This fall, like almost every other fall, is shaping up to be another fantastic one for the county high school athletic programs.

Check out a conference race in any sport, and a Carteret County team is likely to be leading it. And not only is there one in first place, but it’s likely the one right behind it in the runner-up spot is a fellow county team.

Let’s start with the most impressive of the bunch.

The West Carteret girls cross country team is on pace to capture its 17th consecutive conference title.

Take a moment and reflect on how impressive this is. The streak started the year some of the seniors on the team were born.

The West boys could also win a 3A Coastal Conference crown, and at worst, will finish as the runner-up.

And to further prove this county is a running county, the Croatan cross country girls are likely to claim their sixth league title in a row and the boys are set to win their fourth straight conference championship.

And now on to volleyball, another sport the county excels at.

If West holds serve over the second half of the Coastal schedule, it will probably tie with Jacksonville – both clubs have one loss in the league – to win its fifth conference title in the past six years.

If Croatan continues to control the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference, it will secure its fourth league crown in the past six seasons.

The Croatan girls tennis team finished the regular season 17-0 overall and 10-0 in the Coastal 8. The Cougars garnered their second conference crown in a row and have now won 15 straight league matches. They are ranked fourth in the latest N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association 2A Poll.

East finished as the runner-up with a 7-3 league mark. The Mariners won five conference championships in a row from 2013-2017 and posted a 28-match winning streak in conference play at one point while going 65-17 overall and visiting the 1A east regional final in both 2015 and 2017.

West earned the runner-up spot in the Coastal with a 6-4 record.

County girls shine on the links as well.

West came into this year having captured four of five conference golf championships and would have made it six in seven, but there weren’t enough teams to make up the league this season.

East won its first-ever conference golf crown this fall and Croatan took the runner-up spot. They flipped the script from last year when the Cougars won the title and the Mariners placed second.

Croatan is still alive for a league title in boys soccer. The Cougars are 6-1 in the Coastal 8 and trail Dixon (7-0) by just a game.

Those two met on Sept. 23 and Croatan led 3-1 before giving up two goals in the final five minutes. The Bulldogs went on to win the penalty kick shootout 8-7 to pull off a stunning win. They will meet again at Dixon on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The Cougars’ last league title came in 2018 when it tied with Dixon and Southwest Onslow atop the standings.

Croatan and Dixon may also decide the Coastal 8 runner-up in football. Both squads are 1-1 and look like the favorites to finish behind Southwest Onslow. Richlands will also factor in the mix. The Cougars will host Dixon on Friday and travel to Richlands on Oct. 25.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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