Dominant softball pitcher Kenzie Fowler from Canyon del Oro High (Tucson, Ariz.) and record-breaking runner Andrew Springer from Westerly (R.I.) High have been selected as the third ESPN RISE National High School Athletes of the Week for the 2009 spring season.
Fowler is no stranger to national honors. She was the 2008 Gatorade National Player of the Year and has been one of the top softball pitchers in the nation for three years. Last week, Fowler pitched three no-hitters, two of which were perfect games, in leading Canyon del Oro to victories over Tuscon high schools Marana (12-0), Cholla (4-0), and Desert View. Already this week the 6-foot-1 senior has thrown a fourth straight no-hitter with 16 strikeouts in 7-0 win over Cactus of Glendale in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Fowler posted a 24-1 record as a junior with a 0.28 ERA and struck out 309 batters. After the no-hitter already this week, her ERA has fallen to a microscopic 0.05.
Fowler has signed a letter of intent with the hometown Arizona Wildcats, a longtime fixture in the NCAA Women's College World Series.
For Springer, an incredible two-meet weekend started last Thursday at New York's Loucks Games, when the Nike Indoor mile champ came from behind on the anchor leg of the distance medley relay to bring his team a nation-leading 10:01.13 victory. His 4:03.5 anchor is the fastest 1600, relay or open, this year.
Then two days later at the Hartford Public Invite, Springer won two events -- a U.S. No. 3 4:08.79 mile and a U.S. No. 2 9:09.14 2-mile -- and ran a 1:55 leg in the 4x800 relay.
Springer has been a well-known performer in the East since his sophomore year and has signed a letter of intent with Georgetown.
The complete list of this week's ESPN RISE Regional Athletes of the Week for spring sports follows below:
East Region Athletes of the Week
Boys: Andrew Springer (Westerly) Track & Field
He has also been selected as the ESPN RISE National Boys Athlete of the Week.
Girls: Carlee Dragon (Bridgewater-Raritan, Bridgewater, N.J.) Lacrosse
A junior, she's the leading scorer in New Jersey and her team boasts a 13-4 record. In games last week, Dragon had six goals and five assists in a 19-10 win over Somerville, four goals and six assists in a 14-10 triumph over Hunterdon and two goals with six assists as her team topped Immaculata (Somerville), 17-4. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Dragon upped her state-leading total to 66 goals and 73 assists for a 139-point total.
Southeast Region Athletes of the Week
Boys: Chris Thomas (Greater Atlanta Christian, Atlanta) Soccer
The Elon College signee ended his high school career in style, scoring three goals and carrying Greater Atlanta Christian to an eye-opening 4-1 win over Westminster School (Atlanta) in the Georgia Class AA/A state final. The two schools entered the match as co-No. 1 teams in the division. Thomas, an elite club player, finished his season with a school-record 53 goals.
Girls: Robin Reynolds (Miami Jackson, Miami) Track & Field
The freshman demonstrated how well she's making the transition to the prep ranks with an astonishing four victory performance at the Florida 3A state meet. She swept the three sprint events, taking the 100 (11.56), 200 (23.67), and 400 (54.95). In addition, she won the long jump at 19-04.75. Her 200 is the third best time in the country this year, while her 100 is fourth. Both marks also were the best of all four classes in Florida the past two weekends.
Midwest Region Athletes of the Week
Boys: Tyler Henderson (Chisago Lakes, Lindstrom, Minn.) Baseball
Henderson tied two state records in Minnesota with four home runs and 16 total bases in a 17-5 Wildcats' victory over Columbia Heights last week. In his four-homer game, he finished with nine RBIs and for the week was 8-for-15 at the plate. The junior catcher is currently batting .553 this season after batting just.185 with no extra base hits last season. That's the kind of improvement worth honoring.
Girls: Lexi Bryant (Carl Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill.) Softball
A promising sophomore who played last summer for the American Softball Association 18-Under A national championship team, Bryant smacked a home run and a double when Sandburg knocked off Loyola Academy (Wilmette), 3-0, last week. Loyola came into that game as the No. 1-ranked team in Illinois. In the team's previous game, Bryant also homered in a 6-0 triumph over Plainfield Central.
Southwest Region Athletes of the Week
Girls: Amy Grow (Deer Creek, Okla.) Soccer
Grow, who has signed with Kansas, has led Deer Creek to the state semifinals this week where it will face 10-time defending champion Bishop Kelley (Tulsa). Grow, who scored twice in the team's quarterfinal win over Noble, has 194 career goals.
Boys: Austin Kirk (Owasso, Okla.) Baseball
For the second time this season, the Oklahoma-bound senior tossed a no-hitter against Jenks as the Rams for an 11-0 win. The two-time defending state champions moved just one win away from heading back to the state tournament while Kirk picked up his sixth win of the season. With 13 strikeouts in the no-hit outing, he increased his season total to 86 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched with a 0.44 ERA. He also leads the team on offense with a .398 average and 69 RBIs.
West Region Athletes of the Week
Girls: Kenzie Fowler (Canyon del Oro) Softball
Also named as the ESPN RISE National Girls Athlete of the Week.
Boys: Kyle Conwell (Tahoma, Maple Valley, Wash.) Baseball
A returning all-state outfielder, Conwell has bounced back from a slow start to hit four home runs in 10 days. Conwell smacked two of those homers against state-ranked Puyallup in a 11-2 win that upped Tahoma's record to 18-2 and put the team into this week's West Region top 20 rankings.
Mark Tennis, Doug Huff, Christopher Lawlor, Sheldon Shealer, Garland Cooper, Ronnie Flores and Steve Underwood contributed to this story.