ALBEMARLE —Stanly County Schools Athletic Director Beverly Pennington recognized student-athletes and coaches representing four area high schools for their 2021 postseason championship achievements during the Stanly County Board of Education meeting June 30.
As their respective players stood in the center of the room, each of the four coaches addressed their teams in front of the school board.
South Stanly softball head coach David Poplin was the first to make a speech, praising his team that fell short in the state championship series but were still the 2021 1A West Region champions.
“This was a great bunch,” Poplin said. “When COVID-19 hit and we got shut down the year before, I had a lot of players who were unproven and untested. We didn’t know how we were going to get there, but we had a plan. So my assistant coach Matt Little and I tested them. We only had 13 players, but we challenged them to the utmost daily and they responded. It’s been a privilege and a great ride.”
West Stanly softball head coach Craig Carter, who recently announced his retirement from coaching after leading the Colts to another 2A state championship victory, spoke next of his team.
“Quite honestly, it’s been an honor, and I’m thankful to have been part of this program,” Carter said. “Over the years while I was coaching against them, they were always a tough program and had a lot of phenomenal athletes — that was no different over the last four years. We were blessed as a coaching staff to have these girls, and they deserve all the credit. A lot of these girls are honor students, so that speaks highly of them.”
Albemarle track and field head coach Bernard Henry spoke of 1A state men’s triple jump champion Ali Currie.
“This young man has been a bright shining light for Albemarle High School,” Henry said. “When everything shut down with COVID-19, he didn’t have a full year. But he came back this year and said, ‘Coach, let’s go get it.’ He was a leader on our team. … His mom and dad did a great job. I really didn’t do much but put him in the right opportunity and challenge him.”
North Stanly track and field head coach Teresa Davis concluded the athletic ceremony portion of the meeting by addressing 1A state women’s triple jump champion Taegan Lowder.
“In 34 years of coaching, Taegan is a star and one of the hardest workers I’ve had at North Stanly High School,” Davis said. “She only gives 100%, and not only is she a really good athlete, but she is a really good person. She’s going to NC State next year, and they will be lucky to have her. She’s not going to be running track or anything right now — we hope maybe club — but she is a really good role model for our young ladies.”