This year’s Cary High Sports Hall of Fame class will be inducted at halftime of Friday’s home football game against Holly Springs. This year’s group includes two inductees from the 1970s, a stellar four-sport athlete, one of the state’s top swimmers and two national champion wrestlers.
Jimmy Abbott, class of 1976: Abbott competed in football, cross country and track and field. He was a member of the 1975 conference championship football and cross country teams. He was a three-time individual conference champ in the 880 yard run from 1974-1976 and won the state title in the event in 1975. This came at a time when all classifications competed in the same state championship. He was the school record holder in the 880 and the mile and went on to run for Virginia Tech. He has been a middle and high school track & field coach since 1980 and is currently coaching at Douglas High School in Nevada.
Torrey Bussey Pierce, class of 2010: Pierce, neé Bussey, was one of the best swimmers to come through Cary High. She was an eight-time conference and regional champion and seven-time state champion. She won state championships in the 200 medley relay, twice in the 200 IM and four times in the 100 breaststroke. She never lost a high school race in the 100 breaststroke, setting the state record in 2009 and breaking it in 2010. Cary was the 4A state runner-up in her senior year, the highest school finish. She swam at LSU, qualifying for the NCAA championships three times. She was also a member of the Cary track and field team for three years, and was all-state in pole vault in 2009.
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Joseph Farnsworth, class of 2007: Farnsworth dominated the state like no other wrestler has during his senior year. After finishing third as a junior, he went 65-0 and he didn’t allow an escape or a takedown his entire senior year en route to a 4A state title. The only point scored against him came when he was whistled for an illegal hold. He was a junior national champion in 2006 and was fifth as a senior. He was ranked the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 103 pounds his senior year and was invited to compete in the “Dream Team” dual meet. He went on to wrestle at UNC-Pembroke and coached at Union Pines High. He returned to Cary this year as an assistant.
Jennifer Garrett Gilson, class of 1991: Gilson, neé Garrett was a four-sport athlete at Cary. She played volleyball, soccer and track and field, but made her mark in basketball. She was an N&O “Old Reliable All-Star” her senior year, earning conference MVP honors while leading the Imps to a 21-4 record and the conference title. She scored 1,102 points in her career.
Eloheim Palma, class of 2009: Palma was a stellar three-sport athlete, competing in football, wrestling and track and field; but he’s known best for his national championship in wrestling. Palma won three 4A state championships – going 115-0 over his last two years – in the heavyweight division and was a three-time All-American. He finished third in the nation in 2007, second in 2008 and first in 2009. He was the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation during his senior year, and went on to wrestle at N.C. State and Campbell. He was also a two-time all-conference football player and was all-state in shot put.
Bryan Smith, class of 1977: Smith was a four-sport athlete in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. In football, he helped Cary to the second round of the state playoffs in 1976 while contributing as a running back, defensive back and returner. He made his mark in baseball, batting .477 his junior year before playing in college at Campbell and Clemson. He helped Clemson to back-to-back ACC titles in 1981 and 1982.