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Got Game? Moore County Has — For All Ages

By Hunter Chase
Sports Editor, The Pilot

Sports in the Sandhills offer a plethora of options for those who like to attend and for those who like to participate.

Of course, golf is the big draw in the area, but there is so much more for residents to sink their teeth into when it comes to the local sports ­smorgasbord.

For those who like to see athletes compete, there are high school, middle school and recreational leagues galore. For those who just like to compete, there are tennis leagues, bowling leagues, softball leagues, ­basketball leagues and the Senior Games in the Pines.

There also is a strong biking community, anchored by the Sandhills Cycling Club. For those who like to mix in a little socializing with their competition, there are lawn bowling and croquet clubs at the Pinehurst Resort and Longleaf Golf and Country Club.

On the high school level, there are three public schools and a private school. Pinecrest High School competes on the 4-A level, the highest classification in the state. Union Pines High School competes on the 3-A level, while North Moore is a 1-A school. The O’Neal School competes on the 2-A level in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association.

Those four schools compete in the big three sports — football (except O’Neal), basketball and baseball — while soccer and tennis are also solid programs at the schools. The schools round out their athletic ­challenges with various other sports, including wrestling, girls’ volleyball, girls’ softball, cross ­country, track and field, gymnastics and swimming programs.

Pick a day of the week, and there is ­probably a game going on somewhere in the county during the school year.

 

Recreation Departments

There are four recreation departments in the county, and recreational leagues fill local fields and courts. Southern Pines, Pinehurst, Aberdeen and Moore County all boast recreation departments. These departments not only cater to local youth, but also offer various leagues for adults. (See page 82 for more ­information about the recreation ­departments).

There is also an active swimming club in the county for youth, the Sandsharks, and several wrestling clubs for youth. The Sandhills Sandcats and Copperheads wrestling clubs compete in many ­tournaments throughout the year, giving young wrestlers the opportunity to ­compete against other grapplers of their skill levels.

During the summer, the Sandsharks are part of a swimming league that includes other clubs in the local area. The Sandsharks offer several levels of competition, including personalized coaching for individuals. The club hosts the North Carolina State Open Swim Championships each summer.

 

Senior Games in the Pines

Moore County has one of the largest organizations in the state when it comes to the Senior Games. There is always a huge delegation from Moore County that competes in the state games, and many of the athletes earn trips to national competition. 

Using an Olympics-type format, the games are open to anyone 55 and over. There are team competitions such as basketball and softball, and a wide gamut of individual competitions.

Registration for the games will take place during the months of February and March. Contact any of the local recreation departments for more ­information.

 

Tour de Moore

The Tour de Moore brings in several cyclist levels of competition, including representatives from Olympic teams. Riders from around the world ­participate in the feature race, a 100-mile trip through Moore County. Both male and female riders compete in ­several distances.

 The race is always held in conjunction with the Southern Pines Springfest. This year the event, recognized as an extremely rider-friendly competition by many of the veteran participants, takes place April 26.

More than 300 riders competed in last year’s event.

 

Tennis 

The local USTA team tennis league is called “The Pines” and is under the direction of Ruth Bondurant.  

Several levels of play are being offered at both the adult (19 and older) and senior (50 and over) divisions. Adult women can play at 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 levels. Adult men can also compete in 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 levels

For the senior women, there are 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 levels. Senior men may compete at 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 levels. Bondurant can be reached at (910) 949-2476. 

The teams usually play out of one of the several tennis clubs in the area. Clubs in the area include the Pinehurst Resort tennis facility, Seven Lakes, National and the Lawn and Tennis Club. 

During the summer, thousands of ­players from across the state descend on the Sandhills to compete in the state league tournament. Teams representing The Pines league usually claim a state championship or two during the week-long event. The tournament, based at the Pinehurst Resort, makes use of the many courts in the county.

Also appearing in the Sandhills during the summer months is the National Clay Court Championships for players 70-and-above.

 

Bowling

The Sandhills Bowling Center is the scene for local bowlers of all ages. The Center offers league play and ­tournaments year-round.

Call the center at (910) 295-9610 for more information.