Sports Shorts: April 27

by Aaron Garcia and C. Jemal Horton

Weddington High receives coveted state athletics award

Weddington High School has been named the sixth annual winner of the Exemplary School Award, the N.C. High School Athletic Association announced this week.

The Exemplary School Award recognizes the top overall school in the state in terms of the “total program,” including but not limited to athletic success, scope of athletic opportunities offered, facilities, community interest and involvement, and academics.

Weddington has been an Honor School of Excellence the last three years and was recognized by Newsweek magazine among the top high schools in America. Each of Weddingotn’s varsity teams during the fall and winter seasons of this academic year earned AAA Scholar-Athlete honors, and all Warrior teams earned those accolades last year.

The school offers 24 sports and 36 different teams, and actually recognizes its own all-academic athletic team at the school. Many of the teams are involved in community service projects, including Serve for the Cure, Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity and a book drive that collected more than 3,000 books for a local elementary school.

In terms of its facilities, Weddington has recently resurfaced its track and tennis courts, was awarded a $5,000 grant from Home Depot to be used on the softball field, and has had Eagle Scout projects completed on campus to enhance the athletic complex.

The Exemplary School Award is given as a cooperative venture among the NCHSAA, the N.C. Coaches Association and the N.C. Athletic Directors Association. In addition to a trophy and a banner for display at the school, Weddington will receive a $1,000 cash award.

Weddington will be presented with the award in Chapel Hill at the NCHSAA’s Annual Meeting on May 3 at the University of North Carolina’s Dean E. Smith Center.

Baseball races wrapping up

The high school baseball season is drawing to a close this week, and several Union County teams are in contention for league crowns entering Friday, April 27 action.

Starting in the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference, the Marvin Ridge Mavericks have been on a tear, winning 16 of their last 17 games (including nine consecutive wins), including three-game sweeps over Parkwood and Sun Valley. The Mavs (18-4, 12-1 in league play) also took two of three games from second-place Weddington to earn control of the conference’s regular-season race.

Weddington (17-5, 10-3) has kept within shouting distance of Marvin Ridge with a hot streak of its own, which includes an eight-game win streak and wins in 13 of its last 15 games. Next up in the league standings is Parkwood (8-12, 6-7), followed by Sun Valley (10-11, 5-8), Anson (6-12, 4-9) and Porter Ridge (8-14, 2-11).

Despite losing seven of their first eight games, the Piedmont Panthers (11-12, 11-2) have a shot to capture the Rocky River 1A/2A conference’s regular-season title with a win over Cuthbertson (19-3, 12-1) on Friday, April 27 in each team’s season finale. Piedmont took a 4-3 win over the Cavs on March 30, giving Cuthbertson its only conference loss of the season. If the Cavs win, they will capture the outright conference title.

West Stanly (8-10, 7-5 in Rocky River 1A/2A action) is currently in third place. Forest Hills (10-9, 6-6) is in fourth place under first-year coach and Sun Valley alum Cory Smith. North Stanly (8-12, 6-6) is next, followed by Central Academy of Technology & Arts (5-10, 5-7), Union Academy (7-13, 2-11) and Monroe (0-16, 0-12).

With a 14-4 overall record and an 11-1 mark in the private-school Metrolina Athletic Conference, the Metrolina Christian Academy Warriors took the top seed in the MAC playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, May 1. The Warriors will face Matthews Covenant Day, which is hosting the tournament.

Local teams fill state soccer poll

When the latest editions of eurosportscoreboard.com’s state soccer polls were released on April 22, five Union County teams were listed among the best in their respective class rankings.

In the Class 3A poll, Marvin Ridge, which sports a 13-2-2 overall record and a 7-1-1 mark in the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference, was ranked third in the state, according to the website. Rival Weddington was ranked 10th with a 14-3-1 record (6-2-1 in league play).

Cuthbertson, the defending Class 2A state champion, is the top-ranked area team in the Class 2A rankings at No. 5 with a 13-4-0 record (11-0 in Rocky River 1A/2A). The Piedmont Panthers have won five consecutive contests to improve to 11-2-1 (10-1-0), and a No. 14 ranking in the state.

Central Academy of Technology & Arts (10-4-1, 7-4) currently holds the No. 5 spot in the Class 1A poll. The Cougars, who won last year’s Class 1A title, have won five of their last seven games, but have dropped two consecutive contests headed into the final week of the season.

Though no Union County teams cracked the 4A poll, Sun Valley and Porter Ridge seem like worthy candidates. The Spartans are red hot entering the season’s final stretch. Sun Valley has won five consecutive games – including wins over Marvin Ridge, Weddingon and South Mecklenburg – to improve to 12-4-1 and 6-2-1 in the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference while outscoring their opponents 14-4 in that stretch. Porter Ridge, meanwhile, is 10-4-5 and 4-2-3 in league play and has lost only once in its last eight games (five wins, two ties).

The regular season concludes on Thursday, May 3.

Winter Wells Fargo Cup leaders

The N.C. High School Athletic Association announced the standings for its winter sports Wells Fargo Cup standings this week, and several Union County schools were represented.

The Wells Fargo Cup, formerly known as the Wachovia Cup, is sponsored by Wells Fargo and the NCHSAA. The award recognizes the high schools that achieve the best overall interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state’s four competitive classifications. The Cup program is in its 33rd year.

Marvin Ridge, with 362.5 points, captured second place in the 3A standings, behind only Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (517.5). The Mavericks were paced by runner-up finishes in boys indoor track and field, and girls swimming, with two third-place slots in girls indoor track and boys swimming. Weddington (177.5) is in 11th place.

Cuthbertson (250) is fifth in the 2A race behind Carrboro (322.5), Shelby (275), North Lincoln (265) and Salisbury (262.5).

In the 1A classification, Monroe is in the sixth spot with 200 points. The N.C. School of Science & Math (410) is the leader, followed by Kernersville Bishop McGuinness (322.5), Lake Norman Charter (275), Hendersonville (247.5) and West Wilkes (210).

Wells Fargo Cup points are determined by a system based on performance in state championship events. All schools that finish in the top eight positions (plus ties) earn points.

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