The area’s year-long success in athletics was punctuated by an incredibly strong spring, and it deserves its own recognition, because things like this don’t happen very often.
The Tri-Nine Conference (with Cardinal Gibbons as a boys’ lacrosse-only member) had state champions in baseball (Middle Creek) and girls’ lacrosse (Green Hope) while also placing state runner-ups in girls’ soccer (Green Hope), softball (Holly Springs) and boys’ lacrosse (Gibbons). That one nine-team league had a chance to win five state titles in the same season is an embarrassment of riches.
Also in the spring, Cary Academy’s girls’ track and field team won its first state title thanks to two individual championships by Allison Bailey, while the boys’ had two individual champs in Colin Godwin and Thomas Graham. Apex’s Alexis Murphy won two NCHSAA track and field titles.
This was an incredible year of sports in southwestern Wake County, and not just in the spring.
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In the fall, Athens Drive girls’ golf, Green Hope girls’ cross country, Green Hope boys’ soccer, Cary Christian girls’ cross country and Grace Christian boys’ cross country all won state titles. Cary Christian runner Aundrea Holmes and Cary Academy’s Graham each won their respective state meets.
The winter had two Tri-Nine state champions in the same sport, as Green Hope won the gymnastics Division I title and Lee County won Division II. Green Hope had co-individual state champions in Priyanka Kamath and Shailyn Ramsey, while Lee’s Rebeka Jackson was the individual champ in her division.
Though no team state champions, swimming had two-time girls’ champions in Green Hope’s Hannah Moore and Panther Creek’s Henriette Stenkvist, plus an individual boys’ champ Mitch DeForest of Apex. Indoor track and field saw Green Hope’s girls’ 4-by-800 relay team win the title.
This area has a longstanding history of doing well in athletics, but this year was something truly special. Who knows what kind of encore we’ll get next season.
Conference Cup: Green Hope won its second straight Wells Fargo Conference Cup for the Tri-Nine, whose winner is determined by a point system based on finish in the conference standings across all sports. Green Hope’s 160.5 points topped runner-up Apex’s 141.5. The other Tri-Nine schools, in order, were: Panther Creek (116.5), Cary (114), Middle Creek (102.5), Holly Springs (99.5), Athens Drive (89.5), Fuquay-Varina (75) and Lee County (46).
Prestige Cup: Much like the Conference Cup, the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Association has a Prestige Cup that awards points based on regular season standings.
But because the TISAC includes an all-girls school (St. Mary’s) there are two separate contests for each gender.
Cary Academy won the boys Prestige Cup, edging Ravenscroft 29.5-26. Ravenscroft won the girls Prestige Cup with 45 points, while Cary Academy (40) was second.
Players of the Year: On June 10, the News & Observer released its Players of the Year in each respective sport, in addition to male and female athletes of the year and male and female scholar athletes of the year.
The area was well-represented as Fuquay-Varina’s Adrian Gonzales (boys’ soccer), Middle Creek’s Jimmy Boyd (baseball), Holly Springs’ Erica Nunn (softball), Cary Academy’s Thomas Graham (cross country) and Haleigh Morgus (girls’ tennis), Athens Drive’s Sarah Bae (girls’ golf) and Green Hope’s Alexis Shaffer (girls’ soccer) and Maggie Auslander (girls’ lacrosse) were all honored.