North Carolina High School Athletic Association


CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is pleased to announce the winners of the Male and Female Athlete of the Year for the 2017-18 School Year. The award is in its 33rd year and winners receive the Pat Best Memorial Trophy, presented at the NCHSAA’s Annual Meeting in Chapel Hill.

This year’s Female Athlete of the Year is Hannah Jennings from Madison and the Male Athlete of the Year is Beau Studebaker from East Carteret. The winners, finalists and semifinalists were chosen from nominations received from coaches, media and school administrators.

This year’s finalists for the Female Athlete of the Year were: Jennifer Chang from Athens Drive High School, Elissa Cunane from Northern Guilford, and Hannah Jennings from Madison High School. Semifinalists included the three finalists as well as Delores Watford from Hertford, Elise Wright from T.C. Roberson, and Victoria Young from North Wilkes.

This year’s finalists for the Male Athlete of the Year were: Jordyn Adams from Green Hope, Dax Hollifield from Shelby, and Beau Studebaker from East Carteret. Semifinalists included the three finalists as well as David Melville from Northern Guilford, Tye Mintz from Cherokee, and Trey Robinson from Mountain Heritage.




Hannah Jennings is a senior at Madison High School that has participated in volleyball, basketball and softball during her career. She has been named an All-Conference Selection nine times, two times in basketball, all three years to this point in softball and all four years of her career in volleyball. Twice she was named the Conference player of the Year in Softball. 

Through 17 games this year in softball, Jennings has batted .606 in 66 at bats, racking up 40 hits and 19 RBIs on the season. As a pitcher she has started 8 games, posting a 9-0 record on the season with an ERA of 0.69. In 51 innings, she has only allowed 28 hits and struck out 93 batters. Last year on the diamond she batted .552 for the year with 26 RBI and struck out 189 batters on her way to an ERA of 1.27.

Her volleyball exploits include 118 kills to just 44 errors. She had 51 total blocks with 282 digs in her senior season. On the basketball court she played 27 games, averaging 12.7 points per game and grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game. 

She is the team captain of all three sports and was selected to participate in the WNC Women’s Basketball Blue vs. White All-Star game, was a 2016 State Games All-Star, and an NCHSAA Heart of a Champion Award winner this year, as well as a Gainey Student Award Recipient earlier today. In the classroom, Jennings has been exceptional and has already received her CNA Certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She plans to attend Lenoir Rhyne University to play softball.



Beau Studebaker is a six-sport athlete at East Carteret High School where he participates in Football, Basketball, Wrestling, Golf, Tennis and Track and Field. Beau is not just a participant, but he excels in each of the sports he plays. 

In football, Beau is the quarterback of the team and passed for 2,254 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing more than 59% of his passes. He also rushed for 558 yard and 14 scores in his senior year. Defensively, he made 99 tackles, adding 8 sacks and forcing two fumbles. He had an interception and blocked two punts, returning one of those for a score. He was named to the All-Conference Team.

In basketball he played 24 points this year, averaging 9.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. He was named to the Honorable Mention All-Conference team. One night he actually left a wrestling tri-meet after pinning two opponents to get to the basketball game at another school and play the whole second half. 

In wrestling, Studebaker has won three straight individual state championships. He won at the 152-pound division his sophomore year, the 170-pound division in his junior season and the 182-pound division this year. His record for his senior season was 36-0, ending his career with 97 consecutive wins and was voted most outstanding wrestler in the conference. 

In tennis he plays at number 3 singles and number 2 doubles and was tied for best record on the team at the time of submission at 10-4. He is the number six ranked player in the Coastal 1A/2A Conference in golf, and number one on the 1A side of the league. He led the golf team to first place on the 1A side of the Conference and a regional qualification for himself. He qualified for the regionals and state championship last year as well and was named All-Conference and Team MVP in his junior year. In track, he is a member of the 4 X 400 Meter Relay team. 

He plans to attend Campbell University in the fall where he will continue his wrestling career and study Homeland Security.