GREENSBORO – For the first time since 1948, there will be no East-West All-Star High School match in Greensboro this summer.
The N.C Coaches Association, which runs the annual matches and accompanying training clinics, announced today that it was canceling the match because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Phil Weaver, NCCA’s executive director, said the association council election was unanimous.
“Because currently unknown about the COVID-19 virus, government regulations and concerns about the possible loss of normal physical conditions, NCCA has chosen not to endanger the health of coaches, players and staff or the opportunities for future college lectures,” NCCA said in a news release . “As of this writing, there is no place to practice because of the closure, and Governor Cooper still has the gym closed. Furthermore, a decision on canceling or fulfilling several contracts must be made before the scheduled June 26 governor’s announcement.”
Men’s and women’s basketball matches are scheduled for July 20 at the Greensboro Coliseum, men’s and women’s soccer matches are set for July 21 at Macpherson Stadium in Bryan Park and football matches are scheduled for July 22 at Jamieson Grimsley Stadium.
“There was no discussion at all,” Weaver said, adding that it was a reluctant decision.
Weaver said the NCCA had e-mailed all players who had received invitations to play this game, as well as their parents, and offered them the opportunity to return next year and be introduced at half-time. He also said the players this year would receive medals received by each player at the East-West banquet, T-shirt and a copy of this year’s program.
“At least we can do that,” Weaver said, “but unfortunately I cannot do more.”
Kennedi Simmons from Guilford Southeast, twice HSXtra.com This year’s All-Area women’s basketball player and an all-state election, was in school for the first time since closing when he got the news via text that he would not play for the West in July.
“I’m already sad to walk back to school because I haven’t been there in a long time,” said the NCHSAA Class 3-A champion twice, “and I got a text when I was there and it was, ‘Wow!’ I had hope because I thought things would get better in July. I was just surprised. “
Today’s news is not the first disappointment for Simmons, who saw this year’s state championship match canceled after the breakup of COVID-19.
“It hurts because we’ve lost the rest of high school without warning … all the fun things like parties, graduation,” said the upcoming Winston-Salem State guard. “If we don’t have a state championship match, I at least want to play in our local match (Triad All-Star Classic) and then have this one.”
Linebacker Elijah Thomas is one of two East Forsyth players who are on the Western roster for football. He was disappointed to hear that the game was canceled, mainly because it denied him one last chance to play with the Eagles to revive Javon McCallister.
“This is difficult, because I have grown to really appreciate those people, especially Javon,” said Thomas about McCallister, who is a teammate in two Class 4-A championship teams. “He made me a better player and protected me a lot. I will always remember playing with them.”
Thomas will not play with McCallister again, but he hopes to play football at St. Thomas. Augustine’s in Raleigh.
“You can never focus on negativity for too long,” he said. “You must remember to stay positive and keep moving forward.”
The triad area basketball players set aside to play besides Simmons are: female, Jacee Busick (Glenn); boys, Ahmil Floweres (Grimsley), Christain Hampton (Northwest Guilford) and Isaac Spainhour (West Stokes), and assistant coach Billy Martin (Reynolds).
Triad area soccer players committed to the match are: women, Camryn Belin (West Forsyth) and Hayley Magnussen (North Guilford); boys, Jose Almanza (Middle High Point), Daniel Anani (Ledford), Aldair Anica-Hernandez (Reynolds), Andrew Brown (Davidson West), Max Huber (Northwest Guilford) and Mason Paschold (West Forsyth).
Triad area football players who will play for the West besides Thomas and McCallister are: Nikolas Everhart (Oak Grove), Anthony Hairston (Northeast Guilford), Alston Hooker (Ragsdale), Nasir Lawrence (North Forsyth), Lionel Long (Reidsville), Austin Longworth (Elkin), Quincy Smith (East Surry), Tradjon Suggs (North Davidson), Jovan Turner (Reagan), Jordan Williams (Thomasville) and Page chief coach Doug Robertson, and assistant coach Chuck Cannon (Wilkes) Center).
The training clinic will be conducted almost through the NCCA website and registration and membership of the association will be handled online as well.
Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.
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