Bond to Western Carolina

Watauga’s Jaiden Bond announced he will walk on to play football at Western Carolina.

BOONE — Watauga wingback Jaiden Bond announced on his Twitter page March 23 that he will play college football at Western Carolina.

Bond was a three-year starter at wingback and defensive back for the Pioneers. He will be a preferred walk-on for the Catamounts.

Bond thanked the Lord, his teachers and his coaches at Watauga High School in his tweet before making his announcement to attend Western Carolina.

“I would like to thank the coaching staff at Western Carolina for offering me a PWO opportunity to play D1 football,” Bond tweeted. “I’m excited about being a Catamount and playing football at WCU!”

Watauga track and field

BOONE — There isn’t a lot that Watauga track and field coach Randy McDonough can do for his pole-vaulters, long jumpers and triple jumpers in the next two weeks.

Since the suspension of all prep practices by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association took effect March 13 and lasts until April 6, McDonough is not allowed to supervise any workouts or make any facilities at Watauga High School available to the student-athletes.

McDonough has been coaching at Watauga for 28 years and coaching overall for 33 years.

“We’re breaking new ground here,” McDonough said. “I told the kids that we just have to be patient. Right now is not a good year to be an eighth-grader or a 12th grader. Eighth-grade students are missing out on graduations and the last year of their middle-school athletics and 12th graders may not get their senior season of track or baseball or whatever.”

Prep athletics

RALEIGH — The chances of there being a spring prep sports season took a big hit on March 23 when the North Carolina High School Athletics Association announced that it was suspending prep athletics through May 18 because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

A news release from the NCHSAA said that in response to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order that closed public schools through May 18, the NCHSAA would suspend prep athletics through the weekend until May 18.

That includes the NCHSAA state championship basketball games, which have yet to be played.

“Having heard the updated information relative to schools remaining closed until the middle of May, NCHSAA interscholastic athletics will remain suspended until at least May 18.” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said in a statement.

App State football

No football coach likes to miss out on practices of any kind. App State head coach Shawn Clark is no exception.

The Mountaineers were not allowed to finish their spring workouts. The Sun Belt Conference shut down all athletic games, events and practices on March 13, which included spring football, for the rest of the season.

The Mountaineers held their final practice on March 6, before spring break, and were supposed to end March 21. App State had four spring practices left, but Clark downplayed missing those workouts.

“In the big picture, football is a small part of what we do,” Clark said. “In times like this, you realize the importance of the safety of others, the safety of our town and the state of North Carolina. In the big picture, it doesn’t really mean that much. Would I have liked to get four more practices in? Yes. I’d like to have 14 more. But in the big picture, we want to make sure our players are safe, the town of Boone is safe and we’ll catch up on those practices in August.”

App State men’s basketball

BOONE — Thanks to the COVIN-19 virus, Appalachian State men’s basketball team is not allowed to play in any games or even recruit until April 15.

That doesn’t mean the Mountaineers aren’t lining up the 2020-21 schedule. App State coach Dustin Kerns confirmed that Appalachian State will play at Duke in a game in the 2020-21.

The Mountaineers return to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since 2016 when the Blue Devils beat App State 93-58

Kerns isn’t worried about what happened in 2016. His Mountaineers are coming off an 18-15, 11-9 mark in the Sun Belt during the 2019-20 season. The Mountaineers also return leading scorer Justin Forrest, who was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference.

“Duke reached out and those games are not easy to get,” Kerns said. “We looking to play a national game and those are games we want to be a part of.”

Forrest named All-District

BOONE — App State men’s basketball guard Justin Forrest has been named Second Team All-District 23 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

It marks the first NABC All-District honor for the Decatur, Ga. native. Earlier this month, he was tabbed First Team All-Sun Belt by the conference.

This season, Forrest averaged a team-high and career-high 17.3 points, which also ranked third in the conference. He also finished with a career-high 91 assists.

Forrest scored in double figures in 27 of 32 games this season, including 20 or more points a team-high 15 times. He finished with 553 total points, which ranks as the 13th most in single season program history.

App State field hockey

GILBERT, Ariz. – For the 17th straight year, App State’s field hockey team was named a Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Team recipient.

In addition, 18 App State student-athletes were named to the 2019 National Academic Squad while four Mountaineers garnered Scholar of Distinction honors.

App State was one of 73 Division I programs to earn the National Academic Team Award. To receive the honor, teams must have posted a 3.0 GPA or higher during the fall semester of the 2019-20 school year. The Mountaineers finished with a 3.44 team GPA in fall 2019, besting their 3.36 mark from fall 2018.

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