over Broughton, June. 7. Ely was 0-for-2 at the plate with a walk in the same game.

Ely went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI in an 8-2 victory in eight innings at Broughton, June 8.

The next day, Ely was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base in an 11-4 loss to South Garner.

Ely is 6-0 on the mound with 40 strikeouts in 31.2 innings of work while boasting a 0.88 earned-run average (ERA) for Millbrook (10-4) this season. He is also batting .318 with two doubles, eight runs scored and 13 RBI this year.

Trondrick Evans, South Garner Track: The Titans’ junior ran to South Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles in the 100 and 200-meter dash at Apex, June 8.

Evans also helped the 4 X 100 and 4 X 200-meter relays to conference titles at the same meet.

The South Garner boys’ track team finished as SWAC runner-up to Apex.

Luke Fogleman, Riverside Wrestling: The Knights’ junior finished off a perfect regular season (16-0) by winning the 126-pound title at the Tri-8 Conference Championships at Cary.

Fogleman has won all but two of his matches this season by fall, mostly in the first period, with his other two wins by decision (14-7) and major decision.

Camden Gurley, Neuse Charter Wrestling: The Cougars’ senior earned his 100th career victory with a pin of his 152-pound, Pamlico County opponent, June 10.

Gurley, who has 16 pin falls this year (tied for second most in the state in class 1A), is 25-4 overall this season.

Neuse Charter is 11-16 as a team this season.

Joshua Hightower, Smithfield Selma Wrestling: The Spartans’ sophomore went 4-0 this week in his first week in the starting lineup at 285 pounds (heavyweight, weight class) in his first year of wrestling.

Hightower, who is 6-0 this season, won the Greater Neuse River Conference title at 285 pounds, June 9.

Hightower is also two-way starter on the offensive and defensive line for the Smithfield Selma football team.

The Smithfield Selma wrestling team is 2-9 this season.

Corey McGee, Neuse Charter Track: The Cougars’ junior had a strong performance with four personal-best performances at the 1A Carolina Conference Championships at Princeton High, June 9.

McGee finished as runner-up in the long jump (17-3), third-place in the 300-meter hurdles (47.6), sixth-place in the 100-meter dash (12.3) and seventh-place in the 200-meter dash.

McGee helped the Neuse Charter boys’ track team to a 5th-place finish at the same meet.

Sarah Mitchell, Apex Track: The Cougars’ junior won all four events she competed in to earn the South Wake Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championships’ girls’ most valuable player (MVP) as she led the Apex girls’ track to victory by 57 points.

Mitchell won SWAC titles in the 800-meter run (2:23.60), the 1600-meter run (5:19.96), the 3200-meter run (12:05.99) and the 4 X 800-meter relay (10:04.90).

Arial Pearce, North Johnston Tennis: The Panthers’ senior and No. 1 player won the Eastern Plains’ Conference singles’ title, while also leading her team to a league crown this week.

Pearce won her singles’ match against Nash Central to help North Johnston to the Eastern Plains’ Conference title, June 7, as the Panthers finished the regular a perfect 12-0.

The following day, Pearce beat Beddingfield’s Annie Greene, 8-1, to claim the Eastern Plains’ Conference singles’ title. Pearce lost only game in four matches in the league tournament.

Pearce was named Eastern Plains’ Conference player of the year and North Johnston’s team MVP for her efforts.

** Information published today includes statistics through June 12.

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

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