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JACKSONVILLE — Junior Reagan Brown, who learned Monday she would be in the starting lineup, registered the clinching point for the 3-A Big East Conference champion Fike High girls tennis team that ousted Jacksonville 5-1 in the opening round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A dual-team playoffs Wednesday.
Brown, at No. 6 singles, won a 9-7 tiebreaker to outlast Lady Cardinals’ junior Regan Baker 6-3 7-6 (9-7).
The Lady Golden Demons, in hiking their record to 16-2, triumphed in the opening round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year and seek their first second-round win since 2010 when they visit Clayton on Tuesday. During the regular season, Fike, playing at home, claimed a 5-4 outcome against Clayton.
Jacksonville, the Coastal Conference queen, fell to 7-2. Jacksonville players have not been in school since Hurricane Florence and are scheduled to return to classes Nov. 1.
The Lady Demons claimed a 1-0 lead when senior Anna Blair Thomas posted a 6-1, 6-2 triumph at No. 3. Junior Logan Adkins bested senior Ashlynn George 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1.
Fike sophomore Sophia Meszaros grinded to a 7-5, 6-2 victory at No. 4. Meszaros rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the opening set and bolted to a 4-0 margin in the second set.
Fike’s advantage became 4-1 when sophomore Cappa Hill, who moved from No. 6 to No. 5 in the lineup, hammered a 6-1, 6-4 conquest of Lady Cardinals junior Bailey Jefferson.
Reagan Brown filled in for sophomore Mia Hamblin, who was not available because of a family obligation.
Jacksonville’s winner was senior Mya Burford at No. 2.
Fike coach Lee Matthews mentioned as pivotal the matches of Meszaros at No. 4 and Brown at No. 6.
“I was very pleased,” Matthews said. “I wasn’t worried about what was going to happen at No. 1 and Anna Blair continued to play well.”
FIKE 5, JACKSONVILLE 1
Logan Adkins (F) def. Ashlynn George 6-3, 6-3; Mya Burford (J) def. Avery Rose Brown 6-2, 6-1; Anna Blair Thomas (F) def. Gabby Kokocha 6-1, 6-2; Sophia Meszaros (F) def. Kristen Painter 7-5, 6-2; Cappa Hill (F) def. Bailey Jefferson 6-1, 6-4; Reagan Brown (F) def. Regan Baker k6-3, 7-6 (9-7).
Ladybirds’ Jimenez wins Big East title
RED OAK — Freshman Jadiza Jimenez of Southern Nash won the girls race Wednesday at the 3-A Big East Conference cross-country championships, the only blip in what was Northern Nash domination otherwise.
Jimenez finished the 5-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 44.25 seconds while the Northern Nash trio of Elana Griffin (21:04.62), Mackenzie Proctor (21:37.41) and Kelsey Hutchison (21:59.09) claimed the next three spots. The Lady Knights had four runners place in the top 10 to earn 28 points, easily eclipsing second-place Rocky Mount.
Fike and Hunt tied for third with 80 points as senior Isabel Reed’s sixth-place finish in 22:37.47 led the Lady Warriors and freshman Blair Boyette, who came in eighth in 23:08.50, paced the Lady Demons.
Despite Jimenez’s heroics, Southern Nash settled for fifth place with 123 points, five better than last-place Franklinton.
In the boys race, the Knights had all five scoring runners finish in the top eight, led by winner Jordan Richardson in 16:12. Northern Nash totaled 21 points.
Southern Nash’s Shamir Small was third in 17:45 while Fike junior Amando Robles was fifth in 18:04, leading the Demons to a second-place overall finish with 58 points. Southern Nash was third with 78 points, followed by Hunt (109), Franklinton (115), Rocky Mount (145).
Chelear Forbes led the Warriors with a seventh-place finish in 18:19 while Fike senior Samuel Stevens was 10th in 18:54.
Top-10 finishers earned all-conference acclaim.
CBA boys register 3rd-place finish
WINTERVILLE — With several runners posting career-best times, the Charles B. Aycock High boys cross country team registered a third-place finish in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference championship meet at Boyd Lee Park on Wednesday.
The Charles B. Aycock girls entered just three runners and did not qualify for a team score.
In boys and girls, the rest of the conference was no match for D.H. Conley.
The Vikings boys placed five runners in the top six and 10 in the top 13 in with a near-perfect 20 points. South Central claimed second with 67 points, followed by CBA (82), Greenville Rose (85), New Bern (129), Southern Wayne (182) and Eastern Wayne (203).
The Golden Falcons were paced by Chance Hobday with a seventh-place time of 17 minutes, 27.06 seconds. Hobday earned all-conference acclaim, while teammate Davis Carroll just missed with a 11th-place time of 17:57.45. Hobday and Carroll raced to career-best times.
Completing the Falcons’ top five were Guy Crane in 19th place, Todd Gardner in 28th and Brady LaVoie in 35th.
The individual winner was Fletcher Bost of South Central with a strong time of 16:32.48.
Runner-up Peyton Walters of Conley trailed Bost by 4.05 seconds. Completing the top six, respectively, were the Vikings’ A.J. Miller, Owen Thorndike, Seth McKinney and Jalen Wilson.
In the girls race, Conley landed three of the top four spots and 10 of the top 15 in totaling 26 points. South Central emerged the runner-up with 41 points, trailed by New Bern (89), Greenville Rose (97) and Eastern Wayne (114).
Victorious was South Central’s Natalie Baldwin with a time of 20:40.05.
Grabbing the next three spots, respectively, for Conley were Jennifer Perez, Emma Cole and Annika Stokes.
Taylor Nevin-Burke led CBA with a 44th-place showing.
Firebirds lose to Red Rams 2-1
FRANKLINTON — Southern Nash’s chance to lock up an automatic bid to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A boys soccer playoffs was turned back as host Franklinton scored the decisive goal in the second overtime Wednesday.
The Red Rams won 2-1 and took the No. 2 spot from the 3-A Big East Conference as they finished 7-3 in the league 15-4-1. The Firebirds, who departed 6-4 in Big East play and 8-9-2 overall, will have one more shot at an automatic bid if they win the conference tournament. Southern Nash, the No. 3 seed, will host No. 6 Northern Nash (5-11-2 overall, 0-10 Big East) in the first round Monday. A victory would send the Firebirds against Franklinton in the semifinals.
Senior Ezekial Gonzalez gave the Firebirds the lead in the first half with classmate Carlos Garcia assisting. But that would be all the scoring for Southern Nash as the Red Rams got the equalizer in the second half.
Eliel Benitez made nine saves in goal for Southern Nash.
Wilson Prep rallies to tourney title
With a goal in the closing minutes, the Wilson Preparatory Academy varsity boys soccer team rallied to the Triangle Athletic Conference tournament championship with a 2-1 conquest of Southern Wake Academy on Wednesday.
Trailing 1-0, the Tigers tied the score when senior Rodney Wimberly headed in a pass from sophomore Alberto Herrera.
Then, in the closing moments, passes from sophomore Devyn Bullock and senior Luis Herrera set up junior Leo Giddens’ decisive goal.
The final minutes were both dramatic and heated. Wilson Prep players drew five yellow cards, while Southern Wake was assessed one red and one yellow card.
The Tigers wound up with 26 shots and freshmen goalkeepers Cameron Bryant and Jerome Bridgers combined for six saves. Wimberly cranked six shots, followed by Giddens, Alberto Herrera, Luis Herrera and senior Denardrick Gray with four each.
Wilson Christian falls in finale
The Wilson Christian Academy volleyball team ended its season with a 25-11, 25-8 North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A East Region loss to visiting Wilmington Christian on Tuesday.
The Lady Chargers finished with a 12-6 record.
Tuesday’s leaders were Reagan Barnes with five service points, an ace and three digs; Peyton Norville with a kill and four digs; Jennifer Edmondson with nine digs; and Lindsey Hunter with five digs.
Firebirds finish on streak
FRANKLINTON — Eric Hernandez had a goal and two assists as the Southern Nash boys soccer team finished play in the 3-A Big East Conference with its fourth consecutive win, a 4-1 defeat of host Franklinton on Wednesday.
Raul Nuñez had a goal and an assist while Alejandro Castro and Mauricio Martinez each scored goals. Peyton Price had an assist for the Firebirds.