BOONE — There was a time when the high school wrestling team from Boone was unbeatable.
The architect for that program, the late Steve Gabriel, will be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame May 3 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Gabriel and 11 other inductees will be honored at the ceremony.
Gabriel, who was originally from Lincolnton, founded and coached the wrestling program at Appalachian High School. He led Appalachian High to a 140-0 record from 1952-65, when Appalachian High was closed and Watauga High School opened. He coached 54 state champions during his tenure at Appalachian High School.
His coaching career at Appalachian High was interrupted from 1953-55 when he served in the U.S. Navy.
Gabriel went on to coach wrestling at Appalachian State University from 1965-74, where he posted a record of 90-24-2. He led the Mountaineers to their first national tournament, which was at the NAIA level, during the 1970-71 season.
App State basketball
BOONE — Appalachian State backup guard Joseph Battle will transfer to USC-Aiken, according to his Twitter account.
Battle, a sophomore last season, started one of the 25 games he played last season. He averaged 3.3 points and 10.4 minutes played per game. Battle, a 6-foot-3 guard from Abbeville, S.C., pulled down 35 rebounds and, had 10 assists and five steals during the season. He scored a career-high 18 points against North Carolina Central.
App State’s athletic department confirmed that Battle is transferring out.
USC-Aiken is a Division II program and is a member of the Peach Belt Conference.
Shabazz works out with Sixers
PHILADEPHIA — Former Appalachian State guard Ronshad Shabazz was one of six prospects who worked out with the Philadelphia 76ers in their training complex in Camden, N.J. on May 6.
Shabazz, who averaged more than 18 points in three of his seasons at Appalachian State, declared himself eligible for the 2018 draft, but recanted and played his senior season with the Mountaineers. He averaged 18.3 points per game at App State last season and was named second-team All-Sun Belt Conference.
The NBA Draft is June 20. The draft lottery will be held May 14.
App State football
KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan receiver Keishawn Watson will transfer to Appalachian State, according to his Twitter account.
Watson started his tweet by thanking God, then thanking Western Michigan University, his family and friends for their support while attending WMU. He concluded by tweeting “And with that being said, I have decided to pursue my masters and play my last year at Appalachian State University.”
Watson made his announcement on Twitter May 5. He is a graduate transfer, so he will be allowed to play with the Mountaineers immediately. He caught 68 passes for 728 yards and scored nine touchdowns in his three seasons with Western Michigan.
Watauga girls’ track
HICKORY — Emma Brown led the Watauga girls’ track and field team to a victory in the Northwestern Conference Championships held at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Watauga won the event with 253 points. Alexander Central finished a distant second with 149 points and Freedom was third with 62 points.
Brown won three individual events, including the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, eight inches. Teammate Brooke Byrd was second with a jump of 15-41/2 and Kate Dailey was fourth with a jump of 15-2.
Brown also won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.27 seconds. Sarah Goode finished sixth with a time of 18.66. Brown also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 49.51. She was the only hurdler to finish under 50 seconds.
Livia Coppedge added a fourth place finish in the 56.33 and Lydia Rothrock was fifth with a time of 57.19.
Byrd provided the Pioneers a victory in the high jump with a leap of 4-10. Byrd teamed with Brown, Ava Williamson and Maddy Watson to win the 400-meter relay with a time of 52.94 seconds.
Kendall Reece placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:04.08. South Caldwell’s Cassandra Bonds won with a time of 1:04.40 and Watauga’s Kate Tuberty was third with a 1:06.63.
Watauga’s pole vaulters claimed the top two positions with Ella Nelson winning the event with a vault of 11-0. Goode finished second with a vault of 9-6.
Watauga boys finish second
HICKORY — The Watauga boys’ track team finished second in the Northwestern Conference Championships May 3 at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Watauga finished with 161 points, which was behind NWC champion Alexander Central, which finished with 188 points. South Caldwell finished third with 110 points.
Watauga’s Tate Cook won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 10 inches. Jaiden Bond was third with a time of 5-8 and Sam Sappington finished second in the shot put with a toss of 42 feet, 11 inches. Sappington also tossed the discus 127-9.
Sebastian Best claimed a second-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 20-81/5 and added a third-place finish in the triple jump with an effort of 41-5. He also finished second in the 400-meter run with a time of 51.96 seconds.
Grant Oliver added a 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.26 seconds.
Henry Coatney took second in the pole vault with an effort of 11-0. Jayden Robbins was third with a vault of 10-0, while South Caldwell’s Carter Lewis won with a vault of 13-0.
Middle school baseball
THOMASVILLE — Watauga’s middle school baseball team beat Ledford 5-2 on May 1.
Watauga improved to 10-2 this season, while Ledford slipped to 11-4.
Watauga opened the game by scoring two runs in the first inning. Maddox Greene singled, stole second and reached third on a Ledford error. Jake Henderson then walked and stole second giving Watauga runners on third and on second base.
Jacob Dilley struck out, but the third strike was dropped and Dilley went to first base. Greene scored on the throw to first base trying to get Dilley, while Henderson advanced to third. Henderson scored on a fielder’s choice by Tristan Salinas.
Ledford scored its first run in the bottom of the first inning to pull to 2-1. Neither team could push a run across the plate until the sixth inning when Greene singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Henderson reached first on a bunt single, which moved Greene to third. Henderson stole second base and Dilley walked to load the bases. Matthew Hamrick walked, which drove in Greene, but no other Watauga batter reached base, leaving Watauga in front 3-1.