Midtown: Sports

Wake Christian plans move to NCISAA

Wake Christian Academy will be changing its athletic affiliation for next season, and the folks they’re leaving behind might not be too sad to see the Bulldogs go.

Wake Christian is moving from the NCCSA (North Carolina Christian School Association) to the larger NCISAA (North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association) after taking most of the spring’s hardware with them.

In the NCCSA 3A state championships May 12 in Wilson, the Bulldogs took three of the four championships, winning the baseball, girls’ soccer and softball titles each for the third time in four seasons.

Wayne Helder, the girls’ soccer coach and the principal, said the NCISAA would present challenges. The school also plans to add varsity tennis and is considering adding track and field.

“The TISAC (Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference) is one of the best girls’ soccer conferences in the state, period,” Helder said. “We’re stepping into some of the best soccer in the country, and there’ll be some growing pains. And we’ll have our work cut out for us in basketball.”

Wake Christian went out in style, though.

The Bulldogs blanked Walkertown Gospel Light 4-0 in girls’ soccer. The baseball team topped Greensboro Vandalia Christian 7-3. And the softball team – taking on the only other 3A competitor in Wilson Christian – won the final two games of that best-of-three series to claim that title.

The soccer team coasted to its victory behind three goals from Lauren Hitchings with fellow senior Haley Sauls chipping in the other goal. Senior Brooke Buffaloe, who began the season watching from the sidelines after suffering a broken hand in the state basketball tournament, had 13 saves.

The baseball team relied on a nucleus of five seniors and hit well.

“We batted .368 as a team, and that takes a lot of pressure off your pitching,” said WCA coach Randy Johnson. “But our pitching was pretty strong, though.”

Dillon Garrison was the winning pitcher in the title game and helped his own cause with a triple, double and single.

Softball coach John Willingham thinks the Bulldogs could compete with just about anyone in the state.

“We had only 13 girls try out and didn’t cut anybody, but we have good players up and down the line,” Willingham said. “I think if you put us in a big 4A conference we’d probably be right there in the middle. Defensively, we could play with anybody, and our top five could hit with anybody.”

The softball team lost the opener of its series 8-3 before recovering with a 5-2 victory – with Jordan Willingham going 2-for-3 with a homer – to set up the rubber match.

WCA rolled 12-2 in the deciding game with senior Courtney Saunders, who was the winning pitcher in both victories, going 2-for-3 with a triple, three RBI and a steal.