The Mooresville cross country team is thinking about its third consecutive state championship. But the Blue Devils don't have to talk about it.
“We don't really say a lot about winning another state (championship),” Mooresville cross country coach Mike Serefine said. “But everybody on the team knows it our goal without saying a word.”
Mooresville, ranked No. 1 in the state (3A), appears to be a serious contender to three-peat. The Blue Devils have won two of the four events they've participated in this season, including the Eye Opener Invitational in Spartanburg, S.C., and the Iredell County Championships. Mooresville won the Iredell meet for the fifth year in a row.
Mooresville has lost only to 4A teams, which will not stand in their way to another state championship. The Blue Devils finished second in the Western Carolina Invitational to 4A power Chapel Hill, along with a third-place finish in the Greensboro Invitational behind Chapel Hill and Northwest Guilford, a 4A team.
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The Blue Devils have three key runners who have been there before to lead the way. Joseph Newman, Josh Cox and Graham Sledge have finished in the top 20 of every meet this season. Newman won the Iredell County Championships and finished second overall in the Eye Opener Invitational.
Mooresville was scheduled to run in the Wendy's Invitational on Saturday at McAlpine Park before moving onto the conference meet, regionals and states.
“We will learn a lot about our team in the next several weeks,” Serefine said. “But I like our chances. I feel good about where our team is right now. We just need to keep working hard.”
The Lake Norman girls' tennis team clinched their first-ever North Piedmont Conference championship with a 7-2 win over Northwest Cabarrus last week. The Wildcats, led by first-year head coach Lezlie Carroll, finished the regular season a perfect 14-0 overall, including 9-0 in conference play, and are ranked fourth in the state (3A).
Three players finished the regular season undefeated, including No. 1 Kathryn Talbert, No. 2 Shruthi Rajan and No. 3 Hayley Hammond. No. 6 Laurel Rowe finished the season unbeaten in conference play only. Lezlie and Chris Carroll, who coach the boys' and girls' tennis teams at Lake Norman, have now combined to go 30-1 with the two teams. Chris, Lezlie's husband, led the boys to a 16-1 mark last spring.
The East Lincoln girls' tennis team is the only other ranked Lake Norman-area team – at 10th in the 2A poll. The Mustangs have stayed at No. 10 position for five weeks in a row.
The Lake Norman boys' soccer team (10-1) has won six games in a row after dropping their first game in 21/2 years to Mooresville last month. The Wildcats, No. 5 in the state (3A), are eyeing the rematch Wednesday when they travel to No. 4 Mooresville.
“Mooresville is definitely on all our players' radar screen right now,” Lake Norman head coach Jon Mertes said, adding that his team was focused on winning the North Piedmont Conference championship right now. “I think we have the ability to be one of the best teams in the state. We just have to focus on playing all (80 minutes) of a game consistently.”
Junior Parker Cromie and senior Joe Hughes have played the most consistently for Lake Norman. Cromie leads the Wildcats with 12 goals, while Hughes is second with 10 goals and 10 assists. Hughes also scored three goals in a 10-minute span last week to take the Wildcats from a 1-0 deficit to a 3-1 win over Northwest Cabarrus.
The Mooresville boys' soccer team is also getting ready for their match with archrival Lake Norman this week. The Blue Devils (12-0-2) have not lost this season and could all but clinch the NPC crown with a win over the Wildcats. The Blue Devils beat Carson, North Iredell and East Rowan last week and have outscored their opponents 47-7 this season.
South Iredell stayed at No. 12 in the state (2A) with wins over Highland Tech and North Lincoln last week. The first-place Vikings (11-1, 6-0 in the Southern Piedmont) also have a conference showdown Wednesday with No. 14 East Lincoln (10-1, 5-1) which is second-place in the conference right now.