SPORTS—Year in Review 2015



Corey Taylor from Charleston, South Carolina, took first place in the annual Cold Stroke Classic’s 7-mile paddleboard race on Saturday, Jan. 17. Fifty-five athletes competed in the 7-mile race, and 43 athletes completed the 3.5-mile recreational course.



Wilmington hosted Race 13.1, a new half-marathon series, for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 22. Billy Shires from Charlotte, North Carolina, took a lead over his 364 competitors and finished the race in 1:18:57, a new North Carolina record in the 50-55 age group.



Thirty cyclists competed in the first U.S. Open Beach Fat Bike Championships on March 14. The race consisted of 24 loops around a 1-mile course that started at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Ben Brown of Greensboro, North Carolina, took first place with a time of 1:33:53.


More than 2,000 runners completed the sixth annual Wrightsville Beach Quintiles half and full marathons Sunday, March 22. The course took them around the John Nesbitt Loop, over the drawbridge, through the streets of north Wilmington and into Mayfaire Town Center. Walter Guyer from Charlotte, North Carolina, was first to cross the finish line with a time of 2:42.

For the start of the Wrightsville Beach Biathlon on Saturday, March 28, paddleboarders lined up their boards facing south across Banks Channel in front of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Charleston, South Carolina, paddler Jeremy Whitted was first to complete the 4-mile paddleboard course and 4-mile beach run in 1:17.



The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s surf team asserted itself as one of the top teams on the East Coast with a strong showing in the National Scholastic Surfing Association East Coast Regional Championships in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, April 9-11. The team finished second to the University of North Florida.

About 30 paddleboarders gathered at the south side of Crystal Pier on Saturday, April 18, for the Wrightsville Beach SUP Surf Pro/Am, part of a four-day Waterman Festival to fund Wrightsville Beach Museum of History’s newly formed Waterman Hall of Fame.

Two hundred paddleboarders from around the world charged into waves during the Carolina Cup’s Graveyard Elite Race, which took paddlers on a 13-mile course through open ocean, two inlets and a flatwater stretch against wind and current on Saturday, April 25.



107 swimmers lined up near the Johnnie Mercer’s Pier for the Grey Liston Memorial Swim on May 16. The 1.7-mile swim was held in memory of the late Grey Liston, a former University of North Carolina Wilmington swimmer and Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguard who died in a mountain climbing accident in Washington’s Olympic National Park on July 20, 2013.

During the Lightning Southeastern District Championship, twenty-three small sailboats rocked gently on the smooth, emerald water hundreds of yards off the coast of Wrightsville Beach on Saturday, May 30. Six races were held over the two-day regatta and the crews accumulated points for their placement in each contest. Skipper Jim Harris’ crew, representing the Carolina Yacht Club, took home first place overall.



On Saturday, June 13, 92 fishermen dropped their lines in the water before dawn in hopes of hooking the heaviest flounder at the Carousel Center Flounder Tournament. The winner, Jordan Anderson, reeled in an 8.3-pound flounder and took home a $1,000 cash prize. Proceeds from the event benefited the Carousel Center, a child advocacy organization that provides medical examinations and trauma therapy for children in cases of reported child sexual abuse or physical abuse in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.

Natural talent in the water and hard work on land earned 15-year-old Bo Raynor his first-place title in the National Scholastic Surfing Association national championships in California on Sunday, June 28. He was the first local surfer since Ben Bourgeois in 1994 to bring the title back to Wrightsville Beach.



Teams from all over the Southeast played in the 41st annual Cape Fear Sevens rugby tournament at Ogden Park on July 4-5. The two-day event was organized by the Cape Fear Rugby Club.

The 2015 O’Neill Sweetwater Pro-Am surf contest featured several experienced and elite professionals, but it was 15-year-old Luke Gordon of South Carolina who took the top prize: $4,000. The contest ran July 17-19 near Wrightsville Beach’s Columbia Street access.

At 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, 124 children ages 5 to 13 swam, biked and ran in the 13th annual Wilmington Family YMCA’s kids’ triathlon.



Nearly 100 girls and women from around the region competed in the annual Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic just south of Crystal Pier on Aug. 15-16. Karson Lewis and Savannah Bradley won the pro divisions for longboard and shortboard. Fifteen-year-old Julia Eckel and 16-year-old Carley Carter, best friends from Wrightsville Beach, took first place in the tandem surfing division.

During the Mauli Ola Foundation’s Aug. 22 Surf Experience Day, a dozen children with cystic fibrosis were paddled out in Wrightsville Beach’s mellow surf to experience the medicinal benefits of the ocean.


Athletes swim through Banks Channel at the start of the Wilmington YMCA Sprint Triathlon Sept. 19.

Athletes swim through Banks Channel at the start of the Wilmington YMCA Sprint Triathlon Sept. 19.

Nearly 700 athletes swam, biked and ran their way through the annual Wilmington YMCA Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, Sept. 19. Eighteen-year-old Graham Pimentel, who raced on a team from Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina, took first place overall with a time of 1:04:42.

Swimmers competed in 20 mph northeast winds during the fourth annual Swim the Loop on Sunday, Sept. 27. Local professional triathlete Matt Wistoff was first to complete the 3.5-mile open water course with a time of 1:22:55.



Andrew Drobek from Missoula, Montana, won the annual PPD Beach2Battleship iron distance triathlon Oct. 17 with a final time of 8:31:38.

The nationally ranked Duke University women’s golf team won the 14th annual Landfall Tradition golf tournament Oct. 23-25 with team score of -9.



Canadian paddleboarder Tommy Buday took first place in the 6.5-mile Surf to Sound race Nov. 7 with a time of 1:01:46.

University of North Carolina Wilmington’s women’s soccer team won its first-ever NCAA tournament game Nov. 13, defeating the University of South Carolina Gamecocks 2-0. Senior forward Katrina Guillou and junior defender Lauren Nalevaiko scored for the Seahawks.

Nearly 100 participants raced in the 33rd annual Seaside Shuffle 5K Nov. 22 on Wrightsville’s beach strand. Brittany Perkins from Wilmington was the first female finisher with a time of 19:40 and David Southerland was the first male finisher in 20:53.



The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s men’s basketball team was handed its first loss of the season by Georgetown Dec. 12. The Seahawks fell 5-1.

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