This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County. Inspiring competitions took over eastern Wake.
In 2005, one young man – an Eastern Wake News contributor, too – participated in a wheelchair basketball invitational. Twenty-five years ago, East Wake High School won its first softball championship. And 50 years ago, bidders competed for the chance to build the new Zebulon post office downtown.
Ten years ago, Will Privette made the news for his participation in a junior wheelchair basketball invitational.
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In the game of life, one obstacle overcomer personifies the very Will to win.
A wheelchair being his transportation, not his motivation, East Wake High freshman Will Privette never takes a back seat driving toward his goals. So whether writing for this newspaper or faithfully following his beloved Carolina Mudcats or excelling in the classroom or even displaying his hoops skills on a national stage – he’ll try anything and triumph at everything.
His latest coup concluded with a Bennett Blazers’ East Coast Physically Challenged Junior Wheelchair Invitational all-tournament team selection.
As a guard for the Raleigh Wheels of Steel, Privette scored 16 of the rolling roster’s 24 points in a single contest. Rivals from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Tar Heel state competed in the Baltimore, Md., event.
...The outgoing Privette spent much of his younger years undergoing major medical operations. Besides “numerous” surgeries for his muscular and skeletal conditions, 1993 open heart surgery installed a pulmonary artery he was born without. Then his right leg was amputated at the knee in 1996.
Those procedures failed to hinder his progress.
...Yet he squeezed the Wheels of Steel into his cramped schedule. “It was interesting to see how advanced some of the teams’ programs were,” Privette said. “The level of play really opened our eyes and caused us to set our sights high for next year.”
Individually, he seeks hardwood improvement through an equipment upgrade. “I hope that my parents (Avon and Debbie Privette) will find me a fast chair like Tatyana’s,” he said, referring to fellow all-star pick Tatyana McFadden.
The St. Petersburg, Russia, born Bennett Blazers member was adopted from an orphanage by Americans nine years ago. “She effortlessly glided her sports wheelchair with lightning speed like (alpine skier) Picabo Street, yet she could fiercely brake and ram her opponent’s chair -- easily foiling a setup, a fast break or shot,” spectator Avon Privette said, describing her style.
The 15-year-old youngest USA ambassador McFadden also reigns as the 100-meter sprint silver medalist and 200-meter bronze medalist from last summer’s Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Having met President George W. Bush, she currently trains soldiers disabled in Iraq on how to race.
Will Privette’s court collision course with her created sparks, leaving him “still awe-struck by the world-class athlete’s presence,” Avon Privette said.
She may be a role model, but the boy’s own admirable achievements elevate him atop a mobile pedestal, because he defeats limitation with fearless determination.
The East Wake Warriors softball team took the crown – their first ever – at the end of their season 15 years ago.
It was a lot of things. It was another game-winning swat by senior Amy Hall. It was another winning run scored by freshman Tori Pearce. It was another one-run victory. But East Wake’s game Friday against Apex at Jackie Ammons Field was much more.
The Warriors captured the school’s first softball championship, taking the inaugural Tri-County Six Conference title with a 3-2 defeat of Apex. Coupled with Triton’s loss to Athens Drive, East Wake finished the season one game ahead of Triton for the trophy.
With the score tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Pearce reached base on a double with two outs. For the third time in four games, Hall came to the plate with the winning run on base. For the third time, Hall slapped a booming fly ball over the left fielder’s head to score the runner and give East Wake the win.
“Once again, it was senior leadership that won the game for us,” East Wake coach Janet Harris said after the game, dripping wet after being doused with a water cooler in celebration. “We played well defensively. We didn’t hit that well, I guess because of the jitters. We knew the game meant a lot to us.”
The Warriors got only eight hits on the day for a batting average of .242.
Both teams were scoreless through the first three innings of the play.
...The win finished East Wake’s regular season at 12-4 overall and 7-3 in the conference.
Fifty years ago, Zebulon’s current post office downtown was fiercely fought over due to a economic initiative by President Lyndon Johnson’s administration.
The Post Office Department is seeking competitive bids to build and lease the new post office at Zebulon, Postmaster General John A. Gronouski announced.
The purpose of the competitive bidding, Mr. Gronouski said, is to encourage the most attractive and economical offer to the government in line with President Johnson’s economy program to achieve the best possible postal service at least possible cost.
Under the Department’s lease construction program, the site selected at the northeast corner of Vance Street and Poplar Street will be assigned to the successful bidder, who will purchase the property, construct the building according to departmental specifications and lease it to the Post Office Department for a basic period of ten years, with four 5-year renewal options.