Garner Cleveland: Sports

Clayton grad Harrison is one of NCAA’s Top 10 Award winners

Andrew Henry, Eastern Michigan University swimmer, West Johnston High graduate.
Andrew Henry, Eastern Michigan University swimmer, West Johnston High graduate.

Clayton High School grad and reigning NCAA track and field champion in the 100-meter (outdoor) and 60-meter (indoor) hurdles Keni Harrison has been named one of 10 2016 Today’s Top 10 Award winners by the NCAA. The award goes to exemplary athletes with success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“I have worked with some special athletes, but none better than Kendra Harrison,” University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “Seeing her dominate college track and field with class and help lead our team to unprecedented success was truly a pleasure. She has been an outstanding representative for UK in all facets, from the classroom to the track, and being recognized as a Top-10 Award winner is a fitting cap for Kendra’s memorable college career.”

Harrison and the other 10 recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2014-15 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration during the Convention in San Antonio.

Evans is USTA State Player of the Year: Clayton High School senior Klein Evans has been named the U.S. Tennis Association’s High School Player of the Year in North Carolina.

He was the 2015 NCHSAA 4A state singles runner-up and became a three-time Greater Neuse River 4A Conference singles champion in April.

Evans recently signed a college scholarship with the University of Richmond. He will receive his award at N.C. Tennis Weekend, which is held annually at Pinehurst Resort in January.

Southeast will get new football coach: Southeast Raleigh football coach Mike Thibodeau is stepping down after two seasons as head football coach”, he said, to spend more time with family.

Thibodeau was 8-14 in his two years with the Bulldogs. He previously was the offensive coordinator at Knightdale.

“Southeast will have a great group of returning players in 2016 and I wish them and the school all the best,” he wrote in a release. “I thank my administration and AD for the opportunity over the past two years and look forward to hearing good things about the Bulldogs in the near future.”

A.D. change at Smithfield-Selma: Jeffrey Dufour will leave his post as athletics director at Smithfield-Selma High School on Dec. 1 to become an assistant principal at Meadow Elementary. Longtime SSS assistant athletics director Lori Rose will serve as the interim director for the remainder of the school year.

Sanders goes over 1,000 career points: Neuse Charter School junior Jimmie Sanders III topped the career 1,000-point plateau Wednesday night in the Cougars’ 69-36 win over East Wake Academy. Sanders III finished the night with 28 points in the win and stood at 1,018 points for his career after the game.

Deviant Stevens added 15 points for NCS, while Conner Pulley had nine in the win.

Garner grad standing out in classroom, on pitch: Garner graduate Kenneth Perkinson has been named to the Academic All-District Team for his work at UNC Pembroke.

Perkinson, a sophomore soccer goalie, is just the fifth Brave soccer player to receive the honor. He is now in consideration for Academic All-American status later this month.

A two-year starter for the Braves, Perkinson has also been a standout in the classroom as well where he maintains a 3.98 cumulative grade point average as a business administration major at UNCP.

On the playing field, he registered a 1.72 goals against average and 78 saves across 14 starts for the Black & Gold this season, while also posting a trio of shutouts. He tallied five or more saves in five outings in 2015, including a season-best 10 stops against both Montevallo and Clayton State.

Henry honored by MAC: West Johnston High grad Andrew Henry was named the Mid-American Conference Swimmer of the Week for the second time this season on Nov. 9. Henry, a senior at Eastern Michigan University, won the 200 and 100 free races against Oakland University on Nov. 7 and anchored the Eagles’ winning 200 medley relay team. He has won seven races through two meets this season.

Trio on East football coaching staff: The 2016 N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Football Game will feature three coaches with ties to Johnston County. Current Corinth Holders assistant coach and former Smithfield-Selma head coach Don Andrews will be an assistant coach on the East staff, which will be led by Wilson Fike head coach Tom Nelson. Nelson is a former head coach at North Johnston.

Also on the East staff is Beau Williams, the brother of Corinth Holders head coach Bubba Williams. The game will be played July 20 in Greensboro.

West Johnston head coach Jimmy Williams led the East squad, featuring several players from the Johnston/Garner area, to a win earlier this year.

Loco in JoCo 3: OMEGA heavyweight champion Trevor Lee will defend his professional wrestling title at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center on Saturday, Nov. 21 against former TNA champions Matt Hardy and Ethan Carter III (EC3) as part of a local card. Also in action will be Smithfield resident Shane “Hurricane” Helms with Michael Yamaha against the tag team of Harlem and Lancelot Bravado. Bell time is 7:30. For ticket info, visit