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Evans, Hill West's Athletes of Year

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Three-sport athletes Mariah Evans and Ryan Hill have been selected as West Brunswick’s athletes of the year. The honors were announced last week during the Senior Awards ceremony at the school.

Evans was a backup in basketball, averaging 1.3 points, but she contributed to several victories. She blocked eight shots, tying for third most on the team, and she had 19 steals.

“Mariah started several times for us this year,” basketball coach James Walker said. “She is a terrific young lady. She is blessed with athleticism and quickness and speed.

“Mariah has worked hard to excel in the classroom, as well. She has maintained a high GPA and is ranked high in this year’s senior class—all while playing three sports. She is very deserving of this honor.”

Evans showed her athleticism by playing soccer and participating in track in the same season. Typical of her season, the day after Evans had three assists in a soccer game at South Brunswick, she had two firsts and a second in the county track meet.

In track, Evans won the county championship in the 200-meter run (27.81 seconds). She ran on the winning 4x100 relay. She was second in the long jump. Evans also was a regional qualifier in all three events.

“Mariah has been an extremely versatile performer for us over her career,” track coach Yogi Hickman said. “She has participated in the sprints, jumps and relays and has been competitive in all of them. She is highly competitive and demands a lot of herself. Her desire to participate in both track and soccer have kept her from even better results in track, but I think it is a measure of her competitive nature that she chose to do both. She is well deserving of her honor and has been a credit to West Brunswick.”

In soccer, Evans was an All-Mideastern Conference player, and she led the Trojans to a 4-0 record against county rivals North Brunswick and South Brunswick. She scored in West’s first game against South, a 3-0 victory. She scored three goals in West’s first game against North, a 5-1 victory. In the rematch with South, Evans had three assists in the 3-2 victory. In the rematch with North, Evans scored in the 3-0 victory.

Evans was West’s top goal scorer (10) and leader in assists (six).

“Mariah has worked really hard all year and very effectively, balancing both varsity women’s soccer and track,” soccer coach Laura Hickman said. “Mariah plays every game from start to finish with 110 percent effort. I am very proud of what Mariah has been able to accomplish this year with her contributions to the soccer team, track team and the basketball team.”

Hill competed in football, basketball and baseball. Football was Hill’s main sport, and he was an All-Mideastern Conference player. Hill will continue his football career at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Hill said he was appreciative of the honor and praised his teammates.

“I couldn’t have (achieved this) without all of my teammates,” he said. “They motivated me to do better. I thank them for that.”

Hill said one of his goals his senior year was to be named athlete of the year.

“The main goal was to have a winning season in football,” he said. “We went 0-11 (in 2007). The main thing I tried to do was turn the season around. We ended up going 6-6. So that was a success.”

Hill quarterbacked the Trojans to the Mideastern Conference 3-A title and a spot in the state playoffs. In nearly every game, he did something memorable.

In the Trojans’ first game, he gained 175 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 94-yard run in West’s 35-22 victory over Socastee.

He scored on 28-yard and 25-yard runs in a 25-15 loss to South Brunswick.

Against Whiteville, he gained 81 yards on 12 carries and scored. He also threw a touchdown pass in the 28-6 victory.

In the conference 3-A title game against Jacksonville, Hill gained 98 yards on seven carries and scored on a 59-yard run and an 80-yard punt return in the 35-21 victory.

He gained 107 yards on seven carries against Laney.

In the final game of the regular season against North Brunswick, Hill threw a 60-yard touchdown pass and scored on a sneak and a 45-yard run. He finished with 120 yards on 17 carries in the 40-16 victory.

In the playoff against Overhills, Hill scored on touchdown runs of 85 and 68 yards. He finished with 180 yards on 22 carries. He also threw a 68-yard touchdown pass.

In basketball, Hill was a starting guard who averaged 7.1 points for a team that averaged 47.6 points a game. He made 53 percent of the two-point shots he attempted. He had 34 assists, second most on the team. He finished with eight steals, which tied for third most on the team.

In baseball, Hill was the leadoff hitter for a Trojan team that finished 20-6 and reached the fourth round of the Class 3-A state playoffs. He batted .372 with 32 hits, third most on the team. He scored 29 runs, second most on the team. He stole a team-high 13 bases.