By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Nestled in the small 270-resident community of Hico, near the junction of U.S. Routes 19 and 60, is Midland Trail High School, a school of a little more than 350 students.
And of those 350 students, one was named among the best girls soccer players in the state of West Virginia.
Patriot defender Summer Whipkey was selected for Class AA/A first-team all-state honors, as announced Wednesday by the West Virginia Sportswriters Association.
“Summer is the type of player that does all the stuff that makes her better,” Trail coach Scott Wilson said. “She goes to camps all the time. And we’re very limited as far as travel and club soccer here, but she goes out of her way to do those things. She has soccer on her mind 24/7/365.”
Whipkey, a senior, had seven goals and six assists on the season as a defender, although it wasn’t where she initially was to spend her senior year.
Wilson had planned on Whipkey moving up top to the forward position, but due to injuries on the backline moved the senior leader back.
“We had lost every defender and our goalkeeper. I needed her leadership on defense,” Wilson explained. “She helped a lot. There were 16 games this season where the other team scored one goal or less, not only because of her physical play, but she was able to guide the other players with who they should be marking and what they should do. I credit her a lot with what happened in those 16 games.”
Whipkey, who Wilson described as a “down to earth” girl, will continue her career in the fall with WVU Tech.
In addition to being the leader of the Lady Patriots soccer squad, Whipkey serves as a flag girl in the Midland Trail marching band.
Whipkey isn’t the only area girl to be selected for all-state honors.
A trio of PikeView Lady Panthers — goalkeeper Kristen Brinkley, midfielder Brooke Baker and forward Shyann Carr — rounded out a packed and talented second-team squad.
Brinkley, Baker and Carr helped propel the Sam Hill-coached Lady Panthers back to the state tournament in convincing fashion.
Brinkley allowed only 21 goals on the season and averaged 3.95 saves per game, while Baker netted 11 goals and had eight assists. Carr had eight goals and seven assists.
Sissonville ran away with the 2013 state championship and, with it, ran away with four first-team all-state selections. Fairmont Senior came in just behind with three first-teamers, proving just how successful its season was after losing to the eventual state champions.
The first team saw three forwards who scored a combined 119 goals, a keeper who had 10 shutouts, powerful legs from midfielders and defenders who worked hard all season.
Two of the forwards were from Sissonville in Madison Jones and Karli Pinkerton. Jones scored 40 goals and Pinkerton scored 38 to help lead their team to an undefeated season and the state title. Sissonville also had a goalkeeper, Brooke Reed, who successfully defended her territory. Rounding out the list for the Indians is Mary Schmeck, who added 16 goals from her midfielder position.
As for Fairmont Senior, goalkeeper Kayla Delorenzo posted 251 saves and shut out opponents 10 different times on the season. She did this all while allowing just 15 goals on the year.
The Polar Bears also boasted the coaches player of the year and co-defender of the year in Ivey Nucilli and Maddie Stevenski. Nucilli scored 19 goals and added 12 assists for the season, while Stevenski’s defensive play was known around the state as being lockdown.
Other players to make the first team were Charleston Catholic’s Caroline Dundervill, who scored 41 goals, midfielders Emily Knight (Lincoln), who led Harrison County with 22 goals and 10 assists, Natalie Prater (Bridgeport) and defenders Jenna Alonge (Bridgeport) and Lillian Gandee (Herbert Hoover).
As for the second team, North Marion came away with three selections.
Forward Madison Haught scored 18 goals and added 12 assists for the Huskies while Cassady Rodriguez posted 16 goals and 22 assists from her midfielder position. Defender Skylah Haught was also named to the second team after being tasked with defending some of the state’s top forwards and helping to lead North Marion to their best season in program history.
One of the top scorers that Haught had to shut down was Fairmont Senior forward Gabi Mascaro. Mascaro scored 27 goals and dished out 14 assists this season.
Rounding out the second team were Sophia Kinnard (Tyler Consolidated), Mikayla Oliverio, Alexis Lindsay (Bridgeport), Kaylee Welch (Grafton), Courtney Strobel (Sissonville) and Jacquelyn Wolfe (Bridgeport).
Midland Trail’s Marissa Workman and Savannah Skaggs were honorable mention choices.
— Matt Welch of the Times West Virginian
contributed to this story.