The Mountain Athletic Conference has released its all-conference teams for the spring sports season and McDowell High has a total of eight athletes who were selected among the league’s best.
McDowell softball provided the largest representation of players on the all-conference teams with five Lady Titans picking up rewards. Shortstop Sage Young and center fielder Abby Wyatt made the All-MAC first team while freshmen pitcher Kinsley McKinney, sophomore Miranda Wall and senior Gracie Rice were second team all-conference.
Young and Wyatt were table setters at the top of the McDowell lineup that averaged about 7.5 runs per game in 2023. Wyatt had a spectacular junior season offensively, leading the team in batting average (.515), hits (36), runs scored (26), RBIs (28) and stolen bases (13). Some of Wyatt’s best play came in league contests as she batted a blistering .545 with 18 extra base hits and just one error defensively in center.
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Meanwhile, Young was second on the team in terms of batting average (.457), hits (32) and runs scored (25) on the season. The sophomore also came in and won a game on the mound, striking out four batters. Both players also were solid defensively for the entire season as they combined for just seven errors in the field.
The proficiency of those two batters led to plenty of run-producing opportunities in the middle of the order, and Wall, along with Rice, took advantage of that have good seasons at the plate earning the second-team honors. Wall, a sophomore third basemen, finished with a .382 batting average, driving in 18 runs and drawing a team-high eight walks on the campaign. Wall also improved defensively at the hot corner in 2023, committing just one error all season.
Rice dealt with injuries behind the plate this season, but when in the lineup, was still an important bat. She finished with a .326 batting average, collecting 15 hits, one of them a home run, and 10 RBIs in 56 plate appearances. Rice also took on the responsibility of guiding the pitching staff from behind the plate.
One of the pitchers Rice guided was freshmen Kinsley McKinney, who had an impressive debut as a high school player. McKinney started in all but three contests, going 11-7 on the season with a 2.07 earned runs average in 115 innings pitched. McKinney had 79 strikeouts on the season.
McDowell finished in third place in the MAC standings at 15-8 overall record and 8-4 in league contests behind conference champion Enka (23-1, 12-0) and A.C. Reynolds (13-7, 9-3). The Sugar Jets took home all the major conference awards with Abigail Brewton winning Pitcher of the Year, Rylee Locklear was voted Player of the Year and Enka coach Jennifer Kruk was voted Coach of the Year. The rest of the All-MAC first team included Enka players Peyton Wise and Averi Coggins and Reynolds players Bailey Payne, Haley Draper and Alyssa Norman. T.C. Roberson’s Tymber Thompson and Kylee Hitchinson rounded out the first-team selections.
Three other sports at MHS had one athlete apiece who received all-conference honors. McDowell baseball player Jacob Davis made the All-MAC first-team honors for a Titan squad that went 11-11 on the season. Davis was a do-all player for McDowell in 2023 as he was the primary catcher on the team. When Davis was not catching, he was likely on the mound serving as the team’s second pitcher on the 2023 staff. Davis even played some innings at third base during the season. The best part is that Davis was pretty good at all three spots. On the mound, Davis went 3-4 on the season with a 3.42 earned run average striking out 40 batters in 30 2/3 innings.
At the plate the sophomore quickly established himself at the top of the lineup hitting .456 with one home run and 10 RBIs. Davis was team best in walks (23) and runs scored (22) on the season.
Other first-team members included T.C. Roberson players Reno Jeter, Caden Davidson and Zeb Swangim, North Buncombe’s Reagan Smith, Enka players Owen Michelson and Deegan Randall, A.C. Reynolds Cade Gardner and Asheville High players Kyle Moshier and Connor Hillier.
T.C. Roberson’s Micah Simpson was named Pitcher of the Year and Nick Parham was selection conference Player of the Year.
Titan golfer Clayton Burnette had a solid campaign in 2023, picking up all-conference honors for the second time in his varsity career. Burnette finished with an average of around 84 on the season, which was seventh-best in the league. With that effort, the senior qualified for the 4A West Regionals earlier this month. Burnette recently signed with Johnson and Wales to continue his golf career.
McDowell Men’s tennis player Sage Deel was the final athlete to receive all-conference honors for the spring. Deel went 2-9 on the season as the Titan top-seed in singles, both wins occurred against Enka’s Lucas Parker by scores of 10-2 at Enka back on March 9 and 10-4 at home on April 11.