Local Trio Win NCHSA Titles

003Trey Hicks isn’t your typical 13 year old kid. While most 13 year olds are at home lounging around, playing video games, heading out on the lake, or hunting, Trey is out hitting the trails on his 2008 KTM 105 XC bike, practicing or racing, depending on the day of the week. Trey has only been racing for 3 years in the North Carolina Hare Scramble Association (NCHSA), but that has been plenty of time for Trey to move to the top of his class, winning the Mini-B class in convincing fashion.

The NCHSA is a motorcycle only series of racing, with courses that are specifically laid out for bikes. There are many different divisions based on bike size and skill levels; for instance, the Mini-B division is for 12-13 year old competitors, and bike specs include a 14” rear wheel and a 17” front wheel maximum. The races take place on the weekends, with 4 different types of races in close to 40 different divisions taking place on race day. The series for each class includes a 16 race schedule in which points are handed out based on place, with 1st taking 55 points and graduated down from there.

trey-2Hicks attributes his start in racing to a friend of his, Mackenzie Thomas, with whom he went to a race and enjoyed it so much that he decided to race in the next event. “I watched it on TV and then went to a race with Kenzie, it got my interest sparked,” states Hicks. “I had just started riding and it seemed like something I could do, so I went with her, knowing she raced, and the next race I entered.”

Hicks went on to say that he realized he had a chance to do well in his second season of racing. “Probably my second year halfway through the season, at the Denver Hare Scramble, when my finishes went from 7th or 8th to 3rd or 4th on a regular basis,” stated Hicks, “and this year I realized that a championship was possible at the end of the first race when I won it by 11 minutes in an hour race.”

Hicks didn’t look back, from there he went on to win 10 of the 12 races in the Mini-B class, wrapping up the title a little past the halfway point of the season. Hicks locked it up so early that he was able to move up in class for the final four races of the season to compete in the Mini-A division and get some experience against next year’s competition..

trey-hicks-ridingThe Hicks family has made it a family affair, with the whole family traveling to every race, taking the camper and spending quality time with each other. “I’m thankful for my family, being able to spend the time with them,” stated Hicks, whose father Larry also races, finishing 3rd overall in the NCHSA Senior C class.

“One of the things that I really enjoy is attending church at the track,” said Hicks. “They are held every Sunday morning before the races begin, and conducted just like any other service…it starts with prayer requests, then a praise and worship service followed by preaching. The service is led by Matthew Pressley, who is a youth pastor at his home church in Waynesville, NC.

“I really look up to Matthew,” stated Hicks, “he not only leads the service, but he is also one of the Pro class racers. He is just a good example to follow when we’re on the track. He has always been an example to me of how to run a clean race and not just pass by someone who may be hurt. He’s sacrificed his race for the sake of someone else before, and to me that’s something I want to be, something I really look up to him for.”

Trey’s faith plays a big part in his racing as well, “We (he and his family) gather at the starting line and pray before every race.” He went on to say, “I just trust that the Lord will keep me safe and keep me out of danger. My motivation comes from Philippians 4:13 which says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.’ I was able to have 413 as my number last year in the 2007 season because of that.”

Hicks looks to continue his success into the 2009 season, which will start at the beginning of March. When asked what his favorite thing about racing was, Hicks stated, “The start…You start with the bike off and wait until the flag waves to start the bike and go. Getting off the blocks good is important when the track is dusty, and nobody wants to run from behind anyway.”

Hicks wasn’t the only local resident to finish well in the series this season. Thomas, who helped get Trey interested in racing, also did well this season, winning the Women’s C class. Kenzie is from the Cranberry area and has been racing for 7 years. Also winning his class was Kevin McClellan of Montezuma, who competed in the Vet-C 30+ class. For more information on Hicks you can check out http://www.treyhicksracing.com or for more information on the NCHSA go to http://www.yourrace.com. Congratulations to all three series winners from this area and good luck in the future.

Vikings Sweep Owen in Exciting Night of Basketball

Savannah Dellinger shoots in JV girls action

Savannah Dellinger shoots in JV girls action

An evening of unexpected results saw two different outcomes than fans in Avery County expected when they entered Viking Gym, seeing all four Avery teams win in an exciting night of hoops.  Following a week off due to weather and testing for Avery fans would see the night get underway with the Avery Lady Viking JVs taking on the JV Warlassies from Owen.  Given the result from the previous matchup of the two teams previously this season, more of a matchup was expected, but from the opening tip the Lady Viking JVs had a different plan for the night.  The JV Ladies would get 6 points each from Mercedes Bentley and Emily Pritchard in the opening quarter to take an early 17-7 lead after the stanza and would not look back.  They would stretch the lead to 19 at the half, leading 31-12; but the second half would prove to be all Avery’s seeing the Lady Viking JVs jump out quickly and outscore the Lady Warlassies 41-13 in the final two periods and walk off the floor with a 72-25 win under their belts.

The Lady Viking JVs would get 21 points in just 14 minutes from Bentley and 11 points from Pritchard in the victory, setting the tone for the night for the Viking hoopsters.

In the second contest of the evening the JV Vikings would face the JV Warhorses in a rematch of Avery’s only season victory.  Avery battled tough and walked out of Owen High School with the W back in December.  The game would be nip and tuck all the way through, with neither team willing to give in to the other, with Owen trying to keep from repeating the earlier contest between the two.  The Vikings would come out quickly taking a 13-9 lead into the second period of play, but the Warhorses would outscore the Vikings 14-7 in the second stanza to head into the halftime break with a 23-20 lead over Avery.  The Vikes would again come out strong in the third, putting up 12 while only allowing 8 to give them a 32-31 lead going into the final stanza.  The teams would trade leads in the fourth, seeing Owen take the lead with under one minute to play, but late in the contest with time running out Alex Villanueva would put a basket in to tie the game, leaving the Warhorses just seconds to drive the length of the court, and a steller Viking D would keep them from getting a shot off, sending the game into overtime tied 41-41.

Alex Villanueva goes up for shot, sending game into overtime

Alex Villanueva goes up for shot, sending game into overtime

Villanueva would hit the first basket of the extra period, and score 5 of the Vikings’ 9 points in overtime, and the Viking  defense would step up holding the Warhorses to just 6 points, defeating the Owen JVs 50-47 in an exciting finish.  Villanueva would lead the Vikings with 13 points, coming up huge for the Vikes in the late stages of the game scoring 7 of the final 11 points, including the shot to send it to overtime.  Mark Polsgrove would add 10 for the Vikes, who would fight off four Warhorse players getting into double figures.

With two JV games that would be tough to follow the atmosphere was electric heading into the Varsity action.  The Lady Vikings would get the action started hoping to duplicate the JV girls effort and continue the winning streak for Avery.  Avery would come out of the gate hot, repeating an 11-2 run, similar to the 11-1 run to open action at Owen, but a late quarter surge would see the Warlassies go on a 9-4 run to pull the game to 15-11 entering the second period of play.  The Lady Vikings would stretch the lead to 8 in the second and go into the halftime break leading 29-21 riding a 12 point half by senior Allison Vance.  The Warlassies would battle back in the third quarter to draw the game to within two points, but a late surge from the Lady Vikes would see them stretch the lead out to 9 going into the final stanza.

Katelynn Eudy goes for 2 of her 16 on Friday

Katelynn Eudy goes for 2 of her 16 on Friday

The Warlassies would again surge to open the fourth quarter, again pulling the game closer, but the Lady Vikings would use the efforts of Katelynn Eudy and Katie Ellis, who would combine for 18 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and lead the Vikings to a 62-51 victory over the Warlassies.  Eudy and Vance would each score 16 for the Lady Vikes, Eudy adding 10 rebounds, 5 steals, an assist and a block, with Vance adding 5 assists and 3 rebounds of her own.  Ellis would add 14 points (10 of which were in the fourth), 13 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists for the Lady Vikings.

Going into the final game of the evening the momentum was in the Vikings’ favor, with the Warhorses looking to halt the Viking pride and spoil the excitement of a Viking sweep.  Avery would come out strong jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the first period; but Owen would not go away, battling back to take a 12-10 lead into the second quarter leaving things looking glum for the Vikings, who have struggled in the second quarter this season.  Avery would, however, have nothing of it, coming out on fire in the second stanza using 10 points from sophomore Dustin Clarke to outscore the Warhorses 21-11 in the period and taking an 8 point lead into the halftime break.  Coming out of the half the Vikings would face a tough battle, but hold serve finding a way to fight off the Warhorses and take a 46-38 lead into the final stanza of play.  The Vikings would get 6 points each from Kody Hughes and Colton Blackburn in the final quarter, with 4 players combining for 21 points, and outscoring the Warhorses 21-14 in the quarter to get their first conference victory of the season, 67-54, improving their record to just 3-14 on the season, 1-5 in conference.

Dustin Clarke scored 25 to lead the Vikings past the Warhorses

Dustin Clarke scored 25 to lead the Vikings past the Warhorses

Leading the way for the Vikes was Clarke with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals, while Joey Potter would quietly add 15 points to go with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks for Avery.  The Vikings would put together their best game of the season, determined to fix what has been going on this season, being unable to get a quality victory until this evening.

This looks to be the turning of the tides so to speak, giving momentum to a season that has otherwise lacked it, with the Varsity Men able to get the victory that has kept them down in the conference this season.  The Vikings will look to keep up the winning ways as they will stay home on Thursday, January 29 to take on the Cloudland Highlanders in Varsity only contests.  They will then travel to Hendersonville to take on the Bearcats on Friday, January 30, with the JV girls getting things underway at 4 PM; and wrap up the weekend coming back to Avery to face the Mitchell Mountaineers on Monday, February 2.

Avery Viking Basketball Schedule Changes

viking-background-basketballDue to EOG testing taking place at Avery the Basketball games against Mitchell and Cloudland had to be rescheduled.  The Avery vs. Mitchell contest that was scheduled for Tuesday, January 20 has been rescheduled to Monday, February 2, with the JV girls getting underway at 4 PM.  The Avery vs. Cloudland game scheduled for Tuesday, January 27 has been moved to Thursday, January 29, Varsity Only.  The Avery vs. Owen game scheduled for tonight, Friday, January 23 will be played as scheduled with the JV girls starting at 4 PM.  All games are at Avery High.

UPDATED: Avery vs Mitchell Postponed

viking-background-basketballThe Basketball games scheduled for Tuesday, January 20th between Avery and Mitchell have been postponed due to EOG testing for Avery High.  According to State High School regulations Schools are not allowed to compete in sporting events on the day prior to EOG testing.  NO MAKEUP DATE has been determined at this time, we will update you as soon as the date becomes available.

Viking Wrestling Finishing up Conference Season

viking-background-wrestlingThe Avery Viking wrestling team has faced much adversity this season, battling injury, holidays and many other things that have kept them from fielding a full team in many of their matches this season, but they have overcome much of that to put together some good individual records and put a number of wrestlers into regional and state tournament contention; with Brock Yackey and Anthony Varacalli both wrestling well for the Vikings.

The Vikings took to the mat to face-off with the Madison Patriots on Tuesday, January 13. Yackey and Varacalli were the only Viking grapplers able to pick up victories in the match with Madison; Varacalli picking up a forfeit victory and Yackey winning by Technical fall 18-2 over his opponent at 112.

The Match got underway with Bennett Sweat losing by pin fall to his opponent at 103, putting the Patriots up 6-0. Yackey would respond with his 18-2 victory over Jarret Ipox at 112, bringing the Vikings to within 1 point heading into the third match of the night. JJ Davis of Madison then won in a Tech Fall decision over Jacob McKinney at 119, followed by two pin fall losses (130, 135) and two forfeits (125, 140) making the match score 35-5 in favor of the Patriots going into the 145 weight class. Madison would forfeit to Varacalli making the score 35-11, and then would win the remaining matches of the evening to take a convincing victory for the Patriots, 71-11, over the Vikings.

The Vikings would then travel to Robbinsville over the weekend to compete in the Far West Invitational tournament. According to Coach Stacey Clark, “This is a good tournament for us because of the level of competition that the guys face. It isn’t as strong as our conference, but it does give them an idea, and in some cases opens their eyes to the level of competition they will face in regional and state competition.”

Brock Yackey would continue his success on the mat this winter with a 2nd place finish, at 112, defeating some tough opponents in the tournament and losing in the finals to his opponent in a tough fought match from start to finish. Yackey would take his opening round match by pin fall over Nick Morefield of Robbinsville, taking it halfway through the third period. He would then face-off against his next foe, this time DJ Rauland from West Henderson, defeating him by decision 7-6 in his second tough battle of the day. Yackey would then face an Jason Bottoms from Tuscola in the finals. The 112 weight class is not usually known for matches that are low scoring, but that is just what those in attendance saw as they watched Yackey and Bottoms would go scoreless in the first period. Yackey would choose down in the second, but would be unable to score, and the match would go into the third and final period still knotted at 0-0. In the third, Yackey would try to hip into a double leg that was taken by Bottoms. Bottoms would capitalize on a mistake by Yackey, taking him straight to his back, and locking in a maneuver to pin Yackey at the 5:11 point in the match.

“It was a good match for Brock,” stated Coach Clark, “he faced a good 3A opponent, who he won’t have to face again, and took him deep into the match. It was a good warm up for him, he saw things he needs to work on and has three to four weeks to do so before regionals start.”

Yackey was one of two Avery wrestlers to place on Saturday, with Varacalli being the other, placing 4th in his weight class (145). They are just two of 5 wrestlers with decent shots at a regional seed and a shot at qualifying for the state tournament, which will take place in mid-February. Individually the Vikings records are as follows: Individual Season to date records (competing weight classes):

103 – Bennet Sweat: 13 – 11

112 – Devin Buchanan: 2 – 0

112/119 – Jacob McKinney: 10 – 14

112/119 – Brock Yackey: 24 – 12

125 – Tyler Long: 3 – 11

130/135/140 – Bryan Moody: 3 – 27

135/140 – Forrest Sickler: 16 – 22

145 – Anthony Varacalli: 21 – 8

152/160 – Jose Munoz: 11 – 6

171 – CJ Vance: 6 – 16

189 – Lucas Lecka: 11 – 14

215 – Nathaniel Buchanan: 4 – 31

Avery Splits with Mountain Heritage

The Avery Vikings traveled to Burnsville to face Mountain Heritage on Friday evening, January 16.  The Lady Vikings would look to rebound from their loss on Wednesday to the Ashe Lady Huskies, and the Viking men went in still looking for that first conference win.

The Lady Vikings came out strong defensively against the Lady Cougars holding them to just 15 points in the first two stanzas of play, while doubling them up led by 6 points each from Ellis, Shook and Vance in the half. Mountain Heritage’s Kayla Shepherd would take charge in the 3rd and 4th quarters, scoring 19 of her 23 in the second half and leading the Lady Cougars back, cutting the lead to 9 after three quarters, and getting even closer late in the fourth period, cutting the lead to just 4 points late in the game; but the Lady Vikes would get it done, wrapping up the game holding serve with the Lady Cougars, and taking the 58-53 victory. Leading the way for the Lady Vikes was Vance with 14 points, 4 steals, and 4 assists. Also in double figures were Shook, 12 points and 4 assists, and Ellis, 11 points 10 rebounds and 8 steals to go with 4 assists.

Friday night the Viking men would take to the hardwood to take on the Cougars of Mountain Heritage. The Cougars would strike and strike quickly, with the Vikings unable to get out of the blocks cleanly and struggling to get their offense going at all. The Cougar defense would contain the Vikings, holding them to just 7 points in the first half, and taking a 33-7 lead into the half. The Vikings would come out and more than double their scoring in the third quarter, putting 9 on the board, but still trailing 54-16 after three stanzas of play. The Vikings would again double their point out-put in the fourth, scoring 17 and finishing with 33 for the game, but Heritage would prove to be too much, scoring 20 in the fourth, and extending their lead to 74-33 as time ran out. The Vikings got 9 points in the second half from Chase Watson, getting the scoring opened, but the usually effective Clarke who was averaging 16.6 points a game entering Friday would only be able to put up 4 points for the Vikes in the loss. Watson would lead all Viking scorers, but the Cougars would get huge numbers from Tatum Lemley, who scored 21, and a 17 point effort from John Cannon.

The Vikings will head back home to Newland on Friday, January 23 to take on the Owen Warhorses/Warlassies in the second conference match up between the two schools this season.  Action will get underway with the JV girls around 4 PM, weather permitting.

Lady Vikings looking to go 2-1 on Week

Lauren Avery goes up for 2 against the Lady Huskies of Ashe

Lauren Avery goes up for 2 against the Lady Huskies of Ashe (Serena Smith Photo)

The Lady Vikings are looking to rebound following a loss to Ashe County High School on Wednesday evening as they take the floor against Mountain Heritage tonight in Burnsville.  The Lady Vikings had an easy time closing the door on conference foe Madison Tuesday night finding a way to shut down the high-power offense that the Lady Patriots has displayed this season.  The Lady Vikings used their motion offense to run away with the game early, building a 45-26 lead at the half and never looking back.

The Vikings came out strong tuesday night against Madison, as they looked to right the loss that they had suffered at the hands of Polk just nights earlier.  The Lady Vikes used a very balanced attack against the Lady Patriots to get the 78-57 victory over the squad from Madison.  With 3 players scoring in double figures for the Vikings, and all players getting points on the board, the Lady Vikes were relatively unstoppable on the evening.  Getting 17 from Katie Ellis, 11 from Allison Vance, and 10 from Samantha Shook, as well as 9 each from Lauren Avery and Sara Singleton, the Lady Vikings would notch one in the win column.

They would hope to ride the momentum into Jefferson on Wednesday night, but the Lady Huskies of Ashe would have different plans for the Lady Vikes.  In the earlier match-up between the two squads this season, Kim McNeil of Ashe lit Avery up for 24 points in the Lady Huskies’ 15 point victory.  Avery would open the game hoping to change that, as McNeil was injured and unable to play in the contest.  Avery would come out strong on defense holding the Lady Huskies to only 7 points in the opening stanza, but would be thwarted by the Ashe defense, and only able to score 10 in the quarter.

This would be the story of the night for the Lady Vikings who would score 10 in each of the first three quarters, and following a 13-2 run to open the third quarter; as well as a 21-10 difference in scoring in the period, would go into the 4th stanza trailing 39-30.  As the fourth quarter would get underway the Lady Vikes would struggle to get their offense on track, but would come alive late and with less than a minute on the clock would find themselves tied at 45-45, and following an Ashe basket, a costly turnover for the Vikings and that would be the dagger as Ashe would finish strong closing out on a 10-5 run, winning the game 55-50.

The Lady Vikings got another solid performance from Ellis and Shook who would put in 15 and 10 respectively, but the Lady Huskies would find an answer for the missing McNeil in Mallory Clay, who would put in 16 points leading the Lady Huskies to Victory.  The loss drops the Lady Vikes to 9-6 on the season.

12 Lacey Barrier shoots for 2 against Madison Tuesday night

12 Lacey Barrier shoots for 2 against Madison Tuesday night

The Lady Viking JVs will too be looking to get things turned around following a loss at Ashe as well.  The Lady Vikes disposed quickly of the Lady Patriot JVs in what would prove to not even be a contest, but Ashe would come to play on Wednesday and the Lady Vikings would be unable to turn around the game late, falling in a tough loss to the JV Lady Huskies.

Avery’s ladies look to turn things around on Friday, January 16, when they travel down to Burnsville, NC to take on the Mountain Heritage Lady Cougars.  The JV Ladies will get things underway around 4 PM.