ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Time to Start Summer Vacation
by Brian North
5/31/06

Now that ECU's baseball season has come to an end, it's almost time to start the summer slumber before football season awakens us. But there are a few sporting events to peak our interest while we wait for the pig skin to fly in September.

If you are a die hard purple and gold fan, no matter the sport, then you can still root on ECU's track & field team. The East Carolina foursome of senior DeAndre Hyman and freshman Jerek Hewett (the football player), David Rucker and Kevin Thompson registered a season-best time of 39.88 in the 4x100 relay during regional competition. They earned a third place finish and a spot in the NCAA National Championships. The NCAA Finals are scheduled for June 7-10 at Sacramento, California.

If it's good local baseball you are looking for, then check out the state championships this weekend. Pitt County's DH Conley High School will try to win a second straight state championship. The Vikings are led by super star Alex White and will face Ragsdale in a three game series Friday and Saturday in Greensboro. North Lenoir will also play for a state title in the Triad. The Hawks will also be gunning for back to back titles as they face off with Forbush. North Lenoir has a talented junior class that Billy Godwin should be checking out. The softball state finals also take place this weekend at Walnut Creek in Raleigh. North Pitt, South Lenoir, and Jamesville are all local teams trying to win it all.

The Coastal Plain League also provides lots of quality summer baseball in places like New Bern, Wilson, Wilmington, and Edenton. And there is also American Legion Baseball in just about any town you look.

The Carolina Hurricanes are trying to win the state's first professional sports title. The 'Canes have a very good shot at winning the Stanley Cup over the next few weeks. It's a "cool" sport that fans in the east are still getting used to, but let's face it, everyone loves a winner, so if the Hurricanes can take the title, plenty of people will get on Kevin Monroe's band wagon.

The NBA Playoffs are also a good way to stay cool inside with the air conditioning blasting in the hot summer months. Excitement has returned to the postseason this year with the likes of Dwayne Wade, Steve Nash, and Josh Howard playing well. Lets hope it continues into June when the finals will appear on good old ABC (have to give our station a plug, we need the ratings).

Three more major golf tournaments will take place before football season starts (the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship), plus there will be plenty of local tournaments like the Hooters Tour stop in Greenville. Tennis also dots the landscape with the French Open and Wimbledon.

For you outdoor enthusiasts, there is the Big Rock Tournament in June. It is one of the richest fishing tournaments in the country, and those marlins on the scales of Morehead City are quite a site to behold.

So there is plenty for you sports fans to do this summer in between trips to the beach and those long afternoon naps. Enjoy the down time, because Purple Haze will be blaring in Dowdy Ficklin Stadium before you know it, and then we will all be wondering where the summer went.
 
Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com