Monday, March 20, 2023

Looking back: New football coaches, Bike Loud! in August 2015

Heading through the dog days of summer and with high school football practices underway on Aug. 1, there was plenty going on throughout the Wilmington area in August 2015.

While tennis enthusiasts had their eyes on the U.S. Open, the locally based One Love Tennis program had a presence in New York City leading up to the tournament. Wilmington native Connor Barth had a whirlwind of a month, while a group of Boy Scouts from Chapel Hill closed their cross-country journey in honor of a schoolmate at Wrightsville Beach.

The boy scouts ended their trip by dipping their front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. Photos by Joe Catenacci
The Boy Scouts ended their trip by dipping their front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. Photos by Joe Catenacci

Former Laney High School standout Tamera Young returned to the WNBA after being injured and the tradition of Hoggard football was reborn as Craig Underwood took over the reins from longtime coach Scott Braswell.

The locally run One Love Tennis Program had a heavy presence at this year’s U.S. Open thanks to Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Famer Lenny Simpson.

As part of a special pre-tournament “Althea Gibson Week,” the legendary Wilmington champion was memorialized in the Big Apple and the documentary film “Althea” was be screened at a sunset reception on August 28, on the grass courts of West Side Tennis Club, site of her historic appearance there in 1956. Simpson, a protégé of Gibson, was a featured speaker at the event.

Less than 24 hours after the Denver Broncos released Connor Barth, the Wilmington native found a spot at an NFL training camp. The former Hoggard High School standout was headed back to the Florida Gulf Coast after signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barth was then cut by Tampa during training camp only to be re-signed by the same organization midway through the NFL season. 

Craig Underwood. Photo courtesy John Crouch.
Craig Underwood. Photo courtesy John Crouch.

One of the biggest changes across the landscape of high school football in the area heading into the season was without a doubt at Hoggard High School as Craig Underwood took over for longtime veteran leader Scott Braswell.

“It’s been really exciting and a great opportunity to take over the program at Hoggard,” said Underwood. ““Coach Braswell is a great mentor and we talk regularly.  There’s an expectation to win and I like that.”

The Vikings went 5-1 in conference and 8-5 overall during Underwood’s first season.

A 4,000-mile journey that began on June 15 came to a memorable end in Wrightsville Beach in late August as six Boy Scouts finished a two-month bicycling trip to honor a schoolmate and raise awareness and funds for teen cancer programs.

With no vehicle support or assistance for the entire trek, family, friends and supporters gathered for a celebration at Blockade Runner Resort to signify the end to this epic ride. Joined by six adult leaders, who shared duties two at a time over the course of 67 days, the scouts raised over $30,000 for the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, which was created in memory of Sophie Steiner. The East Chapel Hill School student was diagnosed with germ-cell cancer in November 2012 and passed away nine months later at age 15.

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