Stephen Saenz, an indoor track standout from Rio Grande High School (Texas), and Meghan Gibbons, a girls soccer player from The Woodlands High School (Texas), have been selected as the ESPN RISE National Boys and Girls Athletes of the Week.
Saenz, a senior and one of at least a trio of athletes nationwide who are making the boys shot put one of the best in all of track and field this year, took the U.S. lead with a thunderous throw at the Carl Lewis Invitational in Houston. His put of 69-07.75 is the fourth best in U.S. indoor prep history and the longest since 1990. Only one athlete nationally (now graduated), indoors or outdoors, threw further last year.
Gibbons, a junior, scored twice in The Woodlands' 4-2 victory over McKinney Boyd to secure the bracket title of last week's I-10 Shootout. The Woodlands, ranked No. 3 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50, has won tournaments the past two weekends to validate its lofty ranking. Gibbons has been an outstanding player throughout her prep career at The Woodlands and has signed a letter of intent with the University of Georgia.
The full list of this week's ESPN RISE regional boys and girls athletes of the week follows:
East Region Athletes of the Week
Terrance Livingston (Great Neck South, Great Neck N.Y.) Indoor Track
Already the national indoor leader at 800 meters, Livingston, a senior, showed the breadth of his talent with a tremendous double at the Molloy Stanner Games in New York. He tripled the number of events in which he leads the U.S. by running 1:20.41 for 600 meters and 2:30.81 for 1000 meters. Livingston was third last year in the Nike Outdoor Nationals 800 meters.
Emily Lipari (Roslyn, Roslyn Heights, N.Y.) Indoor Track
Already the national indoor leader at the mile and a Millrose Games invitee, Lipari, a junior, took over the top of the 3000 meter list at the Molloy Stanner Games in New York. Her 9:50.21 was actually the third revision of the U.S. lead in the same day at three meets around the country. Lipari has won multiple state titles in cross-country and track, and has placed 6th and 11th at Foot Locker Nationals the past two autumns.
Southeast Region Athletes of the Week
Wayne Davis II (Southeast Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.) Indoor Track
Just as he did last year, Davis, a senior, is dominating the national indoor lists at both the 55- and 60-meter hurdles. His winning 55H mark at the Eastern Challenge in Chapel Hill, N.C., was his best yet for 2009, a 7.15 clocking that was just .09 short of his U.S. record. He is also the national leader at 60H and is the defending Nike Indoor champ at that distance.
Sherice Walker (Cummings, Burlington, N.C.) Indoor Track
The multi-talented Walker showed her range of talents at the Eastern Challenge in Chapel Hill N.C. With marks that were all national-class, the senior won the long jump with 18-09.50, the triple jump with 37-10, and a the 55H with 8.14.
Midwest Region Athletes of the Week
Josh Zinzer (West Aurora, Aurora, Ill.) Wrestling
In three matches at last weekend's Mega Duals tourney at Lockport, Ill., Zinzer pinned his opponents in a combined time of less than two minutes. Wrestling in the 125-pound division, Zinzer looks like one of the best in the Chicago area. He medaled as a sophomore at the state championships, but was sidelined with an injury last season.
Julie Daukss (Rockford, Mich.) Skiing
This accomplishment actually is from this week, but we decided to go with it to get a skier mentioned. Daukss, who placed in the top 10 of the slalom as a freshman in last year's state championships, swept both the slalom and giant slalom events on Tuesday in the Greater Grand Rapids Skiing Conference multi-school meet. She won in the slalom by more than two seconds in her combined two runs and in the giant slalom her winning margin was almost the same.
Southwest Region Athletes of the Week
Stephen Saenz (Rio Grande, Texas) Indoor Track
Also named the ESPN RISE National Boys Athlete of the Week.
Meghan Gibbons (The Woodlands, The Woodlands, Texas) Soccer
Also named the ESPN RISE National Girls Athlete of the Week.
West Region Athletes of the Week
Jose Lopez (John Glenn, La Mirada, Calif.) Wrestling
One of the biggest invitational meets of the season in California is the Five Counties Invitational and last weekend this heavyweight was one of the most impressive in action. Lopez, in fact, was named MVP of the entire event after dominating in the heavyweight division. The senior started this week with a 28-0 record and had 25 pins.
Trinity Wilson (St. Mary's, Berkeley, Calif.) Indoor Track
Wilson, who had the fastest 100-meter hurdle outdoor time last spring/summer of any 8th-grader in the country, showed she's ready to continue her ascent up the national lists as a freshman. In the Run for the Dream indoor meet in Fresno, she blasted through the 55-meter hurdles in 7.94, which is .07 faster than any other prep has gone this winter.
Mark Tennis, Doug Huff, Christopher Lawlor, Sheldon Shealer and Steve Underwood contributed to this story.