Midtown: Sports

Cardinal Gibbons names new softball coachs

Cardinal Gibbons named Veronica Wootson-Ross as its new varsity softball coach Tuesday.

She replaces Marianne White, who retired after coaching the Crusaders for a decade, including an N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A title in 2005.

Last year, Gibbons finished the season 10-7 overall after a first-round loss in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A playoffs.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am very honored to have been selected to share my experience with the girls at Cardinal Gibbons,” Wootson-Ross said in a statement from the school. “I hope to build upon the program that Coach White has been so committed to for the past decade. Coach White has instilled many positive things that I encourage her girls to bring with them on the field.”

Wootson-Ross was a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American while playing second base for Florida State, where she earned a master’s in health education and undergraduate degree in community health.

Wootson-Ross went on to play professional softball for the Akron Racers, earning Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2007.

She started her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Florida State. She currently serves as an assistant at William Peace University and provides individual coaching instruction through the Softball Factory and Grand Slam Baseball in Raleigh.

Stankavage back: Shawn Stankavage, who helped Cardinal Gibbons to an 11-2 season in 2013, is back at full speed following knee surgery last fall. Stankavage had ACL surgery after being injured in the Crusaders’ 57-52 victory over Grays Creek.

Wilson Hunt ended Gibbons’ season the next week with a 25-20 victory.

“Shawn is going full speed,” Gibbons coach Steven Wright said. “The doctor has released him, and he seems fully recovered.”

Stankavage passed for 1,905 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2012.

Dante DiMaggio, who handled quarterback duties after Stankavage’s injury, will return to wide receiver and may play some at safety.

The conference dynamic changes this year with Southern Durham entering the league.

“I think Southern Durham probably is the favorite,” Wright said.

All-star soccer: Several area players were selected for the N.C. Coaches Association All-Star soccer game on Tuesday, July 23, at UNC Greensboro.

The girls game is loaded with area players such as Broughton’s Caroline Brown, Sanderson’s Olivia Sanderson, Cardinal Gibbons’ Christina Gibbons, Millbrook’s Rachel Hallman and Jackie Stroud, and Heritage’s Erin Tanhauser.

Boys and girls all-star basketball games are Monday, July 24, at Greensboro Coliseum. The all-star football game is Wednesday, July 25, at High Point’s Simeon Stadium, a new venue this year instead of Greensboro Grimsley’s Jamieson Stadium.

WCA change: Wake Christian Academy has named Stephen Cochran as its varsity football coach, succeeding veteran coach Randy Johnson. Cochran is a Fuquay-Varina High and East Carolina graduate.

Cochran was an undergraduate assistant at East Carolina in 1995 and 1996 and was an assistant coach at WCA in 2009. He was named head coach at Mount Dora Bible School in Mt. Dora, Fla., in 2010 and held the position for three years.

Tim Stevens contributed to this report