Now that the school year is coming to an end, the Daily Journal will be reviewing the top 10 sports stories — which will be published in reverse order — from the 2017-18 school year at Richmond Senior High School.
There were a dozen sports programs, seven of them having boys and girls teams, that saw action during the last 10 months. In that time, history was made, records were broken, champions were crowned, future stars were born, and some coaches made their debuts while others said their goodbyes.
The first installment — which will be the honorable mention — is scheduled to run in Saturday’s paper (June 9), and then the countdown will officially begin with the No. 10 story, available in next Tuesday’s edition (June 12).
Before the top stories are revealed, however, the Daily Journal would like to take a quick look at a handful of the stories/moments that did not make the final list:
HOWARD’S 500TH VICTORY
Newly-retired soccer coach Bennie Howard reached the 500 career-win mark, between both the boys and girls programs, when the boys soccer team took care of conference rival Scotland, 8-3, on Senior Night last October.
Victor Lucero recorded a hat trick in the first half and then added another score with 20:19 left in the game; Brett Baucom scored twice to start the second half; Patrick Hamilton registered his putback goal inside the 52nd minute; and Carlos Alcocer netted one right before intermission.
“I’m happy for everybody who showed up tonight to see a little bit of history,” Howard said. “500 wins is something that I didn’t think would happen (when I started) 30 years ago. (There have) been a lot of different players who contributed to that and I thank them immensely.”
JV CALL-UPS SPARK UPSET
The girls basketball team, which was already a young squad, got some help from a couple of junior varsity players in its 58-47 upset win at Jack Britt in the first round of the Sandhills Athletic Conference Tournament back in February.
Allexis Swiney led all scorers with 21 points, but the play of Jayla McDougald and Jardai Tillman — recent additions, at the time, from the JV team — was the spark the Lady Raiders needed to snap the seven-game losing streak that preceeded the upset. That victory gave them a glimpse of what could be in the program’s future.
“That was a huge confidence builder for the girls to be able to play that well,” former head coach Rosalind McDonald said. “I saw that (kind of play) day in and day out at practice, we just weren’t able to carry that great play into some of the games like we wanted to.”
MULTIPLE BROKEN RECORDS
It was a record-filled night for the Richmond softball team back in April, as it broke the program’s single-game records for most runs scored (34), most runs batted in (28) and most players with multiple runs scored (9) in a 34-1 win at Seventy-First.
Owen Bowers — who finished with a team-high six RBI and hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning — and Savannah Lampley finished with a team-high five runs. Payton Chappell, Kayla Hawkins and Greyson Way each came home four times in the win. Hawkins hit an inside-the-park homer and Greyson Way sent a pair of two-runners over the fence.
That victory secured the Lady Raiders’ third straight conference regular season championship.
“We swung the bat well all year,” head coach Wendy Wallace said. “We go up there looking for our pitches and we don’t get cheated when we’re swinging at the plate.”
STANBACK’S GAME-WINNING TD
The football team’s defensive unit had one of its best performances against Seventy-First, but Malik Stanback’s 86-yard touchdown reception to put the Raiders ahead late is the most memorable moment from that October matchup.
With Richmond trailing by two points, backed up on its own four-yard line with a little more than two minutes to go, Stanback hauled in back-to-back passes from Caleb Hood: one being a comeback route that gave the team some breathing room; the other being a deep ball down the left sideline that resulted in the game-winning score.
The win put the Raiders in position to compete for the conference championship the following week.
“Unbelievable. This is what Raider Magic is all about and I enjoyed being a part of it tonight,” head coach Bryan Till said.
4X100M RELAY DISQUALIFIED
The boys 4x100m relay team (Jaleen Baldwin, Preston Coker, Dante Miller, Malik Stanback) had dominated the competition all throughout the regular season and had a chance to prove that it was, indeed, the fastest group of runners in the state when the NCHSAA 4A State Championship took place at North Carolina A&T State University in May.
Baldwin, Coker, Miller and Stanback finished in first-place with a time of 41.46 seconds in order to be crowned state champions, but about an hour later, it was determined that one of their exchanges happened outside of a zone — and they were disqualified from the competition and stripped of their title.
“I don’t care what the results say, everyone in that stadium knows who the fastest team in the state is,” head coach Chris Campolieta tweeted. “They handle(d) themselves with pride and showed great character.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.