Mary Nebrich: An Elite West Davidson High School High Jumper

TYRO – Mary Nebrich’s high flying track career nearly never got off the ground. Long before the West Davidson High School (WDHS) senior star became the top ranked high jumper in the state, a ninth-grade hip injury left Nebrich wondering if she ever would fly as high as her coach thought she could do. 

Three years after her abbreviated introduction to the sport, Nebrich has cleared both physical and mental hurdles on her way to becoming the person to be beat in the high jump.

“In the moments leading up to the injury, I was really enjoying the high jump,” said Nebrich, “I was having fun until it happened, then I was devastated. I never thought I would get to the point where I am. I never had that confidence but this season has really been exciting. I never saw it in my future.”

Mary Nebrich: An Elite West Davidson High School High Jumper

Rob Shore: Local Legion and High School Baseball Coach

From the time his father introduced him to the sport at a very young age until now, Shore, 41, has played and taught the game with a cool and calm demeanor that masks a burning desire to win and mold young players into community leaders. 

“Ever since I can remember I’ve had a baseball in my hand,” said Shore. “My dad was a baseball player growing up and he just loved the game so it kind of transferred over to me. We were always out throwing, hitting, and watching the [Atlanta] Braves on TV. It was natural for me just to fall in love with the game of baseball. “

Rob Shore: Local Legion and High School Baseball Coach

Doug Robertson: Thomasville High School Varsity Head Football Coach

THOMASVILLE - Doug Robertson hasjoined Thomasville High School (THS) as the bulldog’s new, varsity head football coach. Robertson resides in Reidsville with his wife Erin, daughter Taylor, and son Tate, who will be making the forty-mile trip with dad in the fall to attend Thomasville City Schools. 

Robertson learned what hard work was all about growing up on a farm. Due to his responsibilities on the farm, he was not able to play youth sports. He attended Reidsville High School (RHS) and played football at RHS under Mark Barnes, for one year, and Jimmy Teague, for his final three years. He also was a member of the track team. 

Doug Robertson: Thomasville High School Varsity Head Football Coach

Move forward, claim your future

Simone Manuel took to swimming like a duck takes to water. The Sugar Land, Texas native was introduced along with her two brothers to swimming because her parents wanted their children to be safe in the water. But by the time she was nine years old, she was pursuing swimming competi-tively. So adept to the sport that would take her to the 2016 Rio Olympics, she was nicknamed “Swimona.”

Move forward, claim your future

Zane Hepler: Thomasville High School Wrestling State Champion

THOMASVILLE - Trying to explain wrestling to anyone new to the sport often takes time and patience. That’s why trying to draw a comparison to the unde-feated 50-0 season that Thomasville High School junior Zane Hepler just pulled off seems down-right impossible. Hepler is the 2018 NCHSAA 2A 113-pound State Champion, a feat that is difficult enough to achieve on its own. Hepler has done it in a world-class fashion by wrestling 50 straight matches without a loss; that’s like getting into a fight with 50 people whose main objective is to knock you off the top of the mountain and never losing a single one of them. There are high school wrestlers who are considered successful and never reach 50 career wins, and Hepler has accomplished it in a single season. 

Eliot Duke

Kianna Anderson: Athletic Trainer Keeps Sports Safe for LSHS Students

Taping a sprain, replenishing fluids and educating players about the dangers of concussion are just some of the ways that Kianna Anderson is working with student athletes at Lexington Senior High School. Kianna is the high school’s certified athletic trainer– a new position made possible through a partnership between Lexington Medical Center and Lexington City Schools to provide full-time athletic training services at the school. 

Eliot Duke

Kevin Berkley: North Davidson High School Softball Head Coach

Kevin Berkley is stepping into some pretty big shoes. In the world of sports, being the person who takes over for a legend often is a difficult scenario for any new and aspiring coach. When it comes to North Davidson High School softball, however, being the person who takes over at Mike Lambros Field can feel pretty intimidating. As unfortunate circumstances would have it that is where Berkley finds himself as the Lady Black Knights set out to defend their state championship.

Keosha Roberts: GoPlay Sports

If you are reading this article, you probably have an interest in sports and believe that all children should have the opportunity to participate in sports. Well, a new foundation in Davidson County has been formed to ensure just that. The GoPlay Sports Foundation strives to enhance the accessibility of recreational and school sporting opportunities to youth of lower economic means throughout Davidson County. GoPlay Sports works to provide quality, new and gently used sporting equipment and apparel to area youth by formulating a way to have the gear donated and distributed to youth in need.

So where did the idea for GoPlay Sports come from?

Golf great's integrity doesn't handicap game

"It’s not wrong, if you don’t get caught.”

I did a double take. Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

The person was adamant, “No one will know. What’s it hurt?”

“You’ll know,” I retorted.

I’m not kidding myself. It seems to be a part of human nature to shy away from telling the truth. But as real as that may be, I’m not backing down on standing up and being truthful. Despite a propensity to tell lies, we can choose to tell the truth and live a life of integrity. We can be people of good character.

Justin Branham: A Special Olympian With A Gold Medal Heart

When Justin Branham was a young boy, he told his mom, Tonya, she could have his Special Olympic gold medals. When she asked why, he told her they could melt down the medals and sell the gold to help pay the family’s medical bills. This is a window into the gold medal heart this young man has.

“At about age three Justin was diagnosed with atypical delayed ADHD and high functioning autism,” said Tonya. “I wanted Justin to participate in something he could be successful and excel in. All parents want to see their children shine and every person needs to feel wanted and needed. In Special Olympics, through his equestrian involvement, he feels like he belongs.”

Austin Beck: Former North Davidson High School Athlete

WELCOME - Austin Beck had a pretty good idea early on that baseball could possibly take him somewhere. Blessed with rare physical tools, Beck normally stood out from other players, and his age and play on the field only reaffirmed his potential. Ability alone may have been enough to help Beck achieve his boyhood dream of making it to the major leagues, but the North Davidson High School (NDHS) alum wasn’t leaving anything to chance. Beck combined his natural talent with a dedicated focus on hard work, while learning along way that the game he loved was one of failure and perseverance.

Austin Beck: Former North Davidson High School Athlete

Hannah Cranford: South Davidson High School Athlete

DENTON - This past May, Hannah Cranford decided to stop playing AAU basketball to focus on her running. Her events are the 800, 1600 and sometimes the 3200. It may turn out to be the best decision of her young athletic career. Many colleges recruited Cranford. She has decided to run for Campbell University this fall.

Hannah Cranford: South Davidson High School Athlete

Mary Ann Brown: Davidson County’s Mrs. Recreation

LEXINGTON - Over the past forty years, the faces at the Davidson County Recreation Department have changed. However, one has remained constant: Mary Ann Brown.

Starting in 1975 and working under many different Parks & Recreation directors, Brown has seen many changes.

“One day we woke up and our department had been cut to two people and funding was cut in
half,” said Brown. “We had to decide what we were going to do. I wanted to keep summer day camps, Special Olympics and senior services, along with many classes. The county made the decision to move senior services out from under recreation.”

Sidney Cecil: Central Davidson High School Director of Athletics

LEXINGTON – Sidney Cecil is passionate about his family, his community, and Central Davidson High School (CDHS) Spartan sports. Cecil landed his position as athletic director at CDHS after coaching stops at South Davidson Middle School (SDMS) and Oak Grove Middle School (OGMS). This is Cecil’s first year at CDHS and working in a high school environment. He acknowledged that he has had many mentors along the way and wants to provide the same support for students at CDHS.

Sidney Cecil: Central Davidson High School Director of Athletics

2017 Wallburg Lions Little League Football Team: TEAM OVER SELF

When the 2017 football season began for the Little League Wallburg Lions, Coach Toby Lemley had no “stickered” players, (or those over 135 lbs.) that all the other teams fielded.  They were small but fast, and possessed a rare coachability and heart that comes around only once in a decade or so.  What Coach Lemley and his staff did have was a solid group of core veterans who were an athletic, scrappy group who believed in themselves despite their small stature.  On November 11, the 2017 Lion squad defeated the Ledford Little League Panthers, a talented team comprised of players from both Hasty and Friendship Elementary Schools, to cap off an undefeated season and take home another Davidson County Football Championship, its second in three years.  

2017 Wallburg Lions Little League Football Team:  TEAM OVER SELF

Aiden Blackwell: Big leaguer, Aaron Judge, makes a big impact on his life

LEXINGTON — Aaron Judge stands head and shoulders above fellow Major League Baseball players. Literally. Standing 6’ 7”, Judge is one of the tallest big hitters to have played the game. The 2017 American League home run leader and New York Yankee right-field superstar also stands tall to Davidson County’s Aiden Blackwell. Nine-year-old Aiden met Judge this past baseball season fulfilling his “Make-A-Wish” wish on September 14 during a home game against the Baltimore Orioles. Make-A-Wish arranges “wish” experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

 

Aiden Blackwell: Big leaguer, Aaron Judge, makes a big impact on his life

Justin Todd: Ledford High School Cross Country

WALLBURG — Long distance running can be an isolating sport of infinite fortitude. Hours are spent training alone, running in the early morning and knowing full well that there will come a time when the body will want to call it a day. 

Being able to push through burning lungs, rubbery legs and a stabbing pain in the side is what long-distance runners like Justin Todd take pride in.

Justin Todd: Ledford High School Cross Country

County Mountain Biking team offers non-traditional sport opportunity for middle and high school students

DAVIDSON  COUNTY — “They’re no tryouts… no benchwarmers! And every student-athlete gets to contribute points that count!” enthuses Mike Hensley, former head coach of the Davidson County Mountain Bike team. Mountain biking is an ideal sport for youth empowerment and personal growth but many students have never tried mountain biking. However, this new high school sports trend has unveiled some barriers to entry. North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League (NCICL) now in its second season, is addressing these barriers by virtue of their core values: inclusivity, equality, strong body, strong mind and strong character. How are they doing this? First and foremost, NCICL allows student-athletes to compete at their own pace. For NCICL, student-athletes are students first.

 

County Mountain Biking team offers non-traditional sport opportunity for middle and high school students

Brooke Anders: East Davidson High School Basketball

THOMASVILLE—Once upon a time there was a little girl named Brooke Anders who resided in the Fair Grove community. Like many girls her age she played soccer, T-ball, and basketball. Around age seven Brooke realized that she loved the game of basketball and so...

Come out and watch the East Davidson Women’s Basketball team this winter and you will notice a highly confident 3-point shooter by the name of Brooke Anders. Anders was not always so confident in her basketball ability. She credits her high school coach, Don Corry, for helping her with her self-esteem and confidence especially her freshman year when she joined a veteran team. Corry helped her to realize she could play with the juniors and seniors which gave her a sense of importance. 

 

Brooke Anders: East Davidson High School Basketball

Miracles really do happen

We call it a miracle when the unbelievable happens. It’s not that we cannot believe it could happen; it’s that it is unimaginable given the moment in time. College sports has a litany of miracle plays, games, teams to call its own, and for inspiration, an athlete can turn to these almost impossible stories and catch the vision that anything can be accomplished.

Kevin Bowers: Thomasville High School Coach

THOMASVILLE—The pride that comes with being a Thomasville High School Bulldog is something that is hard to express in words, but Coach Bowers’ passion for his team and his kids speaks for itself.

“Thomasville is unique,” said Bowers.  “There is a huge sense of athletic pride, and coaching here has always been a bucket-list goal of mine.”  

Bulldog Nation was something Coach Bowers believed in, even before he got the opportunity to coach at the school.  

Kevin Bowers: Thomasville High School Coach

Sammy Antonelli: Little Man Makes Good On Big Dream

hen Sammy Antonelli showed up for his first day of soccer tryouts, the West Davidson High School When coaching staff must have wondered if he was one of the player’s little brothers. As Sammy remembers it, he was less than 5 feet tall and about 80 pounds; not your average sized player. His soccer career started ordinarily enough playing for Reeds through the Davidson County Parks and Recreation Department. He then took his game to the next level playing for DC USA and it was at that point he developed a passion for soccer.

Sammy Antonelli: Little Man Makes Good On Big Dream

Playing through the ups and downs

l love watching volleyball. But I have to admit, I know very little about the game except for the basics, such as: six players take the court for each team and each team attempts to score a point by grounding the ball on the other team; in high school play, the first team to score 25 points wins a set, the team that wins the best-of-three sets wins the match; and finally, when the ball is in play, no player is allowed two consecutive touches and the team is only allowed three touches before the ball is volleyed over a central net to the opposing team. Need more information than this and I yield to actual players and coaches.