Torrie Campbell, who led her Amarillo (Texas) High girls volleyball team to its third straight state title, and soccer player Will Stamatis, who plays for one of the most successful coaches in U.S. history at Pingry School (Martinsville, N.J.), have been chosen as the latest ESPN RISE National Boys and Girls Athletes of the Week for 2008-09 school year.
Campbell and the Lady Sandies made history in the Texas state tournament as they became the first Class 5A team to win three consecutive state volleyball championships.
The ESPN RISE Volleyball FAB 50 preview stated, "If any coach can get a team ready to make another run at a state title, it's Amarillo's Jan Barker, who, last season, picked up career win number 700."
The 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker led the Lady Sandies in their come-from-behind victory over Austin Westlake, 19-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19, 15-11. The Baylor University commit contributed nine kills, two digs, four block assists and three aces in the University Interscholastic League state title match.
Campbell earned numerous honors over her career in both club and high school and was one of two Amarillo players selected to this year's All-Tournament Team. The Texas Girls Coaches Association volleyball committee also has selected her as the 2008 Player of the Year.
Our boys honoree, Stamatis, scored his team's second and third goals in a 3-0 win over St. Augustine of Richland in the title match of the Non-Public A state tournament.
Both of Stamatis' goals were unassisted, and the win capped Pingry's 19-0-1 season. The team entered the title match ranked No. 1 in New Jersey by the Star-Ledger and No. 9 in the nation by the ESPN RISE FAB 50.
Stamatis, who was listed as one of the top players in the state in the preseason by the Star-Ledger, scored 20 goals on the season. He had 14 goals and four assists as a junior.
At Pingry, Stamatis plays for head coach Miller Bugliari, who earlier this season won his 700th game. Bugliari has been coaching for 49 years and heads into his 50th season with a reported record of 714-89-54.
The full list of this week's ESPN RISE regional boys and girls athletes of the week follows:
East Region Athletes of the Week
Will Stamatis (Pingry School, Martinsville, N.J.) Soccer
Also named ESPN RISE National Boys Athlete of the Week.
Jillian Kinter (Newburyport, Mass.) Soccer
The Colgate-bound senior simply has the winning touch. Kinter had a goal and an assist in Newburyport's 2-0 victory over Monson in the Massachusetts Division III state final. For Kinter, it was her third state title in the span of one year. Kinter helped Newburyport to a state title last year and in between helped the Aztec club team to the state's U17 title. During the playoffs, Kinter scored or assisted on the match-winning goal in the team's final three victories. Kinter closed out her career with a school-record 89 goals. She had 25 goals and 11 assists this season.
Southeast Region Athletes of the Week
Armando Del Valle (Columbus, Miami, Fla.) Cross Country
The standout sophomore runner did not win the Class 4A individual state title in Dade City, but came through with a personal-best time of 15:24 to take second-place and provide the spark for his team to win its first state team title in 11 years. Del Valle's performance helped the Explorers win the team crown by 33 points over defending champion and overall No. 1 state-ranked Melbourne. The Explorers did not even win their regional meet, but they put it all together when it counted the most and grabbed a state title instead.
Kayla Hale (Holy Trinity, Melbourne, Fla.) Cross Country
She wasn't quite the fastest of the day at the Florida state meet, but that's no easy task when Florida includes Foot Locker Finals defending champ Ashley Brasovan. But Hale will graduate with the same number of state titles as Brasovan -- four -- after Saturday. Hale completed a clean sweep of 1A crowns with her 17:45 on Saturday. This weekend, Hale will race in one of her favorite meets, Foot Locker South, where the two-time Finals qualifier was second last year, beating Brasovan and nearly upsetting 2006 national champ Kathy Kroeger.
Midwest Region Athletes of the Week
J.T. Wedding (Brandon, Ortonville, Mich.) Ice Hockey
Wedding is off to a fast start for the 2-0 Blackhawks. Last weekend, he scored four goals and had four assists in a 9-0 blanking of host Port Huron in McMorran Arena.
Abby Duncan (Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn.) Swimming
The sophomore not only won her second straight state Class 2A 100-meter breaststroke title but set a state meet record of 1 minute, 1.3 seconds, which shattered the previous mark by more than half a second. She also won the 200-meter individual medley. Duncan is entered in the U.S. Short Course National Championships in Atlanta next month.
Southwest Region Athletes of the Week
Christian Krueger (Rockhurst, Kansas City, Mo.) Soccer
He was the one in goal as Rockhurst blanked its way to a second straight Class 3 state championship. With junior teammate Jack Russell finding the net twice on offense, Krueger and the rest of the Hawklet defense were rock-solid in a 3-0 win over Glendale of Springfield in the title match. Krueger posted his 14th straight shutout to end the season. The team also had 21 shutouts in all and finished with a 27-4 final record.
Torrie Campbell (Amarillo, Texas) Volleyball
Also named ESPN RISE National Girls Athlete of the Week.
West Region Athletes of the Week
Dart Schwaderer (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) Cross Country
Colorado's three returning Foot Locker Finalists got most of the ink coming into the year, but two athletes outside of that trio have won two of the bigger meets of the season. At Stanford, it was Walter Schafer, and last week at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Championships, it was Schwaderer. Facing state champs from New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming among a great field of harriers, Schwaderer rallied from 10th at the 2-mile mark for the fast 15:15 5K victory. He was fourth in a very competitive Colorado 4A state meet, won by U.S. No. 1-ranked Joseph Manilafasha. The other two who beat him there were also among those Schwaderer beat Saturday.
Laura Tremblay (Thompson Valley, Loveland, Colo.) Cross Country
Tremblay was not only the best in the West on Saturday, but had what was surely the closest victory of the week in the nation. Her kick in the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Championships got her to the finish line in 17:40.20, three-hundredths of a second ahead of Arizona's Jessica Tonn. That point she earned over Tonn helped her club get 4th by one point and kept it in the running for an at-large bid for NXN. Tonn had been second in her 4A state meet and 9th overall that day in Colorado but beat some of those runners plus state champs from New Mexico and Arizona.
Nominations can be sent in each week for consideration. Include brief reasons why the athlete should be chosen and what he or she did in the previous week, and send the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.