There’s nothing like the feeling of working so hard – through sweat, bruises and tears – and coming out on top.
For area high schools, the 2014-15 season brought high expectations and the chance to bring glory back to their schools.
For some, it was a year of redemption after coming so close to winning last season, only to be shut out at the finish line. Green Hope’s girls golf team won its first N.C. High School Athletic Association title after knocking on the door in recent years.
For others, there were personal struggles that defined their journey to the state title game. Panther Creek girls soccer ended the year undefeated and was ranked No. 5 nationally after suffering the loss of one of their players in the fall. Laura Yost, a sophomore junior varsity player, was killed in a car accident, and her No. 8 was adorned on every uniform all season, a reminder of their spirited friend.
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Then there were the schools whose title game destination wasn’t guaranteed, but was a very strong possibility.
Panther Creek’s girls tennis team ran the table to a repeat 4A title, going 21-0.
The Green Hope girls cross country team enshrined its dynasty status with an NCHSAA-record sixth straight 4A title.
And Apex boys lacrosse turned its year around and stormed through the playoffs to a 4A championship, its second in three years.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Gibbons, in its last year as a 3A team before moving up to 4A, won six of the state’s seven fall championships – boys and girls cross country, girls golf, girls tennis, boys soccer and volleyball – and ended the year with seven after adding boys lacrosse.
In the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association, Cary Academy broke through in 3A boys swimming to claim a co-championship.
Panther Creek won the small team gymnastics state championship, a championship not offered by the NCHSAA.
While there many other personal success success individual titles, we take a look at some of the area teams’ triumphs to the top.