WEST JEFFERSON — The last half of 2016 had several sports memories and moments to celebrate. The first half of 2016 was featured in Friday’s edition of the Jefferson Post. To bring in the new year, here are the top moments from July through December of 2016.
Gouge wins three state championship shoots
LANSING — Noah Gouge is quickly running out of places to put all of his shooting trophies.
Gouge, a rising senior at Ashe County High School, took home the Junior High Overall and High All Around championship in three state shoots, North Carolina, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Overall, Gouge picked up trophies in 28 events in the three state shoots.
Church qualifies for tennis regional
ELKIN — Morgan Church will keep her tennis season going after qualifying for the 2A Midwest Regional after a runner-up finish in the 2A singles championship at the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament.
Church started her march to the finals with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Wilkes Central’s Anna Whitley. In the semifinals, Church beat Erin Shelton of West Wilkes in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the finals.
After winning the first set in the championship match by a 6-1 score, West Wilkes top seed Amanda Eddins bounced back to win the second and third sets by identical 6-3 scores to win the championship.
Bulldogs take home league championship
ELKIN — In one of the most memorable seasons of football at Ashe County Middle School, the Bulldogs finished off an unbeaten season by winning the league championship in the Super Bowl against Elkin.
The Bulldogs tallied 480 yards of total offense on the way to a 40-22 victory over Elkin.
ACMS finished the year with an 8-0 overall record and won the league championship for the first time since 2011, also the last year the Bulldogs went unbeaten.
The team was coached by Chris Barr along with assistant coaches Mark Sheets, Mark Hudler, Anthony Hamilton, Connor Bowers, Avery Barr, Joey Burgess and Shawn Baker.
Hardin finishes sixth in state
PINEHURST — Senior golfer Sarah Hardin finished in a tie for sixth place in the 1A/2A state championship golf match at the Foxfire Resort.
Hardin shot an 84 on day one and an 81 on day two, finishing with a total score of 165, good enough for sixth place overall.
Baker, Cronk compete in state championship
KERNERSVILLE — A pair of Ashe County cross country runners took part in the 2A State Championship Meet in Kernersville on Saturday.
Freshman Mahaley Cronk finished in 25th place out of 138 runners in the women’s meet. Cronk finished the race in 20:57.
Sophomore Tafton Baker saved his best run of the season for the final meet, setting a new personal best with a finishing time of 17:18, good enough for 19th place out of 138 runners.
Hardin signs with Appalachian State
WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County High School senior Sarah Hardin will continue her golf career close to home. Hardin signed her National Letter of Intent to play golf at Appalachian State University.
Hardin considered a lot of different things before making her college choice, but in the end, App State was the best fit. Her
Sarah considered several other programs including Western Carolina, Emory & Henry and Radford University, and she had some smaller programs that recruited her pretty heavily.
Hardin’s high school career sets her above and beyond anyone else that has ever been a part of the program. She qualified for the state championship tournament all four years and helped lead the Lady Huskies to a pair of Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Championships. This year, Hardin was a big part of helping Ashe beat Watauga for the first time in program history, defeating the Pioneers twice during this season.
Ellis finishes outstanding senior year
WEST JEFFERSON — Colin Ellis had quite possibly the best individual season that Ashe County High School has ever seen.
Ellis, the senior quarterback for the Huskies, led all players in the state of North Carolina with 4,682 yards of total offense and was fourth in the entire country according to statistics provided by MaxPreps.
Ellis also finished off back-to-back seasons of at least 3,000 passing yards with 3,464 yards through the air. On the ground, Ellis was just as explosive with 1,218 rushing yards.
When it was all said and done, Ellis ended up accounting for 51 total touchdowns, 33 through the air and 18 on the ground.
Windish heading to UNC-Greensboro
WEST JEFFERSON — Senior baseball standout Hogan “Turtle” Windish will soon be a part of the UNC-Greensboro baseball program after signing his National Letter of Intent at Ashe County High School.
In 2015, Windish finished his sophomore year leading the team with a .429 batting average, second on the team with 19 runs scores and recorded the most stolen bases on the year with eight.
Last season, Windish bumped his average up to a sizzling .480, once again the best among all Husky batters. The junior had two homers, five doubles and a triple in 18 games. He added nine stolen bases without being thrown out a single time.
Windish added to his versatility last season by pitching 34 innings with a 2-3 record and a 1.65 ERA. He struck out 38 batters and walked only seven.
Turtle chose UNC-Greensboro over UNC-Pembroke and NC Central.
Ashe wins Colvard Oil Holiday Classic
WEST JEFFERSON — Judd Price poured in 29 points, including 16 of those in the second half and a pair of late free throws that gave the Huskies a three-point lead late in the contest that would eventually be the difference with the Huskies winning 79-76.
Ashe and West Caldwell played to a 20-20 tie after the first quarter. The Warriors were able to get their offense going a little bit more in the second quarter, pulling out to an eight-point halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Huskies just would not go away.
Ashe went on a 13-5 run in the first three minutes of the third period to tie things up at 49.
West answered back with a mini run of their own, holding a 65-60 lead at the end of three.
Both offenses slowed down a bit in the fourth quarter, but Ashe was able to find a few more baskets down the stretch. The two teams were tied at 68 with 2:54 left to play.
Price was able to get to the basket for two tough layups and Malachi Poe found his shooting stroke with five key points in the fourth that helped Ashe take a 73-72 lead with 1:02 left to play.
Each time the Warriors would cut the deficit to one, Ashe would answer back, either with a basket or a trip to the free throw line.
Still holding a one-point lead with 12.9 seconds left, junior Caleb Key swished a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three.
On West Caldwell’s final possession, Titus Tucker took the ball and fired a three-pointer that was too strong. The Warriors were able to secure the rebound but there was not enough time to get another three-point shot off, giving the Huskies their biggest win of the season and one of their best wins in some time.
Poe finished with 20 points, Noah Blevins scored 10, Grant Thompson had eight, Key had eight and Jarod Carlton added four.
Ashe did a great job on Tucker defensively, holding him to just seven points after he scored 17 in the first round win over Watauga.
Fred Patterson led West Caldwell with 21 points. Kam Carver scored 14, Shy Felder had 11, Trevon Hall had 11 and Elijah Brooks scored 10.
Blevins and Poe were named to the all-tournament team while Price was named as tournament MVP.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.