Oxford Prep School

SportsTalk: Oxford Prep Looking For Playoff Success

High school teams from all across our area are now in the state playoffs, and Oxford Prep is no exception.  The school’s athletic director, John Hammett, was on SportsTalk Thursday to discuss how his school is doing.  “Our baseball team is young,” he said.  Despite the youthfulness of the squad, Oxford Prep came from behind in the seventh inning to secure an 8-7 win over Clover Garden earlier this week to afford them the opportunity to go on the road to take on Pinetops. “Pinetops is an athletic school that does well in all sports,” Hammett said.

Meanwhile, the softball team is also on the road but with a much shorter trip as they will play Vance Charter at Oxford Park Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.  Oxford Prep is coming off a convincing 16-0 win in three innings this week at Northwest Halifax.  The Vance Charter game is a huge rivalry.  “Everybody knows everybody.  Vance Charter plays hard and hits the ball well,” Hammett said.  Expect a huge turnout in Oxford for that game Friday afternoon.


Crossroads Christian School

SportsTalk: Crossroads Baseball, Soccer And Golf In State Playoffs

Soccer, baseball and golf are all representing Crossroads Christian in the state playoffs, keeping Athletic Director Scottie Richardson a busy man, but he found a few minutes to talk about his teams on Wednesday’s SportsTalk.  “Our baseball team has won its first playoff game in school history and its first trip to the elite eight,” Richardson said. “We have a young team and the sky is the limit,” added Richardson.  Next up is the top seeded Lawrence Academy. “The pressure is on them,” Richardson said of Lawrenceville.

In soccer, Crossroads has also advanced to the elite eight by defeating Oakwood. They play again on Friday at Crossroads with game time at 4 p.m., weather permitting of course.  The rain has been difficult this week.  “We spent five hours to get the field ready,” Richardson said.

Richardson also is keeping his eye on the golf course where Crossroads’ Merritt Cogdill will represent the school in the state tournament Monday and Tuesday of next week in Greensboro.


SportsTalk: KVA Looking To Advance In Playoffs

Kerr-Vance Academy’s baseball and soccer teams have begun the playoffs.  Mike Joyner, KVA athletic director, was on Wednesday’s SportsTalk and said both teams got off to a great start in the first round with the soccer team defeating North Hills Tuesday 1-0 and the baseball team winning 10-0 in six innings, also against North Hills.  “The kids step it up a notch in the playoffs,” Joyner said.  The season has been a challenge for KVA. “The schools we play against are significantly bigger,” Joyner added.

The KVA soccer team will play Pungo this (Wednesday) afternoon, weather permitting and the baseball team will have to wait on the winner of the Halifax vs. Ridgecroft matchup to know when they will play next.


SportsTalk: Thomas Works At Rebuilding JF Webb Sports

During his first year as athletic director for J.F. Webb High School, Keith Thomas has certainly faced some challenges.  The school was unable to field a baseball team this season due to a lack of players but Thomas is hopeful this will change.  “We have a JV team this year and next year those kids can move up,” Thomas said on Thursday’s SportsTalk.

Building J.F. Webb’s programs back up is all about relationships Thomas said. “Community outreach and putting a good product on the field will help us build relationships,” Thomas added. “We want to win but win the right way,” he continued.

The track team is doing well this season.  “I like our kids.  They have a positive attitude,” Thomas said.  He was with the track team in Louisburg for a meet on Thursday.

Softball is also on its way back after two years without a team and the numbers are growing.  Football is also bringing in more student athletes as well.  Thomas was an assistant football coach with the Warriors before taking over as athletic director.  This is Thomas’ first AD job and he says it has been an interesting learning experience.  “I’ve picked up a lot on the fly,” Thomas said of his first year.



SportsTalk: KVA Graduate Joins The Iron Dukes

Duke, NC State and UNC…them’s fightin’ words around here.  Loyalty to your favorite university sports team is just part of growing up in North Carolina.  What do you do if you are a graduate of NC State, UNC and work for Duke?  That’s the unique situation that Kerr Vance Academy graduate John Averette finds himself in.

Averette, who was a guest on Wednesday’s SportsTalk, started off as an undergraduate at NC State.  “Getting into sports management at NC State was an accident,” Averette said.  He was thinking about going into business but was placed in the sports management program.  “I didn’t know anything about it,” Averette added.

During his time with the Wolfpack, he interned with Wolfpack Sports Properties and when he completed his time at NC State he moved over to UNC to work with the Rams Club as an intern.  Once he graduated from UNC, he went into the job market where he landed a position with the Iron Dukes.

“I do a lot of fundraising,” Averette said. According to Averette, sports management is more than just fund raising.  “There are hundreds of people behind the scenes,” he said.  All of the athletic events and people fall under the sports management umbrella.

Averette credits Kerr Vance Academy for giving him the foundation to succeed in his current profession. “They are a great school for having a college prep environment.  They teach the little things to get you ready for the college environment,” Averette said.  They just don’t teach you who to pull for.



SportsTalk: Lee Dreams Of National Title For Louisburg College Softball

Louisburg College Softball Coach Eric Lee has a dream.  “I’ve always dreamed of bringing a national title to Louisburg College,” Lee said.  Lee was a guest on Thursday’s SportsTalk.  Sometimes dreams can be funny things though and this year those dreams have almost become a nightmare.  “It’s been the most challenging season of my career,” Lee said.

Starting off the pre-season as the #1 team in the country, Lee found himself immediately dealing with a variety of on and off the field problems.  Injuries to key players have been a part of the challenges but off the field family issues for some of his players has meant that backups have been pressed into service.  “We have had players in games who I never thought would be on the field at all this year,” Lee said.

Nonetheless, Louisburg remains a top 5 team in the country and has compiled at 39-6 record.   The challenges have been beneficial to some degree.  “We are more prepared for the tournament this year than last year,” Lee stated.

The Hurricanes will host the regional and divisional tournaments and, if successful, will move on the World Series.  “I like our chances,” Lee said as a summation.

Louisburg faces Brunswick in a two game series, Friday at 4pm and Saturday at 1pm on the college campus in Louisburg.

Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Building A Culture Of Winning At Vance Co. High School

Vance County High School Athletic Director Philip Weil has been on the job for less than a year but he is working to change the culture at the high school.  Weil and Head Football Coach Aaron Elliott were guests on Tuesday’s SportsTalk. Weil, who came from Las Vegas, Nevada, said he had goals for his first year.  “I wanted to bring new ideas and new projects to the school.  We still have more to accomplish,” Weil said.  Part of what he is attempting to do is build a culture of winning. “It takes a commitment to excellence to build a winning program,” Weil said.

Where does that start?  “It all starts with Coach Aaron Elliott,” Weil added.  Coach Elliot’s Viper squad won the conference championship last season and has the program on solid footing.  That winning culture has already filtered down form Elliott to the women’s basketball and softball teams as they have found success on the court and the field this season.

Weil also said that women’s flag football, coached by Elliott, will begin this May. “It’s probably going to be the next sanctioned sport,” Coach Elliott added.  Sixty-five young women are ready to hit the field for tryouts with the first game scheduled for May 23rd against Southern Durham.  The flag football program is a collaboration between Durham County Schools and the Carolina Panthers.  Durham County reached out to Vance County to become involved in the league.  The 7 on 7 league will likely play four to five games this year with a full season expected in January of 2025.

Elliott is also busy with his usual duties as he prepares the Vipers for the spring football game on Friday, May 3rd at 8pm at Viper Stadium.

When Weil was asked where he sees Vance County High School athletics in five years, he had two word answer: “State titles.”

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Vance County High School

SportsTalk: Vipers Prepare For Spring Football

It may be the season for baseball, softball and other spring sports but Vance Co. High School Head Football Coach Aaron Elliott is ready to hit the field.  Coach Elliott was a guest on Thursday’s SportsTalk to discuss this year’s Spring football game. “It will be at 8pm on Friday, May 3rd at the high school,” Elliott said.  “The state allows us to practice for ten days during the Spring and we will finish with our offense playing our defense during the game,”  Elliott added. Coach Elliott expects between 50 and 60 kids to participate.

The Vipers lost all of last year’s receivers to graduation and will be looking at replacements during the game.  Additionally, defensive backs will also be evaluated during the Spring practices and game Elliott said.

The Vipers won their conference championship last season and that success has resulted in an invitation to the High School OT Kickoff Scrimmage in Wake Forest on Saturday, August 17th at 6pm where they will play Jordan High School.  The week before, on August 8th, the Vipers host their annual Jamboree at Vance Co. High School.

The season kicks off August 23rd with a visit to rival Warren County.



SportsTalk: Yount Battles Rain And Injuries With Vance Charter Soccer

Weather has certainly been a problem for local sports teams. Johnny Yount,  girls soccer coach at Vance Charter, is no exception. “The entire field has been unplayable for much of the season,” Yount said on Wednesday’s SportsTalk.  “There’s not a lot we can do about it,” he continued.  Vance charter has cancelled two games due to rain. They should have played seven games but so far have only managed to get five soccer matches in.  Missed games are difficult to make up. So far though, Vance charter is 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference. He says the team is young with four seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen. They’ve had to make a lot of changes this season as well due to injuries. Yount said it does create opportunities and he continues to ask the team to challenge themselves on the field. Yount added that “what I want is winning student athletes versus winning records.” Additionally, Yount says the team is still finding its chemistry, though and he wants them to have fun and engage.