During the season, several Southwest Virginia players surpassed big personal milestones and helped their teams to strong finishes.
Here’s a look at some of the top achievers and those who made the All-Southwest Virginia squad.
Emili Brooks, Union — The senior holds the VHSL record for most kills in a career and entering Tuesday’s Region 2D championship, she had compiled a school-record 530 kills this season. Brooks also had recorded 47 blocks, 204 digs and 43 service aces.
Anna Whited, Eastside — The junior is the team leader and guided the Lady Spartans to the Cumberland District regular-season and tournament championships. Entering Tuesday’s Region 1D semifinals, Whited had knocked down 409 kills with 16 blocks, 258 digs and 77 aces.
Katie Harless, Abingdon — The King University-bound Harless had a stellar senior season. Harless helped the Lady Falcons claim the Mountain 7 District championship behind 321 kills, 11 blocks, 166 digs and 28 aces.
Jayda Smith, Union — The senior middle hitter entered Tuesday’s Region 2D championship with 329 kills, 42 blocks, 214 digs and 17 aces.
Kaley Jenkins, Gate City — Jenkins played a key role in Gate City’s success this season. The three-year starter had no fewer than 100 assists to five separate hitters this season. Entering Tuesday’s Region 2D championship game, Jenkins had recorded 729 assists with 153 digs and 45 aces.
Hannah McAmis, Wise Central — The junior amassed a school-record 511 digs this season, giving her over 1,000 for her career. McAmis also holds the school record for 1,181 digs over her career. She recorded 49 digs against John Battle this season, a Central record for most digs in a game.
Several other area volleyball stars deserve mention for their strong seasons.
Among those hitters Kinslee Hammonds and Cassie Farley of Gate City, Rye Cove’s Kaleigh Sloan, Twin Springs’ Chloe Lane, Abingdon’s Morgan Blevins and Cassie Farley, Thomas Walker’s Talyn Dibrell and John Battle’s Emma Harmon.
Setters of note included Abingdon’s Emme Thompson, John Battle’s Keelie Pippen and Rye Cove’s Emily Bishop.
Liberos and defensive specialists posting above-average seasons included John Battle’s Bethany Smith and Gate City’s Lexie Summers and Aubrie Penley.
Several athletes are making their college choices official this week.
Abingdon’s Emily Breeding signed a letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Bluefield College on Monday.
Virginia-Wise will get a new women’s basketball recruit Wednesday when Science Hill’s Erin Egerbrecht signs her letter of intent to play for the Cavaliers.
On Thursday, Abingdon’s Sarah Walters is expected to sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Emory & Henry.
FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
5-star — Mason Polier, RB/LB, Union
Polier led a Bears defense that held Battle to 140 total yards in a 54-7 Mountain 7 District win.
On offense, Polier rushed for 216 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries — all in the opening half of the game.
4-star — C.J. Crabtree, RB, Wise Central
The junior ran his way into the Central record book in the Warriors' 47-0 blanking of Grundy. He rushed for 165 yards and touchdown on 17 carries and became the school's record-holder for most rushing yards (1,588) in a single season and most career rushing yards (2,980) — and he has at least one more game this season and all of next season to play.
3-star — Garrett Whited, RB/LB, Eastside
The senior made a triumphant return from an injury in the Spartans' 42-32 Cumberland District win over Castlewood on Saturday. He ran for 144 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception and made 15 tackles while on defense.
2-star — Trenton Adkins, RB, Ridgeview
The junior NCAA Division I prospect racked up another solid running game. Carrying the ball just nine times, Adkins rushed for 171 yards and five touchdowns.
1-star — Mikey Culbertson, LB/FB, J.I. Burton
The senior leader had another stellar performance in Friday’s 44-6 win over Thomas Walker. He recorded 12½ tackles, giving him over 500 for his career. Offensively, he was the leading ground gainer for the Raiders, finishing with 135 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
FOOTBALL TOP 10
Graham and Union stayed atop the final Southwest Virginia football poll after finishing the regular season strong.
Here’s a look at this week’s top 10, with record, how the team fared last week and previous ranking.
1. Graham (8-2) def. Marion 46-7 –– 1
2. Union (8-2) def. John Battle 54-7 –– 2
3. Patrick Henry (10-0) def. Northwood 36-0 –– 3
4. Ridgeview (8-2) def. Honaker 61-14 –– 4
5. Wise Central (8-2) def. Grundy 47-0 –– 5
6. Richlands (6-4) def. Virginia High 59-21 –– 6
7. Chilhowie (8-2) def. Holston 30-16 –– 7
8. J.I. Burton (8-2) def. Thomas Walker 44-6 –– 8
9. Tazewell (7-3) def. Grundy 42-18 –– 9
10. Abingdon (5-5) def. Lee High 49-14 –– NR