Manteo High School athletes thrive in spring sports

Published 3:27 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

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Football coach Sport Sawyer finished up his career at Manteo High School this month and he plans to head to South Carolina for yet another coaching assignment.

His former assistant Brian Emory, a Manteo history teacher, takes over the helm of the Redskins football program immediately, according to athletic director Alfie Wheeler.

In general, spring sports went well this year, he said, and it was “nice to get everything outside” after dealing with the pandemic during basketball season.

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Girls soccer had a stellar year, Wheeler noted, but lost during the fourth round of the state 2A playoffs against East Carteret 2 – 0 at home. The young squad with no seniors was riddled with injuries late in the season. They finished 17 – 5 under coach Ralph Cleaver.

Both baseball and softball made it to the state playoffs too, but lost in the opening round, Wheeler said.

Along the way, softball coach Chad Leary’s daughter Jill, who bats third in the line-up, broke the Manteo High School homerun record and the future looks bright as they have a lot of returning players for next year.

“Jill did it on short seasons too,” Wheeler said. “They only had three or four games her freshman year and the number of games was reduced last year too.”

“Golf had a big year,” Wheeler said. “Coach Bud Hendrix successfully recruited a lot of kids to come out.

“He had 15 to 20 kids out there,” he noted. “We might start a girls’ program in the fall; it’s co-ed now.”

Girls golf is played in the fall with boys in the spring. The team’s home course is the Nags Head Golf Links.

Boys tennis went well this year and Wheeler said their No. 1 doubles players and No. 1 singles player were regional runners up in the 2A East. Singles star junior Cole Walker also competed in the state 2A championship where the top players in the state compete.

“Mens track did really well and our girls finished runner up in the 2A east as a team,” Wheeler said. “Individually, we sent six people to pole vault.” Their coach, Melissa Mann went to Temple, where she pole vaulted.

Wheeler said it took a little work to get the event to reintroduced to the program, but several donations of equipment and such helped out.

“Her dad, Dan Gale, was her assistant and he had coached at the college level,” Wheeler said. “We were able to restart after we got some used equipment.”

So, the pair of certified coaches led the charge and Manteo was one of only a handful of schools with pole vaulting in the east, Wheeler said.

“A few went to the states, they did a good job,” he said.

Rising junior Madison Flynn was the regional champion in the mile and two-mile races. She also did well in cross country last fall so look for her to shine again this year. Her sister Kenzie, a rising sophomore, was the leading scorer in soccer, Wheeler added.

Looking ahead, Wheeler hopes for another great sports year in 2022-23.

“Most everybody was pretty young,” he said. “I think it will be a good year and we can hit the ground running as normal as possible with no COVID.”