Winter sports preview

The Riverside Men’s Basketball team poses for a team picture during their practice Thursday night. They play Cleveland High School in their first game of the season tonight at 7:30pm. Photo by Will Okun

Men’s Basketball:

Men’s basketball started off strong last season before struggling in the second half of conference play. 

They expect four juniors to return who accounted for 56% of the team’s scoring last year. However, they lost last year’s leading scorer, senior Jared Merchant, who now plays basketball for Methodist University. 

This season, the Pirates’ first three games come against teams with a combined record of 67-18 last year, so getting one win would be considered a success. They follow a tough start with games against Durham Academy, Green Hope, Orange, and Green Level. The team will likely turn to last year’s reserve guard Flash Hairston or assist leader Xavier McQueen to replace Merchant as point guard. Also, expect Junior Nnamdi Ogboko and his younger brother Ekene to man center position after the departure of Javion Johnson.

Basketball Home Games:

11/18 vs Cleveland

11/30 vs Wake Forest

12/2 vs Orange

12/7 vs Durham Academy

12/13 vs Northern

1/6 vs Chapel Hill

1/10 vs East Chapel Hill

1/24 Hillside

1/27 Jordan

2/7 Southern Alamance

Women’s Basketball:

Last season, women’s basketball finished fifth in the conference and were led by all-conference senior Jenny Gomez Hernandez. 

The Pirates had two pairs of wins against Northern and Enloe, plus a big win over East Chapel Hill. They will look to replicate some of that late-season success. 

This year, the team doesn’t expect to have any seniors, so they will have to rely on multiple underclassmen to step up. The Lady Pirates open their season at home against Cleveland. They follow that with games vs Southern and Wake Forest, both of whom return plenty of experience before a number of good games in December vs Green Hope, Northern, South Granville, and Fuquay Varina. 

Winter Track competes in a meet at East Chapel Hill in 2021. Photo by Gene Ackerman.

Track and Field:

Following a successful cross-country season, many runners will change up the pace and look to replicate that success in Winter Track. 

Last year, the Pirates saw plenty of success in the 4×800 relay. The men’s 4×8 team lost three seniors; Henry Hasse, Flynn Meadows, and Winston Gasch, all three of whom are running in college now. This year, Conner Tyrell, Phillip Blum, and freshman Justin Lawrence are expected to be 3 of the 4 4×8 runners, but expect the team to fluctuate throughout the season due to the number of good runners available. 

The women’s 4×8 team returns Sophomore Elizabeth Healy, junior Tate Gasch, and Ellie Deskins, but lost Anika Rayburn, who is expected to be replaced by sophomore Lucy Morris. 

Last year’s swim team at the 2021 regional swim meet. Photo by Robert Duncan.

Swimming and Diving:

Last season, six Riverside athletes went to states. They expect to return four of them. 

Elodie Mitchell, Asa Grenard, Otto Schonwalder, and Vivian Brennan placed in the top 25 in their events. The men finished fourteenth in the men’s medley and Elodie Mitchell finished eighteenth in the 200 freestyle. 

This year, new coach Brooke Bauer hopes to bring more structure to the team and help each individual swimmer achieve a new personal record.


Wrestling anticipates a big season this year after ‘22 graduate Luke Fogleman made a deep run through states. With the departure of Fogleman, who now wrestles for Grand View State University, seniors Wesley Shepard and Valerio Luftig, along with junior Daniel Dickerson will have to step up for the Pirates. 

Riverside hosts two big tournaments, one over Thanksgiving weekend and the Silver Fox tournament later on in the season. With the coaching staff and five seniors returning, look for wrestling to find quite a bit of success.

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