Last year was a great season for a number of area private schools. Cardinal Gibbons did well in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, while Cary Academy captured a N.C. High School Independent Schools Athletic Association state title.
Every area school had at least one team make the postseason. There’s reason for optimism again this year.
Cardinal Gibbons’ first fall in 4A didn’t look a lot different than what it was used to doing in 3A.
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It won two NCHSAA titles, five PAC-6 Conference titles and was one of the last teams standing in every sport but football.
The Crusaders’ new league, the PAC-6, is its toughest in the winter. Riverside was a state semifinalist in wrestling, Hillside is one of the best girls basketball programs in the state, East Chapel Hill’s swim teams have long dominated the PAC-6 and Northern Durham and Jordan’s boys basketball teams have been strong in recent years.
Swimming: The boys took second in 3A, but moves up to 4A this year. Freshman Cothalee Watko and senior Christopher Raymond were on the winning 200 medley relay team. Juniors John Cairns, Christopher Fischetti and senior Luke Stevens add depth. Junior Bennet Schuman returns as the team’s top diver.
Indoor track: Senior Connor Peoples won the boys’ 3A 1,000 (2:32.98). Classmate Connor Lane was third in the 3,200 as Gibbons finished fifth in 3A. The girls were 3A runner-up. They return the entire 3,200-meter relay (10:04.23) team in Annie Pierce, Abby Doyle, Alina Rovnall and Sophie Ebihara. Ebihara also won the 3,200 (11:13.93).
Basketball: The Crusader boys (17-9) won the Big 8 Conference but were hit hard by graduation. Mark Schacte is the only top-five scorer back. The girls’ team (19-7) is led by Olivia Smith, a senior who averaged 22.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game.
Swimming: The boys won a 3A co-championship despite only winning the gold in the 400 freestyle relay. Sophomore Vincent Wang was sixth in the 200 IM. Senior Sebastian Kettner, the only returning member of the winning relay team, was second in the 100 freestyle. Junior Ari Kaufman was fourth in the 500 free.
The girls were second in 3A and return senior Melissa Hamrick, who was fourth in the 3A 500 freestyle.
Basketball: The boys’ team (10-17) brings back Tylor Moore, a senior who led the Chargers with 15.9 points per game. The girls (9-14) bring back top two scorers Lauren Callihan and Szu-in Lim.
Basketball: The always-strong girls (15-13) bring back all-state point guard Grace Smith (15.4 points, 4.1 steals) and post player Emily Clarkson (6.2 points, 8.7 rebounds).
The boys’ team (16-10) graduated many seniors from last year’s playoff squad.
Swimming: Junior C.J. Van Vooran won the boys’ 1A/2A 200 freestyle.
Grace Christian Raleigh
Basketball: The girls’ basketball team 5-19 last year, is led by senior Carol-Anne Obusek (16 points and 12.2 rebounds per game).
Basketball: Senior Rob Whitfield had 21.3 points per game for the 14-9 Bulldogs.