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Gallagher column: Notes 'n' quotes: K.J. continues a Rowan tradition

Notes ‘n’ quotes …
The East-West All-Star basketball games continue to be a playground for Rowan County stars.
When West Rowan’s K.J. Sherrill learned this week that he has been picked for the July game in the Greensboro Coliseum, it kept an unbelievable streak going. In the annual doubleheader, Sherrill is the 17th Rowan County player in the past 13 years to be named.
Several of the years, Rowan has even double-dipped.
The streak began back in 1997 when East Rowan’s Laura Edwards played for the West.
The next two were from South: Carlos Dixon and Janetta Heggins. In 2000, Scooter Sherrill and Kari Schenk represented West Rowan blue. The next year, North sent Bryan McCullough and Marcus Reddick. In 2006, North’s Sophilia Hipps and Salisbury’s Ashley Watkins teamed up.
2004 was the most impressive summer. Three of the 10 West girls were from Rowan County: East’s Maggie Rich and Chrissy Killian, along with Salisbury’s Sade Jordan.
And it never stopped. Shayla Fields in 2005. Justin Vanderford in 2008.
West’s latest Sherrill follows in the footsteps of Scooter, Donte Minter (2002), Phillip Williams (2003) and Jamel Carpenter (2007).
According to West coach Mike Gurley, it never gets old.
“For K.J. I think it’s three-fold,” Gurley said. “No. 1, it’s another Sherrill. No. 2, his brother (Carpenter) made it. And No. 3, it indicates he can play.”
It’s an honor that stays with you, Gurley said.
“Twenty years from now, he can see “K.J. Sherrill, 2009,” Gurley said. “I still get cold chills when I look in the 2000 (program) and see Scooter and Kari.”

Sherrill, a Charlotte 49er signee, won’t be the only Falcon wearing a West uniform.
Defensive back Austin Greenwood, who seemed to make all the right moves in the playoffs for Scott Young’s team during its state championship run, is on the West football team.

While Greenwood can one day tell his grandkids what a great football career he had, Ben Weisensel can tell his grandchildren he had the oddest.
Weisensel is out of the University of Tennessee now, but you know he’s shaking his head when explaining his enigmatic career.
After his Erwin Middle School teams went 13-2, Weisensel was looking forward to getting to East Rowan. Jeff Safrit had turned the Mustang program around, so Weisensel envisioned only the best.
As soon as he arrived, Safrit was out.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman started under Tom Eanes, who was fired. He continued under Rick Mazza, who was fired.
Weisensel finished with an 8-36 record at East But he was good enough to start as a freshman for Western Carolina. The Catamounts went 3-7, and, yes, Kent Briggs was fired.
Weisensel transferred to Tennessee and never played. The Vols went 27-21 during his time in Knoxville, and Phillip Fulmer was pushed out.
Since Erwin, Weisensel’s record is 38-64.
But Weisensel is ambitious if nothing else. He has hopes of getting a pro tryout as a free agent. If not, life begins in earnest as an accounting/finance major.
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Weisensel did have a neat moment during Tennessee’s last home game of 2008.
Players stood on the field in alphabetical order as Fulmer shook each of their hands as part of Senior Day. The last player Fulmer shook hands with as Volunteer coach was Weisensel.

Trivia Question: What are the six ways a batter can reach first base without hitting the baseball?
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The National Chicken Council said about 38.3 million pounds of chicken wings were scarfed down on Super Bowl Sunday.
Buffalo hasn’t been in a Super Bowl for a long time, but what would a game be without a few Buffalo wings?
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Three Salisbury residents won major awards at the recent National Motorsports Press Association banquet:
– Kent Bernhardt, who hosts the morning show with Howard Platt on WSTP 1490-AM, won three awards for his work with the Performance Racing Network (PRN), including NMPA Radio Broadcaster of the Year.
– Doug Rice, president of PRN, won second place in the Live Event Broadcast Radio category.
– WBTV reporter David Whisenant won first place for Spot News Television Feature for his piece on the death of Bill Kannell.

Trivia Answer: Hit by pitch, walk, intentional walk, catcher interference, third strike not caught cleanly, pinch runner.

This from the Associated Press:
Mark Fidrych’s death reminded Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg of a conversation he had with Fidrych in 2006.
“He set me straight on talking to the ball,” Rosenberg wrote. “He said that wasn’t what he was doing. He was talking to himself, demanding he get his act in gear. But with the Bird, people saw what they wanted to see. It was too irresistible.”
nWant to know why Shaquille O’Neal is my favorite NBA player?
After hitting an outside jumper, the Phoenix Suns center told the media to start calling him “Peja Shaqovic.”

And finally …
Don’t forget. In a couple of weeks, national sportswriters and sportscasters will pour into the city for the annual NSSA Weekend.
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Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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