High School Highlights

Cape Fear High School heads to state championships

Cape Fear High School will try to win its first-ever state dual team wrestling title and the fourth in Cumberland County history Saturday.
The Colts travel to Greensboro to face Hickory St. Stephens in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A dual team championship match at the Greensboro Coliseum Fieldhouse.
It will be one of four state championship matches held at the Fieldhouse Saturday. 
Cape Fear and St. Stephens will clash for the 3-A title at 3 p.m. at the same time Uhwharrie Charter Academy and Robbinsville meet for the 1-A championship.
Competition for the other two state titles will be held at noon when Croatan and West Lincoln wrestle for the 2-A championship and Wilmington Laney and Northwest Guilford duel for the 4-A title.
Gates open for all matches at 11 a.m. and admission is $8.
It has been 35 years since Cape Fear won the only state wrestling title in school history. That was in 1984 at Winston-Salem Parkland High School when wrestling was still an unclassified sport and the dual team championships had not been created.
Cape Fear, under Mike Stanbridge, won the individual tournament team title against all the wrestling schools in the state despite not winning a single individual championship in the meet.
The dual team championship, which pits one school head-to-head against another in playoff style brackets, didn’t start until 1990.
Previous winners of the dual team title from Cumberland County were Seventy-First, coached by David Culbreth, in 1999 and 2000.
John DeWeese led Jack Britt to the dual team title in 2015.
Cape Fear and St. Stephens have not met each other in competition this year, but Colt coach Heath Wilson and his wrestlers saw the St. Stephens team in the Holy Angels tournament in Charlotte over the Christmas break that Cape Fear won.
Wilson said St. Stephens is similar to Cape Fear as it has depth throughout the lineup.
Matchups will be critical, Wilson said, as both teams attempt to avoid a situation where a loss could result in a pin and a maximum of six points for the opposing team.
He said in Thursday’s Eastern Regional final win over West Carteret, Cape Fear was able to minimize pinning situations and just give up three points in the key matches.
“It will come down to that,’’ he said. “We’ve got to wrestle like we did last night and I think we’ll win it.’’
Both teams have multiple wrestlers ranked in the top ten in TheNCMat.com rankings.
Cape Fear’s best include Triston Chapman, No. 3 at 126 pounds; Dallas Wilson, No. 1 at 138; Jeremiah Smith, No. 10 at 145; Jared Barbour, No. 1 at 170; Austin Hunt, No. 10 at 195 and Nick Minacapelli, No. 8 at 220.
St. Stephens best include Jovanny Urzua, No. 8 at 113; Graham Ormond, No. 5 at 126; Blake Baker, No. 2 at 138; De’Untae Henry, No. 5 at 152; Ivan Vengal, No. 3 at 160; Jordan Boiling, No. 10 at 170; Dakota Metcalf, No. 2 at 182 and Salvador Gilvaja, No. 1 at 195.
Cape Fear principal Lee Spruill is planning a sendoff Saturday morning for the team when it departs the main parking lot at Cape Fear at approximately 11 a.m. He asks that anyone who would like to support the Colt wrestlers to be in the main parking lot at Cape Fear by 10:30 a.m.

Dear Mom and Dad: Cool It

14CoolIt If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete here in North Carolina, this message is primarily for you.

When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer, and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.

Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the major contributing reason North Carolina is experiencing a shortage of high school officials.

It’s true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse.

Plus, there’s a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren’t enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of licensed high school officials is severe enough in some areas of the country that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled — especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels.

Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and selfdiscipline and facilitates the physical and emotional  development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren’t enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an “L” on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community’s future.

If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become a licensed official at HighSchoolOfficials.com.

In Fayetteville and surrounding counties, you can also contact www.saoanc.org, the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association.

Local coaches’ picks for the Super Bowl

13SuperBowl Up & Coming Weekly polled the ten Cumberland County Schools senior high school football coaches on who they think this year’s Super Bowl winner will be.

Deadline constraints forced us to contact them prior to the playing of the American Football Conference and National Football Conference championship games the weekend of Sunday, Jan. 30.

The AFC finals had New England at Kansas City while the NFC game had the Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans.

Super Bowl LIII will be Sunday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Mercedes- Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The game will be televised by CBS.

Up & Coming Weekly gave the coaches the option of picking both conference championship games and choosing a Super Bowl winner or just picking a Super Bowl winner from all four teams.

Here’s what they said, along with my prediction at the end.

Rodney Brewington, South View — Brewington picks Kansas City over the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl. “Kansas City has better quarterback play,’’ he said.

Deron Donald, E.E. Smith — “The best four teams are left,’’ Donald said. “I may have to go with experience over talent this time. Kansas City and Los Angeles are probably two of the most talented and explosive teams in a while. However, Drew Brees (New Orleans quarterback) and Tom Brady (New England quarterback) are proven winners and have excelled on the big stage multiple times. With that being said, New Orleans and New England in the Super Bowl.’’

Donald’s score pick — New England 38, New Orleans 35.

Ernest King, Westover — King picks the Los Angeles Rams. “I feel they have a good enough defense to put pressure on the opposing quarterback,’’ he said. “Offensively, they have a good running game and they throw the ball well enough to have a balanced attack.’’

David Lovette, Gray’s Creek — New Orleans Saints. “I’m not real sure about my pick, but the Saints are as good as any,’’ Lovette said.

Duran McLaurin, Seventy-First — McLaurin picks Kansas City over New Orleans.

Bruce McClelland, Terry Sanford — “Young gun (Patrick) Mahomes (Kansas City quarterback) sneaks past Tom Brady and the (New England) Patriots,’’ McClelland said. “Drew Brees (New Orleans quarterback) and Sean Payton (head coach of New Orleans) squeak by the Los Angeles Rams in a high-scoring affair.

“New Orleans Saints 31, Kansas Chiefs 30 in the Super Bowl. Brees and Payton get ring No. two.’’

Mike Paroli, Douglas Byrd — Paroli picks the home teams in the conference championship games, Kansas City and New Orleans. In the Super Bowl, he likes the Saints over the Chiefs.

Brian Randolph, Jack Britt — Randolph picks New England in the AFC and New Orleans in the AFC.

“I am expecting two really explosive championship games, with all four teams lighting up the scoreboard,’’ he said. “I think in the end the Patriots and Saints will prevail and give us all a Super Bowl for the ages.

“My team (Carolina) was eliminated long ago, so I am just hoping for a really good game between two well-coached teams.’’

Randolph picks the New Orleans Saints to win it all.

Bill Sochovka, Pine Forest —Sochovka likes the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl.

“Any team but New England,’’ he said. “I would love to see Drew Brees get another Super Bowl ring. He is a great quarterback but an even better human being who gives back to the community.’’

Jacob Thomas, Cape Fear — “Both games are very interesting matchups with high-powered offenses,’’ Thomas said. “I want to go with the new blood, flashy quarterback, but my gut says don’t go against (Bill) Belichick/(Tom) Brady (of New England).

“New England beats the Chiefs in the AFC. I’m going with what I think gets the slight edge in quarterback-coach combination. The Saints outscore the Rams in the NFC.

“In the Super Bowl, I’m going with the Patriots to win it against all odds.”

And, just for fun:

Earl Vaughan Jr., Up & Coming Weekly — The early odds favor New Orleans to win it all, but I’m going to let my heart overrule them. My dad’s family is from Missouri, with many of my relatives living near the Kansas City area.

I think New Orleans is a tough out in the Superdome, so I’m picking them to win the NFC title while I’ll take Kansas City to get the most of home field and the play of Patrick Mahomes against the always-tough Patriots in the AFC final.

For the Super Bowl, I’m pulling with my relatives for the Chiefs, along with long-suffering coach Andy Reid, who I would love to see finally get an NFL championship.


15EJ E.J. McArthur

Cape Fear • Basketball• Sophomore

McArthur has a grade point average of 4.0. He’s a member of the Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Fear Factor and Distributive Education Clubs of America.





Amelia Shook

Cape Fear • Swimming/ cross country/soccer • Sophomore

Shook has a weighted grade point average of 4.5. She is a member of the Key Club, Fear Factor and the History Club.

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