Sports Shorts for February

Hopewell High’s Heath commits to play in college

Hopewell High football player Denzel Heath, a standout running back/linebacker, has committed to Hampton University, Hopewell coach David Johnson said.

Heath was picked to play in the Shrine Bowl after a dominant season in which he rushed for more than 1,800 yards and averaged about eight tackles per game. Heath had six scoring runs of 50 or more yards.

East Gaston’s Benfield signs with Lenoir-Rhyne

East Gaston High offensive lineman Nathan Benfield anchored an offense that averaged 338 yards per game in 2011.

In 2012, Benfield will get another chance to bolster an explosive offense, after the East Gaston senior signed a letter of intent on Feb. 1 to play for Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Benfield, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound two-way player, will join the NCAA Division II Bears after he helped lead East Gaston to a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs.

Lenoir-Rhyne finished 7-4 in 2011 and captured a share of the South Atlantic Conference championship.

West Meck defender mulling his choices

West Mecklenburg High defensive back Prince Mayela said he is considering college offers to play at Charlotte, N.C. A&T and N.C. Central.

Mayela, a 5-foot-10 and 160-pound senior, had five interceptions last season, was a four-year varsity player and won a CMS Do-The-Right-Thing award.

Hopewell’s Boyd sets a school record

Hopewell High’s Sharee’ Boyd, a senior, became the school’s career female scoring leader with 19 points in a 53-43 victory against Lake Norman on Jan. 27. She also had eight rebounds and three steals.

Boyd moved to 1,089 career points, breaking the record of 1,085 held by Brenica Shepard.

Boyd leads the Titans in scoring (16-point average), rebounding (7.1), assists (three) and steals (three). Hopewell was 13-7 overall, and 9-2 in the I-MECK 4A conference through Feb. 2.

East Gaston basketball update

The East Gaston High boys basketball team is 9-11 overall and 4-6 in MEGA 7 3A/4A conference (fifth place) through games of Feb. 2. DeSean Murray leads the team in scoring (15.9 points) and rebounding (10.3). Robbie Sterling is averaging nine rebounds for the Warriors.

The girls basketball team, also 9-11 overall, is in sixth place in the conference with a 3-7 record. Shelby Winchester has had a splendid season,  averaging 20.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

New softball program for girls

The Charlotte Starz, along with the N.C. National Softball Association, is forming an instructional softball program for girls ages 8 and younger (born in 2003 or later). Coaches will be players from the Starz’s 16-under Showcase team. Those high school players will work under the guidance of the Starz coaching staff to teach advanced softball fundamentals.

The program will offer instructional sessions from 2-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in March at James Martin Middle School, 7800 IBM Drive, Charlotte. In April, players will be divided into teams and play in controlled scrimmages. The program will conclude in late April with competition against teams from other cities.

Registration is $30, which includes insurance, equipment and a jersey. There is a $5 fee for each instructional session. For information, contact Steve Foster, at 704-562-3907 or Steve.Foster@charlottestarz.com, or Howard Edwards, at 704-202-8254 or HEdwards@ncnsasoftball.net.

Register for Huntersville baseball and softball

Registration is open for the Huntersville Youth Athletic Association’s baseball and softball programs at www.hyaasports.com.

HYAA will conduct a Baseball Academy on Sundays in February for league members ages 7 and older who want extra practice and coaching. It will be held from 1-3 p.m. at North Meckleburg Park. The academy is free and meets at the picnic shelter to sign in. The academy will serve as an ongoing evaluation of players who desire to play challenge or travel baseball.

For information, contact Mitch Edens (machine pitch) at govols.edens@gmail.com or Randy Schuette (kid pitch) at randy.schuette@gmail.com.

Sign up for alumni football

Gridiron Alumni, a company that organizes full-contact football games for high school alumni, is planning to expand into North Carolina. The first 40 players on each team to register will get to play, and the first school that gets 30 players will receive home-field advantage.

Teams from Hopewell, Lake Norman Charter, North Mecklenburg, SouthLake Christian and other area schools are forming.  Games are scheduled for March and April. To register, go to www.gridironalumni.com or call Chris Hall at 530-410-6396.

Fear schedules football tryouts

The Lake Norman Fear of the Gridiron Developmental Football League will return for its third season.  The Fear will begin games in June, and will play their five home games at Mooresville High.

The team is looking for players, ages 18 to 40, with some high school or college playing experience.

Tryouts will be held Feb. 25 at Benchwarmers Sports Complex in Mooresville, with registration at 11 a.m.

General Manager Chris Moshinskie has also announced game passes good for any home game will be on sale through his office until March 31 for only $1.  On April 1, single game tickets will go back to the regular price of $7 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.

To register for tryouts or receive more information, call Moshinskie at 704-248-6788 or email lakenfeargm@aol.com.

Cost is $65 for residents and $80 for non-residents. For information call 704-766-2220 or email jbrock@huntersville.org.

Grier named to All-America team

Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier was named to the MaxPreps 2011 U.S. Air Force Sophomore All-American Football Team.

Grier led Davidson Day to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III championship and was the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Lake Norman-area Football Offensive Player of the Year.

Grier completed 250 of 398 passes (63 percent) for 3,785 yards and 49 touchdowns. He led North Carolina in passing touchdowns and was second in passing yardage.

Grier also ran 97 times for 925 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 9.5 yards per carry. He ran for seven two-point conversions, and passed for four others.

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