Cavs Corner: Season Preview, Part III

By Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Information Bria Irizarry 
Twitter: @daathletics
Instagram: @dacavsathletics 

This week, we wrap up fall previews with our cross-country teams and also take a look at how our teams did over the last week. A big highlight was the strong fan presence in attendance at Thursday night’s boys soccer rival game vs. Ravenscroft. We loved seeing our students, teachers, administrators and community at Alumni Field sporting Durham Academy spirit wear!

We hope you’ll take time Friday to come cheer on your Cavaliers as they play a highly anticipated game vs. Jordan High School. Come dressed in black clothing to show your support!

Season Previews

Boys Cross-Country

The boys cross-country team returns with many familiar faces and even greater experience. The team had an extremely successful 2018 season, finishing second in the state by only one point to Charlotte rival Providence Day.

Head coach Costen Irons is striving to build a culture where the 28-member team recognizes every individual’s effort and how each person's effort impacts all other members of the team.

Junior Jay Shanahan, who was placed fifth in the state last season, will be this year’s top returning runner for the Cavaliers. This fall’s top group includes seniors Mac Hays, Mark Alkins and Shan Wang. Hays was No. 10 in the state last season, followed by Alkins (No. 11) and Wang (No. 24).  Seniors Bennett Dombcik, Sebastian Lascola and Ryan Norris will contend for a spot in the top group. Ninth-grader Aaron Caveney and sophomore George Linney performed well in the Durham Academy alumni meet, finishing at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively.

In their first home meet of the season, the DA boys brought in six runners in the top six. Junior newcomer Kabir Khwaja rounded out the sixth spot and DA earned the win against Cary Christian, Trinity School of Durham and Wake Christian.

Irons and the team have embraced the following quote from legendary cross-country and track coach Pat Tyson: “Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool, too.”

Girls Cross-Country

After winning the state championship last season, the girls cross-country team is more focused than ever on the process. Eighth-grader Allison Hall, sophomore Stella Stringer and junior Anna Catherine Wilson, who scored 1-2-3 in the state championships last year, will return as top runners on the team led by senior captain Claire Middleton. Junior Quinn Shanahan, who came in fifth in the state last year, will be a strong addition to the group.

These runners all proved themselves in the first home meet of the year. Competing against Cary Christian, Saint Mary’s, Trinity and Wake Christian, they all scored in the top six and within two seconds of one another. All nine athletes on the team are hoping to be the best they can be as individuals and as a group, and they hope to continue to see progress and personal records as the season evolves.

Both the boys and girls cross-country teams will be in action Saturday, when they host the Durham Academy Invitational. The girls race will begin at 9 a.m., the boys A race at 9:40 a.m., and the boys B race at 10:10 a.m.

Week in Review

Field Hockey

Cavaliers field hockey ended last week with a 3–0 loss in their rematch vs. Charlotte rival Providence Day, but turned things around this week with an 8–1 win over Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons.

DA held strong on defense for the majority of the first half vs. PDS but went down 1 with 10 minutes left in the first half on a PDS breakaway. Sophomore Mirella Kades subbed in at goalkeeper in the second half and PDS made it 2–0. Kades came up with a handful of diving saves, but it was not enough for the Cavs. PDS put one more tally on the board to make the final 3–0.

Last night, the Cavaliers put it all out on the field with five different scorers in their 8–1 win over Gibbons. The team controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, capitalizing on corners and working together on offense. It was 4–0 heading into the second half before Gibbons tallied its first goal. DA was quick to answer with the momentum of senior goalkeeper Victoria Lawton, who saw double-digit saves in both halves. The Cavs continued the scoring streak and won the game with 6 of their 8 goals assisted.

DA field hockey’s record is 3–4. The Cavs will be back in action on Moylan Field at 4:15 p.m. Friday vs. Saint Mary’s School.

Girls Golf

Cavaliers girls golf remains unbeaten after their second tournament of the year vs. Ravenscroft and Saint Mary’s School. DA earned a score of 127 with seventh-grader Saia Rampersaud medaling with a 39 and ninth-grader Ona Lukes just points behind at 43. Senior Boyce Huckabee and junior Lydia Norman both came in at 44 to give DA the lead. Ravenscroft ended the match with a 131, and Saint Mary’s placed third with 173.

The team will take on Cary Academy in a nine-hole match on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Hope Valley Country Club.

Boys Soccer

The boys soccer team had a thrilling Thursday night game last week vs. Ravenscroft. After going down 1 off a second-chance ball halfway through the first half, the team showed an immense amount of grit to battle back. The Cavs earned a penalty kick and senior Ryan Kirschner put the ball in the back of the net to make it 1–1 at the half. The second half started off with momentum swinging between both teams until junior Connor McNamara placed a ball into the box for junior Charlie Robb, who headed the ball past the goalie to put the Cavs up 2-1. Ravenscroft had three shots in the last 10 minutes, but DA held onto the lead and was surrounded by fans who stormed the field after the final whistle.

It was a tale of two games, as the Cavs lost Wednesday to a talented East Chapel Hill High team. The Wildcats got on the board first after a crossed ball into the box was touched into the goal behind junior goalkeeper Sam Datin. East held the momentum into the half to keep the game at 1–0. The second half was a battle in the midfield with the Cavs earning shots on cage from senior Will Nichols, sophomore Charlie Rand and Robb, but with five minutes left in the game, it was East that found the back of the net for a second time to seal the win.

The Cavs move to 3–2 on the season and have a highly anticipated home match vs. Jordan on Friday at 6 p.m.

Girls Tennis

DA girls tennis has had an outstanding week with big wins over Greensboro Day and East Chapel Hill High. On Thursday, the team forced an 8–1 home win against Greensboro Day, sweeping the doubles matches with wins for senior partners Alexis Galloway and Madeline Towning, Sarah Clark and Emma Whitehurst, and Isabella Strauss and Taylor Hunter. In singles play, Towning and Hunter won, and sophomore Mukta Dharmapurikar, senior Alex Bayer and junior Ameya Bellamkonda all won in straight sets.

On Wednesday, the Cavs faced a third-ranked East Chapel Hill High team and came out on top in a 6–3 victory. In the team’s 22nd straight victory, Towning and Galloway won 8–2, Hunter and Whitehurst won 8–3, and senior Sarah Clark and Dharmapurikar lost 8–3. The singles matches did not include Galloway in the lineup, but DA still saw wins from Clark, Dharmapurikar, Strauss and Towning to solidify the win over East. Senior Madeline Towning became only the third female tennis player at DA to reach 100 wins on Wednesday after her doubles win with Galloway, who reached this mark earlier in the season.

Next up, the Cavs host Ravenscroft on Friday at 4:15 p.m.


Cavs volleyball has had a busy week, beginning Thursday in Kirby Gym when the team defeated Greensboro Day School 3–0. After starting the first set with eight consecutive points, the Cavs won 25–15. The team maintained the momentum to win the second set 25–18 and then the third 25–11.

On Monday, DA hit the road to Raleigh to face a highly competitive Broughton High School team that was ranked just above the Cavs at 15. Broughton came out ready to play to win the first set 25–12. A back-and-forth battle in the second set, with some strong defensive play by DA, saw Broughton on top again 25–18. The Cavs continued to put up a fight in the third set, but ultimately came up short 25–18 to lose the match 3–0.

The Cavaliers were back at it on Tuesday in an away contest vs. East Chapel Hill High. DA went up 25–21 in the first set, but the Wildcats answered back in the second, winning 25–23. The Cavs countered in the third set 26–24 to go up one but could not hold on to the lead. East sent the game into the fifth set by winning the fourth 25–18 and pulling out the win 16–14. The 3–2 loss brings DA to 4–3 on the season, heading to North Raleigh Christian Academy for a tournament this weekend.

Keeping up with the Cavs

As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the Durham Academy App (available on the Apple App Store).

  • For a list of all teams, their schedules and directions to games, visit
  • Click on an individual team to subscribe to automatic alerts about athletics results, postponements and cancellations, calendar and athletic event reminders. You can also import team schedules into your electronic calendars.
  • All information about the daily athletics schedule is also available on DA’s Athletics Hotline: 919-489-2534 (ext. 5).

The DA App: Schedules and Results

  • The DA App allows you to keep up with athletics wherever you are. You can download the app from iTunes at The DA App pulls athletics content directly from the DA website and delivers it to iOS-based devices including iPhone and iPad.
  • The Athletics portion of the DA App (after launching, click Menu, then click Athletics to open) features results of recent games, a list of upcoming contests and team records.