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Former East Lincoln High School standout and East Carolina pitcher/first baseman Alec Burleson has been named the American Athletic Conference Male and Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year the league office announced Wednesday morning. He is the second straight ECU baseball player to be the conference’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and will receive a $4,000 scholarship from the conference.

Burleson is one of four ECU students to be chosen as his respective sport’s scholar-athlete of the year along with Dorthea Forbrigd (women’s golf), Megan Pallozzi (lacrosse) and Patrick Stephenson (men’s golf). They will each

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On July 23, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors voted to provide Phase Two guidance to member schools regarding summer conditioning and workout activities. As always, the NCHSAA suggested that athletic departments consult with the school and LEA administrators relative to local rules and regulations.

The Phase Two guidelines provided by the NCHSAA will go into effect on Monday, August 3.

In many instances, the Phase One and Phase Two guidelines are the same. Below are some of the differences when transitioning to Phase Two, as highlighted by the NCHSAA.

•Sharing of equipment is permissible within small groups/pods.

•Wearing protective equipment remains prohibited.

•Equipment must be disinfected frequently, and it REQUIRES disinfecting prior to use by another pod.

•LAT’s/1st Responders are not REQUIRED; however, as noted in the Points of Emphasis, they should always be included when possible.

Coaches of schools that have not participated in Phase One are strongly encouraged to ensure a gradual return to activities, considering the condition of students who may have been physically inactive this summer. Additionally, it is important that coaches "teach" the daily monitoring protocol and ways that workouts will incorporate the "3 W’s" of mitigating COVID-19.

Due to the extreme heat and humidity we are experiencing, coaches MUST follow the requirements as listed in the NCHSAA Handbook as well as observing the local policies.

The NCHSAA Staff has worked with the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) on recommendations for member schools regarding summer activities that are in alignment with DHHS directives. The Phase Two guidance is intended to help continue or begin to navigate a gradual reopening of high school sports, while helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The NCHSAA Board of Directors understands that implementation decisions schools make this summer regarding sports and other co-curricular activities will potentially impact the upcoming school year. Thus, it is important that everyone adhere to this current guidance.

The Association also said that schools and coaches are reminded that, per NCHSAA policy, participation in summer sports/activities cannot be required.

The NCHSAA Staff, Board of Directors and SMAC all remain committed to administering sports/activities this Fall, provided it can be done safely and in accordance with guidance from the state’s educational and medical partners.

And finally, the NCHSAA press release stated that decisions relative to the September 1 start date will be made later in August.

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North Carolina standout linebacker Chazz Surratt has been selected for The Butkus Award preseason watch list. The award honors the nation’s best linebacker.

Surratt, who was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list last week, was a first team All-ACC selection and finished runner-up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019. Surratt led North Carolina and ranked second in the ACC with 115 total tackles last season.

The Denver, North Carolina, native led the Tar Heels with 15.0 tackles for

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L.J. Smith of Lincolnton was recently named to the North Carolina AAU 12-Under Division-I All-Star team. The All-Star event will take place on August 16 at Comenius School in Fort Mill, S.C. Smith, who attends Lincolnton Middle School, was joined by Team United teammate Ethan Lopez on the Al…

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Six cross-country athletes from North Lincoln High School recently returned from Flagstaff, Arizona after 23 days of high altitude training.

The boys ran in parks and local trails around Flagstaff trying to improve on their endurance. Returning for their senior season at North Lincoln are Jared Campbell, Noah Carter, Miles Phillips, and Jacob Scott. North Lincoln graduates Jason Thomson, who will be attending the University of North Carolina and Alex Wulfhorst, who is headed to the Citadel, also attended.

The North Lincoln athletes joined Dylan Belles, a former East Lincoln High

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Wake Forest redshirt junior wide receiver Sage Surratt was named to the Fred Biletnikoff Award Watch List, as announced by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation last week.

The award is presented annually to the nation’s outstanding college receiver. Last season before a season-ending injury, Surratt was one of 12 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award. In those nine games in 2019, he led all Power-5 receivers with 1,001 receiving yards while totaling 11 touchdowns.

During his sophomore campaign, Surratt recorded four games of 150 or more

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Team Tate of Burlington, N.C. won the Teammate National Championship 12-under youth basketball tournament last weekend in Rock Hill, South Carolina. With the team trailing by two in the championship game, L.J. Smith of Lincolnton knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with just five seconds…

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Less than 24 hours after Governor Roy Cooper had announced the state of North Carolina’s plans for reopening public schools in August, the NCHSAA sent out a statement saying that the high school fall sports season will be delayed until at least September 1.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors approved the rule on delaying the season on Wednesday, along with designating the first five days of the 2020-2021 school year as a "dead period" for all sports, to allow school staff to focus primarily on the start of

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West Lincoln High School’s Chase Cheatham recently shot an even par 72 at Cabarrus Country Club. The score qualified Cheatham for the upcoming Dogwood Junior Boys and the Carolina Junior Boys events.

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The Lincolnton Wolves take the field at Stuart Cramer High School in Cramerton to open the 2019 high school football season. The Wolves, like all high school teams across the state, are hoping that this week’s announcement on the plan for opening public schools by Governor Roy Cooper will le…

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North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker held a press conference on Wednesday to update the state’s media on the status of the upcoming fall sports season.

While there was some speculation that Tucker would be laying out the plan for the fall or releasing some pertinent information, the Commissioner began the press conference by saying, "There is no major announcement forthcoming from the Association (NCHSAA) today."

"And to be clear," Tucker said, "we’ll never make a major announcement to

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Conditioning workouts resumed this week for local high school athletes, including West Lincoln football players who returned to the daily grind following last week’s "dead period" for the July 4th holiday.

West Lincoln coaches and players are following the guidelines that were issued by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association prior to allowing schools to return to the practice fields.

Players and coaches alike are hoping that the high school football season will get underway later this fall.

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East Lincoln High School recently upgraded the sound systems in the school’s gymnasium as well as the football stadium. The sound system upgrades are just one of several taking place on the East Lincoln campus over the summer. The Mustangs look forward to the sound being not only louder this…

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With the latest Coronavirus numbers growing daily in the United States and in particular North Carolina, could the high school football season actually be played in the spring?

Some school systems in the state, such as Cabarrus County and Alamance-Burlington, have pushed back their athletic start date until at least July 20, and at this rate there is a good chance the date will be pushed back even more.

Since football brings in the majority of the gate money for the majority of the

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Lincoln County athletes are taking a break this week from their daily workouts.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Associations "Dead Period" runs through Sunday, July 5th.

Stadiums and practice fields are all quiet this week before the student-athletes get back to work beginning Monday.

Lincoln County is allowing offseason workouts as long as the schools operate

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The upcoming 2020-21 high school sports seasons are scheduled to be the final seasons under the current alignment, meaning that the conferences as we know them today could go away.

Since 2013, all 2A schools in Lincoln County have been paired up with either all or the majority of the 2A schools in Catawba County, making for short travel, good gates and traditional rivalries.

East Lincoln, West Lincoln, Lincolnton, Maiden, Bandys and Newton-Conover have been in the same 2A conference since 2013, and North Lincoln joined

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As June starts to wind down, the absence of American Legion Baseball this summer leaves us local sports fans with yet another void in our everyday lives.

The coronavirus has affected us in many ways, and not being able to get out and cover Legion baseball makes this time of year a little dull and boring.

Usually, at this point in the season, the local Legion teams have gotten their rosters in place and are preparing for a run in the Area IV playoffs.

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Lincoln Charter’s Kinser Hudson recently signed a National Letter of Intent to run cross-country at Cleveland Community College. Seated with Kinser are his parents Cindy and Mike Hudson. Back row, left to right are Lincoln Charter cross-country coach Josh Williams, assistant coach Mark Schil…

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Offseason workouts began for many high school sports in Lincoln County on Monday after the North Carolina High School Athletic Association ended the “Dead Period” that was put in place due to the Coronavirus.

Many guidelines and restrictions were put in place by the NCHSAA that have to be enforced by each school in order to hold workouts, including limitations on gatherings, keeping facilities and equipment clean, staggered entrance and

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The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced Monday afternoon that the Coronavirus dead period is still on schedule to be lifted on Monday, June 15.

If the dead period is lifted on Monday, local school systems would then have to decide what is best for their particular district.     

In an interview with 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker was also quick to make it clear that there will be many restrictions and

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This time last year, the North Lincoln Knights were winning their first ever 2A baseball state championship with a two-game sweep of Randleman in the best-of-3 series at UNC-Greensboro.

This season, unfortunately, the North Lincoln baseball team did not get the opportunity to defend its state title, after Covid-19 forced the season to be suspended back on March 13, and eventually canceled the entire season.

“First of all, not getting to play baseball in general was disappointing,” said North Lincoln head baseball coach Jon Carpenter.  “I hate to not see what we

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East Lincoln High School has announced the winners of their yearly sports awards for the 2019-20 school year, along with the names of the Athletic Booster Scholarship winners.

Senior Ethan Martin was named the Mustangs’ Male Athlete of the Year.  Martin was a captain on the football team that went 8-4, playing middle linebacker for Coach David Lubowicz.

Martin was also a standout baseball player on Coach Chris Matile’s squad before the Coronavirus brought an early end to the 2020 season.

Taylor Barrineau was named East Lincoln’s Female Athlete of the Year.  Barrineau was a senior captain on Coach Jason Dragoon’s women’s soccer

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Earlier this week, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted to extend the Covid-19 dead period until June 15, two weeks further than the original expiration date of June 1.

In Tuesday’s online press conference, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said the plan is to allow all sports to begin off-season training with restrictions to be outlined over the next few weeks.

“The intention is for all sports to be able to resume all activities after the June 15 deadline,” Tucker said.  “There is no reason why there can’t be physical conditioning for all sports. The idea would be to allow opportunities for all

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Lincolnton senior shortstop and pitcher E.J. Manjarres has been awarded the 2020 Jonathan Brookins Memorial Scholarship, named for the former Lincolnton baseball player, the committee announced Tuesday.

The $2,500 award honors the memory of Brookins, a pitcher and first baseman on the Wolves’ 1995 state championship team. He was an all-state player as a senior in 1997 and helped lead Cherryville Post 100 to an American Legion baseball state title later that summer. Brookins is also a member of the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame.

Manjarres will graduate from Lincolnton High School with a 4.2 GPA and is a

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East Lincoln High School’s Derek Martin has been selected as a regional recipient of the Willie Bradshaw Memorial Endowed Scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced the winners of the Willie Bradshaw Memorial Endowed Scholarship on Thursday.  

The Willie Bradshaw Endowed Scholarship provides $750 of scholarship support to selected outstanding Black African American, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American student-athletes participating on a sanctioned varsity team

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The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on Tuesday released a set of suggested guidelines for state associations to consider when beginning the reopening of high school athletics across the United States.  

The guidelines pointed out that the NFHS firmly believes that a return to physical activity and athletic competition is necessary for the physical and mental well-being of high school students nationwide.  But it also recognized that not all students will be able to return to athletic activity at the same time in every school, region and state.  

The NFHS also urges that all state associations and organizations engage with

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RALEIGH (AP) — North Mecklenburg’s Tristan Maxwell and Newton-Conover’s Chyna Cornwell are The Associated Press men’s and women’s prep basketball players of the year in North Carolina for the 2019-20 season.

George Stackhouse of Fayetteville Westover and Dee Hardy of Fayetteville Smith were selected men’s and women’s coaches of the year in results released Friday. That followed a vote of 15 statewide media members who also selected the AP all-state men’s and women’s teams.

The awards came two months after the coronavirus pandemic led to the

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The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced last week in an email that the dead period that has been in place since March 13 due to Covid-19 will end on June 1.

But before high school athletes can begin summer workouts, state and local leaders must give the ok to do so, and then county and city school systems would also have to give their seal of approval.

The email from the NCHSAA read, “After consulting with superintendents across the state, it was determined that a set date is necessary and important to help ensure that there is consistency as we move towards what is typically

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Lincolnton High School has announced the hiring of veteran athletic director and longtime football coach Tom Harper to take over the A.D. duties at the school.

Harper, who comes from North Iredell High School, will not only serve as the Wolves’ athletic director, but will also teach physical education at the school and be the defensive coordinator with the football team.

“When you think Lincolnton High School, you think tradition and heritage,”

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The North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association recently announced the rosters for this summer’s East-West All-Star Basketball Game in Greensboro, and two local athletes made the men’s squad.

East Lincoln’s Justin Kuthan was named to the West roster.  Kuthan, who was named the South Fork 2A Conference Player of the Year, averaged 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds for head coach Jon Hancock’s team.  The senior helped lead the Mustangs to a record of 24-5 this past season, and a 2A playoff berth.  Kuthan has signed with Roanoke College to continue his playing career.

  Cherryville’s Lane Harrill was also named to the West team.  Harrill, who was

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If I had to describe how I feel about spring sports being cancelled, I think the first word that comes to my mind is just utter shock. Never in a million years did I expect for something like this to happen. My motivation for this school year was the constant reminder that I had another season. Another chance to train and compete, not only for myself but for my teammates as well. I wanted to hold on to high school for as long as possible. I was counting on one final season of my favorite sport to find closure in this chapter of my life. 

While it was going to be a season of lasts, the last time riding on the bus with my teammates, the last time running relays, and the last time being team

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Mark Lackey may own the distinction of being the only coach in Lincoln County history to have been associated with West Lincoln, Lincolnton, East Lincoln and North Lincoln at some point during his playing, teaching or coaching career.

But at the end of the 2020 school year, the teacher and coach will end his days with Lincoln County Schools and enter the world of retirement.

After graduating from West Lincoln High School in 1982, Lackey attended Appalachian State University, and later received his teaching certificate from Lenoir-Rhyne.  He did his student-teaching at Lincolnton High, and took his

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Fortunately, for West Lincoln head coach Allan Chapman, the Lady Rebels softball senior class is a small one.

The bad news, however, is that the three young ladies that had their final season shortened by Covid-19, are all four-year varsity softball players that will leave some big shoes to fill.

Seniors Alyson Eaker, Gracie Ledford and Katie Willis won 40 games during their first three seasons with the Lady Rebels.  

As freshmen in 2017, the trio played on a team that went 17-7, including 11-3

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Following back-to-back 15-win seasons, the Lady Mustangs were poised to exceed that number of victories in 2020 and possibly make a deep run in the 2A state playoffs.

East Lincoln won their first four games of the season in dominating fashion, outscoring their opponents 51-7 with a pair of shutouts.  

But, the Lady Mustangs, like many other teams across the state of North Carolina, will just be left with the thoughts of what might have been.

The 2018 East Lincoln softball team finished with a record of 15-6, then

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After growing up and attending school in eastern Lincoln county, then coaching and teaching for 20-plus years, Mark Shanklin will call it a career at the end of the school year.

Following his high school years at East Lincoln, Shanklin attended Western Carolina where he received a business degree, and later added a history and social studies degree from UNC-Charlotte.  He knew all along that he wanted to do three things, teach history, coach swimming and win a state title.

Shanklin was always into competitive swimming.  In the late 1970’s, he was a

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Friday afternoon, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced the decision that many thought was inevitable, cancelling the spring sports season, along with the remaining winter championships.

Shortly after Governor Roy Cooper made the announcement that N.C. public schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year, the NCHSAA made the call.

The decision that came down due to Covid-19 was a disappointing one to many athletes, coaches and parents across the state, but one that the

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The softball facility at West Lincoln High School has taken on a new look.

Thanks to a large community effort and a $20k grant from the Timken Foundation, the goals and dreams of what coaches and administrators envisioned have come to fruition.

“I worked with Ruth Pillow (at Timken), who took me through the steps,” said head coach Allan Chapman.  “She was very helpful to make sure we had the right paperwork.  She was very encouraging.”

After a fundraising effort that began a couple years prior to Chapman taking over the program had reached a certain level, the sizable contribution from

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Many coaches come and go throughout different high schools, but not East Lincoln’s Chip Ashley.

When Ashley arrived in Denver in August of 1987 it must have been the perfect fit, because on April 30, the longtime educator and coach will retire after 33 years on the job, all at East Lincoln High School.

Ashley grew up in Honea Path, South Carolina, and attended Belton-Honea Path High School.  He went on to play baseball at Erskine College, which he said was his best sport, though not necessarily his favorite.

After college, Ashley’s girlfriend Michelle, now his wife, talked him into

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It’s been 38 days since our last high school sporting event in North Carolina.

And while we’d like to be able to say that we’re getting closer to the return of high school sports, we can’t say those words with confidence because we really don’t know.

With some states starting to slowly relax the “Stay at Home” order, people are naturally wondering out loud about the return of high school sports.

We heard last week that golf could be one of the first major sports to return to action on the professional level.  That move makes sense because players

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When the ruling came down last week to cancel the American Legion Baseball Regionals and the World Series, it had a big effect on young men nationwide.  

Then a few days later, when the ruling was announced that there would be no play at the state level, many of our local baseball players felt the crunch.  And some of those may never get on the diamond again.

“We had potentially seven players returning for their final year,” said Lincoln County Post 455 head coach Bruce Bolick.

Bolick noted that five of those returning players had college baseball

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Just days after cancelling the 2020 American Legion Baseball Regionals and World Series, national officials have shut down all spring and summer sports programs, including Legion baseball at the local and state level.

Local and state officials had requested that the American Legion DEC push their decision back until May 15.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has indicated that date will be the next day to look at reopening the state.

There had been hope locally that if Covid-19 was under control and that new cases were on the decline, that the national committee would allow teams to

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It seems these days that everyone has their own opinion on when and how the world of sports should return.

Although the reality that high school sports would most likely not return for the 2020 spring season started to enter my mind weeks ago, I had hope that things would turn for the better more quickly and we would see at least some form of an abbreviated season.

Now, it’s mid-April, and that reality is beginning to sink in.

First of all, the “Stay at Home” order will need to be lifted.  It doesn’t appear

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Following a conference-call meeting on Tuesday that included the state commissioners, the American Legion has decided to cancel the upcoming Regional tournaments and the World Series which takes place annually in Shelby.

The Americanism Commission, along with National Commander Bill Oxford, made the announcement around lunchtime on Tuesday, due to Covid-19.

At this time, however, local and national officials are not ruling out state play, which could lead to Area playoffs and possibly even a state tournament here

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While the sports world seems to have come to a halt, there are still a handful of things happening locally, state-wide and nationally.

On the local front, it’s very hard to tell what our high school athletes are doing to keep themselves in good shape.  Coaches cannot organize any workouts on school property, but they can suggest different exercises and drills through emails, texts and Twitter.  

North Lincoln head football coach Nick Bazzle gives out guidelines to his squad, but says that the kids have to have a place to do the workout, and that

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What are sports fans doing these days to cope with the void in their life?

Whether it’s watching games on television, going to sporting events or even participating, us sports fans are really missing that part of our lives that we are so used to just being there.

Tonight is supposed to be NCAA Basketball National Championship night.  Yeah, we might complain occasionally about why the game has to always be on a Monday night at 9 p.m., but like clockwork, we’re always parked in front of the tube for that “One Shining Moment.”

Did you think about the Final Four doubleheader this past Saturday?  We’ll

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With the American Legion Baseball season just around the corner, many are wondering what discussions have taken place and what plans have been made should the opening of the season be delayed.

On Friday, March 20, the American Legion headquarters emailed out a memo stating that American Legion Baseball is suspended until further notice due to the coronavirus.  

Many teams across the country have indicated that they would not be participating in the 2020 baseball season due to the virus, and even some

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It’s now been 19 days since we last saw South Fork 2A action on the baseball diamond.  And while we’d like to be able to say that the games will resume soon, that is still to be determined.  

When play was halted by Covid-19 on March 13, the Maiden Blue Devils were tied at the top of the conference standings with Lake Norman Charter with perfect 2-0 marks.  In fact, the Blue Devils were 6-0 to start the season, including non-conference play, under head coach Dustin Hill.

Part of the reason for that is hot-hitting Dalton James.  The junior is batting

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With so many questions surrounding the high school spring sports season, South Fork 2A conference administrator Butch Parker recently shed some light on the subject.

Parker gave an update Saturday morning on SportsTalk, after having conversations throughout last week with Tra Waters of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and a virtual meeting with the league’s athletic directors.

“Nothing that I say today is definitive,” Parker said, “it will be affected by so

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For 30-plus years he’s suited up in the black and gold, and God only knows how many times he’s set foot on the dirt and the grass at Jonathan Brookins Memorial Field.

But later this spring, Lincolnton High School’s Cole Sigmon will be stepping away from his duties as teacher, coach and athletic director and entering the world of retirement.

Sigmon, who played baseball at Wingate University, began his career at LHS in January of 1990 when an art teaching position came open.  While splitting his teaching time between Lincolnton and West Lincoln during his first year,

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Following Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement on Monday afternoon that North Carolina public schools will now be closed at least through May 15, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association followed suit as expected, releasing a statement saying that there will be no high school athletics until at least May 18.

With the May 18th date being less than two weeks prior to the scheduled last day of school in Lincoln County, the chances of completing any kind of spring sports season at all are diminishing.

Monday’s release stated that the NCHSAA will spend the next few weeks

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East Lincoln’s Justin Kuthan and Brianna Tadlock recently earned All-District first-team honors from the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association, and Kuthan was named the District-10 Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

Kuthan, a senior post player, averaged 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game for a Mustang team that went 24-5 last season, while earning South Fork 2A Conference Player of the Year.

Tadlock finished off a stellar career for the Lady Mustangs, averaging 21 points, 3.3 assists and 3 steals per contest.  She finished her four years at