Sports keep growing across the region as more students participate but the number of sports offered by Johnston County Schools will not increase in the near future, County Athletic Director Ray Stott said earlier this summer.
“The thing we get a lot of questions about is lacrosse,” Stott said. “And that’s still down the road. Lacrosse is a great sport but it’s just as expensive as football because of the equipment involved.”
The on-field equipment required when adding a sport at either the high school or the middle school level brings in other expenses that must be addressed as well, like the additional activity buses that would be required and the supplements paid to coaches in the sport.
As a new school year begins, the top fiscal challenges athletic administrators face at each school haven’t changed at all over the past few years. Those are the cost of gas for buses and uniforms and other equipment.
Stott said the new more localized 3A conference with Smithfield-Selma, South Johnston, Cleveland and Corinth Holders has helped ease their travel issues, but notes that North Johnston is still in a far-sprung conference and must deal with the attendance and travel issues that creates.
He steps down after leading South to the eastern regional championship this past spring, his second trip to the state’s final four with the Trojans. (The first one came in 2010.) He took over the softball program in 2006 after the untimely death of South Johnston legend Gary Blackmon.
Previously, Bridgers led Northern Nash to the 1987 4A state slow-pitch softball championship previously. He also served as football coach and athletic director at South.
South has named Amanda Smith as head softball coach, promoting her after two seasons as an assistant coach. She is a graduate of Campbell University, where she played, and Triton High.
Bridgers is the second standout Johnston County softball coach to retire this summer and be replaced by an assistant coach. Chris Batten has stepped into the head coaching position at North Johnston after the retirement of George Daniels.
The girls tournament, the Four Oaks Bank Cup, will be played March 2-4 at Cleveland High School.
First round match-ups in the tournaments are the same with West Johnston taking on Smithfield-Selma and Clayton meeting South Johnston in the first round matches. The West/SSS winner meets Corinth Holders in one semifinal, while Cleveland gets the Clayton/South winner.
North Johnston and Princeton have opted not to play in the tournaments this school year.
Passes will be on sale from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Aug. 12-13 and Aug. 20-21 and from 1-7 p.m.
Contact the Clayton High School office at 919-553-4064 for more details.