Teams from around Mecklenburg County gathered last month for the fourth annual CPI Security Kick CF kickball tournament to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis.
The event, held at Providence High School, was hosted by Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross.
In the first three years of the event, more than $200,000 has been raised; another $80,000 was added at the April 30 event.
"It is a great event and has been really successful throughout the first three years," Gross said. "My teammates are extremely supportive of it and we always have a great turnout. It has evolved into this all-day tournament, but it is a great way to give back, and it is a great cause."
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Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects approximately 300,000 people in the United States.
The tournament got under way at 9 a.m., as teams competed in a double-elimination tournament. The tournament winner faced a team of Panthers players including Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams, Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Kalil, Matt Moore and Armanti Edwards.
Newest Panther Cam Newton made his first public appearance as a member of the team at the kickball tournament.
Prizes, autographed merchandise and more are auctioned to help raise awareness, and one lucky attendee will walk away with airfare, hotel accommodations and two tickets to the Super Bowl.
"I am incredibly proud of how this has gone over the years, and we hope to do it for years to come," Gross said. "It is something that started because of my niece but has grown into a great event, and we have been able to raise a lot of money for research." Gross's niece, Brooklyn, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after her birth in 2005.
"The foundation is so accommodating and easy to work with that (the tournament) goes without a hitch. I love seeing all of my teammates helping and love when the fans come out."
Countryside Montessori will host its annual athletic banquet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The new head of school, Chuck Nusinov, will serve as the guest speaker. The event will honor all of the middle- and upper-school athletes in grades 5-12 and is the biggest awards banquet to date. This is the first year the Mustangs have had a senior class to honor. The first Martin P. Haugh Athletic Achievement Award will be presented. Haugh, along with his wife Debby, founded Countryside 30 years ago. Martin retired in 2010, and Debby will retire June 3.