Heartsavers USA

Ricardo Davis | December 20th, 2017
Heartsavers USA

Heartsavers USA (formerly known as NC Heartsavers) is a locally owned CPR/First Aid training company. The organization was established in 2014. The company primarily serves the Piedmont Triad and surrounding areas. Their mission is to increase awareness of the need for CPR/First Aid training. Their goal is to have at least one individual in every […]

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Lance Boykin

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | December 20th, 2017
Lance Boykin

The Boykin name runs deep through the halls of High Point Christian Academy in High Point, NC, and has done so for quite some time. Lamar Boykin helped charter the boys football program at the school, where he coached both of his sons, and was the first junior varsity head coach. Now he serves as […]

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NBN Sports

by Terry Watson | December 20th, 2017
NBN Sports

NBN (Nothing But Net) Sports Inc. is a non-profit organization that was established as a result of the ever-growing need in the city of Durham for positive reinforcement in our youth. The primary focus of this organization is to create an outlet for children and teens by developing a variety of programs that support and […]

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Nicole Kelly

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | December 20th, 2017
Nicole Kelly

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nicole Kelly is a highly-decorated track and field star. After all, she does come from a long line of athletes, starting with her grandfather who was a football, basketball, and ping pong player as well as a lifeguard in his heyday. He seems to have passed that gene […]

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Coach Shawn Reese

by Terry Watson | December 20th, 2017
Coach Shawn Reese

Shawn Reese has been a staple in the Greensboro football community over the past 13 years, coaching teams before players get to the high school level. A volunteer coach and offensive coordinator with Pop Warner teams, including the Southwest Jets, Reese has spent the past three seasons coaching at Mendenhall Middle School working the first […]

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Chris Thacker Jr.

Junios Smith | December 21st, 2017
Chris Thacker Jr.

Since a 10-2 season in 2010, the Golden Eagles go a combined 14-50 with no playoff appearances over the next six years. Ben L. Smith would change its fortunes in 2017, winning five games and reaching the postseason for the first time in seven years. “The seniors we had on this team were good,” Chris […]

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Jayquan Maynard

Junios Smith | October 16th, 2017
Jayquan Maynard

Dudley High School football coach Stephen Davis believes in the “next man up” philosophy, and with injuries affecting the Panthers Jayquan Maynard has stepped into the role. Maynard, listed at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds, has been playing on the offensive line for the defending NCHSAA 4A state champions as a freshman, going between offensive guard […]

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Be Hardy Fit, LLC

by Terry Watson | October 16th, 2017
Be Hardy Fit, LLC

Michelle Hardy is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and brandishes a bachelors degree in Sports Science and Fitness Management, with a Pre-Physical Therapy concentration. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Health Promotion and Education at East Carolina University. She was born in Fort Hood, Texas but was raised […]

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Nick Baker

Junios Smith | October 16th, 2017
Nick Baker (Photo by Kayla Shakib)

Nick Baker (Photo by Kayla Shakib)

For Nick Baker, it was all about what he could do to help Page excel. Baker started the 2016 season at quarterback for the Pirates, but decided to make the conversion to wide receiver for teammate and friend Will Jones.

“I knew Will Jones was playing in front of me,” Baker said. “I’ve been playing with him since the seventh grade and we were short at wide receiver, so I decided to make the switch. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be — I’ve got pretty good speed and it’s in my bloodline with my dad having played receiver at Greene Central (in Snow Hill.)”

Baker would make his impact felt, even though he wasn’t the primary target for Jones. While Ronald Polite racked up 1,389 receiving yards on 89 catches and 22 touchdowns, Baker was third on the team in receptions (23) and yards (403) while hauling in the second-most scores with five. Baker also had the best yards per catch on the team with 17.5, helping Page reach the NCHSAA 4A state championship.

This year, despite a new head coach in Jared Rolfes and a new quarterback in Javondre Paige, the Pirates have picked up where they left off from last year’s 14-2 campaign, going into their bye week 6-1. Baker has worked on becoming a better receiver and in the team’s first seven games, he leads Page in catches (20), receiving yards (288) and touchdowns (3).

“I came in this year with a little bit more understanding as far as breaking down defenses as a wide receiver,” Baker said. “I was pretty good with reading and finding open holes running routes, but after my first year playing wide receiver, I came in this year with a more solid foundation. It was about fine-tuning my route running ability.”

Baker said he credits Rolfes, along with former coach Kevin Gillespie, on helping him develop as a player.

“The transition with the new coach wasn’t as difficult,” Baker said. “He made a connection with us and he lets us have a little more fun in practice. Both coaches definitely cared about the bond with the players and they’ve helped me become stronger as a wide receiver.”

Although Baker and the Pirates have excelled at the midway point of the season, there have been some growing pains. After last year’s team averaged 41.9 points per contest, Page is down to 26.1. The defense has improved a bit, allowing 16.6 points in 2016 to 14.0 now, but while the Pirates only had one game within 10 points in 2016 — a 23-22 victory over Dudley — 2017 has seen four in the same manner, including the Pirates getting revenge in a 19-14 win on Aug. 31.

Baker said the Pirates’ three wins by six or less and four close games with teams holding a combined record of 20-9 as of Oct. 6 will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

“We just find a way to win,” Baker said. “Offensively, we’ve started slow but we keep fighting and never give up. Hats off to Davie, Eastern Guilford, Dudley and East Forsyth — we knew they were key games we had to win. The coaches and my teammates have stuck together through it all.”

For Baker, the perfect way to end his senior year would be a state championship. Page fell to Wake Forest 29-0 last year and 49-6 to Mallard Creek in 2015, still looking to pick up a title since winning it all with an undefeated 15-0 season in 2011. “The past couple of years, we made it to the state title game but came up short,” Baker said. “The No. 1 goal this year is to win it.”

On the personal level, Baker is trying to acquire a scholarship. Despite limited time at wide receiver, Baker has picked up some interest. “For me, I want to be able to execute to help the team out while also being able to play college football somewhere,” Baker said. “I know I just started playing wide receiver as a junior, so hopefully with a lot of hard work I can get an offer.”

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Seth Buchanan – Don’t Call It A Comeback

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | October 16th, 2017
Seth Buchanan

Seth Buchanan

They’re not father and son like some may think, but they are family. Eugene Seals, former head basketball coach at Bridgeport High School in Saginaw, Michigan is Seth Buchanan’s uncle. But he’s not just his uncle, he’s his mentor, his confidante, and until recently, his basketball coach. Seth also confessed that Eugene is somewhat of an idol and Eugene gushed that Seth is more like a big brother to his five year old cousins, Noah and Elle, Eugene’s children.

Seth remembers his favorite Fischer-Price basketball goal and how long he kept it until his mother threw it away. “I would go and buy so much tape so I could tape my goal back to the wall because I played on it so much that it was just falling down. I was devastated when my mom got rid of it. I don’t think she knows that,” he laughed.

From an early age Eugene and Seth bonded over cross-overs and outside shots. Though Seth’s three older brothers were mostly interested in football, Seth took an interest in basketball and Uncle Eugene was the perfect person to get him started.

Eugene is a former basketball star at Saginaw High School and went on to play for Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for four years. That led to a professional basketball career, internationally. Playing in Mexico, Colombia, Spain, and Macedonia, Eugene retired in 2010 partially because of an injury but mostly because he wanted to settle down with his wife Lauren and start a family. (Seth joked that his uncle used to be able to speak fluent Spanish due to his extensive traveling, but has probably since forgotten the language.) Heading back home to Michigan, Eugene didn’t hang up his sneakers too soon. He kept them loosely laced as he became the assistant coach at his alma mater, Saginaw High School.

“I coached while Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors) was there and the school won two championships with him (Draymond) leading the way,” he remembers. Eugene spent two years at the high school, then transitioned to Saginaw Valley State University for two more years. In 2013, he accepted a head coaching position at Bridgeport High School where his nephew eventually attended. While there, Eugene’s style of coaching allowed Bridgeport to become one of the top teams in the state. He has since resigned as the head coach, but he leaves with many memories of the program he helped build.

One memory in particular that he can never forget – the day his surrogate son, Seth, collapsed on the basketball court and technically ‘died’ during a game. “I watched his body go lifeless but I was able to revive him,” Eugene remembers. Seth, two of his brothers, and his mom all have heart murmurs, but 17 year old Seth has a more serious condition called Vasovagal Syncope, which, according to mayoclinic.org, occurs when you faint due to the body overreacting to certain triggers. For Seth, the triggers can be standing up too fast, not eating and drinking enough, and not getting adequate rest. The triggers cause your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, causing you to briefly lose consciousness.

“It was embarrassing, but it was even harder on my family because they actually saw it happen,” Seth says. However, being embarrassed was the least of his worries. He essentially missed most of the season, and even when Eugene did let him play again, he was extremely cautious. “Seeing that [happen] made me very uncomfortable. But he’s come a long way. I wasn’t going to ever allow him to play again, but now he may be able to become one of the top seniors next year,” Eugene says.

This past summer, considering he’d lost so much time on the court, Seth attended several basketball camps to enhance his skills as well as to be seen by schools who previously didn’t know he existed. “He was able to play against college kids and he did very well,” says Eugene.

Now Seth attends Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, and is essentially a small forward, though he’s versatile on the court. “I’m not the greatest dribbler but with my height I can rebound, I can pass, and I can shoot.” Seth toots the horns of his teammates as well, citing everyone on his team can play different positions effectively.

To keep up with his rigorous schedule without encountering an episode, Seth has learned to listen to his body. Even when he returned to school after the scare at Bridgeport this past winter, he felt himself becoming weak during his first game back. “I was so tired that I tried to tell my uncle I needed to sit down. But he didn’t hear me. So I ended up fowling another player just so I could take a break.”

Seth is on medication now and confirms that it has literally been a lifesaver. He eats regularly and healthier, and at times, forgoes hanging out with his teammates just so he can sleep. He credits his family for helping him get through his tough times. His father, a bank executive in Saginaw, makes sure he sees his son often by flying him home every chance he gets. He keeps in touch with his Uncle Eugene via texts regularly.

The 6’8 student also adores his brothers, who all push him to be better academically and athletically, whether they know it or not. All three of his older brothers are in college and doing quite well. Seth laughs that they have an unspoken competition going on amongst them. That shouldn’t be a surprise since he comes from a family of scholars. Seth’s mother, Felicia, was formerly a chemical engineer and her twin sister is a medical doctor, as is his grandfather.

“Just when one of my brothers sets the bar high, another brother comes along and sets it even higher. And I admire all of them for continuing to push forward and be excellent examples for me. They’re all amazing.”

When asked about additional plans if he decides he doesn’t want to play basketball professionally, Seth matter-of-factly says he’ll either become a bio-medical engineer, a surgeon (a nod to his aunt who has prophesied this), or a physicist. It’s not often that you see a 6’8 doctor with a wingspan of 6’10 pick up a scalpel as well as he can palm a basketball, but I’m sure his family wouldn’t mind him continuing the legacy.

“We don’t have any slackers in our family,” says Eugene, “And Seth will be no different.”

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