Triton continues to compete

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Triton’s sports teams had varying levels of success this year, but in general, there’s one thing you can always expect from a Hawks team: they’re going to compete. And even though they may not have any conference trophies to show for it this year, they maintained that tradition all year long.

“I think every time we went to the field or court, we were in contention to win,” said Triton athletic director Wendy Simmons. “I was real pleased with how the seasons went and how the coaches handled their teams. And I think our kids did a great job of exemplifying good sportsmanship all year long.”

The fall started off rough for most of Triton’s teams. The football team lost its first four games of the year but was competitive in each game, losing each by single digits. But the Hawks picked up a tough win at Union Pines, and then capped off the year by winning their last two games. They rallied from behind at halftime to beat Harnett Central 23-13, and then shut out West Johnston 27-0 to end the season. Triton was led by seniors Colton Neighbors, Austin Riewestahl, Carlos Nabor, Justin Leggett and Tyler House.

Volleyball also had a tough year record wise, with several close losses. But the Hawks had some bright spots. Triton split a tough Midway team, swept Western Harnett and knocked off a tough Southern Lee team in the Tri-County Conference Tournament after splitting the Cavaliers in the regular season. The Hawks were led by seniors Sarah Pope, Sarah Phillips, Ella Layn, Alexis Howard and Hannah Jackson.

The girls tennis team had a strong year, going 10-3 overall and 6-3 in Tri-County Conference play to take third in the league. The Hawks swept local competition, picking up a pair of wins against South Johnston, Harnett Central, Western Harnett and Cape Fear Christian Academy. Celia Jones was the lone senior on the team, meaning the Hawks will return five of their top six: Daughtry Williams, Ashley Wachtell, Mackie Brown, Alexa Wise and Sydney Johnson.

The boys soccer team had a tough start to the season, losing four of its first six games and tying Midway twice. But the Hawks responded by beating South Johnston on the road for their first win of the year and followed it with three more consecutive wins, including a penalty shootout thriller at Harnett Central. Triton had a tough stretch in the back half of conference play, but they had a nice end to the season by knocking off Central in the Tri-County Conference Tournament to win the season series. They were led by seniors Gage Smith, Bert Strickland, Paul Wells and Arturo Javier-Hernandez.

The girls golf team had another solid year. The Hawks racked up five first-place finishes in nine total meets, including one medalist of the day honor for both Lana Klein and Taylor Whitney. Klein qualified to compete in the NCHSAA State Championship meet, where she finished 54th overall.

The winter saw some mixed results on the basketball court. The boys looked strong coming out of the gate with a double-overtime win over Western Harnett. They lost a close game to Overhills in the Harnett County Tipoff Final and were edged out by South Johnston in overtime, but responded with three straight wins, including two over Midway. The Hawks hung tough with tough competition, losing a close one to Patriot 3A/4A champs Pine Forest and knocking off Tri-County Conference champs Southern Lee and runners-up Harnett Central. But they struggled to find consistency throughout the year. Still, it was another competitive season for Triton, led by seniors Derreon Burnett, Emari White, Kalil Hodges, Colby Parker and Byron Smith.

It was a similar type of season for the girls basketball team. The Hawks swept South Johnston and split games with Western Harnett and Wake Forest, but they struggled to string together wins. They ended their year on a high though, beating Lee County in the Tri-County Conference Tournament after losing to the Yellow Jackets twice in the regular season, and hanging tough with Harnett Central in the final game. They were led by seniors Anaya Lockamy, Alexis Howard and Hannah Jackson.

Triton’s swim made a splash this year. While they may not have won the conference championship, they swept the Tri-County Conference male and female Swimmer of the Year awards. Junior Josiah Beasley took home the boys award after blowing his competition out of the water. He went on to finish second in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle at the NCHSAA 3A East Regional to qualify for the state meet, where he finished fifth in the 100 and 10th in the 200. And fellow junior Scotty Temple took home the girls award with a solid campaign as well. Temple finished 13th in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard freestyle at Regionals. Overall, Triton finished 23rd in the women’s standings and 15th in the men’s at the Regional meet.

The wrestling team had another solid year. The Hawks finished third in the Tri-County Conference and had some strong individual performers, headlined by junior Michael Carvin (285) and senior Tyre Cameron (220), who won the conference championship in their respective divisions. Carvin took the No. 1 overall seed in his division out of the East Regional, while Cameron took second. Romello Cowan (170) also qualified for the state meet, taking the No. 3 seed in the East Regional.

The spring saw a couple of dazzling diamond Hawks teams. The softball team got off to a hot start, winning nine of the first 11 games. Triton swept Midway and Western Harnett and put up impressive offensive numbers all season long. The Hawks hammered 14 homers as a team and averaged over eight runs per game. They took second in the Tri-County Conference regular season and tournament, and hosted a playoff game against Western Alamance. Triton was led by four seniors: Alexis Howard, Tatiana Muniz, Ella Layn and Mikaylee Flowers.

The baseball team turned out to be a diamond in the rough. After winning just two games the previous season, Triton went 11-10 overall and 6-4 in Tri-County Conference play. The big turnaround earned head coach Joey Miriello the Coach of the Year Award. Triton made a statement early with wins over South Johnston, Overhills and a split with Western Harnett. The Hawks ran out of steam as the year came to a close, but they still qualified for the state playoffs, led by seniors Colton Neighbors, Austin Riewestahl, Greg Godwin, Parker Crews, Bert Strickland and Colby Parker.

Triton had another solid tennis season, going 6-2 in league play to take second in the Tri-County Conference. Paul Wells is the only senior to leave the program, meaning the boys team also returns five of the top six: Lawson Godwin, Taft Stevens, Ellis Pope, Isaac Hardy and Christian Delcid.

In total, Triton had four athletes sign to play at the next level. Tatiana Muniz signed to play softball at UNC-Charlotte. Alexis Howard signed to play softball at Louisburg College. Parker Crews signed to play baseball at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. Lee Bass signed to play golf at Central Carolina Community College.

The Hawks had six Student-Athlete of the Week winners throughout the year: Gage Smith (boys soccer), Tatian Muniz (softball), Anaya Lockamy (girls basketball), Derreon Burnett (boys basketball), Josiah Beasley (boys swimming) and Ella Layn (softball).

Triton also had eight All-Record selections and six honorable mentions. Derreon Burnett made the All-Record boys basketball team, and Kalil Hodges was an honorable mention. Anaya Lockamy and Alexis Howard were both honorable mentions for girls basketball. Howard was also named the Record Offensive Player of the Year for softball. Gracyn Slaughter was the Two-Way Player of the Year. Brittany Ireland and Kaila Cooney also made the All-Record softball team, and Tatiana Muniz and Reagan Bradham were honorable mentions. Grayson Bradham, Colton Neighbors and Ethan Hedgepath made the All-Record baseball team, and Dalen Thompson was an honorable mention.

More important than the wins and losses, Simmons touched on the important role that sports plays in developing high school students into productive citizens.

“There’s no better teacher than sports,” Simmons said. “And we have a great staff of coaches here at Triton that are not only good with the x’s and o’s, but they have a high standard for the character of our kids.”

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