by Aaron Garcia
Mavs, Cavs claim Wachovia Conference Cups
The final 2011 Wachovia Conference Cup standings were released this week, and Cuthbertson and Marvin Ridge each took top honors from their respective conferences.
Marvin Ridge clinched the Southern Carolina 3A/4A crown with 885 points behind league titles in boys tennis and both boys and girls track and field this spring. Second-place Weddington finished with 792.5 points after tallying second-place efforts in boys tennis and girls soccer. Porter Ridge, which won conference championships in softball and boys golf, finished third with 752.5 points. Sun Valley (682.5) and Parkwood (597.5) rounded out the conference’s top-5.
Cuthbertson narrowly edged Piedmont to earn the Rocky River 1A/2A Wachovia Conference Cup. The Cavs won league titles in girls soccer, boys tennis and earned a share of the baseball title to finish with 132.5 points. The Panthers finished first in boys golf and second in softball, giving them 124.5 points. Central Academy rallied with a strong spring to finish fourth (93.5), followed by Forest Hills in sixth (75.5), Monroe in eighth (60.5) and Union Academy (55.5) in ninth.
The Wachovia Cup award, sponsored by Wachovia and the N.C. High School Athletic Association, recognizes the high schools that achieve the best overall athletic performance within each of the state’s top four competitive classifications. As a companion to the Wachovia Cup, the Wachovia Conference Cup is awarded to the athletics department with the best overall athletic performance in each individual conference. In most conferences, points are awarded based on participation and standings in conference play. Each conference determines its own method of awarding points.
Post 535 ready to keep rolling
Entering the second half of its season, the Union County American Legion Post 535 baseball team has been perhaps the biggest surprise within Area IV’s Eastern Division. Post 535 is 9-3 and currently sitting in a second-place tie with the Mint Hill Senior Marines in the Eastern Division standings behind league-leading Huntersville (12-0).
The team is comprised of players from Marvin Ridge, Cuthbertson, Weddington, Piedmont, Parkwood and Charlotte Christian. Coach Alan Mitchell said he expected good things from his players this year, but not this quickly.
“To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised,” Mitchell said. “Overall, everyone’s come together. We’ve gelled well together. We started out hitting the ball extremely well and the pitching is holding up with the defense. We’re a little bit ahead of where I thought we’d be so far.”
In each of Post 535’s wins, the opposing team was held to four runs or less by Union County’s strong pitching staff, which consists of Weddington’s Jordan Newsome, Cuthbertson’s Preston Morrison, Marvin Ridge’s Brian Peart and Parkwood’s Craig Brooks.
“We’ve got quite a few arms, it’s just (a matter of) trying to get them put into the right areas,” Mitchell said. “We’re a diversified pitching staff; we can start a left-hander and come back in with a right-hander who throws totally different pitches. It mixes the pitching up a little bit and keeps the other teams off balance.”
At the plate, Post 535 has been equally impressive. Mitchell said while Piedmont’s Brad Elwood and the Parkwood duo of Brooks and Preston Helms have been solid all season, the team has received contributions from across its lineup.
“We don’t sit back and wait for the long ball or anything,” the coach said. “We’ve got guys all through the lineup that can hit, so that helps us out a good bit.”
Post 535 last played on June 9. Its next game is on Monday, June 20 when it faces Lincoln County in a doubleheader, meaning the team will have to rebound from an 11-day hiatus, scheduled to allow for high school graduations in the area. As a result, Post 535 will have to play eight games in just six days.
“It’s a lot of baseball, but the biggest thing about my guys is they’re not complaining,” Mitchell said. “They’ve not complained about the heat, they’ve not complained about how many games we’ve got. They’re looking at every day as a new opportunity for us to go out and play some ball. I’m enjoying this group a whole lot.”