08/08/09 — Hurricanes finish national runners-up

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Hurricanes finish national runners-up

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on August 8, 2009 11:55 PM

PANANA CITY BEACH, Fla. -- The preparation paid off.

A tradition-rich, fast-pitch softball program, the Wayne County Hurricanes 12-Under squad reaped numerous rewards for their hard work this season.

The 12-player team battled through injuries, sickness and even a teammate's house fire going into winter workouts. Focused and determined to achieve their goals, the Hurricanes emerged successful.

Directed by head coach Mark McCollum, Wayne County competed not only in 12U tournaments, but also battled against 14U teams. He felt the demanding invitationals would get his team ready for the highly-contested World Series.

He was right.

Wayne County logged a mind-boggling 72-15-3 record against 12U and 14U opposition in fall and spring tournaments. Included on the worksheet were North Carolina USFA championships in both age groups, and then came the pinnacle -- a runner-up finish in the "A" Division USFA World Series.

The Hurricanes were the lone representatives from the Tar Heel State competing in the 27-team event, which included state champions from the rest of the country.

"I am really proud of what these girls have accomplished this year," said McCollum, whose team won three of four fall tournaments. "Not only are they great players, but they are also champions on and off the field. They exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and Christian values.

"Their heart, hustle, drive, determination and work ethic are second to none."

Players from Wayne, Johnston, Lenoir and Greene County comprised the 12-member team. They are Brittany Bucklin, Meredith Burroughs, Charley Cox, Cierra Harris, Anna Ingram, Megan Lanier, Kaci Letchworth, Savanna Massengill, Rachel McCollum, Morgan Mentz, Megan Mozingo and Rachel Willis.

Assisting McCollum in his coaching duties were Shawn Harris, Russ Cox, Mark Massengill, Jeff Ingram, Nick Burroughs, Joe Mentz and Bobby Willis.