Tuesday marked arguably the biggest day in Northwood lacrosse history, as both the boys and girls teams competed in the 1A/2A/3A state semifinals that night.
The Northwood boys, the No. 2 team in the east region, faced No. 1 Orange on the road Tuesday night (game occurred after press time). A familiar opponent to the Chargers, the Panthers won the Central/Mid-Carolina Conference regular season title and defeated Northwood twice during the regular season.
In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Northwood fell to Orange, 11-8, in overtime back on March 20. The Chargers and Panthers met again on April 19, and Orange was victorious by a 16-10 margin. The Panthers’ top attacker this season has been junior Connor Kruse, who is first on the team with 64 goals and fourth in the entire state with 72 assists.
Northwood has been led this spring by the senior trio of Will Smith (63 goals, 37 assists), Taylor Laberge (60 goals and 38 assists) and Jason Walden (54 goals and 23 assists). In net, freshman James Flanagan is allowing an average of just 5.7 goals per game to opponents this season.
The Northwood girls team was also in action Tuesday on the road at No. 1 seed Croatan. The Chargers came into the game with an overall record of 13-6, having won each of their first three playoff games by an average of 13.3 goals per contest. In a win over J.H. Rose in the third round last Friday, the Chargers got six big goals from senior Mia Collins.
Collins is the team’s top scorer this season, as she came into Tuesday night’s game with 83 goals and 20 assists. Two other Northwood girls lacrosse players have at least 50 goals this season — junior Ryan Tinervin (59) and senior Grace Costa (54).
This is the furthest the Charger girls have advanced in the state playoffs in program history. Last spring, head coach Larry Fritsche’s team lost in the second round to Holly Spring, 22-10.
Track championships set for weekend
This Friday and Saturday, Chatham County’s track and field athletes will compete at their respective state championship meets at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro. After competing in regional championships this past weekend, the local runners, jumpers and throwers are ready for the chance to bring home some hardware at the state meet.
Chatham Charter won’t compete as a team at the 1A championships, but they will be represented by a few athletes, including junior Lucas Smith. Smith won the 400-meter race at the 1A mideast regionals last weekend and finished second and third in the 200- and 100-meter dashes, respectively. Smith was the only Chatham Charter athlete to win an event at the regional meet.
Chatham Central is in a similar boat. While the Bears didn’t qualify as a team, they’ll be represented by senior Kailey Green, who won the girls high jump at the 1A mideast regional with height of five feet.
At the 2A level, Seaforth will try to rally for a better finish after a solid showing at the mideast regionals last week. The Hawks saw three individual win an event, as freshman Cali O’Neill won the 800-meter run in a time of 2:26.19, sophomore Jack Anstrom won the 3,200-meter race in a time of 9:30.38 and freshman Ryan Yoder won the pole vault with a height of 10 feet. Seaforth also won the girls 4x800 relay behind a team of O’Neill, Claire Morgan, Sasha Helmer and Charlie Ann George.
At last season’s state championship meet, Seaforth placed 42nd in the boys meet, while the girls didn’t qualify.
One other individual athlete who will compete at the 2A championships is Jordan-Matthews senior Ahmod McCrimmon. McCrimmon won the triple jump at regionals with a total distance of 42 feet and six inches.
Competing at the 3A state meet will be Northwood, which is coming off an impressive showing at the 3A mideast regionals. The Charger boys placed second in the regional championships, their best finish in school history, while the girls finished in eighth place for the second straight season.
Northwood’s lone individual winners at regionals were Sophia Cremeans, who won the girls pole vault, and Jack Nicholson, who won the discus throw. The two of them, along with fellow athletes Laney Babo, Sydney Gray, Ethan Wilson, Noah Neilson, Jackson Adams, Wiley Sikes, Trey Hudson, Jordan Wiley and Cabot Priddle, will all compete at this weekend’s state meet.
Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.