This issue of Cavs Corner wraps up our fall sports season preview by taking a look at the cross country and golf teams. With all athletes being off last week due to class trips, the only competition to report came from two local non-conference games featuring our varsity boys soccer and volleyball teams. All of our teams will now be in full swing as the girls tennis, girls golf and boys soccer squads compete at home on Friday; meanwhile, the field hockey team travelS to Charlotte to battle Country Day and the volleyball team will compete in the North Raleigh Christian tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Boys Cross Country
Coach Costen Irons enters the 2017 season with one of DA’s strongest boys programs in recent memory. After back-to-back runner-up finishes in the state meet, could this be the year that the boys squad breaks through with a state championship? Unfortunately, defending state champs Cary Academy continue to be a thorn in the Cavs’ side; along with Providence Day, these three schools will battle for the top spots all year.
Ranked preseason No. 13 in the state for all classifications, the Cavaliers will feature a strong top four in senior captain Ethan Goldman, juniors Jack Anderson and Neil Mosca, and sophomore Mark Alkins. Goldman will be tasked with being the team leader and potentially the team’s top runner as he will try to improve upon last year’s fifth-place finish in the state meet. Alkins, also a returning All-State performer after his ninth-place finish, Mosca (11th) and Anderson (24th) anchor a team comprising 27 runners. Three runners who could have an impact on the team’s scoring will be sophomores Mac Hayes and Bennett Dombcik and junior Tigey Jewell-Alibhai. Irons points to Dombcik’s dedication to his running, as he was the No. 15 runner last year and beat his personal record by more than a minute in the first race of 2017.
Irons references a quote from 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.” Irons enjoys celebrating the progress of all of his runners, not just those at the top. He says his team is about “building a culture where everyone’s effort impacts each other.”
Girls Cross Country
The 2017 girls cross country team should also have a strong year and hopes to have a top-10 finish in October’s state meet. After an 11th-place finish a year ago, this year’s team will be led by seniors Cami Simpson and Lauren Harpole. These two will captain a team of young and excited runners as the current top eight include three ninth-graders and three sophomores. For Irons, the key letter for this team is “P” — “process,” “progress” and “PRs.” He says it is important that these 19 runners love to run and want to be the best they can be individually and as a team.
One of the newcomers who had an immediate impact in the girls’ first meet is ninth-grader Anna Catherine Wilson. Wilson won the Aug. 24 tri-meet with a time of 22:06. In fact, the girls swept the top eight spots in the win over Wake Christian and High Point Christian. In addition to the two captains and Wilson, the top five included sophomore Fran Pacchiana and ninth-grader Quinn Shanahan. Irons says, “Shanahan’s work ethic and dedication have stood out early.” Boo Briggs and Mira Pickus, two more ninth-graders who impressed in the meet, are girls Irons thinks will run consistently in the top seven. Sophomore Claire Middleton is knocking on the door of this top group of runners and will provide depth as the season moves forward. Irons is excited about this year’s group of runners, not just for their times and scores but for their excitement and enthusiasm.
The theme for this year’s girls golf team might just be the emergence of the “Baby Sisters” as two seventh-graders — both younger sisters of current and former Cavalier golf stars — are taking center stage. Greg Murray, who has coached the girls golf team for the entirety of its existence, watched his first group of golfers graduate last spring including Madi Dunk and Ashley Kim, two of the team’s founders and All-State players.
Junior captain Haley Leversedge, one of the team’s top returners, is sidelined with an injury to start the season, so Murray and his team will rely on seventh-graders Ona Lukes and Kayley Kim for scoring. Lukes, younger sister of three DA golfers (Dylan, Quade and Ethan) and Kim, younger sister of Ashley, each scored in the top three in the Cavs’ opening match, a 10-stroke loss to Wesleyan Christian. Murray mentions sophomore Brooke Aurentz and ninth-grader Lydia Norman, who is in her third year on the team, as two other returners who should play into the team’s top six. With the youth on this team, Murray hopes that they will once again be ready to compete for a conference crown and earn a bid to the state tournament.
Week in Review
All teams were off last week for class trips, and only two varsity events were held this week. While the girls tennis showdown with Greensboro Day was postponed due to the weather, boys soccer and volleyball were back in action against local foes on Wednesday.
The volleyball team battled N.C. School of Science and Math, the team’s second straight matchup with the Unicorns. Unfortunately for the Cavs, a repeat of a victory from Aug. 26 was not in the cards, as the Unicorns took a 25-22, 25-16, 25-11 win.
The boys soccer team continued an unbeaten run to start the season with a gritty 2-0 win at Jordan on Wednesday. The Cavaliers improved to 4-0-1 thanks to late goals from captains Nick Epstein and Carter Owen and a tremendous performance from keeper Roberto Escobar. The win over the Falcons is the first over the Cavs' neighborhood rival in 12 years. Escobar was the story of the first half, as he had eight of his 12 saves including a save on a penalty kick and the ensuing rebound to keep the game scoreless. Jordan, ranked 10th in the News & Observer area top-25 poll, and the Cavs remained scoreless until Epstein's goal from sophomore Crosby Williams with three minutes to go. Owen also added a late goal from Williams in the final 30 seconds, and the Cavs celebrated a huge win in their first game back from trip break.
The Week Ahead
Next week features a full slate of events, including a Tuesday tennis showdown with reigning TISAC champ Cary Academy and another field hockey trip to Charlotte, this time against defending state champ Charlotte Latin. Please check out the poster below for all of our athletics events including junior varsity and Middle School teams. Thank you for your support of DA athletics!
Click infographic below for full resolution.
Keeping up with the Cavs
As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the DA App:
www.da.org/athletics: Schedules and Results
- For a list of all teams, their schedules and directions to games, visit www.da.org/teams.
- 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.
- For a recap of athletics results and scores, visit www.da.org/scoreboard.
- 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 http://bit.ly/DACavaliers. 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.