High Schools

National champ Florida State offers a scholarship to Cleveland High lineman Sterling Johnson

tstevens@newsobserver.comJanuary 23, 2014 

National champion Florida State offered a football scholarship to Cleveland High defensive lineman Sterling Johnson on Wednesday, but FSU is just one of several schools that has noticed the 6-foot-5, 274-pound junior.

Johnson already had offers from Clemson, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Florida and Wake Forest and others are expected.

“I think a lot of the recruiters are going by Garner to talk to (runner) Nyheim Hines and then coming here and vice versa,” Cleveland coach Marc Morris said. “Sterling works extremely hard and works in the weight room just as hard. He is a fine young man.

“You just don’t see many kids his size who can run like he does. Big linemen like him are hard to find.”

Johnson was the Two Rivers 3A Conference defensive lineman of the year in 2013.

Southwest girls: The Southwest Wake Athletic Conference girls’ basketball race tightened Wednesday night when Cary edged Athens Drive 54-53. The Imps’ win left every girls’ team with at least two league losses.

Athens Drive, Apex, Cary and Green Hope share the league lead.

Duke-bound Azura Stevens of Cary, the area’s leading scorer, finished with 37 points, 22 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. She averages 30.8 points. Athens Drive junior Grace Hunter, who averages 27.1 points, had 23 points, 13 rebounds and 5 steals.

“It’s exciting this year that the conference race is so competitive,” Stevens said. “It’s going to come down to blood, sweat and tears.”

Two Rivers basketball: Western Harnett is 2-14 overall, but shares the Two Rivers 3A Conference boys’ basketball lead with Erwin Triton and Cleveland. All three teams are 2-1 in the conference.

Wildcats win swim titles: East Chapel Hill won the boys’ and girls’ championships in the Piedmont Athletic 4A Conference swimming and diving championships on Wednesday. The Wildcats topped second-place Durham Jordan 684-552 for the boys’ win and second-place Jordan 748-535 for the girls’ win.

East Chapel Hill’s Koya Osada won the boys’ 200 individual medley and 100 back and Michael Wohl won the 100 and 200 freestyle. In girls’ competition, the Wildcats’ CeCe Marzinski (200 free, 100 fly), Morgan Smith (200 individual medley, 500 free), and Chelsea Yu (50 and 100 free) won two events each.

“This is always an important meet for us. We never come in here thinking we have it in the bag,” said Osada, who’s committed to swim at Harvard next year. “We take this very seriously. And for some of our seniors, it’s the last chance they’ll have to swim in a varsity meet.”

The Wildcats won every girls’ individual event.

Swim meets: The Cap Eight 4A, Southwest Wake Athletic and Big Eight 3A conference swimming championships will be held this week at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.

The Big Eight swims Friday at 6:30. The Southwest Wake is Saturday is at 8 a.m., and the Cap Eight is Saturday at noon.

Hamilton adjusts: Josh Hamilton, the former Athens Drive baseball standout, has gained weight and worked on his swing as he prepared for this season with the Los Angeles Angels, according to MLB.com.

Hamilton reported to spring training in 2013 weighing about 225 pounds, about 20 pounds lighter than in past years. He finished the season at 217. He wanted to gain weight for the upcoming season and expects to report at about 235.

“I’ve never lifted heavy, heavy weight before, so that’s what I’m doing this offseason,” Hamilton told Alden Gonzalez. “Just trying to put muscle on, trying to have a couple of cheat days here and there, pizzas, burgers every once in a while. But for the most part trying to stay gluten-free, because that makes my joints feel better. So overall I’m feeling better.”

He also said he has worked with a functional movement coach to refine his swing.

He hit .250 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI in 2013.

D. Clay Best, J. Mike Blake and Tom Shanahan contributed to this story

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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