Hough soccer team opens on sour note

CORNELIUS – It was an opening-day dud.

The Hough High boys’ soccer team, ranked No. 1 in an area poll, was sluggish in a 2-0 season-opening loss to Providence on Aug. 18.

The Huskies, 22-6 last season, never sustained an offensive attack and two defensive breakdowns led to Providence goals. The Panthers, also playing their opener, took a 1-0 lead on a goal in the sixth minute. Luke Sistare’s short shot, after he stole a pass deep in Hough’s end, dribbled off the hands of Hough keeper Bryce Deeringer.

In the 27th minute, Hough sent a free kick errant, which Providence’s Adam Ziegler stole near midfield. He powered past a defender and fired a low shot into the net for a 2-0 lead.

“I don’t think we responded at the start like we would have liked,” Hough coach David Smith said. “I think (Providence) went to the ball harder. We were a little weak in how we approached things in the back (defense) and in goal, and that didn’t help. And we didn’t finish our chances on the other hand. … This is why you like to play teams like this, it gets you ready for the playoffs. It’s a good measuring stick.”

Hough’s offense was crisper in the second half. Doug Rodriguez’s shot on a breakaway was saved five minutes into the half. On the ensuing corner kick, Hough’s Tristan Walker worked himself free in front of the net, but his header sailed high. With 20 minutes left, Hough’s Nico Ghislain bent a free kick toward the corner of the net, but it was turned away on a diving save by Providence goalkeeper Gordon White.


Everest gymnast wins national meet

HUNTERSVILLE – Senior International Elite gymnast Ashton Locklear competed in the Secret Classic on Aug. 2 in Chicago, where she won the bars competition against a field that included  Olympic gymnast Kyla Ross and current world champion, Simone Biles.  Locklear , who trains at Everest Gymnastics in Huntersville, also finished fourth on the beam and qualified for the P&G Championships on Aug. 22 in Pittsburgh.

Locklear, 16, is a home-schooled sophomore from Hamlet. Locklear is also a 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup bar champion and 2013 National Championships qualifier.  She has committed to compete at the University of Florida in 2017.  

“Ever since I was little, I have wanted to be an Olympian,” Locklear said. “Qualifying for the championships is the first step to meeting my goal.”

Locklear is one of two International Elite Gymnasts at Everest.  Locklear and training partner Emily Schild, 15,  both live in the Lake Norman area and train under Qi Han and Yiwen Chen, head coaches and owners of Everest Gymnastics.  Both girls also travel monthly to Texas to train with the U.S. national team.  Schild is a repeat qualifier to the championship but is unable to compete this year because of injury.  She finished eighth in 2013.


NFL Panthers recognize lake-area youth flag football program during game

HUNTERSVILLE – The Carolina Panthers recently recognized the Cornelius-Huntersville NFL Youth Flag Football program as the largest in the Carolinas.

The program began in 2003 with 86 participants for kids ages 6-11. In 2005, the program expanded to ages 4-14 and registered 239 participants. In 2013, the program had 315 participants, 50 participants more than any other program.

In May, the Panthers contacted the Cornelius PARC Department and invited staff to Bank of America Stadium to share information about their successful program. PARC staff provided documents that the Panthers developed into templates to be used as a model for the NFL to share with other organizations around the country working to implement the program.

The Panthers, as a reward to the Cornelius-Huntersville program, gave 30 former participants the opportunity to run out of the players’ tunnel before the team at the Aug. 8 preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. Their family members were given sideline passes for the opening and tickets to the game.

Cornelius residents Hannah and Kyle Browning were selected to join the captains on the field for the coin toss. The program also received more than 300 tickets to the Aug. 17 preseason game for current players and staff.

Registration for the current season of Cornelius-Huntersville NFL Youth Flag Football, for boys and girls ages 4-14, continues through Aug. 24.

Details: www.cornelius.org/parc or 704-892-6031, ext.161.


Tickets available for Chiquita Classic professional golf tournament

DAVIDSON – The Web.com Tour's Chiquita Classic golf tournament will be played Sept. 4-7 at River Run Country Club.

The tournament will feature the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour regular season money list and 75 professionals ranked Nos. 126-200 on the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list.  Tickets start at $15.

Details: www.chiquitaclassic.com.