Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Watauga's Ryder Jones named N.C. Gatorade baseball player of the year

From Observer News Services

CHICAGO -- In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Ryder Jones of Watauga High School as its 2012-13 Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year.  Jones is the first Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Watauga High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Jones as North Carolina’s best high school baseball player.  Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award announced in May, Jones joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Roy Halladay (1994-95, Arvada West HS, Colo.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman HS, Tenn.), Chipper Jones (1989-90, Bolles School, Fla.), Derrek Lee (1992-93, El Camino HS, Calif.) and John Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Prep, Wash.).

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior shortstop batted .461 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI this past season, leading the Pioneers to a 15-11 record. A Rawlings Preseason First Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA, Jones recorded 31 runs, 21 walks and 11 doubles. He compiled a .652 on-base percentage and a .987 slugging percentage. Also a right-handed pitcher, Jones owned a 4-3 record with one save, a 1.23 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 40.1 innings-pitched. As a junior at Stillwater (Okla.) High last season, he captured 2012 Honorable Mention All-State honors from The Oklahoman.

Jones has maintained a 4.00 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, he has donated his time as a peer tutor and youth baseball instructor in addition to volunteering locally as a blood donor, at a Humane Society shelter, as part of a youth literacy-outreach initiative and on behalf Oklahoma’s Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis.

“His playing ability speaks for its self,” said Chip Watts, head coach of rival St. Stephens High. “This kid has one of the most pure swings. He was a man among boys and dominated the high school level. He is an excellent young man and plays the game the right way. Watauga head coach Pete Hardee does a great job with his baseball program, and he’s been coached and molded under one of the best coaches around.”

Jones has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Stanford University this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.  The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Jones joins recent Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Players of the Year Corey Seager (2011-12, Northwest Cabarrus High School), Dillon Maples (2010 – 11, Pinecrest High School), Matt Roberts (2009-10, Graham), Brian Goodwin (2008–09 Rocky Mount), Tyler Hanover (2007-08, North Davidson), and Madison Bumgarner (2006-2007, South Caldwell) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NCHSAA state championship baseball and softball pairings


all series best of three games

                  Game 1: Friday, May 31 at 8 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1 at 2 pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm (5 pm if no third game in 2-A)

Game 1: Friday, May 31, 8 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1, 2 pm
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm  (5 pm if no third game in 1-A)

Game 1: Friday, May 31, 5 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1, 11 am
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1, 5 pm

MIDWAY (26-3) vs. SOUTH STANLY (28-5)
Game 1: Friday, May 31 at 5 pm
Game 2: Saturday, June 1 at 11 am
Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1 at 5 pm

NCHSAA FastFacts
Event: 97th annual NCHSAA Baseball Championships
Date: May 31-June 1, 2013
Site:  NewBridge Bank Park, Greensboro (1-A, 3-A); Five County Stadium, Zebulon (2-A, 4-A)
First Held: 1914
Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification
Last year's champions: 1-A: South Stanly; 2-A: Whiteville; 3-A: Weddington; 4-A: Apex Middle Creek
Tickets: eight dollars per game
Of Interest: Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 NCHSAA state 4-A championship series as he led South Caldwell to the title.
Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau for games in Zebulon; Greensboro Sports Commission for games in Greensboro

RALEIGH – The pairings and the schedules are set for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state fast-pitch softball championships.

            For the second year in a row, the championships are best-of-three series between the Eastern champion and the Western champion, both of whom won best-of-three regional series. From 1995 to 2011, the top four teams in each classification came to Walnut Creek for a double-elimination tournament.
    This will mark the 19th annual fast pitch championships and the 39th year for NCHSAA softball.  The Raleigh Sports Consortium and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are among the host city sponsors.
Walnut Creek Softball Complex, Raleigh
All series are best of three
Friday, May 31: Game 1, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.
Friday, May 31: Game 1, 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.
CLASS 2-A: SOUTH GRANVILLE (24-1) vs. WEST STANLY (26-4), Field 4
Friday, May 31: Game 1, 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.
Friday, May 31: Game 1, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, June 1: Game 3, if necessary, 2 p.m.
NCHSAA FastFacts
Event: 39th annual NCHSAA Softball Championships
Date: May 31-June 1, 2012
Site:  Walnut Creek Softball Complex
First Held: 1975 (slow-pitch); first fast-pitch tournament was in fall of 1994
Qualifiers: Eastern and Western champions meet for state title in best two-of-three series; 64 schools initially qualified for playoffs in each classification
Last year's champions: 1-A: South Stanly; 2-A: Wilson Beddingfield; 3-A: Pikeville Charles B. Aycock; 4-A: Indian Trail Porter Ridge
Tickets: Eight dollars per game
Of Interest:  Only three players in NCHSAA history were three-time Most Valuable Players in the state fast-pitch softball championships: Chelsea Leonard of Central Davidson, Brittany Lehrschall of North Brunswick, and Haley Shelton of East Surry.
Host City Sponsors: Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mallard Creek boys basketball coach David Rutledge resigns, takes Wilmington job

David Rutledge, who coached at Mallard Creek for three seasons, told the Observer Tuesday that he’s resigned and taken a similar job at Wilmington’s Ashley High.

Rutledge, 32, was 48-34 at Mallard Creeek.

This is his fourth head coaching job. He previously worked at South Iredell and Newton-Conover.

At Ashley, Rutledge replaces Bryn McSwain who coached for three years. McSwain’s team was 17-9 last season and won its first playoff game.

Rutledge, who has a law degree, will teach psychology at Ashley. He starts at his new school June 1.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Davidson Day wins third straight NCISAA girls soccer state title

Davidson Day’s girls won their third straight N.C. Independent Schools state championship Saturday, beating Caldwell Academy 4-2.

Davidson Day won a 1A title in 2011 and has now won two straight 2A titles.

Davidson Day (19-4-4) led 2-0 at halftime and saw the game tied in the second half before scoring twice in an eight-minute span of the second half to put the game away.

Caitlyn Rodrigues had two goals and two assists. Maddison Clark and Emma Reid had the other two scores. Rodrigues and Clark made the NCISAA 2A all-state team.

NCISAA 2A All-State: Chandler Tinsley, Asheville Christian; Lexi Lamb, First Assembly; Haley Bigler, Fay. Academy; Mary Dixon, O’Neal; Kelly Post, Fay. Academy; Hannah Sullivan, O’Neal; Rachel Sharkey, American Hebrew; Becca Lucey, Caldwell Academy; Abril Fleitas, American Hebrew; Gabi Nydick Cheshire, Carolina Friends; Meghan Ingram, Westchester Country Day; Stephanie Lossan, Rocky Mount Academy; Brea Buster, Cary Christian; Catherine Griffith, St. Davids; Morgan Whitesides, Gaston Day; Caitlyn Rodrigues, Davidson Day; Ciara Murphy, Davidson Day; Maddison Clark, Davidson Day

Friday, May 17, 2013

Time Warner Cable to broadcast Saturday's NCHSAA lacrosse championship games

Track, softball and baseball games also available to fans on Carolina on Demand

CHARLOTTE, NC (May 17, 2013) – As the official television partner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), Time Warner Cable SportsChannel production on Time Warner Cable channel 520 will exclusively televise live NCHSAA men’s and women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer championship games for sports fans across the state. The games will also be available live online at

The women’s lacrosse game will air on Saturday, May 18 at 12:30 p.m. as East Chapel Hill takes on Charlotte Catholic and the men’s lacrosse game, featuring Apex vs. Lake Norman, will air on Saturday, May 19 at 4:00 p.m. Women’s soccer games will be televised on Saturday, May 25 at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Paul Doherty will call play-by-play for the women’s lacrosse championship game, with color commentary by Melanie Bartol Jones and Lyndsay Rowley as the sideline reporter. For the men’s championship, Ray St. Peter will join Doherty and Rowley.

Greg Mayer will serve as the play-by-play announcer for the women’s soccer championship game, with Josh McKinney as the color commentator and Rowley as the sideline reporter.

Additionally, NCHSAA track, softball and baseball championship games will be available on Carolina on Demand later in the month. Already this school year, Time Warner Cable has produced and aired NCHSAA football, basketball, cheer, volleyball, men’s soccer, swimming and wrestling. As a leader at providing local production and sports programming to millions of subscribers across the country, Time Warner Cable airs high school sports nationwide on its 53 local channels that feature sports, news, weather and traffic.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On Steph Curry's home life, his summer camp & ruining our sleep habits

I want to thank Stephen Curry for ruining my sleep.

I've been up late throughout the NBA playoffs watching all of these 10:30 p.m. east coast starts for Curry's Golden State Warriors, and I suspect a few of you reading this have, too. Curry is slowly making the Golden State Warriors a national team.

He's making me stay up to 2 a.m. on weekdays. Golden State played Game 5 against San Antonio Thursday and the Spurs' 109-91 win ended at 12:06 a.m., which is early for a Warriors game. Game 6, where the Spurs can end the series, will tip off sometime after 10:30 p.m. Thursday night on ESPN.

Of course, I'll be watching. This is why:

While the NBA playoffs may've been Chicago Bulls' guard Nate Robinson's at the start, they've definitely become Curry's coming-out party as the pro sports league's annual tournament has moved on.  No question, if there's a singular star of the playoffs so far, it's been the former Charlotte Christian and Davidson star, raining one-legged 3-point shots and making left-handed no-look passes.

In his home market in Northern California, ratings are through the roof. Comcast SportsNet Bay Area posted its highest rated Warriors telecast ever for a Game 6 first round win over Denver. The Sports Business Journal reported that, locally, the Warriors jumped 92 percent in TV viewership this year, giving them a 2.90 per capita TV rating. That's right behind NBA stalwarts New York and Boston in their markets.

Nationally, Golden State is getting ESPN "SportsCenter" and "First Take" run, and it's not because the hosts are taking shots (see Bobcats, Charlotte).  Because of a conflict at the United Center that pushed Heat-Bulls Game 4 to Monday, Golden State even landed on prime time Sunday afternoon national TV Sunday.

Going against Tiger Woods winning the Players Championship, Game 4 of Spurs/Warriors drew a 4.1 overnight rating for ABC, which was down 31 percent from Heat/Pacers Game 4 in 2012. But hey, Tiger was in the hunt Sunday and Golden State just hasn't been on center stage that much (and playing the rather boring Spurs probably didn't help, either).

Still, the fact that Golden State is on prime Sunday afternoon television at all is a shock. When was the last time that happened? Maybe when Chris Mullin-Tim Hardaway-Mitch Richmond -- a trio nicknamed "Run TMC" -- was the NBA's highest scoring trio in the 1990-91 season.

The Warriors can thank Curry for a lot of this attention. He's doing for Golden State what he did for Davidson -- take a sports team that no one knows much about or cares much about and put them in the conversation.

And in doing so, Curry is becoming a bona fide star. You can now make a case that, with the Lakers in decline and the Spurs aging fast, that Golden State is going to be a Western Conference contender for years. And I don't think Curry is going to be taking a vacation during NBA All-Star Weekend anytime soon.

I also suspect his home life is going to change some, too.

I bumped into him at Harris Teeter and Chick-Fil-A last summer and I did an interview with him at Accelerate Basketball, one of the city's best training facilities. Curry was able to be out in public and not get bothered too. I don't think that will quite be the case now.

His basketball camp at Charlotte Christian last year was a roaring success, but I wonder if his two events this year at Christian -- a June 24-27 skill session and a July shooting clinic -- are not going to enjoy a, um, sight increase in participation. Everybody's going to want to be with him this year.

He's become Charlotte's favorite son. And it's been awful fun to watch

Note: Curry will host his annual camp at Charlotte Christian in June. It's open to kids 5-7 years old and from 4th grade to 10th. He'll also host a shooting clinic in July where teams of players will compete in a series of competitive drills. The winning team will compete against Curry's team in a finals' shoot off. For information, visit or call 704-499-9159

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Berry High girls wins NC 3A track title; UNC recruit TJ Logan stars in boys event

GREENSBORO -- The Berry High girls’ track team dominated the relays at the N.C. 3A state track meet Saturday. That team dominance helped the Cardinals win the state title at N.C. A&T University.

Berry won the 400-meter relay and the 800. The Cardinals were third in the 1,600 relay, finishing with 51 points. West Cateret was second with 46.

Berry’s 400-meter relay team was Manneja Cordray, Alliyah Barnes, Passion Firms and Maya Grier. It won in 48.68 seconds, well ahead of second place Forestview (49.13).

Berry’s 800-meter relay team was Tatiana Mills, Erica Williams, Shekinah Harrell and Grier. It won in 1 minute, 43.75 seconds. Jacksonville (1:44.49) was second.

In the boys meet, Northern Guilford’s T.J. Logan, who spoiled Charlotte Catholic’s chances at a football championship in December, won 3A boys MVP and led his team to the title.

Logan, a North Carolina football recruit, won the N.C. High School Athletic Association male athlete of the year award last week. In December, he rushed for a N.C. record 510 yards and eight touchdowns on 28 carries to lead Northern Guilford to a 64-26 win over Charlotte Catholic in the N.C. 3A football championship.

Saturday, he ended his prolific career, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchored his team’s winning 400-meter relay.

-- Other Observer-area winners included Cox Mill’s Elijah Goins (110 hurdles); and Statesville’s Breon Borders (300 hurdles).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Providence Day's girls, Charlotte Christian's boys win CISAA track meet

Providence Day’s girls and Charlotte Christian boys won CISAA conference track meet championships Friday.

Providence Day won going away, scoring 181 points, besting second place Charlotte Latin (83) by nearly 100 points. Charlotte Christian was third (49).

The boys race was much tighter, with the Knights scoring 114 points and edging second place Providence Day (112.5) by just a point and a half. Charlotte Latin was third (90.5).

In the girls meet, Charlotte Latin freshman Chanin Scott won the 200-meter dash and the 400. Providence Day sophomore Emma Brown won the 1,600 and 3,200. Providence Day’s Anna Cockrell won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. And Providence Day won the 400-1,600- and 3,200-meter relays.

In the boys meet, Providence Day’s Ben Huffman won the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. Charlotte Christian won the 400- and 800-meter relays.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Marvin Ridge names Dr. Daniel Bailey football coach

Marvin Ridge High will hold a meet and greet Thursday (May 9) at 6 p.m. to introduce its new head football coach, Dr. Daniel Bailey.

Bailey has been a head coach at several schools in North and South Carolina. He replaces Scott Chadwick, who coached the Mavericks for five seasons.

Chadwick had four straight winning seasons before going 6-6 in 2012.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NCHSAA baseball and softball first round playoff pairings

NCHSAA Baseball
First round by Friday. Game times at 7 unless listed
4A West:
Ragsdale at S. Meck; Providence at N. Davidson; Reagan at SE Guilford; Page at Glenn; Myers Park at NW Guilford; HP Central at So. Alamance; Wrn Guilford at W. Forsyth; Davie at Ardrey Kell; Lake Norman at Alexander Central; E. Gaston at Ashe. Reynolds; McDowell at Mallard Creek; W. Meck at Porter Ridge; E. Meck at Skyland Roberson; Hough at Sun Valley; N. Meck at Olympic; S. Caldwell at Hopewell
3A West: Central Cabarrus at Asheboro; Robinson at Carson; Hickory Ridge at Marvin Ridge; Berry at Cox Mill; Parkwood at Mt Pleasant; Weddington at E. Rowan; W. Rowan at Charlotte Catholic; S. Rowan at NE Guilford; St. Stephens at W. Henderson; Enka at S. Point; Kings Mountain at Hickory; Asheville at R-S Central; N. Gaston at Burns; Foard at E. Henderson; Patton at N. Buncombe; Tuscola at Crest
2A West: Maiden at Shelby; N. Lincoln at Bandys; W. Caldwell at Smoky Mtn; Mtn Heritage at E. Lincoln; Bunker Hill at Polk Co.; E. Rutherford at Pisgah; Brevard at W. Lincoln; Owen at Drauhn; Central Davidson at Wilkes Central; W. Stanly at Randleman; Andrews at E. Davidson; Cuthbertson at Surry Central; Wheatmore at Piedmont; Starmount at Salisbury; W. Davidson at W. Stokes; Trinity at Forbush
1A West: Albemarle at Central Academy; Mt Airy at Lake Norman Charter; E. Montgomery at S. Stanly; N. Moore at Union; E. Wilkes at E. Surry; Bessemer City at W. Montgomery; N. Rowan at Cherryville; Chatham Central at S. Stokes; N.Wilkes at Hendersonville; Mitchell at W. Wilkes; Bishop McGuinness at Alleghany; Elkin at Thomas Jefferson; Rosman at Hiwassee Dam; Highland Tech at Murphy; Lincoln Charter at Hayesville; Swain Co. at Blue Ridge
NCHSAA Softball
Friday round by Friday. Game time at 7 unless noted
4A West:
SW Guilford at Independence, 5; Providence at W. Forsyth; Reagan at SE Guilford; Wrn Guilford at Glenn; Butler at NW Guilford, 6; E. Forsyth at So. Alamance; Page at N. Davidson; Davie Co. at Ardrey Kell; N. Meck at Alexander Central, 6; E. Gaston at McDowell; Mt Tabor at Lake Norman; W. Meck atSun Valley; Myers Park at Sun Valley; Myers Park at Skyland Roberson; Mooresville at Porter Ridge; Hopewell at Olympic; S. Caldwell at Hough
3A West: Hickory Ridge at SW Randolph; Cox Mill at E. Rowan; Mt Pleasant at Marvin Ridge; Berry at Central Cabarrus; Anson at Robinson; Weddington at Carson; W. Rowan at Catholic; N. Iredell at Ledford; Hibriten at Franklin; N. Buncombe at S. Point; Forestview at Foard; Erwin at R-S Central; Kings Mountain at Patton; St. Stephens at W. Henderson; Burns at Enka; Tuscola at Crest
2A West: S. Iredell at E. Rutherford; E. Lincoln at Maiden; Bunker Hill at Pisgah; Mtn Heritage at W. Lincoln; Draughn at Madison; Chase at Brevard; N. Henderson at N. Lincoln; Owen at Bandys; Salisbury at Forbush; Piedmont at Wheatmore; Andrews at E. Davidson; W. Stanly at Surry Central; Trinity at Cuthbertson; Ashe at Central Davidson; W. Davidson at N. Surry; Randleman at Wilkes Central
1A West: Gray Stone Day at Union Academy; E. Montgomery at Cherryville; S. Davidson at Chatham Central; W. Montgomery at E. Surry; Alleghany at N. Stokes; Lake Norman Charter at S. Stanly; N. Rowan at Bessemer City; Bishop McGuinness at Central Academy; Cherokee at Mitchell; Lincoln Charter at E. Wilkes; N. Wilkes at W. Wilkes; S. Stokes at N.Moore; Robbinsville at Hayesville; Elkin at Avery; Swain at Murphy; Rosman at Hiwassee Dam

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ardrey Kell beats Independence 19-7, wins fifth straight SW4A softball title

Ardrey Kell's softball team won its fifth straight Southwestern 4A tournament championship Monday with a 19-7 win over Independence.

Independence has won the past three regular-season championships.

Ardrey Kell led 6-3 going into the sixth inning and busted the game open with nine runs. Ardrey Kell's Jordan Ewert was 4-for-5 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Haylee Ewert was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

Independence's Lizzy Birch was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Metrolina Athletic Conference All-Conference Teams

GOLF: Luke Cooper, Covenant Day; Josh Friday, Gaston Christian; Sam Greene, Westminster Catawba; Jon Henry, SouthLake; Caleb Hensley, Metrolina Christian; Nathan Huntley, Metrolina Christian; William Noblett, Westminster; Nick Robbins, Metrolina Christian; Aaron Shepard, Gaston Christian; Josh Wall, Covenant Day

BASEBALL: Andrew Adamcyzk, Metrolina; Devin Bagwell, SouthLake; Eli Bright, Hickory Grove; James Dillon, Covenant Day; Kaelin Fuller, SouthLake; Preston Guy, Gaston Christian; Josh Hiatt, SouthLake; Sam Holtel, Westminster; Spencer Hutchinson, Covenant Day; Ryan Kirk, First Assembly; Griffin Love, First Assembly; Drew Matthews, Metrolina; Jake Ruettgers, Hickory Grove; Garrett Vaughn, Covenant Day

SOCCER: Katharine Belter, SouthLake; Catherin Casey, Westminster; Catherine Couch, Covenant Day; Janie Holland, Metrolina; Allison Kaika, Covenant Day; Karis Hoover, Gaston Christian; Lexi Lamb, First Assembly; Logan Lamb, First Assembly; Emiko LeNeave, Covenant Day; Caitlyn Logan, Metrolina; Nora Logan, Metrolina; Michaela Mayberry, First Assembly; Aline McCue, Covenant Day; Bailey Preib, SouthLake; Olivia Schmitke, Gaston Day; Kathryn Smith, Gaston Christian; Skylar Ulry, Covenant Day; Hannah Venn, Metrolina

SOFTBALL: Brooke Bagwell, SouthLake; Logan Bjorson, Metrolina; Macy Bjorson, Metrolina; Bailey Bjorson, Metrolina; Aly Cramond, Metrolina; Amanda Dobner, Hickory Grove; Veronica Dzuik, SouthLake; Alanna Freeman, Gaston Christian; Hunter Hoskins, Hickory Grove; Regan Hunneycutt, Metrolina; Sophie Ivey, Metrolina; Madison Ramsey, Gaston Christian; Brooke Story, Northside; Emily Ward, Hickory Grove