All season, azcentral sports will name an Sports Awards Male and Female Athletes of the Week.

To nominate someone, go to and fill out the form.

Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 6

Quinn Smith

School: Sunnyslope High

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Gymnastics

Smith, who won the all-around championship in the 2017 Women’s Junior Olympic National Champion in May, recently committed to the University of Oklahoma.

Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 6

Harrison Copoloff

School: Notre Dame Prep

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

Copoloff scored the first two playoff touchdowns ever at Bemis Field, the field built for Notre Dame Prep before the 2015 season. 

Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 24-30

Ellie Karren

School: Flagstaff Northland Prep

Class: Freshman

Sport: Soccer

Freshman Ellie Karren scored three goals as Northland Prep Academy completed a perfect 21-0 season with a 3-1 victory in the 2A state title match over defending 2A girls soccer champions Chino Valley. … Karren finished the season with a league-leading 76 points, one ahead of teammate Mia Blair, also a freshman. … Karren moved to Flagstaff from Salt Lake City when she was seven and joined a team with Mia and current Northland head coach Michael Blair. “He is honestly a huge, huge part of the person I am today,” Karren said. “I couldn’t have done any of this without him or Coach Keith Hovis.”

“They have the technical ability with the ball and the smarts of the game,” Blair said.

He knows Karren’s game well, and said she “tends to get too excited” at the beginning of games. Instead, he subs her in about 10 minutes in. “She would literally score most of the time within five minutes of coming in,” he said. … Karren was reluctant at first, but grew to appreciate it. She said it helps calm her nerves and read the field before getting in. “You can see the big picture all the time,” she said “It’s kind of harder to do that on the field.”

Karren and Blair didn’t immediately mesh with the seniors; it took about five games – a quarter of the season – for the older players to completely accept them. Around that time, the team had a tournament in Show Low, giving the team a night together and a chance to bond. “The senior captains really helped direct that,” Blair said. “They said, ‘These freshmen really are that good, let’s work with them instead of working against them.'”

Karren said she doesn’t feel any division between teammates in different grades.

“(Nobody’s) super entitled,” she said. “That’s something that’s built on our team, we’re all one. … we’re just one body.”

Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 24-30

Brandon Garcia

School: Phoenix Arizona Lutheran

Class: Junior

Sport: Football

In the final game of the regular season against Gilbert Christian (7-3), Brandon Garcia scored seven touchdowns, rushed for 341 yards and had 66 receiving yards. He also scored a two-point conversion. “It couldn’t have happened without my blocking from my linemen,” he said. “I like to call them my rhinos.” ALA’s first two touchdowns were courtesy of Garcia: a 70-yard run, and his lone reception, a 66-yard catch-and-run for the score. … Despite eclipsing 400 all-purpose yardage and amassing 44 points, Garcia’s not completely content with his game. “That was the first time I ever really fumbled a ball and the other team got it, so it was kind of disappointing,” he said. “But it’s something to work on.”

He also played every snap at free safety. He said that contrary to offensive workouts, backpedalling drills are vital for this part of his game. They’ll practice at 90 degrees, 45 degrees, and then feign a runner getting behind them and go into an all-out sprint. Garcia’s versatility will come in handy in the playoff game on Saturday against eighth-seed Morenci.

Morenci likes to run the ball, Garcia said, so Arizona Lutheran needs to force them to pass. “I’m playing a little closer (to the line of scrimmage) to make sure that if they do get past our linebackers, that I’m there to get the tackle just in case, instead of focusing on a little deeper,” he said.

Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 16-23

Xavier Hawkins

School: Tucson Flowing Wells

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

Hawkins pulled off the trifecta in last week’s win over Tucson Desert View — scoring touchdowns by interception return, touchdown reception and punt return. The team has several athletes who play on both sides of the ball, but was that the first time someone’s scored on all three areas in one game? “I was just thinking that the other day, I believe so,” Hawkins said. … He said there are big differences between playing receiver and defensive back. “Receiving, you have to be quick and light on your toes,” he said. “(It’s) more physical on defense, of course.” Working on coordination is vital to learning to play both. “The little things that can help you really be balanced — that’s the big thing,” he said. … It was his best performance since suffering a high ankle sprain at the beginning of the season. “I think the fact that we weren’t winning too much, I think it was homecoming, I think it just kind of motivated him extra and he wanted to have a breakout game,” head coach Mark Brunenkant said.

Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 16-23

Maggie Gibbs

School: Glendale Cactus

Class: Junior

Sport: Cross country

Gibbs has had a breakout junior campaign, winning the Peoria District title by 42 seconds last week … Gibbs also set a personal record by 54 seconds when she finished third in the Desert Twilight Invitational … She has finished in the top six in each of her meets of invitationals this season … Gibbs is also an honor student and a member of the school’s student council.

Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 9-16

Israel Loveall

School: Bagdad

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

In the final regular season game of his career, the national leader in 8-man football touchdown passes may have accomplished his greatest feat yet: against previously undefeated Mayer, Loveall ran 12 times for 301 yards and six TDs and completed 20 of 28 passes for 396 yards and five more scores.

He said Mayer was running a soft zone against Bagdad but ended up dropping more guys back than expected. This gave Loveall open space to run in. Even when Mayer adjusted, Loveall found room to work.

“They started going more toward man after a little bit, but even whenever they switched to man, we would add a couple more blockers for me and that just gave me more chances to get in the open field.”

Loveall’s distinguished career is nearing its end. The 5-foot-10 inch lefty said he’s received some interest from D3 colleges, but he’s ready to move on from the sport. “I’ve kind of had that mindset that after high school, I’m kind of done,” he said.

He plans to pursue a career in flying helicopters. He got the idea during an Alaskan family cruise, when they flew over glaciers in the arctic. “It was really cool just to be that close and have that open space,” he said. “Just to have that feel of flying a helicopter, I just fell in love with it.”

He hopes to go to a college in the Phoenix area. In the meantime, he hopes to finish the football season on a high note.

“This is my last year, I’m just going to enjoy playing for my town, representing Bagdad the best I can and try to go out with a championship at the end,” he said.

Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 9-16

Alexis Keith

School: Gilbert Perry

Class: Senior

Sport: Volleyball

Keith was named MVP of the Hudl SoCal Invitational this past weekend, a 72-team tournament hosted in San Diego which the Pumas won.

In the tournament, Perry picked up wins against two national top 10 teams (No. 3 San Diego Canyon Drest, No. 10 Temecula Chaparral).

Keith, who is committed to Eastern Washington, was joined on the all-tournament team by Perry teammates Halle Razo, Kennedy Kaminsky and Ryann Davis.

“She’s a quiet leader,” head coach Frank Mann said. Though she may be quiet, her hits are loud; he called Keith the hardest hitter on the team. There was something else that stood out in his team’s victory.

“Our defense is really good,” he said. “We dug a lot of balls and blocked an incredible amount of balls.” When a player can hit the ball hard and defend well, she has a winning combination.

Male Athlete of the Week for Oct. 2-9

Christian Pahnke

School: Scottsdale Christian

Class: Junior

Sport: Football

When his twin brother, Shayne, was forced to the sideline with injury, it was Christian who volunteered to switch positions to help the Eagles (7-1) get off to one of their best starts in school history … Christian, who was the fastest defensive back in Arizona to reach six interceptions (he did it in six games), surrendered his starting position to fill in for his brother at running back. In his first game on offense, he carried the ball 30 times, rushing for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 2-9

Shae Nicolaisen

School: Phoenix Desert Vista

Class: Senior

Sport: Swimming

A state champion swimmer in 2016, Nicolaisen has taken even more steps forward in her senior season … Last week, Nicolasien won both the 200-meter and 500-meter freestyles at the ASU Pitchfork/Thunder Invitational and followed those up with victories in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter butterly at the High School Classic in Tucson … She is a two-time NISCA All-American and a two time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American … Nicolaisen is committed to swim at Duke, where she will also begin her undergraduate degree in pre-med. “I chose Duke because of the incredible balance between academics and athletics and because of the amazing team atmosphere,” she said. 

Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 25-Oct. 2

Jordan Porter

School: Tucson Cholla

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

Porter has been one of the most dynamic offensive players all season along — and this week was no different. The senior quarterback passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 143 yards on the ground for three scores. Porter ranks in the state’s top three in passing yards (first, 2,130), rushing yards (third, 1,176), total points (third, 118) and touchdowns (third, 19).

Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 25-Oct. 2

Lauren Ohlinger

School: Scottsdale Christian

Class: Junior

Sport: Volleyball

Ohlinger topped off the first month of the season by verbally committing to Boise State on Sept. 26. “I just liked how they coached and the coaching style a lot,” she said. “They’re definitely not super intense and get mad and yell at you … they’re really strategic and encouraging.” … Her leadership was on display in a Sept. 16 contest against Arizona Lutheran with her team down 11-19 in the third set. Ohlinger said the team went into a players-only huddle and came out ready. They rallied to a 29-27 third-set win and a subsequent 25-13 win in the fourth set to claim victory. She finished with 26 kills. … The player-only huddle was something encouraged by the new coach, Kim Ohlinger, who is also Lauren’s mom. “Before I even accepted the position, we had a very serious conversation. Is that something that (Lauren) can handle? If it wasn’t, then I would have never agreed to coach.” … Kim said Ohlinger’s emotions make her a better player. “She has a very calm confidence about her … so she doesn’t get rattled,” Kim said. “She can make a mistake, or support a teammate through a mistake and just get right back on.”

Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 18-25

Joseph Zepp III

School: Scottsdale Saguaro

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

The senior kicked the game-winning field goal in a 24-21 win over previously undefeated Peoria Sunrise Mountain on Friday. Zepp is also a National Hispanic Scholar.

Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 18-25

Mary Shroll

School: Tempe Prep

Class: Junior

Sport: Volleyball

The Loyola (La.) beach and indoor volleyball commit currently leads the state with a .513 hitting percentage and 8.2 kills per set. “The most important lesson learned is  always respect your opponent, stay positive, work hard and lift up my teammates,” Shroll said. “Volleyball has brought me great friendships and lessons I will use throughout my life.”

Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 11-18

Malik Taylor

School: Phoenix Christian

Class: Junior

Sport: Football

Taylor ran for six of the Cougars’ nine touchdowns in a 69-7 rout over Gilbert Christian on Friday and compiled 219 yards … “I thank God for giving me the ability and I thank my linemen, they make the holes,” he said after the game … Two running backs graduated after last season, and Taylor has made the most of his opportunity as a starter. In four games, his 643 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns are already career highs. This has also thrust him into a leadership role, but he said he doesn’t feel extra pressure. “It’s just football, it’s what I love to do,” he said. “If I have to be a leader, then I’m going to be a leader” … Taylor played defensive back last year, but with his increased carries, head coach Brian Cole said Taylor won’t play on the other side of the ball this year. In addition to the intangibles – speed, toughness, good vision – Cole says Taylor gives the team something else. “He’s brings a little bit of swagger,” Cole said.

Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 11-18

Samantha Schadler

School: Rio Rico

Class: Junior

Sport: Cross Country

Schadler tied a course record at the 29th annual Ojo Rojo Cross Country Meet at Tumbleweed Park with a time of 18:10. The junior was a runner-up last year to her older sister, Allie, and finished second in overall time at last season’s state championships.

She and Allie come from a line of runners. Her mom, Toni Ann, ran at Indiana University and her dad, Steve, ran at Stanford and is the coach of Rio Rico. Allie graduated, but Schadler’s still part of a larger group.

“When you’re on the starting line, you’re with your family,” she said.

She may have the genes, but both Schadler and Steve say success on the track is all mental. Strong workouts come from teammate encouragement, and they’re always cheering each other on — even if they’re running the same race. “We say running is 90 percent mental and the other is 10 percent mental,” Steve said.

He said Schadler’s patience and understanding of herself allows her to be successful. “Sammie’s a real thinker and she really needs to understand what she’s trying to accomplish,” he said.

She’s stepping into a leadership role as a junior, and feels both the perks and pressure of being the lone Schadler runner on the team. “I’m prepared for it and I’m ready for it,” she said. “I’m excited for this season to show who I am.”

Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 4-11

Brock Purdy

School: Gilbert Perry

Class: Senior

Sport: Football

The quarterback passed for three touchdowns and added two more with a rushing and receiving score in a win over Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Friday … Perry is now ranked No. 1 in azcentral sports’ high school rankings for the first time in school history … Purdy has thrown 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns in the first four games of the season. He has three career receiving touchdowns and 13 rushing scores … As of Sept. 14, he has a QB rating of 135.0 … “He’s a special kid,” Perry coach Preston Jones said of Purdy after a recent win. “He’s one in a million.”

Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 4-11

Summer McDonough

School: Tucson Pusch Ridge

Class: Junior

Sport: Volleyball

The Arizona beach volleyball commit led undefeated Pusch Ridge to the championship at the Flowing Wells invitational Saturday, racking up 16 kills in the title game … McDonough was named the 2015 Southern Arizona Freshman of the Year before transferring from Tucson Desert Christian … She started playing volleyball in eighth grade with her sister, Jewel, who’s currently a senior setter on Pusch Ridge … McDonough said she enjoys the leadership role she’s taken on this season. “When I was an underclassman, I would look up to the upperclassmen, I would do whatever they said,” she explained. “I can tell that now, because there are a few freshmen on the team, they can really listen to what I say.” … McDonough started as a middle blocker. “It took me a little while to figure out I needed to put her on the outside,” her coach, Dana Wahl said. “We gave up a few blocks but we got a lot more offense.” … Athletic Director Lonnie Tvrdy has been pushing the 6-foot-1 hitter to play basketball next semester. “She doesn’t get too high and she doesn’t get too low,” he said. “That allows her to be a very consistent play. She’s a very cool customer out there.”