Crowning Chatham Central girls tennis team 1A State Champions and more

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/8/19

In 2018 after the NCAA bowl season was complete the University of Alabama was awarded the National Championship in football after winning the playoffs. Central Florida, not in the playoffs, finished unbeaten that season and bucked the NCAA and declared itself as the real National Champions complete with a trophy and parade.

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Crowning Chatham Central girls tennis team 1A State Champions and more

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Posted

In 2018 after the NCAA bowl season was complete the University of Alabama was awarded the National Championship in football after winning the playoffs. Central Florida, not in the playoffs, finished unbeaten that season and bucked the NCAA and declared itself as the real National Champions complete with a trophy and parade.

So I am now following suit and proclaiming the Chatham Central girl’s tennis team as your official 1A NCHSAA State Champions, and I think my case is much more valid than that of Central Florida which didn’t play in a P5 Conference.

Now in the state record books, Pine Lake Prep, which beat Chatham Central in the Western Finals last Wednesday afternoon in Mooresville 6-0 before returning to the state title match in Burlington and winning its first ever state crown over Franklin Academy, will be listed as your state champs.

But in reality, Chatham Central was the best “true” 1A public school team in the state of North Carolina this fall. The Lady Bears were not only the last real public school in the final four, but also the final eight, with the other seven teams all being charter schools, or simply a private school in the case of Bishop McGuinness.

Of course we all know the history of Bishop McGuinness and Winston Salem Prep, I’ve seen great teams from Chatham County such as P.J. Lowman’s Jordan-Matthews boy’s basketball teams, Gerald Binkley’s Chatham Central girl’s teams, Jeff Stutts Jordan-Matthew’s girl’s teams, and Bill Slaughter’s Chatham Central boy’s teams fall to those recruiting machines when in reality they could have won some state titles for our county. Bishop McGuinness and Winston Salem Prep simply dominated the 1A ranks for over a decade despite outcrying from the mountains to the coast in the Tar Heel state.

So what does the NCHSAA do, they decide to take it a step farther and include charter schools and academies into the NCHSAA public athletics, mainly due to increased revenue, and in less than a decade, these schools have started dominating the 1A ranks in most sports.

Just up the road last school year Uwharrie Charter in Asheboro, virtually a newbie to 1A, captured state championships in wrestling and baseball.

Now let me say I have nothing against charter schools, my kids attended Chatham Charter School for years and I also know many people at Woods Charter. And neither recruit for athletics. But they are the exception to the rule.

My main point is that if they wanted to, in reality, they could, as a lot of charter schools do. And why not, they are allowed a 25 mile window around the school to draw in students, basically a 50 mile radius.

And example of this was my first season coaching middle school girl’s soccer at Chatham Charter, I had players that could have attended Jordan-Matthews, Chatham Central, Northwood, Providence Grove, Eastern Randolph and Southern Alamance. That’s just off the top of my head and the enrollment of those schools per the ADM’s just released by the NCHSAA on Monday were 5,560.

Again, none of those kids were recruited at Chatham Charter, but you can certainly see the huge advantage charter and academies have when they do recruit. It takes a special team to actually compete with those schools in any sport especially in the 1A ranks where enrollments are generally in the 500’s and less.

That’s what Chatham Central had this season. A special team led by the Hughes twins, Taylor and Cameron. In a true 1A setting, they were the state champions and that includes being better than traditional powers Mount Airy, etc.

And in my opinion, another true 1A public school, like many others before them in Chatham County and the state of NC, were robbed of a state title. Am I proposing ridding of charter schools and academies? Of course not, I personally think they are a good thing. Competition is good especially in the academic circles.

Just create another classification for them. Go to 6A and allow charters and academies to have the 1A classification. The NCHSAA is set to go to a 5A soon regardless, so just add one more.

Through the grapevine and athletic circles I’ve heard that the NCHSAA is fearful of litigation, that the charter and academies would not be happy with this solution. Personally I don’t think that would be the case, a small minority at the most. Regardless they would have a classification and would still be governed under the NCHSAA, and would still be able to play in conferences with the other true public schools, but just separate come state playoff time.

Secondly, and I’m not trying to come across rude, but for the ones that would be upset, who cares? The NCHSAA certainly hasn’t seemed to care that flagship public schools for decades and decades were upset when Charlotte Catholic, Bishop McGuinness, Cardinal Gibbons, Winston Salem Prep and the likes were allowed to compete with public schools despite them being private and having no recruiting boundaries. So why all of a sudden has this changed?

In reality it’s not that hard and an issue that should be addressed. Personally seeing the charter schools in a classification and competing for state titles would be fun to watch, and also fair to the true 1A schools that have much smaller limited boundaries and numbers to field teams with.

So that’s my stance, and I’m officially declaring the Chatham Central girl’s tennis team as the NCHSAA 1A State Champions for the 2019 fall seasons. Well done Coach Heather Brooks and Lady Bears, you deserve it! If anyone wants to chip in and buy these young ladies a trophy, they deserve it. And I’m not even kidding.

Switching gears a bit, if you are free Saturday and looking for some football action, ride up to Providence Grove.

The Quad County Football League will have its 2019 Championships and Chatham County is heavily involved.

The little guys will kick things off at 9 a.m. with Flag title game which will feature East Chatham taking on Asheboro.

At 10 am, Asheboro and Randleman will battle in the 8U contest.

Then the showdowns commence with Siler City and East Chatham waging war to decide the 10U crown at 11:30 a.m., before Siler City and East Chatham tangle at 1 p.m. for the 12U title.

So again, if you want to see some great football action with our young kids here in Chatham County going out and representing our communities, please come up and support these teams. It’s an incredible event year in and year out and you will be amazed at some of the performances by individuals and teams alike.

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