Here’s a look at who turned out to be the top male high school athletes in the county.
Amir Brown, Carmel >> A varsity three-sport athlete since his freshman year, Brown earned all-county honors in football and all-league honors in volleyball.
The 235-pound senior linebacker was the heart of the Padres defense, finishing among the team leaders in tackles and sacks, while returning a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown.
Brown’s presence on the basketball court was instrumental in helping retool a program gutted by graduation the past two years, leading the team in scoring and rebounds.
A menacing presence at the net, Brown helped the Padres to a share of the Gabilan Division title in volleyball, compiling nearly 200 kills, finishing with a team-high 60 blocks.
Jojo Cardinale, Palma >> A member of The Herald’s All-County football and baseball teams, the senior tore up pitching this past spring for the Chieftains.
Having signed with the University of Utah on a baseball scholarship, Cardinale was the Gabilan Division’s Co-Player of the Year. The slick-fielding shortstop hit .410 for the Chieftains with a .507 on-base percentage. Cardinale finished with 32 hits and a team-high 15 stolen bases.
While a member of The Herald’s All-County defensive team in football, Cardinale’s offensive numbers warranted attention as he rushed for 583 yards and eight touchdowns.
Explosive in the open field, Cardinale was a threat as a punt returner, returning one 72 yards for a touchdown, and served as a lockdown defensive back.
Nyziah Hunter, Salinas >> One of the most recruited receivers on the West Coast, Hunter caught 41 passes for nearly 800 yards and eight touchdowns last fall.
A member of The Herald’s All-County football team, the junior was electrifying in the open field, as evident when he bolted 87 and 68 yards on a pair of touchdown runs.
Hunter was a defensive demon on the hardwood for Salinas, pulling down over 10 rebounds a game, chipping in with just over six points a contest.
It wasn’t a coincidence that as his times in the 100 meters in track dropped, the level of interest in his football talents increased.
Hunter went out and set a school record for Salinas in the 100 meters at 10.62 seconds, reaching the state meet in the event. He was the Gabilan Division champion in both the 100 and 200.
Daniel Raso, Soledad >> The Mission Division’s Defensive Player of the Year in football, Raso was the Santa Lucia Division Player of the Year in basketball.
The junior led the Aztecs in interceptions and pass deflections, while finishing among the team leaders in tackles. He also caught 20 passes and rushed for over 200 yards.
On the hardwood, Raso led Soledad to a Santa Lucia Division title, which included a 10-game winning streak, finishing among the team leaders in scoring and steals.
The three-sport standout hit .387 for the baseball team, scoring a team-high 40 runs. He was either walked or hit by a pitch 24 times, compiling a .508 on-base percentage.
Luke Rossi, Palma >> Bound for the University of San Francisco on a baseball scholarship, Rossi was one of the top defensive infielders in the tri-region area.
At the plate, Rossi finished among the team leaders in homers and runs batted in, while coming up with clutch hits in big moments.
A member of The Herald’s All-County football team, Rossi threw for nearly 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games before suffering a broken collarbone in Week 10.
Rossi had just five picks in nearly 200 attempts and led the Chieftains in rushing with 580 yads and nine touchdowns.
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