The N.C. High School Athletic Association cross country and volleyball championships are slated for Saturday, with the state’s top runners descending onto the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville and the best volleyball teams playing the first state championships in the newly renovated Reynolds Coliseum.
Cardinal Gibbons has won six straight girls cross country championships – five in 3A before last year’s move to 4A – but will be challenged locally by Green Hope. Chapel Hill’s girls are the favorites to repeat the 3A title.
Individually, Leesville Road’s Nevada Mareno has the fastest time in the state this season. The Stanford recruit will be aiming for a repeat 4A title and potentially a new state record.
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On the boys’ side, Green Hope and Broughton will contend for the 4A title. Broughton had won four straight 4A titles before having its streak snapped last year with a runner-up finish to Winston-Salem’s Mount Tabor. Green Hope last won it all in 2010, which was the last time a 4A team pulled off the boy-girl sweep.
The schedule is as follows: 4A boys (10 a.m.), 1A boys (10:30 a.m.), 4A girls (11 a.m.), 1A girls (11:30 a.m.), 3A boys (3 p.m.), 2A boys (3:30 p.m.), 3A girls (4 p.m.), 2A girls (4:30 p.m.).
The Triangle has a team in all four volleyball championships.
Green Hope will be playing for its first volleyball championship at 5 p.m. as the Falcons go up against Reagan High from outside of Winston-Salem. The Falcons (27-1) defeated previously undefeated D.H. Conley (25-1) 3-2 in Greenville in the 4A East final on Thursday.
Green Hope’s top hitter is sophomore Kayla Dowler, but the Falcons are at their best when they mix up their attack as they did against Conley. Dowler had 13 kills, Amy Zhang had 14 and Luisa Lyons had nine.
Conley was hoping to reach the title game for the first time since 2007. The Vikings were also 4A semifinalists in 2013 and will return to the 3A ranks next year.
In 3A, Chapel Hill will try to add to its proud volleyball history, but the Tigers (24-5) have a nationally-ranked opponent from Concord in Cox Mill High. The two play at 2:30 p.m. Chapel Hill swept Triton on Thursday in the East final.
The Tigers have a tall front line led by 5-foot-11 senior Shea Golden and 6-foot-3 freshman sensation Kaya Merkler.
Triton (21-4) ended its year in the state semifinals for the first time since 2007.
Undefeated Carrboro will be favored against Maiden in the 2A title at noon. The Jaguars, state semifinalists in each of the last two years, broke through the final four round with a 3-0 sweep of Currituck County on Thursday.
Carrboro is led by junior Destiny Cox, a North Carolina recruit.
Also undefeated, Louisburg will be playing in the 1A title at 7:30 p.m. The Warriors are coached by Erica Wammock, who played for the Warriors when they finished runner-up in 1998. Louisburg won the 1988 and 1989 titles.
Louisburg plays Community School of Davidson, which swept Roxboro Community on Thursday in the West final. Louisburg won 3-1 at Williamston’s Riverside High.
4A boys: 10 a.m.
1A boys: 10:30 a.m.
4A girls: 11 a.m.
1A girls: 11:30 a.m.
3A boys: 3 p.m.
3A girls: 3:30 p.m.
2A boys: 4 p.m.
2A girls: 4:30 p.m.
2A - Carrboro vs. Maiden, noon
3A - Chapel Hill vs. Cox Mill, 2:30 p.m.
4A - Green Hope vs. Reagan, 5 p.m.
1A - Louisburg vs. Community School of Davidson, 7:30 p.m.