RALEIGH — Mount Airy’s bid for a second straight 1A Wells Fargo Cup came up a little short, not that finishing as the third-best high school sports program in the state, and best traditional 1A school, is anything to be ashamed of.
The Granite Bears’ various men’s and women’s sports programs finished the 2017-18 academic year with a total of 445 points, third behind last year’s runners-up, Lincoln Charter (502.5) and Franklin Academy (452.5). Mount Airy was the only non-charter school in the top five, and one of four that finished in the top 10. One of the other four was their county rival East Surry, which finished in 10th place overall with 287.5 points.
Points are awarded for all sports as follows: 50 for first, 45 for second, 40 for third, 35 for fourth, 30 for fifth, 25 for sixth, 20 for seventh and 15 for eighth. In the playoff events involving teams from more than one classification, Wells Fargo Cup points are awarded based on the school’s standing against other schools in its own classification. In the event of a tie, the schools receive an equal number of points based on the number of teams that tie and the number of teams that finish higher in the standings. Five points are awarded for each sanctioned sport in which a school competes.
Mount Airy entered the season as defending Cup champion, after decisively beating Lincoln Charter a year ago to become the first traditional 1A school to win the Cup in a decade. The Bears got off to a strong start, reaching the elite eight in women’s tennis, the regional final in men’s soccer, the state finals in football, and an unofficial state title in women’s golf, where the Lady Bears were the top-finishing 1A team in a combined 1A/2A championship and were awarded the full 50 points. An official state title in women’s basketball followed in the winter, along with a trip to the regional finals in wrestling. At the end of the winter sports season, Mount Airy held a 40-point lead (332.5-292.5) over Lincoln.
However, the Eagles pulled away from the field in the spring, securing second-place finishes in men’s golf and men’s tennis, along with tied third-place finishes in women’s soccer and baseball. Mount Airy finished eighth in both men’s and women’s outdoor track and grabbed 30 points for that, but it only was enough to pass Raleigh Charter and take third.
Earlier in the school year, Lincoln Charter earned a pair of second-place finishes in men’s and women’s cross country championships during the fall. The winter season was kind to the Eagles as well, earning second in men’s swimming and fourth on the women’s side. The men’s basketball team grabbed regional finals points.
On Monday, the NCHSAA announced the final standings for the Wells Fargo Conference Cup, in which the schools in each conference compete only against each other in each season. In the Northwest 1A, Mount Airy came out on top for the spring by a half-point over East Surry, thanks to championships in men’s and women’s track along with second-place finishes in men’s tennis and men’s golf. The Cardinals won championships in baseball and men’s golf and a second-place finish in softball. Bishop McGuinness was in third place with a men’s tennis championship and a tied first-place finish in women’s soccer. The full standings were: Mount Airy 88, East Surry 87.5, Bishop 73.5, South Stokes 66, North Stokes 49, Winston-Salem Prep 32.
In the Western Piedmont 2A spring conference cup, North Surry came in second to Forbush, 107-86, with Surry Central in fourth place with 84.5 points. North finished second in the league in baseball and men’s golf, both to the Falcons.
Cup champions in the other three classifications included Lake Norman Charter (2A), Weddington (3A) and Morrisville Green Hope, which won the 4A Cup for the ninth year in a row.
The top 15 finishers for the 1A Cup this year were (Northwest 1A Conference teams in bold):
1 – Lincoln Charter – 502.5
2 – Franklin Academy – 452.5
3 – Mount Airy – 445
4 – Raleigh Charter – 425
5 – Community School of Davidson – 392.5
T6 – Murphy – 385
T6 – Pine Lake Preparatory – 385
8 – Polk County – 360
9 – Bishop McGuinness – 320
10 – East Surry – 287.5
11 – Research Triangle – 262.5
12 – John A. Holmes – 257.5
13 – East Carteret – 232.5
T14 – Pamlico County – 227.5
T14 – Robbinsville – 227.5