Cary News: Sports

Point After: Green Hope-to-Duke connection with early start

High school students graduating a semester early to enroll in college isn’t unheard of.

A full year early? That’s rare – unless you’re a Green Hope boys’ soccer player hoping to play at Duke.

Green Hope junior Ryan Thompson already had plans to graduate a year early and play for the Blue Devils, but that didn’t become official until Thompson signed last week. He follows in the footsteps of Chase Keesling, who did the same a year ago.

Both players were able to graduate a year early by taking English 3 and 4 their junior years.

Keesling redshirted his freshman year at Duke this season after an injury. It would have been his senior year at Green Hope if he had not graduated early.

Thompson was an integral part of the Falcons’ state championship run, scoring 10 goals and handing out 16 assists. The left-footed bomber took almost every corner kick and throw-in.

Vincent hurdles to NCCU: Athens Drive’s Kevin Vincent has signed to join N.C. Central boys’ track & field next year.

Vincent has been one of the Triangle’s top hurdlers the past two years. He recently claimed a Wake County championship in the 300-meter hurdles.

His fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles is 14.7 seconds. He was named the Jags’ 2011 team MVP.

Lineman Challenge: Quarterbacks, receivers and backs have plenty of opportunities to shine in the football offseason, but linemen don’t. At least, that is the premise of the Lineman Challenge on May 19 at Apex High.

The eight-event competition will include the bench press, 40-yard dash and vertical leap, but also will include tractor-tire flipping, a farmer’s walk with a 300-pound weight, a team blocking-sled push and a 30-pound sandbag relay. There also will be an individual obstacle-course race.

“This is a day for linemen to have their opportunity to shine and compete,” Apex coach Joe Kilby said.

The competition is open to offensive and defensive linemen. Contact Kilby at 919-328-0325 or

Apex’s Neal to Sanderson Hall: Apex boys’ basketball coach David Neal was named to the second class of Sanderson High’s athletics hall of fame last month. Neal will be inducted in September with eight other former Sanderson athletes and one team.

Neal, whose Apex team has won more conference tournament and regular-season titles than any other Tri-Nine Conference team since his arrival in the 2003-04 season, was a three-sport athlete at Sanderson.

He played quarterback and defensive back in football, was the starting point guard and played baseball. Neal attended UNC-Chapel Hill and played on the Tar Heels’ junior varsity team for two years before playing varsity for two years under coach Dean Smith.

Neal was a part of the Heels’ 1995 Final Four team.

GH cross country: If you’ve ever wondered why Green Hope’s girls’ cross country team has won three state titles, the answer might just be in how many of this year’s mainstays will be running in college next fall.

Sarah Alexander (UNC-Wilmington), Erica Amatori (William & Mary), Jessie Rossabi (East Carolina) and Shewit Wendelese (East Carolina) have all made their college decisions.

That leaves junior Maura McDonnell, the third-fastest cross country runner in the school’s history; freshman Theresa Enright; and sophomore Savannah Lips the only returning runners from the seven who competed in this year’s state championships.

Wendelese did not run in the 2011 state meet – senior Lauren Colberg did.