Prep Signings: Zemanick, Murdock going to Southern Wesleyan
By Ronnie Gallagher
CHINA GROVE — Sierra Zemanick and Jordan Murdock have helped Carson become a force in all sports in the North Piedmont Conference.
Now, they’ll be teaming up at Southern Wesleyan, a college located in upstate South Carolina, 10 minutes from Clemson University.
Zemanick has signed for cross country, while Murdock is going to play soccer for the Warriors.
It seems Southern Wesleyan has found a pipeline to Rowan County. The two Cougars are joining cross country’s Dillon Kluttz of West Rowan and Caleb O’Neal from South.
In fact, Zemanick hinted that O’Neal may have informed cross country coach Chip Rouse about her.
“He sent me a message on Facebook,” Zemanick said of Rouse.
Rouse is getting a good one. Zemanick was the NPC’s Runner of the Year after a sensational season in the 800, mile and 4×800 relay. She is a three-time all-county and all-conference performer.
The way she started the sport at Carson should be noted. She was a cheerleader as a freshman and decided she’d like to run. Instead of talking to track coach Les-Lee Efird, she wrote a letter.
“I don’t know if she was scared,” Efird smiled. “She was saying she could run a mile in 6 minutes, 30 seconds — and was that good?”
It was more than good.
“I had heard she could run a good mile,” Efird said. “We needed the numbers. I was really excited to have another girl coming out. I had no clue she’d turn out to be what she is.”
Zemanick remembers the letter, too.
“I wrote it real formal,” she chuckled. “I didn’t know how Efird was. But I realized she was like one of us.”
Zemanick tried track in middle school and remembers crying when she wasn’t allowed to run the mile and was put in the 800 instead. By high school, she had found her niche — cross country.
“I like the longer run,” she said.
Rouse’s Warriors are among the best in the Southern States Athletic Association. They placed third in the league and ninth in the national meet.
Speak of Rouse and a big smile comes to Zemanick’s face.
“I clicked with him,” she said. “He’s so cool.”
And she said that even after she saw her workout regimen for the summer. The first day, she ran six miles along with a workout.
“It’s a lot different from high school,” she said. “It’s a lot harder.”
Zemanick didn’t seem to mind.
“”It’s exciting,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
So is Murdock, who also ran cross country with her friend. And she fully intended to concentrate on that sport until visiting Southern Wesleyan.
Soccer coach Tom Price gave her a chance to join the Warriors.
“I got to play soccer with the players and he offered me a scholarship,” Murdock said.
Murdock is a center on defense and should help the Warriors, who finished 8-9-2 last season.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was seven, in Y league and in the backyard,” said Murdock.
Southeast Middle didn’t have a team, “so I played for fun,” she said.
But once at Carson, it was time to get serious. She was team captain for two of her four seasons and is an all-county Cougar this spring. She is ready for the leap to college athletics, although she seemed a bit surprised.
“It’s something I never thought I’d get to do,” she said. “I’m really excited.”
Murdock expects to begin her freshman season on defense, but added, “I’ll move around to where I’m more comfortable.”
Murdock looked around at the coaches, friends and family before her signing party took place.
“It’s going faster than I ever imagined,” she smiled.