Two local coaches will be leading teams in the Powerade State Games in Charlotte this week.
Mount Airy soccer coach Will Hurley and Surry Central softball coach Glenn Craddock have worked with Powerade teams in the past and have stepped up to head coach for this year.
Craddock with lead the Region 7 softball team in games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, while Hurley leads the Midwest soccer squad in games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Eight of the 13 players on the Region 7 team are from this area.
From Craddock’s own Lady Eagles are Katlin Anthony, Jessica Doby and Allie Hammond. From East Surry is Emily Cummings.
Forbush’s Mallory Choplin, Elkin’s Kirstan Beaver and Rebekah Cranford and East Wilkes’ Caitlyn Macemore also are part of the squad.
Craddock is helped by his own assistant coach, Richard Layne, as well as East Wilkes head coach Bradley Hayes and Davie coach Darby Beck.
The team takes on Region 8 (players from the Rutherford/Polk counties area) Monday at 6:15 p.m. at UNC Charlotte.
On Tuesday, the team plays Region 1 (eastern side of the state) at 2 p.m. at the same site. Then that evening the team goes over to Hopewell High School to face Region 5 (Davidson/Guilford/Alamance areas) at 9 p.m.
How the team fares the first two days will determine who it faces on Wednesday.
“I’m looking forward to it, because they are great,” said Craddock. “They have good talent, and I think we’ve got a chance.”
“I’m tickled to death and honored that I’m getting to coach this,” he said.
The tournament will be bittersweet for the coach. He said he was recently informed that the school wouldn’t be bringing him back as softball coach next year.
There were some parents who expressed concerns over the team, Craddock was told.
In 2012-13, the Lady Eagles were 16-12 in the Northwest Conference. This year in the new Western Piedmont Conference, Central had to face four good teams in North Surry, Forbush, South Stokes and West Stokes. In those eight games the team was 1-7; however, the Eagles lost by just a run in both Greyhound games and by just two runs at home to the Sauras.
• In soccer, four local boys will be playing for Hurley. From Mount Airy, Felipe Chavez and John Hardy made the squad; for East Surry, Souli Boutis and Andrew Kozlow.
Last year, Hurley was an assistant to Sean Abernathy, as was Sean Fitzgibbons of Randleman. This year Hurley leads the team, and Fitzgibbons returns as an assistant. Coaches Jay Benfield of Mount Tabor and Daniel Villa of Morehead also will help.
There were a lot more kids at the tryouts this year, Hurley said. He had to whittle down a roster from 40 boys.
The talent level is greater, too, he said, but the other teams they have to face will be loaded, too, he reasoned.
The team held four sessions that were part tryout/part practice.
One was at Oak Ridge Academy (north of Greensboro), two were at BB&T field in Advance and one at East Forsyth High School.
BB&T Field is a coach’s dream, said Hurley. It is a great place to play soccer.
As for the practices, Hurley said it was certainly different. There were several players there who made their all-conference teams back home, but many of them were strikers, used to playing out front on offense.
With so much talent, the coach said he had to tell the guys that they should consider it an honor and a privilege just to make the team. And that they wouldn’t be playing as many minutes as they were used to because of the great depth.
Hurley said some guys will be playing new positions. His own Chavez was the Bears’ leading scorer, but will be playing midfield where his speed and strength will benefit the team.
John is used to being on defense, so that will help, the coach believed. And East’s Kozlow looks like he could be good at any spot on the team.
Boutis is known for his dribbling and passing, which should help with so many guys adept at striking.
“Now I understand what Bill (Hart) was saying about not being able to get Souli to shoot,” he joked.
The Midwest team will play Friday at 7 p.m. at Queens University, then Saturday at noon. Its performance in those two games determine when they play on Sunday.
“It’s a real honor to be asked to do it,” Hurley said. “It’s my third year doing this and first time as the head coach. Like anything else in life, you’ve got to put a lot into it and hope you get something out of it.”