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Fall Top 25

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

1. Brennan Butche, senior, Mississinewa cross country

Butche capped his career as arguably the best boys’ high school cross country runner of all time with a third place finish in the state championship in late October. Read more about Butche’s season, career and future on page B1. 

2. Mollie Gamble, junior, Oak Hill cross country

It was just Mollie being Mollie at the cross country state championship in October. Gamble let the pack go out in front of her then steadily worked her way through the field to finish 19th and earn all-state honors and a spot on the podium in Terre Haute. It was the swan song to a season that left Gamble a Marion sectional champion, runner-up in the Marion Regional and seventh in the New Haven Semistate. Gamble won her first Grant Four and Central Indiana Conference championships as well. She was named the Class 2A girls’ Indiana Runner of the Year, joining 2017 Oak Hill graduate Margo Hornocker as the second Grant County girl to win the award.

3. JK Thomas, junior, Marion football

Thomas was the atomic bomb in the Giants’ explosive offensive arsenal. His 26 touchdowns came in a variety of forms: on the ground, through the air and on kick returns, while also throwing for three touchdowns as Marion’s sometime quarterback. Of the touchdowns he scored, 16 were on plays of 40 yards or longer and another was a 51-yard passing score in the opening round of the sectional. Thomas averaged more than 10 yards per carry and amassed 1,537 rushing yards and more than 2,000 all-purpose yards for the Giants.  

4. Sarah Foulk, sophomore, Eastbrook soccer

Foulk proved to be nearly unstoppable on the pitch for the Class A sectional champ and regional runner-up Panthers. Eastbrook (17-2) played 19 games, and Foulk scored in every one. She had 15 multiple goal contests, scoring six goals against Eastern, five against Wabash and Maconaquah, four against Taylor and hat tricks against Marion, Mississinewa and South Adams. In all, Foulk scored 51 goals to lead all of Indiana, according to maxpreps.com, and assisted on 11 more. 

5. Xaine Kirby, senior, Eastbrook football

Kirby was a battering ram with big-play capability for Eastbrook’s Class 2A state runner-up. The Panthers ran the ball more than 700 times as a team, Kirby had nearly a third of those carries with 234. He also pounded his way to 1,873 yards at eight yards a pop and scored 22 touchdowns. Kirby also made 77 tackles, 11 for loss, and recorded three sacks for the Panthers defense. Kirby earned senior all-state first team honors from the Indiana Football Coaches Association.

6. Heisman Skeens, senior, Mississinewa football

Skeens capped a stellar high school career once again proving how versatile he was for the Indians. Skeens shifted from a starring role in Ole Miss’ offense to director, moving from wide receiver/running back to quarterback, and the Indians didn’t miss a beat. He still proved to be a dual threat and led Mississinewa with 1,371 yards rushing and 20 TDs. He also completed 62-of-92 passes for 1,169 yards with seven more scores and just one interception.

7. Taylor Kitts, junior, Marion soccer

Kitts was another nearly unstoppable player on the soccer pitch. She set a new Marion girls’ record with 37 goals and scored in 15 of the Giants’ 18 matches. Kitts had five-goal games against Anderson and Peru, four against South Adams and hat tricks against Muncie Central, Oak Hill, Wabash and Indianapolis Tech. She also had two assists in matches against Anderson, Wabash and Peru and totaled nine for the season.

8. Dre Aguilar, senior, Marion football

The emotional and physical leader of the Giants defense, Aguilar finished with 11 quarterback sacks despite missing three games with a knee injury. His 98-yard fumble recovery return TD in the waning minutes secured the Giants’ 49-35, first round sectional win over Pendleton Heights. The 4A senior all-stater had 12 tackles for losses among his 51 total stops, and he recovered two other fumbles.

9. Zane Shilts, senior, Eastbrook soccer/football

Shilts made all-CIC for the third straight year as a placekicker and then added 2A all-state honors after converting on 74-of-82 PATs. His biggest moment came in the semistate, where his 28-yard field goal as time expired gave the Panthers a 34-33 victory over Bremen and a trip to the Class 2A state finals. In soccer, Shilts scored nine goals, third most on the team, and recorded eight assists for Eastbrook’s sectional champions.

10. Cailyn Bolser, senior, Mississinewa volleyball

Bolser showed off both her power and versatility for the Grant Four and CIC co-champ Indians. The Ball State signee was second in Grant County with 313 kills while hitting at 41 percent for the season and added 58 blocks. Bolser also picked 385 digs and served at better than 89 percent and recorded 23 aces. She was named all-CIC first team.

11. Hope Mygrant, sophomore, Oak Hilll golf

Mygrant nearly saved her best for last, but her career-best round of 78 Setp. 22 at the East Noble Regional on Noble Hawk Golf Course earned her the fifth and final advancing spot at the girls’ state championship. Mygrant’s regional round came less than a month after she shot a then career-low 82 in winning the CIC title. She also added a runner-up finish in the Grant Four and sixth place finish in the Eastbrook Sectional.

12. Vikram Oddiraju, sophomore, Marion tennis

In a word, Oddiraju was perfect for the Giants sectional champion tennis team. Perfect as is 24-0 at the No. 2 singles position for coach Doug Porter, and did so in dominant fashion. Oddiraju dropped just three sets all season, one each to opponents from Penn, Chesterton and Richmond. Oddiraju earned a spot on the all-NCC first team as well as all-state honorable mention. 

13. Ashlyn Transier, senior, Oak Hill volleyball

Transier was one of a pair of powerful hitters in the Golden Eagles lineup. She recorded a Grant County-best 354 kills for the 22-9 Eagles while hitting at better than 39 percent. Transier made 75 total blocks and was named all-CIC first team for the first time in her career. Transier was one of two county girls to play on the Class A/2A North team in the volleyball coaches association’s Indiana All-Star matches.  

14. Cade Campbell, junior, Mississinewa football

When Skeens didn’t have the ball is his hands for Ole Miss, Campbell usually did. The 5-8, 160-pound running back carried the football a team-high 198 times and picked up 1,211 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. He also led the Indians with 20 catches for 369 yards and two more TDs. Campbell returned punts and kicks and finished with 1,900 total yards.

15. Noah Ross, senior, Eastbrook soccer

Ross was just one of the integral pieces of Eastbrook’s top-10 ranked boys’ soccer sectional champions. He finished his outstanding career with 12 goals and was second to Shilts with seven assists in helping the Panthers to a 15-2 record.

16. Brayden Burke, senior, Marion football

Burke’s impact and importance to Marion’s Class 4A final four football team can’t be measure with statistics alone. He rarely left the field for the 13-1 Giants. As a safety, Burke had a team-best six interceptions including a ‘pick-six’ and garnered all-NCC honors for the second straight year. Burke ranked third with 91 total tackles and had one fumble recovery. On offense, Burke caught 11 passes for 193 yards and one TD. Burke also made his presence felt on kickoff returns for the Giants.

17. Clay Dalton, senior, Eastbrook football

The 2A senior all-state and two-time all-CIC performer caught 21 passes from his tight end position for 408 yards and five TDs. In the Class 2A state championship game Dalton had four grabs for a season-best 85 yards. Dalton also was a standout linebacker and made 107 total tackles with 14 for losses. Dalton was selected to the coaches 2A all-state team and signed to continue his career at Indiana Wesleyan on Friday.

18. Taylor Westgate, junior, Oak Hill volleyball

Westgate teamed with Transier to give to provide double-trouble at the net for Oak Hill’s opponents in 2018. She finished third in Grant County with 309 kills and hit at 38 percent. She also recorded 64 total blocks and earned her second-straight selection to the all-CIC first team.

19. Xavier Gee, senior, Marion football

Gee played the role of enforcer from his linebacker spot for Marion’s dominating defense. He led the team with 85 solo tackles, 112 total tackles, with 11 coming for loss. Gee added a pair of quarterback sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

20. Jonathan Walts.Jack Fauser, senior/junior, Marion tennis

Walts and Fauser were almost a sure thing in every match for the Giants. The duo teamed to go 21-2 against a rugged schedule for Marion and earned selection to the all-NCC first team as well as honorable mention all-state honors. Walts was one of 36 seniors selected to compete in Indiana Boys’ All-Star Tennis Classic in Greencastle.  

21. Jenna Boucher, senior, Eastbrook golf

Boucher was a historic player on a historic team for Eastbrook in 2018. She led the Panthers to the program’s first invitational win by shooting school-record 77 and taking medalist honors to open the season at South Adams. Boucher also set the nine-hole Eastbrook record with a 37 against Frankton and Shenandoah in August, then captured medalist in a rain-shortened Grant Four and finished second to Mygrant in the CIC. Boucher helped Eastbrook advance to its first-ever regional tournament. 

22. Kinzie Robey, sophomore, Oak Hill cross country

If wasn’t for her teammate Gamble, Robey would have easily been the top girls cross country runner in Grant County this season. She ran second to Gamble in the Grant Four, CIC and Marion Sectional while finishing third in the New Haven Invite and ninth in the Marion Regional. Robey was named to the Class 2A all state first team by the Indiana Coaches.

24. Halle Planck, senior, Mississinewa volleyball

Planck hit at nearly 42 percent in recording 211 kills during the Indians’ 23-9 season and she was by far and away Grant County’s top blocker, recording 113 solo blocks and adding 10 block assists. She was second on Ole Miss with 28 service aces and had a 91.5 serving percentage. Planck earned first team all-CIC honors for the second-straight year.

 23. Helaina Walters, senior, Eastbrook volleyball

Walters led the Panthers to a 13-11 record with 223 kills and hitting 32.5 percent while recording 45 total blocks (35 solo). She was second on the team in digs with 257 and served at better than 95 percent with 25 aces. Walters earned her first selection to the all-CIC first team and joined Transier as part of the Class A/2A North All-Star team.

25. Mia Stewart, senior, Madison-Grant volleyball

Stewart was a bright spot in an unusually down year for M-G’s volleyball program. She earned all-CIC first team honors for the first time in her career. Stewart was recently awarded a prestigious Eli Lilly Scholarship.

By class: Seniors 16, juniors: 6, sophomores 4

Gender: male - 14, female - 12.

By sport: Football 9, cross country 3, boys soccer 2, girls soccer 2, volleyball 6, girls golf 2, boys tennis 3.