Shaquan Cantrell, Gainesville: Scored 21 points in a win over Walnut Grove on Tuesday.
Andraya Carter, Buford: Scored 14 points in a win over Blessed Trinity on Tuesday and 19 points in a win over Clarkston on Friday.
Kaela Davis, Buford: Scored 17 points in a win over Blessed Trinity on Tuesday.
Tyler Dominy, Dawson County: Scored 27 points in a win over Banks County on Tuesday.
Tarvin Dukes, Riverside Military: Scored 20 points in a win over Athens Academy on Tuesday.
Jacob Evans, Dawson County: Scored 17 points in a win over Banks County on Tuesday and scored 14 points with 11 rebounds in a loss to East Hall on Friday.
Madison Franklin, Banks County: Scored 21 points in a win over Dawson County on Tuesday.
Molly Gay, Lakeview Academy: Scored 14 points with 11 rebounds and four steals in a loss to Social Circle on Tuesday.
Logan Herford, West Hall: Went 7-0 in the Hall County championships wresting meet over the weekend.
Adam Hiten, Banks County: Scored 23 points in a loss to Dawson County on Tuesday.
Montrell McKenzie, Johnson: Pulled down 16 rebounds with six blocks in a loss to Monroe Area on Tuesday.
Zach Miller-Hogg, Flowery Branch: Placed first in the 100 and 200-meter freestyle at the Hall County championships swim meet Friday at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.
Sarah Paschall, North Hall: Pulled down 13 rebounds in a win over Chestatee on Tuesday.
Keelan Passmore, Chestatee: Scored 28 points in a win over Stephens County on Friday.
Peyton Robertson, Chestatee: Scored 23 points with 10 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Stephens County on Friday.
Mary Kate Rushton, North Hall: Scored 15 points in a win over Chestatee on Tuesday and scored 14 points, with 10 rebounds in a win over Lumpkin County on Friday.
Morgan Ryder, Flowery Branch: Placed first in the 500-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke in the Hall County championships swim meet Friday at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.
Keodrick Sadler, Gainesville: Scored 10 points with 10 rebounds in a win over Johnson on Friday.
Margaret Schofield, North Hall: Placed first in the 50 and 100-meter butterfly at the Hall County championships swim meet Friday at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center.
Christian Sepulveda, West Hall: Went 7-0 in the Hall County championships wrestling meet over the weekend.
Ryleigh Shannon, Johnson: Had 10 assists in a win over Monroe Area on Tuesday.
T.J. Shipes, Buford: Scored 12 points in a win over Blessed Trinity on Tuesday, and 24 points in a win over Wesleyan on Saturday.
Caitlin Sloan, Johnson: Scored 14 points, with seven rebounds and four steals in a win over Monroe Area on Tuesday, scored 25 points in a win over Gainesville on Friday and scored 17 points with four assists in a loss to Walnut Grove on Saturday.
Shunquez Stephens, West Hall: Scored 20 points in a win over Lanier on Tuesday, and 16 points in a win over Walnut Grove on Friday.
Tavia Sykes, Flowery Branch: Scored 23 points in a loss to Apalachee on Friday.
Tanner Yates, West Hall: Went 7-0 in the Hall County championships wrestling meet over the weekend.
A lot can change in three years.
As a freshman at West Hall High, Ricardo Mancilla was more than a thousand miles from home and spoke no English.
He had never thought about being a wrestler and never seen a match.
Last Saturday, Mancilla, now a junior, became a Hall County wrestling champion.
Trailing Ryan Raber 13-4 in the closing moments of the match that would most likely decide the winner of the Hall County championships, Mancilla thought it was over for the Spartans. Raber was clinging to his back and his shoulders were coming ever closer to the mat.
“I thought I was going to lose,” Mancilla said. “But I just kept trying. And then I flipped him.”
In the span of seconds, Mancilla had reversed positions with Raber, and began driving the Flowery Branch wrestler’s shoulders toward the mat.
It took almost half a minute, but Raber’s shoulders finally touched, and Mancilla won by pin, capping off a 7-0 tournament and propelling West Hall to a team championship.
For his efforts, Mancilla is The Times Athlete of the Week.
“He works his butt off,” West Hall coach Eric Radich said of Mancilla. “His technique and his heart are his strengths. In that last match, he was down, but he didn’t stop wrestling.”
Despite believing he was going to lose, Mancilla wasn’t intimidated and didn’t stop trying. He showed much the same tenacity as a freshman soccer player who, after being encouraged by a friend, decided to try wrestling.
Growing up in Mexico — his parents live in Mexico City — Mancilla had no experience with wrestling. Like most young athletes in that part of the world, Mancilla grew up playing soccer. He still plays the sport, as a member of West Hall’s junior varsity team, but now his focus is wrestling.
“I like wrestling more, now,” Mancilla said.
At first Mancilla didn’t enjoy the hard work required to be a wrestler, but his friends and coaches continued to encourage him and he stuck with it. Now, according to Radich, Mancilla spends every extra moment he has learning how to be better on the mat.
“He’s dedicated to doing whatever it takes to be better,” Radich said. “He’s come a long way, and I think he’ll continue to progress.”
Mancilla applies that same sense of hard work to school, where he is taking both an extra math and English class in hopes of improving his English, while keeping his grades high enough to go to college.
“I want to go to college, so I have to keep working,” Mancilla said.
He hopes to be able to wrestle in college as well.
Radich believes that Mancilla will qualify for the state sectionals this weekend at the Area traditional championships.
“We think he’ll qualify,” Radich said. “He’s not flawless but he wants to do whatever it takes to be.
“He may not get to spend as much time in the weight room as we’d like because of his schedule,” Radich said. “But if we told him we had a match in California, he’d be in the car.”
It’s that kind of encouragement, support and belief that has Mancilla grateful to those around him.
“I just have nothing but thanks for my coaches and my teammates and everyone who helps me,” Mancilla said.
The Area 8-AAA traditional tournament will take place at Chestatee High, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.