Soccer ball

The 2019 Powerade State Games of North Carolina for boys and girls soccer are set to take place this weekend and Wilkes County will be heavily involved, especially on the girls side.

Five Wilkes County soccer players and one coach will take part in the games, which begin on Saturday on Championship Field at the Queens University Sports Complex in Charlotte.

North Wilkes’ Alex Ruvalcaba will be the county’s lone boys soccer representative. The rising senior, who is also a member of the Vikings football team, will be a member of the West boys team. Watauga Head Coach Josh Honeycutt leads that squad.

Ruvalcaba, an All-Mountain Valley Athletic Conference selection in 2018, led the Vikings in goals last fall with 16 in 17 games.

The West team will face the North squad in the opening match of the games on Saturday at 8 a.m. They’ll take the field again later that day at 4 p.m. against the South squad, which is led by Mount Airy Head Coach Will Hurley, and will wrap up the round robin against the East representatives on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Four Wilkes County players, all from MVAC champion Wilkes Central, will compete in the girls soccer games.

Rising sophomores Sarah Lowe, Makenna Freeman and MVAC Player of the Year Zoe Susi, along with rising senior Kaylin Bang, will represent the West squad in the round robin tournament. All four players were all-MVAC selections and were also named to the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association all-region team for Region 8 earlier this month.

Freeman and Susi were also named 2A all-state selections.

Wilkes Central Head Coach Jim Caudill will serve as an assistant coach for the West squad, which will be led by Charlotte Garinger Head Coach Alexandra Reilley.

Lowe was a key player on the Eagles backline that pitched 16 clean sheets during the season.

Bang, a two-time all-region selection, scored 19 goals and assisted on 22 others during the spring.

Susi scored an astonishing 63 goals and assisted on 30 others to finish the season 156 points, which was a state-best, according to Caudill. Her 63 goals ranked second in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association all-time by a freshman and 12th all-time among all classes.

Freeman finished second on the Eagles’ roster in both goals (30) and assists (28) while patrolling Central’s midfield.

The West squad will begin its run on Saturday at 2 p.m. against the North squad. They will turn around and play two matches on Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. against the South squad and will wrap up the round robin against the East squad at 2 p.m.

Wilkes players take part in State Games baseball tournament

Three Wilkes County players and one head coach took part in the Powerade State Games of North Carolina for baseball last weekend in Charlotte.

West Wilkes’ Braxton Church, Riley Ledford and Colton Stotler were members of Region 7, which was led by Wilkes Central Head Coach Terry Johnson.

Region 7 went 1-2 in pool play. The team began play last Thursday with a 3-2 loss to Region 1 (players from Northeast North Carolina) at BB&T Ballpark — home of the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball club.

The following night, Region 7 dropped to 0-2 in pool play after a 7-5 loss to Region 4 (players from the Sandhills Region) but bounced back on Saturday afternoon to post a 1-0 win over Region 8 (players from Western North Carolina). Both of those games were played at Hayes Stadium on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The win placed Region 7 in the fifth-place game when bracket play began last Sunday: however, they dropped a 3-2 decision to Region 5 (players from the Triad area).

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