Scoring of high school wheelchair athletes spurs debate

May 21, 2014 

State high school athletic associations across the country are working to find the most equitable way to incorporate competition for students with impairments into interscholastic athletics.

Winston-Salem Mount Tabor won the N.C. High School Athletic Association boys’ 4A track and field championship, outdistancing second-place Apex 63-57, helped by eight points gained in events for students with impairments. Mount Tabor had the only entry in two of the events and the only two entries in the other two.

At least three different team scoring methods are used by various state associations in state high school championship track events that include athletes with impairments.

Washington state, for example, names a mixed champion and a traditional champion.

Louisiana counts the points scored by impaired athletes in team totals, but if those points determine the team championship, the team with impaired athletes is declared co-champion and the other team is the outright champ.

Texas, which added wheelchair events this year, does not count the points scored in the wheelchair events in team totals.

The NCHSAA has had competitions for wheelchair athletes for years. Southeast Raleigh’s Deja Barber, for example, competed in 2010. Durham Hillside freshman Desmond Jackson became the first competitor in the adaptive division for athletes with amputations.

But this was the first year points scored by the athletes with impairments helped determine the team championships.

Apex would have won the boys’ 4A track and field championship Saturday under other scoring options.

“In 40 years of coaching high school track, nothing has ever come close to bothering me this much,” said Lee Mauney, a retired teacher and coach who now helps with the Cary program. “To have a group of athletes who are capable of winning a state championship and for them to perform like the Apex boys did and to have the title taken away really bothers me.

“And to me, the title was taken away. I am all for providing opportunities, but to have the state championship determined by events in which there were one or two entries is not right.”

Reid named top soccer player: Cardinal Gibbons High’s Morgan Reid is the North Carolina Gatorade girls’ soccer player of the year.

The 5-foot-6 Duke recruit led the Crusaders’ into Wednesday night’s NCHSAA 3A fourth round game against Chapel Hill. She missed the Crusaders’ first two playoff games while training with the U.S. Soccer U-20 women’s national team.

Reid scored 22 goals and handed out nine assists this year and collected 56 goals and 50 assists in her career. She also was a four-year starter in basketball and led the Crusaders in scoring and assists each season. She had 1,212 career points.

Lacrosse shuffling: The NCHSAA tried to avoid a conflict with graduation events in determining the times for the state lacrosse championship games on Saturday.

Apex (19-2) plays Charlotte Catholic (18-2) at 7:35 p.m. Friday in the boys’ 4A finals. The next day, the Apex girls (17-1) play Charlotte Catholic (22-1) at 12:35 p.m. in the girls’ finals.

Cardinal Gibbons (21-0), which has a graduation event Friday night, plays Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (18-1) in the boys’ 1A/2A/3A boys finals on Saturday at 4:05 p.m.

Leesville falls: Leesville Road girls soccer coach Paul Dinkenor said his team did all the right things after taking the lead in an eventual 2-1 overtime loss to Wilmington Hoggard on Tuesday night in the NCHSAA 4A soccer third round.

Leesville had gone ahead on a Madison Hoffman goal off a pass by Mary Kate Bowers with about five minutes left.

“We had hoped to lock it down and we did everything right, but they executed very well on a free kick and got the goal,” Dinkenor said. “I wouldn’t say we were flat in overtime, but they executed very well again and got another goal.”

Dinkenor said his team, the Cap Eight champion, played well in the game just as it had throughout the season.

“We’ve got five seniors who made major contributions to Leesville soccer, but overall we have a young team,” Dinkenor said. “After the girls get over the hurt of tonight, we’ll be excited to begin thinking about the start of next season.

“It was a tremendous season. It ended a little bit earlier than we wanted.”

Wildcats advance: East Chapel Hill (14-4) cruised past Northern Durham in the NCHSAA 4A girls’ soccer tournament on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory. Brynn Donnelly, Eva Killenberg and Lauren Douglas each had a goal.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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