Independence students push on in trophy restoration

Refurbished trophies on display in the Independence media center. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Refurbished trophies on display in the Independence media center. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

By Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

For an entire school year, students at Independence High School have been working to restore a chunk of school history from rusting and decaying in the basement.

The Independence DREAM Team, a group of student leaders, have been working to clean up and repair hundreds of trophies that were moved to a flood-prone basement years ago.

The trophies date as far back as the 60s, and encompass all sports and academic competitions, from football and basketball to scholars’ bowl and Future Farmers of America.

Beginning at the start of the school year, U.S. History teacher and advisor to the DREAM Team, Noel Hamrick, started taking the trophies out, cleaning them, and putting them on display in the media center.

Hamrick, who graduated from Independence in 1995, has even seen names of her classmates on trophies that the group has worked to repair.

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Mint Hill Board of Commissioners hears plans on development

Before the normal Mint Hill Board of commissioners meeting last Thursday, January 10, the town held their quarterly developer’s workshop, hearing presentations from several area land developers.

The board heard from Jerry Helms regarding Blair Road Development, Chris Isaacs regarding Mint Hill Commons development, and Brian Jackson regarding modifications to the Summerwood Community’s architecture requirements. 
Helms presented preliminary plans for an area of land owned by a number of residents, and potential uses for the land include a retirement community and a retail shopping space.
“I’m afraid if we develop Lawyer’s Road, we develop 218, we develop Blair Road, it’s going to turn Mint Hill and the outer belt into a nightmare,” said Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers, speaking of the potential development for a retail shopping complex along 485 in Mint Hill. “So at this point, I’m not encouraging this project. I think there are components of it that may be viable down the road, but this project is one big project that  I’m just not encouraged by.”
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Two Patriot wrestlers are champions at county tourney

By Frank Smithwick

Sports Writer
frank@minthilltimes.com

Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend. 
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago. 
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled. 
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
Independence entered the tournament with a chance to be in contention for a top two finish. This goal was hindered when Indy began the tournament without three of its regular starters: Robert Merli (126 lbs.), Devin Taylor (138  lbs.) and Charlie Kurtz (220  lbs.). These three wrestlers have combined for 34 wins this year for the Patriots. Missing these wrestlers meant that other Indy wrestlers had to do well over the two-day tournament to make up points lost by not entering a full team. At the end of the second day, Indy had four wrestlers place in the top four. Tashon Risher came in fourth place at 170 lbs. and  Josh Matos came in second place at 182 lbs. Indy did crown two champions: Junior Brian Tiderman(195 lbs.) and senior Demetree Hardison (285 lbs.). This was the third county championship for Tiderman and the second for Hardison. 
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Two Patriot wrestlers are champions at county tourney

By Frank Smithwick

Sports Writer
frank@minthilltimes.com

Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend. 
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago. 
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled. 
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
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Independence can’t stop Butler’s Stribling from scoring

Last Friday night, two teams about six miles apart met in the second round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs: Butler and Independence. It was a home game for Butler, but since their stadium can’t hold the expected numbers, the game was at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte.

This was the second time in three weeks that these two teams met, the first time being to decide the winner of the SW4A regular season conference. Butler came out on top during the first meeting, and Indy was hoping to change the outcome this time.

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Independence’s cannon a forceful tradition

The cannon looks on as the Independence Patriots run onto the field for their November 2 playoff win vs. NW Guilford.
PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

For nearly 50 years, the Independence Patriots football team has been celebrating every touchdown and field goal with the blast of a cannon, tallying their score on the eardrums of the entire town.

The tradition started in 1966, when Independence High School first opened, and principal Sam Haywood enrolled the school in a contest, one where the prize was a new mascot.

“This was going to be forever, he wanted us to have the opportunity to be part of something great,” said Doug Pressley, former Independence teacher who now manages operations of the cannon.

The contest was held by Lay’s Meats and radio station 61 AM Big Waves Radio, to see which school could collect the most Lay’s Meat labels.

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