South Charlotte

This season’s finest: Providence Day’s Reed Baker proving ‘Everybody Loves Lacrosse’

Reed Baker, Providence Day Lacrosse
Reed Baker, Providence Day Lacrosse Providence Day Athletics

Reed Baker, Providence Day Lacrosse: Reed Baker loves lacrosse.

The Providence Day senior, co-captain has been playing since he was in the second grade.

But, near the end of his sophomore season, Baker wanted to find a way “to give back to the game that has given him so much.”

With the help of Providence Day lacrosse assistant, Ken Loeber, made the Everybody Loves Lacrosse (ELL) program from a vision into a reality.

Baker’s vision was visit to local elementary schools and help teach the fundamentals of lacrosse to students who might not otherwise have access to the sport.

Now, every Thursday in the fall and into the winter, Baker and five Charger teammates from varsity and J.V. teams visit either Ashley Parks or Merry Oaks’ Elementary where they teach 20 to 30 kids everything from the fundamentals of the lacrosse to the values of competition and sportsmanship. Baker says he has pool of about 25 players and growing who want to go every week.

ELL has also benefited from donations of lacrosse equipment from Providence Day and the Charlotte Hounds.

“I did a lacrosse clinic with kids one time before I had started this program and I enjoyed it so much, I thought I want to do this again,” Baker said. “Lacrosse has basically been life and I know how much fun it is and I wanted to give other kids a chance to experience that feeling. It’s so fun to be out there and just to see the smiles on their faces and how excited the kids are about the lacrosse is worth every minute of my time. …

“Everybody from the Providence Day lacrosse teams loves coming out.”

Baker’s passion for the game is also evident in his own play as he has improved each season of his four-year varsity lacrosse career.

After serving as a role player for most of his freshman and sophomore seasons, Baker had a breakout campaign last year, scoring 46 goals, 23 assists with 61 groundballs to earn all-CISAA conference honors on a Providence Day team (14-9) that got to the NCISAA state semifinals.

But this season, Chargers’ coach Bobby Thompson says Baker has “taken his game to another level,” both on and off the field for the team.

Baker had one of his biggest weeks last week, starting with seven goals in 17-15 win at rival, Charlotte Latin on March 28.

Two days later, Baker had two more scores in another critical, 10-9 overtime victory over Charlotte Country Day. Baker’s first goal in the game was also the 100th score of his Providence Day career.

The Chargers’ midfielder capped his week with four more goals in a 11-3 win over Ravenscroft on April 1.

Baker is on pace for a career year with 30 goals as Providence Day is off to a strong 9-3 start, including 2-0 in conference play.

“Reed has a passion for the game that not many players have,” said Thompson, in his 12th year as the Providence Day lacrosse coach, and who also played college lacrosse at Siena College. “From his play on the field to his program, it all speaks to his personality and maturity as a person. All of the kids look up to him and it’s not by accident. He takes his role as a leader on this team and of his program to heart. Nothing he does really surprises me.”

While Baker hopes to finish his career with (state) championship season, he will continue his lacrosse career at Bowdoin College, where his father, Bill, also played goalkeeper. Reed’s mom, Meg, also played college lacrosse at Denison University.

While Reed Baker is excited to carry the family tradition, he hopes his ELL program will also continue as a tradition for Providence Day players. Baker says he has few players in mind that could carry on the program.

“It’s been a great experience to give even some of what I have received from the game back,” Baker said. “We definitely want to keep this program going. I’m not sure who benefits more from this experience, us or the kids that we are working with.”

Myers Park Tennis Team: Coach Ed Flynn and his Myers Park tennis team is dominating their opponents on the court this season as they have won 99 matches, while losing only five this season.

The Mustangs are a perfect 12-0, including 6-0 in Southwestern 4A conference play.

Myers Park had another strong week last week, beating defending 3A state champion, Marvin Ridge, 7-2, while blanking conference rival, Butler 6-0, in a rain shortened match.

The Mustangs have a strong lineup from top to bottom: sophomore, No. 1 Mark Dillon (9-2 singles); senior, No. 2 Flynn Stove (8-0); senior, No. 3 Chris Williams (6-2); sophomore, No. 4 Sam Dean (5-0); sophomore, No. 5 Charlie Rainey (10-1); and junior, No. 6 Charlie Fox (9-0).

Myers Park hasn’t lost in doubles’ play this season, with the No. 2 doubles’ tandem of Stover and Williams, leading the way at 11-0.

B.J. Lomax, Statesville Christian Baseball: The Statesville Christian junior had one of his best overall games of the season, leading the Lions to a 5-4 win over Hickory Christian on March 28.

Lomax went 3-for-4 at the plate with doubles, two runs scored, a RBI, and three stolen bases. He scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Lomax was also the winning pitcher in the same game as Statesville Christian (7-1) won their seventh straight contest.

Lomax is 3-0 on the mound, while hitting .524 with seven doubles this season.

Ayden Yates, Lake Norman Charter Girls’ Soccer: The Lake Norman Charter freshman forward is scoring goals at dizzying pace for the Knights in her first high school season.

Yates had three goals, including the game-winner, in Lake Norman Charter’s 5-4 overtime victory over South Point on March 27.

Two nights later, Yates scored three more goals and had two assists in the Knights (9-2) 9-0 win at Ashbrook.

Yates, who has four hat tricks in the last six games, has 19 goals and five assists on the season.

Brooke Freeman, South Iredell Girls’ Soccer: The South Iredell senior, co-captain accounted for eight of her team’s nine goals in their 9-0 win at Statesville on March 28.

Freeman, a Catawba College signee, scored five goals and had three assists in the victory.

Freeman, who has nine goals and eight assists to date, has been a major factor in the Vikings’ 10-0 record this season.

Eliza Robinson, Community School of Davidson Girls’ Soccer: The Community School of Davidson senior midfielder had five more assists last week to help the Spartans to two more wins, pushing their record to 13-1 this season.

Robinson, a Middlebury College (Vermont) signee, had three assists in the 4-0 win at Thomas Jeffersonon March 27, and then added two more assists in a 7-1 victory over Lincoln Charter on March 29.

The ladder game gave Robinson 55 career assists, making her the all-time assist leader in Community School of Davidson soccer history.

Robinson has five goals and six assists this season.

Alina McCue and Maddie Coggins, Covenant Day Girls’ Soccer: Covenant Day’s dynamic duo has the Lions off to a 5-2 start, tied atop the CISAA conference standings with Providence Day.

McCue and Coggins, both seniors, have combined for 22 goals, including five hat tricks this season.

McCue leads the team with 12 goals, three hat tricks, including a three goals in a 6-0 win over Charlotte Country Day on March 28.

Coggins, who had 10 goals this season, had the other three scores against Country Day, giving her a second hat trick this year.

McCue is signed to play college soccer at Mercer University, while Coggins signed to play at Palm Beach Atlantic University (Fla).

Bentley Settin, Ardrey Kell Girls’ Soccer: When Ardrey Kell senior center back Grace Pilcher went down for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Knights’ freshman Bentley Settin knew she had to step up her game.

Settin has done just that as she has played every minute of every game at center back for Ardrey Kell as the Knights (8-3-3, 5-0-1) are in first-place in the SoMeck8 conference.

Settin has led a defense that has surrendered only 10 goals in 14 games.

Last week, Ardrey Kell got wins over South Mecklenburg, Parkwood and West Mecklenburg, outscoring their opponents, 17-1.

Settin also had three goals and three assists on the season.

Alejandro Castrejon, Harding Girls’ Soccer: The Harding senior captain led the Rams to 5-0 win over West Mecklenburg on March 28, scoring a goal and an assist.

Castrejon, who plays the attacking central midfield position, leads the Rams (5-3) with five goals this season.

Olivia Hee, Providence Day Track: The Providence Day sophomore had one of the best performances of her track career, earning the Queen City Relays’ female most valuable player (MVP) honors April 1 at Myers Park.

Hee won the long jump and finished third in the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 12.20 at the Queen City Relays.

She set a personal and school record earlier in the week in the long jump, going 18-7.5 to win at Charlotte Christian tri-meet, March 29.

Hee’s long jump is the third-best in the state this season, while her 100-meter (12.20) is the sixth-best in the state this season.

Jonna Strange, West Iredell Track: The West Iredell freshman set school records in both the 1600 and 3200-meter runs, running personal bests in both events at North Iredell, March 29.

Strange ran a 5:44 in the 1600 and a 12:01 in the 3200 to finish second-place in both events.

Strange’s 12:01 in the 3200-meter run is North Carolina’s top time run by a freshman this outdoor season and No. 39-best overall in the state, regardless of class.

Strange also finished as runner-up in the 800-meter run at the C.W. Porter Relay Invitational at South Caldwell on April 1 in a personal-best, 2:47.44.

Jaclyn Perkins, Charlotte Country Day Girls’ Lacrosse: The Charlotte Country Day senior midfielder continues to be hot as she scored 14 goals to help the Bucs to win over Ravenscroft and Centennial High (Ga.) in back-to-back days.

Perkins, an Ohio State University signee, had eight goals in Country Day’s (4-3) 17-6 win over Ravenscroft on March 31.

The Bucs’ all-state midfielder came back the next morning pouring in six more scores in a 17-11 victory over Centennial High.

Perkins had 28 goals and 12 assists this season.

Joe Gitlin/Cece Colombo, Charlotte Latin Lacrosse: The Charlotte Latin duo helped the Hawks’ boys’ and girls’ teams to big wins last week.

Gitlin, a senior, had 10 goals and three assists to help the Latin boys’ lacrosse team beat Charlotte Christian and Durham Academy and lost a tight game to Providence Day.

Gitlin had his best game of the week with five goals in a 17-11 win over Charlotte Christian on March 30.

Colombo, a sophomore, had her best game of the week, scoring three goals and dishing out an assist in Latin’s (5-2) 19-10 win over Providence Day on March 28.

Belle Hardwick, South Mecklenburg Girls’ Lacrosse: The South Mecklenburg sophomore had one of her best all-around games of the season in one of the Sabres’ biggest victories, scoring two goals and dishing out four assists in their 16-8 win over Butler on March 27.

Hardwick, who also had seven draw controls in the same game, has 14 goals, six assists and 25 draw controls this season.

Hardwick also had a big game at Butler on March 9, scoring a season-high six goals in 12-6 win.

Owen Swavely, Lake Norman Golf: The Lake Norman sophomore shot an one-under par, 71, to earn medalist honors while helping the Wildcats win the North Piedmont conference match at Statesville Country Club on March 29.

Swavely is averaging a 38 per nine holes this season.

Trevor Childers, East Lincoln Baseball: The East Lincoln senior had a big week, leading the Mustangs to Southern District 7 (SD7) conference wins over West Lincoln and Bandys to help his team stay atop the league standings at 10-2 (8-0) in SD7 play.

Childers started his week by by hitting a two-run homer to help East Lincoln beat West Lincoln 7-2 on March 28.

Three nights later, Childers went 2-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, two runs scored, a RBI, while also earning the victory on the mound in the same game.

Childers, who is 2-0 on the mound, hitting .289 at the plate, is a Western Carolina University football signee.

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: edwardswork23@gmail.com.

HELP US FIND THE ATHLETES

This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through April 2. 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 edwardswork23@gmail.com. Please include the athletes’ name, school, class and applicable game performance statistics. Coaches must be willing to verify information.

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