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May 26
  • Cape Fear High School girls tennis coach Chris Lucas has decided to step down to spend more time with his family.

Lucas took over the Cape Fear girls program in 2015 and guided the Colts to state 3-A team titles in 2021 and 2022. The doubles team of Brooke Bieniek and Anna Piland won the 3-A state title in 2021.

In a statement posted on social media, Lucas said his goal is to work with boys tennis coach Lee Osbourne to grow the sport by making elite tennis accessible for all the students in the area and to encourage the players to have high expectations for themselves and their teammates.

In a tribute she posted on social media, Piland wrote, “Thank you for being the coach that inspired us to dream big and gave us the confidence to succeed and give it all on the courts.”

  • Westover High School’s versatile quarterback Joshua Jones, who is now an incoming freshman on the football team at North Carolina Central University, drew quite a bit of interest from colleges during the recruiting process. 

It’s been reported by Cumberland County Schools that Jones received 10 bona fide scholarship offers with a total value of $3,130,115.

May 19

  • I rarely write about middle school athletics, because I agree with the policy adopted long ago by county school officials that middle school athletics focuses on the development of the student academically, athletically and socially while avoiding emphasis on individual athletic achievement. I’m making an exception to share news about the accomplishments of the Mac Williams Middle School baseball team coached by Mike Bieniek.

The Mustangs finished the 2023 season with a 12-0 record, but that’s just part of their accomplishment. Their closest game was a 6-0 win over John Griffin Middle School. They scored in double digits 10 of the 12 games.

They allowed one unearned run, the only run they gave up, to Gray’s Creek Middle School. In 72 innings, their pitchers recorded 123 strikeouts with just 10 walks. 

Leading hitters were Luke Clevidence at .652, Brycen Talley at .615 and Landon Underwood at .611. Logan Rayburn was 6-0 with 42 strikeouts in 21 innings. Bryce West was 3-0. The team’s ERA was zero and they allowed seven hits for the year. The defense committed three errors.

Oh, and the two-year record at Mac Williams is 23-0.

  • Freedom Christian will play for the NCISAA 2-A state softball championship today and Saturday at the University of Mount Olive.

Freedom, seeded No. 2 in the seven-team field, faces top-seeded Wayne Christian School. Wayne is 18-7, and Freedom is 12-8. Today’s game is at 6 p.m. with the second game at 3 p.m. Saturday. A deciding third game will follow if needed.

  • In other NCISAA playoffs, Fayetteville Academy’s girls lacrosse team plays Asheville School for the Division II championship at noon Saturday in Asheville. The Eagles are the No. 2 seed with a 17-1 record while Asheville is No. 1 at 11-2.
  • Congratulations to E.E. Smith’s Keashiana Murphy and Seventy-First’s Jared Davis. They have been chosen for the N.C. Coaches Association East All-Star girls and boys basketball teams, respectively, for this summer’s annual East-West All-Star basketball games at Greensboro Coliseum. The doubleheader is scheduled for July 17.
  • Best wishes for a speedy recovery to former Terry Sanford baseball standout Austin Warren. Warren, who was recently promoted from Triple A Salt Lake to the Los Angeles Angels, underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm Wednesday in Dallas. 

Dr. Keith Meister, who is the team orthopedic surgeon for the Texas Rangers, performed the surgery. He has previously operated on other Angels pitchers. Warren is expected to miss the rest of the season recovering from the operation.

  • Good luck to the multiple Cumberland County athletes who will be heading to the state 3-A and 4-A track meets this weekend. The 3-A meet begins this morning, and the 4-A meet begins Saturday. Both will be held at North Carolina A&T State in Greensboro. Among the numerous county qualifiers for events, the following were event winners in regional competition last week:


  • South View: 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay. 
  • Gray’s Creek: Chris Mulder, triple jump.
  • E. Smith: Zahir McPhail, shot put.


  • Jack Britt: JaMeesia Ford, 100, 200 and 400 meters (defending state champion in 400).
  • E. Smith: Charity Stroud, high jump; Janna Tupuola, shot put; 4x400 relay. 
  • Terry Sanford: Zoe Dorsey, 400, 800 meters.
  • Cape Fear: Futoria Harris, 100 meters. 

According to, Terry Sanford’s Dorsey has the best time in the 3-A 400 meters this year. JaMeesia Ford of Britt has the top time in the 4-A 400 meters.

May 12

  • Congratulations to Seventy-First High School multisport athlete A’jaylah Yates, who was named this week to the East-West All-Star games as a member of the East girls soccer team.

This year’s game is scheduled for July 18 at Macpherson Stadium in Bryan Park near Greensboro.

  • Best wishes to Terry Sanford’s Drew Hedgecoe and Jayden Pham as they take part in the state 3-A boys state tennis championships today and Saturday at Burlington Tennis Center.

Hedgecoe is the No. 1 seed from the Mideast Regional and faces Julian Stolevski of West Henderson in today’s first round. Pham was the No. 4 regional seed and plays Drake Gallian of West Henderson.

  • Eric Finley announced on social media this week that he is stepping down as lacrosse coach at Cape Fear High School.

Finley’s boys team finished 11-8 this season, losing to Carrboro 17-3 in the second round of the 3-A state playoffs.

* Karl Molnar announced the field this week for the annual MLK Dream Jam basketball tournament.

Public school boys’ teams include Terry Sanford, E.E. Smith, Gray’s Creek, Pine Forest, South View, Westover, Overhills and Douglas Byrd.

Private schools include Trinity Christian, Fayetteville Academy, Berean Baptist, New Life, Wayne Country Day, Northwood Temple, Fayetteville Christian and Freedom Christian.

Public school girls teams include Terry Sanford, Pine Forest and Richmond Senior. Private schools are Trinity Christian, Wayne Country Day and Cape Fear Christian.

Pairings will be announced later.

  • I was deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Sandy Wilson. His funeral was held Wednesday.

There was no bigger supporter of Douglas Byrd High School athletics, especially during the school’s football heyday under the late Bob Paroli.

Wilson was a regular along the Byrd sidelines every Friday night cheering them on. Prayers are offered for his family and many fellow Eagle friends and teammates.

April 14

  • Seventy-First High School soccer standout A’jaylah Yates has been named a National Player of the Week from North Carolina by the United Soccer Coaches and MaxPreps.

Yates was previously recognized as a CityView Athlete of the Week.

Yates currently leads the United Eight Conference in scoring with 35 goals and 11 assists.

* Terry Sanford won its Easter baseball tournament, defeating East Bladen 12-9 in the championship game. 

Ethan Nobles was named tournament MVP. He was 4-for-7 with a pair of doubles. 

The Bulldogs earlier beat Midway 4-0 and Pinecrest 6-5.

They are 17-2 overall and 10-0 in the All American Conference.

They have a nonconference game at home with Lee County on Saturday, then wrap up the conference regular season with four games, home and away meetings with both Pine Forest and Westover.• Douglas Byrd High School is hosting a wrestling tournament for boys and girls of all ages on April 22. 

Two-time NCAA champion Austin O’Connor of the University of North Carolina will be at the tournament. There will be Greco, freestyle and folkstyle competition. One style is $25, two is $30 and three is $35.

To register, visit the Douglas Byrd wrestling page on Facebook and scan the QR code displayed on the page.

  • The deadline is 4 p.m. today, April 14, for member schools in the N.C. High School Athletic Association to vote on a proposed amendment that would allow the association to change the number of school classifications from the traditional four to as many as seven.

At least 75% of the more than 400 member schools in the association must cast a ballot for the vote to be valid.

  • If you have concerns about the pending bill in the North Carolina legislature that would basically strip the N.C. High School Athletic Association of its power to oversee high school sports in the state and leave it in the hands of elected officials, here are the email addresses of members of the Cumberland County legislative delegation.

One of them, Sen. Tom McInnis, is a primary sponsor of the bill.

The addresses are as follows:,,, and

April 7

  • The score is Weather Forecast 1, Terry Sanford baseball 0.

After seeing grim forecasts for rain this weekend, Bulldog baseball coach Sam Guy finally made the tough decision to move the annual Bulldog Easter tournament to Monday through Wednesday, April 11-12.

As usual, this year’s tournament will feature some solid competition, with multiple teams in the field ranked in various statewide and regional high school baseball polls.

Monday’s games include South View vs. Pinecrest at 10 a.m., Terry Sanford vs. Midway at 1 p.m., Richmond Senior vs. Wayne Country Day at 4 p.m., and East Bladen vs. Western Harnett at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, the losers of the first two games meet at 10 a.m.; losers of the second two games play at 1 p.m.; the first two winners battle at 4 p.m.; and the second pair of winners meets at 7 p.m.

Consolation games will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, with the third-place game at 4 p.m. and championship game at 7 p.m.

Guy said he’s tried to match the teams up as best as possible to avoid mismatches and also to keep teams in the same conference from facing each other until the championship game if possible.

“For the most part, I think we do a good job to provide good baseball games for fans,’’ he said. “Our concession stand is awesome.’’

Guy said next year, he’s considering a family-oriented fundraiser one day to invite parents and children to the field to enjoy the concession stand while offering children a chance to play catch or run the bases.

“It helps our booster club and our team,’’ Guy says of the tournament. “That’s what it’s all about from a fan perspective: enjoying the atmosphere.’’

  • After serving in a variety of roles, Pine Forest’s David May is returning to his old job as the school’s head boys basketball coach.

Since stepping down seven years ago, May spent some time coaching the Pine Forest girls, and for the past four years he has served as an assistant coach for Jimmy Peaden.

Peaden has decided to step down to spend more time with his family, opening the door for May to take the job again.

“The principal and the athletic director asked if I would do it,’’ May said. “I started thinking about it and said, ‘Let’s give it another shot.’ Here I am.’’

He comes to the job with eyes wide open and realizes some things have changed since his last stint as head coach. 

“We have to do the best we can with what we’ve got,’’ May said. “Hopefully the kids will want to stay. It’s a challenge. You never know what’s going to come in and what’s going to go out.’’

He doesn’t think the success of a team has any major influence on a player’s decision to go to another school. “I think it has to do with kids seeing opportunities,’’ he said. “The system one school runs might be better for them than the other. Parents get upset about playing time. It could be a whole bunch of stuff.’’

He feels Peaden left the Trojan program on solid ground and thinks the future is bright.

“Pine Forest is going to be Pine Forest,’’ he said. “I think we’re one of the better programs in the county.’’

May said he adjusts to the situation but keeps a core of things he likes to do as a coach. “I’m excited about it,’’ he said. “We’ll see what happens.’’

March 31

  • The N.C. Athletic Directors Association held its annual gathering earlier this week in Wilmington.

David Culbreth, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools and a newly appointed member of the association’s board of directors, said a reminder about an important upcoming vote on the bylaws of the N.C. High School Athletic Association was a major topic at the meeting.

Each of the member schools in the NCHSAA gets one vote, to be cast by the school’s principal, on making a major change in the bylaws of the association.

Current policy divides member schools into four classifications based largely on daily enrollment but also incorporating other factors. 

The proposed bylaw change could create as many as seven or eight classes, each with a maximum of 64 schools per class. What class you fall in would be determined by the average daily enrollment at each school and nothing else.

Culbreth said the importance in each school voting for the change was stressed. At least 75% of the schools must respond for the vote to be valid.

In addition to discussing the proposed bylaw change, the athletic directors handed out several awards to their members and a number of the winners were from Cumberland County. 

Longtime Athletic Director Troy Lindsey, now serving at Gray’s Creek, was honored with induction into the NCADA Hall of Fame. Lindsey also serves on the board of directors of the NCHSAA.

Another major honor went to former Cumberland County Schools Student Activities Director Vernon Aldridge, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Former Terry Sanford principal and county schools Superintendent William Harrison received a distinguished service award. Jack Britt Athletic Director Tracie Taylor earned a citation award.

  • E.E. Smith girls basketball standout Skylar White recently competed in the Brunswick 910 All-Star game at South Brunswick High School. She helped lead her team to a 56-45 win. White scored 12 points and had five assists, five steals, three rebounds and two blocks.

March 24

  • Two Cumberland County basketball standouts, Terry Sanford’s Miya Giles-Jones and South View’s Naveah Colon, took part in the 4BB Classic, two all-star basketball games held at Charlotte’s Independence High School last weekend. 

Colon played in the Unsigned Senior Game, and Giles-Jones played in the All-Star Classic. Colon scored 4 points in helping lead the Purple Unsigned Senior team to a 74-56 win over the White team.

Giles-Jones scored 7 points for the All-Star Purple team, which fell to the White team 75-69.

  • Jayda Angel of Cape Fear has been named to the All-State basketball first team selected by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association.

Angel led the United 8 Conference in scoring with 29.3 points per game. She was named Player of the Year in the United 8.

March 17

* The annual Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, at Highland Country Club.

This year’s inductees include basketball player Courtney Willis Colborne, soccer player Rachel Yepez Rogers, basketball player LaToya Pringle Sanders, basketball player Kenny Wilson, distance runner Marsha Kouba and football coach Gary Weller.

Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased by contacting Ashley Petroski at 910-323-9195 or

To continue the tradition of the annual banquet, the club is offering the general public the opportunity to become Friends of the Sports Club. For a fee of $100, individuals will receive one ticket to this year’s or next year’s banquet and be recognized individually or corporately during the banquet.

  • The Carolinas Classic All-Star basketball games will be held Saturday, March 25, at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington. The game pits the top male and female senior high school players from North and South Carolina against each other. 

Jack Britt coach Ike Walker will be head coach for the North Carolina team, with James Scott of E.E. Smith on the North Carolina boys roster.

Scott led the All-American Conference in scoring last season with a 22.5 average.

  • This past Monday, the city of Fayetteville proclaimed E.E. Smith Girls and Boys Varsity Basketball Champions Day in the city. Mayor Mitch Colvin honored both teams in a ceremony at City Hall for being conference champions in the same season for the first time in school history.

The boys were 26-4; the girls, 26-2.

  • Terry Sanford recently announced the hiring of Christopher Goodman as varsity girls basketball coach. Goodman previously coached girls and boys tennis at the school. He also served as an assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team.

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