West Johnston will attempt to hold onto the Four Oaks Bank Cup girls soccer Johnston County championship for a fourth straight season when the Wildcats host Cleveland on Wednesday.
West (9-0-1 entering this week) defeated the Rams (5-3-1) in last year’s finals, 3-0. The championship match was rescheduled after rain forced the cancellation of two days of play in the event.
A Wildcat win will create a three-way tie for most Cup wins between Clayton, Smithfield-Selma and West. Wednesday’s match will begin at 6 p.m.
All-County soccer honors return: In other prep soccer news, the 2014-15 school year will see the renewal of the Mr. and Miss Soccer awards and the All-County Soccer team by the Johnston United Soccer Association. The awards will honor the best boys and girls high school players in Johnston County at the end of each season. The execution of the nomination process and award selections and announcements will be made in the fall.
Henry breaks own school records: Texas A&M junior Sarah Henry set two school records in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota last week. Henry, a West Johnston High graduate, was fourth in the 1,650 freestyle (15:45.79) and swam a 9:36.77 in the 1,000. She improved on her previous school records in both events.
“That was a great swim,” Texas A&M coach Steve Bultman said in a school release of Henry’s 1,650. “She was fourth, but there were some great swims ahead of her including the NCAA record. She swam a really smart, solid race to break both of those school records, and I’m excited about that.”
Henry was a part of top-eight finishes in the nation, adding an eighth place finish in the 400 individual medley and a seventh as part of the Aggies’ 800 free relay team.
All-Americans again: Keni Harrison and Wayne Davis II are both All-Americans again after their performances in the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month.
Davis, a Southeast Raleigh High graduate, finished third in the 60-meter hurdles at 7.61 seconds running for Texas A&M. He also took third in the SEC Indoor Championships.
Harrison was fourth in the 60-meter hurdles for Kentucky. The Clayton High graduate was part of a thrilling, very close race. She finished just a hundredth of a second off of the pace of national champion Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State. The top-four finishers were separated by only 0.016 seconds.
Harrison won the SEC hurdles title and placed seventh in the 60-meter dash there.
Henry Johnson, a Smithfield-Selma High grad and a former high school state champion like Davis and Harrison, finished second in the Conference USA indoor pole vault championships for East Carolina. He cleared 16 feet, 10 ¾ inches.
Sands to start season in Durham: Smithfield-Selma High graduate Jerry Sands will begin the 2014 professional baseball season with the local Durham Bulls after the Tampa Bay Rays optioned him to the minor leagues last week after an impressive spring with the big league club.
Sands hit .324 with three home runs, five doubles and 8 RBIs in 34 at bats for the Rays. He was part of a crowded race to make a talented roster out of spring training, one that includes his former high school rival and friend Chris Archer.
The Bulls open the 2014 season Thursday in Durham.
Archer posted an impressive 0.90 earned-run average in three spring training starts, the best among the Rays’ starting pitchers. He’s projected to fill the No. 4 spot in the Rays’ rotation and will likely make his first start of 2014 on Thursday, Oct. 3, against Toronto.
Best: 919-524-8895 or email@example.com; Twitter: @dclaybest