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Cape Fear to honor fallen principal


By Earl Vaughan Jr.

The days of specialization have been a part of high school athletics for some time, with potential college stars focusing all their energies on a single sport.

But Gray’s Creek High School’s Kylie Aldridge is an exception to the trend. The senior for the Bears, who has already committed to play college softball at Virginia Tech, is also one of the best volleyball players in the county. She’s suited up again and ready for her final season with Coach Jalesty Washington’s team.


Aldridge said there was no indecision when it came to playing her final season of volleyball this year, calling the chance to play in two different sports one of the reasons she thinks she’s become the athlete she is.

“I want to play one more year with this group of seniors,’’ she said. “It gives us one more opportunity to be together and have fun.’’

While softball and volleyball seem to have little in common, Aldridge said the mental aspect involved in each game has been a big help to her. “The connection we have as a team is the best thing that’s helped me,’’ she said. “These girls are my best friends, and we are strong together.’’


Washington said it’s clear Aldridge is a team player first and a star second because of the way she interacts with her teammates. “She’s the biggest fan of her teammates,’’ Washington said. “She’s always talking them through stuff, talking on the court and even in practice.’’

Aldridge heads a group of returnees for Washington that should make the Bears strong contenders for the new United 8 Conference title.

Veterans back include setter Lillian Konrad, who speeds up the Bear offense. Also returning is Kayla Schlautman, who plays libero.

A promising newcomer is Ava Sterling, a freshman, who will help provide a challenge on the court for Aldridge.

Washington expects a major test from an always-strong Cape Fear team. She also has plenty of respect for nearby rival South View, which won two sets off the Bears last season. Another potential concern is county rival Jack Britt.

“We are always ready for what comes on the other side of the net,’’ she said.

• Cape Fear High School is planning a tribute to its former principal, Brian Edkins, who passed away unexpectedly over the summer.

The ceremony is scheduled at Friday’s home football game with E.E. Smith, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

Events will begin around 7 p.m. A moment of silence will be observed. Susan Edkins and her sons will join in the pregame toss of the coin.

Edkins’ youngest son, Landon, will lead the Cape Fear team onto the field through the tunnel.

Throughout the pregame activities, some of Edkins’ favorite songs will be played over the public address system at the Cape Fear stadium.

• Terry Sanford cheerleading coaches Nancy Baum Schenk and Olivia Ann Caughey are holding a Future Cheerleader Clinic at Terry Sanford High School on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. until noon.

The event is open to boys and girls ages 4-11. Participants will learn cheers, chants and dances, and will prepare to perform during the second quarter of Terry Sanford’s Sept. 24 home football game with Triton.

The cost per person is $40 and includes snacks, admission to the game and a Terry Sanford shirt. 

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