The top female high school athlete in the state this year resides in the Swannanoa Valley.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association held its annual meeting and awards ceremony on May 2, in the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill. The event included the presentation of the Pat Best Memorial Trophy, given by the governing body of the state's high school athletics to the Male and Female Athlete of the Year in NCHSAA competition.
This year's Female Athlete of the Year is Owen High School senior Chesney Gardner.
The ultra-competitive Gardner has set numerous records in her four-year career for the Warlassies' volleyball, basketball and track and field teams.
She finished her basketball career with 1,946 points and 1,004 rebounds before breaking her own school record in discus to open her senior season in the sport. Gardner first broke the school record in the field event as a freshman.
Gardner was the Owen High School Female Athlete of the Year as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Last year she earned the SunTrust Athlete of the Year Award, which is presented to the school's top overall athlete.
With numerous accomplishments under her belt entering her senior year, she saved her best efforts for her final campaign.
Gardner was named Western Highlands Conference Player of the Year for her performance on the volleyball court in 2018. She was a first team All-WNC and team MVP. She recorded 491 kills on the season.
In basketball, the sport she will play for University of South Carolina-Aiken after committing to the school last November, she posted career highs in points and rebounds.
Gardner led the region in scoring as a senior, averaging 26.4 points per game. She pulled down 10.1 rebounds per contest, also tops in the region.
She earned first team All-WNC and team MVP honors for her efforts in the sport.
Gardner is currently ranked first in the state in the discus throw and second in shot put.
At the age of 11, Gardner was in a car accident that left her temporarily paralyzed and claimed the life of her best friend Kori Goodson. Gardner suffered a spinal fracture in the accident.
She credits the memory of Goodson as her motivation to succeed.