Wilkes County high school varsity athletic team roster totals combined fell from 1,648 in the 2017-18 school year to 1,303 in 2018-19, a 21% decrease.
The numbers don’t account for students participating in multiple sports, so they indicate more participating athletes than actually is the case, said Wilkes County School Athletic Director Chris Skabo in his annual report to the Wilkes Board of Education on Aug. 5.
When he gave his annual report for 2017-18, Skabo said about 40% of Wilkes high school athletes participate in more than one sport. He said there was an 8.3% increase in participation from 2016-17 to 2017-18.
Students at the Wilkes Early College High School are allowed to participate in high school athletics at the school that serves the area of Wilkes in which they live.
An 8 percent drop in enrollment in the five Wilkes high schools combined contributed to the decline in participation in varsity athletics. Enrollment in the five high schools combined fell from 3,109 in 2017-18 to 2,879 in 2018-19.
At individual schools
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction, reported the following changes in enrollment totals at each high school: Wilkes Early College High School, from 232 in 2017-18 to 234 in 2018-19; East Wilkes High, from 543 to 485; North Wilkes High, from 701 to 627; West Wilkes High, from 735 to 689; and Wilkes Central High, from 898 to 844.
The Wilkes high schools had an unusually large senior class in 2017-18.
East Wilkes High led the county in varsity athletic participation in 2017-18 with a varsity roster total of 430 students. The East Wilkes varsity roster total fell to 302 in 2018-19, a 30 percent drop.
East Wilkes was third among the four traditional high schools in varsity athletic participation in 2018-19. Wilkes Central was first that year with 365, while West Wilkes was second with 346 and North Wilkes was fourth with 294.
Totals for these three in 2017-18 were Wilkes Central, 417; West Wilkes, 407; and North Wilkes, 394.
Team roster totals in a sampling of sports in 2018-19 included:
• varsity football: West Wilkes, 26; Wilkes Central, 33; East Wilkes, 31; and North Wilkes, 34;
• men’s varsity soccer: West Wilkes, 14; Wilkes Central, 23; East Wilkes, 20; and North Wilkes, 20;
• men’s tennis, East Wilkes, 10; North Wilkes, none; West Wilkes, seven; and Wilkes Central, nine;
• men’s track and field: East Wilkes, 21; North Wilkes, 37; West Wilkes, 34; and Wilkes Central, 31;
• women’s track and field: East Wilkes, 14; North Wilkes, 15; West Wilkes, 27; and Wilkes Central, 22;
• women’s tennis: East Wilkes, 23; North Wilkes, 11; Wilkes Central, 16; and West Wilkes, 14;
• women’s cross country: East Wilkes, 4; North Wilkes, six; West Wilkes, 11; and Wilkes Central, 15.
Other varsity sports listed in Skabo’s report are wrestling, men’s cross-country, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s swimming, golf, basketball and indoor track. Cheerleading is also listed.
Skabo said the four high schools produced 11 varsity team conference champions and seven individual varsity conference champs in 2018-19.
The East Wilkes boys golf team was the county’s only regional team champion.
Winning conference championships were the East Wilkes girls tennis team; the West Wilkes volleyball, wrestling, girls basketball, baseball and softball teams; and the Wilkes Central boys basketball, girls basketball, girls swimming, boys golf and girls soccer teams.
Individual conference champions in 2018-19 included:
• from East Wilkes: Leah Nance and Abram Sparks in tennis—singles, Katie Stokes and Lauren Rakes in tennis—doubles and Ava Tharpe in golf;
• from West Wilkes: Amanda Eddins and William Walker in tennis—singles.
In 2017-18, the Wilkes high schools produced 10 varsity conference championships, 24 individual conference champs, two individual regional victors and two individual state champs.
Also in 2018-19, the Wilkes high schools produced 11 conference players of the year, seven conference coaches of the year, eight all-region/district athletes and four all-state athletes.
Skabo said 13 members of the 2019 Wilkes high school graduating class will participate in athletics at the college level, with most receiving academic and/or athletic scholarships.
Grade point average
The average unweighted grade point average (GPA) among Wilkes high school varsity athletes was 3.390 in 2018-19. The average GPA was 3.315 in 2017-18 and 3.360 in 2016-17.
The average varsity athlete unweighted GPA at each high school in 2018-19 was 3.45 at North Wilkes, 3.40 at East Wilkes, 3.40 at West Wilkes and 3.32 at Wilkes Central.
Skabo said 65 Wilkes varsity teams qualified for the N.C. High School Athletic Association Team Scholar-Athlete Award by having at least a 3.1 unweighted GPA in 2018-19.
The East Wilkes varsity baseball team was the scholar-athlete GPA team state champion for baseball in 2018-19.