Flynn Stover, Chris Williams and Myers Park Tennis Team: The Myers Park tennis team was a perfect 20-0 going into the 4A state championship match against Panther Creek High on May 20, at Burlington Tennis Center.
But after singles’ play, Coach Ed Flynn and Mustangs found themselves trailing 4-2 for the first time all season.
The only path to a 4A state title and to keep their perfect record intact was to sweep doubles’ play.
Myers Park’s No. 3 doubles team of Charlie Reiney and Charlie Fox quickly dispatched their Panther Creek counterparts, 10-4.
Then, the No. 1, Mustangs’ doubles’ team of Mark Dillon, Jr. and Sam Dean came through, winning 10-8, to tie the match at four all, meaning the final match would determine the 4A state champion.
It was only fitting, that Myers Park’s only two seniors and co-captains, Flynn Stover and Chris Williams, would determine their team’s fate.
Tied at 10 games all (10-10), Williams and Stover would play a one-game tiebreaker, first team to seven points with a state championship on the line.
“Chris (Williams) had just lost his singles’ match 17-15 in a third set, when he collected himself and called the team together and said ‘We’re not going to lose, we’re going to win all three doubles’ matches and win the state championship.’…
“That was defining moment for our team. In the end, Chris and Flynn rose to the occasion again. In the tiebreaker, they just flipped a switch and play phenomenal tennis. We’ve depended on our doubles’ teams all year (Myers Park lost only one doubles’ match all season) and they came through again when it mattered most.”
Stover and Williams won the tiebreaker 7-3, clinching a 4A state championship in the final game in a Myers Park uniform.
“It was 6-3 in the tiebreaker, match point, and Chris looked at me said ‘We’re going to do this, we’re going to win the state championship,” Stover said. “That last point, when I hit the forehand winner and it went by their guy, we just lost it emotionally. We dropped our rackets and jumped in each other’s arms and rest of the team dogpiled on top of us.…
“It was a moment we won’t ever forget, to cap off our (Myers Park) career with undefeated season and a state championship is a dream come true.”
The Myers Park boys’ tennis team (21-0) matched their female counterparts as the Mustang girls did the same thing last fall, going 21-0 on their way to the 4A state title, also beating their opponent, Green Hope, 5-4 in the finals.
Like the girls, the Myers Park boys’ were dominant all season, winning 168 matches, while losing only 18.
While Stover and Williams were the leaders, Myers Park entire top six, including the 4A state championship’s most valuable player, Dillion, Jr., Dean, Fox and Reiney all came up big in the playoff run.
Meanwhile, Coach Flynn finished his 2016-17 tennis season, a perfect 42-0.
“I still can’t believe this (two state titles) actually happened to win both state finals in such a dramatic way is hard to process, it’s going to take a while to sink in,” Flynn said.
Immediately after winning the state championship, several of the Myers Park players, including Stover and Williams had to hop in the car and get back to Charlotte for the Mustangs’ prom.
They returned home by 4:15, we’re at pictures by 6 p.m., then dinner, then the prom dance by 8:30 p.m.
While the entire day is still a blur, Williams says it was an experience he will always cherish.
“That has to be one of the best days of our lives (May 20), to win a state championship then go to prom and have everyone congratulating us was great,” Williams said. “But the moment I will never forget is when Flynn (Stover) his that last shot (to win the state title) and jumped into my arms and the whole team piled on. This is something we will tell our grandchildren 70 years from now. I can’t think of a better way to end our Myers Park careers.”
Charlotte Country Day Tennis Team: The Charlotte Country Day tennis team also finished off a perfect 19-0 season with a NCISAA 3A state championship, beating rival, Providence Day, 5-0, at Charlotte 49ers’ Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex on May 20.
The Country Day boys won their first state since 2011.
But, Charlotte Country Day tennis coach, Calvin Davis, led the Bucs’ boys to their 17th NCISAA state title overall. He has also led the Country Day girls’ tennis team to 14 state crowns, including the 2016 state title last fall. Davis’ Country tennis team were a combined 36-1 this school year.
Charlotte Country Day seniors, Maylin van Cleeff and Jackson Motchar finish their Bucs career with a championship, while juniors, Luke McClelland and Vaed Khurjekar, will be back to try to lead their team a repeat performance.
Claudia Dickey, Charlotte Latin Girls’ Soccer: For most of her Charlotte Latin junior, Claudia Dickey’s career, she has made big plays as an all-state goalkeeper.
Dickey, a University of North Carolina commit, is also a goalkeeper in the U18, U.S. National team pool.
But with Latin teammate, sophomore, Ruthie Jones, who is a goalkeeper in the U17 U.S. National team pool, it allowed Dickey to spend some time in the field.
While Dickey had a strong season both in the field and in the goal, she saved her best for last as scored the game-winning goal to help Charlotte Latin beat rival Providence Day to win their third straight, NCISAA 3A state championship on May 19.
Dickey, who played holding, center midfielder in the game, scored the game-winning goal with 18 minutes left, but dominated the game in the air, according to Latin soccer coach, Lee Horton.
“I don’t know how this sounds when I say this, but Claudia is just a freak of nature, she is an incredible athlete,” Horton said. “Claudia won almost every ball in the air and just completely dominated the game (state championship).”
Michael Sanders, Cannon School Golf: The Cannon School junior won his second straight, NCISAA 3A state, individual championship in dramatic fashion, with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff to outlast Ravenscroft’s Ryan Gerard.
Sanders, a Davidson native, shot a 69 on day one of the state championships, before carding a 67 to pull even with Gerard, forcing a playoff.
Cannon School junior, Lansdon Robbins, also earned all-state honors, finished 4th at the same event.
The Cannon School golf team was NCISAA 3A state runner-up to Ravenscroft.
Savannah Brown, Hickory Grove Softball: The Hickory Grove sophomore pitcher led the Lions (24-3) to NCISAA 3A state championship, going 3-0 on the mound in the state semifinal and state finals on May 19-20.
Brown was the winning pitcher in all three wins last weekend, as Hickory Grove beat Wake Christian, 5-3, Friday afternoon, then beat Wesleyan Christian, 18-1, Friday night.
She came back Saturday, leading the Lions to a 5-0 victory over Metrolina Christian, to clinch the NCISAA 3A state title.
Brown also hit .500 in the same three games with two home runs and a triple.
Brown went 24-2 on the mound this season with 254 strikeouts, seven no-hitters and 12 shutouts while also hitting .561 at the plate.
Charlotte Country Day Girls’ Lacrosse Team: Charlotte Country Day seniors, Carter Williams, and Jaclyn Perkins, led the Bucs’ girls’ to their fith straight, NCISAA state lacrosse championship on May 20, beating rival, Charlotte Latin, 15-6.
Williams, a Coastal Carolina University signee, had four goals, while Perkins, an Ohio State University signee, had three scores, in the championship game.
Williams had 35 goals and 50 assists this season, while Perkins scored 50 goals and had 20 assists for Charlotte Country Day (12-7) this year.
Quinn Schneider, Woodlawn School Track: The Woodlawn School senior finished his Trailblazers’ track career with three, NCISAA 1A state championships in the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs on May 20, at Campbell University.
Schneider set a personal-record in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:59.92.
Schneider finishes his Woodlawn School track career with six state titles to his credit.
Schneider, U.S. Naval Academy appointee, reports to the school later this summer, where he will also continue his cross country and track careers.
Demarkes Stradford, Charlotte Latin Track: The Charlotte Latin junior had another record-breaking day, running a NCISAA 3A state record, 10.65, to win the 100-meter dash at the NCISAA 3A state championships on May 20, at Winthrop University.
Stradford also won state titles in the 200-meter dash, while helping the 4 X 100 (42.41) and 4 X 200-meter relays (1:28.86) (with Grant Balogh, Parker McDowell and Melvin Rouse in both relays) to state crowns in school and state record times.
Emerson Porter/Gracie Whelan, Providence Day Track: The Providence Day senior duo both won four state titles in their final high school meets to help the Charger girls to their 5th NCISAA state, team championship on May 20, at Winthrop University.
Porter, a University of North Carolina signee, won state championships in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, the pole vault and helped the 4 X 200 relay to a state crown. She set a personal record in the 100-meter hurdles (15.48 seconds).
Whelan, a Brown University signee, won the 200 and 400-meter dashes, while helping both the 4 X 100 and 4 X 200-meter relays to state titles. Whelan set a personal-best in the 400-meter (55.95 seconds).
Providence Day sophomore, Olivia Hee, also had a big meet winning the 100-meter dash, long jump and helping the 4 X 100-meter relay to victory.
Noah Dolhare, Providence Day Track: Meanwhile, the Providence junior led the Charger boys’ to their fifth straight, NCISAA 3A state, team championship, winning the 1600 and 3200-meter run state titles on May 20.
Dolhare won the 1600-meter run in a personal-record 4:22.14, while taking the 3200-meter crown in another outdoor, personal record of 9:22.62.
Sarah Billiard, Covenant Day Track: The Covenant Day senior finished her Lions’ career in championship fashion, tying a personal-best jumping 5-6 to win the NCISAA 3A state championship in the high jump on May 19, at Winthrop University.
Billiard’s started her track career about a month and a half ago, competing in her first track meet ever, April 5 at Cannon School.
Billiard claims her first state title, after the Covenant Day volleyball team came up just short, losing three straight years in the NCISAA 3A state championship game (2013-15).
Billiard now takes her talents to the University of Virginia, where begins her college volleyball career this summer.
Mariah Howlett, Lake Norman Charter Track: The Lake Norman Charter junior dominated en route to 2A state championships in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs on May 19, at North Carolina A&T University.
Howlett set a personal-record in the 1600-meter run in 5:03.80, beating the field by more than three seconds.
She ran a 11:02.51 to win the 3200-meter run, beating the field by nearly 15 seconds.
Ishaq Smith, North Mecklenburg Track: The North Mecklenburg senior won the 4A state championship with a personal-best 21.83 from the inside lane (No. 1) on May 19, at North Carolina A&T University.
Smith also led the 4 X 100-meter relay to a seventh-place finish at the state meet.
North Mecklenburg finished third in the state as a team at the 4A state championships.
Victoria Ballard, SouthLake Christian Track: The SouthLake Christian senior finished her Eagles’ track career in style, running a school record and personal-best 12.87 to finish fourth in the 100-meter dash at the NCISAA 3A state meet at Winthrop University on May 20.
Ballard leaves SouthLake Christian with school record times in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes, the long jump and as a part of the school’s best 4 X 100, 4 X 200 and 4 X 400-meter relays.
Sam Zayicek, Lake Norman Baseball: The Lake Norman junior, leadoff hitter set the tone for the Wildcats in playoff wins over Mooresville and Southeast Guilford to help his advance to the 4A West Regional final series versus T.C. Roberson this week.
Zayicek went 3-for-4 at the plate in Lake Norman’s 11-1 win over Mooresville on May 16, also collecting two doubles and two RBI in the win.
He also went 2-for-3 at the plate and pitched 2/3 of an inning with strikeouts in Lake Norman’s 7-3 victory over Southeast Guilford on May 20.
Zayicek, a High Point University commit, is hitting .448 for Lake Norman (26-3) this season with nine doubles, three triples, a home run, 24 RBI, 12 stolen bases and is also 4-1 on the mound as a pitcher.
Grace Kwiatkowski/Cassidy Wheaton, Community School of Davidson Girls’ Soccer: The Community School of Davidson, all-state, senior duo leads one of the states’ stingiest defense as the Spartans have given up on 18 goals in 25 games this season.
Kwiatkowski and Wheaton played big roles in Community School of Davidson’s two playoffs win last week, beating Union Academy, 5-1 on May 17, then defeating Bishop McGuinness, 4-1 on May 20.
Kwiatkowski and Wheaton lead a defense that 14 shutouts this season, allowing just four goals in four playoff games to date.
The defending 1A state champion, Spartans (24-1), host Gray Stone Day in the 1A West Regional final (state semifinals) on May 23 at Pine Lake Athletic complex.
Eveleen Hahn, Charlotte Catholic Girls’ Soccer: The Charlotte Catholic sophomore forward continues to step up in big games as she scored both goals in the Cougars’ 2-0 win at Hough to advance to the 4A West Regional final (state semifinals) at West Forsyth on May 23.
Hahn has 30 goals and 10 assists this season. She has four hat tricks, and seven multi-goal games this year for Charlotte Catholic (21-2-3).
Kieran Rinaldi, Lake Norman Girls’ Lacrosse: The Lake Norman senior attacker was named Conference 10 offensive player of the year after scoring 63 goals and dishing out 47 assists this season.
Rinaldi, a Radford University signee, also had 61 draw controls and picked up 28 groundballs.
Rinaldi finishes her Lake Norman lacrosse career with 192 goals, placing her third all-time in school history, and 124 assists, which is second all-time.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELP US FIND THE ATHLETES
This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through May 21. In most cases, the athletes featured will come from sports that don’t get a lot of recognition. However, the goal is to recognize excellence. If you want to suggest someone to be included in This Season’s Finest column, send email to Jay Edwards at email@example.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.
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