Sports Shorts for February 24

Central Academy at Lake Park makes it four in row

The Central Academy at Lake Park boys basketball team won its fourth consecutive Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association title on Feb. 10. (Courtesy of Dale Similton)

It’s been quite a four-year stretch for the Central Academy at Lake Park boys basketball team, but this year might have been the best yet. On Feb. 10, the Eagles captured their fourth consecutive Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association tournament title with a 79-51 win over Thomasville Carolina Christian at Charlotte’s Fletcher School.

Lake Park junior guard Carlos Heath was honored as the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring 28 points in the championship game, which included a 4-for-4 effort from 3-point territory.

Eagle teammates Matt Kellas and Will Pleasants were named to the all-tournament team. The Eagles also received valuable contributions from Brandon Elam, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds in the tournament, and Michael Lewis, a defensive specialist who averaged 12.5 points and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 21-1 on the season, giving them a four-year record of 64-5.

This season, though, the Eagles played their longest schedule to date with 22 games, five more than 2009-10, when they finished 17-0. This year’s slate included first-time opponent Monroe Tabernacle Christian and Class 3A private school Westminster Catawba Christian from Rock Hill, S.C.

The Eagles downed Westminster Catawba, 75-69, on Nov. 21, but fell to the Indians, 76-62, in their regular-season finale on Feb. 2. But Similton said that loss was well-timed, and even helped propel the team to the tournament championship.

“Our defense was off, our offense was off and we had gotten complacent,” Similton said. “Even though we were winning, we weren’t winning the way I wanted us to.

“We had to get back to our roots and play defensive-minded.”

Similton said that before the season, he would’ve been surprised to learn that his team would finish with a 21-1 record and a fourth consecutive tournament title, but added that  the Eagles gelled quickly, making the 22-game schedule easier to navigate.

“We figured that by playing a harder schedule, it would be to our benefit,” said Similton. “We tried to stretch ourselves even more this year to see what we could do and to see how good we could really be.

“I think it worked.”

Metrolina’s Long wins state wrestling title

Cannon Long holds his state wrestling title plaque. (C. Jemal Horton/UCW photo)

In its first venture into high school wrestling, Metrolina Christian Academy acquitted itself quite well this season.

Despite having just six wrestlers on the roster, the Warriors still were strong enough to win some dual-team matches while having to lose eight weight classes by forfeit each meet.

Last weekend, they took things a step farther, as several Warriors won individual matches at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association championships, and one Metrolina grappler took home a state championship.

Sophomore Cannon Long dominated the field to win the 195-pound state title.

“It really is the greatest feeling ever in my wrestling career,” said Long, who improved his record to 24-1. “I’m happy that I had a chance to compete here against guys who would give me tough matches, but all my training partners helped me get here, too.”

And whether Long had “tough matches” at the state meet could be up for debate.

Long won each of his three matches by pinning his opponents, with his longest battle lasting just 1 minute, 8 seconds. In the finals, he pinned Charlotte Latin’s Zach Carter in 56 seconds.

Long and his teammates finished 13th among the 17-team field, as James Dalrymple (145 pounds), Marcus Abraham (220) and Kyle Shackelford (285) also contributed points. The rest of the team included Jonathan Braswell (138) and Elijah Blalock.

It was a strong showing for a program in its first year of existence.

“We had several guys win matches here, so we’re really excited about it,” said Metrolina coach Mike Long, who also is Cannon’s dad. “Literally, not one of my guys had seen a high school wrestling match until three months ago. I’m proud of every one of them.

“I feel like the interest in wrestling is there at our school, and next year should be even better.”

The same goes for Cannon Long, who’s already eyeing two more individual state titles.

“I sure hope so,” he said, “but you never know. I’m sure there will be kids coming out of nowhere like I did, a lot of kids training hard. I’ve just got to keep training hard myself so I can keep up to par.”

Local players earn pair of club volleyball titles

Last weekend, a pair of teams from the Carolina Juniors club volleyball program took top honors in their respective age brackets at the Capitol Hill Classic volleyball tournament in Washington D.C.

The CJV 15 Infinity team, featuring Marvin Ridge standouts Makenzie Kuchmaner and Katrina Hartley, went 9-0 in the tournament and placed first among 124 teams. Meanwhile, fellow Marvin Ridge star Elisabeth Stedman helped guide the CJV 17 Blaze to a perfect 9-0 mark and the tournament title over 121 other teams.

Central Academy at Lake Park makes it four in row

The Central Academy at Lake Park boys basketball team won its fourth consecutive Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association title on Feb. 10.

It’s been quite a four-year stretch for the Central Academy at Lake Park boys basketball team, but this year might have been the best yet. On Feb. 10, the Eagles captured their fourth consecutive Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association tournament title with a 79-51 win over Thomasville Carolina Christian at Charlotte’s Fletcher School.

Lake Park junior guard Carlos Heath was honored as the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring 28 points in the championship game, which included a 4-for-4 effort from 3-point territory.

Eagle teammates Matt Kellas and Will Pleasants were named to the all-tournament team. The Eagles also received valuable contributions from Brandon Elam, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds in the tournament, and Michael Lewis, a defensive specialist who averaged 12.5 points and 11 rebounds.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 21-1 on the season, giving them a four-year record of 64-5.

This season, though, the Eagles played their longest schedule to date with 22 games, five more than 2009-10, when they finished 17-0. This year’s slate included first-time opponent Monroe Tabernacle Christian and Class 3A private school Westminster Catawba Christian from Rock Hill, S.C.

The Eagles downed Westminster Catawba, 75-69, on Nov. 21, but fell to the Indians, 76-62, in their regular-season finale on Feb. 2. But Similton said that loss was well-timed, and even helped propel the team to the tournament championship.

“Our defense was off, our offense was off and we had gotten complacent,” Similton said. “Even though we were winning, we weren’t winning the way I wanted us to.

“We had to get back to our roots and play defensive-minded.”

Similton said that before the season, he would’ve been surprised to learn that his team would finish with a 21-1 record and a fourth consecutive tournament title, but added that  the Eagles gelled quickly, making the 22-game schedule easier to navigate.

“We figured that by playing a harder schedule, it would be to our benefit,” said Similton. “We tried to stretch ourselves even more this year to see what we could do and to see how good we could really be.

“I think it worked.”

Metrolina’s Long wins state wrestling title

In its first venture into high school wrestling, Metrolina Christian Academy acquitted itself quite well this season.

Despite having just six wrestlers on the roster, the Warriors still were strong enough to win some dual-team matches while having to lose eight weight classes by forfeit each meet.

Last weekend, they took things a step farther, as several Warriors won individual matches at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association championships, and one Metrolina grappler took home a state championship.

Sophomore Cannon Long dominated the field to win the 195-pound state title.

“It really is the greatest feeling ever in my wrestling career,” said Long, who improved his record to 24-1. “I’m happy that I had a chance to compete here against guys who would give me tough matches, but all my training partners helped me get here, too.”

And whether Long had “tough matches” at the state meet could be up for debate.

Long won each of his three matches by pinning his opponents, with his longest battle lasting just 1 minute, 8 seconds. In the finals, he pinned Charlotte Latin’s Zach Carter in 56 seconds.

Long and his teammates finished 13th among the 17-team field, as James Dalrymple (145 pounds), Marcus Abraham (220) and Kyle Shackelford (285) also contributed points. The rest of the team included Jonathan Braswell (138) and Elijah Blalock.

It was a strong showing for a program in its first year of existence.

“We had several guys win matches here, so we’re really excited about it,” said Metrolina coach Mike Long, who also is Cannon’s dad. “Literally, not one of my guys had seen a high school wrestling match until three months ago. I’m proud of every one of them.

“I feel like the interest in wrestling is there at our school, and next year should be even better.”

The same goes for Cannon Long, who’s already eyeing two more individual state titles.

“I sure hope so,” he said, “but you never know. I’m sure there will be kids coming out of nowhere like I did, a lot of kids training hard. I’ve just got to keep training hard myself so I can keep up to par.”

Local players earn pair of club volleyball titles

Last weekend, a pair of teams from the Carolina Juniors club volleyball program took top honors in their respective age brackets at the Capitol Hill Classic volleyball tournament in Washington D.C.

The CJV 15 Infinity team, featuring Marvin Ridge standouts Makenzie Kuchmaner and Katrina Hartley, went 9-0 in the tournament and placed first among 124 teams. Meanwhile, fellow Marvin Ridge star Elisabeth Stedman helped guide the CJV 17 Blaze to a perfect 9-0 mark and the tournament title over 121 other teams.

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