18th Nov2012

Sharks help bring flag football to Surf City

by Contributor

SURF CITY – Ready! Hut-hut! Go Sharks!!  The Surf City Sharks are the area’s newest semi-pro football team, now organizing for the Spring 2013 season.  As an important part of their community mission they are assisting the Town of Surf City Recreation Department in launching a late fall Flag Football league designed for youngsters from 6-12 years old.

Signups are now underway through www.surfcityflagfootball.playerspace.com  or through Recreation/Athletics  on  the Town of Surf City site (www.townofsurfcity.com).  The cost is only $30 for online registration.  Registrations can also be completed at Surf City Community Center during business hours where cash and checks will also be accepted.

Practices will be on Saturdays and games on Sundays, both at 1:30 pm. Games will run from November 4 through December 16, rain, sleet, snow or shine.

“We are totally thrilled to be involved with football in Surf City,” says Sharks Managing Partner Bryan Ayers.  “We are really glad to help get it off the ground and help introduce the game to a new generation.”  Sharks players will assist with developing skills, coaching and officiating.

The Surf City Athletic complex includes a full-size football field which will be the home of the Sharks in Spring 2013.  The youth program Flag Football will utilize an age-appropriate grid within it.  Players are slated to complete in 7v7 no tackle games that will last approximately one hour in length.  Additional coaches and other volunteers are also welcome.

For more information call Surf City Parks & Recreation 910-328-4887.

17th Nov2012

Soccer referee clinic to be held in Surf City

by Contributor

SURF CITY – Do you have what it takes to blow the whistle in a soccer match?  If so, here is your opportunity!

Surf City Community Center will be the host site for a North Carolina Soccer Referee Association (NCSRA) referee clinic on Sunday, Nov. 18 from 9 am to 6 pm.  The clinic will provide for introductory level USSF (United State Soccer Federation) certification and can also be used as an upgrade clinic for those who are already Recreational Level referees.  It can also be taken and utilized by former referees who have let their past certification lapse.

The minimum age to take the course is 14 although 13 year-olds may take the course and receive their certification upon turning 14.  A portion of the course is online and this part must be taken by participants before they come to class so course walk-ins will not be allowed.

To register, participants may go to NCSRA.org and follow the links or else go directly to https://ncreferees.gameofficials.net/public/class/classSearch.cfm?classTypeID=404 to sign up through ncreferees.gameofficials.net.  Course pre-payment must also be done online and cannot be taken at Surf City Community Center.

This certification allows soccer officials to referee in any USSF sanctioned league including leagues affiliated through the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association and U.S. Club Soccer.

For more information call Steve Unger at the Town of Surf City Parks & Recreation at 910-328-4887 or e-mail at athletics@townofsurfcity.com

16th Nov2012

Lady Pirates place four on All-Conference team,
Pearsall selected as Coach of the Year

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Record aside, one of the best ways to determine how good a season was is when conference coaches get together and decide the best players in the league, and the Coach-of-the-Year.

The East Central 2A Conference, which includes the Topsail High School girls, recently got together and chose their All-Conference team, and the 14-0 champion Lady Pirates faired very well with five girls on the team.

In addition, Topsail Coach Hill Pearsall was selected as the conference’s Coach-of-the-Year. It was the second time in the Lady Pirates five years in the conference that Pearsall has been awarded that honor, and this year the choice was unanimous.

Topsail senior middle-hitter Carlie Smith was unanimously chosen as the conference’s Player-of-the-Year, and joining her on the All-Conference team were senior setter Angie Poage, junior outside hitter Sarah Woodward, and sophomore outside hitter Kayla Hyatt.

It is the third All-Conference selection for Smith, and the second for both Poage and Hyatt.

The Lady Pirates also recently held their season-ending banquet and Smith and Poage were chosen by the Topsail coaches as Co-Most Valuable Players, and Woodward was selected as the Most Improved Player.

“We talked about how successful the season had been and talked to the underclassmen about continuing the success for next year,” Pearsall said. “We’re going to have some struggles next year moving into a 3A/4A conference. We’re going to be missing a lot of size and a ton of experience, and we’ll have to find new leaders on the court. But I think this group will step up and meet the challenge.”

Pearsall loses five very good seniors – Smith, Poage, Lacey Aklerley, Kaleigh Bordeaux, and Summer Darnell.

During the four-year varsity tenure of Smith and Poage the Lady Pirates won three conference titles (the only one they lost they had to forfeit all their matches due to an ineligible player), they won 44 consecutive conference matches (three-straight unbeaten championship seasons and the final two conference games of the 2009 season), and they made the playoffs and advanced to at least the third round every year.

16th Nov2012

Pirates’ wrestling team primed and ready for
successful year

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Every coach in every winter sport is optimistic at this time of the year, and Topsail High School wrestling Coach Jake Pence is no different.

The difference between Pence’s optimism about this year’s team, and the positive feelings of some other coaches, is Pence has the horses – and the depth – to back up those optimistic viewpoints.

There is always change from year-to-year but the one constant at Topsail over the last six years is Pence (419-83-3 overall as a head coach), whose teams have amassed 279 wins during his tenure.

The Pirates do lose two excellent wrestlers – Italo Medelius and Ben Croft – from last year’s 15-7 (7-1 in the East Central 2A Conference), but he welcomes 18 letterwinners back, including several who placed in the state competition last season.

“We have grown in a tremendous manner in comparison from last year,” Pence said. “Last year was a very young team of athletes getting their first chances to start. They trained extremely hard during the season and took their lumps along the way. We didn’t even have full squad last year which forced us to give up 24 points in forfeits in every match early. But by the end of the season we were only giving up an average of nine points in live wrestling, which is tremendous and says a lot about this year’s returnees.

“They have worked really hard in the offseason and this season I will put out my best Topsail wrestling team yet during my tenure as head coach. I am optimistic this season that we are back in the hunt for the 2A North Carolina state championship, and we will be competitive against any opponent in any division. If we can pull off first in our (East Central 2A) conference then we will be first in the state.”

Now that’s optimism, but with every optimistic viewpoint comes a little hesitation.

“We are going to be training some young wrestlers to take up some big roles on our team this season so that we can have a full team,” Pence said. “It’s the job of my returning wrestlers to develop them as fast as possible.”

Pence listed nine of his wrestlers as potential contenders for individual conference honors – Taylor Webster, Johnny Deveaugh, Brandon Britt, Brandon Mendoza, Tate Correll, Robert Sculthorpe, Eric Thigpen, Matt Schaefer, and Jon Suggs.

The veteran coach went even further in singling out three wrestlers who placed in the state meet last year – Taylor Webster, Johnny Deveuagh, and Jon Suggs.

“Taylor has worked hard to develop his talents in the offseason and this season will be his best yet, said Pence of his 120-pounder who placed 10th in the state last season. Johnny (10th in the state last year, penciled in at 126 this season) has a tremendous work ethic and is very skilled. He will have a great opportunity at the end of this season to do some amazing things if he stays focused.

“Jon (6th last year and at 195 this year) has worked hard in the offseason. He is seen as a dark horse this coming season but he is going to surprise some people with his new skills if he stays hungry.”

Of wrestlers Brandon Mendoza, Tate Correll, Joe Sculthorpe, and Cody Howell, Pence says, “They should all have great seasons and they are going to be huge part of our success.”

The season will get underway for the Pirates on Nov. 20 (Tuesday) at the Eastern Wayne Super Quad. Topsail will next wrestler on Saturday (Dec. 1) at the Terry Bache Duals at Topsail.

15th Nov2012

Lady Pirates set sail on new course under new coach

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Change is never really a welcomed thing but sometimes life sets down different paths for people to take, and Topsail High School girls’ basketball Coach Sarah Graves faced a, “Which fork in the road to take,” decision this past summer and after a lot of painful consideration, she chose the one that took her away from something she loved doing, to something else she loved doing only the second one provided a better situation for not only the present, but the future.

Graves left her teaching position at North Topsail Elementary to take a teaching position at Forest Hills Elementary, which was closer to her home and which – in the long run – may pay bigger and better dividends for her teaching future.

The most painful part of the decision was she would have to give up coaching the Lady Pirates’ varsity basketball team, and that was not easy.

So now the Lady Pirates, who finished 13-12 overall last year with a team of quick, smallish players, will sail in a different direction under a new coach – Jim Clanahan. Clanahan is a coaching veteran but most of his experience was with boys’ teams, so this is going to be sort of new path for him, too.

“Coaching basketball is basically the same whether it’s boys or girls,” said Clanahan, who was an assistant on a girls’ team last year under his son. “We have to work on and understand the fundamentals of the game, and go out on the court and execute them.

“This is an interesting group of both veterans and youth and they seem anxious to learn, and anxious to do well.”

Clanahan welcomes three girls back – seniors Mindi White and Victoria Reilly, and junior Chandler Skipper – who saw considerable varsity playing time last year, but he also has a group of young girls that should make the team better, taller, and deeper.

Early appearances indicate Clanahan (204-144 with a state championship on his ledger as boys’ coach in Georgia) is blessed with something that Graves did not have in recent past seasons – height.

Reilly and Mindi White both started last year, and both can play the game. Reilly battles hard under the boards while White is one of those players every coach wants – one who will go through a wall for you.

Skipper has shown the ability to shoot the ball, she just needs more confidence in her own abilities, and she could provide some valuable scoring. Senior volleyball standout Carlie Smith (6’2”) is out for the first time in three years and she has already impressed with her athletic ability.

Sophomore Kayla Hyatt (5’11”) will also be a major contributor. Hyatt had worked her way into the starting lineup last year as a freshman before an injury cut her season short.

Junior Reagan Holloway is another athletic volleyball player who is out for the basketball team, and she should be able to contribute both defensively and on the boards.

The future and perhaps the present lies in the younger girls who are vying for a spot on the varsity. Sophomore Kealey Wohglemuth has a year of varsity experience under her belt now, and she should be better equipped to handle the demands of varsity basketball.

Don’t be surprised to see two freshmen – Amberly Wolf and Keri White – getting significant playing time, along with Payton Schoenleber, Lauren Lee, and Emma Wolff.

Being new to the area, and to the East Central 2A Conference, Clanahan did not offer an opinion as to which were the teams to beat, but Northside is always at the top of the heap, and East Duplin and Swansboro should both be strong

The girls will get a huge test in their season opener when they welcome 4A power Ashley to Hampstead. That opener will be followed up by home games against 3A Jacksonville (Nov. 28) and 1A perennial power Pender (Nov. 30).

14th Nov2012

Topsail boys aim to challenge for conference supremacy

by Lee Wagner

HAMPSTEAD – Topsail High School boys’ basketball Coach Jeff Gainey doesn’t expect his players to do anything different than anyone else, he just expects them to do it better, and this year’s Pirates’ hoops team has the potential to do just that despite the loss of two of the better players who had come through the programs in recent years to graduation.

The Topsail boys’ finished with an overall record of 18-9 that included a 10-4 record in the East Central 2A Conference, thought by many to be the toughest 2A conference in the east, and some think in the state.

Now a new year is upon us and Gainey bring back seven returning players from that 18-9 team, including starters Tyler Hagan, Trevor Savidge, and Jarrin Sullivan, and a group of players that should provide some talent and depth to go along with the three returnees.

Topsail boy’s Coach Jeff Gainey likes what he sees of his group in the early practices, and points to experience as one of the team’s major strengths.

“We return three starters and two of them (Hagan and Savidge) have played in 54 varsity games and both made All-Conference a year ago,” Gainey said. “Overall this is a great group and they are working hard to get better.

“The one thing we have to do to compete is get better defensively. Everyone must embrace their role. I like where we are to a point but it’s going to take some time for everything to come together.”

One of the reasons for that is the loss of Payton Ball and Will Thomas. Ball and Thomas were the top two scorers last year, and they provided an amazing amount of senior leadership.

Gainey had a hard time discerning which of the conference teams was the team to beat but – in no particular order – he listed Croatan, Northside, Clinton, Richlands, and South Lenoir as conference contenders while saying of his own team, “We hope to compete for one of the playoff spots.”

The three veterans – Savidge (9 points, 6 rebounds per game last year), Hagan (9 points, 7 boards), and Sullivan (3 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds) – will need to be at the top of their games on most nights for a playoff spot to happen.

“Trev (6-foot-3) and Tyler (6’3”) both must play with a high level of energy each night,” Gainey said. “And Jarrin (6’2”) has to put us in situations where we can execute.”

Behind those three are four players – seniors Mason Kimmel, Matt Gilgo, Devin Williams, and Davis Ball – who are competing for a starting position and significant playing time.

“Matt (6’2”) was a key off the bench last year and he must play within himself,” Gainey said. “Davis (6’4”) plays with a lot of energy and he has gotten better every year, Devin (6’1”) will give us minutes in the post, and Mason (6’0”) must play with a lot of energy.”

Depth, along with the solid size factor, is something that the Pirates will have this year with several other players battling to get on the court including junior guards Jeremiah Bland, and Shannon Washington, junior forwards Tanner Surratt (6’3), sophomore forward Jake Sullivan (6’3), and sophomore guard Austin Schoenleber (6’1”).

The Pirates will get a huge test in their season opener when they welcome 4A power Ashley to Hampstead on Nov. 20. Topsail will stay at home for their next two games, against 3A Jacksonville on Nov. 28 and against 1A perennial power Pender on Nov. 30.

11th Nov2012

Surf City Fun Run to be prelude to Christmas tree lighting

by Ken Clarke

SURF CITY – Race on over and register for Surf City Parks & Recreation’s 1st ever 5K FAMILY FUN RUN! Open to all ages and all skill levels. This event will carry on the SCP&R Team’s promotion of FUN and FITNESS FOR ALL! Online registration is now available at www.townofsurfcity.com or directly at www.scfunrun.playerspace.com.

The event is slated to start at 4 pm on November 17th at Surf City Community Center. The scenic neighborhood course, race shirt, refreshments and prizes will make it an occasion you and your family won’t want to miss. The after-party for this event will be our Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Soundside Park at 6 pm, complete with refreshments, entertainment, tree lighting and a visit from Santa.

“The end to wonderful running class, an awesome first 5K and the spectacular Christmas Tree Lighting, November 17th is truly going to be an incredibly breathtaking day from start to finish!” said Town of Surf City Parks & Recreation Director, Kristie Grubb.

The cost is $15 for Surf City Community Center Members, $20 for Non-Members and $5 for kids (kids price does not include a t-shirt).

Please register by November 9th to be guaranteed a shirt.

Sponsors needed – must contact us prior to November 1st to secure their spot on the shirt.

Call (910) 328-4887 for info.

10th Nov2012

Surf City Fun Run to be prelude to Christmas tree lighting

by Contributor

SURF CITY – Race on over and register for Surf City Parks & Recreation’s 1st ever 5K FAMILY FUN RUN! Open to all ages and all skill levels. This event will carry on the SCP&R Team’s promotion of FUN and FITNESS FOR ALL! Online registration is now available at www.townofsurfcity.com or directly at www.scfunrun.playerspace.com.

The event is slated to start at 4 pm on November 17th at Surf City Community Center. The scenic neighborhood course, race shirt, refreshments and prizes will make it an occasion you and your family won’t want to miss. The after-party for this event will be our Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Soundside Park at 6 pm, complete with refreshments, entertainment, tree lighting and a visit from Santa.

“The end to wonderful running class, an awesome first 5K and the spectacular Christmas Tree Lighting, November 17th is truly going to be an incredibly breathtaking day from start to finish!” said Town of Surf City Parks & Recreation Director, Kristie Grubb.

The cost is $15 for Surf City Community Center Members, $20 for Non-Members and $5 for kids (kids price does not include a t-shirt).

Please register by November 9th to be guaranteed a shirt.

Sponsors needed – must contact us prior to November 1st to secure their spot on the shirt.

Call (910) 328-4887 for info.

09th Nov2012

Pender High School state playoff football preview

by Lee Wagner

PENDER PATRIOTS AT RED SPRINGS RED DEVILS

WHERE & WHEN: At Red Springs High School, Red Springs, 7:30 p.m.

COACHES: Pender – Tony Hudson, 2nd year (9-13); Red Springs – George Coltharp.

SEASON’S RECORD: Pender is 6-5 with wins over WRH (40-20), Trask (34-0), Lakewood (38-17), Midway (46-13), Hobbton (52-0), and Topsail (22-20), and losses to WRH (28-14), James Kenan (40-20), Union (35-28), Whiteville (41-18), and North Brunswick (21-16). Red Springs is 9-3 with wins over Midway (62-9), West Columbus (48-6), South Robeson (53-13), Fairmont (45-10), East Columbus (19-16), St. Pauls (48-20), North Moore (54-0), Granville Central (51-8), and West Bladen (67-27), and losses to Goldsboro (34-7), Sun Valley (65-18), and South Columbus (36-20).

LAST PLAYED: Have no recorded meetings since 2004.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Both teams have played Midway. Pender beat Midway 46-13 and Red Springs beat the Raiders 62-9.

NEXT GAME: Winner of this game plays winner of game between James Kenan (11-0) and Union (7-4).

KEY PLAYERS FOR RED SPRING: Jr. QB/DB Blake Greene, Jr. RB/DB C. J. McGeachey, Soph. RB/DB/KR Jadarian Lesane, Sr. WR Zach Leach, Jr. WR Jamison Baker

KEY PLAYERS FOR PENDER: Soph. FB Sam Dixon, QB Nickey Wells, OL/DL Kymothy Murphy, OL/DL Jacob Dew, RB/LB Caleb Johnson, WR/S Rashawn Deloach, RB/CB Julius Powell, G/DE Zach Jones, T/DE Andre Donaldson

FOR RED SPRINGS TO WIN: For me the Red Devils have to prove they can put points on the board against a good defense. 335 of their 493 points have come against teams with a combined record of 14-53. They did put up 43 on St. Paul’s (9-3) but the Bulldogs gave up 360 points in 12 games (30.0 points-per-game) so how good was that. They scored 20 against South Columbus (10-2), 18 against Sun Valley (8-3), and 7 against Goldsoro (10-1) – all losses. Defensively the Red Devils have given up 244 points in 12 games (23.3 per game). Greene must find holes in Patriots’ secondary as he did against Midway (8-for-14-231 yards) and touchdown passes of 43, 10, and 21 yards), and they must limit both the yardage and the time-of-possession of a good triple-option offense.

08th Nov2012

Surf City to offer Futsal and introduces youth basketball

by Contributor

SURF CITY – Sports! Sports! Sports!  On the heels of a successful soccer season, Surf City Athletics is pleased to offer two more sports offerings this winter.  Returning is the Futsal version of indoor youth soccer and Surf City Youth Basketball is making its debut!

“We are so excited at the level of community interest for youth sports that we are glad to bring kids into our gym for them this winter,” says Director of Parks & Recreation Kristie Grubb.

Registration is now available for these two co-ed offerings at www.townofsurfcity.com and the cost is only $35 for U-9, U-12 and U-16 divisions.  Youth basketball play for those groups will take place on Saturday mornings followed by Indoor Soccer. An eight game season is scheduled with practices starting in December with games beginning in January.  Surf City is also hosting U-6 Youth Basketball for four and five year olds with practices and scrimmages on Fridays from 4:30 to 7 pm. The cost for this beginning level program is only $30 and it will begin in January.

All youth basketball players will receive a uniform shirt, playing time of at least half of every game and end of season awards.

“We need coaches for all age groups and know there is a wealth of talent in our basketball community,” says Athletic Supervisor Steve Unger.  “The indoor soccer program is designed to promote skill development in a non-judgmental setting,” he added.

This fall, nearly 275 players populated the Surf City (outdoor) Soccer League in only its third season and closing ceremonies are set for Nov. 10 along with a U-16 Tournament. In addition, registration for Surf City Flag Football remains open for youth ages 6 to 12.

What’s more — Surf City is also planning adult sports: Basketball, Indoor Soccer and Volleyball for winter along with Youth Cheerleading.  Details are forthcoming. In addition to online registration from any computer, participants can also register at the Surf City Community Center, 201 Community Center Drive anytime during regular hours.  Credit cards, checks and cash are all welcome. For more information call Surf City Athletics through Parks & Recreation at (910) 328-4887, e-mail at athletics@townofsurfcity.com or see Surf City Athletics on Facebook.

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