A good year for Suffolk sports

Published 8:10 pm Saturday, June 23, 2018

There were a lot of good things that came out of sports in the 2017-2018 school year.

It was another year filled with noteworthy accomplishments over the course of the year, whether team success or individual.

Things got started in the fall with incredible things happening. King’s Fork High School football emerged as a dominant force in South Hampton Roads as they worked their way to the school’s first-ever district title. In the midst of their run, they defeated Oscar Smith High School in the process, something that had not been done in more than 10 years.

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Nansemond River football followed suit and had its own success, winning the Class 5A regional title and becoming the only Suffolk school to reach the state tournament this season, falling one game short of the title game.

Lakeland High School boys’ volleyball team finished runner-up in the regional tournament earning a state bid for the first time in school history.

Lakeland High School also made the playoffs in football and was the only seventh seed to knock off a second seed this year. Lakeland also had a tremendous year in boys’ volleyball, as this was the first season it reached the regional championship for the first time in school history. What made it so impressive is that Lakeland faced Class 4A schools all during its playoff run.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s volleyball team continued its state run, advancing all the way to the state semifinals.

During the winter, King’s Fork High School girls’ basketball team continued its dominance by winning the district and coming a game away from reaching the state championship.

The Nansemond River track and field team also continued its success by winning another indoor title. They added onto that by winning two national titles as well.

Lakeland’s track and field team won its second consecutive indoor regional championship. The Warriors’ boys’ swim team also had its best season in school history, finishing top three in the district.

All three Suffolk public schools had wrestlers reach the state meet, with NRHS winning a region sectional championship. All schools had swimmers in the state meet as well.

Transitioning to the spring, NSA’s softball, boys’ lacrosse and girls’ soccer teams put together incredible seasons. The softball team and boys’ lacrosse advanced to the state semifinal while the girls’ soccer team reached the state title game.

Lakeland’s girls’ and boys’ soccer teams reached the regional playoffs as well as the softball and baseball teams.

Suffolk Christian Academy’s softball team won a national title.

Nansemond River’s track team brought home yet another state title during the spring in the outdoor season, while Lakeland fell a couple of points short of bringing a state title home as well.

Individual student-athlete accomplishments at their own schools are always great, and there were a few notable this year for seniors. Dennis Whitehead became the all-time leader in wins for the Bulldogs’ wrestling program and first state champion.

Briana Autrey had her number retired for the Lady Warriors basketball team and was the fastest player to reach 1,000 points.

Kayla Barnes surpassed 1,000 career points for her career for the Lady Cavs.

Indiah Hunter became Nansemond River’s all-time leader in goals and assists.

Abby Herrod became the leader in goals for NSA girls’ soccer, and Eli Dowd achieved 100 career goals for NSA boys’ lacrosse.

Suffolk totaled six Player of the Year awards. King’s Fork had two district players of the year in Darran Butts for football and Nylah Young for girls’ basketball. Gerard Stringer was selected the Regional Defensive Player of the Year for football. NSA had another player earn State Player of the Year honors in Madi Wilson. Addy Greene was selected the Conference Player of the Year for volleyball. Recently Daiqwaun Faircloth was selected the first Gatorade Virginia Track and Field Player of the Year for Nansemond River.

Suffolk high school sports also totaled more than 30 student-athletes who achieved All-State honors, with every school have multiple selections. Lakeland, King’s Fork and Nansemond River all had state champions this school year as well.

Overall it was a successful year for Suffolk high school sports.