As successful as the winter sports season was for Wilkes County athletes playing a sport at the collegiate level, the spring 2019 season brought its own share of success.

Here’s a look at how Wilkes County track and field, tennis and golf athletes fared this spring.

Note:  This recap will include indoor and outdoor track and field highlights, as well as swimming and wrestling. Look for a recap of Wilkes County athletes involved in rodeo, baseball and softball in a later edition of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.


Hunter Tharpe, Ferrum

East Wilkes, 2018

Tharpe took part in numerous swimming meets for the Panthers this winter and helped them set a new school record in the women’s 400-yard medley relay in a time of 4:48.26 at the Old Dominion Athletic Conference swim championships to finish seventh.

Individually, the freshman won the 200 backstroke and took second in the 200 individual medley at the Greensboro Invitational. During Ferrum’s ODAC meet on Jan. 12, Tharpe won both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.


Rylee Billings, King Univeristy

West Wilkes, 2018

Billings closed out his freshman campaign with a fifth-place finish in the 125-pound class at the NCAA Division II Super Region II Championships on Feb. 22.

Billings finished his first collegiate season with an overall record of 18-11 with a pair of major decisions and eight of his victories coming by technical fall.

He also had runner-up finishes at the King Open and the Georgia Open.

Dakota Roark, American University

West Wilkes, 2017

A redshirt freshman at the Washington, D.C.-based University, Roark wrestled in four matches (all individual) and went 2-2 (one win came by pin and the other was a 13-5 major decision in the 149-pound class) with all of his matches taking place in the East Stroudsburg Open on Nov. 10.

The Eagles went 7-4 in dual matches this past winter.

Track and Field

Josh Hall, Lees McRae

West Wilkes, 2016

Hall closed out a solid winter campaign at the Conference Carolinas indoor championship as he helped the distance medley relay team finish second. He was also part of the 4x400 relay squad that finished eighth. Individually, he took 11th in the 800 meters.

The junior set a personal indoor-best in the 800 of 2:00.72, good enough for fifth, at the JDL Fast Challenge.

During the outdoor season, Hall ran a sub two-minute 800 twice, highlighted by a 1:58.27 at the Catamount Classic on April 12-13.

During the Conference Carolinas outdoor championships, Hall finished 17th in the 800 and helped Lees McRae’s 4x400 relay team to a sixth place finish.

Jordyn Halvorsen, Lees McRae

Wilkes Central, 2015

Halvorsen competed in five indoor events during the winter season and earned an 18th place in the Conference Carolinas championship. The senior helped the Bobcats’ 4x400 (10th in 4:44.56) and DM (sixth at 14:55.23) relay team to top-10 finishes.

She also competed in four outdoor events and finished eighth in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase during the conference championships. Halvorsen also took eighth in the Eighth Annual Terrier Relays.

She also competed in the 800 and 1,500 events during the spring.   

Rylan Hincher, Montreat College

North Wilkes, 2015

After competing in the NAIA Cross Country national championships, Hincher competed in five indoor meets for the Cavaliers this winter. He had top 10 finishes in three events (four overall), which included a sixth-place finish during the 5,000 at the Finn Pincus Invitational.

During the Appalachian Athletic Conference indoor championships on Feb. 14-15, the senior took ninth in the 5,000 (16:04.05) and 10th in the 3,000 (9:32.22)

In addition to taking part in the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, Hincher took part in five outdoor meets this spring and saved his best for last — he placed fifth in the 10,000 run at 33:49.04. He also took 11th in the 5,000 at 16:47.03. Both performances came in the AAC outdoor championships.

He also placed third in the 5,000 at Lenoir-Rhyne’s Southside Power & Fitness Invitational.

Kyle Rhodes, Catawba College

East Wilkes, 2017

Rhodes took part in four meets this winter for the Indians and posted four top-10 finishes. The sophomore took third in the 5,000 run at the Winter Relays. He also said a new PR in the 3,000 (at 9:05.58) at the Finn Pincus Invitational on Jan. 25-26.

At the SAC indoor championships, Rhodes finished ninth in the 5,000 and 15th in the 3,000.

Rhodes also competed in four outdoor meets for the Indians and posted four-top 10 finishes while competing in the 5,000 and 10,000 events.

He finished third in the 5,000 at High Point University’s VertKlasse Meeting on March 21-23. He also claimed fourth in the Phoenix Invitational.

At the SAC outdoor championships, Rhodes finished ninth and 10th in the 5,000 and 10,000 events, respectively.

Lacey Triplett, Lenoir-Rhyne

Wilkes Central, 2018

In her first year with the Bears, Triplett competed in multiple events during both indoor and outdoor seasons, but specialized in the pole vault.

During indoor season, Triplett competed in seven different meets and captured five top-10 finishes. She had a pair of fifth-place finishes in the pole vault and finished sixth in the event at the South Atlantic Conference championships.

She also competed in the pentathlon at the conference championships and took 12th (with a fifth-place finish) in the 800 meters.

In the outdoor season, she competed in seven meets and earned a podium finish in the pole vault at the SAC outdoor championships — she claimed fourth in the event at 10-feet even. She also took eighth in the javelin to help the Bears capture the SAC championship for the first time in program history.

At the Lenoir-Rhyne Southside Power & Fitness Invitational, she competed in five different events with four top-10 finishes, including a fourth-place finish in the pole vault.

Kameron Walsh, East Tennessee State

North Wilkes, 2018

Walsh is listed on the Buccaneers’ track and field roster but did not compete in any events this season.

Bayle Wood, Lees McRae

Elkin, 2017

Wood turned in a strong all-around season with the Bobcats. She competed in six indoor meets, with her best finish (seventh in the weighted throw) coming at the JDL College Team Challenge on Feb. 1-2 and took 13th in the Conference Carolinas championships. She also competed in the shot put.

During the outdoor season, the sophomore competed in five meets, competing in four different field events. She won the Conference Carolinas championship in the javelin throw and captured sixth in the discus. She also finished 12th in the hammer throw.

Wood had nine top-10 finishes this spring. She also won the javelin in the Lenoir-Rhyne University Classic on April 6.

Wood, who hails from Roaring River, was recently named an All-Southeast Region selection by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).


Bri Pierce, Emory & Henry (Va.)

Wilkes Central, 2014

Pierce saw action in all 17 of the Wasps’ spring matches during her senior campaign.

Pierce went 16-1 in her matches this spring when primarily competing at No. 5 and No. 6 singles (she  competed at No. 4 singles twice).

The senior also teamed with Callie Pollard to compete at No. 3 doubles three times, and won all three of them.


Zach Caudill, Western Carolina

Wilkes Central, 2017

Caudill took part in all 11 of the Catamounts’ seasonal events, finishing with a seasonal stroke average of 78.29.

In 20 of his 31 rounds, he carded in the 70s or better including two rounds in the 60s and posted a round of 69 in the second round of the Hummingbird Intercollegiate, which stood as his career-low round until shooting 68 in the first round at the Grand Canyon Invitational on March 15-16.

He had a career-best finish of 38th at the 2019 Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championship.

Spencer Hayes, William Peace

Wilkes Central, 2017

Hayes competed in both of the Pacers’ golf tournaments this spring. The sophomore had his best finish of the spring (30th) while shooting a 172 in the Marlin Invitational in Ahoskie on March 23-24.

Earlier in the spring, Hayes had a 52nd place finish in the J. Ralph Hargett Memorial Tournament in Monroe on March 13.

Andrew Johnson, Surry C.C.

West Wilkes, 2018

Johnson helped lead the Knights to the Region X championship this spring and also qualified for the NJCAA National Championship tournament, which concluded today.

Johnson qualified by finishing tied for second with a two-day score of 159.

He turned in his best finish of the season when he was the individual medalist for the Johnston Country Club Spring Fling Tournament on March 19.

Chandler Metz, Western Carolina

Wilkes Central, 2017

The true sophomore played in seven events on the year, twice as a member of WCU and five times as an individual.

Metz capped off the year with a seasonal stroke average of 82.20 and carded six of his 20 seasonal rounds in the 70s, including a season-best round of 75 in the opening round of the East Bay Deli Classic at Kiawah.

Hunter Tharpe, Ferrum (Va.)

East Wilkes, 2018

Tharpe started off the spring in the Adidas Intercollegiate on March 11-12 in Dataw Island, S.C. The freshman opened with a 91 on the first day and then withdrew due to injury. It was the only action she competed in during the spring.

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