Andy Hepler: Strength and Conditioning Trainer - Gym Owner
THOMASVILLE - Andy Hepler always worked out on his own as an athlete at East Davidson. Little did he know, he would one day make a living helping others work out at his own gym, Hepler Strength and Conditioning, located at 1064 National Highway in Thomasville.
“When my oldest daughter was in high school, some of her friends were football players,” said Hepler. “When they found out I was lifting and training, they came over and started working out with me in the backyard. They told their friends about it and two or three became six or seven, and then nine or ten. I thought maybe I could get something going with this. I had a full-time job, so I was looking to do something part time.”
Bond Referendums: Voters Will Shape Davidson County Parks & Recreation’s Future
LEXINGTON- Director Thomas Marshburn has been very busy at the Davidson County Parks & Recreation Department. In addition to overseeing the usual business of the department, he has also put together two Parks and Recreation bonds for Davidson County voters to consider this fall. The two bond referendums that the citizens of Davidson County are being asked to consider include monies to bring Davidson County Parks & Recreation Department’s master plan to fruition.
The first bond is a parks bond which includes 7.9 million dollars for capital improvements at existing parks and an additional 3 million dollars for building a recreation center at Hughes Park. The capital improvements funds will also be used to upgrade lighting and continue to add playgrounds and splash pads similar to those at Bombay and Southmont Parks. Ballpark lighting will be upgraded at Southmont, Bombay, and Linwood Parks.
Dale Odom: Davidson County Legion Post 8 Choppers Softball Head Coach
THOMASVILLE – Davidson County softball is rich in tradition. Softball flourishes in nearly every corner of the county and the list of household names who made an impact locally before going off to a big-time college grows longer with each passing year.
Unfortunately, the old adage of too much of a good thing never applied to softball. Unlike baseball, where local athletes can showcase their talents in front of home crowds during the summer, softball virtually disappears once school lets out. Girls often gravitate to traveling teams and spend their summer traversing the state with very few, if any at all, stops in the area.
Team means you are never alone
Volleyball is the fifth most popular sport in the world. Playing the game is exhilarating and watching it thrilling. Players strive for best, pushing to excel, feeling the rush. The crowd goes wild as we watch, mesmerized most often by the spike – the mighty slam both powerful and perfect, fearsome for the competition, energizing for the fans. Out there, on the court, it seems as if everything rests solely on the one who powers the ball meteorically toward cowering opponents.
But in truth, there are five other players on the court.
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.”
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. “
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.