High School Sports

N&O high school players of the year

Garner senior point guard Julius Barnes, the Most Valuable Player of the NCHSAA 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game, celebrates after being lifted off the court by Garner assistant coach Kent Bloms
Garner senior point guard Julius Barnes, the Most Valuable Player of the NCHSAA 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game, celebrates after being lifted off the court by Garner assistant coach Kent Bloms newsobserver.com

Scholar Athlete

Sarah Towne

East Chapel Hill, Sr.

Notable: 16 varsity letters

GPA: 5.0

World’s biggest problem: Distribution of food and clean water

Fascinated to learn: Gas gauge icons point to which side the tank is on.

Impactful book: Holes by Louis Sacher. It taught me a lot about hope, courage and perseverance.

Hard to believe: Slavery

Inspirational life: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Ideal guest list: Amy Poehler, Norman Rockwell, Richard Sherman


Ty Adcock

South Granville, Sr.

Notable: Hit .460, led state champs in RBI

College: Elon

GPA: 3.85

World’s problem: People cannot get along due to different beliefs and greed.

Impactful book: Bible. It gives me a foundation.

A good American: Chris Kyle

Favorite charity: St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Ideal guest list: Bryce Harper, Babe Ruth, Will Ferrell

Something that you enjoy that would surprise people: Watching chick flicks

I wish I had been: at D-Day

Boys Basketball

Julius Barnes

Garner, Sr.

Notable: MVP of NCHSAA 4A title game

GPA: 3.04

Impactful book: The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas

Ideal guest list: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Isiah Thomas

Childhood toy: Fisher Price basketball goal

Leadership is: Knowing when to make the right decision for the group. It is developing positive relationships with each individual. It is leading by example by being the hardest worker.

The Word: Humble

Girls basketball

Grace Hunter

Athens Drive, Sr.

Notable: 23 points, 11 rebounds

College: UNC Charlotte

World problem: People are selfish and people think it’s cool to not care about others.

I was fascinated to learn: A spin move

It is hard to believe: Women used to be downgraded just because of their gender.

Ideal guest list: Kobe Bryant, Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams.

Something that I enjoy that surprises people: I love to write poetry.

Scholar athlete

Bryce Love

Wake Forest, Sr.

Notable: Led Cougars to state 4AA finals with 2,304 rushing yards

GPA: 4.5

College: Stanford

Ideal guest list: Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, President Obama.

Childhood toy: Blue Power Ranger

Most memorable games: 2014 4AA finals; 2012 playoff game against Wakefield with brother Chris Love

Leadership is: Providing the motivation and direction to accomplish great goals.

The Word: Legendary

Boys cross country

Jeremy Brown

Broughton, Jr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A champion

GPA: 3.75

Childhood hero: Flash

Impactful book: Trails, Trials, and Triumphs, by Tony Rowe

Best place to run: Blowing Rock

Ideal guest list: Bill Murray, Steve Prefontaine, Abe Lincoln

I handle pain by: Believing in my training

The Word: Confident

Girls cross country

Elly Henes

Green Hope, Jr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A champ

GPA: 3.95

Childhood hero: Emma Watson

Impactful book: Paper Towns, by John Green

Best place to run: Umstead Park

Ideal guest list: Ryen Frazier, Emma Watson, Julia Lucas

I handle pain by: Focusing on distractions or singing songs in my head.

Childhood toy: Soccer ball

The Word: Original


Dexter Lawrence

Wake Forest, Jr.

Notable: Top ranked recruit in U.S.

GPA: 3.25

Ideal guest list: Lebron James, J.J. Watts, Vin Diesel

World problem: Global warming

Fascinated to learn: About the Great Depression

Favorite book: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Hard to believe we once: Had slavery

Inspirational life: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Charity: Breathe Again

Boys golf

Doc Redman

Leesville Road, Jr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A runner-up

GPA: 4.20

World’s biggest problem: World hunger.

Fascinated to learn: The vastness and complexity of the universe and space.

Impactful book: A Time To Kill by John Grisham.

Hard to believe we once: Had witch hunts. That seems illogical.

Favorite charity: Make-A-Wish

Inspiration: Jordan Spieth.

Ideal guest list: Tiger Woods, Will Ferrell, Jack Nicklaus

Girls golf

Jennifer Chang

Athens Drive, Fr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A champ

GPA: 4.25

Childhood hero: Dad

Impactful book: The Running Shoes, by Frederick Lipp

Best place to play: Pinehurst No. 2

Favorite club: Putter

Ideal guest list: Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Childhood toy: Scooter

The Word: Determined

Boys lacrosse

Nick Forbes

Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.

Notable: 3A finals MVP

GPA: 3.3

College: Siena College

World problem: Inequality

Fascinated to learn: Building of the Colosseum.

Impactful book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, personifies perseverance and exemplifies how an athlete/soldier can overcome adversity.

Favorite charity: Wounded Warrior

Ideal guest list: Jesus, John F. Kennedy, Kobe Bryant.

I wish I was there: For first landing on the moon.

Girls lacrosse

Jordan Lappin

Cardinal Gibbons, Soph.

Notable: Girls finals MVP

GPA: 3.9

Commitment: Boston College

World’s biggest problem: Terrorism

Inspirational book: Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell, understanding of how brave and courageous our soldiers are.

It is hard to believe: Communication by land lines.

My favorite charity is: Opportunity International

Inspirational life: Louis Zamperini

Ideal guest list: Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Wayne Gretzky

Boys soccer

Cooper Duplantis

Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.

Notable: NCHSAA 3A MVP

College: American University

GPA: 3.87

Inspiring teacher: Gene Daniels, soccer, Salem Middle. “He died way too early. I think of him every time I step on the field.”

I wish I had been there: U.S. vs. USSR ice hockey game in 1980 Olympics

Ideal guest list: Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Fallon, Jim Valvano

Favorite charity: Stop Hunger Now

Girls soccer

Kat McDonald

Wakefield, Sr.

Notable: NCSCA POY

GPA: 4.3

World’s biggest problem: Judgment.

Impactful book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Every thing you say to someone impacts them!

Hard to believe: The evolution of technology.

Good American: Carrie Underwood.

Favorite charity: Toys for Tots.

I wish I had been there for: My birth. I would have loved to see all the faces of my family.

Boys swimming

Justin Ress

Cary, Sr.

Notable: 4A MVP

GPA: 4.4

College: N.C. State

Impactful book: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

World’s problem: Poverty and malnourishment.

Ideal guest list: Jake Gyllenhaal, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams.

Fascinated to learn: How the brain works.

Hard to believe: A country founded on the premise of freedom allowed slavery.

Charity: Layup4lauren.

Inspired by: Jackie Robinson.

Girls swimming

Claire DeSelm

Chapel Hill, Jr.

Notable: Won 200 IM, 100 fly

GPA: 5.0

World’s problem: Poverty

Favorite book: To Kill at Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. There are questions of morality, tradition, innocence, and responsibility.

Favorite charity: American Cancer Society

Ideal guest list: Michelle Obama, Joan of Arc, Malala Yousafzai

I wish I had been there for: Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address.

Boys tennis

Nick Stachowiak

Middle Creek, Jr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A singles champ

GPA: 4.65

World’s biggest problem: World hunger

Hard to believe that we used to: Do homework without the use of a computer

Favorite charity: Toys For Tots

Inspiring life: Rhonda Blanchard – my high school tennis coach who unexpectedly passed away this year.

Ideal guest list: Roger Federer, Bill Gates and Neal Schon

Girls tennis

Susanne Boyden

Wakefield, Jr.

Notable: NCHSAA 4A champion

GPA: 4.75

Impactful book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Most memorable match: Winning state as a sophomore against Maggie Kane

Best place to play: Near the beach

Ideal guest list: Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Melissa McCarthy

Childhood toy: American girl dolls

The word: Adventurous


Briley Brind’Amour

Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.

Notable: 3A championship MVP

GPA: 4.1

College: James Madison commitment

World’s biggest problem: Global warming

Ideal guest list: Audrey Hepburn, Megan Hodge, Albert Einstein

Favorite charity: Cystic Fibrosis

Wish I could have been there: 1998 Olympics. It would be a great experience to go to any of the Olympic Games, but to watch my dad play in one would be extraordinary.


Will Clark

Cary, Sr.

Notable: 140-2 in career

GPA: 3.8

College: N.C. State

World’s problem: Poverty

Impactful book: Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall.

Favorite charity: Mission trips to Nicaragua. We build and make repairs to a Christian school in Managua.

Ideal guest list: Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and Dan Bilzerian

I wish I had been there for: 1983 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.

Girls track

Mayasa Araba

Carrboro, Sr.

Notable: Won 800, 1,600

GPA: 4.9474

World’s problem: Climate change

Impactful book: Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

It is hard to believe we once: Believed draining blood would rid people of disease.

Favorite charity: Habitat for Humanity

Ideal guest list: Morgan Freeman, Neymar, Charles Darwin

Wish I had been there: For first moon landing.

Boys track

Emmanuel Jackson

Sanderson, Sr.

Notable: 4A 110-meters hurdle champ

GPA: 4.54

College: Virginia

Next year this time, I’ll be: Going to the beach

World’s biggest problem: Climate change

Why hurdles: Exciting to run full speed at an obstacle

Favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders

One item: Phone

Ideal guest list: Obama, Walter Payton, Michael Jackson

I wish I had been there for: Soul Train

Girls indoor

Nevada Mareno

Leesville Road, Soph.

GPA: 5.0

Notable: National mile champ; 1,000, 1,600 state records

World’s biggest problem: Tunnel vision

I was fascinated to learn: You can buy a double cheeseburger for $1

Impactful book: You Are Special by Max Lucado. Taught me that flaws were not mistakes.

Favorite charity: Alzheimer’s Association

Ideal guest list: Bruce Jenner, Abraham Lincoln, and Sir Roger Bannister

Boys indoor

Marcus Krah

Hillside, Jr.

Notable: 55 hurdles champ

GPA: 3.5

Hard to believe: A segregated America is unbelievable.

Impactful book: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. It is amazing that grade school children carry AK-47s.

World’s problem: Child soldiers.

Favorite charity: International Rescue Committee

I was fascinated to learn of: Hitler’s psychological conditions.

Ideal guest list: Will Claye, Eric Thomas, Jesus Christ.


Erin Boone

South Granville, Sr.

Notable: Hit .598 for state champs

GPA: 3.99

College: Lenoir-Rhyne

World’s biggest problem: Not following the golden rule.

Impactful book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It taught me to appreciate the people close to me.

Favorite charity is: Locks for Love!

Ideal guest list: Babe Ruth, Jennie Finch, Martin Luther King Jr

I wish I had seen: My sister’s first homer!

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