Fall Sports Recap

Football

The Pirates started their season with four straight losses, losing several close games. Riverside then beat the Granville Central Panthers 40-12, earning their first win of the season. Next was a game against Northern, where Riverside handily won 20-0 at a rival school’s homecoming. 

After this, Riverside dropped back to back games, then dropped a heartbreaker to Chapel Hill, losing 31-30 in Chapel Hill. To end the season, Riverside lost an away game to Jordan, giving the Pirates a 2-8 overall record, with a 1-4 in conference record. They are 5th in the 4A East 30 Conference, in front of Northern and close behind Chapel Hill.

Cory Lea, Riverside football head coach, said “[The] season went by about how we thought it would go. We had a lot of guys, a lot of young guys, they were forced into playing. And they got better as the season went on. They did a really good job considering, you know, we had the second toughest schedule in our conference, and we also had the youngest team in our conference.” 

DJ Lane drives down the field vs Northern. Photo Courtesy of Avery Prince.

The Pirates also had several stat leaders, with Xavier Mcqueen leading the conference in receiving yards, with 463 yards and an average of 30.9 yards per catch. Mcqueen’s 6 receiving touchdowns tie him for the conference lead in receiving touchdowns, tied with two Hillside players. Freshman Jamari Mcknight led the team in total tackles, with 77 over nine games, giving him the second most total tackles in the conference, and the most solo tackles with 28. 

Riverside had a new QB this year, with Collin Hurdle coming from another school and starting his first year on varsity. Over five games, Hurdle had 805 yards, averaging 161 passing yards per game. Coach Lea had high praise for Hurdle, saying “Our quarterback Colin Hurdle, coming from another school and being able to establish relationships with his teammates in his first year varsity football. [Hurdle, Mcqueen, Mcknight, and Bonner] are going to be key for us next year and I really think that we have a good base to build off of.”

Cross Country

It was a banner year for Riverside’s runners. Senior Henry Haase set a new school record for the 5,000 meters of 15:55.16 minutes. Winston Gasch, Bryan Hampson and Flyn Meadows made school history, too, setting the second, fourth and fifth-best times in Riverside history, respectively. 

At the DAC-VII Conference Meet, Riverside had a very strong team effort, as most members of the team logged their fastest times of their season and set numerous personal records. 

The men’s team finished second in the conference. Henry Haase and Winston Gasch placed in the top five in the individual conference meet. The girls team finished third, and Elizabeth Healy finished in the top ten overall. 

Riverside followed this up with an incredible performance by the varsity teams at regionals, with four boys finishing in the top 20, and two girls in the top 20. This gave the boys varsity team third in the region, and the girls team fourth in the region. This win sent the boys team to their second ever state meet, and the girls team to their first ever state meet.

Winston Gasch and Bryan Hampson at 4A Mideast Regional Race. Photo courtesy of Gene Ackerman.

At the state championship in Kernersville, Riverside finished well, with the boys team finishing 12th and the girls team finishing 20th.The top runners for Riverside were Henry Haase, who finished 18th with a time of 16:07.07, and Elizabeth Healy who finished 37th with a time of 19:18.19. This is a monumental accomplishment for Riverside, with this being the first time that the boys and girls teams both competed at the state championship.

Shaun Thompson, coach of Riverside Cross Country said “We had a very strong season, this is the second time the boys team has made it to states, and the first the girls have made it to states… I think we shocked a lot of people and proved that we are up there with some of the top runners” 

Field Hockey

The Lady Pirates started their season with a loss, but immediately followed it with a strong 4-0 win against Cape Fear Academy. After that win, the Lady Pirates went on a 12 game losing streak, but nearly upset Jordan, losing 1-0. 

With 7 seniors graduating, the team will look very different next year. Senior Captain Ella Whithaus was happy with the season, saying “I think statistically we did better than any other year I’ve been here. We had a new coach. So I think a lot of that can be owed to her, because she was very experienced. I think we really improved as a team.”

Volleyball

Riverside started their season 2-2, with wins against Southern Durham and Vance County. After this, Riverside went on a 4 game cold streak, losing to the top teams in the conference before knocking off J.F. Webb and Vance County a second time. After the two wins, the Lady Pirates then went on a cold streak, losing nine games in a row, finishing with a 4-16 record overall, and 0-12 in conference. 

The team will lose three seniors, but junior captain Rutendo Mukelabai will return. Looking forward to next season, Mukelabai said “Next year, I can take my leadership skills that I’ve learned this year and apply them and hopefully, it will create a better season” Mukelabai also praised the team for their ability to work together, and said “Looking forward to next season, we can take what we learned from this season and knowing what we are good at and what we need to work on, and just try our hardest and put in our best effort.”

Sophomore Lauren Powrie attacks vs Northern. Photo Courtesy of Avery Prince.

Girl’s Tennis

Riverside finished with a 6-8 overall record, and 6-5 in conference. This put the Lady Pirates 4th in the conference, ahead of several rivals. Riverside started the season slowly, getting swept in its first three matches, but bounced back with a 6-3 win against Southern Alamance. After a loss to Orange, Riverside swept Northern 6-0 twice. About two weeks later, Riverside beat Southern Alamance again, and Emma Wilcox was named player of the match after her strong win against Southern Alamance’s Faith Moore. 

Riverside swept Hillside twice to end the season. Freshman Calista Robinson won player of the match both times. She played at the top of Riverside’s ladder all season, finished with a 7-7 record and won player of the match five times.

Soccer

The Pirates finished their season with a 7-8-2 record overall. Their 4-6-2 conference record was good for fourth in the DAC-VII 4A conference. Riverside won early games against DSA and Garner, then went 3-6 in their next nine games. A dramatic tie with Northern, then another against East Chapel Hill that went into double overtime set up a win over Southern Alamance to end the season. 

Junior Reese Compton led the team in goals, finishing with 11 goals over 16 regular season matches. Compton said “The team was a good, united group. We could use some work on some of the tactics involving soccer, which were not always right, but the unity of the team was really good. There were some good players.”

To begin the playoffs, Riverside played an away game against #7 seed Pinecrest. The Pirates lost this game 1-4, with Reese Compton scoring the lone Riverside goal. This ends Riverside’s season, and with 13 seniors leaving the team, Compton will help lead the team with his experience. Compton said “It’ll be hard with all of them leaving but from summer workouts I’ll try to help get people mentally disciplined, where they should be for the season”

The Pirates try to score during overtime vs Northern. Photo Courtesy of Ethan Haine.

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