If there is one thing that binds Cary’s Will Clark and Cardinal Gibbons’ Morgan Reid, aside from being the southwestern Wake athletes of the year, it’s that the two were not just good on a local level. They had national aspirations and accomplishments.
Clark, a junior, won the junior national championship in the 132-pound class at the 25th annual National High School Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. Clark topped a 98-wrestler field that included wrestlers from 34 states. There were 20 state champions in his class.
Clark was also Cary’s first NCHSAA state champion wrestler since 2009. He went 49-1 as a 138-pounder, defeating Jack Britt’s Brandon Stern 1-0 in the final. He is now 104-2 over the last two seasons.
“It’s still not hit me yet,” Clark said after winning. “I’ve been thinking about this since I was little, watching my friends in high school win states. ... I’m still in shock.”
He defeated Zach Weiland of Missouri, 2-1, for the national title.
“I felt like I controlled the match more than the score indicated,” Clark said. “I was probably more relaxed and confident in that match than any other.”
He said his opening 11-1 decision over Bret Romanzak of Virginia was his toughest match.
He later took an 8-1 win over Jack Gillis of Florida and a 6-2 win over Andrew Smith of Florida to set up a quarterfinal match with Kyler Hansen of California.
He had a reversal and takedown in the extra period to win 9-5. He topped Pat McLaughlin of New Jersey 4-0 in the semifinals.
In the championship match, Clark scored a reversal in the second period and controlled the rest of the match, giving up a one-point stalling penalty in the final seconds of the championship win over Weiland.
“I can say that I’m a national champion,” Clark said. “I know that it is going to be just as hard and probably harder next year, but it is a great feeling.”
Reid, a senior, was one of two high school players in the country invited to the U.S. U-20 camp in Chula Vista, Calif., in early May. The training camp was her first experience with the club.
She was also the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association and the N.C. Gatorade state player of the year in girls soccer, but her athleticism wasn’t limited to one sport. The Cary resident was also a four-year starter in basketball, leading the Crusaders in points and assists each year. She ended her hoops career with 1,212 points
With her help, Gibbons went 21-2-2 in girls soccer, ending the year with a national No. 38 ranking in the third round of the 3A playoffs. She ended her career with 56 goals and 50 assists, scoring 22 goals and 9 assists this past year while missing four games for basketball and the U.S. national program.
In basketball, the Crusaders went 23-7 and lost in the third round with Reid running point guard.
Reid always cherished representing the Crusaders.
“You are representing something when you play for the school,” she said. “You have friends who aren’t involved in soccer, and they are excited for you and people at the school are involved. You are representing your school and the student body. You don’t get that on the club level.