The streak is stretched.
A decision by the N.C. High School Athletic Association at its spring meeting of its Board of Directors, the I-Meck Conference that includes a pair of area programs among its members has extended its string of at least one 4A class state championship entry to cover the cycle of prep-level sports seasons.
The NCHSAA officially declared that the girls basketball team from Zebulon Vance as well as the boys entry from North Mecklenburg each are recognized as 4A-class co-champions of the state.
Both Vance’s girls and North Meck’s boys captured NCHSAA Western Regional titles in early March before play in the statewide basketball postseason was first suspended before being cancelled completely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Late last month, prior to the regular board meeting, the NCHSAA made the decision to cancel all remaining last winter as well as spring sports schedules for the remainder of the school year. That call came after N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced that all public schools will also remain closed for the rest of the year as well.
As a result, Vance’s Cougars and North Mecklenburg’s Vikings will each officially don the title of state co-champions for the year. Each shares such distinctions with fellow Eastern Regional winners. It’s the first time the NCHSAA has made such a determination. In the past, when no state title tilts were held, teams were merely recognized as Western and Eastern regional champions.
Just days before the state finals were initially scheduled to take place at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, the decision was made to postpone play due to COVID-19. After first making plans to still stage the state finals, the matter was finalized by the decision to close all schools.
As a result, the duo from the I-Meck enable the conference to also keep in place a run of state title treks that can be traced all the way back to the spring season of the 2018-19 sports year.
While both Vance and North Meck can state claim to crowns in basketball, they now join a list of fellow members of the I-Meck roster also boasting of similar success dating back to the past three completed prep sports seasons.
Also during the course of the past winter phase, I-Meck member Hough High snared the NCHSAA’s 4A class dual-team title and also collected a first-place finish in the team standings following the state wrestling championship. That latter feat was also the third straight season in which a league entry prevailed. Mooresville High School won the previous two team titles in the same solo-based competition.
During the course of the fall season, Vance High bucked odds to emerge with the NCHSAA larger-enrollment 4AA class football championship crown to also add to the I-Meck’s presence.
The streak can be traced all the way back to the spring season of 2019. That is when the Mooresville baseball team gloved the first-ever NCHSAA 4A class state championship trophy in program history. The Blue Devils capped a 9-0 run in the state postseason play with a two-game sweep of its best-of-three-games title series.
As it turns out, following the decision to terminate all remaining spring sports, the Blue Devils will merit the right to take the title into a second straight season when play resumes during the 2020-21 school year.
With spring sports cancelled, the I-Meck — which also counts a Lake Norman High program that owns a number of previous state championship crowns as a member—will now have to wait until the start of the upcoming high school sports year in hopes of adding to its current winning streak.