Herbie Behm, a record-setting swimmer from Catalina Foothills High (Tucson, Ariz.), and Casey Garvey, a girls volleyball standout from Mercy Academy (Louisville, Ky.), have been named as the latest ESPN RISE National Boys and Girls Athletes of the Week for the 2008-2009 school year.
During last weekend's Class 4A Division I swimming championships held at Arizona State, Behm became the first swimmer in state history to go under 20 seconds in the 50 free with his time of 19.84 seconds in the prelims. He broke the previous state record of 20.22 set last year by Adam Small from Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.), who broke the record of 20.30 held before that by Gary Hall Jr.
The name Gary Hall Jr. might sound familiar: He is an Arizona swimmer who went on to win 10 Olympic medals and was a world record holder.
"[Behm]'s certainly one of the top recruits in the country," Catalina Foothills swim coach R.J. Lundstrom told the Tucson Citizen about his star pupil. "With guys, it's harder to tell if they're going to make it internationally because they hit their physical peak in their early 20s, but at this level, he's in that Gary Hall range. In fact, he's going faster than Hall did in high school, and that's rarified air."
Behm came back to win the 50 free state final in 20.09 seconds the next day and also took home a first-place finish in the 100 free. In addition, Behm was part of two relay teams that won and led Catalina Foothills to its ninth straight state team title.
Behm, who also won state titles as a sophomore in New Mexico before he moved to Tucson, will swim in college for national power Tennessee.
Our girls national honoree for this week comes from a family in which volleyball is almost a way of life. Garvey was named MVP of the Kentucky state tournament after recording a match-high 27 assists as the nationally ranked Jaguars (40-1) beat city rival Sacred Heart 27-25, 25-18 in the finals before a state-tournament-record 2,557 fans at Bellarmine University in Louisville.
Garvey's team beat Sacred Heart for the fifth time this season and won its fifth state title and first since 1990. Mercy's only loss of the season came in a match against Louisville powerhouse Assumption, a team the Jaguars also beat three times.
Garvey already has been named the regional player of the year and should be a repeat selection to the Kentucky all-state team.
Mercy will finish no lower than No. 3 in the final ESPN RISE FAB 50 national rankings. Finishing No. 1 will depend on how California teams La Costa Canyon and Archbishop Mitty fare in upcoming section and state playoffs.
The full list of this week's ESPN RISE regional boys and girls athletes of the week follows:
East Region Athletes of the Week
Tyler Udland (Milburn, N.J.) Cross Country
Udland was a bit overshadowed, on a national basis, by Jersey super-soph Joe Rosa earlier in the season. Now, however, he is starting to make headlines befitting someone who was the nation's best sophomore in the 3200 last spring (9:04). At the Essex County Championships on Friday, Udland ripped a course record 14:58 5K, beating the 15:02 mark of 2007 Foot Locker finalist Brandon Jarrett. Only Craig Forys, the 2006 Foot Locker runner-up, has gone under 15:00 on a New Jersey course in recent years.
Jocelyn McCoy (Archbishop Spalding, Severn, Md.) Soccer
Spalding ended its season with nine straight shutouts, and McCoy was instrumental in that run as the goalie. McCoy came up with a crucial save to secure Spalding's 2-0 IAAM championship victory over former FAB 50 No. 2 McDonogh School.
Southeast Region Athletes of the Week
Bryan Atkinson (Melbourne, Palm Beach, Fla.) Cross Country
Atkinson, who was a rare sophomore state champ when he took the Florida 4A (biggest class) title last year, is on a path to repeating. Last weekend, he cruised to victory in the Cape Coast Conference, running 15:29 for 5K. The previous week, he was a close third in the Little Everglades Pre-State meet, but first among 4A runners. It will no doubt be a close battle to see who is the fastest winner among the four class winners in the Nov. 22 state meet.
Kim Spano (North Mecklenburg, Huntersville, N.C.) Cross Country
The name "Kim Spano" has been synonymous with success and victory in North Carolina for three years, and this fall, the senior seems to be getting better than ever. Last weekend, she won her third straight 4A title in 18:05, building a 20-second margin of victory and recording the best time of the day in any class. She will be a strong contender to make it to the Nike Cross Nationals or the Foot Locker Finals later in the month.
Midwest Region Athletes of the Week
Kyle Schickel (St. Xavier, Louisville, Ky.) Soccer
Schickel is making a serious play for Kentucky State Player of the Year honors. The Northwestern commit scored three goals in St. Xavier's 6-2 sectional championship win over South Oldham in a match that featured five NCAA Division I commits. He also earned a penalty kick that a teammate converted during the victory.
Casey Garvey (Mercy Academy, Louisville, Ky.) Volleyball
Also named ESPN RISE National Athlete of the Week.
Southwest Region Athletes of the Week
Zach Ornelas (Vista Ridge, Cedar Park, Texas) Cross Country
Ornelas, the Nike Outdoor National steeple champ from last spring who earlier in the month suffered a tough loss at the Nike South meet, is back on the path toward challenging for the 5A state title. In the 5A District 16 meet, he rolled a 14:59 5K, beating a strong field and showing he'll be ready for regionals, state and the postseason in the weeks ahead.
Chelsey Feekin (Papillion-La Vista, Papillion, Neb.) Volleyball
As the co-captain and setter for a nationally ranked team, Feekin has been awesome so far this season, and she was at it again in leading Papillion-La Vista to a 3-0 win over Marian in the conference tourney. Feekin improved her season totals to 854 set assists with 175 kills and 37 service aces. She has led the Monarchs to a 37-1 season record, with the lone loss coming against Marian. This time, it wasn't close -- Papillion-La Vista won for the fourth time against the team it lost to once. Feekin is headed to Wichita State to continue her volleyball career. She is also an honors student and co-editor of the yearbook.
West Region Athletes of the Week
Herbie Behm (Catalina Foothills, Tucson, Ariz.) Swimming
Also named ESPN RISE National Athlete of the Week.
Dara Ajimine (Kalani, Honolulu, Hawaii) Bowling
So when does someone go from Oahu to Kaua'i to hit the lanes for a few games of bowling? When you are Ajimine, a two-time defending champion in a state where bowling is an interscholastic sport. Ajimine won her second title a year ago in dramatic fashion by one pin, but last week she breathed easier in becoming Hawaii's first three-time bowling champ. Ajimine had a 575 series in her final three-game set and ended with a total pinfall of 1,752. She won her title by 83 pins. One of the competitors she topped was Kapolei's Kimie Roller, a real Roller bowler.
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.