Sports Shorts: April 13

by Andrew Stark and C. Jemal Horton

Another accolade rolls in for Butler star Zach Ferguson

Butler star Zach Ferguson recently added another honor to his long list of achievements, as he was named the Southwestern 4A conference’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Just last week, Ferguson, also a football standout who has signed to play two sports at Lenoir-Rhyne College, was named Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-4 Ferguson was joined on the boys all-conference team by Butler teammate Jeremy Page and Rocky River’s Rob Harvey and Matt Ward.

Butler’s Jaymee Fisher-Davis and Symphonie Richardson, Independence’s Laquisha Taylor and Rocky River’s Brandi Segers were named to the all-Southwestern 4A girls squad.

The rest of the boys squad included Giavonni Mack (Providence); Clayton Massey and Patrick Wallace (Myers Park); Carrington Kirkpatrick and Malcom Mathews (South Meck); and Miles Leathers and Jerrin Morrison (East Meck). South Mecklenburg’s John Fitch was named Boys Coach of the Year.

The girls all-conference team included Christelle Shembo, Oceania Anderson and Raven Dean (Ardrey Kell); Aliyah Mazyck, Roddreka Rogers and Saadia Timpton (Myers Park); and Sandra Knox (East Meck). Shembo was selected as the Girls Player of the Year, and Myers Park’s Dustin Terrel was named the Girls Coach of the Year.

Covenant Day girls soccer finding groove

The Covenant Day girls soccer team is coming out of spring break with an 8-2-2 record, and has had to overcome big changes on both sides of the ball but again find themselves positioned to compete for a conference championship.

The Lions, whose roster includes just 14 players, have won the previous six Metrolina Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships.

The biggest change for the Lions has been the return of 6-foot senior goalkeeper Laura Beth Hite, who was undecided about returning to the team this season. But her return has allowed former goalkeeper Nancy Pendleton to play in the field, which is her natural position.

With Hite in goal, the Lions have allowed just three goals. They’ve received huge contributions from senior Sarah Brace, who’s capable of playing every position on the field.

Coach Jeff Foltz is impressed with Hite’s quick transition in goal and the versatility and leadership Brace has shown as a senior captain. In addition, sophomores Allison Kaika, Jamie Burger and Skylar Ulry have stood out on defense.

“Our defense has done excellent work keeping teams out of the net in the past few weeks,” said Foltz.

On offense, senior Anna Melton has netted a team-high 17 goals and five assists for the Lions. She’s on pace to challenge for the school’s all-time scoring record, and Foltz said she’s “a threat to score form anywhere.”

Joining Melton and Pendleton are Rachel Blong, Cat Crouch and Emily Hicks, who have made big contributions to the team’s 40 goals scored.

“I feel we are solidly positioned to challenge any team we play on our schedule,” Foltz said. “Our forwards attack tirelessly, the midfielders are a technically skilled blend of young and veteran playmakers. (We have) stout defenders, and the aforementioned tower in the goal (Hite), gives us confidence that we can compete with any and everyone.”

Rocky River boys tennis nets first win

The Rocky River boys tennis team was winless last year but came back this season with five returning players and a new coach who’s determined to build a winning tradition.

Despite having just seven healthy players, including top singles player Jan Yang, who’s playing high school tennis for his first time, the Ravens have steadily improved under first-year coach Jason Buzzard.

On March 29 against Olympic, the Ravens won their first match in school history.

Joining Yang are top singles players Tony Yang, Jaylin Walters, Terry Duong, Randy San and Gio Triana.

The Ravens are 1-5 on the year, but Buzzard thinks setting a strong foundation in his first season will lead to future wins. The Ravens host Ardrey Kell on Tuesday, April 17.

Butler takes East Meck tourney again

The Butler baseball team has been inconsistent at times this season, suffering through losing streaks of three and four games. However, after winning the East Mecklenburg spring break tournament for the second consecutive season, coach Rick Sambrotto hopes the Bulldogs are hitting their mark.

“It is great to finish that tournament 3-0,” Sambrotto said. “Last year we won it, and it kind of pushed us through the second half of the year. Hopefully, it propels us into the next phase (this season).”

The Bulldogs (10-7, 3-5 Southwestern 4A conference) have gotten consistent play from senior stars Chase Gehringer, Tommy Ollis, AJ Larson and Dalton Eisenbath, but other players are making big contributions.

Junior pitcher Malachi Hanes is 4-1, and Sambrotto is pleased with the infield defense of junior Troy Neal and sophomore Jacob Whittingham.
“We turned three or four double plays (at the East Meck tournament),” Sambrotto said. “That really helps us to be solid up the middle, and we need that, especially with Malachi and some of our other (pitchers).”

Early this season, Sambrotto tried to get new players and veterans playing larger roles on the same page. Now he believes everyone is coming together.

“Some of the guys are starting to pick up the slack,” Sambrotto said. “We have lost four games by one run, and I think the guys realize that we are a better team than our record indicates.

“We are getting better, but we have to keep at it and cut out the mental mistakes. If we can hit the ball consistently, like we have been these last few games, we will be fine.”

Covenant Day hosts golf tourney

The annual Covenant Day Golf Classic is set for May 7 and will be held at Pine Lake County Club in Mint Hill.

All proceeds will be used to assist the school’s booster club in meeting its goal of $200,000 toward Covenant Day’s Warner Park athletic fields expansion project.

Online early-bird registration for the captain’s choice format tournament ends on Sunday, April 15. During early-bird registration, foursomes can register for $600 and individuals for $150. After April 15, prices jump to $700 and $175, respectively. All active Covenant Day booster club members are eligible for the discounted rate.

Entry fees include greens fees, lunch and dinner. There will also be a hole-in-one new car giveaway, longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin competitions, and the best team score will be recognized.

The tournament will feature a lunch from McAlister’s Deli and the shotgun start gets under way at 12:30 p.m. There is a putting contest at 5:30 p.m., and dinner and awards are set to be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Lonnie Coggins at, Linda Glass at or register online at

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