When it comes to the private schools that draw southwestern Wake County students, it’s hard to pinpoint which fall sport they are best at. Cross country and volleyball are always well-accounted for, and this year boys soccer and girls golf could have some standouts as well.
There is one big change to this year’s teams. A new league has formed for Cary Christian and Grace Christian. The Eastern Plains Independent 2A Conference is still the name, but gone are many of the league’s easternmost teams.
Cary Academy and Wake Christian will still face off in the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic 3A Conference.
Hilltop Christian in Fuquay-Varina competes in the N.C. Christian Schools Association.
Cardinal Gibbons, a parochial school in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, will still go against its foes in the Big Eight 3A Conference
Gibbons has a strong junior class with Briley Brind’Amour, a 6-1 outside hitter, Emma Longley and Mia Fradenburg.
Cary Academy (22-10) was third in an ultra-competitive TISAC. Seniors Katie Dungan (118 kills, 68 blocks) and Elizabeth Frazier (310 digs) lead the way.
Wake Christian (10-12) has Hailey Brooke McFadden (432 kills, 579 digs), a Wake Forest University recruit. Junior Emily Smith (478 assists) returns as a setter.
Cary Christian (17-5) was a 4-seed in last year’s NCISAA 2A playoffs but has lost senior Adria Johnson to transfer.
Cary Academy (2-9-2) will be led by all-state defender Collin Dworsky.
Wake Christian (7-10-2) is coming off its best year as a member of the NCISAA.
Grace Christian (10-8-1) and Cary Christian (11-5-1) were both NCISAA 2A playoff participants.
Cary Academy, the NCISAA 3A runners-up, lose depth but bring back two all-state runners in sixth-place Josh Mitchell (16:09.47), a senior, and 10th-place Coleman Mitchell, a freshman (16:39.88).
Grace Christian won the NCISAA 2A state title behind individual champ Alex Dolwick (16:27.80), a senior. The Eagles return six of their top seven runners from last year, including standouts like freshman Will Sosseman (6th), junior Aaron Baker (10th) and senior Ryan Haughee (19th).
Cary Christian’s top returning runner is Mark Watson, a junior (18th).
Cary Academy, which was third in the state, brings back sophomore Emily Lane, who was 13th in the NCISAA 3A.
Cary Christian freshman Marissa Bishop was fourth in the NCISAA 2A championships as an eighth-grader, but a gradual progression to the top spot will be hard. The three runners who finished ahead of her a year ago are just entering their sophomore years.