Up & Coming Weekly

August 22, 2017

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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24 UCW AUGUST 23 - 29, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. (910) 364-6638. HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Attention Students: Do you have a story or idea to share with High School Highlights? Email us at highschoolhighlights@upandcomingweekly.com Tennis Preview by EARL VAUGHAN JR. There will be a changing of the guard on the tennis courts at Terry Sanford this season. At Pine Forest, last season's Mid-South 4-A Conference champion, coach Mandy McMilan and players hope it will be business as usual. McMilan bid farewell to the last of a strong group of players that have starred for Terry Sanford in recent years and will now be turning the squad's future over to a new generation. "This is kind of a growth year,'' she said. "We've only got two seniors, one of them being my No. 1 player.'' But don't let lack of experience make you think this won't be another strong Bulldog team. "We've got a lot of talent,'' McMilan said. "We're very sophomore- heavy. It's looking real good for next year and the year after.'' Melissa Lu, one of the two seniors on the squad, moves up to No. 1 singles. McMilan called Lu an extremely dis- ciplined player who doesn't show a lot of emotion on the court. "She's even keeled,'' McMilan said. "She's just a solid player. As long as she stays focused and is on her game, she'll be a contender at states.'' Meanwhile at Pine Forest, the Trojans made their first trip to the state dual team playoffs for the first time in years. Coach Jarrod Britt lost three of his top six but returns a pair of sophomores at first and second court to anchor the team. "We've got a little bit of filling in to do,'' he said. "We're pretty happy with what we've got coming back.'' Leading the returners are No. 1 singles player Kelcie Farmer and No. 2 Shania Lane. Farmer was the Mid-South 4-A Conference player of the year last season. "She wins more by attrition than anything else,'' Britt said. "She's very well-conditioned and forces a lot of errors. Very consistent.'' Playing No. 2 singles again this year is Shania Lane. Tall and powerful, Britt said Lane has a strong serve, backhand and forehand. "She moves well and just really overwhelms oppo- nents whenever she plays them,'' he said. The only oth- er returner for the Trojans is Emily Harris, who was No. 6 last season. "She's a senior and one of the best leaders on our team,'' Britt said. "She doesn't say much, but she gets it done on the court.'' This season, the Mid-South 4-A is no more and Pine Forest will be in a new combination 4-A/3-A league, the Patriot Conference, which includes Terry Sanford. When the playoffs arrive, they won't play each other, as each will still qualify in their respective size classification. Britt looks forward to playing the Bulldogs on a regu- lar basis. "Obviously Terry Sanford is a perennial tennis powerhouse,'' he said. "We scrimmaged them last year before the start of the season and it kind of showed us where we were. "I love playing tough teams during the season. It pre- pares you for the postseason, kind of gets you ready for that survive and advance mentality you've got to have in the playoffs.'' Melissa Lu Kelcie Farmer Shania Lane Jesse Autry is beginning his 21st sea- son as cross-country coach at South View, and little has changed. His Tigers again figure to be among the top con- tenders for local glory in the sport. The girls, though a little banged up to start the year, are state-ranked by NCrunners.com. Leading the returners for the lady Tigers is Faith Roy. "You know what a gym rat is?" Autry said. "She's a track rat. She puts in the work. She's easily run over 350 or 400 miles this summer. She's very focused when she trains.'' Autry said Roy lives by one of the mantras of the South View cross- country program: Practice makes permanent. "She's got talent and work ethic,'' Autry said. Unlike in years past, Autry said his boys' team doesn't have one super-runner, like Philip Hall who's now on the cross-country team at NC State, along with his younger sister Janay. Autry doesn't expect the boys to be state-ranked like the girls, but that doesn't mean the Tigers won't be strong again. "We raced Apex Friendship in a two-mile race at camp and beat them head- to-head,'' Autry said. "We were surprised.'' The Tiger boys also showed in that race that running as a pack will again be a key for South View. "Our spread at camp between No. 1 and No. 7 was 12 sec- onds,'' Autry said. "It's what gave us success.'' The top runner in camp for South View was junior Keith Johnson. "His wall's not decorated with plaques and medals, but I feel real good about him,'' Autry said. "I feel real good about all of them.'' Autry said the biggest news in the cross- country world is that the N.C. High School Athletic Association has changed some of its regional assignments, and South View now finds itself in the same regional with the strong cross-country program of Green Hope in Wake County. "The big question is can South View or anybody get out of the Mid-East Region to go to the state meet,'' Autry said. "My guys have got a chip on their shoulder about that.'' Autry said his boys remind him a lot of his 2010 team, which finished runner-up in the state 4-A meet. "They were ranked 11th going into the state meet and lost by one guy,'' he said. "This team's mentality is a lot like that. We'll see how it all shakes out.'' Regardless of state competition, Autry expects to find plenty of tough foes within the county. "Rachel Henderson does a really good job coaching Gray's Creek, and Terry Sanford's girls are traditionally pretty tough,'' he said. On the boys' side, Autry said Jack Britt and Pine Forest are among the tradi- tionally strong teams, but he thinks Cape Fear may be the team to watch. "They had a heck of a group of freshmen last year,'' he said. "A lot of people are talking about those freshmen. I've got one eye peeking over at them.'' Cross-Country Preview by EARL VAUGHAN JR. Keith Johnson Faith Roy

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