‘You became a powerhouse’

Seaforth celebrates inaugural season with end-of-year awards banquet

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access begins at $4.67/month

Print + Digital begins at $6.58/month

Posted

PITTSBORO — Jason Amy, the athletic director at Seaforth High School, took the stage in front of a jam-packed auditorium of athletes, coaches and proud parents and made his way to the podium.

“We’ve accomplished goals, developed teamwork and created the Hawks Nation, a foundation for future athletes and parents to follow,” he said into the microphone. “This year, I’m blown away by how well Seaforth Athletics did, not just the fact that we’re beating teams and winning conferences, but that you guys are 9th and 10th graders.”

Amy is often grinning from ear-to-ear when speaking, a hard-to-miss characteristic of his infectious personality, one that — along with assistance from passionate parents and other staff members — helped cultivate an exciting atmosphere around Pittsboro’s newest high school.

His speech, which was short and sweet, acted as the opening for Seaforth’s first-ever End of Year Athletic Banquet last Wednesday, a night meant to celebrate the school’s inaugural athletic year.

As has been the case with many of Seaforth’s firsts this year, it surely wasn’t your typical athletic banquet.

The event featured a pre-celebration that included live music, mocktails and catered hors d’oeuvres for athletes and parents in the school’s courtyard with decorations galore and plenty opportunities for photos.

About an hour later, the award ceremony began with guest speaker Coleman Scott, head coach of UNC Wrestling, and a performance by the Bouncing Bulldogs, a Triangle-based jump rope club that specializes in dropping jaws and earning applause.

But the focus, of course, remained on the athletes, the coaches and every person who helped make Seaforth’s inaugural year a resounding success.

“Today, we build a legacy of appreciation of the value of being on a team,” Amy said in his speech. “You guys got together, created a team and then became more than a team, you became a powerhouse. You guys are out there doing things that surprise everybody.”

While there weren’t any awards given out to athletes specifically — a process that would have taken much longer than the couple of hours allotted for the night’s festivities with coaches representing 27 teams in attendance — there were a few handed out to some of the athletic department’s most crucial behind-the-scenes individuals.

They included:

• Robert Eanes and Kim Brower: Outstanding Service Awards

• Nicole Stevenson: Social Media Award

• Amber Brown: Junior Hawk of the Year

• Brandon O’Neill: Hawks Nation Award

While the Bouncing Bulldogs were surely there to entertain, Scott’s purpose was to lend some of his expertise — both as a four-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State and Olympic bronze medalist — to the student-athletes, telling them how to best prepare for college, stay on track and unlock both their athletic and academic potential.

“Everybody in this room’s got a strong work ethic, right? But what does it take? What does it take to achieve your goals for what you want to do, what you want to be?” Scott asked, rhetorically. “At 10 years old, I knew what my goal was, it was to be an Olympic champ. I came up a little bit short, but I lay my head on my pillow every night knowing I gave it everything I had.

“Once you make a decision on what you want to do,” Scott continued, “ask yourself, ‘How am I going to get there?’ There are a lot of parents and coaches in this room, lean on those people.”

Amy also called every Seaforth coach in attendance up to the stage at once and, one-by-one, allowed them to say a few words about their players and seasons, many of which rattled off all-conference names, team records, most-improved players and even told stories about their favorite moments from the year.

After the ceremony, each athlete received a packet with an ‘S’ patch that could be placed on a letterman jacket alongside certain pins associated with the sport they competed in.

It was a night not only meant for mingling and handing out awards, but also reflecting on everything the Hawks had accomplished in their first year as an athletic program.

When most of the crowd had left, Amy sat down in a booth inside of the school’s cafeteria with a look of relief on his face, seemingly a year in the making.

“Everybody’s been great, everybody’s been excited to start their own program,” Amy told the News + Record. “It’s been a real joy.”

On April 28, 2021, the News + Record published that Amy would be leaving his decade-and-a-half-long post at Northwood High School to become the AD at Seaforth.

Despite what it looked like on award night, Seaforth didn’t always look so put together.

At one point, it was defined by rooms full of boxes, halls full of construction equipment — still a staple northeast of the main building, where a multipurpose storage facility is being built — and staff members frantically working to get everything ready for the school year.

When asked a year later if he was ever nervous about whether or not his vision would come to fruition, Amy answered with a story.

“One of the pictures I had (in the slide show) was a picture of me in my beach chair in my office with boxes and I think I had my laptop on the box,” he explained. “And I started laughing because I was sitting there thinking, ‘I left a great school, I left all of these great people, and here I am sitting in this room with my beach chair and boxes.’

“Then, all of a sudden, the teams started forming and coming together and then we’re seeing the first-ever win for a program,” he continued. “Every single program won at least one game and that shows a lot for the kids and their commitment. This year was kind of a blur, but ultimately, I think it was a really successful year.”

Amy is quick to thank those working around him, including O’Neill, who was instrumental in starting the program’s booster club, Hawks Nation, along with making seasonal program “yearbooks” on the level of college or pro sports teams.

For a school that competed on the varsity level in just about every sport with only freshmen and sophomores on its rosters, the success Seaforth saw in its first year was unprecedented.

During his speech, Amy read off some of the more impressive statistics from the program’s first year: the Hawks competed in 21 varsity sports, had 223 total rostered athletes, 90 all-conference selections and seven teams that won conference championships.

He said that when he took the reins, he refused to be anything but competitive.

“I’m very competitive, so I told people right out of the gate that I wanted to go varsity in everything and they said, ‘They’re going up against 17-18-year-olds, bigger kids, so I don’t know if you can do that,’” Amy said. “I said that I think we can because I know the kind of area that we’re in and I know these kids. … And the results speak for themselves.”

From here, Amy said he expects his student-athletes to build off of their experience in the Hawks’ inaugural season and has high hopes for every athletic program in the building, even those that only won a few games this year.

He all but guaranteed that a state championship (or two) is coming. He just doesn’t know when.

“Every single person here has worked probably triple time trying to get these results, so it’s not been an easy process by any means,” Amy said. “Everybody told me, ‘Well, you’ve got to give it about three years and then you’re going to start getting good,’ but we did it in one year, we’re pretty good. That’s been our concept from day one is we’ve just kind of taken everything here and made our own identity. … And, hopefully, we’re looking toward that state championship.”

Here’s the full list of Seaforth’s spring award winners:

Women’s Soccer

Most Valuable Player: Caitlin Erman

Most Improved Player: Morgan York

The Rock Award: Jadah Carroll

Men’s Golf

• Most Valuable Player: Griffin Ching

Coaches Award: Gray Stewart

Men’s Track & Field

Rising Hawk Award: Wyatt Parker

Most Valuable Player: Jack Anstrom

Exemplar Hawk: Walter Entrekin

Women’s Track & Field

Rising Hawk Award: Charlie Ann George

Most Valuable Player: Gabrielle White

Exemplar Hawk: Claire Morgan

J.V. Softball

Hawks Standout Player: Addison Clarke

Baseball

Most Valuable Player: Dane O’Neill

Iron Hawk: Anders Johansson

Hawks Circle: Makaio Stephenson

Men’s Lacrosse

Most Valuable Player: Layne Armstrong

Offensive Player of the Year: Ethan Hughes

Defensive Player of the Year: John “Ethan” Becker

Men’s Tennis

Most Valuable Player: Walker Magrinat

Coach’s Award: Felton Burleigh and Logan Ching

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here