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Scheduling issues have caused the Rotary Cup — the popular, high school boys soccer season-opening tournament — to be shelved this year.
The tournament, which has pitted three Wilson County Schools teams against three county private school teams, traditionally has been played at Gillette Soccer Complex as a season opener for most of the teams. However, because the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is starting its season a week later in August than in recent years, finding common scheduling ground for six participating schools was tougher than usual, said tournament organizer Connor Bedgood of Greater Wilson Rotary Club.
“The starting date for fall sports — honestly, that was the biggest hurdle that we really couldn’t get over,” he said. “They moved it back a week, so that was the first hurdle.”
Complicating matters was the Wilson Youth Soccer Association’s annual tournament, the Summer Explosion Cup, moving back a week later than usual. However, Bedgood said that the City of Wilson looked for solutions to accommodate all the events.
“The City did everything they could. They bent over backwards for us,” Bedgood said.
Bedgood said the absence will only be for one year and assured, “We plan on coming back next year with the Rotary Cup.”
This is the second year there have been scheduling problems with the Rotary Cup. Community Christian School did not field a boys soccer team in 2018, a situation that didn’t become apparent until less than two weeks before the Rotary Cup.
Bedgood said that he hopes to have a full field in 2020 and welcomes the possibility of adding teams from Wilson Prep and DASH homeschool organization to the mix.
“It’s one of those things where, when we get there, we’re going to see who we have and who has the opportunity to play,” he said.
While the Rotary Cup won’t be played in its entirety this year, there will be a scaled-down version of it at Greenfield.
Hunt and Beddingfield will play Greenfield and Wilson Christian in a two-day showcase format.
“I don’t think we’re actually calling it anything,” Knights second-year head coach Eric Nguyen said. “I think we’re just hosting a mini-Rotary Cup, basically.”
The “mini-Rotary Cup” will be played on Greenfield’s Forbes Field, starting Tuesday, Aug. 20, with Hunt facing Wilson Christian at 5 p.m., followed by Greenfield and Beddingfield taking the pitch at 7.
Nguyen’s team will take on his former team, Hunt, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, while Wilson Christian and Beddingfield will meet in the first game at 5 p.m.
Later in the season, Greenfield and Wilson Christian will play a home-and-home series with the Knights hosting on Friday, Aug. 30, and the Chargers welcoming Greenfield on Monday, Sept. 16.
Greenfield will also host DASH on Friday, Aug. 23.
STONE MEMORIAL RETURNS
As usual, Greenfield will kick off the fall sports season with its Greenfield Cup tournament, now in its 37th year. The tournament, which was rechristened the Dr. Robert T. Stone Memorial last year, will start Thursday, Aug. 8, with Neuse Christian taking on Hickory Christian at 5 p.m., followed by Greenfield versus Thales Academy at 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 9, action pits Thales against Neuse Christian at 5 p.m. and Greenfield versus Hickory Christian at 7. The final day of the round-robin tourney has Thales taking on Hickory Christian at 5 p.m., and in a rematch of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A championship game from last season, the Knights facing Neuse Christian at 7 p.m.
CYCLONES SIDELINED AGAIN
Community Christian athletic director Bryan Walker confirmed Monday that the Cyclones will not field a varsity boys soccer team for the second straight year. Walker said that there are plans to have a junior varsity boys soccer team, along with varsity and jayvee eight-player football.
Walker said there will also be middle school and varsity volleyball, varsity cross-country and varsity girls tennis, which made a comeback last year at CCS after an absence of more than a decade.
WILSON CUP A TWO-DAY AFFAIR
The later start to the NCHSAA season also had an effect on the Wilson Cup high school girls tennis tournament, which will return for its seventh annual edition. However, the tournament, usually a three-day affair, has been shortened to two — Monday, Aug. 12, and Wednesday, Aug. 14. Tournament director and Fike High head coach Lee Matthews said that because the NCHSAA season doesn’t start until Aug. 19, the matches will be considered exhibition matches and will not be included in the teams’ records. There will be a championship trophy presented to the winning team, however.
All matches are scheduled to be held at Barton College Tennis Complex.
The eight-team tournament will start Monday, Aug. 12, at 9 a.m. with Fike, seeking its fifth straight Wilson Cup title, facing archrival Hunt, and Corinth Holders taking on Greenfield. At 11 a.m., Faith Christian of Rocky Mount will meet C.B. Aycock and North Johnston will face Greene Central.
There will be two more rounds played Monday, starting at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The action starts Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 1 p.m. with the fifth-place and seventh-place matches while the third-place and championship matches are set to begin at 4 p.m., followed by the presentation of the championship trophy.