The year in sports, fall season

Souli Boutis won the Northwest player of the year award, and East Surry finished second in the state in 1A.

Sydney Mosley and the Lady Cardinals advanced to the state championship match, falling by just three points.

North Surry’s Jane Blackburn smiles after winning the WPAC tournament and conference player of the year.

North’s Matthew Mayes wins the WPAC cross country championship and finished eighth in the 2A regional.

From freshman-year braces to homecoming queen, Mount Airy’s Bree Hughes was part of the Bears’ tennis program that was 85-8 during her four seasons.

East Surry’s Madison Moore gave the Cards three sports where they competed for a state title. Along with volleyball and soccer, Moore finished fourth in the state in 1A.

For the four local high schools, the 2013-14 school year was remarkable with lots of records broken.

There’s no way that the next year could compete, right?

In case you missed it, the 2014-15 sports year turned out to be quite incredible itself.

Here is a recap of some of sports highlights from the fall season, with articles coming later this week on the winter and spring sessions.

Mount Airy and East Surry returned strong football teams, but it was a surprising Surry Central squad that garnered attention.

Going into the last week of the season, the Golden Eagles were 7-3, with two of those losses to the Bears and Cards.

Meanwhile, the two 1A powerhouses went into the final week with a combined record of 19-1 before the Cards handed Mount Airy its first loss of the season.

East’s Lucas Koons and Mount Airy’s Shay Wilson were the top backs in the league and split the offensive player of the year award. East’s J.T. Lichtenberger took the defensive player of the year award.

Lichtenberger and Koons were the first teammates in East Surry history to win the player of the year awards in back-to-back seasons.

Mount Airy’s tennis team finished its season with a loss to rival Bishop McGuinness in the state 1A semifinals.

After three straight state championships and one semifinal berth, the Lady Bear seniors finished with a four-year record of 85-8.

North Surry took home the player of the year award again in girls tennis.

Sarah Glasco graduated in 2014, but Jane Blackburn followed in her shoes and won the WPAC Tournament over Central’s Marlee Wilmoth.

A starter from her freshman year, Wilmoth herself put together an impressive career, finishing second for player of the year in back-to-back seasons. Of course, she would follow that up with the top prize over the winter, but that is getting ahead of ourselves.

North Surry won a state 2A volleyball title in 2012 and looked like a powerhouse team again with Taylor Hill back from a severe ankle sprain that curtailed her junior season.

The Lady Hounds swept the WPAC schedule and won the conference title in a 3-0 sweep.

While the Hounds would be upset in the second round by Maiden, Hill picked up the player of the year award.

Surry Central suffered through a 1-6 skid and bounced back to three straight matches, finish second in the WPAC Tournament and even won a playoff game over East Davidson.

Still, it was the run by East Surry that had fans buzzing. The Lady Cards started off with 16 straight wins before falling to North Surry in a Dig Pink game at Mount Airy.

Then the Cards ran off 13 straight matches to reach the state 1A championship. Aside from the North Surry match, the Cards had beaten those 29 opponents by a total score of 87 games to five.

Kacie Markle was co-winner of the Northwest Conference player of the year.

At N.C. State, the Cards lost two very close games to Princeton before rallying with two convincing games to send it to a 15-point fifth set.

Princeton won that set 15-12 for the state title, but East Surry actually scored the most points overall in the championship 108-95.

That remarkable run to the state title series was actually just one of three for the Cardinals last year. The baseball team finished second in the state, as did the volleyball and soccer teams.

While the volleyball team was dominant from the start, the boys soccer team struggled mightily at the start despite a roster loaded with seniors.

Through six games, the Cards didn’t have a win at 0-4-2. Once the team broke through with that first win, more followed, all the way to the state championship match at N.C. State University, just two weeks separated from the volleyball team’s trip there.

While the Cards took home the silver, Souli Boutis and coach Bill Hart earned the top awards in the Northwest Conference.

Boutis finished his career as the school leader in assists, and classmate Olivia Sheets likely set a school record for assists in volleyball.

In 2A, Central’s Jose Avalos and North’s Hector Zuvieta came up a little short for player of the year, but the two schools had seven players on the WPAC all-conference team.

Forbush’s Robert Cornelius was named player of the year and will join East’s Boutis in the East-West All-Star Game next month at UNC-Greensboro.

Girls’ golf is a fairly new sport for county schools, yet East Surry’s Madison Moore quickly made the small school a household name in the 1A regional and state tournaments.

East Surry has only had a girls’ golf team for five years, but Moore finished in the top 10 in the state all four seasons — a feat for which any school would be proud.

After twice finishing second in the player of the year race, Moore won the Northwest title as a senior, then finished third in the 1A regional and fourth in the state.

Soon after the season, she announced that she was signing with Catawba College to continue her career.

With distance specialist Kirsten Parries graduated, it looked like it might be a good time for the rest of the Northwest Conference to make noise in cross country.

All the Bears had to do was reach into their bad and pull out a freshman phenom to win the conference title again.

“That was our sixth year in a row with at least one conference champion,” Mount Airy coach Andrew Howard noted.

Jo Snow followed in the footsteps of Parries and boys’ runner Matus Kriska.

“Senior Halee Ratcliff was 10th and all-conference,” said Howard.

In 2A, North Surry’s Matthew Mayes was the WPAC champion. He finished eighth at the 2A regional, and Central’s Daniel Alvarez was 11th.

In the next article, we’ll look back at the winter sports.

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