By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
For W.A. Hough High School girls’ soccer co-captain Hannah Robinson, being the underdog going into the state championships was motivating – not intimidating.
“It’s almost a more fun way to play,” she said, “because you have nothing to lose.”
The team, ranked No. 2 in the nation and undefeated going into the May 26 title game, faced the No. 1 high school team in the nation, the undefeated Green Hope High School Falcons. And the Falcons were favored to win.
In the locker room before the game, Hannah and her co-captains knew they needed to step up, be leaders, and show the team they weren’t nervous, she said.
“We told them it’s the end of the year, so give it all you’ve got,” Hannah said.
And that they did, winning the game 2-1 – a win that earned them the state championship as well as the title of Powerade/ESPN FAB 50 National Champions.
On Monday afternoon at Cornelius Town Hall, the team and coaches gathered for a recognition ceremony, surrounded by proud parents and lots of news media. Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte welcomed the crowd.
“To think that a High School that’s only been open two years has already achieved such excellence in athletics is nothing short of astounding,” he said.
Representatives from ESPN were unable to attend the ceremony, as the FAB 50 program was recently dissolved, but Head Coach David Smith presented each player with a medal.
Looking ahead to next year, the team will lose 8 senior players, but retains 16, he said, and “they’re ready to step in and fill those spots.”
“I think the seniors said it best at the sports banquet – now the bar is set high, and (the other players) are excited about the challenge,” he said.
DAVIDSON, CORNELIUS HONOR THEIR HOME TOWN TEAM
The Davidson Town Board honored the team at its meeting June 12, and the Cornelius Town Board honored the team, along with other students and athletes, at its meeting June 18, during which the Mayor proclaimed the week of June 17-23 “Hough High Week.” He invited the students and staff in attendance – including the girls swimming and diving team, the girls soccer team, and National Merit Scholarship winner Morgan Freese – to join him at the front of the room as he read the proclamation and honored their accomplishments.
He reminded them that they are student-athletes, emphasizing the word “student.”
“Your academics are what give you the opportunity and privilege to compete in athletics,” he said before reading the proclamation.
Here is the text of the proclamation:
WHEREAS, the Hough High School student body in the 2011-2012 school year has excelled both in and outside the classroom; and
WHEREAS, such successes accordingly bring great notoriety to Cornelius while instilling a sense of pride that builds our sense of community; and
WHEREAS, Hough High School has a national merit scholarship recipient and numerous merit, academic and athletic scholarship recipients; and
WHEREAS, Hough High School won a state diving championship, the boys reached the state baseball championship, the girls won the soccer state championship ranking them No. 1 in the nation, thus girls soccer national champions; and
WHEREAS, such titles and accomplishments earned by local students, teachers and coaches deserve our community’s accolades and praise.
NOW THEREFORE IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, by the Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners that the week of June 17 – June 23, 2012 be declared Hough High Week in the Town of Cornelius; and
THAT IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that appropriate exceptional achievers be invited to the June 18, 2012 Board meeting to receive Town accolades and honor.
Audience members gave the students a standing ovation.
2012 Hough Women’s Soccer Roster
Player # Grade Position
Marnie Merritt 00/31 10 GK
Katie Easley 1 9 GK
Christina Rhines 2 12 Def
Lindsey Byrne 3 12 Def
Kailyn Overcash 4 12 Def
Courtney Carroll 5 10 Mid
Brianna Cuevas 6 11 Def
Morgan Byrne 7 12 For
Nicole Duncan 8 10 For/MF
Alison Vest 9 12 Def
Blair Timberlake 10 10 Def
Shannon Merriman 11 12 Mid
Brandi Arey 12 11 For
Olivia DeMarcus 13 10 Mid
Regan Collins 14 10 Def
Gabi Hall 15 11 Mid
Carmen Babcock 16 10 Mid
Hannah Robinson 17 12 Mid
Sarah Moon 18 10 For
Nicole Ferren 19 10 Def
Bailey Jones 20 10 Def
Molly Leiker 21 9 For
Emmily Cowie 22 9 For
Allison Stearns 23 12 For
Head Coach: David Smith
JV/Asst. Coach: Mike Kutcher
Overall Record: 26-0-1
Conference Record: 14-0
Click on the first photo below to view as a slideshow. Photos by Christina Ritchie Rogers.