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Diligence leads 12-year-old Taft Courie to strong showing in state golf tournament


By Earl Vaughan Jr.

Village Christian Academy golfer Taft Courie got his first set of Little Tykes golf clubs when he was 2 years old. By the age of 8, he played his first competitive round of golf.

Last week at the Bryan Park Players Course in Greensboro, Courie make the biggest splash of his young golf career, finishing in a tie for fifth in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2-A golf tournament.

Now 12 and in the seventh grade, Courie shot a 74 to finish three shots back of medalist Aiken Golightly of Westminster Catawba Christian.

According to the NCISAA Shotstat website, Courie ranked second in the state in the 2-A classification this season.

Taft’s father, David Courie, said his son’s mental game is his strong point for now.

“He has matured a great deal as a player,’’ the elder Courie said. “He doesn’t get rattled by a bad shot or overly excited about a particularly good one.’’

Courie also said his son is diligent about practice, sometimes ending a decent round by shaking hands with opponents then heading straight to the practice green to work on a putting problem.

“He went there to win,’’ Courie said of his son. “He felt he played well, but not his best. His chipping and putting kind of pulled him through.’’

Another Fayetteville golfer, Northwood Temple Academy’s Sutton Dreier, placed in a tie for 11th with a 77.

• Terry Sanford freshman Ethan Paschal turned in a solid performance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A state tournament at Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Southern Pines.

Paschal tied for second place with a 2-under-par 70. He led Terry Sanford to a team score of 305, good for third place.

Other individual scores for the Bulldogs were Thomas Horne 75, Graham McLeod 77 and  Spencer Barbour 83.

Cape Fear, in its first NCHSAA tournament as a team in school history, shot a 323. Colt scores included Nick Perry 76, Luke McCorquodale 79, Gavin Drose 80 and Austin White 88.

In other NCHSAA golf news, Cape Fear’s Gabby Bynum competed in her third consecutive state girls tournament this week, placing in a tie for 32nd in the 3-A tournament with a score of 99.

• Congratulations to a pair of teams from Pine Forest High School who were honored this week by the N.C. High School Athletic Association for having the best team grade point average of any school in their sport in the state this year.

The Pine Forest cheerleading squad compiled a GPA of 3.88, while the school’s swimming team had a GPA of 3.86.


• Gray’s Creek made school history this week, earning the school’s first NCHSAA 3-A Eastern runner up title in softball when it fell to Southern Alamance 7-2. They finished 12-3.

The Bears dominated the Patriot All-Conference softball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches:

Coach of the year - Stuart Gilmer, Gray’s Creek.

Player of the year - Kyle Aldridge, Gray’s Creek.

Pitcher of the year - Madi Bagley, Gray’s Creek. 


First team

Gray’s Creek - Jaden Pone, Emma Cobb, Courtney Cygan, Morgan Brady.

South View - Jessica Penfield, Alex Deville.

Pine Forest - Nadia Crosby.

Cape Fear - Lex Glemaker, Olivia Melvin.

E.E. Smith - Kevanna DeBerry.

Overhills - Maaika Dones.

Second team

Cape Fear - Noni MacFadden, Meghan Himes, Nicole Gilroy.

Pine Forest - Brittany Maultsby, Madison Guard, Kaylin King.

Overhills - Elizabeth Mitchell.

Terry Sanford - Skylar Young.

Gray’s Creek - Abby Riddle.

South View - Casey Dees, Katelynn Swain.

Honorable mention

Terry Sanford - Kenzie Carr.

South View - Savanna Delp.

Macie Matney - Cape Fear.

• Here is the Patriot Athletic All-Conference soccer team chosen by the league’s head coaches:

Coach of the year - Rico Mitchell, Cape Fear.

Offensive player of the year - Kylie Rock, Gray’s Creek.


Defensive player of the year - Avery Vorholt, Pine Forest.

Goalkeeper of the year - Emma Welling, Pine Forest.


First team

Pine Forest - Kamala Bandmann, Holly Harwick.

Cape Fear - Jayda Angel, Gabby Bynum, Dylan Sneed, Meredith Wenthur.

South View - Kelsey Burge.

Gray’s Creek - Lilly Follette

Terry Sanford - Kara Walker, Abby Sherrill, Sophia Hernandez.

Second team

Gray’s Creek - Alexis Allen, Kamryn Rock, Emma Hill, Gillyn Taft.

Overhills - Alayja Clark.

Pine Forest - Layla Squires, Lauren Adkins, Amanda Stivason.

Cape Fear - Brooke Dawkins.

Terry Sanford - Ranger Pratt.

South View - Jasalyn Burton. 

Honorable mention

Gray’s Creek - Devyn Hart.

Cape Fear - Christiana Paz.

Overhills - Isabella Salazar, Alejandra Cervantes.

• The realigned football conferences for the Cumberland County Schools released their new names this week.

The United 8 Athletic Conference will include Douglas Byrd, Cape Fear, Seventy-First, Jack Britt, Gray’s Creek, Purnell Swett, Lumberton and South View.

The All American Conference will include E.E. Smith, Terry Sanford, Westover, Pine Forest, Overhills, Harnett Central, Triton and Western Harnett.

Terry Sanford’s Jordan Miller was the lone tennis player from Cumberland County to qualify for this year’s NCHSAA tennis championships. Miller will be in the singles draw in the 3-A tournament this weekend at the Burlington Tennis Complex. He is scheduled to play Josh Gillis of Western Guilford in his first match.


Terry Sanford baseball coach Sam Guy reached another milestone this week. When his team defeated Pine Forest 14-2 Tuesday, it was Guy’s 300th win as a head coach. “I have always been of the thinking that players win games, not coaches,’’ Guy said. ‘I know it is a milestone, and I’m very proud of those wins that all the outstanding young men that I have had the privilege of coaching over the years won for our teams. I haven’t thrown a single pitch or hit or caught a single ball. Players do that.’’ Pictured with Guy are his wife Jenn and children, left to right, daughters Parker and Avery and son Easton. Guy spent two years as head coach at Seventy-First from 2000-2002, then was at Jack Britt for one year as an assistant and seven as head coach. Since coming to Terry Sanford in 2010, his record as a Bulldog is 198-58. His career record is 300-147.


May 7


Lumberton 12, Jack Britt 2


NCHSAA 3-A playoffs

Gray’s Creek 5, Southwest Randolph 0

NCISAA playoffs

Hickory Grove Christian 7, Fayetteville Christian 4


Raleigh Ravenscroft 20, Fayetteville Academy 10

May 8


Cape Fear 11, Western Harnett 3

Girls’ soccer

St. Thomas More 4, Fayetteville Academy 1

May 10


NCISAA playoffs

Freedom Christian 14, Salem Baptist Christian 0

May 11


Cape Fear 5, Gray’s Creek 0

Terry Sanford 14, Pine Forest 2

RIchmond Senior 8, Jack Britt 7


NCHSAA 3-A Playoffs

Southern Alamance 7, Gray’s Creek 2

NCISAA playoffs

Wayne Christian 18, Freedom Christian 1

May 13


Terry Sanford 8, South View 7