Top 5 sports stories of 2017

By: By Amber Hatten-Staley - Sports editor
Courtesy photo One of the top five sports stories of 2017 was St. Andrews University’s decision to suspend their men’s lacrosse team for the 2017-18 school year.
Amber Hatten-Staley | Laurinburg Exchange The top sports story for 2017 was Scotland High School senior Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back for the Class of 2018, committed to play Division I football for the University of Georgia.
Courtesy photo One of the other top five sports stories for 2017 was Laurinburg native Rob Harvell making his directorially debut with the documentary The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family & Football.

Zamir White selects Georgia

Five-star recruit Zamir White verbally committed to play Division I for the University of Georgia in June, on his mother’s birthday. He officially signed his letter of intent to be a Bulldog on Dec. 20, the first day of the early singing period.

What was the No. 1 running back for the Class of 2018 and was being courted by every major football program in the country including Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and the University of North Carolina.

For his career at Scotland, White tallied 738 carries for 7,168 yards with 119 rushing touchdowns and 127 touchdowns.

Those staggering statistics ranks him fifth all time in North Carolina in total touchdowns and ninth all time in total rushing yards.

For his efforts, Zamir has twice been named conference player of the year; 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year for North Carolina; 2017 NCPreps.com Player of the Year; 2017 Sam B. Nicola Award National High School Football Player of the Year; Army All-American; four-time conference players and was a finalist for the Army All-American Bowl’s Player of the Year.

Laurinburg native directs movie on Bobby Bowden

Laurinburg native Rob Harvell, a 2002 graduate of Scotland High School, makes his directorial debut in January of 2017 with his film The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family & Football. The movie was screened in 450 theaters for a one-night-only showing.

The two-hour documentary follows the life and career of Bobby Bowden, former head coach at Florida State University, and his team of loyal assistants and players who fought against odds and obstacles to forge one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports.

Filming began in the fall of 2015 and staying true to his Scotland County roots Harvell made sure to include his hometown and its people as much as he could. The film opens with a shot of downtown Laurinburg with Lynn McDougald playing Ann Bowden in the film. Harvell’s former troop, Boy Scout Troop 420, also makes an appearance.

St. Andrews suspends lacrosse

St. Andrews University suspended its men’s lacrosse program for the 2017-18 school year.

The university’s Facebook post says despite St. Andrews having fielded successful men’s lacrosse teams in the past, the program is being suspended to “analyze the recruiting strategy, identify a new head coach and rebuild the roster with student-athletes who can successfully return the program to the field.”

The post goes on to say that in order for St. Andrews to reinstate the men’s lacrosse program it needs to “identify a head coach who understands the mission of athletics at St. Andrews and reflects the Champions of Character initiative of the NAIA.”

St. Andrews Athletic Director Glenn Batten said the plan is for the men’s lacrosse team to begin competition in the 2019 season. Batten said two seasons ago the lacrosse team went to the NAIA National Championship — which he cited as one of the reasons why the school choose to suspend the program.

The Knights finished the 2016-17 season with a 2-7 overall record and 1-5 in conference play. St. Andrews did not qualify for the AAC tournament this year.

Scotland adds athletic programs

In March, school officials unanimously voted to add swimming and bowling to the athletic rosters at Scotland High School along with adding track and field and wrestling to Carver and Spring Hill Middle schools.

Swimming and bowling were added to the athletic rosters at the high school while track and field and wrestling at the middle school level.

Prior to the vote, each of the schools held interest sessions to find out how many students were interested in the sports. There was enough interest in swimming at the high school to have a co-ed team. Both sports have been added to the winter sports roster.

Jennifer Carter and Megan Jerigan were named the swimming and bowling coaches at Scotland High and their teams are currently in the middle of their respective seasons.

Carver Middle School and Spring Hill Middle School had a large number of children interested in wrestling and track and field. The plan is to combine students from both middle schools to create one wrestling team. Each school had enough interest for separate track and field teams.

Fighting Scots play for 4A state title

The Fighting Scots were one of 16 teams playing on the final day of the 2017 season. It’s the third time since 2011 the team has played for a state championship and the fifth time overall for head coach Richard Bailey. The veteran coach played for a state title three times at Jack Britt and now twice at Scotland. The team’s only state title came in 2011 under former head coach Chip Williams.

The Scots lost to Harding University, 30-23 on Dec. 9 in Winston-Salem in the 4A state championship. Their quest for a state championship saw the Fighting Scots win their seventh consecutive conference title — this time a Sandhills Athletic Conference. The Scots finished the season with a 12-2 overall record and 7-0 in the SAC-8.

The 4A runners up earned a conference best 12 All-SAC-8 selections and swept the special awards. Seniors Zamir White and Chris Williams were named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year while Bailey was tabbed Coach of the Year.

Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]

Courtesy photo One of the top five sports stories of 2017 was St. Andrews University’s decision to suspend their men’s lacrosse team for the 2017-18 school year.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Lacrosse-1.jpgCourtesy photo One of the top five sports stories of 2017 was St. Andrews University’s decision to suspend their men’s lacrosse team for the 2017-18 school year.

Amber Hatten-Staley | Laurinburg Exchange The top sports story for 2017 was Scotland High School senior Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back for the Class of 2018, committed to play Division I football for the University of Georgia.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Zamir-Front-1.jpgAmber Hatten-Staley | Laurinburg Exchange The top sports story for 2017 was Scotland High School senior Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back for the Class of 2018, committed to play Division I football for the University of Georgia.

Courtesy photo One of the other top five sports stories for 2017 was Laurinburg native Rob Harvell making his directorially debut with the documentary The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family & Football.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Rob-Harvell-1.jpgCourtesy photo One of the other top five sports stories for 2017 was Laurinburg native Rob Harvell making his directorially debut with the documentary The Bowden Dynasty: A Story of Faith, Family & Football.

By Amber Hatten-Staley

Sports editor