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Farmville: The small town that keeps winning

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Farmville Mayor Robert Evans during a ceremony to honor the 2006 state championship team on Jan. 29, 2016. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The community of Farmville is a classic American small town.

With a population of just over 7,400, everyone knows everyone, and generations of families have spent their lives in the same houses and areas they call home. As the town continues to grow thanks to a booming arts district, other aspects have remained the same, namely, the community’s support of its high school, Farmville Central. 

The Jaguars basketball program could potentially reach historic heights when the undefeated boys and girls teams travel to Raleigh on Saturday to compete for a state title. Along with the varsity programs, Farmville Middle School and the Jaguars junior varsity program also finished the year with a perfect record. 

Elected the town’s mayor in 1997, Robert Evans has seen how Farmville has rallied around the success of Jaguars basketball in recent years. 

“(The success) has meant a lot,” Evans said. “Just to have the boys and girls varsity teams undefeated is highly unusual, then to head down to the JV’s and the middle school, then it becomes almost unheard of.”

With a combined record of 58-0 between the two varsity programs, the Jaguars have packed every gym their teams have played in this season, including March 9 at Minges Coliseum when the Jaguars participated in the regional finals. 

“The last two games that were played in Farmville were just about sellouts,” Evans said. “When the boys played Kinston and the girls played Vance County they had to turn people away, and they were very close to having to turn people away at Minges. I haven’t been to Minges all that much, but I’ve never seen so many people there.” 

Evans said the success has provided one aspect all local leaders strive to have in their communities — unity.

“What has it done for Farmville?” Evans asked. “It is a good unifying effect. People like to get behind a cause and that’s what we’ve done here in Farmville, we’ve gotten behind these teams and have cheered them on and supported them. We’re real pleased.”

Evans can be seen routinely walking the streets of downtown Farmville, a mayor of the people and one who makes a point to interact with his constituents. Many of his conversations lead back to the FC program. Evans described his discussions with the public as understanding that the Jaguars have not taken the final step in winning the title just yet, but he and the town recognize the hard work it took for both teams to reach this point. 

The community will get involved as a whole one last time, when it comes together to send both teams off Saturday. Buses with the teams will be escorted out of town by the Farmville fire department and police department. Evans had some words of advice for the teams for their travels to the state capitol.

“I would tell them to just keep playing like they’ve been playing,” Evans said. “We know that this game is going to be tougher than the others have been. As you you advance you get better teams all around, and as you beat them you get better.”

The Jaguars girls will play first Saturday, tipping off at 5 p.m.. The boys will follow just after, playing in the final game of the night at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

GIRLS SOCCER

South Central 9, Eastern Wayne 0

The duo of Natalie Haldeman (four goals) and Taryn Thompson (three goals) provided the bulk of the explosive Falcons offense Tuesday. 

Haldeman continues to climb in state rankings, ranking fifth in goals scored (17) and first in assists (13). 

The Falcons (4-2, 2-1) will hit the road to face Northern Nash today and travel once again Friday when they face White Oak.

D.H. Conley 7, C.B. Aycock 0

DHC held a 2-0 halftime lead before putting the Golden Eagles away early in the second half. Jenna Rupp (three goals), Alexandria Lenker, Haven Best, Allison Dixon and Mary McKnight all netted goals in the win. 

Conley (6-0, 2-0) will host New Bern tonight.

Parrott Academy 10, Harrells 1

Alex Melk was the star of the show for APA Wednesday night, netting four goals in the win to go along with three assists. Gisell Cervantes, Lindsey Thomas, Madison Thigpen, Brooke Holmes, Annabelle Averette, and Gabbie Carriere added one goal each.

Parrott (4-1) will have a busy weekend traveling to face Forsyth Country Day and High Point Christian this weekend.

BOYS TENNIS

New Bern 7, D.H. Conley 2 

Conley tennis fell to New Bern Tuesday. The Vikings wins came in No. 2 singles with Drew Varnell defeating Andy Webb, 2-6, 6-4, 11-9, and No. 1 doubles as Varnell and Sean Jung defeated Max Bernthal and Webb, 9-7. 

DHC (3-1) will host Rose on Thursday.

Parrott Academy 9, Fayetteville Christian 0

Parrott jumped to 4-1 this season with a shutout victory. The Patriots got singles wins from William Hill, J. Allen Smith, Jeff Bland, Ali Qadir, John Grice (APA) and Beau Holmes.

The tandems of Hill/Smith, Bland/Qadir and Grice/Ted Bratton completed the sweep.

SOFTBALL

Farmville Central 5, Ayden-Grifton 4 

Abby Foster (3-4, RBI), Mattie Baxter (3-4, 2 Rs) and Carolina Breault (2-4, 2B, 2 Rs) led the way from the plate for FC. Kate Lancaster (2B, R) scored the final run for the Jaguars.

FC (2-2) will host Wilson-Fike Friday.

D.H. Conley 7, C.B. Aycock 0

Conley’s offense continued to roll to start the season in a shutout of 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference for C.B. Aycock.

Lauren Wiles picked up the win, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out 11 batters. Madison Rose went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, while Trinity Nichols went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Also for DHC, Anna Sawyer went 2-for-3, scoring two runs and Maggie Craig went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs.

D.H. Conley 9, Havelock 1

A four run second inning helped DHC put away Havelock in just five innings Wednesday night.

Lexi Vincent picked up the win from the circle, racking up 10 strikeouts while only giving up one run on one hit in five innings pitched. 

On offense Ainsley Mayo went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Alexis Phillips (2-3, 3B) and Madison Bowers (2-4, 2 RBIs) also had solid outings.

Conley (4-1, 2-0) will host New Bern Friday.

Southside 11, North Pitt 1

North Pitt couldn’t pick up a win on the road at Southside Tuesday night.

An error scored the Panthers only run.

BASEBALL

Farmville Central 2, Ayden-Grifton 0 

Farmville Central walked away the victors of the first edition of the Jaguars-Chargers cross-county rivalry. 

The Chargers struggled from the plate. A-G was able to make contact with four players (Austin Jones, Brandon Benfield, Jackson Upchurch and Tanner Cameron). 

Ayden-Grifton 12, Northside-Pinetown 2

A-G shutdown Northside in just five innings Wednesday. Jordan Atkinson picked up the win, giving up three hits in four innings of play. 

At the plate the Chargers were led by Josh Harris (1-1, 2B, BB, 2 Rs, 2 SBs), Brody Wilson (1-3, R, RBI), Austin Jones (1-2, R, BB), Brandon Benfield (3-3, 2 Rs, RBI, BB), Jackson Upchurch (1-2, 2 Rs, RBI, 2 BBs) Tanner Cannon (1-2, R, 2 RBIs), Blake McLawhorn (1-2, R, 2B, 2 RBIs) and Atkinson (1-3, R, 2 RBIs).

A-G (4-4) will travel to face South Lenoir Friday.

D.H. Conley 8, C.B. Aycock 0

DHC’s baseball squad picked up a win over conference opponent C.B. Aycock on Tuesday.

UNC-Greensboro commit Robbie O'Neal threw a gem, striking out 12 in five innings of work. O'Neal also paced the Conley offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Cam Jackson and Jake Lysaght collected two hits each. Josh McCarter had a great night at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

The Vikings (5-0, 2-0) will travel to face Wakefield Thursday.

North Pitt 12, Southside 3

North Pitt added another win in what has been a highly successful start to the season. The Panthers sit at 6-0 and look to be a contender for an Eastern Plains 2-A Conference title.

NP will host Bertie Friday.

Eastern Wayne 12, Greene Central 2 

The Rams fell to Eastern Wayne Wednesday night at home.

Jalin Conner (0-2, 1R, 1BB) and Jada Evans (0-1, R) contributed the scores for the Rams.

GC (1-3) will host Kinston Friday.

Pungo Christian Academy 4, TEACH 3

Pungo walked off with a late run to down TEACH Tuesday. Stephen Trainor (1-4, 1R), David Valerioti (1-3, 2RBI), Nick Wilkins (1-3) and Will Rose (1-2, 1R) accounted for all for hits for TEACH.

The Trailblazers (6-1) will host North East Collegiate Prep Friday.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS

SOFTBALL

Hope 22, Greene County 1

Hope dominated Greene County in its first conference victory of the season. Saylor Whitney (4-4), Olivia Hadnott (3-4) and Kylah Silver (3-5) all had stellar nights for the Mustangs. 

Hope will travel to face Chicod Thursday.

BASEBALL

Hope 7, Greene County 1 

Hope’s baseball team moved to 3-0, 1-0 with a win over Greene County. 

Connor Edwards picked up the win after giving up two hits and earning seven strikeouts through 6.1 innings. 

Leading the offense was Macon Buck (1-3, RBI), James Elpers (2-4), Cole Smith (2-4, 2 RBIs), Landon Smith (2-3, RBI) and Kalif Dowell (2-2), while Colby Case and Connor Edwards each picked up hits.

Hope will host Chicod Thursday.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

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