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Coach’s Corner 07/01/20: Orange Co. Speedway Hopeful Fans Can Return for July Race

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Terry Deal, director of operations at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC, appeared on WIZS Coach’s Corner Wednesday.

With two races on the 2020 schedule canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and one held without fans, Deal is hopeful the next scheduled OCS race on Saturday, July 18, will be a-go with at least some fans in attendance.

The July race is scheduled for the day after the end of NC Governor Roy Cooper’s three-week extension of the Safer at Home Phase 2 plan.

“We had a race without fans, and that’s just not a very good way to race. We hope to have some fans in some capacity at the next race, whether that be at 50 percent or whatever the new rules are at the time,” said Deal.

If the July 18 race is canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, Deal said the OCS will look forward to August for scheduled races and shows. To view the race schedule, please visit the newly-designed OCS website at www.ocstrack.net.

“We are holding up as good as anyone else considering the circumstances,” Deal said. “We are just taking it day by day and seeing how it goes.”

Listen to today’s Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner: Independent Schools Following NCISAA’s Summer Sports Guidelines

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Homar Ramirez, executive director of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA), appeared on WIZS Coach’s Corner Wednesday.

Stating that the NCISAA does not govern the months of June and July comparable to other associations, Ramirez explained there was more flexibility in determining summer sport and activity guidelines for independent schools.

Guidance from the NCISAA utilizes a three-phased approach to help school systems navigate a gradual reopening of athletic activities.

Stage One of the guidelines began for some local schools, such as Crossroads Christian, last week and are recommended for the first 14 days. Guidelines include limiting sports practices to 25 people outside or 10 inside, face coverings to be worn, social distancing and hand washing/sanitizing to be practiced and the disinfecting of all shared equipment.

While these general suggestions were offered for all sports during Stage One, specific guidelines were also provided for each sport.

Stage Two guidelines are suggested for the 14 days following the end of the first stage, with Stage Three taking student-athletes from the end of the second stage right up to the beginning of fall sports.

“These guidelines were designed to help our schools advance through resocialization and to reacclimate students to the flow of sports and being with other kids again,” Ramirez said. “While guidelines have been provided, schools may advance through the different stages as they are ready. We are planning in case of delays but are hopeful that we won’t see any more.”

Visit the NCISAA’s website at www.ncisaa.org for more details on the summer guidelines.

To hear more from Ramirez, please listen to the Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner 06/09/20: NCHSAA Green Lights Phased Return of Summer Sports

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Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), appeared on WIZS Coach’s Corner Tuesday.

Tucker discussed the NCHSAA Board of Directors’ recent decision to lift the “dead period” in high school sports effective Monday, June 15, 2020. Resuming of athletic activities will still depend on each district’s superintendent and local Board of Education’s approval.

Guidance from the NCHSAA utilizes a three-phased approach to help school systems navigate a gradual reopening of high school athletic activities.

Phase One, to begin June 15, includes guidelines suggesting sports practices be limited to 25 people max, sessions of no more than 90 minutes, face coverings to be worn, social distancing and hand washing/sanitizing to be practiced and the disinfecting of all shared equipment. While these general requirements apply to all sports during Phase One, specific requirements also apply to each sport.

Guidance for Phase Two and Phase Three will be announced in the coming weeks.

Acknowledging that there may be setbacks as summer activities resume due to the uncertainty of the current pandemic, Tucker said, “Risk is inherent in what we do in athletics. Just as physical setbacks occur, there may be those setbacks that occur relative to COVID-19.”

Click here for more details on the NCHSAA’s 2020 Summer Sports and Activities Guidance.

To hear more from Tucker, please listen to the Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner 06/08/20: Register Now for VCAC Barracudas’ Summer Swim Season

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Natasha Rubin, head coach of the Vance County Aquatics Club “Barracudas” appeared on WIZS Coach’s Corner Monday.

Rubin said Barracudas coaches worked hard to offer a 2020 Summer Swim Season to local youth amid on-going COVID-19 restrictions.

Swim sessions will be offered at two locations: Henderson Country Club and Forest Hills in Oxford. To accommodate all swimmers, practices are limited to one hour sessions with a maximum of 12 in the pool at a time.

According to Rubin, this smaller swimmer-to-coach ratio will allow for more one-on-one time and personal attention. “This session will result in better techniques and better speed when we start racing again, hopefully in the fall,” Rubin explained.

As of right now, Rubin said there are no meets planned for the summer session; however, plans are being made for intraclub competitions and other team-building opportunities.

Practices will be held three days a week for six weeks beginning June 15 and ending July 30. Practice will not be held the week of June 29.

Those who are interested in participating are asked to register by Wednesday, June 10. You can register online and choose a location preference at www.teamunify.com/ncvacb.

Visit the Barracudas’ website (click here) or Facebook page (click here) for more information.

To hear more from Rubin, please listen to the Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner 06/05/20: Crossroad’s Scottie Richardson & Hurricanes’ Jeff Daniels

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Scottie Richardson, men’s varsity basketball coach for the Crossroad Christian School Colts, and Jeff Daniels, assistant coach for the Carolina Hurricanes, appeared on the WIZS Coach’s Corner Friday.

Richardson discussed the Colt’s return to the gym this week for the first practice since the COVID-19 quarantine.

“I told my guys with a tear in my eye how exciting it was to be back in the gym,” said Richardson. “It’s a little different scenario and guidelines that we now have to abide by, but I’m just so glad to be back and smelling the hardwood.”

Richardson’s young team consists of four freshmen and two sophomores who are still learning the Colt’s program, making restrictions even more of a challenge in building a cohesive team.

“We tried to communicate at least weekly, if not every other day, with the team by breaking down film, talking about what’s going on in their lives and discussing how they can do better on working on their game individually,” Richardson said.

According to Richardson, while that’s been helpful, nothing beats in-person practice. To keep everyone safe, the Colts are following stage one guidelines provided by the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA), which are effective for the next two weeks.

Stage one NCISAA guidelines for athletic practices include the requirement of 10 people or fewer in a gymnasium and 25 or fewer on an outdoor court. Each player’s temperature must also be checked before practice, and anyone registering a fever of 100 or higher will be dismissed from campus for 14 days.

In perhaps the most restrictive measure for basketball practice, players are not allowed to touch the same ball. “Here’s where it gets tricky,” Richardson said. “No one can touch your basketball, and anyone that does is supposed to be asked to leave. We are lucky that we have six goals in the gym, so we’ve been working on form shooting and just taking some of the rust off.”

To hear more from Richardson, and to hear from Jeff Daniels with the Carolina Hurricanes, please listen to the respective Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play buttons above.

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Coach’s Corner 06/04/20: H-V Rec. & Parks ‘Uncertain But Hopeful’ for Fall Sports

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Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Department’s Kendrick Vann, director, and Darius Pitt, program director, appeared on the WIZS Coach’s Corner Thursday.

Stating summer and fall sports are in a holding pattern due to COVID-19 concerns, Pitt explained the Rec. Department is following the directives of the National and North Carolina Recreation and Park Associations, as well as the CDC.

“We are watching right now, and everything is on hold,” Pitt said. “We want the kids to be involved in sports, but we are also concerned about their safety and the safety of their parents and others that come to the games.”

Pitt said the department is hopeful that activities will return for the fall, even if that takes on a different format from the norm. “Things change daily, and we are hopeful for the fall. Right now, we are looking at offering camp training programs rather than organized sports leagues. We are looking at ways to space kids out [physically] so they can stay active by doing individual workouts and conditioning.”

Vann said he is working with other area recreation departments and athletic directors to get new ideas for keeping youth and families engaged while still protecting against the spread of COVID-19.

“This is new to everyone and things change daily,” said Vann. “We don’t have a hard deadline, but we’re working with other areas so we can be consistent with our message and with our offered sports.”

To hear more from Vann and Pitt, please listen to the Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner 05/29/20: Crossroad Christian’s Taylor Bell Signs With Wingate University

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Friday’s edition of the WIZS Coach’s Corner featured an interview with Crossroad Christian School’s (CCS) Taylor Bell, Colts Athletic Director and Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach Scottie Richardson and Bell’s family and basketball mentors.

Bell, a recent CCS graduate and basketball player, gathered with his supporters last Friday afternoon for a belated (thanks to COVID-19) letter signing ceremony to indicate his intent to play basketball at Wingate University.

Honing his skills at Neuse Christian Academy in Raleigh during his freshman and sophomore year, Bell joined the Colts his junior year and reunited with Richardson, who also coached Bell’s older brother Maurice Wilcox.

With impressive high school stats, including averaging 21.2 points a game and scoring over 1,000 points, Richardson said Wingate will benefit from the “legacy” Bell built at CCS.

“Wingate is getting a leader both on and off the court,” Richardson said. “Taylor has certainly left a stamp not only on our program but also on our school.”

Bell will be in good company at Wingate as close friend Kurtis Taylor, who previously played at Neuse Christian Academy, as well as Andreas Wilson, a former competitor who played at Kerr-Vance Academy, have also signed with the Bulldogs.

“My friend Kurtis got an offer early from Wingate,” Bell said. “Once they showed interest in me, I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to play with my friend again, and I wanted to work with the Wingate coaches.”

To hear more from Bell and Richardson, along with commentary from Bell’s family and mentors, please listen to the Coach’s Corner audio by clicking the play button above.

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Coach’s Corner 05/26/20: Former SVHS, VGCC Basketball Coach Heading to Wake Forest

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Greg Ackles, the new head men’s basketball coach for Wake Forest High School and former coach at Southern Vance High School (SVHS) and Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC), appeared on the WIZS Coach’s Corner Tuesday.

Serving as the head men’s basketball coach at VGCC for the past two years, and at SVHS for the five years prior, Ackles now takes on a Wake Forest team with a recent 1-9 conference and 5-20 overall record.

While Ackles has his work cut out for him, he said his experience with team building and motivating players to be competitive – as witnessed in doubling the number of VGCC wins during his two-year coaching tenure – will serve him well.

“I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I know what I’m capable of and I know my ability in terms of building a program,” said Ackles. “The expectation is the same regardless of any job I take on: to get the players to be competitive.”

Ackles said he has already been in talks with the Cougar’s Junior Varsity basketball coach and has an online meeting scheduled with players this evening for a general meet-and-greet. It is expected that the majority of the players, with the exception of the four seniors who graduated, will be returning for the next season.

With the recent retiring of VCHS basketball coach Wilton Baskett leaving an open position at the combined high school, Ackles said he “heavily debated” his options, but ultimately decided to apply for the Wake Forest position and to accept the resulting job offer.

“I want to say thank you to Vance County because they treated me well the past seven years at both the high school and at VGCC. Hopefully, we can make this thing work at Wake Forest.”

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Coach’s Corner 05/21/20: Henderson Collegiate Fundraising for Championship Rings

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George Marshall, head men’s basketball coach and athletic director for Henderson Collegiate, appeared on the WIZS Coach’s Corner Thursday.

In honor of Henderson Collegiate’s recent designation as the 1-A Men’s Basketball State Co-Champions, Marshall announced the school is holding a popcorn fundraiser to purchase championship rings.

The online fundraiser that features unique popcorn flavors can be viewed by visiting www.doublegood.com and searching “HC Championship Rings” (click here for direct link). The fundraiser ends this Saturday at 10 a.m.

“This is the first state championship in our school’s history, so it’s an enormous accomplishment,” said Marshall. “What we are trying to prioritize is having something that not only honors the players but also something that can honor the managers, the coaching staff and founding administrators.”

According to Marshall, one side of the ring will honor #33 Elijah Brown, a Henderson Collegiate student and basketball player who died tragically in a car accident in May 2018.

“One of the things I’ve been most proud of isn’t the number of dollars that we’ve raised, it’s the fact that I’m getting texts from teachers saying things like ‘your players have demonstrated such great gratitude,’” Marshall said. “These are values that are going to help kids for the rest of their lives.”

Coach’s Corner 02/28/20

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