Gilbert Christian sophomore Ryley Nelson voted the WaFd Bank Arizona High School Athlete of the Week

Congratulations to Gilbert Christian sophomore Ryley Nelson for being voted SBLive’s WaFd Bank Arizona High School Athlete of the Week for Oct. 4-10!

At the Erin Botma Invitational, Nelson won the 5K with a time of 20:20.00. 

Nelson received 44.86% of the vote, beating out Casa Grande’s Dematris Azcueta who finished second with 32.14%. Paradise Honors’ Gage Baker finished third with 8.63% and Chaparral’s Grady Hickey finished fourth with 7.47%. There were over 37,000 votes tallied this week! 

We are currently accepting WaFd Bank Player of the Week nominations. If you would like to nominate an athlete, please email or message us on Twitter or Instagram at @sbliveaz.

Here are the other athletes who were nominated for the week of Oct. 4-10:

Dematris Azcueta, Senior, Casa Grande – In Casa Grande’s 56-7 rout of the Douglas Bulldogs, Azcueta had two punt returns, one for a touchdown, for a total of 110 yards along with five tackles and an interception. 

Gage Baker, Sophomore, Paradise Honors – In his first varsity game as quarterback, Baker was 19 for 26 for around 400 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions to lift the team to a 61-13 win over Odyssey Institute. 

Deyon Bradley, Junior, Moon Valley – Despite the Rockets’ 27-26 loss to Arizona College Prep, Bradley racked up 268 yards on 41 carries with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. He also had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  

Angel Flores, Senior, Casa Grande – Flores had five touchdown passes in the 56-7 domination of Douglas under the Thursday Night Lights Game of the Week. 

Will Galvan, Junior, Cactus – Back on the list again this week is Galvan, who passed for seven touchdowns to five different receivers, lifting the Cobras to their fifth straight big win, 54-6 over Poston Butte. 

Surge Gboweiah, Senior, Desert View – The Jaguars racked up a whopping 512 yards on the ground in the 46-28 win over Marana, with 315 of the yards coming from Gboweiah on 24 carries. He also had three of the team’s touchdowns.

Rudy Gonzales, Junior, Deer Valley – In the Skyhawks’ 63-35 rout of Walden Grove, Gonzales passed for five touchdowns to help Deer Valley advance to 4-0 on the season. 

Grady Hickey, Senior, Chaparral – On just nine receptions, Hickey had 175 yards and two touchdowns to help the Firebirds defeat O’Connor 42-21.

Lance Holtzclaw, Senior, Desert Ridge – The future Washington Husky had nine tackles, two sacks, four passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in a 44-23 victory over Cesar Chavez. 

Jase Hudson, Junior, Campo Verde – Hudson had the game-winning field goal as time expired to help the Coyotes defeat the Cienega Bobcats 23-21. 

Javen Jacobs, Senior, Saguaro – Jacobs was an offensive spark plug for the Sabercats in their 49-21 win over Salpointe Catholic on Friday, scoring three touchdowns in the win. 

AJ Murphy, Senior, Casteel – The senior had a record-setting night with 384 official rushing yards and five touchdowns in Casteel’s 47-27 win over Higley. 

Spencer Nielsen, Senior, ALA Gilbert North – It was a strong game for Nielsen on Friday against ALA Queen Creek despite the 38-35 loss. He had 16 tackles, 10 of them solo tackles, and two of them for losses. 

Skyler Partridge, Senior, Horizon – Partridge had five total touchdowns in Horizon’s 43-36 win over Millennium. He passed for 291 yards and rushed for 106. 

Isaac Stopke, Junior, Lake Havasu – Both a running back and linebacker, Stopke had four touchdowns on the night while also recording four tackles in the 35-6 win over Mohave. 

Jordan Wilson, Senior, Desert Ridge – On just 21 carries, Wilson had 272 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 44-23 victory over Cesar Chavez.


Abigail Araujo, Junior, Northwest Christian – Araujo had a solid game Tuesday against Wickenburg, leading the way with 17 digs and 15 kills to help the Crusaders sweep the Wranglers. 

Allison Birtcil, Senior, Ironwood Ridge – Making her way on the list again is Birtcil, who had 16 digs, 15 kills, a block and an ace in the 3-2 victory over Catalina Foothills on Thursday. 

Hollyn Frano, Junior, Cactus Shadows – In Tuesday’s 3-0 sweep of Sunrise Mountain, Frano had an outstanding overall performance with 15 kills, 13 digs, four aces and a block. 

Evan Hendrix, Sophomore, Notre Dame Prep – Back on the list this week is Hendrix, who had 21 kills, nine digs and a block in the Saints’ 3-0 victory over Deer Valley on Thursday. 

Shelby Lemm, Sophomore, St. Mary’s – With a career-high 27 kills, Lemm helped St. Mary’s defeat Shadow Mountain 3-1 on Tuesday. She also had 20 digs, three aces and two blocks. 

Tatum Parrott, Senior, Greenway – Parrott had a career-high 42 kills Wednesday in Greenway’s 3-2 battle against St. Mary’s, along with nine digs, an ace and a block. 

Emma Reardon, Senior, Thunderbird – Another player returning to the list this week, Reardon had 18 kills, 10 digs, four aces and a block in Thunderbird’s 3-0 sweep of Shadow Mountain. 

Lauren Rumel, Senior, Catalina Foothills – Rumel is back on the list once again for her outstanding performance Tuesday, when she had 29 kills, nine digs, three aces and a block to help the Falcons defeat Mountain View Marana 3-1.

Makena Rumple, Freshman, Mesa – Setting a career high of 20 kills Tuesday along with four blocks and a dig, the freshman helped lift the Jackrabbits to a 3-1 victory over Skyline. 

Sophia Smith, Junior, Shadow Mountain – In Monday’s game against Moon Valley, Smith had 23 kills, 15 digs, three aces and a block in the 3-2 victory. 

Naia Stewart, Senior, Gilbert – Helping the Tigers defeat the Campo Verde Coyotes 3-0 on Tuesday, Stewart had 10 kills, nine digs, five blocks and an ace. 

Boys cross country 

Deion Begay, Senior, Westwood – At the Fountain Hills Home Meet on Wednesday, Begay finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 18:54.

Donovan Bitticks, Sophomore, Horizon – Bitticks won the Thunderbird “Dave Doerrer” Invitational on Saturday for the Boys Freshman-Sophomore 2.8-mile race with a time of 15:40.39.

Jorge Corona Carmona, Senior, Maryvale – Clocking in at 16:12.00 at the Juan Reyes Invitational over the weekend for the Varsity 5000M race, Corona Carmona took home the gold. 

Elijah Davis, Senior, Red Mountain – The senior had the top overall time for the Varsity 5000M race at 16:42.45.

Cesar Diaz, Junior, Mingus Union – At the Thunderbird “Dave Doerrer” Invitational on Saturday, Diaz won the Boys Varsity 2.8-mile race with a time of 14:32.40.

Sam Eby, Freshman, Boulder Creek – At the Ray Wherley Invitational in Prescott over the weekend, the freshman won the Boys Freshman/Sophomore 5000M open with a time of 20:05.75.

Caden Edgerton, Senior, ALA Ironwood – Edgerton won the Erin Botma Invitational’s 5k, finishing in 17:33.10.

Landon Holm, Junior, Shadow Ridge – In the Open Boys 5000 Meter Race at the Glendale Showcase, Holm finished in first place with a time of 19:13.33.

Joshua Lumpkin, Senior, Lake Havasu – Lumpkin had an outstanding week. On Wednesday, he won the Ray Reynolds Invitational with a time of 16:51.00 before winning the Kingman Academy Tiger Invitational over the weekend, finishing the 5,000-meter run in 16:47.20, nearly two minutes ahead of his closest competitor and teammate who placed second. 

Chase Markunas, Freshman, Hamilton – In the Freshman Boys Division of the Glendale Showcase, Markunas took first place with a time of 17:29.17.

Trevor Querciagrossa, Senior, Sunnyslope – At the Glendale Showcase over the weekend, Querciagrossa won the varsity boys race, finishing almost exactly a minute ahead of the rest of the pack at 15:31.67

Girls cross country 

Katie Bell, Sophomore, Lake Havasu – The sophomore had a strong week. Not only did she win the Ray Reynolds invitational on Wednesday with a time of 21:36.00, she won the Kingman Academy Tiger Invitational over the weekend with a time of 21:12.30.

Evelyn Carr, Junior, ALA Queen Creek – Carr won the Glendale Showcase’s Girls Varsity 5000M race over the weekend with a time of 19:01.27.

Ava Christensen, Freshman, Red Mountain – At the Ray Wherley Invitational in Prescott over the weekend, the freshman won the Girls Freshman/Sophomore 5000M open with a time of 23:34.85.

Bella Gomez, Sophomore, Xavier College Prep – At the Thunderbird “Dave Doerrer” Invitational over the weekend, Gomez took first for the Girls Freshman-Sophomore 2.8-mile race with a time of 20:08.25.

Erin Holley, Sophomore, Fountain Hills – On Wednesday, Holley won her school’s meet (Fountain Hills Home Meet) with a time of 21:02.

Taylor Jacobs, Senior, Red Mountain – Jacobs finished the Ray Wherley Invitational with the top time for the girls varsity 5000M race at 21:19.84.

Jessica Madrid, Senior, Round Valley – In the Girls Varsity 5000M race at the Juan Reyes Invitational over the weekend, Madrid finished with a time of 18:40.90 to take home the gold. 

Britney Perera, Junior, Millennium – In the Girls Open 5000M race at the Glendale Showcase, Perera was able to break just far enough away from the pack to comfortably finish in first place with a time of 23:28.78.

Lucy Turley, Junior, Greenway – Turley won the Thunderbird “Dave Doerrer” Invitational over the weekend for the Girls Varsity 2.8-mile race with a time of 18:01.98.

Corinne Warriner, Freshman, Hamilton – Hamilton’s freshmen had a strong weekend, with Warriner joining her teammate Markunas for the Huskies to take first in both of the divisions, finishing the race in 21:25.79.

Thank you for joining the discussion on SBLive!

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