Leesville sports teams and athletes had extreme success in the 2016-17 school year. The Pride athletics program won 7 total CAP-8 conference titles and appeared in many NCHSAA 4A playoffs and championship events.
Here is a recap of each sports teams’ success.
Although the team finished with a 6-6 record, the Pride football team participated in the state playoffs and competed well against some of the best teams in the area. Leesville clobbered Millbrook 31-3 at home and put together a good performance in a 24-17 loss to Wake Forest, the 2016 4AA state champion.
Quarterback Vince Amendola, sophomore, threw for 1,698 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games to lead the way for the Pride. Wide Receiver Matt Hamilton, senior, caught 63 passes for 823 yards on the season to lead the team in receiving.
Finishing with a record of 15-6, the volleyball team played phenomenally in a talented CAP-8 conference. Leesville competed in the state playoffs again this season, the team’s sixth straight playoffs appearance.
The highlight of the Pride’s season had to be their 3-2 win over Broughton. Ranked 15th in the area by the News and Observer at the time, Leesville handed top ranked Broughton their first regular season loss since 2014.
With a 16-7-1 record, the men’s soccer team placed first in the CAP-8 and participated in the state playoffs. The team’s conference title was their second straight, clinching the championship with a 3-0 win over Wakefield. Helping guide the team were Mason MacLauchlin, senior, and Luca Menozzi, senior, who were named to the N.C. Coaches Association 4A all-state team.
The women’s cross country team continued to dominate the competition this season. The team won the CAP-8 championship and placed third at the 4A Mideast Regional meet, advancing to states. At the state championship, the Pride finished in an impressive fifth place, the team’s third consecutive top five finish at the meet.
Leading the team was senior Nevada Mareno, who won her second straight 4A state cross country title. Mareno, a Stanford commit, won almost every single 5k she raced in this season, her only loss coming at Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals, where she placed second.
The men’s cross country also had a very successful season. With the leadership of senior Nathan Gamble, the team placed second at the conference meet, fourth at the regional meet, and sixth at states. Gamble, who is committed to run at the University of Alabama, had an excellent final season with the Pride, winning the CAP-8 individual title.
The Leesville women’s tennis team’s season made history. For the first time ever, the team won the CAP-8 conference championship. With a win by Helen Alvis, freshman, and Irene Michalakis, sophomore, in their doubles match, the team clinched the prized title.
Behind consistent strong performances from sophomore Lauren Robbins, the number one singles player, the Pride was able to advance to the state playoffs. A program that once had only a junior varsity team, women’s tennis has grown into a CAP-8 powerhouse.
Mogie Adamchik, senior, had a stellar season for the women’s golf team. Adamchik, an Appalachian State commit, was the CAP-8 player of the year and was named to the all-conference golf team, along with Madeline St. Louis, sophomore. Along with the conference recognitions, Adamchik was named to the all-region team and placed in the top ten at the state golf tournament.
The team placed third overall at the CAP-8 conference tournament, finishing the season triumphantly.
The men’s basketball team had an exceptional season, competing in the 4A state championship game. It was the team’s second appearance in the state title game, with the first coming in 2001. The Pride finished with an overall record of 22-9 and a conference record of 9-5.
Alex Hunter, senior, and Jalen Benjamin, sophomore, excelled against the competition. Hunter was selected to the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association District Five all-region first team and Benjamin earned second team honors.
In its second season under head coach Ben Daniels, the women’s basketball team continued to achieve. The team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs for the second time in three years and finished third in the CAP-8 conference standings.
Brittany Staves, sophomore, was a standout player for the Pride this year. Staves made the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association District Five all-region third team and the CAP-8 all-conference first team.
Swimming and Diving
One of the top teams in North Carolina, the women’s swim and dive team was consistently dominant all season. Leesville finished second at the 4A state championship, better than the team’s previous best finish at states of fourth. The team won the East regional meet, along with a CAP-8 conference title.
Grace Countie, junior, set the state record in the 50-yard freestyle and won individual state titles in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. Countie, who is verbally committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was selected to The News and Observer All-Metro swimming team, along with teammates Ashley McCauley, sophomore, and Amanda Ray, freshman. McCauley finished third in the 100-yard breastroke and Ray placed third in the 100-yard butterfly.
Members of the men’s swim and dive team also competed at the regional and state meets. Jacob Phillips, senior, finished in second place in the 200-yard freestyle at the East regional and placed sixth in the same event at states.
The Pride cheer team claimed Leesville’s only state title across all sports. With a score of 85.85 on their routine, the group won the varsity coed division at the state championships. Leesville also won the Carolina Cup, awarded to the highest scoring cheerleading team among the 18 varsity divisions at states.
By winning the Carolina Cup, the cheerleading team qualified for National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida. It was the first team the team had ever qualified for the event. At nationals, Leesville performed exceptionally, placing thirteenth.
Indoor Track and Field
Leesville had many notable individual performances during the indoor track and field season. Timara Chapman, junior, represented the women’s team very well at the state championship, finishing sixth in the 500 meters. The men’s track team was led by senior Nathan Gamble, who made it to the podium in the 3200 meters in fourth place at the state meet.
Battling with Wake Forest all season, the Leesville wrestling team performed well in conference play. The Pride won the regular season CAP-8 title, but lost a close one to Wake Forest in the conference tournament. The team also competed in the state dual team wrestling playoffs, winning their first round match against Green Hope, but losing to Cape Fear in the second round.
Jason Wyss, head wrestling coach, was recognized for his outstanding leadership and coaching with the CAP-8 Conference Coach of the Year award. Dan Mills, senior, was named the CAP-8 wrestler of the year and won a conference title with a pin at 132.
With an exceptional amount of young talent, the gymnastics team placed third at the North Carolina High School State Championship in the large team division and won the CAP-8 meet.
Many underclassmen helped carry the team at the state championship. Waverly Kennedy, sophomore, was the runner-up in the all-around competition with a score of 38.45. McKenna Brunick, freshman, scored a 9.75 on the floor exercise and finished third in the event.
Leesville men’s lacrosse was extremely successful this season, finishing with a record of 15-3. With a second place finish in the CAP-8 conference, the entered the state playoffs as the sixth seed in the east division. After a first round bye, the Pride defeated Heritage 9-8, but lost in the third round to Hoggard.
Seniors Jack Walton, Charlie Caulfield, and Noah Brunick all played exceptionally for Leesville. The three players were recently selected to participate in the inaugural 2017 Bull City All-Star Lacrosse game.
The Leesville women’s lacrosse program grew tremendously this year and made great strides. The group lost ten seniors last year who graduated, but the team was able to rebuild and compete well. A 12-10 win over Rolesville on senior night ended the women’s lacrosse season on a high note.
Izzee Akers, junior, carried the team and led all players in goals. Maria Schelfe, sophomore, continued to improve throughout the course of the season as goalie and will help lead the team next year as an upperclassman.
For another season, the women’s soccer team controlled the CAP-8 conference and went deep into the state playoffs. Leesville finished second in the conference standings just behind Wakefield. The team advanced to the third round of the state playoffs, eventually losing to Green Hope.
Many talented seniors will be leaving the team and playing soccer at the college level. Rachel Golden is going to UNC Asheville, Rebecca Bailey is playing at Queens, and Avery Gardner is signed to Elon. However, Leesville will still have a very talented team led by young players including Pittsburgh soccer commit Hannah Arostegui, sophomore.
This season, the baseball team won the CAP-8 conference title and competed in the baseball state playoffs. Seeded seventh in the playoffs, the Pride won their first round game against Pine Forest, but eventually lost a close game to Pinecrest in the second round.
Ian Cummings, sophomore, played well for Leesville, leading the team in runs. Methodist baseball signee Noah Latta, senior, excelled as pitcher all season.
For the second straight year, the softball team competed in the first round of the 4A state playoffs. A group consisting of mostly underclassmen, the team has continued to improve and play well against other conference teams.
Becca Jones, junior, had the best batting average on the team, led the team in runs, and served as a team leader at pitcher. Vickie Finger, sophomore, was also successful at the plate and will be a key player for the Pride next season.
Track and Field
Versatility in a wide range of events helped the women’s track and field team accomplish great feats this season. The team won their first ever CAP-8 championship, scoring points in sixteen of the eighteen total events. Leesville also ran well at the 4A Mideast Regional, finishing in fifth place.
Elise Hall, sophomore, competed in the pole vault at the 4A state meet and placed third and will participate at New Balance Nationals in the summer. The 4×400 team also ran at the state championship, placing seventh.
The men’s track and field team found success at the regional and state meets. Nathan Gamble, senior, placed third in the 3200 meters at regionals and ran in the same event at states.
Performances by key players helped propel the tennis team to a middle-of-the-pack finish in the CAP-8. Tejas Chandesekhar, freshman, played a great match at the CAP-8 conference tournament and advanced to the 4A Mideast regional in singles play. Leesville finished the season with an overall record of 8-6.
The men’s golf team had success in both the conference and regional championships. The team placed fourth at the CAP-8 tournament and sixth at the 4A Mideast Regional championship.
Joey Pettis, senior, finished seventh at the regional championship and competed at the state championship.