High Schools

Middle Creek’s tennis champ Stachowiak out for the season

tstevens@newsobserver.comMarch 17, 2014 

Middle Creek’s Nick Stachowiak, who won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A tennis singles championship in 2013 as a freshman, is expected to be out for the season with a back injury.

Stachowiak learned two weeks ago following an MRI exam that he has two broken vertebrae. He expects to be out for at least three months.

“I was shocked I broke two bones in my back,” Stachowiak said. “I felt a sharp pain when I was playing a (non-high school) practice match about a month ago. I actually finished the match, but later I couldn’t move. I couldn’t put on my socks.”

Middle Creek coach Rhonda Blanchard said dropping Stachowiak from the lineup was the equivalent of the NFL champion Seattle Seahawks losing quarterback Russell Wilson.

Stachowiak plans to support the team in a mentoring role.

“Most high school kids wouldn’t be out here right now, but that’s not Nick,” Blanchard said. “As I’ve told Nick, he’s not only done so much for our tennis program but for our entire athletic department. He’s a true ambassador for Middle Creek High School.”

Morris move: Cleveland High football coach Marc Morris said the opportunity to be the head coach at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Carolina Forest was too good to turn down.

“It’s a good opportunity to coach at one of the big 16 schools in South Carolina and a good area to be in,” Morris said. “Carolina Forest just presented a unique opportunity and the principal down there (Gaye Driggers) did a great job of selling us on the school. … What they had to offer myself and my family and the challenge of getting a program going again is really appealing.”

Carolina Forest is 3-19 the past two seasons and hasn’t made the playoffs since moving up to the Big 16 in the S.C. High School League in 2008. (The Big 16 is made up of the 16 largest high schools in the state.)

“Cleveland has been a great place for me and my family,” Morris said. “We’ve accomplished a lot at Cleveland in a short period of time thanks to the dedication of our players, our assistant coaches, the school staff and especially our principal, Anne Meredith.”

Rams defensive coordinator Travis Gaster is expected to take a position at Carolina Forest also.

Cleveland is expected to return defensive tackle Sterling Johnson, who is ranked among the best in the country, and quarterback Aaron Farmer.

“Cleveland is going to continue to have a successful football program,” Morris said. “I was just a small part of it. What the kids at Cleveland have done in such a short amount of time has built up Cleveland’s reputation across the state for football. They’re going to have no trouble finding a great head coach.”

Millbrook rebounds: Millbrook rebounded from a 2-1 season-opening loss to Panther Creek with a 9-0 win over Knightdale in its second girls’ soccer game. Cailyn Boch had four goals and Claire Griffiths had three assists and one goal.

“We played well and Knightdale is going to have a good season,” said Millbrook coach Matt Edwards. “They have talent and a good coaching staff. We were fortunate that we finished well and created a lot of chances.”

Edwards said the team had responded well to the loss at Panther Creek.

“It was a frustrating game, giving up early goals on the only two shots we allowed and then in turn scoring one goal on 15 shots and hitting the post on six different occasions,” he said. “We learned about some areas that we took for granted and the importance of being focused and playing at a high level for the entire 80 minutes. The more games this team plays together, the better we will be.”

D. Clay Best and Tom Shanahan contributed to this story.

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