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(Follow Earl Vaughan Jr. on Twitter: @EarlVaughanJr)

September 29
  • One of the byproducts of the N.C. General Assembly’s meddling in the rules of the state high school athletics association is already beginning to show, and it’s not good.

In one of its actions earlier, the legislature forced the N.C. High School Athletic Association to cut the penalty for being ejected from a contest for fighting from missing two games down to one.

Through Sept. 14 of this season, ejections have shown a sharp increase. A total of 156 athletes and seven coaches have been ejected from high school contests.

The number of fighting ejections tops the list with 67, all athletes. 

  • I don’t normally write about middle school athletics, but today I’m taking a brief departure from that to recognize longtime Mac Williams coach Mike Bieniek, who is stepping down after nearly 30 years as a teacher and coach.

Bieniek has raised in quite the athletic family to go with his years at Mac Williams. His daughter Brooke Bieniek was an state doubles tennis champion for Cape Fear, and his younger daughter Shea is a current member of the team.

  • It’s a little difficult these days to report on changes being announced by the NCHSAA because of the fear it will do something the state legislature doesn’t like and it will get banned a few days later.

In that vein, I’ll still report the announcement made during regional meetings this week of changes coming to some NCHSAA sports during the coming school year.

Women’s wrestling is now a full-fledged state championship sport. Regionals for the ladies will be Feb. 2-3, 2024, with regionals set for the Mideast, Midwest, West and East. Jack Britt High School could be a candidate for the Mideast Regional.

The state championship will be held in conjunction with the men’s wrestling finals. Women’s wrestling will join 1-A, 2-A, 3-A and 4-A boys at the Greensboro Coliseum Feb. 15-17.

  • After a lot of complaints about the sites that were used last year and some fans being turned away, the regional and state basketball finals are undergoing a major overhaul.

The tentative plan is to hold the regional finals and state championship the week of March 11-16. There will be four games a day for regionals Monday through Thursday. State finals will be held on Friday and Saturday.

This will require some games during the school day, something many other states are already doing.

It was noted the state of Georgia plays its state football championship games at 10 a.m.

The probable site for the regionals and state finals is Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem.

  • The shot clock remains a concern for a lot of coaches, but an NCHSAA ad hoc committee will present a report in December that says it’s unlikely the state will add the clock in basketball.

Only 20 states are using the shot clock now, a number that will rise to 27 by 2024-25.

The main problem remains cost, which is an average of $5,000 per school. There are other issues to consider, like having to tear up the gym floor to install the wiring, along with connecting the shot clock to an existing clock. That problem is complicated if the current clock in a school is older than 2018.

Another challenge is training someone to operate the clock and paying them.

If the shot clock is ever approved, it will be phased in over a multiyear period.

September 21

  • Congratulations to a pair of longtime Cumberland County high school baseball coaches, Terry Sanford head coach Sam Guy and Cape Fear assistant coach Chris Hall.

In voting conducted recently by the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association, Guy shared the Region 4 Coach of the Year honors with Coach Bill Kennedy of North Moore High School.

Hall was named the winner of the Region 4 Assistant Coach of the Year award.

September 15

  • Congratulations to the Cape Fear football team, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of taking part in a highway cleanup program.

According to a story by Kamari Faison of the Cape Fear News Network, members of the football team have been cleaning the road near the high school at least twice a year every year since 2013. They do one cleanup during the team’s bye week and a second during the final week of the spring conditioning period.

The Vander Fire Department also pitches in to escort the team during the cleanup. The team has been previously recognized for its work by the N.C. Department of Transportation and Gov. Roy Cooper. 

  • Congratulations to Cape Fear golfer Kate Wilson, who shot a 91 to take medalist honors in the weekly United 8 Conference golf tournament held at Gates Four Golf and Country Club.

Through two weeks of the season, Wilson leads the conference with a nine-hole stroke average of 46.0. Also under 50 strokes for the season from Cumberland County is her teammate Alex Serbio with 48.7.  

August 18

  • Congratulations to a pair of Terry Sanford High School golfers, Ethan Paschal and Thomas Horne.

Paschal competed in the U.S. Amateur at famed Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.

Paschal qualified for the Round of 64 by shooting 3 under par, including a round of five under the final day. He tied for 17th place in stroke play.

In the Round of 64, he fell 6 and 4 to Connor Gaunt.

Horne announced his commitment to play golf for Georgia Southern. The Eagles have won 10 conference titles and made 21 appearances in the NCAA championship final.

Horne tied for sixth in the state 3-A finals won by Terry Sanford. He shot 72-76-148.

  • The N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association released its preseason women’s state 3-A poll this week, and both Terry Sanford and Cape Fear are ranked.

The Bulldogs hold the No. 2 position in the first poll while the two-time defending 3-A dual team champion Colts are No. 4.

The teams are in different conferences and are not scheduled to meet in the regular season.

  • High school football returns to radio coverage tonight with three stations scheduled to have live broadcasts. 

Two teams, E.E. Smith and Terry Sanford, will have crews that will call all their varsity games.

For Smith, it will be WIDU, 1600 AM, with the main voices being Glenn Adams and Jimmy Harvey.

Trey Edge and Mark Heil will again call Terry Sanford games on WFNC, 640 AM.

Lastly, the Mid-South Sports crew including Charles Koonce, Steve Driggers and Chris Koonce will continue their game-of-the-week format, broadcasting various county games on Sunny 94.3 FM.

August 11

  • Chris Rey was a track star at Pine Forest and East Carolina before tragedy struck his family, forcing a detour in his education that led him to an Army career and, eventually, a law degree from William & Mary.

He has been involved in a number of business ventures since finishing his education. He took a swing at politics with terms as mayor of Spring Lake and a run for the U.S. Senate from North Carolina. But recently, he accepted what might be the biggest challenge of his life.

Rey will become president of Barber-Scotia College in Concord.

The school has a rich history, ranking as the second-oldest historically Black college in the state behind Shaw University. It is the 17th-oldest historically black college in the nation.

The school has distinguished alumni, most notable among them Mary McLeod Bethune, famed educator and adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt.

But the school fell on hard times in 2004 when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools stripped its accreditation, accusing it of awarding degrees to some students who had not fulfilled the proper requirements.

Since then, the college has fallen in debt. Although the situation might appear hopeless to many, Rey said it is an opportunity he felt compelled to take on.

“I believed it would be a disservice not to at least try,” he said. “These types of institutions have provided a way of life for many folks, specifically in the African-American community.

“HBCUs create an ecosystem that helps not just Black folks, Brown folks, white folks; it just creates a more equal system that really helps individuals find their path and their way.”

One of Rey’s biggest mentors was the late Congressman John Lewis, who was at the forefront of the civil rights movement and a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis campaigned for Rey during his runs for mayor of Spring Lake.

Before Lewis passed away, Rey said, he passed the baton to him and gave him a charge to do his part for his generation and the world.

Rey visited Barber-Scotia while he was at East Carolina.

“I’m going to use my talents and my national and international network to save this college,” he said. “I know it’s a big mountain. But mountains are made to climb.”

He has already kicked off a fundraising campaign for the school and plans to expand its curriculum to offer study in what he calls niche programs like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the many applications for using airborne drones.

His big selling point for now is how affordable an education at Barber-Scotia is, costing only $12,000 in tuition for four years.

He is reaching out to companies, individuals and nonprofit organizations to establish 300 scholarships he can offer to prospective students.

“Those will allow me to recruit people to come here,” Rey said.

His promise to them will be that while Barber-Scotia is not accredited now, it will be within the four years it will take them to graduate.

“We want to be that institution that provides that opportunity for those individuals in areas of learning that other institutions aren’t focused on,” he said.

Rey admits he doesn’t yet have all the answers to what some of those degree programs will look like, but he hopes the affordability of the school will set Barber-Scotia apart.

“It’s going to be one of the things that will make us an option for a lot of folks,” he said.

August 4

  • I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Williams, who starred at Reid Ross High School and went on to an outstanding career at Clemson University.

Williams played on one of the best Reid Ross football teams in 1981, leading the Cougars to the short-lived NCHSAA Division II 4-A title with a 21-7 win over High Point Central in the championship game.

He was a rare two-sport athlete in college, playing football and baseball for the Tigers. His name is still in the Clemson record books in both sports. He is sixth all-time in kickoff return yards and sixth in stolen bases. In 2013, he was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame.

A long battle with diabetes led Williams to undergo a liver transplant. He eventually had his right leg amputated.

He devoted the final years of his life to recruiting 1,000 people to become registered organ donors.

To support his efforts and register as a donor, go to

  • Congratulations to Terry Sanford’s Zoe Dorsey, who took home a national championship in the recent National Junior Olympics in Eugene, Oregon.

Dorsey won the 800-meter run for girls in the 15-16 class, running for the Fayetteville Flyers. She posted a time of 2:09.10.

Dorsey also took fourth place in the girls 15-16 400-meter dash with a time of 56.67.

  • Lillian Cross of Gray’s Creek High School has been selected to serve as a representative of Region 4 on the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

Cross is a cheerleader and soccer player for the Bears. She is also active in student government and works with younger cheerleaders and a local nonprofit charitable organization.

July 28

  • My CityView colleague, Jami McLaughlin, reported earlier this week that the Spring Lake Board of Aldermen voted to name Woodland West Park after my dear departed friend Rex Perry.

Perry spent years working as a coach at Spring Lake and later with student activities at Fayetteville Technical Community College. He was also a standout football player at Pine Forest High School.

Beyond that, Perry was a kind-hearted soul who never met an enemy and was a great friend to me during my days at The Fayetteville Observer.

Congratulations, old friend, on a well-deserved honor.

July 21

  • Tucked between the sessions at this week’s N.C. Coaches Association meeting dealing with offensive strategies and how to run practice was an important session on eating disorders presented by Rachael Steil.

Steil is the author of the book “Running in Silence” and came to share with the coaches her experience with an often overlooked problem in high school sports.

Steil has been a runner since the age of 5 but developed an eating disorder in college. At first, she thought she was just displaying discipline and power, until the problem began to take over all aspects of her life. Her only concern became running faster, and it left her battling a host of injuries.

Three years into college, she shared her story on her website,

Her book was published in 2016. In it, she details her personal story, including her battles with losing weight and binge eating.

She details how her problem affected her relationships and what the recovery process was like. She tells the story from the perspective of an athlete.

After the book was published, she took on speaking engagements and realized other athletes needed to hear her story.

She said most people who have eating disorders don’t know it, and there isn’t much guidance available for coaches to offer help to their athletes who suffer from disorders.

She noted many schools have mandatory concussion training for coaches, which she fully supports, but that there’s no guidance on eating disorders.

“Concussions affect 10% of athletes, which is a high number,’’ she said. “Yet 13.5% have eating disorders.”

The more she got into coaching, the more Steil realized coaches need to know what to do about eating disorders and how to find helpful resources in their communities.

While statistics show runners have a higher risk for eating disorders than most athletes, Steil said about one in eight athletes will struggle with the problem.

“I’ve had soccer players reach out to me, long jumpers, basketball players,” she said. 

While the book focuses on Steil’s story, she prompts all coaches and athletes who read it with questions at the end of each chapter on how to apply what they’ve read in their own lives.

She stresses the three R’s of eating disorders: recognizing, receiving help and recovery.

The book helps advise coaches how they can support their athletes and help prevent eating disorders without going outside their lane of expertise.

For more information on Steil’s work and her book, visit her website,

  • Fayetteville will continue to have a presence at the East-West All-Star football game when it moves to December for the first time later this year.

Terry Sanford coach Bruce McClelland was an East All-Star assistant this week as the East team scored a 14-0 win over the West.

This December, Pine Forest head coach Bill Sochovka and Terry Sanford assistant coach Jeff Morehead will serve on the coaching staff for the East.

The N.C. Coaches Association moved the game to December at the request of football coaches who feel it will allow more of the best players to be available for the game.

Traditionally, the East-West game was held in mid-July as part of the N.C. Coaches Association Clinic in Greensboro. But when colleges began getting football recruits to enroll in summer school immediately after graduating from high school, it cut down on the number of star players available for the All-Star game.

The new December date will put the East-West game in competition for the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas for players, but the football coaches seem to feel the pool to pick from will be larger in December since most players will still be in high school.

July 14

  • The All American and United 8 conferences announced the winners of their respective Wells Fargo Cups this week. The award is presented annually to the conference school with the best overall sports program based on points awarded for order of finish in each of the officially recognized conference sports.

The winners were Terry Sanford in the All American and Cape Fear in the United 8.

Terry Sanford survived a tough battle with second-place Harnett Central, winning with 605.5 points to 602.5 for Harnett Central.

The Bulldogs were boosted by conference titles in boys soccer, girls tennis, baseball, girls soccer, boys tennis and boys golf.

Other season point totals in the conference were Pine Forest, 585; Overhills and Triton, 555; Western Harnett, 507.5; E.E. Smith, 350; and Westover, 305.

Cape Fear scored a 25-point win over second-place Jack Britt, 905-880.

The Colts took championships in volleyball, girls tennis, girls golf, girls basketball, boys and girls swimming, baseball, softball, girls soccer, boys tennis and boys golf.

Other season point totals were Gray’s Creek, 795; Lumberton, 720; Purnell Swett, 610; South View, 555; Seventy-First, 420; and Douglas Byrd, 250.

  • The schedule has been set for the annual Cumberland County Football Jamboree. It will be held Friday, Aug. 11, with scrimmages at E.E. Smith and Douglas Byrd High Schools.

The schedule at E.E. Smith is as follows:

  • 5 p.m.: Gray’s Creek vs. Hoke.
  • 6 p.m.: Jack Britt vs. Apex Friendship.
  • 7 p.m.: Terry Sanford vs. Hoke.
  • 8 p.m.: Westover vs. Purnell Swett.
  • 9 p.m.: E.E. Smith vs. St. Pauls.

The schedule at Douglas Byrd is:

  • 5 p.m.: South View vs. Triton.
  • 6 p.m.: Pine Forest vs. Richmond Senior.
  • 7 p.m.: Cape Fear vs. Durham Riverside.
  • 8 p.m.: Seventy-First vs. Panther Creek.
  • 9 p.m.: Douglas Byrd vs. Goldsboro.
  • Terry Sanford golfer Ethan Paschal won a berth in the U.S. Amateur, scheduled Aug. 14-20 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills, Colorado.

Playing at Dataw Island Club’s Cotton Dike course earlier this week, Paschal earned one of five available qualifying spots by shooting a seven-under-par 137. 

Paschal tied for third place in the final scores with rounds of 70 and 67, finishing three shots behind the co-leaders.

June 30

  • Former Terry Sanford and Duke football product Mark Gilbert may be returning to the National Football League sooner rather than later.

This Saturday, Gilbert will wrap up an impressive debut with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL by playing in the league’s nationally televised championship game at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The Maulers, 4-6 in the regular season, will take on the Birmingham Stallions, coached by Skip Holtz, in the title game. Birmingham is the defending USFL champion and went 8-2 in the regular season.

According to stories written recently by Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, Gilbert has enhanced his stock considerably with his play for the Maulers and could be reunited with the Steelers when training camp begins later in July.

Gilbert is the cousin of former New York Jet great Darrelle Revis. Gilbert was slowed by injuries in his years at Duke but managed to land a spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad in 2021.

He eventually made the Detroit Lions roster and played eight games for the Lions, but he wound up playing for the Maulers in the USFL this season. Gilbert led the USFL in interceptions with four and was chosen All-USFL in his first season in the league.

Saturday’s USFL title game will be played on the same field Gilbert played for the Maulers, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The stadium is next door to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

June 23

  • It’s been 30 years ago this month since South View High School won Cumberland County’s last state 4-A slow-pitch softball championship.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association was beginning to phase out slow-pitch in the early 1990s in favor of fast-pitch, which was more popular nationally and took over completely in the late 1990s.

Spurred on by the motto “Heart makes it happen” from a hit song by the late Kenny Rogers, Coach Eddie Dees’ Tigers surged to a 27-1 record, the only defeat coming in the 13th game of the season by a 12-10 score at home to perennial 4-A power Richmond Senior.

The Tigers got a break in the state playoffs, playing all but one postseason game at home, including the best-of-three title series with Hickory.

Their closest postseason win was 5-4 over Hickory in the first game of the state finals. Yexenia Ugarte, MVP of the title series, was a defensive whiz against Hickory. Kim Johnson crushed a game-winning solo homer in the seventh.

The next day, the Tigers exploded for six runs in their first at bat and cruised to a 10-4 win and the title.

Jessie Marsh, starting outfielder and a sophomore that year, said the whole season was amazing.

“Once we stepped on the field, it was like we were in our own little bubble,” she said. “We had this bond of a love for the game, a love for each other.”

In the middle of it all was Dees, part coach, part philosopher, all softball.

He was also a gifted communicator.

“If you got tagged out running to third when he told you not to run, he’d turn his hat sideways and make this funny face,” Marsh said. “You knew without him screaming at you that’s not something you would do again.”

Marsh said she still remembers teammate Heather Dawson making the catch for the final out that sealed the win, followed by celebrating with her in the outfield.

“We were a bunch of girls full of heart, and we knew what we wanted to do,” Marsh said. “We just wanted to do what Mr. Dees taught us to do.”

June 9

Baseball stars recognized on All-State baseball team

A number of Cumberland County high school baseball players were honored this week by the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association.

Three were named to the 3-A All-State team. They are Ethan Nobles and Josh Mozingo of Terry Sanford and Mason Hughes of Cape Fear.

Also honored was Pine Forest’s Isaiah Pinero, who was chosen NC tip BCA All-Region 3 and 4 team.

Terry Sanford golf team ranked No. 1 in state

  • Terry Sanford’s 3-A state champion boys’ golf team continued to add to its winning haul by being ranked No. 1 in the final HighSchoolOT statewide golf poll.

The Bulldogs were rated ahead of 4-A champion Pinecrest (No. 6), 2-A champion East Surry (No. 2), 1-A champion Mitchell (unranked), NCISAA Division I champion Charlotte Latin (No. 5), Division II champion Greensboro Day (unranked) and Division III champion Gaston Day (No. 3).

Terry Sanford High School interim Principal Rhonda Hill, at the school’s graduation exercises, was proclaimed Teacher of the Year Steven Barbour.

June 2

E.E. Smith Hall of Fame

E.E. Smith High School recently held the induction ceremony for the second class of members in the school’s sports hall of fame. The induction was at the Crown Coliseum Complex.

Here’s a capsule look at the members who were added:

Ida Askew: Teacher and coach from 1963-81. Won a state title in girls track in 1981.

Henry A. Black: Football and men’s and women’s basketball coach from 1929-40. His 1939 men were runners-up in the National Black High School basketball tournament.

Milton Butts: Head football coach for 15 years. Led team to six state playoffs runs, two conference titles and two 4-A Eastern finals

Joyce Vaughn Battle: Lettered in three sports. Played college basketball at Winston-Salem State and Fayetteville State universities.

Robert Brickey: Named North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball in 1986. Earned scholarship to Duke and helped the Blue Devils to three Final Fours and one NCAA championship game.

Allen Cole: All-State and Shrine Bowl running back. All-CIAA at Johnson C. Smith.

Alexander Cole: All-State running back. 

Benjamin Cole: Lettered in three sports. Star running back and leading scorer on basketball team. Batted .375 as a senior.

Lamb Cole: Lettered in three sports. All-State running back. All-State sprinter and long jumper. 

Nettie Toomer Council: Restarted girls basketball in 1946. Organized the first program for exceptional children and was the first principal of Walker-Spivey School.

Carl Galbreath: All-State in football and basketball. Four-time All-CIAA in football at North Carolina College. Had distinguished career in Canadian Football League.

Angela W. Hill: All-Conference in volleyball, basketball and track. Star basketball player at North Carolina A&T State.

Carey Hughley: All-State football and East-West All-Star game selection. Football standout at Hampton University.

Samara Dobbins Johnson: Standout in basketball and track. Basketball scholarship to North Carolina A&T State. Three-year starter there.

Connell Maynor: Three-year letterman, football and basketball. MEAC offensive player of the year twice at North Carolina A&T State. Won two CIAA championships as head football coach at Winston-Salem State. Played 12 seasons of Arena Football.

Earl McNeill: Started in three sports. Played basketball and baseball at Fayetteville State. Two-time All-CIAA in baseball.

Brandon Wallace: Twice school athlete of year. Four-time All-State wrestler.

Garvin Stone: Three-year letterman in football, basketball and baseball. Led 1968 football team to state title. Football star at North Carolina Central. Led MEAC in passing and total offense in 1973.

Bobby Earl Williams: All-State in football and baseball. Earned football scholarship to North Carolina A&T.

Colette Williams: Four-time school female athlete of the year. State triple jump and 100 meter hurdles champion. Track standout at South Carolina State. 

Roszella Major Williams: Earned letters in three sports. Team MVP in three sports. Earned track scholarship to East Carolina. Four-time conference track coach of the year.

Also honored were the following teams: 1939 men’s black basketball tournament finalists and men’s 1950 state basketball champions.

  • Seventy-First, which is already ranked No. 1 in the state 3-A classification in at least one preseason high school football poll, got some bad news this week when standout running back Anthony Quinn Jr. announced he plans to transfer to Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in northeast Georgia. The school is about a two-hour drive from Atlanta.

Rabun Gap is a private boarding school that is a member of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association.

Led by Quinn, Seventy-First was 14-1 last year, only losing 23-22 to Northern Nash in the 3-A East Regional finals.

Quinn rushed for 2,450 yards, averaging 8.78 yards per carry while scoring 29 touchdowns.

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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