Stepping Up: Recognizing local athletes’ work ethic

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summertime is anything but slow for local sports. The high school athletes have been working tirelessly since before school ended to prepare for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Beaufort County has been home to plenty of live action. At the high-school level, area baseball players are keeping busy. Many of Washington’s players are on the school’s summer team. Beaufort County Post 15 has been a home for many local players, too. Still others are traveling all over the region with showcase teams. Some, like Northside’s Zach Woolard, are playing with multiple squads.

Last week, Chocowinity was the site where softball teams from surrounding counties assembled to compete for a ticket to the Babe Ruth softball regionals. East Beaufort’s 16U all stars topped Western Carteret, 8-2, to earn a trip to the southeast regional in Stafford, Virginia.

This week, local and neighboring Tar Heel League teams come to Washington for the district tournament. Like their female counterparts in the Babe Ruth league, these diamond all stars will be fighting for a chance to represent their area on a larger stage.

That tournament is scheduled to run through the weekend.

There’s a lot going on in the area this summer. Between those two tournaments, the “Summer Slam” CrossFit competition, the Aug. 26 Washington Triathlon and more, plenty of people are coming through to spend some of their summer in Beaufort County.

It’s been hard work for the organizers of these events. In hosting “Summer Slam” for the second year, Fitness Unlimited owner Amy Thomas put in plenty of effort and got an incredible amount of support from many others.

County recreation departments have had their organization skills put to the test in coordinating tournaments. Even local coaches have put themselves to work this summer. Washington soccer coach Jim Kozuch and Northside golf coach Jared Adams are two that have spent some of their summer working to develop younger athletes.

In fact, plenty of athletes and coaches are spending their summers working toward a collective goal. Only the coaches and athletes are seeing what goes into preparations for the fall. Season openers are still well over a month out, so no one will see the fruits of their labors until mid-August.

When summer turns to fall and baseball gives way to football and soccer, sports fans will be treated to a product that’s been months in the making when they pack Beaufort County’s stadiums. Then, when spring rolls around, they’ll get to see how a summer on the diamond has helped improve baseball and softball players.

Even though school lets out for a few months in the summer, the athletics cycle is a never-ending one. It takes tons of work from coaches, athletes, officials and many others, but makes for an exciting summer.