I don’t know if Thursday through Saturday was the best six-day stretch in Carteret County sports history, but if it isn’t, it has to be close.
Let’s go through the list, shall we?
On Thursday, Beau Studebaker became the county’s first-ever winner of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Male Athlete of the Year.
On Friday, Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick became the county’s first-ever inductee in the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
On Tuesday, Ethan Hall became the county’s first-ever golfer to win a state championship.
It’s too bad there were no high school games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Who knows what kind of greatness could have taken place in those contests.
Studebaker joined West Carteret cross country and track and field standout Blake Dodge, who won the NCHSAA Female Athlete of the Year in 2014, as the only county athletes to win the prestigious honor. The award is in its 33rd year.
He made history this winter, becoming the first county wrestler to ever capture three state championships. He held off Cherryville’s Sean Kostiuk by a 27-13 major decision in the 182-pound 1A state final at the Greensboro Coliseum. He won his 91st consecutive match with the victory.
Studebaker is also the first state champion wrestler in East Carteret history and helped lead the Mariners to back-to-back league championships. East had never won a league title before.
In addition, he was the football team’s starting quarterback, the basketball team’s starting power forward, the golf team’s best player and the No. 3 singles player on the tennis team.
Ballou Fitzpatrick is also no stranger to multi-sport excellence. She was a two-time All-American at West Carteret and a three-time All-American at the University of South Carolina on the basketball court.
She is the only West athlete to have her jersey retired, and still holds the Patriots’ all-time game (44), season average (25.9) and career points (1,899) scoring records.
At South Carolina, Ballou Fitzpatrick still holds season records for total assists (219 in 1983-1984) and average assists (7.3 in 1983-1984) and most assists by a sophomore (219 in 1983-1984) and a senior (174 in 1985-1986).
Those years on the court probably would have been enough to warrant induction in the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, but she became the first surfer to become a member of the prestigious institution, thanks to a career that included winning the Women’s Amateur National Championship in 1994.
Hall brought home the county’s first individual golf state title – the Croatan girls won a team state championship in 2014 – and did it in style with an incredible outing on the course on the second day.
After shooting 75 in the first round Monday, he chalked up an eye-opening 68 in the second round. He was the only member of the 84-golfer field to shoot below 80 and was four shots better than the second-best round on Tuesday.
Oh, and Hall is just a junior.
He’s putting together quite a résumé after three years. He finished 11th at the state tournament last year and is a two-time conference champ.
(Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)