GIRL's next top stars and teams
The time has come for these athletes and teams to rule the high school sports scene. GIRL Magazine takes a look at four athletes and two teams who are at the top of their games.
Avery Ardovino Winter Sports School (Park City, Utah) -- Class of 2009
When Ardovino was 8 years old, she joined an after-school ski jumping program to stay busy until her mom got out of work. Nine years later, Ardovino is the nation's best up-andcoming ski jumper. The youngest jumper on the U.S. Ski A Team by five years, Ardovino will begin her senior year of high school this spring (her school runs from April-November to give students the chance to travel and train during the winter sports season). Ardovino, who finished in the Top 10 of four Continental Cup events in 2008, is gearing up for the ski jumping World Championships in the Czech Republic this winter. Then next up is trying to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Skylar Diggins Washington (South Bend, Ind.) -- Class of 2009
As a DJ in her spare time, Diggins typically spins artists like Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Rihanna. But when she's on the basketball court, the 5-foot-9 Notre Dame recruit is busy spinning defenders around in circles. Rated the nation's No. 1 point guard in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100, Diggins can do it all. She was named Gatorade State Player of the Year as a junior after leading the state in scoring with 29.5 points per game. She also chipped in with 7.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.9 steals per contest. Diggins, who led Washington to a state title as a sophomore, even found time last summer to help the USA Women's U18 National Team win the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. As Weezy would say, Go DJ.
Ashley Evans Pinnacle (Phoenix) -- Class of 2010
You wouldn't know Evans was only a junior by looking at her resume. And you sure wouldn't know she's one of the world's best youth swimmers by looking at her. Only 5-foot-3 -- tiny in the world of elite swimming -- Evans qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle as well as the 200 butterfly. She didn't make the Olympics this year, but give her time. Evans set meet records while taking gold in both the 400 and 800 freestyle at the 2007 Junior National Championships. When she's not dominating world-class waters, she's tearing up Arizona pools. Evans has captured back-to-back Class 5A, Division II state titles in both the 200- and 500- yard freestyle, setting a state record in the 500 as a sophomore with a time of 4:42.61.
Markel Walker Schenley (Pittsburgh) -- Class of 2009
Walker is just the latest star from her family, following in the footsteps of older sister Marcedes, the all-time leading rebounder in Pitt history. But the younger Walker's game isn't all about hanging out down low. A versatile athletic threat, she can take defenders inside and outside or excel at finishing fast breaks. Walker averaged 16.6 points per game last year for Schenley, which advanced to the PIAA Class AAAA state quarterfinals. Bound for UCLA next year, Walker is rated the nation's No. 1 wing and No. 4 overall recruit in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100.
Immaculate Heart (Washington, N.J.) Swimming
State titles are nothing new to Immaculate Heart, but even the Blue Eagles have to be excited about this winter's team. The defending Non- Public A champs have an All-Star lineup that includes one of the nation's top swimmers, senior Bryeanne Ravettine, as well as star sophomore Danielle Romain. Ravettine is a 2012 Olympic hopeful who finished seventh in the 50 free at the 2008 Junior National Championships. Romain, meanwhile, is one of the state's best performers in the 200 and 500 free and won the 200 IM at the state finals last year. In addition to those two, seniors Lia Kunnapas and Shauna Niemeier solidify the backstroke and breaststroke events, respectively.
Saint Andrew's (Boca Raton, Fla.) Soccer
After winning a state title in 2006-07, Saint Andrew's was bounced in the regional semifinals last season. This winter, the Scots are seeking revenge. Almost the entire roster returns, including junior Laura Weinberg. A Duke-bound forward, Weinberg scored 27 goals last year. Team captain Emily Brockway, a senior sweeper who has started for the Scots since eighth grade, anchors the back line, while senior midfielder Serra Tumay controls the middle. Senior Lauren Reilly will be in goal this winter even though she's also a talented forward. In preparation for a deep playoff run, coach Stacy Dent-Iaciofano tapped several bigger schools and former state champs for what she calls the team's hardest schedule ever.
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