LAURINBURG — Scotland High School hosted its annual combined winter and spring sports banquet Monday night, where coaches from 13 sports honored their student-athletes with end-of-season awards.
The six spring sports — boy’s golf, softball, track and field, girl’s soccer, baseball and boy’s tennis — had three teams qualify for regionals and one advance to state.
It was a frigid season for the Fighting Scots golf team, according to head coach Keith Wood.
“We didn’t play a match that the temperature was above 65 degrees,” he said. “It was always really cold and windy but these guys stuck is out.”
The Scots finished fourth in the conference and eighth at regionals. Junior Mason High paced the Scots shooting a 79 and missed advancing to state as an individual by one stroke.
For his efforts, High was named the team MVP. Sophomore Andrew Hartwell earned most improved and junior Nicholas Thompson received most dedicated.
The Fighting Scots tennis team had one of its best seasons in recent history. The Scots finished 12-3 overall and 12-2 in conference play for second place. The team advanced to the individual and dual team state tournaments. Scotland lost in the first round of the dual team tournament but had one double’s team advance to the second round of the individual tournament.
For their efforts, the Scots had four all-conference selections seniors Nyjel Collins-Jackson, Sam Poage and Ryan Phillips and junior Nate Dubbs.
“Start to finish they were mine,” said head coach Atondra Ellis.
Poage and Collins-Jackson shared the MVP award while Dubbs earned the coach’s award. The team’s only sophomore, Nicholas Murphy, was named most improved.
It was a season of small victories for the Lady Scots soccer team. First-year head coach Jason Eury called it “an improvement season.”
“In the past two years we’ve given up 80 fewer goals — 40 in 2016 and 40 in 2017,” he said. “It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.”
The Lady Scots soccer team finished 2-14-3 overall and 2-10-2 in conference play for seventh place. First-year player Ashley McGugan earned the most improved award after taking over as goalie.
“I knew someone that could protect a volleyball net the way Ashley did, had to be half-way decent at goalie,” Eury said.
The team’s other senior, Willow Holman, received the coach’s award. Junior Sarah Eury was named the MVP — her father/coach was quick to point out the MVP selection was made by the team, not him. Junior Angel Moore received the defensive player award.
The all-conference selections have not been announced because Pinecrest was still competing in the 4A state playoffs.
Track and field
The Fighting Scots and Lady Scots track teams made strides this season as both finished fourth in the conference. The coaching staff tried something new, instead of a boy’s and girl’s head coach, they had position coaches. Dennis McFatten coached the sprinters and hurdles, while Thomas Havner coached the throwers and Megil McLean coached the distance runners.
“We saw a great improvement in the team as compared to past years,” said McFatten.
The teams qualified for regionals in 18 events and advanced to state in two — boy’s 4×100 meter relay and girl’s 300-meter hurdles. The foursome of seniors Trey Dixon and Laron Quick, junior Tyshoun Thomas and freshman Jumarius “JJ” McLean finished sixth in the 4×100 meter relay. Freshman Sanya Lacue placed 16th in the 300-meter hurdles. In her first varsity track season, Lacue competed at state which earned her the most improved award.
The girl’s MVP in the running event was sophomore Ziaya Edwards who competed in the 100-meter dash. Fellow sophomore Kendriana Fraizer earned the girl’s field events MVP. Junior Kayla Kirkley received the most dedicated award as she competed in any event her coaches assigned her. Nautika Moore earned the final recognition — the coach’s award.
For the boy’s sophomore Deandre McKinnon was named most dedicated while freshman JJ McLean won the field events MVP for his triple jump of 44 feet, 4.5 inches. Junior Tyshoun Thomas was named the running events MVP. Freshman Darius Dockery received most improved for the boys and the coach’s award went to sophomore Kendrell Sellers.
McFatten also recognized the team’s 16 seniors and informed them that each would receive an MVP plaque and a warm-up suit for their contributions to the team.
It was a roller coaster season for the Lady Scots softball team and first-year head coach Adam Romaine. The team finished the season 9-10 overall and 5-9 in the Sandhills Athletic Conference for sixth.
First-year varsity starter senior Mason Roberts earned the most improved award after returning to the sport following a four-year hiatus. Fellow seniors Macie Gibson and Katie Lighthall earned the defensive and offensive MVP awards. Gibson was moved from center field to third base and Lighthall led the team in the batter’s box. Senior Kandon Luquer earned the coach’s award.
The all-conference softball selections have not been released because Jack Britt and Richmond are still playing in the 4A state playoffs.
The Fighting Scots baseball team was knocked out in the first round of the state playoffs after a 15-11 season and an 8-6 mark in conference play to finish in a tie for fourth with Hoke County.
Senior outfielder Grant Burleson received the coach’s award while fellow senior Davon Ratliffe was named the defensive MVP for his uncanny ability to track down a fly ball in center field. Junior first baseman Austin Norton earned the offensive MVP and senior all-conference selection Daly Marcano was named the overall MVP.
Fellow pitcher Matthew Hyatt earned the Curtis Britt award as an excellent representative of Scotland’s baseball program.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]