Return shot

Watauga’s Jadyn Kadyk returns a shot in her match against Karlie Quinn at Watauga’s tennis courts Aug. 19.

BOONE — Watauga girls’ tennis player Jadyn Kadyk’s return to the team after a year away proved to be successful. The debut of new coach Jennifer Pillow was also a hit.

Both led Watauga to a 9-0 victory over visiting Davie County on Aug. 19 at Watauga’s courts. Kadyk, a senior, did her part by claiming an 8-4 pro-set win over Davie’s Karlie Quinn.

“I’m excited to be back,” Kadyk said. “It’s my senior year and we have a good group of girls, so I wanted to come and spend my last year here.”

Kadyk, one of three seniors in the Pioneers’ top six singles players, was never in any serious danger of losing her match. She finished out the day by teaming with Madison Ogden to claim an 8-6 doubles victory.

“I wanted to work on some different things,” Kadyk said. “I was working on serving and volleying and drop shots. I was also working on dropping my serve in different places.”

Fellow Watauga seniors Carolina Davidson and Magali Turner added singles victories. Davidson beat Abby Fletcher 8-4 at No. 4, while Magali Turner added an 8-2 win over Leslie Newsom at No. 5.

A pair of freshmen also captured singles victories for the Pioneers. Amira Younce beat Davie County’s Aisulu Ball 8-5 at No. 2 singles, while Madison Ogden tripped Whitney Deloach 8-2 at No. 3 singles. Watauga sophomore Jillian Russert added an 8-2 win at No. 6 singles over Elise Weidman.

Watauga boys’ soccer

ASHEVILLE — At the start of the 2019 season, Watauga boys’ soccer coach Josh Honeycutt was curious how the Pioneers’ offense would look without its top two scorers from 2018.

He found out, at least for one game, the Pioneers were in good shape offensively. The Pioneers got two goals from Holden Perry and a goal each from Walker Franklin and another from David Sprague in a 4-0 Watauga win in the first game of the season.

Watauga scored all of its goals in the first half. The Pioneers hope to make it two straight victories with an Aug. 21 home showdown against Newton-Conover, which was 2-A state runner-up 2018.

“They’re going to be really good,” Honeycutt said. “They’re going to be really well-coached and they’re going to have lots of talent. They’ve got several guys returning, so it’s going to be a challenge.”

Watauga entered the season without Jair Alvarez and Gabe Highfield, who both graduated from last season after scoring 43 of Watauga’s 101 goals. Honeycutt felt going into the season that the Pioneers would have to make up the scoring slack by committee instead of depending on one or two players to provide the bulk of the scoring.

“I felt like we played really well,” Honeycutt said. “Our attack was good and we looked really sharp.”

Cross-country

BOONE — Watauga’s Avery Cannon and Ethan Turner were the top two finishers in the senior boys division of the Pioneer Clash of the Classes, which was held Aug. 17 at Watauga’s cross-country course.

The event was not counted by the NCHSAA as an official meet since it was one more than what they schedule allowed, so it was considered a scrimmage for the 28 teams that participated. Teams from Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina ran in the event.

Cannon finished with a time of 10 minutes, 20 seconds, while Turner finished with a time of 10:52. Watauga also got a sixth place finish from Caleb Coatney, who clocked a time of 10:57 and Caleb Cox, who turned in a time of 11:14.

“(Cannon) looked really good,” Watauga coach Randy McDonough said. “He was followed in by Ethan Turner, who is recovering from an injury. I thought despite that he looked pretty good.”

In the senior girls’ division, Watauga’s Riley Fowler was seventh with a time of 13:21, while teammate Rebecca Anderson was eighth with a time of 13:24. Returning Watauga senior Sophia Ritter did not run in the event because she was out of town.

Olivia McAnulty was the fastest Watauga runner in the junior girls’ division. She finished fifth with a time 13:25, while teammate Isabelle Broman-fulks was seventh with a time of 13:42.

Watauga football preview

BOONE — After months of workouts over the spring and summer, the fall has finally arrived for the Watauga football team.

Watauga has played 7-on-7 scrimmages and full contact scrimmages during that time. The Pioneers play for real at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 23, when they host visiting T.C. Roberson at Jack Groce Stadium in the first game of the 2019 season.

Watauga begins its defense of its first Northwestern Conference championship since 2007 playing a team that Pioneers coach Ryan Habich said is much improved from the bunch that Watauga pounded 36-12 in Asheville last season.

Habich anticipates a T.C. Roberson team that has a new quarterback in converted defensive back Shak Hill, who runs the Rams’ zone-read triple option offense. Habich said Hill can throw the ball well enough to be a threat, but is particularly tough to catch when running the football.

“We were impressed,” Habich said. “They’re a lot better than last year. They have a very athletic quarterback. He was a defensive back and running back, but he throws the ball really well.”

Watauga has more to worry about than a potentially explosive Roberson running game. The Pioneers’ defense struggled in its preseason scrimmages against Maiden, East Surry and North Surry, especially in the open field.

The Pioneers had to replace several key members of a defense that helped Watauga finish with a 13-1 record in 2018. Habich, saw Roberson play in a scrimmage, feels the Rams have upgraded the quarterback position with a good athlete in Hill.

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