Falcon Winter Sports Update

Jackson Faenza

The North Carolina Leadership Academy is full of very talented winter sports teams. Wrestling, girls basketball, and boys basketball are fully underway. The first semester brought a bumpy road for some of the winter sports teams due to covid. It seems that now, everything should be smooth sailing from here. 

First off, the wrestling team is coached by David Blake, who is very passionate about wrestling and coaching. The team has been competing against schools that are much bigger than NCLA but has found some success. 

The team is doing well above my expectations given that the entire team consists of Freshman and Sophomores and we have not had a team in a few years. They have competed on a varsity level against, more often than not 3A and 4A schools and have found moments of success along with lots of learning opportunities,” said Head Coach David Blake.IMG_1270

Blake is very happy with how the season is going and is especially interested in a particular wrestler, freshman Cooper Wingate. “All of the Varsity wrestlers have truly impressed me this year but if I had to pick the one at the top I would say Cooper Wingate. Cooper is always at practice and works hard from the beginning to end. He is always trying to learn and always willing to help his teammates learn. He keeps a positive attitude and acts as a leader,” said Head Coach David Blake.

A goal that Coach Blake has set halfway through the season is to win the conference. He believes they have the talent and the work ethic to achieve it. He also hopes his individual wrestlers can achieve their own goals as wrestlers.

“I think the season is going by fast and the team is improving. However, with the low number of wrestlers it is difficult in matches and for practice, although we pull through just fine. Near the beginning of the season, I had a goal of building up stamina so that I would be able to practice longer. As the season progresses, I now focus more on knowledge and movements rather than simply just strength and endurance,” said sophomore wrestler Andrew Ellis.

You can catch the team back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 18. “My goal was simply to get a varsity level wrestling program back up and running at NCLA  and to make the young men who decided to be a part of it better wrestlers. I think we have gotten all of our wrestlers into the weight classes where they will be most successful. They continue to get better every practice and I am looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Coach Blake. 

The Boys HS basketball team is again head coached by Mr. Craig Shoemaker.  Shoemaker has been head coach since the 2018-2019 season. This season, the boys are 6-5 heading into conference play. 

This is the team’s first season playing in the 1A conferences, which holds many different opponents. They include Bishop McGuiness, Carver, Cornerstone, etc. 

“The Basketball Team is 6-4.  Started the season 5-1. Covid has caused us to not have all our players the last 4 games so we are starting to get everyone back,” said Head Coach Shoemaker. 

The team is full of talented players; junior Laken Locklear who averages 12 points per game, and four rebounds, junior Troy Shoemaker who averages 11 points per game and three rebounds a game, junior Cade Shoemaker who has nine points per game, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals per game. 

One main goal Coach Shoemaker has set is to win games this season. The team has never won more than nine games. Their goal as a team is to win 12 games this season. They are also striving to be in the top four in the conference by the end of the season.

When asked about something that the team has struggled with, Coach Shoemaker replied, “We need to get better from the foul line and get tougher scoring around the basket.”IMG_3433

Last, but not least is the Falcon Girls Basketball Team. They are having a great season, which is coached by Head Coach Carrington. The season was kicked off with an amazing win against 4A school High Point Central High School 

“I am really happy with how the season is going and with how much the team is improving and growing together. One personal goal that I have set for myself this season is to be able to encourage my team both on and off the court. One thing that I am loving about this season so far is how supportive and uplifting the team is no matter if we win or lose,” said junior player Ava Gonzalez. 

Sophomore Brooke Taylor is leading the team in points per game with about six points a game. Addy Gulberg is leading in the team’s rebounds with about seven rebounds a game. 

“I think our team is very young, there are not many upperclassmen on the team. I think our team does a really great job working together and encouraging or uplifting others,” said senior player Elissa Segers. 

There is still a lot of games to catch your NCLA Girl’s Basketball Team play. They still have homes games against Bishop McGuiness, Carver, and Winston Salem Prep, and Oak Ridge Military Academy. 

Four Separate Coaches in One Season

Kenna Porto

The cheer program once was a roaring sport at the NCLA. Twenty plus high school girls, most of whom were best friends, would meet every day to learn new skills and on game days would showcase all they learned. After the pandemic this strong-willed sport took a big hit. A big struggle of finding a new coach and new players arose. The 2021-2022 cheer team currently has six participants and has had four different coaches since August. 

Elle Gruer, a senior and Co-Captain, has participated in cheer for three years. When asked about the attendance and commit issues the squad is facing, Gruer responded with a positive attitude by saying, “This year has been very difficult for the cheerleading program, not only do we not have many participants but we are also now on our fourth coach of the season. The inconveniences have limited our team severely but I am still grateful for some of the amazing people on the team and that I am able to go through this unideal situation with a few of my closest friends.” 

The previously introduced coach quit due to complications joining two other women who have quit or backed out at some point throughout the season. Principal Mrs. Faenza stepped in to allow a season for the cheerleaders. She also helped the cheer program find their newest and hopefully permanent coach Lauren Guldberg, daughter to our beloved elementary assistant principal Mrs. Guldberg.

Head Cheer Coach Lauren Guldberg

“Although she is our fourth coach she is the best by far,” joked sophomore Caitlyn Hanna. 

Coach Lauren Guldberg is a previous student of the NCLA. She explained that she attended the school during two of her middle school years which also were the first two years the school was open. She stayed in touch with the school since her mother is an administrator and her two sisters attend the high school as sophomores. Lauren graduated from University of North Carolina Greensboro with a bachelors in Communication Sciences. 

“Although I never cheered before, I danced for fifteen years. I was unable to continue teaching at my studio when I moved away for school and I’ve really missed it. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into the industry and to give back to the NCLA,” said Coach Guldberg. 

Guldberg stepped in when the squad needed her most. Between the trouble with coaches, participation numbers, mandatory athletic testing and COVID, the cheerleaders have only been able to successfully participate in their sport for one game night so far. There has been a lot up in the air and without a permanent coach the team faced lack of direction and consistent uncertainty. Guldbergs arrival has given the cheerleaders some hope as she provided insight, assistance and overall leadership. 

“I was a little nervous about becoming the coach in the middle of the season, but I hit it off with everyone and enjoyed my time with them. I just wish I could’ve been here since the start of the season! I’m most looking forward to the opportunities to grow and make memories. Coming in late in the game, I knew I was going to be the odd man out on the team, but everyone’s been so inclusive and taken me in like I’ve been there the whole season. I hope this experience helps me and the rest of the team grow, and hopefully gives us a great foundation for next year,” said Guldberg. 

In the presence of a new coach, athletes can be restrictive or unsure, but the cheer team has had open arms and Guldberg seemingly reciprocated those same feelings. The presence of Guldberg has made the cheer team very appreciative as they have noted her sacrifice of free time and energy for their sake. 

Monica Truhe, a sophomore on the team said, “Lauren is really great. She stepped in when we really needed her and I’m so grateful for her. Cheer has become really enjoyable for me now that she’s our coach.”

Guldberg has been a much needed gate-way for a successful and fun end of cheer season. The cheer program can only benefit from her arrival. Let’s all thank her for stepping out of her way to provide for not only our cheer program in distress, but also the NCLA as a whole.

Say It Ain’t So (Joe)

Cade Shoemaker

The field is set. Eighteen weeks of professional football has sorted out the best 14 teams to compete in the NFL Playoffs. However this year, a new team will be lifting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history.

NFC: In the NFC the Green Bay Packers are clear favorites to capitalize on an impressive regular season record of 13-4, the best in football. However, there are some appealing teams in the division that may shake up the playoff picture more than people will imagine. 

Buccaneers: The “Tampa Bay” Bucs have yet again put up an impressive record behind potential MVP quarterback Tom Brady. Even despite the absence of Antonio Brown, I think the Buccaneers will get an easy home win in the wild card and give the Packers a run for their money in the NFC Divisional round. If they can get the job done on the road at Green Bay, don’t be surprised if Tom Brady leads the Buc’s to back to back Super Bowl appearances.

“My hope is that the Buccaneers will win in light of Antonio Brown’s recent actions, and almost use it as fuel for their playoff run,” said senior Cam Warren.

Rams: The Los Angeles Rams are also a very intriguing playoff caliber team who could be a sleeper in this year’s picture. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. to an already potent offense, it may not be too outlandish for the Rams to be playing in their own stadium when the big game kicks off.

“I really believe in Mathew Stafford because I think he can take them to the next level. OBJ is also a pretty good replacement for Robert Woods, so I could see them winning it all,” Gavin Wild explained.

AFC: With a closer playoff chase between teams in the AFC, more drama may happen on this side of the bracket. Teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs are all closing out the regular season red hot.

Chiefs: Missing the top seed in the AFC by one game, the Chief’s have the potential for another Super Bowl run. Keeping virtually the same offense throughout the off and regular seasons, the Chiefs have the experience to produce when February rolls around. However, do not be surprised if they are an early exit too. Mahomes and the offense have had rough patches this year, and little production from their explosive offense could be costly. Despite those assumptions some still believe Patrick Mahomes is the answer:mmqb-preictions

“Patrick Mahomes is the greatest quarterback of all time, and will beat the Packers to win his second Superbowl,” said Pierce Lewis.

Bengals: By far the biggest sleeper pick in the NFL are the Cincinnati Bengals. Set your alarms because you won’t want to miss this bandwagon when they make a historic playoff run. The Bengals have an explosive and fun to watch offense with a lot of young talent, including the potential ROY, Ja’marr Chase. With a really deep receiving core and an above average defense, the Bengals may be able to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. 

Steelers: By far a favorite team amongst many students, the Steelers snuck their way into a playoff spot with a miracle on Sunday Night Football. With what could be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have one last shot at lifting the Lombardi Trophy led by a future hall of famer.

“I want the steelers to win the superbowl for Big Ben’s final season, even though they may not be a clear favorite, or deserve to be in the playoffs in the first place,” said David Truhe.


Wild Card Games – AFC

Chiefs vs. Steelers

Bills vs Patriots

Bengals vs Raiders

Wild Card Games – NFC

Bucs vs Eagles

Cowboys vs 49’rs
Cardinals vs Rams

Divisional Round – AFC

Chiefs vs Titans

Patriots vs Bengals

Divisional Round – NFC

Bucs vs Packers 

Cowboys vs Rams

AFC Championship

Bucs vs Rams

NFC Championship

Bengals vs Chiefs

Super Bowl:

Bengals vs Buccaneers

The Dawgs Vs The Tide 

Nick Hurst

It is finally the New Year and that means the College National Football Championship Game is right around the corner. This year the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide have both worked extremely hard to get into this game. Both teams are going in with a 12-1 record. In the regular season Alabama had beaten Georgia so expectations for Alabama to do it again are high.  However, Georgia statistically had the advantage because it’s hard to beat a team two times in a row and Georgia was looking for revenge and wanting to dethrone the National Champions from the previous year.  

“My favorite college football team is the UNC Tar Heels because they are good at basketball and that’s why I like them for football although they aren’t that good I still root for them. But my prediction is 35-31 Alabama because they both have a strong offense but Alabama will be able to perform to exceed expectations and conquer Georgia’s defense.” Trint Saunders, a junior at the NCLA said in response to who would win the championship game.newspress-collage-20775045-1641794329362.png

For some people they would prefer to watch professional sports such as the NFL than College football. “Depending on the teams playing, watching college football can be more entertaining than watching the NFL because afterwhile the games in the NFL can be predictable making them boring to watch. I predict Alabama will win because of their coach. My thoughts on Nick Saban is that it doesn’t matter what he does off the field, if he can win on the field, he’s a good head coach,” said Adam Small, another junior at NCLA.

The championship game was played on Jan. 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Georgia beat Alabama 33-18 dethroning the 2021 champions. It was a hard fought game up until late second half when Georgia put up a touchdown over Alabama. Then everything started rolling for Georgia in the fourth quarter scoring 20 points with a pick six to seal the game. 

Upcoming Games:

Varsity Boy’s Basketball @ Millennium Charter-1/18

Varsity Boys Basketball against Triad Math and Science- 1/19

Varsity Girls Basketball @ Oak Ridge Military Academy- 1/18

Varsity Girls Basketball against Triad Math and Science- 1/18

2 comments on “Sports

  1. James Wilson

    Emma Ware is the undisputed GOAT.


  2. James Wilson

    Great paper guys! Although I don’t think it is news that Tina Parker likes Starbucks. She could probably keep them afloat by herself.


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