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Who's No. 1? Tri-Nine fall sports edition

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You'll have to wait till Wednesday to read my football predictions on the year. As for the rest of the fall sports, I won't keep you waiting any longer.

For each of the fall sports I will list, in order, the number of teams I expect to advance to the state playoffs. In the case of golf and cross country, I will list the teams I expect to advance to regionals from the conference meet.

Boys Soccer: I've got Apex as my conference champ followed close behind by Green Hope. Fuquay-Varina will have tons of goal scorers and is third, while Athens Drive is my darkhorse in fourth. My last playoff team I have listed is Panther Creek.

Volleyball: There's no doubt in my mind Apex will win the conference title here. I've (again) got Green Hope second followed by Middle Creek in third, Cary in fourth and a tall athletic Holly Springs team breaking in at fifth.

Girls Tennis: Green Hope is easily my No. 1, but I've got Athens Drive finishing second in this conference. A wild-card spot is likely, and if that's the case this year I think Apex will be the one who gets it.

Boys Cross Country: Green Hope is the team to beat as always, but I think Apex will qualify for regional competition as well.

Girls Cross Country: Green Hope looks unstoppable, while Cary should also qualify.

Girls Golf: Athens Drive and Green Hope should both advance, though not necessarily in that order. To be safe though, I'm picking the Jaguars to win the conference again.

Football: Wait, I said I wasn't doing this one! Well, I'll at least give you a sneak-peek... I think six teams from the Tri-Nine will reach the playoffs — just like last year. Which ones? Stay tuned on Wednesday to find out...

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Anything can happen

It's true that Athens does have 4 state qualifiers returned, but Panther Creek also does too. Apex has Laura Williams, Shelby Bickel, and Nikki Bowser coming back. Cary also has a chance since they have Hannah Jabusch. It's easily noted that Green Hope would be number 1 as Melissa Kandinata, Helen Wang, Audrey Channel, Brianna Steele, and Kayla Strokes is coming back, but anyone can be beatable. All I'm saying is that anything can happen, anyone can be beatable,  such as, for example, that even Middle Creek might even become number 2. I know that Green hope would return as number 1, it's between Athens, Panther Creek, and Apex to be number 2, but anything can happen.    

Tri-Nine Girls Tennis

I agree that the championship runs through Green Hope but 2nd place could turn out to be a battle and is up for grabs due to changes at Apex, Cary, Panther Creek and Holly Springs.  Apex lost 6 players from last years team but gains a transfer from GH in a ranked Jr player, Laura Williams who played 1,2, and 3 in singles as well as number 1 and 2 doubles. Cary gains two ranked Jr players in freshman Jamie Rogers who at this past weekends NC State Close competed for 1st place in the G16's division and Hannah Jabusch who continues to improve every year.  Both players will make a big impact for a Cary team that has not been very competitive in the past. Panther Creek will be better as well gaining rank Jr player in incoming freshman Megan Smith who will play number 1. The other big impact at PC is in a coaching change with Jackie Fralick taking over as the coach. Coach Fralick was a highly rank Jr player, played college tennis and is still very active at the adult level. Having someone with her experience and talent will add creditability and most likely make a difference for PC, high school tennis needs more coaches like Coach Fralick. Holly Springs will be stronger with another very good incoming freshman in Bailey Edwards who has played at the Jr levels and has a lot of talent. I know that looking at past history to make your judgment works at times but please give non-revenue sports their due and do your homework.

FYI if things stay the same for the next two years PC will be a State Champion with a class of 7th graders coming up that will take over the current field. This group of kids are ranked Nationally, Regional and State and if they play high school tennis they will dominate at all levels.  

  

Thanks!

For all that information — especially about incoming freshmen and transfers. I'll let the "do your homework" comment slide, but let it be known nobody has covered more girls tennis matches in our area than myself over the past three years.

BTW, you did leave out Athens, which returns 4 state qualifiers. Hence, why they will be competitive again.

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About the blogger

J. Mike Blake has been the Sports Editor for The Cary News and Southwest Wake News since October 2008. He holds two "unofficial" NCHSAA records in two different sports - highest career free throw percentage (2-of-2) in basketball and fewest career singles victories (zero. sigh.) for tennis.
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