GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – 2015. What a year for local sports. This year, we laid down a legend. Deam Smith, one of the top college coaches in basketball history, died in February.
The Hall of Famer’s death sent shock waves across the country, including here in the East.
The Kinston-to-Chapel Hill connection took a detour in 2015.
Our story of the year was the rise of Brandon Ingram. Ingram helped guide the Kinston Vikings to four-straight state championships. The 6-9 forward made his long-awaited college decision in April. Since the decision, Ingram was picked as the ACC Preseason Freshman of the Year. He’s averaging 15 points and five rebounds per game.
The Vikings were 2A State Champions. East Carteret captured the 1A Crown.
Title town also included Rocky Mount, Plymouth, and Wallace Rose-Hill in football, as well as, North Duplin in 1A Softball, and D.H. Conley in 4A Softball.
The Vikings were winners on land, and in the water in 2015. The crew of Viking 62 hooked its 680-pound blue marlin in the first 15 minutes, and waited out the week to capture the 57th annual Big Rock Tournament title.
It was also a big year for some big fish who were schooled in the east.
Chris Heston, former Pirate pitcher, thew the first no-hitter of the year in the majors on June 9.
And then there’s Todd Gurley. The Tarboro tailback, turned Bulldog bruiser, turned rumbling Ram got drafted 10th overall. Gurley overcame an ACL injury to make his first Pro Bowl.
Tarboro has won five state titles in its school history. Kinston, in 2015, was looking for its first football championship. The Vikings surged to a 15-0 start, only to fall in the finals.
J.H. Rose, thanks in large to a standout season by Cornell Powell, also reached the championship game, only to walk away runners-up.
Congrats to the Champions, but there may be more on the way. The Carolina Panthers have clawed their way into the history books and into our hearts. Carolina opened the 2015 season 14-0, but will their superb season be super?
We’ll keep you posted.