Two Johnston County sports programs are continuing dominating win streaks so far early in the fall season — and both streaks look like they could continue through the course of the regular season.
Clayton’s girls tennis team has won 69 consecutive Greater Neuse River 4A Conference dual matches entering this week. The Comets have beaten each of their likely challengers for the league title already this season.
On the opposite end of Highway 70, Princeton’s girls volleyball team won its 45th consecutive Carolina 1A Conference match — in regular-season and tournament play — on Thursday when the Bulldogs topped Spring Creek, 25-22, 25-16, 25-23.
Princeton’s success, of course, spans outside of conference play as well. The Bulldogs have played in each of the last three 1A eastern regional championship matches.
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Both streaks have included notable standouts coming and going on both teams, but the results have stayed the same in each case. So it’s easy to see that the on-court results have a lot to do with the approach Clayton coach Ken Stivason and Princeton coach Paige Renfrow take in the off-season — when the hard work unseen by most observers takes place — and during the season — when each team is prepared for the opposition’s best shot each time out.
SSS athletic director wants to increase participation: New Smithfield-Selma athletic director Jeffrey Dufour has settled into his role as leader of the Spartans over the past couple of months. Dufour, a former girls basketball and track and field coach at Ayden-Grifton High School, says he’s been fired up by the start of school and the fall sports season.
“I’ve seen a lot of great things here at SSS since July, but since the first day of school with students, my enthusiasm has risen quite a few levels,” Dufour said. “The students are motivated and excited. Great things were done in the past, and we’re going to elevate our game and build on those experiences.”
One of Dufour’s goals is working to maximize student participation — often an issue for many SSS teams — in athletics.
It’s a family affair for the Dufour family at SSS. His wife, Sharon, is teaching math at the school.
Jewelry restrictions gone in track, cross country: The National Federation of State High School Associations has removed the jewelry prohibition beginning in 2015 for track and field and cross country athletes.
Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that prohibiting jewelry in high school track and field and cross country is not necessary.
“The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents,” Oakes said. “Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to actual competition. Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped.”
Glas leads scorers: Will Glas of Wake Christian Academy leads area boys soccer scorers with 24 points with nine goals and six assists. He has helped the Bulldogs to a 5-2 record. Teammate Jeffrey Tan has 19 points (eight goals, three assists).
View area statistical leaders in fall sports online at newsobserver.com/preps.
Tim Stevens contributed.