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Nash Central getting settled into new conference

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Nash Central's Michaela Nelms, center, sprints to the finish Wednesday while competing in the 400 meter dash at the Big East Conference Track & Field Championships at Rocky Mount High School. Nelms won the event.

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By ETHAN JOYCE
Sports Writer

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WILSON — Kyle Bain stood surrounded by unfamiliar faces.

OK, the Nash Central athletics director recognized most of the people in the room from his 10-year career as a coach and teacher in the area. But he’s about to start getting more familiar with them all.

Bain joined the mixture of coaches and athletics directors in the Eastern Plains 2-A conference on Tuesday at Parker’s Barbecue. The school, which opened in 2002, has been a Class 3-A school in the NCHSAA until this upcoming academic year. 

The drop down in class, Bain said, has brought excitement to the campus even though administration is acclimating on the fly. 

“I started as A.D. last year, and all the (Nash) County A.D.s just pulled me in under their wings,” Bain said. “You learn a lot about the people, and I have been around this area a long time so I knew everyone. 

“ . . . It is going to be a big adjustment to work along side people you just met, trying to work out some of the problems that may arise, especially after being in a conference where you have known people your whole life.”

Bain feels the move sets up every program for more success. But Bain thinks individual sports like swimming and track will thrive the most. The Nash Central girls track team claimed five indoor titles and two outdoor titles in 2016-17.

“We have been used to going against schools that are a lot bigger than us, and it has been difficult to compete with the number of students that we have,” Bain said. “It will be interesting to see how everything panes out once we are competing on the same level of schools that are what we are.”

Nash Central football coach Chris Lee feels the same way about the football program. The Bulldogs went 7-5 last season and were picked to finish second in the coaches’ preseason poll on Tuesday. Lee is also excited about forming new conference rivalries.

While Nash Central won’t lock up with the three other county schools in conference play anymore, Lee foresees future battles with SouthWest Edgecombe, which was picked as the top team in the Eastern Plains. The Bulldogs beat the Cougars, 18-13, and went 3-0 in play against their current Eastern Plains compatriots in non-conference play last year. 

“Being so close, I think a lot of our kids know a lot of their kids,” Lee said. “A lot of these kids live right across the track from each other and played in middle school against each other.

“That right there in itself should make it a pretty good rivalry on top of being in the same conference.”

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