Raider legend Sloan immortalized

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Writer
The 2017-18 Midway Athletes of the Year, from left, are: Blythe Best, Colby Pope and Leah Williams. -
The 2017-18 Raider Award recipients given out during the athletic banquet. -

The Midway Athletics Program formally concluded its 2017-2018 athletics campaign on Thursday evening, honoring the best of the year in school sports. Raiders legend Tommy Sloan will be immortalized with the naming of the football stadium, it was formally announced Thursday evening.

Midway principal Monty Strickland announced the plans of renaming Midway’s football facility in honor of the Raiders most storied coach, Sloan. The new moniker is slated to take effect this fall where a memoriam will honor the new Tommy Sloan Stadium. Strickland also formally introduced new football head coach, Cory Barnes, who spoke briefly before the crowd and expressed excitement about the upcoming season.

After enjoying a meal catered by Sandpiper Seafood in Clinton, a crowd of a couple hundred people comprised of faculty, staff, coaches, student athletes, parents and family members filled the school’s auditorium for the annual athletic banquet.

Midway Athletic Director Beth Best kicked off the night by reflecting upon the successful year the Raiders had. She noted that 290 games had been played across 26 different sports, which yielded eight conference championships, a regional championship, and two state championships — one team and one individual in golf.

The night was full of honors as several athletes from all the sports were awarded accolades of numerous achievements including All-County Awards, All-Conference Awards, All-District Awards, County Player of the Year Awards, Conference Player of the Year Awards and others.

At the conclusion of honoring the player-by-player achievements among the teams, each sport presented one member of the team the Raider Award.

Best described the Raider Award as representing an athlete that displays all the qualities of a Midway Raider. The athlete displays good sportsmanship, maintains a high level of integrity and upholds an even higher level of respect. They respect their school, their coach, their peers and their parents.

During the banquet, 12 sports were recognized with 14 different Raider Award recipients.

Receiving the Raider Awards were:

• Chandler Williford and Blythe Best — swimming

• Eden Love — cheerleading

• Leah Williams — women’s basketball

• Colby Pope — men’s basketball

• Brayden Coats — men’s winter track

• Tommie Bates — women’s winter track

• Christopher Oates — men’s spring track

• Haley Herndon — women’s spring track

• Kasey McLamb and Addison Apperson — women’s soccer

• Abby Baggett — softball

• Austin Peterson — baseball

• Logan Patrick — golf

It was also announced at the conclusion of the golf segment that Glenn Patrick, second year head coach of the golf team, was awarded the North Carolina State 2A Golf Coach of the Year.

Midway also recognized one male and one female athlete with the Heart of a Champion Award. Athletic Trainer Dawn Bass presented the award and described it as representing an athlete that displays the heart of champion in facing and overcoming adversity during their athletic journeys.

The female recipient was Haley Herndon, who was recognized for voluntarily surrendering her spot in the state finals of the high jump of the track and field events. Herndon and four others were all tied for second place at the conclusion of the event. With room for only five qualifiers, confusion abound has officials scrambled to rectify the problem as there was no clear cut rule in place regarding this situation. After a significant amount of time had passed, Herndon “took one for the team” as she sacrificed her spot so that the other four competitors, who were all seniors, would have a spot. Herndon, a junior, returns next year and will be qualifying for another shot.

The male recipient was Luis Acosta, who was recognized for his bravery and determination in overcoming a traumatic leg injury. A season ago, Acosta sustained a significant leg injury during the fall soccer season. He recovered in time to participate in Spring Track where he was a key member of the team. Acosta later reinjured his leg when participating in an event in which the team was relying on him to earn crucial points. He was able to finish the event but was sidelined the remainder of the season as result of the new complication.

Finally, to conclude the night, the Angie Matthews’ Female Athlete of the Year and the Kent Warren Male Athlete of the Year Award were presented. Steve Matthews presented the Female Athlete of the Year Award in honor of his sister, Angie, during which it was revealed that two athletes earned the achievement. Blythe Best and Leah Williams, both seniors, were recognized with the award.

For the Male Athlete of the Year Award, senior Colby Pope earned those honors as he excelled in three sports for the Raiders.

The 2017-18 Midway Athletes of the Year, from left, are: Blythe Best, Colby Pope and Leah Williams.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_mhb.jpgThe 2017-18 Midway Athletes of the Year, from left, are: Blythe Best, Colby Pope and Leah Williams.

The 2017-18 Raider Award recipients given out during the athletic banquet.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_mhb1.jpgThe 2017-18 Raider Award recipients given out during the athletic banquet.
Stadium to bear Midway legend’s name; others honored at banquet

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Writer

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.