by Andrew Stark
Area track and field athletes shine at regional meet
Track and field athletes from the Matthews-Mint Hill area put forth good performances at the 4A Western Regional meet on May 12 in Boone.
The Butler girls team finished 10th among 24 teams, and the Bulldogs boys finished 13th. The Independence boys came in 14th place, and the Rocky River boys were 15th, while the Ravens girls team was 18th.
Individual winners who placed fourth or better at the regional meet are automatically qualified to compete in the state championships, which will be held Saturday, May 19, at Greensboro’s N.C. A&T State University.
Two local athletes took first-place honors in the triple jump. Butler girls standout Alexis Davis cleared 36 feet, 2.5 inches to win gold, while Independence senior Austin Duke went 44-8.50 to win the boys triple jump crown.
Duke also finished fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.0 seconds, and the Patriots 4×100 relay team was fourth with a time of 43.10.
The Rocky River 4×400 boys relay team (3 minutes, 23.58 seconds) finished third, and the Ravens’ Johnny Nunn was third in both the long jump (21-1.25) and the triple jump (43-00.25).
Butler had several athletes earn automatic bids to the state meet. Breanna Lee was second in the 100 meters, (12.15), Gavin Walter was second in the 300 hurdles (38.83), and the Bulldogs’ girls 4×100 relay team (49.11) finished second.
Melton sets Covenant Day soccer record
Covenant Day girls soccer player Anna Melton is now the Lions’ all-time single-season scoring leader.
Melton scored two goals in the opening round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A tournament against Cary Academy on May 12.
Melton scored the Lions’ only goal in regulation and added a penalty kick in the shootout that Covenant Day won, 4-2, to advance to the second round of the state tournament for the first time in school history. The Lions previously won state titles at the 1A and 2A levels.
Melton’s 41 goals this season broke the Lions’ previous single-season record of 39 that Jessica Schwerter tallied in 2007. Melton now has 85 goals for her career.
Stingray Aquatics’ Sanocki sets team record
Lily Sanocki, a swimmer at Matthews-based Stingray Aquatics, had a strong showing at the 2012 Eastern Section of the Southern Zone meet held in Greensboro in April, breaking a team record in the 50-meter breaststroke.
Sanocki, who finished second overall in the 50 breaststroke, recorded a time of 36.48 seconds, breaking the Stingray record by more than a full second. Sanocki finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1 minute, 20.56 seconds), breaking her personal best by more than a second.
Sanocki is a fifth-grader at Elizabeth Lane Elementary, and her father, Kirk, is the swim coach at Wingate University.
Covenant Day softball builds toward future
When this season started, the Covenant Day softball team had many players who had never played at a competitive level. Plus, the Lions were counting on an eighth-grader to lead the pitching staff and a seventh-grader to anchor the middle of the infield at shortstop.
Consequently, the Lions didn’t win a game this season.
Despite their losing string, Lions coach Jason Miller said the team steadily improved from the beginning of the season until the end, when they were able to play competitive games against Metrolina Athletic Conference powerhouses Indian Trail Metrolina Christian, Hickory Grove and Gaston Christian.
“The biggest positive was that, by the end of the season, each of our players grew athletically by leaps and bounds,” said Miller, who coached the team with his wife, Audrey. “By the end of the season, we were playing some good softball.”
Eighth-grader Jenny Carlton was the Lions’ primary pitcher. Carlton was backed up by senior Emma Biggerstaff, who had never pitched before and also played first base. Seventh-grader Macy Henry was the Lions’ starting shortstop.
Miller identified senior catcher Anna Barcley, who threw out 15 of 20 potential base stealers, as the “rock” of the team. At times, the coach said, Barcley single-handedly kept the Lions in games, especially early in the season.
Sophomore Grace Foltz had never played softball before this season. But with her lead-off speed and ability to lay down bunts, Foltz became an important cog in the Lions’ offensive attack. Senior Haley Spitz also developed into a solid outfielder and valuable player for the Lions.
Miller said this season went a long way toward laying the foundation of future Covenant Day teams. He was pleased with the development the Lions’ showed and is looking forward to the future.
“The main thing that we hope to accomplish at Covenant Day School is to make it known that we are here to develop a softball program where we are developing and refining individual skills as well as overall softball knowledge while training the girls to become women,” Miller said.
“As we accomplish this mission, we’ll also create a winning atmosphere.”
Covenant Day wins first MAC track and field title
The Metrolina Athletic Conference hosted its inaugural track and field championship on May 7, and Covenant Day took first place.
The Lions’ boys tied Indian Trail Metrolina Christian with 111 points, and the girls squad finished with 113 points – more than 50 points ahead of the second-place Metrolina Christian.
Girls individual winners for the Lions included Abby Traywick, who took first place in both the 1,600 meters (6 minutes, 19 seconds) and 3,200 (14:18.0); Emily Sato, who won the 800 (2:43.7); Cami Waters, who won the 100 hurdles (19.9 seconds); and Sarah Airing, who won the triple jump (29 feet, 2 inches).
The Lions girls won three relay events. The 4×100 team of Airing, Abigail Wallace, Ali Ferguson and Lilly Tillman took gold by recording a time of 59 seconds. The 4×200 team of Caroline Fletcher, Charlotte Sanders, Erin McNulty and Maddy Rousseaux won in 4:50. And the 4×800 team of Wallace, Traywick, Cameron Echols and Rachael Snapper took the victory in 12:23.4.
On the boys side, John Gaebe was the Lions’ sole individual winner, taking home a gold medal in the 800 (2:15.1). However, the Lions were victorious in two relay events. Grayson Cole, KJ Fon-Ndikum, Ryan Osbourn and Kris Madden claimed the 4×400 (3:40.6) title. Jack Cogdill, Lucas Godley, Jonathan Dabbs and Gaebe teamed to win the 4×800 relay (9:49.9).
Former Bulldog wins Limestone College award
Butler graduate Matthew Varnadoe, now a senior at Limestone College (S.C.), was named the winner of the Emmie Evans-Rector Excellence for Teaching Physical Education Award during Limestone’s Academic Awards Banquet on April 30.
The award is given to a Limestone senior in the physical education teacher education program who has a GPA above 3.5.
Varnadoe, a 6-foot, 165-pound right-handed pitcher for the Saints’ baseball team, sported an 0-1 record in eight appearances, including one save in 11 2/3 innings worked.
Varnadoe is a member of Limestone’s honors program, has been selected to the Who’s Who Among American College and University Students listing, has presented at the annual convention of the South Carolina Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and has a 3.71 GPA.
Giving coaches a ‘timeout’
The annual Coaches Time Out conference will be held June 14-16 at the Marriott Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel.
Coaches Time Out is intended to give coaches and their spouses a “timeout” from the everyday challenges they face. During the conference, coaches and spouses are joined by others who go through similar experiences, all the while having the opportunity to hear guest speakers who cover topics such as enriching relationships, improving communication, managing finances, maximizing the coaching platform and developing personal faith.
This year’s CTO conference will be hosted by former Carolina Panthers kicker John Kasay, now a member of the New Orleans Saints. Charlotte Christian football coach Jason Estep and his wife, Leslie, are regional directors for the conference-based coaches ministry.
Guest speakers this year include former Panthers quarterback Frank Reich, ex-NFL tight end Ben Watson, comedic couple Jay and Laura Laffoon, and musician Zachary Kale, among others.
To learn more about this year’s conference and register, visit www.coachestimeout.org/conferences/carolinas/index.html.
Charlotte Latin awarded Nike softball camp site
The Nike softball camp, a tour for players ages 6-18, recently chose Charlotte Latin School as a site on its nationwide schedule. Charlotte Latin will host the Nike camp July 9-13.
Hawks coach Eric Smith, who is in his fifth season, will be the camp’s director. Under Smith, Latin has won the last four Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association championships and finished among the top three in the state tournament each of the past three years. Under Smith, the Hawks have produced 17 all-conference players and six all-state selections.
At the Nike camp, players are broken into groups of similar ages, skill and goals. According to the Nike camp website, the sessions are designed for “intensive training that is essential to improvement for all skill levels. Every facet of the game is covered with an emphasis on fundamentals to help players become valuable team members.”
For more information, visit www.ussportscamps.com/softball or call 1-800-NIKE-CAMP.
Calvary Church hosts sports camp
South Charlotte’s Calvary Church will be the site of the CHAMP All-Sports Camp June 11-15.
Youths ages 6 to 12 may participate in the camp, choosing to play either soccer, baseball or flag football. The camp includes sports instruction, team huddle time, field games, T-shirts, popsicles, prizes and a Friday lunch celebration for families.
The cost is $140 until May 16.
With 18 playing fields at Calvary Church, located at 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road, CHAMP Sports Outreach offers kids a top-notch experience with an emphasis on fun, sportsmanship, Christian character development and athletic skills.
To register, visit www.champsportsinfo.com. For more information, call 704-887-3689.