Top 10 stories of 2007
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
From the little kids running around the bases at the SusieGray McConnell Sports Complex to those playing professional sports, it was another exciting year in sports.
Here’s a look at the top 10 sporting events from the past year.
10. Trent Whitehead and Kendall Sadler become Pirates.
Whitehead, a former star at Washington High School, had two home runs, 16 RBIs, 18 walks, 23 stolen bases and hit .475 in winning the Washington Daily News’ Hitter of the Year award. He is expected to compete for an outfield position with the Pirates.
Sadler, a former standout at Southside High School, hit .412, had 56 hits and 30 RBIs — all second best on the team — along with three home runs in 44 games in her sophomore season at Louisburg. She is expected to compete for the catching job with the Pirates.
9. The heat was blazing and so were the fastballs during the Junior Babe Ruth League District Six Tournament, which was held at the Susiegray McConnell Sports Complex.
The tournament played host to two divisions and eight teams and was back in Washington for the first time in five years.
In the 13-U division, Crystal Coast, New Bern, Newport, Kinston/Lenoir and Washington battled it out for the crown, while Washington, Kinston/Lenoir and Crystal Coast competed in the 14-U division.
8. After having put the series on hold in 2000, Washington High School and Northside High School renewed their football rivalry.
The Pam Pack and Panthers, who played for the Anchor Bowl from 1989 to 2000, met Aug. 31 in Week 3 of the prep football season. The Pack took a 48-8 victory, breaking open a close game with a strong second half.
This year’s game was played at Northside High School. Washington will host the game in 2008.
7. Damien Wilkins “Fun Day” was bigger and better than ever.
A star with the Seattle Sonics, Wilkins, who scored a career-high 41 points earlier this year, came home to Washington to host his third “Fun Day” event.
Preceding the festivities, Wilkins held a basketball camp at Washington High School. Some 100 students from the middle schools, high school and Boys &Girls Club participated in this year’s camp.
Wilkins then had free food, drinks and games for the community at his annual event. The Washington native, who continues to give back to the community, also bussed some students to Charlotte when his Sonics played at the Charlotte Bobcats.
6. Suzanne Lee and Lee Watkins close out their impressive high school careers by winning the Washington Daily News’ Athlete-of-the Year awards.
Lee signed to run track at East Carolina, though she’s put that on the back burner for now. The Northside High School standout started her senior year by being named the Washington Daily News’ Volleyball Player of the Year. Lee followed that up by earning honorable mention on the WDN All-Area basketball team. She capped it off by winning her third consecutive WDN Female Track Athlete of the Year award.
Lee was named the Most Valuable Player by her coaches in all three sports. She was voted Northside’s Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Along the way, Lee kept up with her grades, accumulating a 3.9 GPA.
Lee was also voted homecoming queen.
Watkins, who is now in the Navy, was a two-sport star for the Pam Pack. He was named the WDN All-Area Baseball first team catcher. A solid player behind the plate, Watkins was also a solid hitter. He batted .304 and scored 12 runs.
Watkins was an All-Coastal Conference performer in football for coach Sport Sawyer’s football team. He played linebacker and fullback for the Pack.
5. Sam Leggett, Terrance Copper, Susan (Campbell) Hodges and Tommy Woolard most likely won’t soon forget. The four were the newest inductees into the Washington Walk of Fame.
Leggett was an exceptional basketball player for the Pam Pack. The 1972 graduate went on to coach varsity basketball and is currently the Pam Pack’s golf coach.
Hodges, a 1978 graduate, was a standout in tennis and basketball. She was voted her team’s MVP in both sports.
Woolard is a 1951 graduate. He was a football star for the Pam Pack, and was named his team’s MVP in 1950. Woolard was nicknamed, “All-State,” by Choppy Wagner.
Copper, a 2000 graduate, set school records in receptions and receiving yards for the Pam Pack football team. Following a successful career at East Carolina, he is currently a member of the New Orleans Saints.
4. Travis Daniels ran for a school-record 2,290 yards to go with 22 touchdowns for the Washington Pam Pack, leading the team to its best record (8-4) since the 1999 season when Washington went 11-2.
Daniels ran for at least 113 yards in all 12 games, including efforts of 330 yards and four scores in a season-opening win against North Pitt and 327 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff loss to South Granville.
Daniels was voted the Coastal Conference Player of the Year.
3. C.J. Wilson, a former standout at Northside High School, has a sack and helps lead the East Carolina Pirates to a 41-38 victory over the No. 24 Boise State Broncos in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
Chris Johnson set an NCAA bowl record with 408 all-purpose yards for the Pirates (8-5). He rushed for 223 yards, caught three passes for 32 yards and returned six kickoffs for 153 yards.
Wilson and his teammates got to enjoy a luau, visited the Pearl Harbor exhibit, spent time at a water park and enjoyed some sight-seeing in paradise before stunning the No. 24 Broncos.
Wilson, a sophomore defensive end for the East Carolina Pirates, was named to the 2007 Coaches All-Conference USA Second Team. It’s the second honor in two years for Wilson after he was named to the All-C-USA Freshman Team last year.
Wilson led the Pirates with seven quarterback sacks. He also came up with 36 tackles, including 10.5 for loss, a team-high 12 QB hurries, a forced fumble and two blocked kicks.
2. Brad Roach, a former Williamston High School star and current starting quarterback for the Catawba Indians, is named the All-American QB on the 2007 AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team.
Roach, named the All-South Atlantic Conference quarterback earlier this year, put up some big numbers throughout the season. He completed 224 of 376 (59.6 percent) passes for 3,322 yards, throwing 32 touchdowns passes along the way. He also ran for 91 yards and three scores.
The Catawba co-captain led the Indians to an 11-2 record, including a playoff victory.
In his college career, Roach completed 608 of 1,099 passes (55.3 percent) for 7,874 yards. He threw 62 touchdown passes.
The Catawba senior also ran for 138 yards and six scores.
Roach set a handful of records during his career at Catawba. He holds the school record for passing yards in a season (3,322 in 2007), touchdown passes in a season (32 in 2007), touchdown passes in a game (five against Albany State in 2007), completions in a season (224 in 2007), efficiency rating in a season (153.4 in 2007) and passing attempts in a season (384 in 2005).
Roach will participate in the Valero Cactus Bowl, the postseason all-star game for NCAA Division II football student-athletes.
The game will be held Friday, Jan. 11, at Javelina Stadium in Kingsville, Texas.
1. The Plymouth Vikings won the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state championship.
Coach Robert Cody led the team to a perfect 16-0 record, capped by a 20-13 win over North Duplin in the state championship game. The Vikings outscored their opposition 684 to 72, an average of 42.75 to 4.5, throughout the 16 games.
Angelo Sharpless earned the Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Game honors for the Vikings, coming up with a pair of touchdown receptions and two interceptions. He had a state-best 16 interceptions, three being returned for touchdowns, on the year.
Plymouth had a pair of 2,000-plus yard rushers in Tobias Clagon and Andre Mitchell, thanks in part to a beefy and impressive offensive line.
Dasheen Perry led an impressive defense that didn’t allow more than 13 points in a game all year.