High school sports final exam for readers


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Test yourself, then find the answers in our sports year in review, below

The games have all been played, the equipment has been packed away and the seniors have graduated.

But you, dear reader, are not done with high school sports. We have a final exam for you.

All of the answers can be found in our special wrapup of the 2009-2010 school year, beginning on Page 4B.

Ready? Go:

1. Which athlete became the first state champ at their school since 1979?

2. Which school had a team advance at least three rounds into the playoffs in each sports season?

3. Which team had members provide emergency assistance at a school bus crash?

4. Which coach won three conference championships?

5. Cheerleaders from which two schools earned national honors?

6. Which team won the Northeastern Coastal Conference wrestling tournament? (This is a trick question).

7. How many of the 14 valedictorians and salutatorians from area public schools were athletes?

8. Which athlete signed with Clemson?

9. Which football coaches stepped down?

10. Which all-conference athlete gave up one spring sport as a senior to become a conference champion in a different one?

2009-10 high school sports year in review

State champs

Leroya Banks of Perquimans and Alex Tavenier of Northeastern were the only local athletes or teams to achieve the pinnacle in North Carolina High School Athletic Association competition, state championships. And they’re both juniors.

Banks, the 1A state-record holder in the 200-meter dash, won her second straight title in the 200 and added the 100 championship while Tavenier became the first state champ from Northeastern since 1979 when she finished first in the 3,200 at the state 2A meet.

Currituck wrestler Seth Brinkley, another junior, and Pasquotank triple-jumper Tyrell Beasley, a senior, nearly joined them. Brinkley was losing 1-0 in the closing seconds of the state 3A 189-pound before yielding three back points on a desperation move while Beasley came up eight inches short in his bid for the state 2A title.

Where’d they come from?

When the cross country and track seasons started, nobody knew anything about Isabelle Boehling of Edenton and Markus Smith of Currituck. But both seniors, playing new sports for the first time, made names for themselves.

Boehling, who competed in cross country when she wasn’t playing tennis, was runner-up in the Northeastern Coastal Conference meet, placed fifth in the region and finished 44th out of 125 runners at the state meet.

Smith came out for indoor track, placed sixth in the indoor state meet in the 300 and decided he liked running so much he gave up golf, where he was an All-NCC performer as a junior. He went on to win the NCC 400 title outdoors and place fifth in the region meet.


Granted, the world of competitive cheerleading can be a little confusing given the number of “national” competitions teams can attend under the umbrellas of various organizations, but that doesn’t take anything away from the accomplishments of cheer squads from Northeastern and Camden.

The Lady Eagles finished second in the National High School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Fla. — yep, the big one you see on ESPN every year — while the Lady Bruins brought home a first-place trophy from the Eastern Cheer Association Nationals.

Down to the wire

There were lots of close games this year, but none had a slimmer margin of victory than the Currituck-Pasquotank showdown in wrestling. Following a wildy-entertaining ebb and flow through 14 weight classes, the teams were deadlocked at 39-39 and the match went into a tie-breaker process.

Twenty minutes later — and after much scrutinizing of the scoring in each bout — Currituck was declared the winner on the ninth tie-breaker — most points scored on near-falls — to clinch its third straight NCC regular-season crown.


Edenton’s girls tennis team nearly saw the end to its Northeastern Coastal Conference winning streak when they eked out a 5-4 victory over Northeastern. The Lady Aces’ streak sits at 110 and counting.

Elizabeth City Middle School’s baseball team had not won a game in nearly three years. It stopped that streak in style when Bryce Keziah threw a perfect game in a 3-0 win over Central Middle School. Keziah struck out 13 of the 18 batters he faced, including the final seven of the game, and did not allow a ball out of the infield.

New faces

Edenton and Pasquotank were on the hunt for new football coaches following the season. In Edenton, Wes Mattera replaces Bob Turner, who stepped down after seven years to focus on his role as athletic director. At Pasquotank, Hancel Phipps follows David Brinson, who retired after six seasons at the helm of the Panthers and more than 30 years as a coach in Pasquotank County.

A year of firsts

Pasquotank’s football team defeated Camden for the first time and completed its first-ever winning season with a 7-5 record. The Panthers’ soccer team also hosted a playoff game for the first time. Currituck won for the first time in the Byrd Bowl, its annual football rivalry game against Camden. The series took on a trophy a few years ago named for the man who surveyed the border between the neighboring counties.


Edenton girls basketball coach Fred White needed only seven wins at the start of the season to reach 500 for his career. He missed by one — barely. In their regular-season finale, the Lady Aces lost a double-overtime overtime thriller to First Flight.

In the offseason, White gave some thought to retiring, but now he’s coming back. We’re confident he’ll get No. 500 next year.

DI prospects

Perquimans’ Quinyotta Pettaway highlighted a year that saw several area athletes choose NCAA Division I universities to continue their athletic careers. Pettaway will be taking the basketball court at Clemson next winter. Pasquotank’s Cullen O’Brien will be playing football at Davidson, Northeastern’s Terrance White will join the North Carolina A&T football team, Jagger Blehm, a former Camden player, will go to Old Dominion for football, Northeastern’s Jabari Bryant will run track at UNC-Wilmington and Camden’s Taylor Cannon will play volleyball at Charlotte. Also, O’Brien’s teammate, Will Sawyer, will get a shot to walk on at Campbell.

Weather permitting ...

The winter sports season was continually disrupted by snow, ice, rain and high winds, fraying the nerves of athletic directors and putting a strain on officiating schedules. It got so bad at one point, the region 2A swim meet was canceled and the NCC wrestling tournament was not held for the first time ever after getting rescheduled twice.

From wrestling squad to rescue squad

Four members of the Pasquotank wrestling team — Ryan Pippen, Alex Smith, Alex Fisher and Damian Stablein — were the first persons on the scene when a truck collided with a Pasquotank County school bus near the intersection of Main Street Extended and U.S. Highway 17.

The wrestlers, who were snacking at a nearby convenience story when the crash occurred, pulled dozens of dazed students off the bus, comforted those who were injured and lent cell phones so that kids could call parents.

Hardly anyone knew of their good deed because they left as soon as police and medical helped arrived. It seems they had to get back to the high school, where they had a home wrestling match scheduled an hour or so later.

Eagles fly high in hoops

After staggering through losing seasons a year earlier, the boys and girls basketball teams at Northeastern rebounded. Under first-year coach Ronald Nixon, the Eagles won the regular-season NCC championship while the girls stayed in title contention most of the season before settling for third place. On one giddy night, Dec. 18, both teams beat favored squads from Bertie. Northeastern also swept the boys and girls titles at the Daily Advance Holiday Tournament.

Who says athletes are dumb

At last week’s graduation ceremonies, 13 of the 14 valedictorians and salutatorians just happened to be athletes, too.

The athletic honor role included: Northeastern — Brett Heyder (tennis and soccer) and Kristin Cudequest (softball); Pasquotank — Nick Krebs (soccer) and Cullen O’Brien (football); Currituck — Josh Goninan (tennis and soccer); Perquimans — Kendall Spaugh (soccer) and Bryana Bass (softball); Edenton — Isabelle Boehling (tennis, cross country, soccer) and Katelyn Blanchard (cross country and track); Camden — Leannne Burton (volleyball) and Daniel Godfrey (soccer, baseball); and CamTech — Taylor Cannon (volleyball) and Tyler Lannon (soccer).

The only non-athlete among valedictorians and salutatorians was Lauren Crawford, but we’re going to make her an honorary athlete since she was in the school band, an extra-curricular activity that takes up at least as much time as most sports.

Nelson was Camden’s comeback kid

Camden junior Matt Nelson has had more than his share of hard knocks. Last spring, baseball was interrupted when he had surgery to correct a heart condition. In the fall, he had his jaw broken in three places playing football. Then he missed the end of basketball season with a collapsed lung. Nelson reported late for baseball, but got through the season without incident. By all accounts, he never complained about his misfortune. Here’s wishing Nelson a healthy senior year.

Year-round excellence

Perquimans had it. The Hertford school advanced one team at least three rounds into the 1A playoffs in each sports season.

The Lady Pirates volleyball team went all the way to the East Region final in the fall, the boys basketball team made it to the region semifinals and the baseball team won two games before getting beaten 3-1 by Dixon — the eventual state runner-up — in the third game.

She made Currituck Title Town

Lori Davis of Currituck can stake a claim to being the year’s most successful coach after guiding her teams to NCC championships in girls cross country, girls track and boys track.

All of her teams ended lengthy title droughts and the girls’ cross country and track teams seem well-positioned to repeat next year.