As spring sports begin, here are the Chattanooga area’s top prep athletes to watch

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / East Hamilton's Reese Knox sprints to third. East Hamilton High School took on Ooltewah at home on April 25, 2022.

This story was updated at 10 p.m. to replace Jake Kellerhals' paragraph with a paragraph about Gui Gragnano.

This week's TSSAA BlueCross Basketball boys' state championship tournament marks the end to the winter sports season.

With the first official day of spring just one week away, five prep sports -- baseball, soccer, softball, tennis and track -- begin their seasons this week across the state.

Here are 15 Chattanooga-area spring sports athletes to watch this season:

Alec Bouchard (Notre Dame baseball): The Wofford signee -- whose fastball has been clocked at 91 mph -- ranked among the area's leaders last season with an incredible 120 strikeouts over 65 innings for the Fighting Irish. He struck out 10 or more batters in nine straight starts and fired a no-hitter against Boyd Buchanan. He only allowed 30 hits and 17 walks to go with a miniscule 1.07 earned run average.

Hudson Calhoun (McCallie baseball): The Ole Miss signee went 7-for-10 with a home run, five runs scored and three runs batted during last year's Division II-AA state tournament run to the championship. The senior shortstop/pitcher is also excited to be back in the field and pitch this season after having to DH last year following elbow surgery.

Danielle Dunning (Brained track and field): The sophomore speedster held the state's fastest times in the 100 (11.69 seconds) and 200 (23.98) meter dashes in her breakout debut season.

Evie Culbreath (Baylor track and field): The University of North Carolina signee is one of the nation's top-rated combined-events prospects. This past weekend the Red Raiders star was featured in an ad campaign for Nike on a Times Square 3-story billboard in New York. She was the Division II-AA state champion in the 100-meter hurdles last season and currently ranks 21st in the country with a time of 8.59 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.

Henry Ford (Baylor baseball): Ford is a major power threat in the middle of a dangerous Red Raiders lineup. As a junior, the third baseman hit .422 with 13 home runs and 32 RBIs with a 21-to-10 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He has signed to play college baseball for the University of Virginia.

Olin Johnson (McCallie baseball): The University of North Carolina signee was lights out on the mound as a junior, helping the Blue Tornado win a state title by going 7-2 with a 1.77 earned-run average and 76 strikeouts over 59.1 innings.

Brodie Johnston (Boyd Buchanan baseball): The Vanderbilt committment shined as a sophomore, batting .413 with nine home runs, 34 RBIs, 22 extra base hits and 18 stolen bases last season.

Gui Gragnano (Baylor soccer): The playmaking forward was the leading scorer with 21 goals to go with seven assists as Gragnano helped the Red Raiders claim their sixth TSSAA state championships since 1997 last spring as a junior.

Reese Knox (East Hamilton softball): The Lady Hurricanes look to end a 10-year state tournament drought and could very well do so with Knox leading the way. The Eastern Kentucky University signee has unlimited range in centerfield and is a tough out from the left-hand batter's box. In 40 games last season, Knox batted .645 with 78 hits, 59 runs, 48 stolen bases and 24 extra base hits.

Holly Merritt (Baylor softball): She paced a stout lineup with a team-leading .506 batting average to go along with seven home runs and 41 RBIs to help the Lady Red Raiders claim a seventh straight Division II-AA state title. The junior outfielder also had more walks than strikeouts.

  photo  Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Holly Merritt slides into second. GPS took on Baylor at home on April 12, 2022.

Brett Rogers (Silverdale Baptist baseball): Rogers is one of the few in the state who could produce a 20-20 season when it comes to stolen bases and home runs. The senior five-tool outfielder and left-handed hitter had a .475 batting average with 12 home runs, 28 stolen bases and 45 RBIs last season for a 32-win Seahawks team which reached the Division II-A state tournament.

  photo  Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Silverdale's Brett Rogers (6) follows through on a hit. The South Pittsburg Pirates visited the Silverdale Seahawks in TSSAA baseball on March 23, 2021.

Andreas Sillaste (McCallie tennis): The Blue Tornado No. 1 seed has his eyes set on becoming the fourth singles champion in program history. The senior has been a part of three straight Division II-AA team state championships for McCallie and was the singles runner-up, falling 6-4, 6-4 to Ensworth's Hank Trondson in last year's finals.

Grayson Smith (McCallie baseball): The Florida signee was a key part of the state's deepest pitching staff last season, going 6-2 with a 1.67 earned-run average and 78 strikeouts over 58.2 innings. To say it will be hard to score runs on McCallie this season is an understatement.

Kennedy Stinson (Silverdale Baptist softball): The Western Kentucky University signee had 17 home runs while driving in 48 runs and scoring 52 more last season for a 30-win Lady Seahawks team. The junior outfielder will once again be an intimidating presence.

Mills Wood (Boyd Buchanan soccer): Last season's Division II-A state runner-up finish was fueled by Wood, who finished in the top 10 in the state in goals scored with 27 as a junior. He landed a hat trick in a 3-2 state quarterfinals victory over Lausanne and also set a school record with five goals against Concord Christian.

  photo  Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Boyd Buchanan's Mills Wood (1) collides with Franklin Grace's Zion Jones (8). Boyd Buchanan met Franklin Grace in the championship match of the Division II Class A in TSSAA's Spring Fling on May 26, 2022, at the Siegel Soccer Complex.