Garner Cleveland: Sports

Five Johnston County schools will be 3A in fall of 2017

There will be five 3A schools in Johnston County once the next N.C. High School Athletic Association realignment kicks in for games starting in the fall of 2017.

Clayton and West Johnston will both drop from the 4A ranks, joining South Johnston, Cleveland and Smithfield-Selma.

The NCHSAA goes through a realignment period every four years to keep similar sized schools competing in the same classification. This year for the first time instead of a 25 percent equal split between four classifications, the NCHSAA went with a 20-30-30-20 plan with the top 20 being 4A schools and the bottom 20 being 1A schools.

Corinth Holders is one of only two schools moving up to the 4A ranks under the new plan. North Johnston and Princeton will remain in their current classifications.

The first draft of potential conferences will come from the association in December and there will likely be changes before the plan is finalized in the spring.

But it would he hard to see how there isn’t a 3A conference coming in the fall of 2017 that features five Johnston schools.

North Johnston could get a few closer conference mates with schools moving into and out of the 2A ranks with the new plan, same for Princeton which loses James Kenan and Spring Creek from the current Carolina 1A.

East Wake and Harnett Central drop to the 3A ranks raising some question as to what kind of conference Garner will fall into with four current Greater Neuse River 4A Conference moving down to the 3A ranks.

Clark impresses in opener: Clayton native Gary Clark scored a career-high 21 points for the University of Cincinnati in a 97-72 win over Western Carolina last week. The sophomore forward was 9-of-10 from the field in the win and grabbed eight rebounds in just 28 minutes of play.

Christensen is an all-SIAC selection: Clayton High graduate Nick Christensen was named to the all-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic All-Conference team after helping Miles College win the conference title this fall. Christensen, a sophomore, made 14 of 17 field goals for the Golden Bears.

The former Comet hit the second longest field goal in the country in Division II competition this season, a 56-yarder against Morehouse.

Ferguson to U.S. U17 national team: Clayton’s Noah Ferguson, a Word of God student and football player, has been has been named to the U.S. Under-17 National Team and will compete against Canada in the 2016 International Bowl at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Ferguson is one of 59 athletes to be selected for this honor to represent Team USA in the sport’s greatest annual international competition.

The 2016 International Bowl is a collaboration of the sport’s national governing bodies in each country – USA Football and Football Canada – featuring top student-athletes in football’s greatest annual international competition.

Tate helps lead NCCU golf team: Southeast Raleigh High grad Sumner Tate was named to the All-Tournament team for the Virginia State golf Classic earlier this month. Tate posted rounds of 76 and 83 for N.C. Central to tie for 16th place in the tournament. The Eagles were ninth in the team standings.

Tate also tied for 16th at the Savannah State University Tiger Fall Classic this month. The Eagles were the runner-up team.

Blood drive at SNMP: Southern National Motorsports Park will host a blood drive from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, in conjunction with its Thanksgiving All-Star Classic races.

The weekend features three days of racing from Nov. 27-29 with bandoleros, street stock, charger, modifieds, late models, Legends, U-Car, mini-stock, limited late models. The featured events are a 125-lap super late model race and a 200-lap late model stock race on Sunday afternoon. Visit for more info.

Medal winners: Johnston County athletes preformed well in the 2015 Special Olympics North Carolina Fall Tournament held earlier this month. Tennis medals went to Matthew Carpenter, Christopher Thompson, Brogan Debuhr and Adam Martin. Winning medals in bocce were Sherrie Stanley, Amy Jones, Jamie Taylor and Christopher Jones.

The Johnston Unstoppables soccer team won a silver medal. Team members were Justin Britt, Marcus Dickens, Adam Ferguson, Lillian Ferguson, Kenny Martin, Linwood Stancil, Charles Williamson and Phillip Brandon Williamson.