7 former Chargers, 1 team get call from Northwood’s Hall

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PITTSBORO — Northwood High School inducted seven members and one team into its Athletics Hall of Fame last Friday.

The induction took place during halftime of the Chargers’ 34-6 victory over the Orange Panthers. Those being inducted into the 2021 class included Taylor Adams, Austin Brice, Josh Edwards, Jay Farrell, Stefanie Pearce-Mendler, Maurice Perry, David Stephens, and the 2000 Men’s Basketball Team.

Taylor Adams graduated from Northwood in 2004. He ran cross country and track all four years of high school. In track & field, Adams was a two-time all-state selection in the 3,200-meter race. On the cross country trail, he was a three-time team captain, where he led the Chargers to two conference and regional championships, including a 2A state runner-up finish in 2004. Individually, Adams won the state championship in 2004. Upon graduation from Northwood, he held the school record for the fastest time in the Boys 5K.

Adams attended N.C. State on a Park Scholarship, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in Aerospace Engineering. He then went on to receive his master’s of science in Civil Engineering in 2012 from the University of Colorado. He is currently a Water Resources and Environmental Engineer at Hydros Consulting in Boulder, Colorado.

Austin Brice is a 2010 graduate of Northwood High School, where he excelled on the soccer and baseball fields. Brice was instrumental in the soccer team’s 2009 state championship runner-up team. He was a 2009 and 2010 all-conference selection for his accomplishments in soccer.

However, on the baseball diamond is where Brice was a force. He won 63 games in four years on the mound. His senior year, he struck out 76 batters in just 41 innings pitched. He also doubled as a stellar hitter, posting a career .385 batting average that included 10 home runs. His electric arm — which reached speeds of over 90 miles per hour in high school — caught the attention of many colleges and scouts.

That led to Brice being selected in the 9th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Miami Marlins. He originally committed to play baseball at Appalachian State, but decided to pursue his dream of playing major league baseball instead. He was called up to the majors for the first time on Aug. 9, 2016, and made his debut in a game against the Chicago White Sox three days later on Aug 12. Born in Hong Kong on June 19, 1992, Brice became the first Hong Kong-born player to appear in the majors. He’s since played for the Marlins, Reds and Red Sox, where he is currently a member of their AAA affiliate organization, the Worcester Red Sox.

Josh Edwards is a 2007 graduate of Northwood and was a standout in both football and wrestling. A defensive end, Edwards holds the school record for sacks in a game with 11 and totaled 34 sacks his senior year. He was part of the first football team in Northwood history to make it to the third round of the state playoffs in 2006. He was an all-state selection in football and was one of the top-rated defensive ends in North Carolina in 2007.

Edwards was known for his performance on the wrestling mat, where he was the 2007 2A state champion in the 215-lb weight class. His record during his final two years of high school was 87-8, including a 49-0 unbeaten season his senior year. Upon graduation from Northwood, Edwards attended N.C. Central University.

“Our motto senior year was ‘finish,’” Edwards said when asked about his time with the Chargers. “I took that motto with me throughout the rest of my life. To never cut short and complete the job. I appreciate all that my coaches did for me to make me a better player and man.”

J.A. (Jay) Farrell III is a 1975 Northwood graduate who was a member of the 1974 and 1975 basketball team. Farrell was nominated for his 26 years of service as a member of the football chain crew.

“I enjoy being able to give back to the community,” Farrell said, reflecting on his time on the Northwood sideline. “I follow the young athletes through youth sports and enjoy watching their journey in sports and academics.”

In addition to his service on the chain crew, Farrell was a member of the Pittsboro Fire & Rescue for 43 years, was a member of the Pittsboro Town Council, and a member of Masonic Lodge #102. Farrell is also a local business owner, acting as co-owner of Virlies Grill in Pittsboro.

Stefanie Pearce-Mendler is a 2001 graduate of Northwood. She was a member of the cross country, basketball and track & field teams. She was a three-sport athlete for all four years of high school. Pearce-Mendler excelled in cross country where she was a two-time conference champion and runner of the year. She also placed in the regional race in the fall of 2000.

Upon graduation, she attended Appalachian State University, where she graduated in 2005 with a degree in Health Promotions/Exercise Science.

Maurice Perry is a 1991 graduate who was a standout in track & field, football and cross country. He holds the school records in the 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and high jump and was a member of the 4 x 200 relay team. Perry was the 1991 state champion in the 300-meter hurdles. He was also Conference Player of the Year in track & field in 1991 and was all-conference in football that same year. Upon graduation from Northwood, Perry attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he was a two-time national qualifier in the 100-meter dash and long jump. He was also named the Carolina Conference MVP in Track and Field. Perry graduated with a Business Management degree in 1996 and is currently employed as an Implementation-Conversion Manager with Fidelity National Information Services.

David Stephens was a 2001 graduate of Northwood, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team and football team. The 6-foot-5 Stephens was quite a presence on the football team as a defensive end. He was selected to the all-conference team his junior and senior year.

On the basketball court is where Stephens made his name known throughout the state. He was selected as the West’s Most Outstanding Player during the 2000 state championship, scoring 30 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in the contest. For his career, he averaged 17 points and 15 rebounds per game. He went on to attend Southwest Missouri State, which was a junior college at the time. Following his stint at Southwest Missouri State, Stephens attended Tarlton State in Texas where he earned a degree in business.

The 2000 Men’s Basketball Team was the first team at Northwood High School to make it to a state championship game. They finished as the runner-up after a heartbreaking 68-66 loss to Whiteville. The Chargers stormed into the state championship that season, winning 22 straight games after a Dec. 19, 1999, loss to Chapel Hill, 68-57. Their 22 straight victories were won by an average of 24 points and only twice all season did they win by less than 10 points.

“In coaching, you get lucky and get one of those teams where everything gels,” Coach Jim Pappas said when reflecting on his team. “When I think about their parents, the kids, you talk about a group — unless they fooled me — that really liked each other. They really liked spending time with each other. Their families were supportive of what we were doing and everyone was on board from the administration to the school and the community. … It was a really special time.”

The members of the 1999-2000 team were Avon Seymour, Ezra Swan, Joe Scroggs, Ryan Williams, Doug Brooks, Tony Rogers, Rod Edwards, Daniel Smith, Justin Phillips, Lamar Reaves, Justin Massey, Rashaun Rives, Ryan Valente, David Stephens and Simon Alston. Pappas, assisted by Jared Hedrick, Mike Bray, Andrew France, Darrin Price, manager Mario Scurlock, statisticians Alisha Bynum and Cynthia Stickland.

Congratulations to the newest members on their induction into the Northwood High School Athletics Hall of Fame!

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