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MountainStar Healthcare Star Athletes of Week 22

This week’s star athletes are Bountiful’s Robert Whaley, South Sevier’s Kenzie Jones, Westlake’s Jacob Finlinson, Sky View’s Darwin Anderson and Wasatch’s Haley Altman

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Boys basketball

Robert Whaley, Bountiful (Jr.)

After a slow start to the season, Bountiful has reeled off six straight victories thanks in large part to Robert Whaley.

Last week, he recorded 29 points and 15 rebounds in Bountiful’s 71-67 win over Lone Peak and then three nights later tallied 17 points and eight rebounds as the Braves escaped with a 49-48 win over Bonneville.

“At 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, he moves like a man half his size, but for us, what makes him special is his ability and willingness to pass. He also loves to play basketball and his energy and enthusiasm can be very contagious,” said Bountiful coach Mike Maxwell.

For the season, Whaley is averaging 19.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals.

Girls basketball

Kenzie Jones, South Sevier (Sr.)

South Sevier is rolling along this season with a perfect 15-0 record, and the consistent performance of senior Kenzie Jones night in and night out is a big reason why.

Last week, she led South Sevier to wins over Carbon, San Juan and Grand, including scoring 20 points in the impressive 53-39 win at Carbon.

For the season, she’s averaging 14.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.3 steals per game.

“Kenzie does everything. She handles the ball well, shoots the ball well, passes the ball well, defends well and rebounds well. She is a complete player,” said South Sevier coach Stuart Hepworth. “Additionally, Kenzie is a leader for our team. She leads not only by her play on the floor, but also by how she treats her teammates. She is never condescending or points the finger of fault at others. She is positive and maintains her composure in tough situations or when adversity strikes.”

Wrestling

Jacob Finlinson, Westlake (Jr.)

Jacob Finlinson had another terrific showing at the Best of the West tournament at Tooele High School last week.

The junior went a perfect 4-0, pinning all four of his opponents to claim the individual title at 126 pounds.

For the season, Finlinson is 22-2, and he’ll wrestle in Tuesday’s All-Star Duals at UVU.

“Jacob is always willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He thinks of others over himself and prides himself in working hard and doing his best. He is a two-time state champion and looking for his third come February,” said Westlake coach Cody Burdett.

Boys swimming

Darwin Anderson, Sky View (Sr.)

The top distance swimmer in the state is wrapping up his high school career in terrific fashion.

With the region swim meets just two weeks away, Darwin Anderson owns the season’s best time in the 200 free (1:42.46) and 500 free (4:39.58). He also ranks second in the 200 individual medley (1:57.44), third in 100 free (47.56) and fourth in 100 fly (52.51).

“I’ve had the privilege of coaching Darwin for the past several years. He is an amazing athlete with an unstoppable work ethic, which anyone can see by looking at his times or watching him practice,” said Sky View coach Marcus Singleton.

“What not everyone sees is who he is as an athlete. He is a friend to everyone around him with a sincerity that is hard to come by when on such a large team. I’m always impressed with the connections he makes with swimmers on and off his team. So it’s his sincerity to the sport and others that really defines Darwin as a person and an athlete. It’s hard to find anyone who works as hard or cares as much as he does.”

He also ranks in the top 10 in the 100 breaststroke and 50 free.

Girls swimming

Haley Altman, Wasatch (Sr.)

A move-in from Tennessee, Haley Altman is making big contributions for Wasatch’s swim team this season.

Her biggest impact is coming in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke. The senior’s time of 1:05.27 ranks as the best in the entire state with the state tournament less than a month away.

She also ranks sixth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.95.

“Haley is a fierce competitor, who refuses to lose. She is the type of athlete you want to anchor your relay or have in a race when you need something great to happen,” said Wasatch coach Shawn Marsing.

Last year, Altman finished third in the 100 breaststroke at the Tennessee state championships with a time of 1:03.22.