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AREA NOTEBOOK: McNeill named an All-American

AREA NOTEBOOK: McNeill named an All-American

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Catawba Valley Community College volleyball player Aasia McNeill (Statesville H.S.) has been named a first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The sophomore outside hitter joined a list of five former Red Hawk volleyball players who have earned All-American status. The news came as a surprise after her teammates posted the announcement in a group chat.

“It was definitely a shock,” she said. “It is definitely a huge honor, and it was a blessing that the NJCAA selected me.”

McNeill tallied a team-high 255 kills and 3.31 kills per set this season for the Red Hawks. She also finished second for CVCC in hitting percentage (.293), digs (231) and digs per set (3.00).

“Personally, I feel like our team has helped me push myself to be a better me on the court,” she said.

Behind McNeill’s play, the Red Hawks finished their season with a 21-5 overall record. That included a 10-0 mark in Region 10 play, extending their winning streak in conference games to 156 in a row and in Region matches (Division I, II and III) to 195 straight.

Catawba Valley also advanced to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament for a 10th time, finishing in eighth place — the second-highest national finish in program history.

Strange claims SoCon titleFurman freshman Jonna Strange (North Iredell H.S.) was named to the All-Southern Conference first-team and SoCon All-Freshman team after finishing seventh in the SoCon women’s cross country championship meet in November 2020.

Now she’s added another achievement to her every growing long-distance running accomplishments.

Strange captured the women’s 10,000 meter SoCon championship Saturday during the opening day of the 2021 Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Western Carolina’s Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee.

Strange posted a winning time of 35 minutes, 31.32 seconds.

Former LNHS lacrosse player earns all-conference recognition

Piedmont College men’s lacrosse player Chris Pannenbacker (Lake Norman H.S.) has been named to the All-USA South Conference first team.

The sophomore faceoff specialist was dominant in conference play this season, winning at an astounding 80 percent clip against USA South foes. Pannenbacker’s overall win percentage of .569 is second in program history, trailing only his 59 percent win rate as a freshman last season.

Pannenbacker was a perfect 16-for-16 on April 10 against Huntingdon. The following Monday, he was named USA South Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career after also collecting a career-high 14 ground balls in the win. For the season, he led the Lions with 50 total ground balls and finished second in the USA South with 44 collected during conference contests.

Lake Norman H.S. wrestlers shine

Lake Norman High School had two wrestlers compete recently at the National High School Coaches Association wrestling nationals in Virginia Beach.

Eli Murray placed seventh and Carson Floyd placed fourth in their respective weight classes. They earned All-American status as a result of their finishes.

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