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 Spencer Sullivan with a spotlight on his career as an O’Neal athlete.
Spencer Sullivan, Varsity Soccer
Accolades from head varsity soccer coach James Franklin: "Spencer is one of the most gifted and naturally talented student-athletes we have worked with. He has been one of the most prolific strikers on the soccer field our program has enjoyed. Spencer was a threat against any team he played and was a player none of our opponents would have enjoyed going up against."
Quick Facts about Spencer
Number of years at O’Neal: 14
Sports played at O’Neal: Varsity Soccer, Varsity Basketball
College or University he plans to or wants to attend: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Wake Forest, Elon
Major or preferred course of study: Computer Science, biomedical engineering, business
Favorite quote: “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
Best O’Neal Athletics memory: Winning conference championships in soccer and freshman year when we beat St. David’s 4-1 after losing to them earlier in the season 3-0.
“Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.” - Chinese Proverb
The first round of the Tri-Tac Conference tournament did not go the way the team wanted. The Falcons played on the road against the #9 team in the state, Burlington Christian Academy. O'Neal could not overcome a hot-shooting team in the first quarter. The final score was 85-52. The Falcons were led by freshman Patrick Reaves, who had his best overall game of the season with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Freshman Jalen Lindsey chipped in 10 points and senior Bennett Moore finished the game with 8 points. The Falcons will head to the first round of state tournament on Tuesday, February 12th to play against Westchester Country Day School. Please come out and wish them well today at 1:15 PM outside of the upper school. Go Falcons!
Varsity Girls Basketball (Updated)
After enjoying an extended practice period to start the week after a bye in the first round of the conference tournament, the Lady Falcons returned to the court Thursday night. The semi-finals saw the #1 seeded Falcons take on the #5 seeded Carolina Friends Quakers. The Falcons started out the game quick, using a double team to stifle the Quakers leading scorer giving up just 4 points in the first quarter. As the game continued the Lady Falcons used hot shooting from sophomore Kayla Jenkins to stretch the floor and grow the lead to 51-34 by the end of the 3rd quarter. In the end, the Falcons high powered offense was too much for the Quakers, and the Lady Falcons came out with the 67-48 victory. Junio Kei- Kei Love led all scorers with 23 points on the evening. “It was good to get another quality win on our home court tonight. Carolina Friends has a terrific guard, and our kids stepped up to the challenge and forced someone else on their team to try and beat us,” shared Coach Brase. “We are excited to get this win and look forward to a great game tomorrow night as we host the championship game of the tournament at O’Neal. It is sure to be a great night to be a Falcon!
At the conclusion of the game, the Lady Falcons celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day (Feb 6th) with their fans in attendance. All female student-athletes and girls in attendance gathered at center court for a group picture.
The #1 seeded Falcons hosted the #2 seeded Trinity Academy Tigers Friday night in the Tri-TAC Tournament Championship game. The game featured two programs currently ranked in the top 10 in the 2A NCISAA State rankings.
Behind a blazing start from sophomore Kayla Jenkins, who totaled a game-high 19 points, the Falcons jumped ahead 6-0 in the opening minute of the contest causing Trinity to call their first time out. The defensive pressure continued to pick up as the Falcon full-court traps forced numerous Trinity turnovers leading to transition buckets for the Falcons. The Falcons ended the first quarter pulling ahead to a 23-6 score.
The second quarter saw the Falcons slow a bit, as Trinity found their footing. Despite the slower pace, the Falcons managed to grow their lead to 34-18 heading into the halftime locker room. From there they never looked back, using a 28-point 3rd quarter to put the game out of reach. In the end, the Falcons saw a 72-34 victory lead to celebrations at half court as the Lady Falcons claimed their second straight conference tournament championship and finished an undefeated season in conference play!
“It is almost surreal. These kids work so hard day in and day out, and to win a tournament championship on your home court—what could be sweeter?!” reflected Coach Brase. “They have invested in the process, and that starts by winning each day. We are going to enjoy this for the weekend, and Monday morning it is back to work to be our best at practice that afternoon.”
The victory moves the Falcons to 22-3 overall and 14-0 in Tri-TAC conference play. Sunday evening the Falcons learned they earned the #2 seed in the NCISAA 2A State Tournament, which begins play Tuesday. The Falcons have a bye until Thursday’s second round game where they will face the winner of Epiphany School/Friendship Christian at the Hannah Center gym. The game is set to tip at 5:30 PM.
The O’Neal girls swim team won the State Championships. Head Coach Jennifer Schmitz reflects, "This was a true team effort! Due to our small team, the girls who competed knew that everyone would have to put in significant efforts for their team to have a chance at winning the meet." Top finishers for O’Neal are as follows:
1st place relay team of 7th grader Alexis Coates, junior Natalie Williams, senior Hannah Burns, and senior Lauren Millard with a time of 1:56.26.
Hannah Burns1st place 200 free in a time of 1:57.65, 2nd place in the 100 free with a time of 52.68 also breaking her own school record!
Natalie Williams 3rd place in the 200 IM in a time of 2:26.77, 4th place in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:14.60
Lauren Millard 4th place in the 50 Free in a time of 27.68, 4th in the 500 free with a time of 6:18.21
Sierra Huffman '19 7th place in the 100 fly with a time of 1:17.93
Alexis Coates 10th place in the 100 free with a time of 1:03.06
Kaleigh O’Leary '22 9th place in the 100 free with a time of 1:02.66, 7th in the 100 back with a time of 1:09.79
Crushing the field by over 4 seconds was the relay team of Hannah Burns '19, Kaleigh O’Leary '22, Natalie Williams '20, and Lauren Millard '19 with the winning time of 1:49.20. Junior Hayley Sager went from a seed of 22nd to placing 10th in the 100 backstrokes in a time of 1:15.00.
The relay team of Kaleigh O'Leary, Sierra Huffman, Hayley Sager, and Alexis Coates moved from 11th seed the 6th place and dropped over 20 seconds!
These amazing races solidified the team's victory! Congrats ladies!