CHAPEL HILL— The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced the winners of the 2021-2022 Pat Best Memorial Trophy which is awarded to the Association’s Male & Female Athletes of the Year. Cardinal Gibbons standout swimmer, Claire Curzan, and Terry Sanford star hoops and soccer performer, Davis Molnar, were presented the awards during the Association’s Annual Awards presentation yesterday.
Female Athlete of the Year – Claire Curzan – Cardinal Gibbons High School Swimming
Curzan has been the Most Outstanding Swimmer for three of the four years she competed in the State Championship Meet, coming up short in the point calculations for that honor during her junior season when she did not break her own state meet records from the previous year. In her senior year, she left no doubt, smashing the all-classification meet record in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, becoming the first female to go under 50 seconds each of the events in the history of the NCHSAA State Meet.
She set multiple new NFHS records in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, perhaps most impressively, continuing to participate at the high school level while training for the Olympics and reaching the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as a member of the US Swimming Team in for the 100 Butterfly, qualifying for the team at age 16.
Curzan was a vital part of the Cardinal Gibbons program throughout her four-year career, and perhaps most poignantly, bringing the Crusader relay team home a gold medal in the 400 free relay – the final event of Curzan’s high school career - swimming the anchor leg and chewing up a nearly five second deficit in the final 100 yards of the race to earn the top of the podium.
An electrifying swimmer in the pool, an Olympian, a state champion many times over, and an outstanding swimmer, Curzan will attend Stanford University in the fall to continue her academic career and pursuit of Olympic Gold,
Male Athlete of the Year – Davis Molnar – Terry Sanford High School Basketball & Soccer
Molnar starred on the Bulldog basketball and soccer teams, earning all-conference honors in each sport.
On the soccer field, he had a career record of 65-19, and was a member of the 2021 all-state team and the All-American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He led Cumberland County in goals scored with 36 on the year.
He was even more impressive on the hardwood, racking up Conference Player of the Year honors, All-State Team honors. He led the team in points per game with 18.6 per contest while grabbing 11.8 rebounds a game and dishing out 4.6 assists per contest. Over his four-year career, he scored 1281 points and averaged 14.1 points per game, grabbing 815 career rebounds, totaling 9 per game in four years on the varsity team.
He did all of that while maintaining a 4.33 GPA. He is committed to Furman University and will continue his academic and athletic career with the Paladins this fall.