Emilie Charles circled her arms into a hoop and let Kooper Hunt and his sister Kinzley shoot soccer balls into the basket she made.
Kinzley and Kooper are little kids. Charles is the most-decorated girls high school soccer player in West Virginia history. Yet, there she was, having just been honored for breaking the state’s all-time scoring record, having just scored her 161st, 162nd and 163rd career goals, taking time out to play with youngsters on the sideline after the Knights’ 4-0 victory over Point Pleasant.
Charles’ actions are no surprise to anyone who knows her. A high-honor student with academic and athletic scholarship opportunities galore, the Cabell Midland standout also is active in her church, participating in mission trips and service projects.
On Thursday, the night she was honored, her focus wasn’t on herself but her sister Olivia, a freshman standout in her own right, who will miss the rest of the season with a hip injury. Emilie was sorrowful she wouldn’t play another high school game with her talented sibling.
The national runner-up as Gatorade player of the year, the only girl in the state ever to earn high school All-American honors, Charles is humble. She always credits teammates and coaches, not with false humility, but sincerity. Polite, gracious and thankful, she combines speed, physicality and ball-handling ability not seen before in West Virginia.
The state and the Tri-State have produced many heralded athletes in recent years. Charles ranks with the best of them on and off the field.
RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Huntington Prep basketball star Jaemyn Brakefield committed to Duke University. His teammate, A.J. Hoggard, committed to Michigan State University. … Spring Valley tight end Corbin Page was offered a scholarship by Marshall University. His teammate, offensive lineman Wyatt Milum, visited West Virginia University. … Cabell Midland offensive tackle Jackson Oxley received an offer from Morehead State University. … Raceland wide receiver Gunnur Lewis picked up an offer from Cincinnati Christian University.
Huntington High boys basketball standout Amare Smith visited Youngstown State University. … Paintsville football player John Walker Phelps committed to Centre College. … Former Huntington High football standout Bryce Damous of Garden City (Kansas) Community College received an offer from Southeast Missouri State.
Spring Valley pitcher Levi Smith and Lincoln County catcher Eli Kirkendoll committed to West Virginia State University. … George Washington baseball player Brayden McCallister committed to the University of Charleston. … The University of Tennessee-Martin offered Ashland offensive lineman John Stone. … South Charleston defensive end Zeiqui Lawton picked up an offer from the University of Cincinnati.
Spring Valley kicker Zane Porter visited the University of Mount Union. … Gallia Academy running back James Armstrong, who passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season on Friday, visited the University of Toledo on Saturday.
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES: Hannan broke an 18-game losing streak with a 34-26 victory over Manchester (Ohio), making Kellie Thomas the first female football coach to win a high school football game in West Virginia. … Wheelersburg’s volleyball team is 17-0 and has not lost a set all season. The Pirates clinched the Southern Ohio Conference championship last week. Samantha Lafon of Ironton leads Ohio Valley Conference volleyball players in kills with 236. Peri Martin of Gallia Academy has 575 assists, 252 more than runner-up Kayla Jackson of Chesapeake. Martin’s teammate Alex Barnes leads the OVC in digs with 210. Kaleigh Murphy tops the conference in aces with 57.
Meigs won the Tri-Valley Conference girls golf title as Caitlin Cotterill won medalist honors. … Shady Spring hired Jordan Meadows as its new baseball coach. … Barboursville’s boys tennis team won the Cabell County championship last week. … Fairland’s Hanna Shrout qualified for the Ohio Girls State Golf Tournament for the third consecutive season. … Fairview volleyball coach Rick Lambert won his 200th game last week when the Eagles beat Lawrence County.
Former Hurricane kicker Tim McCutchen of the University of Charleston was named the Mountain East Conference player of the week. … Gallia Academy’s boys won the Ohio Valley Conference soccer championship. … Minford volleyball standout Maddie Slusher recorded her 1,000th career dig last week. … Boyd County’s boys and girls won Eastern Kentucky Conference cross country championships.
Point Pleasant volleyball player Peyton Jordan recorded her 1,000th career dig last week.
Martinsburg has won 48 consecutive football games. … Talyn Parker became Portsmouth’s career rushing leader Friday night, passing the 5,514-yard mark set by his dad, Jo Jo Parker. … Man’s football game at Tug Valley scheduled for Friday has been moved to Nov. 1 because the Panthers have numerous injuries that have depleted their roster.