In advance of the 57th WNC Sports Awards Banquet sponsored by Ingles, WLOS.com will honor each of the 122 WNC high-school athletes and teams chosen as finalists.
Today’s honorees are included in the award for the Skyland Automotive Group Division II Male Team in a Major Sport.
The finalists include Cherokee football; Christ School football; Mountain Heritage basketball; Mountain Heritage football; Murphy baseball and Murphy football.
** Coach Kent Briggs led Cherokee High to a state 1A football championship, the first in the history of the school.
The Braves finished 14-1 and earned a share of the Smoky Mountain Conference regular-season title.
In a school of just 317 students, Cherokee has seven seniors who have signed to play college football.
The team has been recognized by the Tribal Council and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.
** The Christ School football team finished 8-2 under coach Mark Moroz.
Led by running back Sidney Gibb’s 2,000-yard rushing season, Christ School opened the season with seven straight wins.
The offense directed by quarterbacks and cousins Navy and West Shuler scored 34 or more points seven times.
A consistently strong Christ School program has posted a 63-17 mark over the past seven seasons.
** The Mountain Heritage basketball team ranked among the top 2A programs in the state.
The Cougars finished 23-2, including a 10-0 mark as the Western Highlands Conference champions and won the program’s fourth sectional title in school history.
Coach Hank Newson’s squad has an overall grade-point average of 3.94, with six students at 4.0 or higher.
** The Cougars also had a great season in football, finishing with a 13-1 record.
Coach Joey Robinson’s team won its third straight Western Highlands Conference title and reached the Western Regional title game while outscoring opponents 604-238.
The squad had 19 all-conference academic selections and 10 players made the all-conference team.
** The Murphy baseball team set some school records last spring while posting a 23-8 record.
Coach Adam Clonts’ squad went 16-0 in Smoky Mountain Conference play and won a Western Regional title and advanced to the state 1A champion series for the first time.
A total of 11 of 16 team members were in the BETA Club and had grade-point averages of 3.5 or better.
** Under Hall of Fame coach David Gentry, the Murphy football team had another stellar season.
A program that has won seven state titles under Gentry finished 12-3 and reached the Western Regional title game.
An offense paced by quarterback Joey Curry scored 30 or more points 11 times.
The 57th WNC Sports Awards Banquet is May 6 at Omni Grove Park Inn. For more information or tickets, go to wncsportsawards.org.
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