Friday, May 21, 2010

SPORTS>>Searcy players head up pack of all-star picks

Leader sports editor

State champion Searcy was well represented on the Arkansas High School Coaches Association’s all-star soccer rosters released by the Arkansas Activities Association on Wednesday.

The 6A state champion Lions and Lady Lions had a combined five players named to the East teams, who will play squads from the West in Fayetteville on June 22.

The Searcy girls, who beat El Dorado 3-1 for the state championship May 7, placed forward McKenzie Clark and Caleigh Woodruff on the roster, with Jordan Fust as alternate.

“McKenzie led us in assists,” Lady Lions coach Larry Stamps said. “And she’s done it for so long. I was tickled to death to see her get that. She was a big leader for us on this team. We couldn’t have done it without her.”

Stamps, who is also an assistant to Michelle Birdsong on the girls basketball team, coached Woodruff from November onward in both sports.

“We call her ‘cover,’ because she can guard anybody,” Stamps said. “She’s not the biggest or strongest or fastest, but she had a will on the floor and on the field that she could just shut people down. She’s only about 5-2, so I don’t know how she does it, but she does.”

The East boys team features midfielder Jared Harriman and goal keeper Will Lynn, who helped Searcy beat Mountain Home 4-0 in the state championship game May 7.

“These two guys right there meant so much to our program,” coach Bronco King said. “And this accolade on top of the state championship — when you have good things happen to you, you get to showcase your talent.”

King agreed that Searcy’s high school success and a solid youth program was keeping local players in the game as they get older, instead of losing them to other sports.

“The whole community of Searcy rally knows what’s going on with our soccer program” King said.

North Pulaski’s Claire Crews and Cabot’s Emily Warren were also named to the 22-player all-star East girls team. North Pulaski’s Mathew Ingersoll and Cabot’s Cameron Koehler were selected to the boys East squad.

Crews was a speedy midfielder for the Lady Falcons and led the team in scoring. She also had success as a freshman as part of a state-champion 400-meter relay team in track and field, the only state title at North Pulaski for any sport.

“Claire is just a really great kid,” North Pulaski coach Tony Buzzitta said. “She was valedictorian of her class, and she’s played soccer forever. I’m really proud to have her representing North Pulaski High School. She was a great leader for us — a team captain.

“She’s a tough little player, and she wasn’t afraid to go up against someone bigger or stronger than her.”

Ingersoll was also a defensive starter for the Falcons football team and participated on the track and cross-country teams.

“Matt was like a coach on the field,” Buzzitta said. “And he did a really good job. He could play anywhere on the field.

“He was a keeper for me for two years before we got someone else, and I used him mostly as a defender this year due to his speed and endurance, but he could play offense as well.”

Bryant’s Julie Long will coach the East girls and Jason Hay, also of Bryant, will coach the Boys.

It is the seventh year of all-star soccer competition. The girls game will be played at 6 p.m. at Razorback Field on the
Arkansas Campus and the boys game will follow at 8 p.m.