It’s no secret Dr. Anna Atkinson Caparaso is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of McDowell High School.
She was a pretty big deal in college, too.
Caparaso (Class of 2009) is one of five athletes who will be inducted into the Wingate University Hall of Fame during the induction ceremony Friday, Oct. 25. The induction will be part of a Blue Carpet Gala which will include Wingate University Alumni Awards in addition to the Sports Hall of Fame recognitions, according to a release from the school. The ceremony will take place on homecoming weekend at Wingate.
Caparaso is already a member of the McDowell High Athletic Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2016, her first year of eligibility.
As a standout at Wingate University, Caparaso became one of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of the South Atlantic Conference. During her time at Wingate, she was named conference Freshman of the Year, made all-conference all four seasons, and was a two-time SAC Player of the Year. She also won the league’s tournament MVP award, was a three-time SAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Award winner and won the SAC President’s Award twice.
Caparaso became the South Atlantic’s only two-time winner of the NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association National Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, and was only the second two-time winner in the award’s history. During her senior year, Caparaso earned honorable mention All-American honors from two publications, while once again earning All-Region accolades and Player of the Year honors in the SAC. She was once again a first team Academic All-America selection, while becoming only the seventh student athlete in SAC history to earn the President’s Award twice.
She became the first-ever women’s basketball player to be named SAC Player of the Year and the SAC Scholar Athlete in back-to-back seasons.
Caparaso piled up 1,494 points in her illustrious career, adding 776 assists, 450 rebounds and 357 steals. She is the all-time leader in SAC history with 357 career steals, registering 2.89 steals per game. She ranks second in league history in career assists, handing out 6.26 assists per game in her career, which is also second in conference history. In the 2007-08 season, she averaged 14.9 points, 8.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game, leading the Bulldogs to the SAC Tournament title and the NCAA Southeast Region championship. Caparaso set the league record with 125 steals that season, while her 281 assists that season rank second in league history.
At McDowell High, Caparaso, a 2005 MHS graduate, had a magnificent high school career. She was a four-time All-Northwestern 4A Conference selection, a two-time NW4A Player of the Year, and a two-time conference tournament MVP. She was an Associated Press All-State pick as a senior, and was MVP of the prestigious GlaxoSmithKline Invitational. Caparaso finished her Lady Titans career with 1,402 points, 592 steals and 409 rebounds, and set a North Carolina state record for career assists with 898.
Marion Mayor Steve Little proclaimed Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 as “Anna Atkinson Day” in Marion. In 2013, the South Atlantic Conference celebrated 20 years in Div. II by counting down the top 20 moments in its history. Caparaso’s incredible career was ranked No. 9 on the list.
In addition to Caparaso, The Wingate Sports Hall of Fame class of 2019 includes football defensive lineman Kenwin Cummings ('09), cross country runner Amber Hines Jensch ('09), swimmer Maria Vlashchenko Crowder ('09) and head volleyball coach Shelton Collier.