Here are the most notable takeaways from local teams and players as we wrap up the first month of action.
The days are getting longer, allowing local athletes and teams to take advantage as the spring sports season heats up.
There are numerous storylines to follow around the Record area, including a tight conference race among softball rivals, playoff-hopeful soccer clubs and a smoking-hot tennis team.
Here are the most notable takeaways as we wrap up the first month of action.
Harnett Central boys tennis is fresh off Monday’s 6-3 win at Triton that improved the overall record to 8-0 and its All American Conference mark to 3-0. It’s the team’s best start in the past eight seasons as the Trojans already matched their win total from last year.
Logan Stroud and Jacob Brown have a combined 9-3 singles record as the top two seeds. Tyler Greger, Reagan Gray, Taylor Davenport and Landis Eller each have undefeated marks in singles play. The group has dropped just one doubles match all season with Stroud and Caleb Temple leading the way with a 4-0 record.
They’re tied with Terry Sanford atop the conference and travel to Fayetteville Tuesday, March 29 for a pivotal first-place matchup.
Longtime county foes Harnett Central and Triton are surging on the softball diamond once again this season.
Though they switch leagues, trading in the former Tri-County 3A Conference for the newly-formed All American, the same successes have shown so far.
Central (6-1, 5-0 AAC) has rattled off six straight victories following the season-opening loss to reigning 3A state champion Southern Alamance. The Lady Trojans have outpaced opponents 92-21 during that span, including Tuesday’s 13-5 win over Pine Forest.
Triton (5-3, 5-0 AAC) also kept its league record unblemished this week with a dominating 12-1 win over Terry Sanford on Tuesday. The Lady Hawks have rebounded from an 0-3 start to its grueling nonconference slate and have three shutouts in the five league victories.
Though the two teams don’t meet until the final week, they’re sure to be keeping tabs on each other in the days leading up to it.
Girls soccer teams from Harnett Central, Midway and Hobbton are all off to impressive starts with serious title aspirations in their respective leagues.
Hobbton improved to 7-0-1, and 1-0 in the Carolina 1A Conference following its home win over Rosewood on Tuesday. The reigning Daily Record Player of the Week, Nicole Hernandez, leads the group in goals and points for a second straight season. Freshman forward McKayla Harris also boasts a double-digit scoring total and has been just as impressive in her first prep campaign.
Midway notched its third straight shutout to open Southeastern Athletic Conference play, topping St. Pauls 9-0 on Tuesday. Now 5-2 overall, the Lady Raiders look to remain undefeated in league competition Friday during its rematch with the Lady Bulldogs.
Central (6-2, 4-1 AAC) suffered its first conference loss on the road Tuesday during a close 2-1 setback at the hands of undefeated Pine Forest. Ava Hollingsworth, who is tied with teammate Emily Parker for an area-leading 14 goals, accounted for the club’s lone score. The two teams settle the season series Thursday, March 31 in Angier.
Mariah Bell has been at the forefront of another dominating season for the Cape Fear Christian Academy softball team. Bell leads CFCA (7-2-1) and area players with a .750 batting average and 22 stolen bases.
South Johnston’s Kennedy Byrd, a Louisburg College commit, boasts a .170 era, 4-1 record and 46 strikeouts. Byrd also has 17 RBIs and four home runs, two coming Tuesday, for the 8-1 Lady Trojans.
Midway pitcher Savannah Autry has continued her sizzling start inside the circle, fanning 40 batters while giving up just one run through 26 innings pitched.
Anthony Jones has 12 hits, two of them for homers, and 12 RBIs to pace a Triton (7-1) team coming off its first loss of the season this week.
Donnell Coley can be reached at email@example.com or (910) 230-2040.