Sports Shorts for December 30

Porter Ridge lineman La Bianca switches to 49ers

On Dec. 22, Porter Ridge High School football player Thomas La Bianca committed to continue his career with the -Charlotte 49ers’ new program.

La Bianca, an all-Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference selection, was the Pirates’ lone returning starter along the offensive line this season and led the team with 47 pancake blocks.

La Bianca originally committed to play for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers but said he wavered when coach David Bennett was fired this month. The change caused him to give the 49ers another look. The new program had remained in the back of La Bianca’s mind, even after he committed to the Chanticleers.

“Something was nagging at me when I was committed to Coastal Carolina that I should’ve taken a look at Charlotte,” the senior said. “I did kind of regret it. When I talked to (49ers’) coach (Brad) Lambert at Charlotte, he said something was nagging at him to check up on me.”

After Bennett’s firing, La Bianca paid a visit to the UNC Charlotte campus.

“I went and looked at it, and I liked it a lot,” he said. “I feel like that’s the right place. That’s where I need to be.”

The 49ers don’t begin play until 2013, meaning La Bianca and the other members of the program’s first recruiting class will redshirt in 2012, giving them an opportunity to prepare without the pressure of playing.

“I’m really excited about that opportunity because I’m going to be able to get a feel for the schoolwork as well and be able to get in the weight room while getting better on the football field also,” La Bianca noted. “I’m really excited about being part of the first football team and making history.

La Bianca will make the decision official in February when he’s allowed to sign a National Letter of Intent.

Weddington resident Gilmartin an All-American

Weddington resident Ryan Gilmartin (center) recently was presented his Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl jersey by Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep (left) and Football University’s Chris Garris. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Christian School)

Charlotte Christian School eighth-grader Ryan Gilmartin, who lives in Weddington, has been selected to play in the 2012 Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, next month.

In the Jan. 8 game, Gilmartin will play linebacker for the eighth-grade unlimited weight East team. Gilmartin also played running back for Charlotte Christian’s middle school team this fall.

The upcoming game will be the fourth annual Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl, in which the nation’s top players square off in an all-star format.

The Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl consists of the 15-and-under USA-Canada Youth Bowl and three East vs. West all-star games – one for the top 40 seventh-graders with a 175-pound limit, one for the top 40 eighth-graders with a 185-pound limit and a third game featuring the top 40 eighth-graders with no weight limit.

QCAA to hold AAU hoops tryouts

The Queen City Athletic Association will hold the final two tryouts for its AAU boys basketball teams on Sunday, Jan. 8 and Sunday, Jan. 15.

The tryouts will be conducted in south Charlotte at Kennedy Charter School, located at 1717 Sharon Road West.

Tryouts for the fourth-grade team are 1 to 2:30 p.m.; fifth-grade tryouts are 2:30 to 4 p.m.; sixth-grade tryouts are 4 to 5:30 p.m.; and the seventh-grade tryouts are 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call Edward Addie at 704-488-9878 or send an e-mail to

Charlotte Eagles hold open tryout

The Charlotte Eagles, members of the USL PRO League, will be hosting their open tryouts for the 2012 season March 2-3. The tryouts are an opportunity for any free agents, college seniors and other amateurs hoping to make the jump to the professional level.

The tryout will consist mainly of 11-on-11 matches. On the first day of tryouts, players will be competing for an opportunity to come back on the second day to be evaluated by the coaching staff.

There will be a $100 non-refundable registration fee, which will change to $125 after Feb. 15. The walk-up registration fee will be $150. If a player should make the team, the registration fee will be reimbursed.

For more information, visit

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