D.H. Conley opened the new volleyball season with a victory on Thursday night with a 3-0 victory over New Bern.

The Vikings (1-0) ran up wins of 25-20, 25-13 and 25-17.

The win was powered by Olivia Lefever’s 21 assists, Ella Philpot’s 13 kills and four blocks, Sara Dees’ nine kills and four blocks, and Maddy May’s seven kills.

The win means Conley’s Monday clash at home against rival J.H. Rose will be between 1-0 teams.


Conley boys take first

The D.H. Conley cross country team opened the season with a meet victory over Southern Wayne and New Bern.

Fronting the win was freshman Bryson Bingaman, who took first place and was part of Conley swiping seven of the top 10 spots to secure a low score of 24 points to Southern Wayne’s 46 and New Bern’s 64.

Bingaman recorded a time of 18:49 on the 5K course. Also placing for Conley were Zach Hills (3rd), Bryce Gooding (5th), James Heritage (7th), Bryson Bowen (8th), Bradley Atkinson (9th) and Kyle Hardee (10th).

Conley returned to action on Saturday when they took on Croatan, West Carteret and White Oak.

Viking girls edged by Bears

Annika Stoakes led D.H. Conley to a second-place finish on Wednesday. Stoakes battled defending conference champion Hana Smith of New Bern for the entire race, but Smith was able to pull away in the final 200 meters of the race to take the win.

New Bern went on to win the team competition with a low score of 21 points, ahead of Conley (39) and Southern Wayne.

Stoakes ran a time of 21:35 on the 5k course. Also placing in the top 10 from Conley were Grace Kennedy (5th) and Waverly Davis (9th).

JV VOLLEYBALL D.H. Conley 2, New Bern 0

The Vikings opened the season with 25-13 and 25-11 set wins over the Bears.

Mallie Blizzard had five assists and four kills to lead the Vikings, while Carley Ritchie added seven aces.

Board notes

Pitt County Schools Athletic Director Ron Butler presented Monday at a Board of Education workshop, in conjunction with the delayed starts of volleyball, cross country and swimming. Other sports, like football, will not be played until late winter.

“Nationally, 37 states are playing football with very, very few issues,” he said. “There are sports going on everywhere.”

Butler announced the first practice dates for basketball (Dec. 7) and football (Feb. 8)

The schedule setup, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will cause some serious overlap across all seasons.

“In the spring, we’re going to have over nine sports going on at the same time, so it’s going to have its challenges,” Butler said. “There’s a little overlap there but not a lot. But you’ve got lacrosse and football that overlap pretty heavily.

“Can somebody do multiple sports? The rules say yes. There’s no rule that says they can’t do multiple sports. That’s going to be up to the school and those coaches … There’s going to be some hiccups; there’s no doubt about it.”

One major change this school year is the high school football season being reduced from 11 games to seven.

Also, there will be an abbreviated playoff format.

“Playoffs that normally start with 64 teams will be cut to 32, so they’ve pretty much eliminated that first round of playoffs,” Butler said. “In high school, where most (basketball teams) are allowed 23, they’re allowed 14, so you’re looking at about two-thirds of a season.”

Because there will be limitations on spectators, four of the six county schools are equipped to livestream games while the other two are installing the cameras needed to do it, Butler said.

For now, games are expected to be limited to 25 total spectators, with no fans from the opposing teams allowed. There will be symptom screened at the door and masks are required.

To keep from having to delay games in order to sanitize between games, spectators will be seated in a different section of the gym for each game.

COVID will also create potential transportation issues. It might take twice as many activity buses to transport athletes because student-athletes cannot share seats unless they are siblings. Butler said some schools are discussing having a travel squad or allowing parents to transport their kids to away games. But since parents will not be allowed to attend away games as spectators, that option is not likely.

Superintendent Ethan Lenker said many school districts that are 100 percent virtual are still having sports seasons. Butler said that is happening more at the high school level than at the middle school level.

There are no plans for middle school football, cross country or volleyball this year. Butler said if basketball is not able to play, middle schools might try to have volleyball and cross country in its place, followed by soccer, baseball and softball in the spring. There will be no track for middle school because of the need to use high school tracks.

In terms of the economic impact of fewer fans paying admission fees and more activity buses now required for transport, the district will have to supplement the schools’ athletic programs’ budgets.

“We’re putting a plan together to supplement the schools because there’s no way they can afford referees, umpires and transportation,” Lenker said.“It’s going to cost even more.”

He said some CARES Act funding should be able to be used to pay the added transportation costs.