You know it’s been a great year for local high school sports when Chapel Hill’s best football season in history isn’t the best performance of 2014-15.
As good as they were — and they were great — the Tigers were topped by Carrboro High School’s state championships in running, girls soccer and boys tennis.
In almost any other year, Chapel Hill’s performances would have led area athletics. The Tigers reached the state championship final in girls basketball, played in the 3A football semifinals, and they won another state swimming championship.
The Jaguars post-season performances this spring probably were good enough to get Carrboro a Wells Fargo Cup for overall athletics excellence for a fourth straight year. They finished ahead of all their closest rivals in every spring sport except boys and girls lacrosse.
Carrboro’s tennis team boosted the school’s chances considerably by getting wins in the state playoffs against the Jaguars’ top rivals for the cup – second-place N.C. Science & Math and third-place Croatan.
The girls’ soccer team did much the same in what was its closest playoff game before the state final – a 1-0 win in overtime against Croatan in the second round.
Carrboro senior runner Maysa Araba was the area’s athlete of the year.
In the fall, Araba repeated as the NCHSAA’s 2A cross-country champion, marking the fifth straight year a Carrboro female has won top honors in the 5K event.
Four jaguars finished among the top 10 scorers – Araba, Helen Morken, Amanda Hickey and Natalie Richardson – as Carrboro won the team title for the fifth time in the last six years.
This spring, Araba again was a double winner, setting records as she repeated her state titles in both the 800 and 1600 meters.
The Carrboro females finished second and the males sixth in the NCHSAA track and field championships.
Carrboro junior Magnus Herweyer also won two events, finishing first in the shot put with a mark of 53 feet, 10 inches, and the discus with a throw of 178-7 – almost 20 feet better than his mark of 157-3 as runner-up in last year’s championships.
Tennis: Carrboro’s boys tennis team won its second straight NCHSAA championship in dominating fashion.
Appearing in the state championship finals for a fourth straight year, Carrboro (14-1) defeated Brevard 5-2 for a second team title. Before that, the Jaguars had not lost a singles or doubles match against any 2A opponent. They shut out two previously undefeated teams in the NCHSAA tournament – Croatan (13-1) and N.C. Science & Math (10-1).
One week before, four Carrboro players appeared in the NCHSAA individual finals, where senior Max Fritsch and Jake Zinn defeated Jaguar teammates Jason Wykoff and Sean Ross for the state doubles championship.
“Having Max as a partner was great,” Zinn said. “Max and I have played together since we were 11 years old. He has always been such a solid player, and I’m really happy he went out with another win.”
Soccer: On an undefeated team replete with sophomores and juniors, four senior captains — Kenza Araba, Leah Simon, Benedikte Turner and Olivia Turschak — were the glue that held a talented team together as they won Carrboro’s second state soccer championship in four years. Carrboro (20-0-1) also set a state record for fewest goals allowed in a season (2).
“Give credit to the senior captains,” head coach Jared Drexler said after Carrboro defeated East Bend Forbush 2-1 in overtime for the 2015 title. “They worked hard every day. We let them do the talking before the overtime, and what they said to their teammates carried a lot of weight.”
Swimming: Chapel Hill senior Jake Pudik led the Tigers to their fifth state championship in boys swimming by winning the 100 freestyle (47.47 seconds) and taking second in the 50 free at the NCHSAA championship meet. Teammate Christopher Eron was fourth in the 50 freestyle and Patrick O’Donnell was fourth in the 100 breaststroke.
Pudik, Eron, David Baston and Emery Harwell combined to win the 200 freestyle relay. Pudik, Eron, Ang Li and O’Donnell did the same in the 400 freestyle relay (3:14.44).
On the girls' side, Chapel Hill junior Claire DeSelm won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly to repeat her state titles in both events.
Basketball: Defending state champion Chapel Hill (24-3) won a third straight conference title and reached the NCHSAA state 3A finals in girls basketball for a third straight year before losing 71-53 to undefeated Hickory. Senior Raziyah Farrington had 19 points in her final game before signing to play next year at Western Carolina. Classmate Tamia Eatmon committed to Anderson College and Jessica Wall to UNC-Asheville.
Football: Chapel Hill won three games on the road in the NCHSAA 3AAfootball playoffs to finish 11-4 for the year, the most wins ever in program history. The campaign was capped by the Tigers’ 39-28 upset at No. 1 and previously undefeated Southern Durham, the defending state champion. Chapel Hill got as far as the state semifinals before losing to eventual 3AA champion Northern Guilford.
Geoff Neville contributed to this report.