A team state title in field hockey and an individual state title in girls’ cross country highlighted a successful North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) fall postseason for Country Day Athletics.
Country Day earned the top seed in the NCISAA tournament after amassing a 15-3-2 regular season record. Following a first-round bye, the Bucs defeated Cape Fear Academy, 8-0, in the quarterfinals and avenged a regular season loss to Durham Academy with a 3-1 semifinal win. Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) rival, Providence Day, emerged from the other side of the bracket to face the Bucs in last Saturday’s championship game.
Playing in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd on Country Day’s Dowd Field, the two teams put on a show worthy of a state title matchup. The Bucs struck first just five minutes into the game when senior, Lilly Poole, scored off an assist by junior, Lizzie Foster. The Chargers registered the equalizer before Foster found the back of the cage off an assist from senior, Katie So, to give Country Day a 2-1 lead at halftime. Providence Day knotted the score at 2-2 just 10 minutes into the second half and the teams would remain tied for the remainder of regulation.
Just as in last year’s NCISAA championship game between Country Day and Charlotte Latin, the game then entered seven-a-side sudden victory overtime. But unlike last year, when the Hawks prevailed in extra time, it was the Bucs’ turn this year. Sophomore, Caroline Switzer, had the honors, taking an assist from Poole and ending the game eight minutes into the first frame.
It was the Bucs’ first state title since since winning back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014 and their 13th title overall. Seniors, Poole, So, and Arden Davies and sophomore, Cameron Park, were all named to the NCISAA All-State team.
“When I reflect on this season, it brings me tears to my eyes to think about how far we have come,” said Country Day Head Coach Kayleigh Thies. “On the first day of the season, the seniors told me that they were stopping at nothing less than a state championship. When you have kids who are so willing to buy in and become a family, you can really find the magic.”
Running on her home course at McAlpine Creek Park where she had captured the CISAA title the previous week, senior Sophie Spada capped off her cross country career for the Bucs with a resounding victory in the NCISAA 4A championship race last Friday.
Spada ran the first mile side-by-side with the defending 4A state champion, Allison Hall of Durham Academy, before applying the pressure and distancing herself from the field. She finished over 10 seconds clear of the eventual second-place runner in a time of 18:37.6, the second fastest time for any girls’ race on the day. Spada’s title builds on a 7th place finish last year and a 5th place finish in 2016. She missed the 2017 cross country season due to injury.
The Bucs finished 4th as a team. Spada was joined on the NCISAA All-State team by sophomore, Harper Shaw, who finished in 8th place in a time of 19:43.1. The boys’ team earned a 5th place team finish in its race, placing three runners in the top 20 overall.
- Football qualified for the NCISAA Division I playoffs as the top seed and fell to Christ School in a hard fought semifinal game. The team finished the season with a 9-2 overall record. All-State selections for football will be released following the Division II state championship game on November 15.
- Girls’ Golf earned a 7th-place team finish at the NCISAA Division I championship tournament, held at the Country Club of Whispering Pines. May McDonnell ’22 led the way with a 13th place individual finish.
- Boys’ Soccer earned a spot in the NCISAA tournament before falling to Providence Day in the opening round. Johnny Bingham ’20 earned garnered All-State recognition.
- Girls’ Tennis entered the tournament unseeded and scored an upset win over Charlotte Christian before falling in the quarterfinals to Covenant Day. Linde Fonville ’22 was an All-State honoree.
- Volleyball entered the tournament as a number-four seed. After a first-round bye, the Bucs defeated Wesleyan Christian in a five-set thriller in the quarterfinal round, then lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion, North Raleigh Christian. Kayla Spangler ’21 received an All-State nod.