High School Sports

Blake’s Great 58: high school athletes making strides in the fall sports season

Greenfield’s Jackson Stone (10) dribbles the ball around Wayne Country Day’s Colby Bowen (12) and Jack Talton (14) in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A championship on Saturday, October 29, 2016.
Greenfield’s Jackson Stone (10) dribbles the ball around Wayne Country Day’s Colby Bowen (12) and Jack Talton (14) in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A championship on Saturday, October 29, 2016. newsobserver.com

The Great 58 exists to bring attention to the special accomplishments and noteworthy items in high school sports in the PrepsNow coverage area. Fifty-eight schools and/or athletes, listed in bold, are highlighted in each column. Nominations welcome.

Boys soccer (7)

Granville Central’s boys soccer program has come a long way under coach Gregg George. When he started six years ago, the program barely had enough players to field a team. Now, the Panthers are bearing down on a potential Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference title and undefeated regular season.

Only two area boys soccer players have topped the 40-goal mark this year: Kerr-Vance’s Christopher Steg (53) and Neuse Christian’s Braden Teller (45).

William Smith and Jackson Stone scored to lead Greenfield School to a 2-1 victory over Wayne Country Day in the Coastal Plains Independent 1A Conference tournament championship on Thursday. The Knights and Chargers split the season series, and Greenfield has now won three of the last four, including last year’s 1A state championship.

Neuse Christian Academy striker Braden Teller’s (10) shot attempt during the first half of a Kerr-Vance Academy boys soccer game against Neuse Christian Academy at Forbes Field on Greenfield School campus in Wilson, N.C. on Friday, October 21, 2016 News & Observer 2016 File Photo newsobserver.com

Volleyball (11)

Arendell Parrott capped an undefeated regular season, dropping just one set. The Patriots will await the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association brackets on Sunday along with North Raleigh Christian Academy, winners of the last two 3A titles. NRCA topped Cap-7 4A leader Cardinal Gibbons on Monday.

In its first year of 3A play, Franklinton claimed the Big East 3A. Clayton and Cleveland split head-to-head matches in the Greater Neuse River 3A and shared co-titles. It’s Cleveland’s first title and Clayton’s second straight 20-win season.

The Greater Neuse River 3A, Big Eight 3A (Chapel Hill won the title), Central Tar Heel 1A (Chatham Central) and Northern Athletic 4A (Wakefield) were four of the many area conference tournaments starting this weekend.

Ayden-Grifton won its first volleyball conference title since 1976 - ending a 41-year drought.

Last week, Harnett Central’s Camryn Huber had 22 kills and seven blocks, including eight kills in the fifth set, to lead the Trojans to a 3-2 win over Western Harnett. Across the county, Triton’s Sophie Saltzman had a career-best 22 kills and held serve for a career-best 18 points, including four aces, to lead the Hawks to a 3-1 win over Western Harnett.

West Johnston's Abby Barbour (9) locks the shoot by Harnett Central's Camryn Huber (15) during the GNRC 4A volleyball tournament finals with West Johnston high school against the Harnett Central high school Tuesday, September 20, 2015, in Benson, N.C.West Johnston won 3-1 over Harnett Central. News & Observer 2015 File Photo newsobserver.com

Cross country (11)

Green Hope’s boys cross country team is No. 8 in the national rankings by FloTrack, and recently impressed with a runner-up finish to No. 1 Loudoun Valley (Va.) at the Great American Boys Race of Champions, led by senior Peyton Barish. The Cardinal Gibbons girls were 11th in the same event.

Chapel Hill’s boys, led by Ryan Combs, were second to 3A foe Mount Tabor in the Wendy’s Championship, while the Tigers’ girls, led by Katherine Dokholyan, were second to Riverside (S.C.). Cary was first in the boys open race, followed by Broughton. Broughton was also second in the girls open race.

Though Hobbton won both Carolina 1A Conference team championships, Rosewood’s Elaina Amy won the girls’ individual title, edging teammate Amina Bash and Neuse Charter’s Abby Lampe.

Green Hope's Peyton Barish approaches the finish line to win 8th place during the NCHSAA Class 4A Boys State Cross Country Championships that took place at Ivey Redmon Sports Complex on November 5, 2016 in Kernersville, North Carolina. Alik McIntosh newsobserver.com

Girls tennis (13)

Greene Central (17-1, 10-0 Eastern Carolina 2A) won its conference championship in girls tennis for the 24th year in a row. Greene Central’s Taylor Williams and Hinson Britt won the conference doubles title, defeating teammates Madison Tingen and Madison Holloman 6-2, 6-2. North Lenoir’s Sidney Swindell defeated West Craven’s Grace Peek 6-2, 6-2 for the singles title.

South Granville won the Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference title, led by singles runner-up McKenzie Chamberlain, who fell to J.F. Webb’s Brycyn Smith in the NCC championship. Roanoke Rapids’ Abby Mederos and Kristen Pampillo won the doubles title over Bunn’s Alex Husinko and Emily Kwiatkowski.

Girls Golf (14)

Cardinal Gibbons won the Cap-7 4A Conference title in its first year in the league, led by player of the year Hailey Freedman (36.2), Megan Kanaby (36.6), Hannah Rose Bruxvoort (37.5), Camryn Fletcher (39.2) and Emily Brubaker (39.4). Their scores made for a complete sweep of all-conference honors, and they were the league’s only six players with stroke averages under 40.

Fletcher is a transfer from Ravenscroft and Brubaker played last year as an eighth-grader at North Raleigh Christian. Neither has to sit out a year, because the parochial school transfer rule only applies to athletes coming from other NCHSAA schools, grades 9-12.

Though Voyager Academy’s Anna Teer Barringer (41.0 strokes per nine holes) won the North Central Athletic 1A Conference title, it was Falls Lake Academy’s Sara Vaught (90) who edged her in the conference tournament. Falls Lake Academy won the NCAC team title, edging East Wake Academy.

Northwood won the merged Big Eight 3A/Mid-State 2A Conference title behind reigning 3A state runner-up Katharina Floyd (36.8). N.C. School of Science and Math’s Evin Flinchum was second (41.0) and East Chapel Hill’s Carolyn Hsu third (45.0).

Athens Drive won the Triangle 6 4A thanks to player of the year Jennifer Chang, who topped runner-up Green Hope and Halynn Lee (39.3). Chang (31.4) will go for her record fourth straight 4A state title in two weeks.

Pinecrest was runner-up to New Bern, 248-254 in the Tarheel Youth Golf Association’s Pinecrest Girls’ High School Invitational. Pinecrest’s Mackenzie Battle, finished tied for second place after firing a 79.

Katrina Floyd from Northwood in the NCHSAA 3A Girls Golf State Championship at the Longleaf Golf and Country Club on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. News & Observer 2016 File Photo newsobserver.com

Field Hockey (2)

Cary Academy earned its first outright conference championship in field hockey, repeating last year’s co-title that it shared with Durham Academy. The Chargers got goals from Olivia Frazier and Dorrit Eisenbeis to defeat Durham Academy in overtime.

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