YMCA STRONG challenge 

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired in these COVID-19 times? The Gaston County Family YMCA invites all in the community to participate in a free six-week STRONG challenge sponsored by Atrium Health designed to help transform spirit, mind and body.
“Now, more than ever before we need to recharge and refocus,” said CEO Sharon Padgett. “The COVID-19 pandemic has worn us down. It’s isolated us in so many ways. This challenge provides an opportunity to get active and healthier by yourself or as a Strong family.”
Opt-in to the free challenge today. Once you’ve signed up on the YMCA website, they will send you regular motivation, challenges, workouts and more, so be sure to to stay connected. Everyone in the community is invited to participate in the STRONG Challenge. Y membership is not required.
All participants are invited to participate in free YMCA Zoom online classes, receive access to virtual fitness classes from your favorite instructor and participate in pop up classes and events.
Challenge details- The STRONG Challenge officially begins Monday, Oct. 19, and you can participate from anywhere. Registration is open now at gastonymca.org. This free six-week challenge is open to all. You’ll receive regular email messages outlining weekly challenges. The commitment is only 20 minutes a day. There are plenty of ways to participate outside the Y, including outdoor and virtual classes. Complete the challenge and earn a cool T-shirt.
“It’s the perfect time to take back our lives, reenergize, achieve goals, feel better and stronger,” added Padgett.
See more photos on page 18 in the October 8, 2020 issue of the Banner-News.

Good sportsmanship earns ‘ejection-free’
status for three area high schools

(October 8, 2020 Issue)

For three high schools in Gaston County Schools, their commitment to outstanding sportsmanship has resulted in a special recognition from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
Stuart W. Cramer High School, Forestview High School, and Highland School of Technology earned the “ejection free” school status for the 2019-2020 year.  The status indicates that no student-athlete or coach was ejected from a sport for the year.
“We are pleased to recognize the coaches and student-athletes for their positive attitude on the field and on the court,” said Gaston County Schools athletic director Chad Duncan.  “More important than winning is exhibiting good sportsmanship and good behavior.  This is what we want to see all of the time at our athletic events.”
Here’s a look at what our schools had to say about their “ejection free” status for 2019-2020: 
Stuart W. Cramer High School
Athletic director Mike Patton: “As an athletic director, it feels good when your athletes and coaches are competing at a high level and doing it with good sportsmanship.  We are proud of this recognition for Stuart W. Cramer.”
Forestview High School
Athletic director Alan Stewart:  “Our coaches set a good example and have high expectations for our student-athletes.  We have stressed sportsmanship with our coaches, and they have passed it down to their athletes.”
Highland School of Technology
Principal James Montgomery:  “We are proud of our student-athletes and coaches for being recognized as an ejection-free school.  We strive to demonstrate sportsmanship at all times, and this recognition validates the efforts of our coaches and players.”
Gaston County Schools has had at least one high school to be recognized as “ejection-free” each year since the NCHSAA began tracking coach and student conduct in 1997.
Schools across the state with no ejections for the 2019-2020 year received a certificate of recognition at the recent NCHSAA regional meetings.  Unsportsmanlike acts such as fighting, taunting, profanity, obscene gestures, or disrespectfully addressing or contacting officials are reasons for an ejection, according to the NCHSAA.

Belmont Abbey cycling team has two new riders

Belmont Abbey Head Women’s Cycling Coach welcomed a pair of new riders for the 2020-21 season in Lillian Ensign and Reina Placer. Ensign hails from Des Moines, Iowa, while Placier calls Lowell, Mich., home.
“This class is going to do great things for Belmont Abbey Cycling,” Dalzell said. “Each rider possesses the ability to win a race on their own, but more importantly, they all demonstrate great teamwork abilities. Our program prides itself on teamwork and working together, all of these athletes bring that quality and much more. I’m beyond excited to see what we can accomplish in the 2020 season and for four years moving forward with this recruiting class”.
Lillian Ensign started out in the sport of triathlon, but has quickly emerged as a strong junior cyclist. She has a history of success in both the cyclocross and road disciplines.
Coach Dalzell says, “Lily has a ton of potential. She is relatively new to cycling when compared to other top juniors, but she has the ability to move up the rankings quickly. We are thrilled to have her on our roster and look forward to great success on the track, off-road, and with our road team.”
Reina Placer has developed into one of the top female racers at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit. Over the past two years, she has made a name for herself in match sprints, scratch, and elimination races.
Coach Dalzell says, “Reina brings great skills and abilities to our women’s track program. As one of the best Match Sprint females in junior cycling, we can’t wait to develop her abilities during her career here. While she is fantastic on the track, we also believe she will do great things in road racing during the spring. Reina is a great addition to our program and we are thrilled to watch her progress over four years at The Abbey.”

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Skeet Team

Congratulations to the Gaston Christian School Skeet Team, Holy Thunder, on a very successful inaugural season. Corrie Cloninger finished first overall top female shooter in the conference. Corrie also shot a perfect 25 straight in one match. Her sister Josie Cloninger, finished second highest female in the conference. The sisters are pictured with Steve Matolka Skeet Team Coach, NRA – NSSA Coach/Instructor.
Gaston Christian School photo

Conference Carolinas
postpones fall championships to spring of 2021

 The Conference Carolinas Board of Directors have postponed all fall sports competition until the spring of 2021 after extensive deliberation.
Belmont Abbey College is a member of Conference Carolinas.
 The decision was made in the best interest of Conference Carolinas student-athletes, coaches and administrators due to the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conference Carolinas men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will now hold their championship segments in the spring of 2021. Conference schedules will be reduced for these sports such that institutions may elect to create a regular season schedule that allows student-athletes to not exhaust a year of eligibility, utilizing the legislative relief provided to NCAA Division II institutions for the 2020-21 season. Conference Carolinas championships in these fall sports will be conducted in the spring of 2021.
Conference Carolinas member institutions will have institutional discretion to practice or compete in out-of-season athletically related activities and non-championship segments in the fall of 2020 for all sports per NCAA rules.
 Further, the winter sports of men’s and women’s swimming & diving and men’s and women’s indoor track & field have institutional discretion on the start of their respective playing seasons and a decision on when men’s and women’s basketball and men’s wrestling may begin their respective playing seasons will be made at a later date.
Conference Carolinas’ decision follows the requirements set forth by the NCAA Board of Governors and the cancelation of the NCAA Division II Fall Championships by the Presidents’ Council.
 Conference Carolinas member institutions are continuing to work daily to create updated policies that will allow all of its student-athletes to return to campus as safely as possible. The conference is also continuing to work to create safety protocols and precautions around intercollegiate athletics participation.  In addition, Conference Carolinas is working with its member institutions to help find safe, unique and rewarding opportunities to engage all of its student-athletes in the 2020-21 academic year.

NCHSAA announces amended sports calendar

NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker issued the following statement last week regarding the amended 2020-2021 Sport Calendar.
“You all have been waiting patiently for a decision from the NCHSAA relative to an amended sport calendar for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please keep in mind that these proposed dates are dependent on COVID-19 conditions improving across NC. However, last night the Board of Directors approved a framework we believe maximizes the opportunities for students in our membership to participate in athletics at some point during this school year, regardless of what plan is a school and/or school system operates.
The NCHSAA Board approved an amended calendar for the 2020-2021 school year in a special called meeting for this purpose on Tuesday, August 11 via Zoom. This calendar represents the hard work of the NCHSAA Staff, Board of Directors and various committees such as the City/County Athletic Directors, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Sports Ad Hoc Committee. There is still much work to be done on the details of implementing athletic programs and contests during this pandemic, but we thank these committees and individuals for their hard work to bring us to this point.
We recognize that this is a lot of information to digest and drastically different from the way the sport calendar has been aligned for years in North Carolina. However, as we mentioned many weeks ago, “We will play again.” In that mantra we believe, and it is in that spirit that we present this calendar. It is the belief of the Board of Directors and our staff that this calendar provides us the greatest chance of providing interscholastic athletic opportunities to the students of the NCHSAA for the 2020-2021 academic year. We believe that this is the best path forward to a safe return to the field.
Our decision-making process has been careful and calculated, as we work to ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches and administrators during this unprecedented time. There is still much work to be done in regard to playoff formats, COVID-19 related rules modifications for numerous sports, securing potential playoff facilities and providing the safest possible regular season opportunities for student athletes. We are committed to that work and will continue to lead and govern interscholastic athletic programs across this state that support and enrich the educational experience provided by our member schools in such a manner to maintain the standards of excellence that the NCHSAA has become known for.”

High School football on hold until February 2021 for now...

It’s official. High school football won’t begin until February, 2021. Here are some action shots from last season to whet your appetite and keep your spirits up that gridiron action will resume when the time is right. See more information on page 13 of this week's Banner-News (August 20, 2020).
Photos by Calvin Craig/Super Raiders and Bill Bostick/Tarheel Sports Photography


Gaston Christian baseball camp...

Gaston Christiam School recently held a baseball camp. Afterwards, everyone cooled off by throwing snowballs and slurping icees. Everyone had a great time and the coaches taught the players a lot of skills.

See more photos on page 11 of this week's Banner-News (August 13, 2020)


Gaston County Family YMCA opens fitness centers

The Gaston County Family YMCA has opened their indoor fitness centers at three locations for members with a medical need for exercise directed by a medical professional.
On Friday, Aug. 7, three Gaston County Family YMCA locations  opened indoor fitness centers at limited capacity to provide a place for members to exercise who need it, said YMCA CEO Sharon Padgett. But the YMCAs are not fully opened.
“This is not an opening of the YMCA. We are opening for a small population of our members that need it for medical reasons and can show a note from a medical provider,” Padgett said.
“To use the indoor fitness centers, Gaston County Family YMCA members must provide a note or prescription from a medical professional stating that the professional has prescribed physical exercise as a health regiment,” said Mary Moffitt, Stowe Family YMCA Executive Director.
The note does not need to contain why the member needs to exercise.  Members who need to use the indoor fitness centers will provide a note or prescription from a medical professional to YMCA staffers at the front desk. That information will be stored in the system so that when members swipe into the facility, the system will show they have a medical reason for using the centers.
The Gaston County Family YMCA is using the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of medical professional, which lists several positions: licensed physicians, licensed physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners, licensed nurses, licensed chiropractors, licensed dietitians, licensed respiratory care therapists, licensed psychologists, licensed clinical mental health counselors, licensed occupational therapists, licensed physical therapists, licensed recreational therapists and licensed massage therapists.
“The YMCA recognizes that many members are in need of a safe place to continue an exercise regiment,” Padgett said. “That is why the wellness centers are opened at limited capacity. We have a lot of members that need to exercise in a controlled environment, not at a heat index of 110 degrees.”  While centers will open for those who need them, Padgett said they fully comply with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 151, which allowed medical exceptions for the use of gym and fitness centers.
The Cherryville, Stowe, and Warlick fitness centers will operate with a reservation system, Members can go online or call to reserve a time slot. Members also will be required to wear a mask while entering and leaving the building, in hallways and common areas. Members will not be required to wear a mask while exercising, but it is encouraged.
The Gaston County Family YMCA has had a reopening plan ready since May. All branches have prepared to accommodate social distancing and will have health and safety measures in place.  All equipment has been spaced so that the machines are at least 6 feet apart, if not more. Members will be given a bottle of cleaner and a cloth before they enter the fitness area. They will be instructed to clean any equipment before they use it and after. YMCA staffers will monitor the fitness center. Once a group has completed the time slot, staff members will clean the equipment before the next group goes in. All staffers will wear masks. The fitness centers are not the first services to be reopened at the YMCA. Pools and outdoor fitness classes have been opened for a while and are running in a similar reservation system. Members can learn more and make reservations on gastonymca.org today.
Contact: Molly D’Avria Gaston County Family YMCA 704.822.9622 mdavria@gastonymca.org
GEMS photo

Gaston EMS Reminder

Gaston County EMS reminds everyone to drink plenty of water during these hot days. Paramedic Josh Helton and EMT Darrell Williamson stopped for a quick break and sip of water to stay hydrated!


South Point High School
announces Spring Sports NCHSAA individual Scholar Athletes

By Charlotte Sautner

South Point High School’s athletes are not only excellent on the field they are excellent off the field in the classroom.  They are true scholar athletes.  Usually the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete program recognizes varsity teams and individual athletes for their excellence in the classroom. However, due to the fact that the spring sports season was canceled only individual Scholar Athletes will be announced.   To be an individual Scholar Athlete, the athlete must have a 3.5 weighted GPA for the designated semester.  South Point had 123 individual NCHSAA Scholar Athletes.

Scholar Athletes are:

Sullivan Absher, Davis Adcock, Nicole Allen, Ayden Austin, Ronald Baker, Nicholas Barker, Claudia Baucom, Elijah Baucom, Jake Beaty, Jake Bidodglio, Jackson Blee, Cooper Bostwick, Brenden Bradshaw, Sariana Braggs, Nathan Brown, Ashleigh Burns, Susie Butler, Catherine Carr, Addison Carson, Jordan Coffey, Gable Crutchfield, Zachary Cunningham, Matthew Dalton, Payton Decker, Kayla Diew, Lauren Downey, Jon Dunbar, Caitlyn Federation, Jenna Feduniec, Sydney Foley, Hailey Franks, Quinton Futrell, Nicholas Gange, Edwin Gore, Miles Griffin, Noah Hargett, Samuel Harris, William Harris, Noah Helms, William Hendricks, Alexis Henson, Charlie Hill, Julia Ho, Reagan Hollifield, Olivia Huffman, Kaela Hughes, Jacob Humphrey, Cole Hunsucker, Kaden Ivey, James Johnson, Jake Jurchak, William Jurchak, Anna Kauer, Abbygale King, Colten Knight, Jared Lareau, Courtney Leach, Syndey Lester, Emelia Lewandowski, Addison Lomick, Abigail Long, Alexander Long, Madison Lund, Alayna Mack, Abigail Martin, Kendall Martin, Wesley Matthews, Emma McGinnis, Hatsue McQuay, Kayla Medford, Roger Medlock, Brian Mellette, Jackson Milford, Olivia Milford, Alex Millspaw, Joshua Millspaw, Macy Monteith, Abigail Morgan, Jose Mota Contreras, Lawrence Natale, David Nicks, Dylan Nicks, Emmanuel Paddyfote, Makenna Pallozzi, Andrew Pate, Dharmin Patel, Jacob Patterson, Abby Pearson, Samanthan Pressley, Ryan Proud, Asheton Queen, Rachel Racz, Riley Racz, Justin Ray, William Rhinehart, Haylee Riggins, Sonsoles Risco Martinez, Jackson Risk, Laecia Ryan, Lauren Sawyer, Ethan Simmons, Mary Smallwood, Anna Smith, Carson Smith, Georgia Smith, Justin Smith, Henry Southard, Ethan Thagard, Hannah Thagard, Justin Tolbert, Danielle Tracy, Michelle Tracy, Wyatt Triplett, Brooke Villemagne, Jordan Villemagne, Mary Walker, Samuel Walker, Emma Wanner, John Warren, Alexandria Wilder, Madison Willis, Marshall Witherell, and Grant Woliver.

Conference Carolina Sports Returning After Sept. 18

The Conference Carolinas Board of Directors unanimously approved a plan to proceed with intercollegiate competition in conference-sponsored sports in the upcoming fall semester. Intercollegiate competition may begin no earlier than Sept. 18, 2020.
Belmont Abbey College is a Conference Carolinas member.
The decision was made in the best interest of Conference Carolinas student-athletes, coaches and administrators. Conference Carolinas member institutions may begin practicing in their championship/non-championship segments on Sept. 1 or when mandated by NCAA policy, whichever is later.
“During this pandemic, we are working to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff as our top priority,” Commissioner Chris Colvin said. “Our goal in Conference Carolinas is always to help our member institutions use intercollegiate athletics to achieve their overall mission. This decision by our Board of Directors, after careful consultation with our Directors of Athletics and local health officials, gives our member institutions time to focus on the resocialization process on each campus during the first few weeks of the semester and then move toward intercollegiate competition. We will continue to work on fine-tuning the safety protocols that will be implemented by all of our institutions.”
Conference Carolinas originally announced in May of 2020 that it would emphasize conference contests in the 2020-21 academic year and that it did not have any plans to reduce league contests in 2020-21. That plan is still in place.
Conference Carolinas institutions are continuing to work daily to create updated policies and procedures surrounding campus life, including intercollegiate athletics, that will allow students and student-athletes to return to campus as safe as possible. The conference is also continuing to work to create safety protocols and precautions around intercollegiate athletics participation.
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Artist rendering.

Abbey Alumni Field To Get New Lighting

Alumni Field, home to five Belmont Abbey sports programs, will be enhanced with a premier lighting system this summer, Vice-President and Director of Athletics Stephen Miss announced.

“The fruit of the vision, hard work, and generosity of tremendous donors and contributors, this $400,000 facility enhancement will benefit significantly the students who compete under the lights, the spectators who observe them doing so, and the entire Abbey community for years to come,” Miss said. “We are quite pleased to partner, once again, with Musco Lighting, the premier provider in the industry. The lighting system Musco installed at Abbey Yard was a game-changer for us, and we eagerly anticipate the new LED system at Alumni Field possibly having an even greater impact.”

The project includes Musco’s Light-Structure Green ™ lighting system with Total Light Control - TLC for LED and Green Generation Lighting ® Metal Halide technology on poles located near each corner of the field. The energy-efficient system provides 50% less spill and glare light than Musco’s prior industry-leading technology.

Fall sports schedules will be announced soon, but the lights will be installed and operational for the soccer and field hockey seasons. The lacrosse teams use the facility during the spring.

What They Are Saying About Alumni Field Lights

 John Keating, Head Men’s Soccer Coach: “Over the years, our soccer alumni have always asked if we ever planned to get lights. Many of their most vivid soccer memories from their playing days at The Abbey were of night games at away venues. To be able to create a great atmosphere and great memories at home, is going to add to the rich legacy of Belmont Abbey Soccer.”

Mike Lynch, Head Women’s Soccer Coach: “Lights on Alumni Field will enhance the student-athlete experience in so many ways from less missed class time, cooler temps to compete, and more fans able to attend. We are very excited!”

Meghan Smiga, Head Field Hockey Coach: “The lights allow student-athletes to minimize missed class and lab time and provide more opportunity for family and spectators to attend games on weekends and weekdays.”

Chris Barrett, Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach: “Adding lights to Alumni Field will just add to the student-athlete experience we offer here at the Abbey. It will allow us to get in full academic days on game days during the week, while also adding some excitement to the student body by providing them with more events to attend outside on beautiful Carolina nights!”

Molly Lehman-Lewis, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach: “We are beyond excited to have the opportunity to compete under the lights. Alumni field has so much energy and this improvement will take that up a notch.”
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Local Senior Is A Nationally Ranked Athlete

By Alan Hodge

Local athlete 85-year-old David Hostetler, Sr., has been recognized by USA Track & Field for his outstanding accomplishments in a number of Masters Event sports.

The Masters Events are for folks aged 30 to 100+ years in age. Hostetler competes against other athletes of his own age locally and in other places such as Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Yadkinville, and Durham. Sports he competes in includes a variety of track and field events.

Hostetler learned of his rankings after receiving a copy of the April/May issue of National Masters News.

“In 2019 I practiced the games daily,” Hostetler said. “I was well coached by Terry Martin.”

In the Throws Pentathlon Performance category, Hostetler was ranked first in the USA, first in North America, and seventh in the world. The category includes javelin, hammer, #12 weight, discus, and shot put throws. First place equals who obtained the highest point average of five events. The record is not for one game or month but for the entire year.

Another event category that Hostetler took part in is the Super Weight Throw. This event uses a 25-pound steel ball with a triangular handle attached.

When Hostetler’s chance to beat hos own 2019 record came, he gave it all he had.

“I used a centrifugal type throw,” Hostetler said. “My toes and knees felt like they went into the concrete throwing pad. I obtained an excellent lift with my body and my hands went high over my head. That ball went like no other I had ever thrown.”

The throw was a record setter and placed Hostetler number one in the 85-year-old bracket for the USA, North America, and the world.

Hostetler is also ranked in the 50 meter dash, long jump, and high jump categories.

No matter where he goes, Hostetler shows his Gaston County pride.

“I practice on most of the fields in Gaston County,” said Hostetler. “I wear my Gaston County, North Carolina t-shirts to all local, state, and national events. Win or lose, I love to meet athletes  and people, play games, and show the colors of my county. The coronavirus has no effect on me walking, on jogging, and staying in shape outdoors.”
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South Point Spring Sports Seniors Highlight

This is the fifth in a series of articles highlighting the South Point High spring sports seniors. This article focuses on the seniors on the varsity baseball team. Coach Jason Lineberger writes:
Jose Mota is the first player we’ve ever had to make the team for the first time as a senior.  Jose is a hard worker, an energy giver, and a great teammate.  His attitude and effort made us better.
Brian Mellette is the only three year starter we had.  Brian had a great career at South Point.  He was consistent and reliable.  He rarely missed any offseason workouts in his four years.  Brian was voted captain by his teammates.
Andrew Shell is cool under pressure.  Andrew never got rattled when things didn’t go his way.  We were counting on him to deliver a bunch of clutch hits this spring.  He has a great attitude regardless of the circumstances.
Grayson Thomas was our most experienced pitcher.  Grayson was going to be our go-to guy on the mound. He is a gritty and crafty pitcher who knows how to get people out despite not being the biggest or hardest throwing pitcher.
Andrew Warren is a great  two sport athlete.  Andrew is big, strong, and fast.  He sustained an arm injury wrestling, and didn’t get to play at all.  A healthy Andrew would have been one of our best players.  However, he came to practice and games and helped the team anyway he could.  Andrew is a high character player who was always coachable and willing to help.
As a whole these these five seniors left the program better than they found, and they will all be missed greatly.  They have shown the work ethic, perseverance, and toughness to be successful regardless of what the pandemic or any other obstacle is thrown at them.
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The South Point High School girl’s tennis and swim/dive teams designated Scholar-Athlete Teams

The South Point High School girl’s swim/dive team

The South Point High School girl’s tennis and swim/dive teams were designated a Scholar-Athlete Team by the N.C. High School Athletic Association for achieving a combined team grade point average of 3.7. In addition, the girls tennis team (below) earned runner-up honors in their sport with a cumulative GPA of 3.91, while the girls swimming and diving team cumulative GPA of 3.89 was third. Congratulations