Tears of joy for Warriors: Wheatmore girls capture state title

Members of the Wheatmore girls’ soccer team celebrate the school’s first state championship Friday night in Cary. (PJ Ward-Brown/North State Journal)

CARY – The Wheatmore girls’ soccer team fit right in at the state finals.

The Warriors, who were the first Randolph County team to play in a state championship game in soccer, completed an unblemished season with Friday night’s 4-1 victory against Clinton to secure the Class 2-A title.

“We definitely deserved it,” Wheatmore forward Summer Bowman said.

The Warriors ended up with a 25-0-0 record.

“You go 25-0, you set the bar so high for anybody,” coach Ricky Maness said. “It’s going to take a lot of time to set in.”

With the mission accomplished, there was great joy for the Warriors.

“I’m very ecstatic for the outcome that we had,” senior goalkeeper Victoria Lowe said. “It’s very emotional for all of us. We’re all crying. At least it’s happy tears.”

Bowman scored twice on the way to receiving Most Valuable Player honors. Ellie Garrison opened the scoring before Bowman’s first goal, with the Warriors going up 2-0 in the first 30 minutes.

“Once you get an early lead, it gets into the other team’s head,” Bowman said.

Kenzy Yang scored for Clinton (25-3), which also was in a state final for the first time, two minutes into the second half. Then with Clinton down a player because of a second yellow card, Bowman’s second goal came in the 75th minute followed four minutes later by Kara Comer’s goal.

The Warriors kept the winning formula.

“Do what you do, have fun,” Maness said of his message to the team.

Wheatmore won every game in the regular season by at least a four-goal margin. In the final two games of the West Region, there was a 3-2 victory against visiting Community School of Davison and a 4-3 overtime escape in the regional final at Wilkes Central.

In the championship game, Wheatmore extended a single-season state record for goals in a season. The Warriors finished with 195, which was 10 more than the standard established by East Forsyth in 1988.

Of those, Garrison tallied 77 goals as a sophomore.

By Randolph Record