Falcons Nest - May 16th

James Franklin, Athletic Director
The Falcons finish strong! 
Varsity Boys Golf:  
Boys Golf Wins NCISAA State Championship 
The Falcon boys golf team won the State Championship at Jamestown Park Golf Course, capping of an amazing season. Andrew Hobbs posted a fantastic score of 70 (-2) to lead the team. Nick Joyce was close behind at 72, and Max Martin capped things off for the team with a 75 (+3). The Falcons won by eleven strokes over Gaston Day School. Their team score of 217 (+1) was the third-lowest score in school history. The team was competitive all season long displaying the depth of their roster against the best programs in the State, both public and private. This is the 13th Boys Golf State Championship for O’Neal but the first since 2019. Max Martin was a 7th grade varsity golfer on the 2019 team and was a Co-Captain on this year’s Championship team to put a bookend on a stellar career. Fellow Co-Captain Jack Halloran led the team in scoring average (73.8) for the third time in his four seasons as an O’Neal golfer. Newcomer Dylan Wolfe (7th Grade) shot 77 in the State Championship placing him in the Top 15 individually. This team worked incredibly hard to bring home a championship and restore O’Neal golf to its rightful place at the top of the rankings. 
Varsity Girls Soccer:  
O’Neal vs Gaston Day School (NCISAA State 3rd Round) Final Score: 1-0, W  
One of the joys of studying history is recognizing and studying the patterns and echoes of past events. Often, we can get trapped in familiar cycles, and breaking out of them can either free us to push forward or send us back to darker days. This year’s State Playoffs have had echoes of years past in both good and bad ways.   
Let’s start with the good: for the past few years, both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams have suffered from the Saturday curse – nobody can seem to make it past the third round of the state playoffs (always played on a Saturday afternoon). This year, after two byes through the first round, O’Neal hosted Gaston Day. The weather was perfect, the team was excited, and the girls came out strong. In the fifth minute, O’Neal took the lead after Charli Bunder’s corner was flicked on by Jaleesa Eichel and struck into the net by Caroline Lee. The Falcons’ strength kept up the whole game. Both defenses locked down and the next 75 minutes played out in a 0-0 draw. The one early goal was all O’Neal needed to break the Saturday curse and push forward to new horizons.   
O’Neal @ Davidson Day School (NCISAA State Quarterfinal Round) Final Score: 0-3, L 
Potential bad weather later in the week cast a dark omen over the quarterfinals, and the game was pulled a day earlier. O’Neal made the long bus ride to Davidson Day School to face the same team that defeated the boys varsity soccer team and the girls varsity volleyball team in the fall. Here, unfortunately, was where the unceasing cycles of history repeated themselves. Davidson Day played brilliantly, making almost no mistakes the entire game. They scored three goals in the first half to keep the Falcons on their back foot the entire game. In the second half, the Falcons’ defense began figuring out Davidson’s relentless attack and held a clean sheet, but the offense was unable to breach their goal.   
With storms looming, and shadows cast long over the field, the Falcons ended their season with a tough loss. But there are more seasons to come, and there are patterns of past success to echo and build from. The brightness of the whole season shines through, reminding the team of all its joy and excellence.   
Middle School Golf:  
O’Neal vs TSDCH, St. Mary Magdalene, & Thales Final Scores: 150-189-199-210, W 
The O'Neal Middle School golf team capped off their season with an impressive victory in their final match against St. Mary Magdalene, Thales Academy, and Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill. Dominating the competition, The O'Neal School secured first place with a stellar team score of 150. Noteworthy performances by Natalia Henderson and Zeyu Zhao, who both scored an impressive 36, one under par, highlighted the team's exceptional talent and determination. With this triumphant conclusion to the season, the team reflects on a successful campaign and eagerly anticipates the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the coming year. 
Varsity Boys Tennis:  
The O’Neal Boys Tennis season ended with a tough loss in the State quarterfinals at the Asheville Racquet Club, bringing the Falcons overall record to 8-7. Notably, senior #1 player Will Kitchens was absent, attending his sister's college graduation, showing the importance of family and commitments beyond the court. Despite the loss, the coaches are proud of the team's resilience and sportsmanship throughout the season. A big thanks to all who supported Falcon tennis this season. 

Photos by Wendy Hodges (other than Golf Champs Photo)
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