Eight area players were named to the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association’s all-state team.
Green Hope (Thomas Yoder, Stephen Pitarra, Troy Maslowski) and Fuquay-Varina (D.J. Burt, Brett Daniels, Jordan Bissette) each had three selections. Panther Creek’s Josh Maciejewski and Cardinal Gibbons’ Stephen Scott also made the team.
Splashy view of record: Former Middle Creek High swimmer Kendall Pena had a splashy view of a swimming world record in June as she raced against 2012 Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky in the 1,500-meter freestyle in the Woodlands Senior Invitational in Houston, Texas.
Pena, a sophomore at N.C. State who was swimming with the Marlins of Raleigh team, was two lanes over from Ledecky when Ledecky broke the national record. Ledecky, a 17-year-old high school senior, finished with a 15:34.23, more than a minute ahead of the second-place finisher.
Ledecky also set the world record in the 800 later in the meet.
Being in the race was exciting, Pena said.
“It was a once in a lifetime chance,” said Pena. “It was crazy to be a part of it.”
Ledecky was on Pena’s right so she could catch glimpses of Ledecky.
“I knew she was a world record holder and that she would be incredibly fast,” Pena said. “I knew I couldn’t go out with her. I had to swim my own race.”
The crowd at the pool knew Ledecky was on a world-record pace and cheered her on. She said afterward she felt incredibly strong and smooth through the water.
“After she got to the wall, I saw her splashing the water so I knew she had gotten the record,” Pena said.
They exchanged a brief “good job” after the race.
Pena reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championships all four years while at Middle Creek in the 500-yard freestyle, the NCHSAA’s longest distance. She was third as senior and fifth as a junior.
New volleyball coaches: A former professional volleyball player and a former Miss North Carolina are taking the head volleyball coaching positions at Panther Creek and Middle Creek.
Holly Fong, who played professional volleyball in England, is headed to Panther Creek while Adrienne Core, the Mustangs’ junior varsity coach and Miss North Carolina 2010, is taking the Middle Creek job.
Fong went to Sebastopol (Calif.) El Molino High School and played volleyball collegiately as a setter at High Point University and at the University of Memphis. She currently is a coach with the Chapel Hill Area Volleyball Club. Previously, she coached at the Orlando (Fla.) Volleyball Academy.
“Her contacts in the volleyball circles have amazing things to say about her as a coach and a person,” Catamounts athletics director L.J. Hepp said. “Although she played volleyball at the highest of levels, when she looks back, she values her high school experience above the others. She has a strong desire to re-create those positive high school experiences for our volleyball athletes at Panther Creek.”
Core graduated from Triton High in Harnett County where she lettered in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She got her undergraduate and graduate degrees at N.C. State. She was a preliminary talent winner in Miss America with a clogging performance.
“I had more success earlier in basketball, but I never loved it as much as I did volleyball,” Core said. “I have a passion for the game.”
Ashworth wins: Fuquay-Varina High senior Catherine Ashworth shot a final round two-under par 70 to win the Twin States Junior Girls’ Championship at the Columbia Country Club in Blythewood, S.C.
Ashworth finished with a 143, edging Lee County junior Muk Shoomee by a stroke. Shoomee led qualifying with a one-under 71.