Hendersonville volleyball coach Erica Cantrell wasn’t worried so much with strategy during timeouts Saturday inside Reynolds Coliseum.
“I just kept telling the girls to relax and play their game,” Cantrell said. “Don’t worry about what the other side is doing.”
That advice served the Bearcats well as they beat Wheatmore, 3-1, in the NCHSAA 2-A championship match. The set scores were 25-20, 26-24, 22-25 and 25-21.
Saturday marked the 11th state championship for Hendersonville (24-5) which had plenty to overcome since its 10th title. The Bearcats changed coaches (Cantrell replaced Brooke Stanley), moved up a classification in the NCHSAA and had to patch the holes left by the graduation of four seniors off their NCHSAA 1-A championship team from 2012.
Junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Cassie Born was named the most valuable player of Saturday’s match. She had nine kills, while Caylie Shue had 12. Amber Wheeler, Micayla Bedoian and Jamie Lee Zullo added eight apiece.
Hendersonville has five seniors — Shew, Wheeler, Zullo, Clare Little and Tess Russell.
“Today was really about the heart and determination from my girls,” Cantrell said. “They really wanted this. They wanted to prove to everyone that they could do it.”
Boone races to 1-A cross-country title
Time was of no essence to Mitchell junior Zach Boone on Saturday.
The three-time reigning Western Highlands Conference runner of the year simply wanted to win his first state cross-country championship, regardless of what the clock said.
Boone did just that, taking the NCHSAA 1-A title in Kernersville with a time of 15 minutes, 51.84 seconds. Raleigh Charter’s Chris O’Brien was a distant second (16:13.61).
It is the first state cross-country title for Boone, who won two events (the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run) at last spring’s NCHSAA 1-A outdoor track meet.
“I was talking to someone before the race and telling them that I wouldn’t have been nervous if I wasn’t the favorite,” Boone said. “But all the nerves went away once I started running. My time wasn’t really important, winning was all that mattered.”
Robbinsville’s Frank Cline came in third in the 1-A boys race (16:18.18), while Murphy’s Kaseson Hooper (fourth place, 16:24.09) and Mitchell’s Brandon King (sixth, 16:46.41) were also all-state runners.
Robbinsville’s Shawnda Martin was third in the 1-A girls competition with a time of 19:31.06.
Last year’s 3-A state champion, East Henderson junior Tanis Baldwin (15:08.02), came in second to Fayetteville Terry Sandford’s Phillip Hall (15:07.55) by half a second.
North Buncombe’s Travis Leppi (ninth place, 16:04.03) earned all-state recognition.
The Reynolds girls (127 points) were third in the 3-A team competition, led by all-state runner Anna Vess (10th place, 18:54.52).
In 4-A, the Roberson girls (91 points) came in second to state champion Green Hope (81). Lily Anderson (sixth place, 17:58.79) was the only all-state runner for the Rams.
Franklin’s Jimmy Yokel (sixth place, 16:29.38) and Caleb Albrecht (eighth, 16:36.35) placed in the top 10 in the 2-A boys race. For the first time in school history, Brevard had two all-state girls runners — Eliza Witherspoon (seventh, 19:01.33) and Aly Pagano (ninth, 19:28.12).