Friday, July 31, 2009

McCarley back as Myers Park soccer coach

Bucky McCarley got his teaching job back at Myers Park and will coach the boys soccer team this fall.

Myers Park is the defending N.C. 4A champions.

Get more in tomorrow's Observer

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

South Stanly's Detric Allen commits to ECU

South Stanly multi-position star Detric Allen has committed to East Carolina, coach Luke Little told the Observer.

Allen, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, threw for 1,000 yards last season and had more than 500 receiving and rushing yards. On defense, he had four interceptions at safety. Coach Little said East Carolina recruited Allen to play safety or cornerback.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pre preseason Sweet 16

Wondering who you all think should be in our first poll. Remember, we rank all classes in one poll using strength of class, strength of schedule. We don't consider how teams would do against each other unless they actually play, so no "I'm ranking Freedom ahead of Shelby because they would just smoke the Golden Lions."

We'll be doing the Sweet 16 shortly but I wanted to see what you guys thought.

Langston Wertz Jr.

One man's preseason prep football all-state team

Taking a small break from reporting for our preseason football stories (which I hope you're enjoying; missed any go here)

Here's one man's preseason All-N.C. high school football team

K: Shawn Williams, N. Davidson, Jr.
P: John Tart, Mallard Creek, Sr.
DL: Alfy Hill, W. Brunswick, 6-4, 245, Sr.
DL: Prince Shembo, Ardrey Kell, 6-3, 230, Sr.
DL: Fre'Shad Hunter, Cary, 6-4, 250, Sr.DL:
LB: Kendall Moore, SE Raleigh, 6-4, 230, Sr.
LB: Ty Linton, Clt Christian, 6-2, 215, Sr.
LB: Chris Smith, West Rowan, 6-1, 220, Sr.
DB: Keenan Allen, Northwest Guilfor, 6-2, 194, Sr.
DB: Damon Magazu, Providence, 6-0, 185, Sr.
DB:A.J. Marshall, So. Durham, 5-10, 180, Sr.
DB: David Amerson, Greensboro Dudley, 6-1, 185, Sr.

QB:Anthony Carrothers, Independence, 5-9, 175, Sr.
RB: Kevin Parks, West Rowan, 5-7, 190, Sr.
RB: Jalen "Scoot" Simmons, W. Charlotte, 5-10, 195, Jr.
TE: Eric MacClain, Fay. Britt, 6-4, 270, Jr.
WR: Anthony Creecy, Southern Durham, 6-0, 195, Sr.
WR: Brandon Braxton, Providence, 6-2, 180, Sr.
OL: Robert Crisp, Chapel Hill, 6-8, 300, Sr.
OL: T.J. Leifheit, Wilm. Hoggard, 6-8, 315, Sr.
OL: Darius Kilgo, Weddington, 6-3, 330, Sr.
OL: Takoby Cofield, Tarboro, 6-4, 310, Sr.
OL: Tim Pangburn, W. Rowan, 6-1, 300, Sr.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Charlotte vs. Fayetteville football? Who wins?

Got the same question today from two readers. Don't know if they were double teaming me, but sometimes an email makes for a good discussion topic, so here I am forwarding the discussion (hopefully).

Is Fayetteville football as good as Charlotte?

In past years, the answer was a resounding yes. Actually Fayetteville's brand was much better.

Charlotte has almost always been a hoops town. Sure, we would have a 1982 South Meck football power or a 1977 East Meck or the '80s and '90s West Charlotte with a sprinkling of a Steve Shaughnessy led South Meck team stuck in there every few years. Still, the bottom line was this: Charlotte usually had one good team, but not a passel of them.

Fayetteville has always been stocked. Then along in the middle '90s, something changed. Schools here started paying more attention. The Panthers came and football became more important. There were more camps and clinics and former pro players offering instruction.

Charlotte football raised its profile and actually overtook Fayetteville I'd say. Last year, Fayetteville stuck three teams in the 4A finals (plus Richmond Senior which plays in a Fayetteville league), an amazing achievement. Was that a one year deal?

I think Charlotte football is the best in the state top to bottom and I think the Southwestern 4A is the best conference in the state (the old ME-CA 7 was the best hoops conference and it'll be upgraded as the I-Meck, the league's new name, welcomes state power Lake Norman and jettisons two Concord teams which hadn't fared well in recent years).

The kind of football played here -- pass-happy, wide-open, fast -- is fun to watch and Charlotte has more quality skill players than any other area.

In the next few years, I think we'll see more talent come through here than ever before. The young kids, the middle school kids and the Pop Warner kids are simply incredible, winning national championships and playing in major all-star games, in droves, at young ages (same with basketball).

Someone asked me about a Fayetteville-Charlotte challenge. Take 3 or 4 teams from Fayetteville and line them up at Memorial Stadium against Charlotte teams. I think that might work, then you could switch it to somewhere down in Fayetteville the next year. I don't know if straight home-and-homes would work because of the distance (it's a HAUL from Charlotte to Fayetteville and everytime I go to cover a CMS team down there, which has been a few, there have been just a handful of fans who went with me).

But I tell you what, Charlotte's top four or five 4A teams would match up well against any other area in this state.

In fact, if there were an open state playoff and Charlotte wasn't knocking out Charlotte in the western playoffs all the time, I think it's safe to say you would have at least four instances in the past nine years when the 4A final would've been Charlotte vs. Charlotte.

In closing, let me say this: I'd love to see our privates, the Christians, Latins and Country Days of the Queen City, get some games with the Shelbys and Thomasvilles and other small school powers. I think more than anything Charlotte's private schools don't get their just desserts.

Maybe next time someone will ask me about North Carolina vs. South Carolina football.

That, to me, is the best debate for high school football.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Indy, W. Rowan, Alby sit atop preseason polls

N.C. Preps Preseason Football polls
1. Independence
2. Richmond Sr.
3. Butler
4. Dudley
5. Fay. Britt
6. Fay. 71st
7. Hoggard
8. New Bern
9. Mt Tabor
10. South View

1. W. Rowan
2. Rocky Mount
3. Kannapolis
4. Fay. Byrd
5. Catholic
6. Crest
7. Tuscola
8. South Point
9. Havelock
10. W. Craven

1. Reidsville
2. Newton-Conover
3. Shelby
4. Carver
5. Tarboro
6. Thomasville
7. Northside-Jax
8. SW Edgecombe
9. E. Lincoln
10. E. Duplin

1. Albemarle
2. James Kenan
3. Mt Airy
4. Hendersonville
5. Elkin
6. SW Onslow
7. Robbinsville
8. Plymouth
9. Monroe
10. Williamston

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big coaching shakeup at Mallard Creek

Former Mallard Creek boys basketball coach Dwight Miller, 50, who led the Mavericks to back-to-back playoff berths in the school’s first two years of existence, has moved to Garinger.

Miller was 22-27 in two seasons and will replace James Davis at Garinger as coach. Davis will work at West Charlotte next season but will not coach. Davis formerly coached the Lions boys and girls basketball teams.

Former Vance assistant Ben Laster is Mallard Creek’s new boys basketball coach. Laster is an ROTC teacher at Mallard Creek but had been working as an assistant at Vance under Will Robinson.

Mallard Creek also has a new girls coach. Former assistant Clarence "CJ" Johnson replaces Erica Turner, who took an athletics directors job at Newton-Conover.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

cross-country and lacrosse state championship venues named

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association will be holding additional state championships in Wake County
during the 2009-2010 academic year.

The cross-country championships and new lacrosse championships will be at the WakeMed Soccer Park. The cross-country championships are scheduled for Nov. 7 for boys and girls.

Lacrosse, which is the newest championship sport in the NCHSAA, will hold its inaugural title matches for boys and girls in May of 2010.

WakeMed Soccer Park is a 150-acre multi-use complex operated by the Town of Cary. The park hosts professional matches, college and high school tournaments and other events. The facilities include a stadium with permanent seating for 7,000, two lighted practice fields and five other fields, concessions, locker rooms and rest rooms, ample parking, and a first-class cross-country course that encircles the park.

For the last seven years Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, near Winston-Salem, has been the site of the cross-country championships. Prior to that, McAlpine Park in Charlotte was the cross-country championship site
for many years.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

All-state private star going public for more competition

Gaston Day all-state basketball player Corey Raley Ross is transferring to Harding, his father told the Observer.

Robert Ross said he was moving his son to Harding in order to help get him ready for college. He said he will enroll his son "within two weeks." Corey, a 6-3 senior guard, has 14 midmajor scholarship offers. His brother, Brandis, is a former Myers Park and Gaston Day standout who is a rising senior at South Carolina.

Corey Raley Ross was a N.C. 2A Independent Schools all-state pick last season, when he was named to the Charlotte Observer's All-Observer third team, signifying him as one of the top 15 players in the newspaper's 110-school coverage area in North and South Carolina.

He averaged more than 23 points per game last season for Gaston Day, where he's attended since eighth grade, commuting from Charlotte daily. His father lives in the Harding zone.

"Academic-wise, there's none better," his father, Robert Ross said of Gaston Day, "but the competition isn't as strong as the public school competition. I want him to make the transition to collegiate ball the right way and I've got to have him playing against athletes every day."

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Alternative sites for Indy-Butler football game

With 24,000-seat Memorial Stadium out of the picture, this year's Independence-Butler football game, scheduled for Nov. 6, is currently going to be played at Independence.

Given the attendance in recent years for this rivalry has been between 10,000 and 18,000, playing it at 4,000-seat Independence would not be the best option.

So where could the teams play?

Some fans have suggested Bank of America Stadium. That would be a wonderful venue. You could rope off the upper decks and the Panthers are out of town that week, playing at New Orleans. But rental costs would be a huge issue in a tough economy. So barring a sweetheart deal from the offices of Jerry Richardson, I wouldn't see that happening.

What does that leave? J.C. Smith seats about as many as Independence does. Ardrey Kell has a fabulous turf field and great lighting, but athletics director Cheryl Feeney told me this morning it seats only about 4,000. The biggest high school stadium in town is Providence, which could seat about 6,500 and probably squeeze in another 1,000 with portable bleachers or standing spectators on the fence.

Providence is scheduled to host Ardrey Kell on Nov. 6, however.

I don't think the Panthers officials would have much problem with a Indy-Butler Saturday game, but the N.C. High School Athletic Association might, since it tries to get its playoff seedings done on Saturday morning after teams play their final regular season games, which will be Nov. 6 this year.

So that leaves a few options: play at Independence, play at Providence on Thursday or start working on special permission from the NCHSAA for a Saturday game.

I think playing at Providence, on whatever day, is the best option. And as CMS is constructing new schools, maybe it's time to think about building a regional stadium that can hold, say, 10,000 fans.

It would allow them to hold graduation ceremonies and other big events and could host a big high school game each week. A local athletics director has long advocated putting up two or three regional stadiums across the city, following the map drawn by Rock Hill's District III Stadium. It's a good idea, don't you think?

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No prep football at Memorial Stadium in 2009

There will be no football games at Memorial Stadium this season.

Facility manager Mike Moraglia told the Observer that a storm water tunnel underneath the stadium had burst, causing soil erosion under the bleachers on one side of the facility. Some of the bleachers collapsed. Workers began to fence off the area today and plan to start digging tomorrow to reach the tunnel, repair it and then repair the bleachers.

The erosion happened, Moraglia said, in the soil that supports the concrete bleachers in the horseshoe end of the Stadium. That caused portions of the bleachers to cave in. Moraglia said the damage was limited to that area.

Moraglia said the entire repair process would take five to six months.

"We've got nothing, no high school, no playoffs, no college, no nothing," Moraglia said. "I don't know where else they can play some of the games we normally host. You can't fit 10,000 people anywhere in Charlotte like we normally have for the Independence-Butler game. Now a lot of people can't make that. But we hope to be up and running next spring and fill the slate with plenty of games."

Several years ago, Memorial Stadium hosted regular-season games weekly for high school teams in a package called "Big Friday." Some schools still opt to use it for big postseason games.

There is one regular-season game scheduled for Memorial Stadium this year, Butler vs. Independence on Nov. 6. It is Independence's home game and Patriots athletics director Kelly Lewis said the game would be held on campus. Independence's stadium seats about 4,000. Memorial seats 24,000.

There will be no presale of tickets, Lewis said.

Langston Wertz Jr.

Week 1 prep football schedule presents major opportunities

I made this point last spring, when we got our first peek at the football schedules, but I think it bears repeating now, as we are about a month away from opening kickoffs.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a special opportunity on the first week of the season with the type of schedule you'd expect to see deep into the playoffs.

Right now, scheduled for Friday, Aug. 21, we have: Mount Tabor at Butler, defending state champ Richmond Senior at Providence, East Meck at West Charlotte, South Meck at Catholic and Independence at Mallard Creek.

What a shame to make true high school football fans choose. And this is the type of schedule that will draw out fringe fans. All these games have big time college recruits, rivalry implications and pit some of the state's best teams against each other.

I think CMS should move the games around a bit. In the old days, Mecklenburg County schools played Thursday, Friday and Saturday dates at Memorial Stadium. This would be a great opportunity to bring that type of idea back for one week.

Do, say, Tabor at Butler on Thursday and Richmond at Providence Friday and Indy at Mallard Creek on Saturday. That way, fans would have a much better chance of seeing all the great teams and talent. it could give fans fewer tough choices to make.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raleigh girls soccer players must choose: club or school team

The best area high school girls soccer players in the Raleigh area will have a choice next spring: play for their high school team or play for a club.

High school athletes have faced decisions for years about whether to specialize in one sport or play two or more. Some high school athletes must choose between school football or club baseball teams in the fall; spring track or club basketball; high school basketball or club volleyball.

But the Capital Area Soccer League's decision to offer a program during the high school season creates a new dilemma for girls soccer players. Instead of which sport to play, the choice will be who to play for. It also sets the club teams in potential competition with high schools for the best talent, places focus on which route provides the best chance for a college soccer scholarship and raises the question of whether the values of those scholarships are worth the intense effort.

Paul Dinkenor, the coach of state 4-A girls soccer champion Leesville Road, said it would be impossible for a player to successfully participate in both high school and club programs.

But Charlie Slagle, the CEO of CASL, said there is a need for the spring program.

"There are some girls players, who for whatever reason, choose to not play on a high school team in the spring," Slagle said. "In the past, we've tried to find boys teams for them to practice with and find some competitions for them.

"But as the numbers have increased, we've added options. The decision of where to play will be up to the kids."

Slagle said he knew of six or eight players who don't participate on the teams at their high schools. This spring, 11 Cardinal Gibbons High players skipped the state 2-A quarterfinals to play in a club tournament in New Jersey. Jay Howell, the director of coaching for CASL, expects 30 or 40 girls to participate in the CASL high school program in the spring.

Charlie Adams, the executive director of the N.C. High School Athletic Association, said he hates the idea that high school students will be put in the position of having to choose.

"Playing for your community and your school can be one of the most fun and exciting levels of competition," Adams said. "I am afraid some young people are going to miss out on what could be some of the best times of their lives."

Howell, who said he is an advocate of high school athletic programs, said CASL is offering the spring program because its members want it.

"Not every high school program is exactly the same," he said. "The environment, coaching and teams are different. Some kids have great experiences in high school sports, but some others don't.

"Some players want to move to the next level and become the best players they can be. They want to play beyond high school."

Howell said the spring club program will consist of three or four practices per week with competitions on the weekend.


Club events are often the starting point in the collegiate recruiting process.

College coaches, with the exception of football, generally do the bulk of their recruiting at club team events. A college coach can see hundreds of players in a single weekend.

CASL's Slagle said more than 600 college coaches attended the Girls Showcase held Nov. 20-22 in Raleigh. At such an event, college coaches can see many of the best players paired against other outstanding players.

College soccer coaches can identify the players they will recruit at major club team events in places such as Las Vegas, Richmond, Va., and New Jersey.

Slagle anticipates some younger girls, freshmen and sophomores, will choose their club teams over high school competition because of the early exposure to college recruiting.

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer

Last year, it was girls hoop transfers; this year it's boys

A year ago, several high-profile girls basketball transfers changed the Mecklenburg County basketball landscape.

This year, it looks like it's the boys turn.

Burlington Cummings' all-state pick J.T. Terrell, who has committed to Wake Forest, is transferring to West Charlotte, where he will live with his father, former Charlotte 49ers star James "Trigger" Terrell. The father said the move is so he can have more influence on his son's development, hoping to pass along lessons he learned in college.

Meanwhile, Olympic High picked up West Meck transfer Charles Morrison, a 25-point per game all-conference 6-4 guard. The Trojans also added 6-7, 240 pound Josh Smith from Bessemer City. Olympic coach thinks the big sophomore could be special in a few years. Olympic was 23-5 last year and was 23-2 this summer. As I look at things right now, they're one of the top five or six teams in the area and one of the 10 in the state in 3A.

Up north, Hopewell added Country Day's best player, point guard Earl McLaurin, who is returning to his home school. It's the second year in a row the Bucs have lost top tier talent. Last season, Anthony Gill left Country Day for rival Charlotte Christian. That is putting a big stop in the Bucs plans to get back in position to challenge Christian and Charlotte Latin and Providence Day -- and newcomer Concord Cannon -- in the rugged CISAA conference.

Hopewell, which lost dynamic point guard Brandyn Curry, a two-time ME-CA 7 player of the year, now has a replacement at the position they needed most to fill. All of a sudden a 29-1 team a year ago looks just as strong this year. The Titans return four guys who started games.

Another move is CMS' loss. Allerik Freeman, a 6-3 guard who played at Southwest Middle, has enrolled at United Faith. Area coaches tell me he's one of the best-looking freshman to come through Charlotte in a long time. He attended Clemson's invitation only elite camp and is being recruited by the Tigers, South Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

West Charlotte picks up one of nation's best

West Charlotte High's basketball team will be getting a big boost next week. That's when James "Trigger" Terrell, a former Charlotte 49ers star, plans to enroll his son, J.T., at the school.

J.T. Terrell played at Burlington Cummings last season. The 6-3 guard, who scored 52 points in a Bojangle's Shootout game last season, is ranked among the nation's best at his position and has committed to Wake Forest.

Read more on this developing story in tomorrow's Observer.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

CMS Composite football schedules, key dates

STARTING TIME: 7:00PM (Home CMS Schools)

(CMS Teacher Work Day)
Mt. Tabor @ Butler
Richmond Senior @Providence
East Mecklenburg @West Charlotte
Independence @Mallard Creek
Garinger @Myers Park
Waddell @East Gaston
South Mecklenburg @Catholic
West Mecklenburg @Hopewell
Olympic @North Mecklenburg
OPEN-Ardrey Kell, Harding, Berry, Vance

North Mecklenburg @Ardrey Kell
Vance @East Mecklenburg
Hopewell @Independence
Myers Park @Olympic
Providence @Catholic
Waddell @South Mecklenburg
Mallard Creek @Harding University
West Charlotte @West Mecklenburg
Garinger @Berry Academy

West Mecklenburg @Ardrey Kell
Vance @Butler
Mallard Creek @East Mecklenburg
Independence @South Pointe
Hopewell @Myers Park
North Mecklenburg @Providence
Harding University @West Charlotte
Sun Valley @Olympic
Berry Academy @Waddell
OPEN-South Mecklenburg, Garinger


Ardrey Kell @Weddington
Butler @Richmond County
East Mecklenburg @West Mecklenburg
West Charlotte @Independence
Myers Park @North Mecklenburg
Providence @Hopewell
South Mecklenburg @Harding University
Garinger @Mallard Creek
Forest Hills @Berry Academy
Waddell @Porter Ridge
Sun Valley @Vance


Marvin Ridge @Ardrey Kell
West Charlotte @Butler
Vance @Independence
West Mecklenburg @South Mecklenburg
Hopewell @Harding University
North Mecklenburg @Garinger
Central Academy @Berry Academy
Smith @Waddell
OPEN- Providence, Mallard Creek

Olympic @Ashbrook
East Mecklenburg @Catholic
Myers Park @Sun Valley

South Mecklenburg @Ardrey Kell
Myers Park @Butler
Independence @East Mecklenburg
Hopewell @West Charlotte
Mooresville @Mallard Creek
Lake Norman @North Mecklenburg
Providence @Vance
Harding University @East Gaston
Olympic @Catholic
Garinger @Waddell
Berry Academy @West Stanly
OPEN-West Mecklenburg

Ardrey Kell @Independence
East Mecklenburg @Myers Park
Providence @South Mecklenburg
Mallard Creek @Lake Norman
West Charlotte @North Mecklenburg
Vance @Mooresville Senior
Waddell @Harding University
Catholic @West Mecklenburg
Weddington @Olympic
East Gaston @Garinger
Berry Academy @Union Academy
OPEN-Butler, Hopewell

Myers Park @Ardrey Kell
Butler @East Mecklenburg
Independence @Providence
Garinger @South Mecklenburg
Lake Norman @Hopewell
Mallard Creek @Vance
West Charlotte @Mooresville Senior
Harding University @Olympic
West Mecklenburg @Waddell
Cuthbertson @Berry Academy
OPEN-North Mecklenburg

Ardrey Kell @Butler
South Mecklenburg @Independence
Providence @Myers Park
Mooresville Senior @Hopewell
North Mecklenburg @Mallard Creek
Vance @Lake Norman
Berry Academy @Harding University
Olympic @East Gaston
West Mecklenburg @Garinger
Catholic @Waddell
OPEN-East Mecklenburg, West Charlotte

East Mecklenburg @Ardrey Kell
Butler @Providence
Myers Park @South Mecklenburg
Hopewell @Mallard Creek
North Mecklenburg @Vance
West Charlotte @Lake Norman
West Mecklenburg @Harding University
Waddell @Olympic
Garinger @Catholic
Berry Academy @North Stanly

South Mecklenburg @Butler
Providence @East Mecklenburg
Independence @Myers Park
Hopewell @Vance
Mallard Creek @West Charlotte
Mooresville Senior @North Mecklenburg
Catholic @Harding University
East Gaston @West Mecklenburg
Garinger @Olympic
Monroe @Berry Academy
OPEN-Ardrey Kell, Waddell

Ardrey Kell @Providence
Butler vs. Independence @Memorial Stadium
East Mecklenburg @South Mecklenburg
North Mecklenburg @Hopewell
Vance @West Charlotte
Harding University @Garinger
Olympic @West Mecklenburg
Berry Academy @Piedmont
Waddell @East Gaston
OPEN-Myers Park, Mallard Creek

(CMS Holiday)

Independence star DB dismissed from team

For the second straight season, Independence High's football team has lost its best defensive player.

Patriots coach Tom Knotts told the Observer Tuesday morning that he had dismissed defensive back Victor Hampton from the team. Hampton is ranked No. 15 nationally at his position by He has committed to Florida.

Hampton told the newspaper he planned to move in with a family friend and attend school at South Carolina's Darlington High.

Read more on this developing story in tomorrow's Observer.

-- Langston Wertz Jr.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Morlu wins two national track titles

Providence Day’s Miata Morlu, a rising senior, won two national track championships at the USATF Youth Championships in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Morlu won the 400-meter hurdles in 59.54 seconds, which was the second-best time in North Carolina history. It was the top time among N.C. high schoolers this year, and third-best in the country. She became one of four girls in the country to crack the 1-minute mark.

Morlu also win the 400-meter dash in 55.15 seconds. It was the third-best time this year in the state, and the 10th-best in N.C. history.

She competed in the national meet as a member of the Charlotte Flights track club.

Last month, Morlu won the 400 dash and 400 hurdles at the State Games, and finished second in the triple jump. In May, she was the N.C. 3A private-school champion in the 200, 300 hurdles and triple jump.

- Cliff Mehrtens

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wood, Poplin top baseball all-state teams

Ardrey Kell pitcher Alex Wood and South Stanly infielder Ryne Poplin, who helped their teams win state championships, were named state players of the year in their respective classifications by the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association.

Wood, who signed with Georgia, is the N.C. 4A player of the year. He was 10-2 with a 0.87 ERA, and in 72 2/3 innings, he struck out 112 and allowed 42 hits. Wood also batted .408 with three home runs and 23 RBIs.

Poplin, the state’s 1A player of the year, hit 12 home runs and batted .468 as the team’s leadoff hitter.

The all-state teams (Observer-area players in bold):

4A: Ari Seelinger (Durham Riverside); Bryan Bass (Northern Durham); Zach Bernard (Jordan); Richie Shaffer and Tyler Zupcic (Providence); Jake Harris (Raleigh Millbrook); Patrick Roy and Tanner Merritt (Greenville Rose); Jeff Ferrell (Wilmington Laney); Scott Coleman (Wilmington Hoggard); Max Gagnon and Charles Wolfe (Raleigh Sanderson); Eric Brady (Green Hope); Hunter Conley (Hopewell); Jimmy Boyd (Middle Creek); Ryan Stetson and Wood (Ardrey Kell); Tyler Tewell (Butler); Daniel Brown (Raleigh Broughton); Dalton Shuford (Central Cabarrus); Trey Deason (East Gaston); Thomas Willoughby (Pine Forest); Ronald Womack (Hoke County); Matt Batts (Mt. Tabor); Zack Joyce (North Davidson); Adam Church (Watauga); Tate Parrish (Smithfield-Selma).

3A: John Wooten and Walker Gourley (Eastern Wayne); Parks Johnson (Winston-Salem Glenn); Nick McBride and Kyle Brandenburg (Ragsdale); Tyler Joyner (Northern Nash); Rob Staas (Southern Alamance); Nick Lomascolo, Ross Whitley and Scottie Williams (Lake Norman); Hobbs Johnson, Ben Fish and Brian Goodwin (Rocky Mount); Bryan Mitchell (Rockingham); Ethan Strickland (Triton); Jeffrey Howe (Kings Mountain); Danny Vliet (Charlotte Catholic); Hunter Ridge (SW Randolph); Ethan Ogburn (SW Guilford); Mikey Herman (Unionville Piedmont); Josh Darroch (South Granville); Connor Narron and Will Edgerton (Aycock); Branson Christopher (Hickory); Josh Powell (West Brunswick).

Wooten is the 3A player of the year.

2A: Matt Roberts (Graham); Chaz Frank and Trevor Leonard (Central Davidson); Alex Brann (Greene Central); Drew Spears (East Lincoln); Tyler DeLoach (Roanoke Rapids); Michael Bass (Fairmont); Tyler Eudy (West Stanly); Mike Weatherington (North Lenoir); Daniel Hyatt (West Henderson); Joseph Hughes (McMichael); Grant Furr and Matt Barrier (Mt.Pleasant); Nathan Hyatt (Brevard); Aaron Stull (Croatan); Lee Taylor (South Lenoir); Dylan Crump (Lenoir Hibriten); Trey Drewery (West Lincoln); Tyler White (Forest City Chase); Drew Reynolds (East Rutherford); Chris Fine (Morganton Patton); J.T. Pope (Orange); Craig Erskine (McMichael); Tyler Jackson (Starmount); Ben Walgenback (Hendersonville); Brandon Warren (Hertford County).
Hughes is the 2A player of the year.

1A: Chris Huie (Dixon), Nathan Long (West Columbus); Eli Spruitt (Plymouth); Coleman Perry (Jamesville); Gibby Allen (Midway); Josh Harris (Jordan-Matthews); Josh Coker (Murphy); Christian Easter (Mt.Airy); Ben Waldenback (Hendersonville); Chase Ragland (Louisburg); Wes Hatley, Colton Burris and Poplin (South Stanly); Dan Redinger (Topsail); Rookie Davis (Dixon); Josh Zumbrook (West Wilkes); Ricky Kraniak (Camden); Bryan DaCanal and Cory Parks (Cherryville); John Hunter and Robert Jacot (Perquimans); Danny Fraga (Polk County); Cory Dick (Albemarle); Crawford Bolton (Louisburg); Demetrius McKelvie (East Columbus).

- Cliff Mehrtens

All-Southwestern 4A baseball team named

Ardrey Kell pitcher Alex Wood was named the Southwestern 4A baseball player of the year.

Providence’s Danny Hignight, whose team won the regular-season title, is coach of the year.

The all-conference team: Brett Austin, C.A. Clayton, Kurt Semeniuk, Richie Shaffer and Tyler Zupcic (Providence); Robert Balsley and Brian Holberton (Myers Park); Anthony Boone and Brad Collins (Weddington); Leighton Daniels and Olen Little (East Mecklenburg); Jake Fincher, Patrick McMahon and Tyler Tewell (Butler); Zico Pasut, Logan Ratledge, Ryan Stetson and Wood (Ardrey Kell) and Spencer Shuey (South Mecklenburg).

- Cliff Mehrtens