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May 2021 - Vol. 2, No. 5

No mask, no gas May

There were so many sports going on in May; it seemed like it was raining sports. It really was a drain on the tank (not the car, just my stamina).

In fact, there were so many sports events, I couldn't make it to all of them, and well, the Army decided to send me away for training in the middle of the month.

On top of that,
the state-wide mask mandate dropped faster than a politician's promise on election day. Attending 
sports events became easier as the number of spectators in the stands increased. These two changes occurred in the middle of the NCHSAA state tournament season for football, soccer, softball, and tennis.

Meanwhile, getting to the games became a little dicey after hackers monkeyed around with Colonial Pipeline, causing a rush on gas (not toilet paper and hand sanitizer for a change).

We should have called the month "No mask, no gas May!"

Forward this email to someone happy to go maskless and have gas. Think about it!

Dream season ends for Lady Vikings
Fall in third round of state tourney

The Union Pines women's soccer team opened the NCHSAA 3A Women's Soccer Championship tournament with two home wins going into the third round, also at home.

The Lady Vikings hosted Fike on May 3 in the opening round, posting a 4-1 victory.

Additionally, senior Emily Bowbliss scored her 100th career goal in that game.

Eastern Alamance came to Wilhoit Stadium in the second round on 5 May. The Lady Vikings shook off heavy offensive pressure from the visiting Eagles to secure a 5-2 victory, advancing the Lady Vikings to the third-round home game.

Northern Guilford came to town on May 7 and left Wilhoit Stadium with a 4-0 shutout over Union Pines, ending the season for the Lady Vikings.

HSSOC-W-Union Pines v Fike-03May21
HSSOC-W-Union Pines v Eastern Alamance-05May21
HSSOC-W-Union Pines v Northern Guilford-07May21

Bowbliss, Dougherty earn POY honors
Ivey, Ring, Robbins, and Silvestri round out the All-Conference selection

It should have come as no surprise, but the Union Pine Lady Vikings had great representation in the Tri-County 6 All-Conference honors.

Emily Bowbliss and Sage Dougherty secured Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as all-conference kudos.

Seniors Olivia Ivey and Emma Ring and juniors Alexi Robbins and Gianna Silvestri rounded out the All-Conference honors.

Additionally, Bowbliss, Dougherty, Ivey, Ring, and Silvestri were selected for the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association (NCSCA) Region 5 All-Region Team, earning five of seven slots. Bowbliss and Dougherty were also selected for the NCSCA Public 3A All-State team.

Diamond Kings
Coach Purvis honored with first pitch

The Union Pines Diamond Vikings (yes, I'm trying out a new phrase) tore through May and pretty much any team that stood in their way. Well, almost.

They are an impressive 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the Tri-County 6 Conference.

According to MaxPreps, you would have to go back to the 2010-13 seasons under then-head coach, now athletic director, Chad Hill, to find a comparable season.

In order, the fallen this season are (scores in parenthesis):  South Johnston (11-1), North Davidson (6-1), Harnett Central (4-2 and 13-4), Lee County (4-3 and 8-6), Triton (11-1), and the first meeting with Southern Lee (9-3). The only blemish on the Viking record was a close 5-4 loss (May 28) at home.

While the wins have been great and many, the most poignant moment came on May 18.

Jean Purvis, wife of the late Union Pines coach and athletic director, Bobby Purvis, and their grandson, Will Murchison, threw out the first pitch at the Lee County game. The event marked the one-year passing of Coach Purvis.

Even though he is no longer here, his legacy still lives on at Union Pines.

HSBB-Union Pines v Lee County_18May21
HSBB-Union Pines v Southern Lee_28May21

Trousdale sets a new course

For the third time in four years, the Union Pines Vikings have a new head football coach - by position only and not by name.

On May 10, the Moore County Board of Education approved former associate head coach and defensive coordinator Jason Trousdale as the new head coach.


While his title is new on paper, his experience with the program has made him a known and familiar face over the past two years.

There are two key elements the Viking football program needs; stability and continuity. Trousdale brings that to the program.

You can read Jonathan Bym's full story at The Pilot, in case you missed it.

And while we're on the subject of the new head coach, let's not forget the new hashtag for this year's team, #WelcomeToValhalla. Be sure to use it on your own social media posts. You can bet I will be doing the same.

One final note: the 2021 schedule was released. In case you missed it, here's a graphic I designed to coincide with the announcement.

Parting Shots:

Congratulations! You did it!

By the time this newsletter reaches your inbox, the 2021 seniors of Union Pines High School will be mere days away from graduation.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be there through many of the ups, downs, and uncertainties of your senior year.

Through it all, you and your families have persevered.

I can remember the day I made the first "blackout sportstraits" with the volleyball seniors. I wondered then if the season would even start, much less finish.

From there, the school year continued to progress, moving the needle back to some semblance of normal, even if it was just a nudge back in that direction.

Years from now, you hopefully look back on this time as just a blip in the larger span of your time on this Earth. In some instances, this time will seem like it was not that big of a deal. In others, it will seem pretty significant in how it shapes the view of your own world.

Regardless, you survived either by your own accord or with the love and support of family and friends.

The resilience you have shown in the face of what seemed like insurmountable odds will serve you well later on in life.

Good luck to the Union Pines senior class of 2021. While every senior class is special, this senior class accomplished what many would have guessed as unthinkable a year ago.

I will not be there to see you walk across the stage on June 4 (but I will be with you in spirit), so I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I have shared with previous graduates.
“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
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