It’s hard to come up with some of the top moments in local sports through the entirety of 2015, with so many achievements and triumphs across the area this year. Over the next 12 days I’m going to release a list of the most memorable events and stories through a monthly timeline to ring in the New Year.
In addition to each of the highlights through the last 12 months, other notable team and individual achievements from across the area from the area are noted below.
Streaking: West Brunswick basketball and Ashley soccer go on 18-game winning streaks to start the season.
Diamond Hawks in the Bayou: UNCW baseball faces LSU in Baton Rouge NCAA Regional
Memorable playoff runs: Laney soccer advances to first-ever state championship match; New Hanover football, Hoggard girls basketball and Topsail softball advanced to east regional in their respective classifications; North Brunswick track and field claim another 2A championship
Individual honors: Caroline Cahill 4A golf runner-up; Joe Mondragon claims state wrestling title
New kids on the block: Five new coaches take over local high school football programs
High school and college basketball typically takes the heap each winter and while there was plenty of hoops coverage at www.portcitydaily.com, I narrowed down three selections for the month of January.
With the hiring of UNCW Men’s Basketball Coach Kevin Keatts earlier in the year, there was a ton of excitement building on campus and the university underwent a face lift from a branding point of view with the release of their new logo.
An announcement concerning the development of a new logo was made during Midnite Madness festivities on Oct. 17, 2014, and the formal introduction of the school’s new athletic identity took place during a festive ceremony on January 28.
The logo is the sixth insignia used by UNCW Athletics. The previous logo, designed by local artist Gary Longordo, was introduced in 1992 and remains in place as a secondary mark.
At the high school ranks, two stories to start 2015 really stood out. Boubacar Aw has come a long way as he enters his fourth season as head coach of the Hoggard girls basketball team. Known for his ferocity on the court as a Division I basketball player at Georgetown University under legendary coach John Thompson, Aw has successfully made the transformation from star player to head of the Vikings’ program.
Named head coach in 2012, Aw, who played for the Hoyas from 1994 to 1998, said it’s been an incredible learning experience from his rookie season until today, with the Vikings eventually winning the 2015 Mideastern Conference Championship and advancing to the 4A East Regional Finals.
Hoggard is poised to make another run at a league title this season as the Vikings are off to a 2-0 start in conference and 7-1 overall mark.
Finally, while there was plenty of drama inside Michael Jordan Gymnasium in a game between Laney and West Brunswick, the highlight of the night on January 23 was a halftime proposal as Laney tennis coach Beau Summersill popped the question to girlfriend Kimmy Purrazzella.
With Summersill dressed as the Buccaneer mascot, Purrazzella was called to the floor during a break in the action to participate in a staged half-time shooting contest.
As Purrazzella decided whether she wanted to shoot a free throw, three-pointer or half-court shot, with basketball in hand, the Bucs’ mascot made his way onto the court and surprised his soon-to-be fiance with an unforgettable moment. And she said “yes.”
The two are set to be wed on June 25, 2016.