Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Mideastern Conference report: golf, cross-country soccer highlights this week’s schedule

While the early part of this week’s high school schedule is still up in the air due to postponements and school closures, Mideastern Conference golf and cross-country will highlight the slate along with an important stretch for boys’ soccer teams competing for a league title and favorable seed in the upcoming state playoffs.


Caroline Cahill has dominated the local circuit as the Laney girls golf team is poised to repeat as conference champions. Cahill and Jayla Rogers have finished first and second in every match this season, while Anna Moore continues a strong showing for the Hoggard Vikings.

While the division title is likely headed back to Buctown, golfers are scheduled to tee off at Magnolia Greens to decide this year’s Mideastern Conference Champion. With school being cancelled on Monday, there’s no word yet on when the match will be made up.

Natalie Tyner.
Natalie Tyner.


Cross-country teams from across New Hanover County are set to race at the county championships on Thursday, Oct. 13, at Hugh McRae Park.

Hoggard’s Jamie Witmer cruised to a first-place finish at the opening meet back in late August. The Vikings are poised to repeat as county champions with good depth in their lineup, with Erik Dahlgren and William Tirella expected to contribute towards a successful push moving into championship season.

On the girls side, sophomore Natalie Tyner is the favorite moving into the county race. Teammates Haley Smithwick and Cameron Smithwick both have their eyes set on running in college next year. The twin sisters from Laney should help propel the Bucs to another strong showing on Thursday.

Bella Idol (New Hanover) and Jenna Pellizzari (Hoggard) are also a pair of runners to look for in the top five at the county race.


The top four teams in the Mideastern Conference are all separated by one game in the division standings heading into a big week for the Laney Buccaneers. At 4-2 in conference and 8-4-2 overall, the Bucs face a crucial stretch over the next few days.  Monday’s match with New Hanover has been postponed until a later date, while Laney has games against Hoggard and Ashley set for Wednesday and Friday, all of who sit within one game of each other in league play.

Declan Payne.
Declan Payne.

New Hanover (5-1, 11-3) is riding a five-match winning streak and joins Ashley (5-1, 7-3-1) as top team in conference.  Laney has won four in a row and defeated the Wildcats 2-0 earlier this season.

Tristan Nelson has a league-high 19 goals for the Bucs, while Ashley and New Hanover have conceded the least goals of any Wilmington side, allowing just three tallies each through six conference games.

Hoggard dropped back-to-back games in the division after a strong start and lost its third straight back on Wednesday following a 2-0 setback against Coastal Christian.

The Vikings look to remain in the mix moving into a road game at Laney on Thursday, Oct. 13. Hoggard closes the season with matches against New Hanover and Ashley to round out the conference slate later this month.


Mideastern Conference soccer standings

Team                    Conf.        Overall

Ashley                   6-1              8-3-1

New Hanover       5-1             11-3

Laney                    4-2              8-4-2

Hoggard               3-2              7-5

Topsail                 2-4                5-6

West Brunswick    2-5             2-10-1

South Brunswick 0-6               0-11

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