Devil Pups set the bar high in 2018 - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sportside With Sokol

Devil Pups set the bar high in 2018

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:20 pm

This fall is one that won’t be forgotten for Lejeune High School sports teams. Each experienced hardships and faced adversity, not knowing how the season would turn out.

When Hurricane Florence came through the coast of North Carolina, there were prices to be paid. Teams went multiple weeks without practices. The volleyball courts at Brewster Middle School were damaged.

On top of that, the Marine Corps Base Lejeune community went through a lot, and these student athletes saw real-life problems.

LHS soccer player Broden Wilhemsen showed a great sense of maturity when the hurricane recovery process started.

“There was not any physical activity and time for yourself throughout this recovery process when you are focused on your community,” said Wilhemsen.

LHS cross-country was not able to practice as a group, and members even missed the Marine Corps Half Marathon, an event which they participate in with the community each year. The team exchanged their running shoes for work gloves as they had to clean up the LHS cross-country course from the storm debris,

The football team had to make up its game against Pender High School because of the disruption the storm caused to school schedules throughout the region.

LHS football coach Jim Gardiner said it best when talking about how the Devil Pups were going to overcome the odds during a fragile time at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

“They are (Camp) Lejeune kids. They’re used to being in adverse conditions,” said Gardiner. “We play teams with three times as many athletes, so they’ll be ready for whomever, whenever.”

Even though LHS athletics faced hardships this fall, the community should look at how successful the Devil Pups were in the playoffs.

For the first time in school history, the LHS girls tennis team made an appearance in the East Regional final of the dual team playoffs. Junior Georgia Lee represented LHS for individuals in the state tournament.

The LHS boys and girls cross-country team finished as the 1A East Regional champions for the fourth consecutive year. The LHS girls finished 11th out of 16 teams at the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A state championship, while the boys took 12th out of 16 teams.”

LHS football might not have won a game this year, but the lessons learned from the team will not go unnoticed. Gardiner put an emphasis on academics first, upholding his team’s rule that you keep a C or above to play football.

The run that LHS soccer made in the playoffs was something else. They did start out with an impressive 3-2 victory over Pender at home. LHS moved past Woods Charter 2-1, punching a ticket to the state quarterfinal. Dreams became reality for the Devil Pups when they defeated Franklin Academy 3-2, moving on to the East Regional final for the first time in 14 years before dropping a 3-1 decision to Voyager Academy on Nov. 13.

LHS fall sports soared to new heights in 2018. The bar is set high for the Devil Pups, and we will see what accolades will be achieved by the LHS athletes next season.

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