November 2020 - Vol. 1, No. 11

Holy moly! Sports are back!

November was crazy! (I'll share my thoughts with you in the Parting Shots section at the end of this newsletter.)

But thank goodness, prep sports returned to North Carolina! And there was much rejoicing!
(Click the image to see the shameless Monty Python reference.)

(Clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
Once again, high school gyms across the state, including Bob Ward Gymnasium, echoed with the sounds of volleyball spikes and squeaky shoes on hardwood, whistles (albeit hand-held electronic whistles), coaches shouting instructions, and players celebrating.

Outside, runners crisscrossed the state as the cross country meets started once again.

They were sights and sounds to behold!

But enough with the rejoicing! Scroll down to see a recap of the Union Pines Lady Vikings volleyball action.

Forward this email to someone who has seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail one too many times.

Lady Vikings turn Senior Night into a "W"

In the case of, "You just never know how many games we could play," the Union Pines High School Lady Vikings opted to hold Senior Night on their first home match of the year, Nov. 19.

Can you blame them? After a very delayed start to their season, it only seemed fair to go ahead and hold that recognition event for the players and their families.

After dropping the first set, the Lady Vikings shook of any residual rust and began firing on all cylinders by the end of the 3-1 victory over Harnett Central.

Speaking of rusty, my photo skills were a little shaky to start with, but I also hit my grove in the second set. By the end of the match, I again felt comfortable behind the camera.

You can see more images from the Harnett Central match here.
Union Pines v Harnett Central: Nov. 19, 2020

Set 1:  21-25 
Set 2:  25-15
Set 3:  25-15
Set 4:  25-19 

Kills: Morgan Prots 16, Faith Driver 5 
Digs: Morgan Prots 12, Shelby Hull 10, Gianna Silvestri 8, Ali Polidori 6, Tyne Ross 5 
Assists: Ali Polidori 18 
Aces: Tyne Ross 4 

Lady Vikings earn second "W" in straight sets

Lee County was next on the hit parade for the Union Pines Lady Vikings as they defeated the Yellow Jackets in straight sets, 3-0.

By Nov. 23, the Lady Vikings started playing blistering offense and tenacious defense as they cruised past Lee County at Bob Ward Gymnasium.

Freshman Tyne Ross earned Player of the Game honors and was featured in an article in The Pilot.

You can see more images from the Lee County match here.
Union Pines v Lee County: Nov. 23, 2020

Set 1:  25-15
Set 2:  25-17
Set 3:  25-12 

Kills: Gianna Silvestri 11, Tyne Ross 10, Morgan Prots 10, Devyn Craven 3
Digs: Morgan Prots 9, Gianna Silvestri 8, Tyne Ross 7, Shelby Hull 6, Ali Polidori 6
Assists: Ali Polidori 21, Faith Driver 5
Aces: Ali Polidori 4, Tyne Ross 3 
Blocks: Tyne Ross 3 

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Freshman, Tyne Ross

UPHS takes lead in Tri-County 6 Conference

SANFORD, N.C. - The Lady Vikings traveled just up the road for their first away match of the year against the undefeated Southern Lee Lady Cavaliers.

Well, the previously undefeated Lady Cavaliers.

Union Pines took care of business in straight sets to take the lead in the Tri-County 6 Conference 3-0. The only other undefeated conference team is Triton at 2-0.

The Lady Vikings host Triton on Tuesday, Dec. 1st. The winner takes command of the conference as the only undefeated team.

(I did not travel to the Southern Lee match but I will cover the Triton match, Dec. 1).
Union Pines v Lee County: Nov. 23, 2020

Set 1:  25-16
Set 2:  25-19
Set 3:  28-26 

Kills: Morgan Prots 17, Ali Polidori 9, Gianna Silvestri 6
Digs: Shelby Hull 16, Gianna Silvestri 11, Polidori 10, Morgan Prots 10
Assists: Ali Polidori 19, Shelby Hull 5
Aces: Ali Polidori 4 

Parting Shots:

A November to remember, or maybe forget

While this chart makes perfect sense, what school will actually fall into either 1, 2, 3, or 4A classifications is not as simple. (SOURCE: NCHSAA)
You have to admit November was really crazy!

The somewhat questionable presidential election results; governors across the U.S. telling people to "uninvite" relatives to Thanksgiving, then turning around and hosting their own social events without wearing proper PPE (that's Personal Protective Equipment, i.e., MASKS if you have been asleep the past eight months); and a "miracle cure" on the horizon just in time for the January inauguration.

It leaves most sane people scratching their heads in disbelief.

But talk about a head-scratcher! In the middle of November, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) released the proposed realignments beginning in the 2021-2025 seasons.

What an eye-popping, brain-teaser this proposal is!

You know, math was hard for me when I was in high school and college, but I would need a PhD. in Nuclear Engineering with a Masters in Molecular Biology to figure out the "math" on the school realignment. And I still probably couldn't figure it out!

This time around, there is something called a "Realignment Score" (RS). As explained in a presser on Nov. 17, the higher the score, the higher the classification a school falls into. If lower, then, down you go.

Three numbers are considered to arrive at the new RS. Average Daily Membership from the 2019-2020 school year (due to COVID-19, this will account for 50 percent of the RS); an average of the previous three years of the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) numbers (students who receive government USDA assistance), this will account for 25 percent; and finally, the average of the previous three years of NCHSAA State Cup points for the final 25 percent.

Confused yet? You should be.

Once all this sorcery, er, "math" is figured out, "each school will be placed in either the east or west region, based on its county. Based on the realignment scores, the NCHSAA will then take the largest 25 percent of schools in each region and place them in the 4A classification; the next 25 percent will go into the 3A classification, and so on. This means classifications will be set based on the realignment scores within a region, not across the state." According to Nick Stevens, managing editor, who apparently has a massive brain to distill this information down somewhat digestible nuggets.

Armchair coaches and athletic directors across the state (and real coaches and ADs) have been looking at all the possible options.

What has come out of those options is what some are calling "the bubble" (no, not the COVID bubble).

Depending on who you talk with or believe what you read, Union Pines could move up to 4A, with Pinecrest and North Moore remaining in 4A and 1A, respectively. Another bubble prediction I read should North Moore possibly moving up to 2A. But surprisingly, a school like Scotland could fall into 3A.

See what I mean? It's a head-scratcher!

Regardless, there will be change because the NCHSAA bylaws say there will be change every four years, and, well, next year is the year for the change to begin.

If there is a silver lining, nothing is set in this time. The NCHSAA Board of Directors will vote on the final realignment plan in March.

Whatever plan is approved in March, all the schools will have to deal with the ramifications through the 2024-2025 school year.
I sincerely thank each of you for your support and encouragement!

A special "Thank You" to Nikon,
Think Tank Photo, Black Rapid,
Camera Bits for making outstanding equipment, gear, and software.

National and international images exclusively represented by ZUMA Press.

Nikon Professional Services Certified member
National Press Photographers Association member

Opinions expressed in this newsletter are purely my own and are not a reflection of any of the companies, corporations, or entities listed herein.
Copyright © 2020 Timothy Hale Photography.
All rights reserved.

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