Crestwood's Acevedo, SHS's Kirkhart reach Hines Furniture Athlete of Year final

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From staff reports

The final round of voting for The Sumter Item Hines Furniture Athlete of the Year features a matchup of an athlete from Crestwood High School and one from Sumter High.

Sumter girls swimmer Hayden Kirkhart and Crestwood boys soccer player Christian Acevedo advanced to the championship round after semifinal victories.

Voting for the finals began on Monday and ends at midnight on Thursday. Fans can visit TheItem.com/AOTY to cast their votes in the final matchup. Fans are able to vote once an hour for a maximum of 24 hours per day. The initial seeding for the bracket was selected at random.

The champion will be announced in the Saturday edition of The Sumter Item as well as online.

To see the complete bracket and voting form, go to TheItem.com/AOTY.

Kirkhart defeated Thomas Sumter Academy boys cross country runner Josh Fugate in one semifinal, while Acevedo edged out Wilson Hall girls shooter Ann Weathers Blankenship in the other matchup.

Voting for the semifinal round concluded at midnight on Sunday after opening on Thursday. More than 800 votes were cast in the semifinals.

Following are the semifinal results:

Hayden Kirkhart / Girls Swimming, Sumter High School - 724 votes (84.7%)

Josh Fugate / Boys Cross Country, Thomas Sumter Academy - 130 votes (15.3%)

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Christian Acevedo / Boys Soccer, Crestwood High School - 445 votes (52.1%)

Ann Weathers Blankenship / Girls Shooting, Wilson Hall - 409 votes (47.9%)