Sports Shorts: June 15

Covenant Day’s Brooker wins state gymnastics title

Melissa Brooker, an eighth-grader at Covenant Day, competed in the Level 9 USA Gymnastics Eastern Nationals in Landover, Md., May 3-6, and posted an impressive finish.

Brooker finished third in the vault, fifth in the uneven bars and seventh in both the floor exercises and all-around competitions.

At the N.C. state championship meet, Brooker placed fourth in the floor exercises and vault, and finished second in the uneven bars and the all-around competition. The 14-year-old also had a great showing at the 2012 National Challenge Level 9 Regionals in Tampa, Fla., where she finished first in the vault, balance beam and all-around, and placed second in her other two events: the uneven bars and the floor exercises.

Brooker is a Level 9 gymnast and trains up to 24 hours per week at Southeastern Gymnastics in Weddington under coaches Ludmilla Shobe and Galina Meliakina. In 2013, Brooker will compete as a Level 10 gymnast, the highest level attainable before entering elite-level ranks, where Olympic-level athletes compete.

Ex-Independence baseball player Ratliff helps raise money for cancer research

Kevin Ratliff, who played baseball at Independence and later at Saint Andrews College, is teaming with the Ballantyne Smokies summer college baseball team to help raise money for children’s cancer research. In January, Ratliff and his wife, Emily, lost their daughter, Claire, to the disease.

On Friday, June 15, the Smokies will take on the Asheville Redbirds at 7:30 p.m. Fifty percent of the proceeds from that game will go to CureSearch, an organization that provides information and support to child patients and their families, physicians and health care advisors. Mellow Mushroom has joined the cause and donated T-shirts that can be tie-dyed for a $5 contribution to CureSearch.

Admission to the game is $5 for ages 13 and up, while children 12 and under are admitted free.

Patriot lacrosse players reach state games

Five members of the Independence boys lacrosse team will compete in the N.C. Amateur Sports Powerade State Games in Winston-Salem on Saturday, June 16.

According to the NCAS website, the games are an “elite-level Olympic-style event” that pits rising 10th- and 11th-graders representing the eastern and western areas of the state against one another. The five Patriots who will play for the West team are sophomore attack/midfielder Tanner Barnett, sophomore defender Dillon Moor, sophomore defender Logan Martin, freshman midfielder Jimmel Stewart-Twine and junior midfielder Jared Palmer.

The one-day tournament is played as a best-of-three series. Aside from the five Patriots, 18 other players will represent the West from surrounding areas.

Ex-Providence volleyball coach Bradbury takes over at Carmel Christian School

Former Providence High volleyball coach Karen Bradbury recently has been hired to the same position at Carmel Christian.

Bradbury most recently was a P.E. teacher at Garinger High, having taken that job shortly after she led Providence to the Class 4A state championship last fall. Bradbury had been a coach and P.E. teacher at Providence from 2003-11.

At Providence, Bradbury led the team to three Southwestern 4A conference titles and a pair of state runner-up finishes. Her record with the Panthers was 130-37 (78 percent). Bradbury has also been a USA Club volleyball coach for 15 years and competed in the national championship tournament multiple times.

“Carmel Christian is very excited about the prospect of having Coach Bradbury on board to help lead the school into the high school years of athletics and particularly developing the volleyball program,” Bill Smith, Carmel Christian’s athletics director, said in an e-mail. “Carmel Christian will be a K-(through)-11th grade school this fall and will be adding varsity volleyball. The school is in the midst of the application process of joining the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association and a local conference for high school sports.”

Bradbury also will teach P.E. at Carmel Christian.

Rocky River looks to have AD in place soon

Rocky River is hoping to have a new athletics director in place by the end of next week, according to Principal Brandy Nelson.

Brandy Clemmer, the Ravens’ former athletics director, resigned earlier this month to become the assistant professor of athletic training at Wingate University.

“Brandy’s service and commitment to athletics at Rocky River High School cannot be understated,” Nelson said. “I am grateful that Brandy was here to set a firm foundation for Rocky River athletics. She (built) strong relationships with our students and truly cares about their well-being, their academics and their athletics. She will be missed terribly by all of us here, but she will always be a Rocky River Raven.”

Nelson said the vacant athletics director position has been posted on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website and that Rocky River is currently accepting applications. The school was hopeful to name a replacement by the end of next week. Although the timeline is in place, Nelson said the Ravens would be selective in finding a replacement.

“We want to have a new athletic director by the third week of June, but given the critical nature of this role, we want to ensure we are putting the best person in the position,” Nelson said.

Mint Hill Army off to good start

The Mint Hill Army, an American Legion baseball team, has began its season with an 8-2 record and had won six consecutive games before falling to Area IV Eastern Division opponent Huntersville, 12-10, on June 5. However, the team rebounded on June 12-13 with 9-4 and 8-3 victories over Gastonia.

The Army has scored at least three runs in each of its first nine games, and before allowing Huntersville to score 12 times, had not given up more than six runs in any game. Mint Hill has pulled out three one-run victories and is 6-1 in division play.

Butler’s Chase Gehringer leads the Army with 12 base hits, a.444 average and seven stolen bases. Teammates Troy Neal (.417, seven runs, six RBIs), Tommy Ollis (one home run, 10 RBIs) and Dalton Eisenbath (.364, four home runs) have chipped in on offense.

Eisenbath leads the team with 14 innings pitched and is one of six players to record a win. David Bancroft, who plays during the season with the Charlotte Stampede’s home-school team, leads the squad with two wins.

The Army plays through the month of June and has 13 scheduled games during a 14-day stretch. The team’s next game is Friday, June 15, at Lincoln County. The Army’s next home game is Friday, June 22, at Butler High.

The Army’s roster also includes Butler’s Aaron Bevis, Alex Bronkar, Andrew Moser, Matt Baltimore, Matt Rumble and John Hickes (2011 graduate); Independence’s Brandon Wolf (2011), Tim Miller, Taylor Fay, Cody Lekavich, Lane Polk, David Fowler and P.J. Sardenia; Queen’s Grant’s Gabe Hutchings; Grace Academy’s Brandon Rawe (2011) and Covenant Day’s Taylor Fisher.

Rounding out the roster are Indian Trail Porter Ridge’s Alex Golson, Sergio Patsy and Tucker Bartley; Garinger’s Garrett Moore; Indian Trail Metrolina Christian’s Ross Rushing; and Gastonia Hunter Huss’ Brett Cullen.

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