High school sports: Salisbury’s Geter is Male Athlete of the Year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2023

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Mike Geter’s football and basketball seasons contributed heavily to Central Carolina Conference championship hardware for the Salisbury Hornets, but it was his surprising baseball comeback that put him over the top.

Geter, a rising senior at SHS, is the Darrell Misenheimer Award winner as Rowan County’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2022-23 school year.

“Big D” Misenheimer was a bigger than life athlete who competed for East Rowan in the 1970s. He broke track and field records in the shot put, excelled as a heavyweight wrestler and was a Shrine Bowl football lineman.

Geter’s list of accolades includes being All-Rowan County and All-CCC in football, basketball and basketball. Not many high school athletes can say they are men for all seasons,  but Geter is a throwback to an earlier era when the finest athletes were expected to compete year-round.

“It’s sports, sports, sports for me just about all the time,” Geter said. “Sports keep me busy.”

Baseball is a game of a thousand small skills. It’s not normally a sport you can leave for four years, and then take up again with any degree of success.

But Geter did it.

“I hadn’t played baseball since seventh grade,” Geter said. “Coach (Carson) Herndon had been wanting me to play for a while, and it turned out to be an enjoyable experience. I played center field and pitched some.”

Geter more than hold his own. He led the Hornets with 26 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. His batting average (.411) and on-base percentage (,554) were eye-catching. He made only two errors in the field. He even hit one over the fence.

“He might have missed his calling, with all those years he didn’t play baseball,” Herndon said. “His athletic ability stands out. He was very good for us.”

Geter is football-first.

As a freshman on the Salisbury varsity, he was dynamite whenever he touched the ball for a state championship team.

The last two seasons he’s quarterbacked the Hornets to a tall stack of victories. They were 11-2 last fall and won the CCC championship and two playoff games.

The Hornets were a run-heavy team in the fall of 2022, but they had Virginia Union signee JyMikaah Wells, so it made sense to be run-heavy. Salisbury had the fewest passing attempts of any team in the county, but Geter was crisply efficient with 1,226 passing yards and 17 passing touchdowns. He was tough and elusive as a runner, racking up 933 rushing yards, the third-highest total in the county. He ran for 13 touchdowns, so he accounted for 30 TDs in 13 games.

He added to his accomplishments as a defensive back for the Hornets. He picked off two passes in one game.

“He was an exceptional player on both sides of the ball and a great leader on and off the field,” Salisbury head football coach Clayton Trivett said. “He’s very deserving of Athlete of the Year. He’s the type of player every coach wants on their team.”

Salisbury’s football season ended with a hard-fought loss at Burns on Nov. 18.

Geter’s basketball season began exactly one week later, and he scored in double digits on opening night.

“I’m used to making that transition every year from football to basketball, so I always put in the extra work to prepare for it,” Geter said. “I want to be in basketball shape whenever a football season ends. I want to be able to do anything that might be expected of me.”

Salisbury enjoyed a strong hoops season — 22-6 with a CCC co-championship, a CCC tournament championship and three playoff triumphs, including a scintillating road victory at West Caldwell, which had been unbeaten at home. Geter averaged 9 points per game but bumped up his scoring in the more challenging games. His rebounding, defense and leadership were always more important than his points.

“We lost a very good point guard (Bryce Dalton) halfway through the season, so we had to ask Mike to be our point guard,” said former Salisbury head coach Bryan Withers. “Mike was able to handle that job because he’s a natural leader, and playing point guard is a lot like playing quarterback for the football team. Mike is smart. He knows a lot. He knows where to go and he knows when to go. He always was there for us when we needed him most.”

Geter is not loud, but when he has something to say everyone pays attention. He knows what to say and he knows when to say it.

He is 6 feet tall and a solid 190 pounds. His scholarship offers to this point have been in football, schools such as Campbell, North Carolina Central, Catawba and Lenoir-Rhyne.

Army and Navy might be in the running. The service academies are intrigued by Geter’s combination of toughness, leadership and versatility and his 3.7 GPA.

Geter is unlikely to play quarterback in college despite passing accuracy and arm strength that are outstanding for a high school player.

“Most schools have talked to me about maybe playing receiver or safety — and maybe both ways,” Geter said.

Geter got banged up recently when Salisbury attended a 7-on-7 competition at Virginia Tech. He hyper-extended a leg, and that’s going to mean more rest and fewer camps for him this summer.

But he expects to be fine for his senior football season. He’ll be ready to run, throw and pick off passes — whatever the Hornets need from him.

“Mike is an exceptional athlete and an exceptional kid,” Withers said. “The bottom line is he’s a guy who wants to win.”