Championships help define 2022 for Randolph County sports

Summer Bowman of Wheatmore reacts after scoring a goal against Clinton in the Class 2-A state championship game. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

Here’s a recap of notable Randolph County-related sports stories for 2022:

** Asheboro’s summer collegiate baseball team undergoes a rebranding that includes a name change. The new name is the Asheboro ZooKeepers in a switch from Asheboro Copperheads.

Randleman’s girls’ basketball team under the direction of coach Brandon Varner had a stellar season a year ago and the Tigers are off to another strong start this season. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

** Randleman’s girls’ basketball team goes through an undefeated regular season and completes a 25-1 season. The lone loss came in the Class 2-A West Region semifinals to Shelby.

** David Makupson of Trinity captures a state championship in Class 2-A wrestling at 138 pounds to cap a remarkable high school career. Uwharrie Charter Academy underclassmen Aldo Hernandez (132 pounds) and Grayson Roberts (160 pounds) are Class 1-A state tiltists.

Also, UCA reaches the Class 1-A dual team state final, where it lost to Avery County in Greensboro.

** Steve Luck leaves his position as athletics director at Asheboro High School. Later in the year, he becomes commissioner for the Mid-Piedmont Conference.

** Eastern Randolph’s Connor Carter is the Class 1-A state runner-up in Class 1-A boys’ golf.

** Providence Grove’s softball team racks up an incredible season, going all the way to the Class 2-A West Region’s fourth round before suffering a defeat. The Patriots finish with a 24-1 record.

** Wheatmore’s girls’ soccer team turns in a perfect season with a 25-0-0 record that culminates in a Class 2-A state championship. The Warriors defeat Clinton 4-1 in the title game in Cary.

** Randleman’s baseball team repeats as Class 2-A state champion with a dominating regular season and postseason. The Tigers are stocked with college prospects and churn out a 33-1 record, sweeping Whiteville in the best-of-3 state finals in Burlington.

** McCrary Park undergoes numerous changes at the beginning of a massive renovation project for the baseball facility in Asheboro. The project is off schedule causing Asheboro High School to play at an alternate site and the Asheboro ZooKeepers to begin the season with extra road games.

Off the field, there are changes announced after the 2022 season, including Melissa Godwin joining the club as general manager for the Coastal Plain League team, which is a summer circuit for college players.

** Randleman catcher Brooks Brannon is a ninth-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox. So he steps away from a baseball scholarship at North Carolina to launch a professional career.

Randolph County Post 45’s Tyler Parks slides home during an American Legion Southeast Regional game vs. Rock Hill, S.C., in Asheboro. It was one of the games at McCrary Park, where a new field surface was in place this year. Parks is a Southwestern Randolph standout. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record).

** American Legion baseball is a hot summer topic.

Eastern Randolph Post 81 has a breakthrough season and emerges as a contender in Area 3. Randolph County Post 45 is the host team for the Southeast Regional, but its bid to reach the national tournament is foiled on the second-to-last day of the regional tournament so the club finishes with a 31-13 record.

** Asheboro’s boys’ soccer program has unprecedented success, but falls one victory shy of reaching the Class 3-A state championship game. The Blue Comets post a 23-2-2 record.

** Eastern Randolph’s football team goes undefeated in the PAC for the second year in a row. The Wildcats reach the Class 1-A West Region semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Mount Airy.

** Tot Hill Farm Golf Club in Asheboro is sold from its original ownership group to a man who runs courses in the Charleston, S.C., area.

** Football coach Calvin Brown directs Providence Grove to another winning season. That includes the school’s first-ever football victory in the state playoffs by winning at McMichael. Weeks later, Brown accepts the coaching position at Asheboro High School.

By Bob Sutton