GREENSBORO — About a year ago, Austin Tumbarello celebrated winning a medal at the Powerade State Games of North Carolina, and then said he wanted a shinier color medal for 2018. This morning, he and his teammates will try to get one.
Tumbarello, his younger brother Jackson, and their coaches on the Mount Airy Granite Bears, Will and Holden Hurley, begin competition today at 9 a.m. at the UNC-Greensboro soccer stadium. The Hurleys have coached the Midwest team at this tournament for several years. In addition to the the Tumbarellos, Nolan McMillen of Surry Central is on the team and representing Surry County. Other members of the team come from the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Burlington and Thomasville areas. Three members of the Bishop McGuinness team that tied the Bears for last year’s Northwest 1A Conference title and then beat Mount Airy in the regional final en route to a state title are on the team.
The 20-man roster was chosen in tryouts during the spring and announced by Will Hurley in late May.
Austin Tumbarello is playing in his third and final State Games, Jackson Tumbarello in his second, and McMillen in his first. The elder Tumbarello was on the field the past two seasons, when the team captured back-to-back bronze medals in final matches that went to overtime. Last year, he said he planned to return in 2018 and try for a gold medal in his final year of eligibility for the showcase.
The Midwest opens at 9 a.m. against the West in the soccer stadium, and will then play the Southeast at 2:15 on the practice field adjacent to the main soccer stadium. On Sunday, the teams return to the venue, and the Midwest will face the Northeast at 10:45 a.m. If they finish among the top four teams in pool play, they’ll play for a medal. The third- and fourth-place teams play for the bronze at 2:15 on the practice field, and the top two teams play for gold at 2:30 in the stadium.
At the same time that the six-team men’s tournament is going on, a four-team women’s tournament is also played. In the women’s tournament, this area is represented as part of the South Region. Morgan Beane of Forbush High School is the only player from the area playing on the team, which is coached by Daniel Villa of High Point Central.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.