The Falcons had a strong first week of competition across the board this week. The athletic department recognizes senior student-athlete Aida Barrientos.
The athletics department would like to extend congratulations to our senior student-athletes. The department is very proud of their accomplishments and the bright futures ahead of them. This week we honor Aida Barrientos with a spotlight on her career as an O’Neal athlete.
Aida Barrientos, Varsity Track and Field
Accolades from assistant varsity track and field coach Heather Weeks: " Aida is a quiet, hardworking, and consistent athlete. We have enjoyed her humble, gentle and kind spirit on our team."
Aida ran a personal record yesterday, Thursday, March 14th in the 1600m race completing the race in 7:56.
Number of years at O’Neal: 4
Sports played at O’Neal: Varsity Cross Country, Varsity Track and Field
College or University she plans to or wants to attend: Appalachian State University, North Carolina State University, John Jay College for Criminal Justice
Major or preferred course of study: Criminal Justice/ Criminology
Favorite quote: "If they hurt you, hurt ‘em back. You get kicked, walk it off."
Best O’Neal Athletics memory: My best O’Neal athletics memory happened during my cross-country season. I wasn’t on the team as a runner, instead, I was the manager. It was the day of the conference meet. I had been asked by some of the other schools to help keep track of the runners as they were crossing the finish line. After the races were over, I helped with figuring out what place each team had come in. It was difficult trying to keep to myself that O’Neal had come in first place on both the girls’ and the boys' side. It was worth it afterward though, seeing everyone jump up, smiling and shoving after finding out they were conference champs.
“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.” - Summer Sanders, Olympic Swimmer
The Falcons competed in a Tri Tac conference match at home on Pinehurst #9 on Wednesday. The Falcons won the match convincingly over Trinity Academy of Raleigh and Salem Baptist Christian Academy. The Falcons were led by senior Fulton Smith's 72 and senior Bennett Moore's 78. Freshman Jack Morrison finished with an 83 and senior RJ Jackson rounded out the scoring with an 87. The Falcons are off from competition until early April when the schedule ramps up as they compete against some of the best private and public schools in the state.
Tonight the Lady Falcons hosted the American Hebrew Academy Eagles for their official home opener and first conference game of the season.
The first half was evenly matched with both teams getting the feel for each other and most of the game played in the middle of the field. The score was 0-0 at the half.
The second half began with both teams eager for the first goal of the game. The Falcons gained the advantage, spending most the half attacking the Eagles’ goal.
After 80 minutes of regulation play, and two extra time periods, the score remained 0-0. After going to penalty kicks, junior Sarah Massey and senior Juliana Grimm scored two penalty kicks to give the Falcons a 2-goal advantage in penalties. Goaltender Sarah Massey also made three game-saving saves in penalties to give the Falcons the first conference victory of the season.
The Falcons look to ride the momentum of yesterday’s win as they hit the road to play against Freedom Christian Academy this afternoon. The game begins at 5:00 PM. Go Falcons!
The Varsity Boys Tennis team opened their season with a match versus American Hebrew Academy on Thursday, March 14th. The team started off the season strong with a 5-4 victory. The top 4 spots dominated in singles winning handily, while positions 5 and 6 had hard fought battles falling just short. Junior Sam Henry (6-0 & 6-0) and 8th grader Marshall Landry (6-1 & 6-0) set the tone early, clenching singles victories quickly and had an impressive doubles performance at the #1 position. Freshmen George Casey (6-0 & 6-4) and Alan Gutschmit (6-2 & 6-4) rounded out the singles victories. Senior Peter Seifert and 7th grader Will Kitchens fought hard, playing their opponents up to the third set/tiebreaker.
As the team heads into the week before Spring Break, they will be hitting the court hard with three away matches. Monday, March 18th, the Varsity Boys travel to Cary Academy, followed by a meet at Salem Baptist Christian School on Tuesday, March 19th. Practice will resume Wednesday, ending the week with yet another away meet at Carolina Friends on Thursday, March 21st. The match times are at 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM, and 4:00 PM respectively.
On March 14th, the Falcons track and field teams tested their current fitness at a 5-team meet held at American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro.
On a beautiful spring day, the Falcons posted 9 state championship qualifying performances. On the boys side, freshman Jalen Lindsey won the long jump (18’8) and 400 (53.25) meter events with personal bests, and senior Bryce Samples easily qualified for the 3200 with a win in 10:44. On the girls side, 7th grader Annika Stark took individual wins in the 100 meter (13.25) and long jump (14’6”), senior Ralayah McRae qualified in the shot put (30’2”) and discus (77’6”), sophomore Beka Carr qualified for shot put in her debut track meet with a 25’11” throw, and sophomore Molly Kuzma’s 1600 victory in 5:32 easily qualifies her for the state meet. Near qualifiers, freshman Caelan McHarney (400 meter) and senior Chase Osorio (100 meter and shot put) had excellent showings. The boys and girls 4x400 meter relays ran away with commanding wins to end a solid season opener. The track and field program will be back in action on Friday, March 29th as they travel to Raleigh to compete in the Adidas Raleigh Relays.
On Monday, the 11th, the home team suffered a tough loss to the Knights of Village Christian for the second time in a matter of days. The Falcons broke into the win column Thursday with a stirring come from behind victory away from home. On the short end of the comeback were the Aviators of Ascend Leadership Academy. The game was played in Lee County, away from the friendly confines of the Falcons Jack Young field. The O'Neal nine fell behind 5-1 early and could have packed it in after a long strange bus trip to the game and Monday's potentially demoralizing loss at home. The guys were resilient and truly ‘played for the shirt,’ clawing their way back to a 10-6 victory. 7th grader Will Slagle and 6th grader Max Pashley dominated on the mound. 6th grader Jake Shepherd was stellar in the field and at the plate. 7th graders Luke Harper and Spencer Lincicome delivered clutch hits in a total team victory. 8th-grade Catcher Jamieson Mansker secured the final out by alertly grabbing a foul ball. Every Falcon available got in the game and they all came through. Next up the Falcons will host Sandhills Classical Christian School on Thursday, March 21st. The first pitch is at 3:30 PM.
The middle school golf team is working hard in preparation for their first match of the season on Wednesday, March 20th as they host neighboring school Saint Pope John Paul II at Longleaf Golf and Family Club. Tee off is at 3:30 PM.
Middle School Girls Soccer
The Falcons kicked off their middle school soccer season with a resounding 3-0 win against Berean Baptist. Ana Huge ‘23 assisted Reese Slusher ‘23 to open the scoring in the first half, and Huge later scored from outside of the 18-yard box to give O’Neal a 2-0 halftime lead. Brooklyn Adams ‘23 and Reagan Daly ‘25 each had one save to prevent Berean from getting on the scoreboard, and some beautiful passing between Hannah Saye ‘24 and Reese Slusher led to Reese netting the final goal of the game. Amanda McFadyen ‘23 and Maria White ‘23 anchored a strong defense while Charlotte Renner ‘23 and Emily Cates ‘23 provided great energy up front.
On Thursday, O’Neal MS Soccer defeated Ascend Leadership Academy 6-0 in a hard-fought game. Playing in tight conditions on a small field, O’Neal struggled to find space early and the game went to halftime 1-0. The Falcons opened it up in the second half and some excellent passing and spacing allowed them to take control of the game, putting it out of reach with a flurry of goals midway through the half. Maria White ‘23, Hope Johnson ‘25, Amanda McFadyen ‘23, and Isabella Liberatore ‘23 anchored O’Neal defensively, while Hannah Saye ‘24 (3 goals), Emily Cates ‘23 (1 Goal), Kaylee Crow ‘25 (1 Goal), and Alyssa Furie ‘23 (1 Goal) provided the scoring punch. Anna Huge ‘23 worked tirelessly in the middle of the field and Brooklyn Adams ‘23 and Reagan Daly ‘25 combined for a handful of saves to keep the game scoreless. The Falcons will host Village Christian Academy on Monday, March 18th at 3:30 PM.