Commentary

Dutton, Adams receive honors

Updated: September 17, 2009, 5:06 PM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

High-scoring girls' soccer player Jaclyn Dutton from St. Clairsville (St. Clairsville, Ohio) and boys' cross country runner Connor Adams from Flower Mound (Flower Mound, Texas) have been the second ESPN RISE National Athletes of the Week for the 2009-10 school year.

Dutton, a senior, recorded her fourth career seven-goal game in a 10-3 win over The Linsly School (Wheeling, W.Va.). Dutton had seven goals and an assist to give her 22 goals in seven games this season. The first time she scored seven goals in a match was during her freshman season. She also now has 149 goals for her career, which is third-best in state history.

Dutton is more than just a prolific scorer from a small town. She's headed to national powerhouse Clemson after being recruited by Michigan, Pittsburg and West Virginia.

With all the great runners in Texas last year -- Gatorade National Boys' Runner of the Year Reed Connor is just one of them -- Adams got lost in the shuffle. He finished 21st in the Class 5A state meet in cross country and third in the 1,600 at the Class 5A state track meet.

This fall so far, Adams has charged toward the top. He ran a personal-best 14:44 for a three-mile personal record two weeks ago and then clocked 15:05.9 for a 5k personal record last weekend to take the Southlake Carroll Invitational. In beating Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) junior Craig Lutz, who's ranked No. 3 in the nation, Adams established himself as one of the top runners in Texas, his region and possibly the nation.

For the fall season, the weekly national Athlete of the Week honors go to athletes who play fall sports other than football. Football has its own separate player of the week recognition program.

Here's the complete list of this week's ESPN RISE Regional Athletes of the Week:

East Boys:
Jon Vitez  Cross Country
Haddonfield Memorial (Haddonfield, N.J.)
The small New Jersey school is a rising power on the national stage, and Vitez is at the forefront of a deep team. Last weekend, the senior served notice that he will be a threat in a state with a surprisingly big chunk of the nation's best, running 9:33 to win the senior division of the Cherokee Challenge. Not only did he have the best time of the day overall, but he also won his division for the fourth consecutive year, having taken his respective divisional race as a frosh, soph and junior.

East Girls:
Aisling Cuffe - Cross Country
Cornwall Central (New Windsor, N.Y.)
It's hard to believe one of New York's (and the country's) brightest young stars still has less than two years of serious running behind her, but she launched her campaign to try and win a state title and move up nationally with a win last weekend at the Section VII Invite. The junior's 17:22 for 5K is one of the nation's top times so far this fall and won by more than a minute against a strong field. Last fall, Cuffe was 12th in the Foot Locker Finals and then this past spring won the USATF Junior 5k and was second in the Pam Am Juniors 5k in Trinidad and Tobago.

Southeast Boys:
Taylor Diegel  Golf
Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.)
A junior, Diegel is not the best golfer on the loaded Farragut squad, but impressed nonetheless with a three-under-par 69 in leading the Admirals to an easy win last week in their District 4-AAA championship match. Diegel was a member of the 2008 Farragut team that won the Class AAA state title. Teammate Davis Bunn recently won the Greater Knoxville Amateur championship. Even without him, the Admirals won their district title by 19 shots. It's safe to say with Diegel, Bunn and others, Farragut is a heavy favorite to win a second straight state title.

Southeast Girls:
Malia Cali  Cross Country
St. Thomas Aquinas (Hammond, La.)
Cali made it into the national spotlight when she won the National Interscholastic Indoor Championship 2-mile race as a sophomore, but she hasn't quite been back to that level since. Last weekend, though, the senior showed that she might be ready to make a run at finally qualifying for a national harrier championship. Her 17:48.26 for 5k won the Mobile (Ala.) Challenge of Champions, taking down Emily Reese's course record and beating one of Georgia's best, Collins Hill's Nicky Akande.

Midwest Boys:
Ben Gates  Soccer
Holt (Holt, Mich.)
The junior forward stayed hot early in the season with a hat track to lead the Rams to a 4-1 win against perennial power East Lansing on Monday. Gates has scored in every game for Holt this season and has a total of 13 in 10 games. He has led the Rams to a 10-0 record in those games, including two wins last weekend at the Mason Invitational.

Midwest Girls:
Jaclyn Dutton  Soccer
St. Clairsville (St. Clairsville, Ohio)
Also named the ESPN RISE National Athlete of the Week.

Southwest Boys:
Connor Adams  Cross Country
Flower Mound (Flower Mound, Texas)
Also named the ESPN RISE National Athlete of the Week.

Southwest Girls:
Kayla Wyatt  Softball
Purcell (Purcell, Okla.)
Wyatt pitches for the No.1 team in 3A Oklahoma softball and has led the Dragons to an 18-1 record heading into this week. She is 15-1 on the season with a 0.31 ERA. She also has struck out 134 batters in 81 innings. In her last outing of last weekend, she led her team to a 3-0 win in 10 innings against Newcastle. She whiffed 14 in the extra-inning game.

West Boys:
Elias Gedyon  Cross Country
Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Last fall, Gedyon made it clear that he was not only a middle distance prodigy, but also one of the country's best harriers as well, winning the Mt. SAC team race, the California state meet, and taking 12th at the Nike Cross Nationals. After a spring where he won the CIF 1600, running under 4:08, but couldn't quite get his 800 best down, he showed he is ready to rip it over hill and dale again. He blazed a 14:26 over three miles last weekend at the Great Cow Run, giving him the second best 3-mile time in cross country reported so far this fall.

West Girls:
Sam Hirschman - Volleyball
Marymount (Los Angeles, Calif.)
In a major result that sent shockwaves through Southern California, Hirschman was the star in leading her No. 40 team in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 past No. 3 Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. Hirschman, a senior and headed to USC, keyed the upset as she delivered 20 kills, 15 digs and four blocks. The Sailors traveled to Mira Costa and won in a five-set victory, 25-21, 25-27, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11.

The ESPN RISE Athlete of the Week panel consists of Steve Underwood (cross country), Sheldon Shealer (soccer), Christine Jinbo (volleyball), Garland Cooper (softball), Doug Huff (multi-sports) and Mark Tennis (multi-sports).

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