Up & Coming Weekly

September 03, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 29 of 36

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 4-10, 2019 UCW 29 Farmer leads way for rebuilding Trojan netters by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Jonathan Wood got a nice present as he took over the Pine Forest tennis team as head coach this year. His returning squad includes Kelcie Farmer, who was the Patriot Athletic Conference tennis player of the year last season and winner of the 4-A half of the league's singles title. Wood is in his first year coaching tennis, but it hasn't taken him long to be impressed with Farmer's tenacity and work ethic. "I know she gets a lot of private lessons,'' he said. "She gets to travel around and see a lot of pro events. She learns from what she watches.'' Wood called Farmer a dynamic and power- ful player in her ground game and with her strokes. "She's an all-around great player and great teacher to the other girls,'' he said. As returning conference player of the year, expectations are obviously high for Farmer, but Wood said she's not burdened by the pressure of dealing with that. "She knows her abilities and skills,'' he said. "I think it's just a pressure she's naturally born to conquer no matter what. I don't think it's a pres- sure to her. She hasn't dropped a game yet.'' Wood said the key this season is for Farmer to focus on what she needs to bring to the court to help her teammates. "She's our No. 1 for the fourth year in a row,'' Wood said. "She can't get too ahead of herself, just keep a humble mind and continue to live off the skills she's been able to produce over the last three years.'' Farmer feels she's grown into a leadership role on the Pine Forest team and can help her team- mates out. She feels her serve has gotten stronger over the last few years but is still a work in progress. "I'm making sure I'm getting more first serves in play,'' she said. "That's what starts your points. Without a good serve, it's kind of hard to get into groundstrokes and volleys. Everything starts with the serve.'' Farmer thinks the Trojan team is in a rebuilding year as many players from last sea- son either graduated or are attending school elsewhere. "We look at each game as if it's going to be a state championship,'' she said. "We're going to try our hardest and have fun at the end of the day.'' Bulldog 'Road Warriors' headed for Reid Ross field by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Forgive the Terry Sanford foot- ball team if it foregoes the nick- name Bulldogs this season and opts for Road Warriors instead. They're doing it with good reason. Because the school's aging foot- ball stadium was demolished earli- er this year in preparation for con- struction of a new one for the 2020 season, Coach Bruce McClelland and his team won't play a single game on their campus. They will be moving to Reid Ross Classical High School's John Daskal Stadium on Ramsey Street, which hasn't hosted high school regular season games since Ross was closed as a tradi- tional senior high school in the mid-1980s. McClelland said the group he feels is making the biggest sacrifice are the seniors on this team and their parents. "They've spent so much time giving to the program, and it's their senior year and it's kind of like you've been displaced,'' he said. That's where the Road Warrior mindset kicks in. "We've taken that Road Warrior mentality, tried to pump them up with that,'' McClelland said. This year, Terry Sanford was scheduled to play five home games and six on the road. They elected to flip the home-and-home arrangement with Jack Britt to allow as much time as possible to get the Reid Ross field up to date. The Bulldogs won't play their first varsity game at Ross until Sept. 20 when they host Cape Fear. They got in a trial run last week as they were scheduled to play a junior varsity game with Britt at Ross. McClelland said the current plan is for the Terry Sanford staff to take care of lining and painting the Ross field for varsity games. He's also enlisted the help of baseball coach Sam Guy to make sure the surface of the field at Ross is in the best shape possible. "Sam has been real instrumental in taking good care of the field over here,'' he said. "His baseball field looks so good.'' McClelland said Terry Sanford plans to treat each visit to Ross much like it would a road trip to neigh- boring E.E. Smith High School. The players will eat a pre-game meal at Terry Sanford, dress and go through their walk-through on Friday before taking the short bus ride to Reid Ross. The home stands will be the set of bleachers closest to Ramsey Street. One good thing about Reid Ross is it has press boxes on both sides of the field, so the Bulldogs should have no trouble finding space for print and electronic media to have seats along with the crews from both schools that videotape the game. There should actually be more on campus parking than at Terry Sanford. McClelland said the school hopes to make some money off that by selling season- long parking passes for $30, which will come down to $10 per each of the three home games that will be played at Reid Ross. Terry Sanford's final home game with Pine Forest will be at Fayetteville State's Jeralds Stadium when the Bulldogs will celebrate Senior Night. In addition to the parking in front of the school, there is a rear parking lot behind the visitors stands that can be accessed by a residential street at the end of the stadium furthest from the school itself. Tickets will be sold on both sides of the stadium. McClelland hopes Terry Sanford will be able to visit the stadium Thursdays and have a brief prac- tice on the game field to get used to it. The tentative plan is for the team to enter the field through a small group of trees outside the rear entrance to the gymnasium at the main school building. The schools plans a major outreach to alumni and boosters in the next couple of weeks to make sure everyone knows where to go and where to park. "Safety of the kids is the most important thing to me,'' McClelland said. "All the other stuff is luxury. My responsibility is to the parents and the kids and their safety. "That playing surface is the No. 1 thing.'' Bruce McClelland A view of what will be the home bleachers when Terry Sanford plays its varsity and junior varsity football games at John Daskal Stadium at Reid Ross Classical High School this season Jonathan Wood Kelcie Farmer

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