Longtime Charlotte Country Day tennis coach Calvin Davis has been named high school coach of the year by the Professional Tennis Registry. The Registry has more than 15,000 members in 125 countries.
Davis has led Country Day’s girls to 15 state championships, including eight straight from 1990-97. The Bucs won four straight from 2013-16. Davis’ boys teams have won 16 state championships since 1990, including an unbeaten run to the championship in the 2017 season.
"Calvin has built a tennis program that is chock-full of state championships, all-state player recognitions, college scholarships, and coaching recognitions,” said Country Day head of school Mark Reed. “But what’s most impactful and meaningful is the role Calvin plays in developing young men and women of honor, in teaching them how to win with humility, and teaching them to be leaders on and off the court."
Davis also runs the Tennis Advancement Program, a junior tennis academy held at Country Day’s Cannon Campus.
Among his many career recognitions, Davis was named by the Charlotte Observer as one of the city’s top ten coaches of all time, across all sports. He is a four-time Observer Tennis Coach of the Year. The High School Coach of the Year designation comes on the heels of Davis being recognized by the PTR as its North Carolina Member of the Year in 2016. He was also inducted into Country Day's Honorary Alumni Association in 2017.
In addition to team success, more than 80 of his student-athletes have gone on to play college tennis, and three have played professionally.
In last weeks 78-76 playoff loss to Winston-Salem’s Mount Tabor, Freedom High’s Fletcher Abee finished with 34 points. He made six three-point shots and broke his school record for 3-pointers in a season. He had 99. He had 98 in his sophomore season. He has 264 3-point makes in career, which is a school-record and ranks among the top 10 in N.C. history.
Abee shot a school-record 89.3 percent from the free throw line.
▪ Ardrey Kell sophomore Luke Stankavage had a career-high 31 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a Sweet 16 playoff loss to Independence last week. He made 15-of-15 free throw attempts, a school-record. He hit 27 straight free throws to end the season.
Ardrey Kell won at least 20 games for the sixth time in the school’s 12-year history.
Two Hickory Hawks signed with colleges: Lincoln Lutz (Lenoir Rhyne University) and Hunter Shew (Methodist College)
Jay Edwards Boys Athletes of the Week Feb. 12-16
David Kasanganay, Ardrey Kell Basketball: Ardrey Kell was down 64-63 in overtime to Olympic with 13 seconds to play in the SoMeck7 conference championship game Feb. 16, when Knights’ coach Michael Craft drew up two different plays for his team -- one designed for a man-to-man defense and one for a zone defense.
The goal for each play: get the ball to Ardrey Kell senior guard David Kasanganay.
When Kasanganay received the ball from teammate Harper Hendricks, he quickly faked left, and then drove right and pulled up from the three-point line.
"When the ball left my hand, it felt like it was good," said Kasanganay, of his game-winning shot that gave Ardrey Kell a 66-64 win and the SoMeck7 conference tournament title. "But I must have shot it a little strong because it banked in and then the buzzer sounded. I really don’t care how it went in, I just wanted to make a play for my team.
…To see a shot like that go down for the conference title, I’m still at a loss for words… (pausing), it’s just very special."
Kasanganay’s shot gave Ardrey Kell its first conference tournament title in the school’s 12-year history.
Kasanganay, a Navy recruit, finished his career last week with 968 points, third-most in school history.
"I’m not sure if David even shot that ball, but he got it there and it went in," coach Mike Craft said. “It’s a storybook ending for David and our team. For us to have a 19-point lead and then see Olympic come all the way back and take the lead, we could have folded. But we didn’t."
Kasanganay’s game-winning three-pointer was just the finale to a game for the ages for the Ardrey Kell guard, who poured a career-high 28 points, including seven three-pointers on the night. He also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Kasanganay says he found extra motivation from the fact that he had scored just three points 10 days earlier in a 60-47 loss to the same Olympic team.
"That game (Olympic game) had a lot of emotion, because I had played so bad the previous week (Feb. 6) against Olympic," Kasanganay said. "I wanted to redeem myself, especially in the conference championship game."
Eric Hudson, Jr., West Mecklenburg Wrestling: West Mecklenburg junior Eric Hudson was named most outstanding wrestler at the N.C. 4A individual state championships after he won the first championship of his career.
Hudson beat Jack Britt’s Erick Martinez in a thrilling 13-12 decision in the final to claim the 195-pound, 4A state title at Greensboro Coliseum, Feb. 17.
Hudson (41-1 this season) was also named the MOW the week prior, when he won the 4A West Regional title (195) at Hough.
Hudson, Jr., who has a 3.9 GPA, notched his 100th career victory with is his 4A state quarterfinal win over Laney High’s Lael Willis.
Tyler Gregor, Hickory Ridge Wrestling: Hickory Ridge senior Tyler Gregor finished his high school wrestling career by winning his third straight individual state championship, capping a perfect 42-0 season.
Gregor beat Holly Springs’ Josh Lehr in a 9-7 decision to claim the 132-pound 4A state championship at Greensboro Coliseum, Feb. 17.
Gregor’s third state championship gives him one more than his older brother, Troy Gregor, who also starred at Hickory Ridge.
Tyler will join his brother on the Belmont Abbey wrestling team next season.
Tyler Gregor finishes his Hickory Ridge career with 178 victories, putting him second all-time in school history.
Tyrie Houghton, Weddington Wrestling: Weddington senior Tyrie Houghton capped his Warrior wrestling career in style, completing a perfect 59-0 season by winning a 3A state individual championship at Greensboro Coliseum, Feb. 17.
Houghton, an N.C. State signee, won the 195-pound, 4A state championship by beating previously unbeaten Orange High wrestlerBraden Homsley.
Houghton, who was a 3A state runner-up last year, finishes his Weddington wrestling career with 151 wins.
Silas Shaw/Isaac Byers, Mooresville Wrestling: The Mooresville junior duo both won their respective 4A state individual championships at the Greensboro Coliseum, Feb. 17.
Shaw (42-2 this season) won his second straight 4A state championship, this time beating Brougton’s Nash Philbeck to claim the 145-pound title.
Byers (46-4 this season) won the 138-pound 4A state championship defeating Broughton’s Nick Valdespino.
Mooresville, led by Coach Ben Watson, was also the top scoring team at the 4A state, individual championships with 125.5 points.
Will Edmiston/Nathan Dugan, Lake Norman Wrestling: The Lake Norman juniors also both won 4A state individual state championships at the Greensboro Coliseum, Feb. 17.
Edmiston (45-3 this season) beat South Caldwell’s Kaleb Queen to win the 113-pound, 4A state title.
Meanwhile, Dugan (46-2 this season) knocked off Jack Britt’s Luke Roberson to win the 182-pound, 4A state championship.
Charlotte Latin Wrestling Team: The Charlotte Latin wrestling team won its seventh straight, NCISAA state championship at Wesleyan Christian Academy Feb. 17.
Hawks’ Coach David Paige got points from 12 of his 14 wrestlers, but won the state title with just one Latin wrestler winning an individual state championship in freshman, Dean Omirly (197-pound weight class).
Charlotte Latin also got state runner-up finishes from Buchanan Perrigo (108), Sam Turner (147), Kase Mermans (154) and McRae George (222).
Girls’ Athletes of the Week
Claudia Dickey, Charlotte Latin Basketball: Claudia Dickey has had some big moments for as an all-state performer for both the Charlotte Latin basketball and soccer teams.
But the Charlotte Latin senior had one of her best weeks on the basketball court with back-to-back triple-doubles to lead the Hawks to the NCISAA state semifinals, Feb. 23.
Dickey started her week with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, including the 500th assist of her career, in a 46-34 win over Greensboro Day, Feb. 13.
Two nights later, Dickey had 28 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists as Latin rolled to a 62-30 quarterfinal victory at North Raleigh Christian. She nearly averages a triple-double this season with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists per contest.
The most remarkable thing about Dickey’s accomplishments on the basketball court is that it is not even her main sport.
The all-state goalkeeper, who is a member of the U19 U.S. Women’s National team, is a University of North Carolina signee.
When the Latin girls’ basketball team finishes their season, Dickey will make the switch from the hardwood to the soccer field in about a month, where she will try to help lead the Charlotte Latin girls’ soccer team to their fourth straight, NCISAA 3A state championship.
Ahlana Smith, Mallard Creek Basketball: The Mallard Creek senior earned the I-Meck conference tournaments’ most valuable player (MVP) honors, averaging 18.3 points, five rebounds and 4.3 steals in three games, to lead her team to the league (tournament) title.
Smith, a UCLA signee, had her best game of the week in the I-Meck 4A conference championship game, scoring 21 points, grabbing five rebounds and five steals to lead the Mavericks to an 86-46 victory over Mooresville, Feb. 16.
Mallard Creek (25-2, 14-0) has won 40 straight conference games, dating back to the 2015 season.
Jadin Gladden, South Mecklenburg Basketball: The South Mecklenburg senior played a huge role as the Sabres won three straight games this week to win the SoMeck7 conference title.
Gladden had 15 points and 21 rebounds in South Meck’s 45-39 conference semifinal win over Berry, Feb. 14.
Two nights later, Gladden had a 15 points and four rebounds, as the Sabres knocked off top-seeded Ardrey Kell 59-55, to win the SoMeck7 conference tournament title. South Meck handed Ardrey Kell their first home loss in the same game.
Madison Bailey, Freedom Basketball: The Freedom junior guard led the Patriots to the Northwestern 3A/4A (NW3A/4A) conference tournament title, scoring 51 points while making 14 three-pointers in three games.
Bailey scored 17 points, including five three-pointers, to lead Freedom (22-4, 13-1) to a 60-55 victory over Watauga in the NW3A/4A tournament final, Feb. 16.
Jasona "Tee" Ballard, Rock Hill Basketball: The Rock Hill senior forward averaged 13 points 14.5 rebounds to help the Bearcats to advance to the S.C. AAAAA quarterfinals.
Ballard, a Converse College signee, had 13 points, 14 rebounds and two steals in Rock Hill’s 77-37, 1st round victory over Mauldin, Feb. 13.
Three days later, Ballard had another double-double: 13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three steals in a 50-30 win over Dorman.
Ballard, who averages 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, also excels in the classroom, where she has a 4.36 GPA.
Erin Cepeda, Comenius Basketball: The Comenius senior guard had two triple-doubles and won the Charlotte Area Christian Athletic Association (CACAA) player of the year, all while leading her team to a CACAA tournament title.
Cepeda started her week with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 59-22 victory over Carolina Christian in the opening round of the CACAA tournament, Feb. 13.
Three days later, Cepeda had 22 points, 18 steals and 11 assists to help Comenius beat Arborbrook Christian for the CACAA tournament championship. Cepeda also won CACAA tournament MVP honors for her performance.
Cepeda, who averages 21.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 6.3 steals per game, has "a lot of interest," as a college basketball recruit, according to Comenius basketball coach, Patty Cepeda.
Want to nominate an athlete?: Athletes of the week highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Feb. 18. The goal is to recognize all athletes in all sports, both the most accomplished and the underrated or underappreciated players. If you want to suggest someone to be included in the Athletes of the week column, send email to Jay Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.