mblake@newsobserver.comJune 8, 2013 

Williams Stadium at Athens Drive High School is slated to receive $4.5 million in renovations, to include the pressbox, bathrooms and concessions areas .


It’s hard to say when the effort first started to repair Athens Drive’s Williams Stadium, but the consensus is that repairs have been a long time coming.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners approved a request by the county school board to spend some of the money the school system has left from its 2006 capital improvement plan to make upgrades to the stadium, which hosts games for football, soccer, lacrosse and track.

There have been donations to build a field house since the 1990s. Allan Keith has been involved for the last six years to help see the project through. The first domino in the most recent effort came in the winter of 2011, thanks in large part to then-booster club President Karin Evanoff.

All that matters now to supporters that have pleaded for Williams Stadium to be upgraded is that work to improve its safety – like light fixtures and handicapped accessibility – will start by 2015.

The upgrades are expected to cost more than $4.5 million.

Tri-9 players commit: As the Tri-9 Conference has made three straight appearances in the 4A baseball championship game, its players have started latching onto big-time programs.

Fuquay-Varina junior third baseman/pitcher Brett Daniels committed to North Carolina last week. Daniels’ teammates this past year – senior center fielder/pitcher Garrett Suggs and junior pitcher Jordan Bissette – are committed to N.C. State.

Green Hope junior shortstop Stephen Pitarra also committed to N.C. State last week. The Wolfpack has an affinity for Tri-9 players.

Suggs, Bissette and Pitarra will join Chris Williams (Athens Drive), Carlos Rodon (Holly Springs), Will Gilbert (Green Hope), Dylan Frye (Lee County) and Chris Diaz (Apex) as former Tri-9 players to play for the Wolfpack in recent years.

Conference 3 awards: Eight Cardinal Gibbons girls’ lacrosse players were named to the all-conference list in Conference 3, which includes all Cap Eight Conference schools that have girls’ lacrosse, plus Gibbons.

Claire Nelson, Rebecca Wiley, Shelby Scanlin, Lane Huger and Kathleen Mills were first-team selections while Erika Skowron, Sarah Comstock and Sam Geaslen were on the second team.

New Crusaders coach: Cardinal Gibbons High School named Alex Buckley as the new varsity boys’ lacrosse head coach. Buckley will be a social studies teacher at Gibbons and most recently was a civil trial attorney in New Jersey.

Buckley’s playing experience includes Brown University and two professional lacrosse teams: the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Los Angeles Riptide.

Buckley replaces Mike Curatolo, who resigned as varsity men’s lacrosse coach to spend more time with his family. Curatolo amassed a 231-99 overall record in 17 years at the helm of the Cardinal Gibbons varsity lacrosse program.

Curatolo’s teams earned 17 playoff appearances, nine conference championships, 10 trips to the state tournament semifinals, five state championship berths and a state title in 2006. Curatolo will remain at Cardinal Gibbons as an assistant principal.

Green Hope coaches: Green Hope filled one vacancy but has another big one left. Morgan Caddell, most recently the JV coach at Holly Springs, will replace Michelle Then as the school’s softball coach.

But recently vacant is the boys’ soccer varsity coach position – the Falcons will be looking for their third coach in three years despite back-to-back state titles. Richard Huxford’s only season as the Falcons’ coach ended with a 24-2 record.

Huxford, who left to focus on his duties with the new Capital Area RailHawks development academy – a collaboration between CASL and the Carolina RailHawks – replaced Andrew Chadwick. Chadwick and the Falcons won the state title the year before.

Lacrosse All-Americans: Holly Springs seniors Evan Allen and Ethan Brantley, Apex senior Derek Sweet and Cardinal Gibbons senior Austin Nelli and junior Gannon Morrison were named to the U.S. Lacrosse All-American team.

U.S. Lacrosse takes a number of players from each region, and these five were among seven in the North Carolina-East region.

Cardinal Gibbons’ Jeff Williams and Athens Drive’s Kyle Wolfe, both seniors, were among the region’s three academic All-Americans.

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