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Nolensville’s Starcke, Franklin’s Spierto tabbed Gateway Tire Athletes of the Week

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Nolensville High School senior Lauren Starcke and Franklin High School senior Taylor Spierto were named the most recent Gateway Tire Athletes of the Week for the week ending Oct. 25.

Starcke helped lead the Lady Knights volleyball team to a second consecutive Class AA state championship, while Spierto scored the game-winning touchdown for the Admirals last week.

The two were chosen as part of the Athletes of the Week awards sponsored by Gateway Tire & Service Center of Franklin. One male and one female athlete from Williamson County is selected and featured each week in the Williamson Herald.

Starcke closed out her high school volleyball career Friday by scooping up a season-best 32 digs in a 25-19, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19 win over Anderson County in the state championship match. The senior’s career-high for digs (39) was set in last year’s title match and once again she showed up big on the biggest stage.

“Lauren Starcke was absolutely phenomenal for us,” Nolensville volleyball coach Brett Young said. “She played great all tournament, just like she has for us her entire career.”

Starcke and the Lady Knights cruised into the championship match for the second season in a row by sweeping their first three state opponents. The senior libero combined for 41 digs in those three matches and finished the state tournament with 73. She added two aces in the championship win and was named the MVP.

“I’ve never coached a kid that gives her kind of effort each and every match,” Young said. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to coach her these past few seasons.”

Similarly, Franklin football coach Donnie Webb has called Spierto his “energizer bunny” as the senior rarely comes off the field each outing playing both offense and defense and snapping the ball on special teams. 

In Week 10 at Page, Spierto hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Connor Beavon with one second remaining to cap a lightning-fast 50-yard drive by the Admirals to rally for a 17-14 victory.

Webb explained that assistant coach Colin Wells suggested the final play because Page’s defensive coverage was leaning toward Admiral wideout Carson Repass.

“Taylor was the widest and he ran his underneath route at the one-yard line as the other two receivers cleared,” Webb said. “Connor stepped up and made the throw. Taylor catches everything and he scored.

“Taylor has made big plays in every game this year. He is a prime example of what high school football should be about: heart not stars.”

Spierto closed with three catches for 35 yards and the game-winning touchdown reception. He also made five tackles and recovered a fumble with one pass defended.

Franklin plays next at Dickson County this week to close out the regular season.

Another nominee for Gateway Tire Female Athlete of the Week included Brentwood’s Shaye Eggleston, who led the Lady Bruins to an eighth consecutive state volleyball championship. Jaxson Campbell of Independence was considered for the Gateway Tire Male Athlete of the Week honor after scoring three touchdowns in the Eagles 26-21 win at Brentwood.

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