National record-setting softball pitcher Rachele Fico from Masuk High (Monroe, Conn.), and phenom soccer goalie Samir Badr from Robinson High (Fairfax, Va.), have been chosen as this week's ESPN RISE National High School Athletes of the Week.
The first day June found Fico doing what she does best. For just the second time all season, she allowed an earned run when she gave up a solo home run in the second inning against Laurelton Hall (Milford, Conn.). As always, she buckled down, didn't surrender another hit and recorded 17 strikeouts to lead Masuk to a 3-1 win. The win gave Masuk its fifth straight SWC title.
Factoring into every decision so far this season, she has a perfect 23-0 record and has only lost twice in her entire high school career. This season she set national marks for career perfect games (26) and for consecutive no-hitters (10). The LSU-bound Fico takes her more than 1,800 strikeouts in to the state tournament.
Badr, meanwhile, is in the midst of a rare feat in boys soccer -- he has not allowed a goal this spring. In fact, he's scored more goals than he has allowed, a margin of 1-0.
In last Saturday's 3-0 region final victory over Westfield, Badr scored a goal when his direct kick from near midfield was misjudged by the Westfield keeper and ended up in the net.
Badr has reportedly said he will sign with the Badr, who has reportedly said he will sign with the Portugese power FC Porto reserve team following the high school season.
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: Samir Badir (Robinson, Fairfax, Va.) Soccer
Also named the ESPN RISE National Boys Athlete of the Week.
Girls: Rachele Fico (Masuk, Monroe, Conn.) Softball
Also selected as the ESPN RISE National Girls Athlete of the Week.
Southeast Region Athletes of the Week
Boys: Ken Gilstrap (Miller Grove, Lithonia, Ga.) Track
He blasted a 10.32-second time in the 100-meter dash (-0.6 wind) to win the Atlanta Dekalb International Prep Classic against one of the best fields this year, beating Fuquawn Greene of North Carolina (10.39) and defending Nike Outdoor champ Hunter Furr, also from North Carolina. Gilstrap was just .01 off his PR and .02 off the national lead.
Girls: Stephanie Rose (White Oak, Jacksonville, N.C.) Soccer
Talk about milestones, Rose hit a few in her final high school match last Saturday. Her two goals in White's Oak's 5-0 victory over Kings Mountain (N.C.) gave her 50 for the season and 200 for her career. The team victory gave White Oak a fourth straight state title and a first-ever perfect season. Little more than 24 hours after the state final victory, Rose was named the North Carolina high school girls' soccer player of the year. Rose has signed with the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Midwest Region Athletes of the Week
Boys: Joe Kelly (Warrenville South, Wheaton, Ill.) Volleyball
He has picked a good time to be on top of his game by earning tournament MVP honors last week at the Richards Invitational as the Tigers defeated Glenbard East and Marist of Chicago, two of the top 10 teams in the region. For the week, Kelly posted 168 assists, 10 blocks, eight aces and 53 digs for the two-time defending state champions. The Tigers' attempt for a third straight state title began Tuesday against Glenbard East and led by Kelly and his 44 kills they advanced to take on Neuqua Valley on Friday. He also has excelled in the classroom this year as he has a reported 5.26 GPA.
Girls: Sara Driesenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) Softball
She's just a sophomore but Driesenga has already committed to Michigan. In last week's district championship, she led the state's top-ranked Division I team to a 3-0 win over Jenison by pitching a perfect game with 10 strikeouts. She also ripped a two-run homer. Last year as a freshman, Driesenga had 60 hits with a .517 batting average and drove in 47 runs.
Southwest Region Athletes of the Week
Girls: Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill, Addison, Texas) Track & Field
She competed against Olympic-level elites in the 1500 at Reebok Grand Prix in New York, finishing 15th in 4:18.13. The mark was an all-time state record, second best in the country this year, and made her the ninth fastest prep girl in U.S. history.
Boys: Jack Whitt (Norman North, Norman, Okla.) Track & Field
With a clearance in the pole vault of 17-10, matching his second-best mark ever, Whitt won the Golden South Classic pole vault and was named boys MVP of the meet. Only Whitt himself, with an 18-00.25 at the Texas Relays, has gone higher this year among prep vaulters nationally.
West Region Athletes of the Week
Girls: Desiree Ybarra (Poly, Riverside, Calif.) Softball
In a 1-0 win in nine innings against state-ranked Edison of Huntington Beach, the extra frames or the strength of the opponent did not prevent Ybarra from throwing a no-hitter in the CIF Southern Section Div. I quarterfinal. Ybarra struck out 12 and stamped herself as one of the top underclass pitchers in the state.
Boys: Billy Wardell (Freedom, Oakley, Calif.) Baseball
De La Salle of Concord is well known for its football on a national stage but its baseball team was the top seed in the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs and made the championship game before being denied by this talented left-hander. Wardell, headed for UNLV, allowed just one hit in a complete-game shutout and struck out 11 as the Falcons captured their first ever baseball section championship with a 3-0 win. During the second inning, the senior standout suffered a gash above his eye after a base running collision but he wasted no time in getting back on the mound as he struck out six of the first seven batters he faced.
Mark Tennis, Doug Huff, Christopher Lawlor, Sheldon Shealer, Garland Cooper, Ronnie Flores and Steve Underwood contributed to this story.