There is a new conference and a new championship for the Cardinal Gibbons boys lacrosse team.
The Crusaders (18-2) were favorites to win last year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association title before old rival Apex upset them in the third round. Now, Apex will be in the new 4A bracket while Gibbons will compete for the 3A/2A/1A.
Gibbons will be in a league with the same schools it shares the Big Eight 3A Conference with in other sports: Chapel Hill, Northwood, Cedar Ridge, J.F. Webb, Northern Vance and Orange. Aside from Gibbons and Chapel Hill, most of the other schools have only recently started playing the sport.
So the conference will have teams play each other just once in the regular season before having a conference tournament.
The Crusaders will have midfielder Gannon Morrison, a Marist recruit, who was an all-American pick with 42 goals and 37 assists, and all-conference picks Chris Lappin and Robbie Lavelle.
In N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association play, Cary Academy (14-4) returns senior all-state forward Rebecca Kenney (12 goals) to the Chargers. Cary Christian (13-4) should be improved from a year ago, when their streak of making the 2A final was snapped.
In NCISAA baseball, Raleigh Grace Christian’s 6-foot-4 pitcher Josh Greene is an N.C. Central recruit.