Orange Panther of the Week: Katie Silcott

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is sophomore setter Katie Silcott. The Orange volleyball team is one win away from its first outright conference championship in 18 years. Silcott has started all 20 matches for the Panthers this season. On Wednesday night, Orange swept Person 3-0 in Roxboro. Silcott added 41 assists and 16 digs as Orange captured its 16th consecutive win. In 2022, Silcott shared time with Kaitlyn Carden as setter. This year, she has compiled 635 assists. She also leads the team with 40 aces. Silcott has a wide array of weapons to supply the ball down during Orange attacks. Senior Ella Wimsatt, sophomore outside hitter Aubrey Jordan and middle blocker Ava Wilkerson have all benefited from Silcott’s steady passing, regardless where she is on the floor. Silcott also has a smooth presence defensively. She is third on the team with 164 digs and even finds herself at the net at times attempting blocks against opposing attacks. Silcott is second on the team with 13 blocks. On Thursday night, Orange will host Southern Alamance. If the Lady Panthers win, they will clinch its first conference championship since 2005 and clinch the #1 seed for the upcoming Central Carolina Conference Tournament. Orange has already clinched the top seed from the CCC for the 3A State Playoffs and are guaranteed to host an opening round game, for starters.


Orange Panther of the Week: Katie Silcott

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Schmid finishes first, Orange men win Greensboro Cross Country Invitational

In one month, cross country teams from across the state will descend on the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville for the state championships.

On Saturday, the Orange men’s cross country team raced only 28 miles away at Hagan State Park in Pleasant Garden. They turned in a performance strong enough that they hope to replicate in November just a little further west.

The Panthers won the 39th annual Greensboro Cross Country Invitational on Saturday. Senior Gabriel Schmid, the defending 3A State Individual champion, came in first place against a field of 146 runners. Schmid led the pack with a time of 15:15.64, beating the runner-up, Tate Shore of Ronald Reagan, by 19 seconds.

Schmid has now won all four races where he has competed this season. Orange, which has won two consecutive Central Carolina Conference championships and the 2021 Mideast Regional title, has also won all four of its meets they’ve competed in as a team this year.

On Saturday, Orange had five runners finish in the top 25, which propelled them to the team championship. Sophomore Myles Jermyn came in eighth with a time of 16:13.9. Peter Musser finished 20th (16:46.33), while sophomore Lucas Van Mater crossed the finish line 22nd (16:48.3) and Alden Cathey came in 23rd (16:51.26).

Orange finished with 57 points, finishing on top in a field of 19 teams. Chapel Hill was in second with 83 points, while Grimsley finished 3rd at 106 points.

Of the top ten finishers, Orange was the only one that wasn’t a 4A squad from North Carolina. Cave Spring High, based out of Roanoke, VA, finished eighth.

Nolan Hufner (45th at 17:11.33), Cyrus Neal (66th at 17:44.64), Aiden Viola (86th at 18:19.25) also finished in the top 90 for Orange.

It was the second time in two weeks that Orange finished ahead of its former conference rivals from Chapel Hill. On September 20, Orange won the Orange County Championships, a meet that features Orange, Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill and Cedar Ridge, the four senior institutions in Orange County. The Panthers had four of the top five finishers, led once again by Schmid, who crossed the finish line first at 10:18.60. Chapel Hill’s Declan Harden came in second at 10:31.20.

After that, Orange runners took the 3rd-through-5th spots, which led to the team championship. Musser finished third at 10:43.80, while Jermyn came in fourth (10:44.70), and Cathey finished fifth (10:45.60). Van Mater had a crucial tenth place finish (10:57.90), which helped Orange to the team title. Neal crossed the finish line 16th (11:27.60), while Nolan Hufner came in 17th (11:30). Viola added a 20th place finish (11:34.80).

Orange finished with 23 points. Chapel Hill came in second with 32 points. East Chapel Hill finished third with 90 points. Cedar Ridge registered 103 points.

Cedar Ridge junior Edgar Ibarra, who also competes in outdoor track and field, was the top finisher for the Red Wolves. He finished 21st at 11:40.80. Red Wolf sophomore Ryan Matthews finished 22nd at 11:41.20, while sophomore Henry Alexander came in 23rd (11:41.70).

In the women’s race at the Orange County Championships, Cedar Ridge finished third, led by junior Naomi Dyreng. In a field of 38 runners, Dyreng finished fifth at 13:17.60. Cedar Ridge’s Abigail Klaitman came in seventh at 13;38.20. Cia Biddix finished 17th for the Red Wolves (14:48.70).

Orange senior Grace Pell was the top placer for the Lady Panthers in 27th place (15:28.10). Senior Channing Mahaney came in 28th (15;32.70).

East Chapel Hill won the women’s team competition with 29 points. Chapel Hill was second with 37 points, while Cedar Ridge was third with 65 points. Orange had 114 pints. 

Chapel Hill had the individual champion in the form of junior Chloe Solum, who paced the field with a time of 12:50.30. East Chapel Hill had the second, third and fourth finishers. Yara Sinnott was the highest finisher for the Wildcats, coming in second at 13:00.50. 



Orange volleyball wins 12th straight over Falls Lake behind Wimsatt’s 16 kills, Silcott’s 34 assists

There’s a new dimension of winning for the Orange volleyball program.

They’ve been successful, with winning seasons each of the last four years and state playoff victories in 2021 and 2022.

Now, it’s a whole new level. The Lady Panthers are ranked #1 in the current 3A East RPI rankings, a first in school history. They’re also in first place in the Central Carolina Conference. For years, Cardinal Gibbons stood in the way of the Lady Panthers for a league title in the 2A ranks. For the past three years, the Lady Panthers have played second fiddle to Cedar Ridge in the CCC.

That’s not the case in 2023, at least at the moment. Orange is 5-0 in the CCC with the second half of the conference slate set to start on Thursday night. On Wednesday, Orange stepped outside of conference play to face the top-ranked team in the 1A East RPI rankings. While Falls Lake ended Orange’s streak of 32 consecutive victorious sets, the Firebirds didn’t end the Lady Panther winning streak.

After Falls Lake (9-3) captured the first set, Orange responded with wins in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th to clinch its 12th straight win inside Panther Gymnasium. The Lady Panthers (14-3), who defeated Falls Lake in Creedmoor on August 24, prevailed on scores of 18-25, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-18.

Senior Ella Wimsatt finished with 16 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Katie Silcott finished with 34 assists and eight digs. Another sophomore, Aubrey Jordan, had ten kills and two blocks.

There were four lead changes in the opening set. Orange started on an 9-6 run after an ace by Josie Crawford, which led to a Firebird time out. Falls Lake went on an 9-1 run to take a 22-16 lead, which included two kills by senior co-Captain Anna Holcombe, as well as points by junior Jenae Mason and sophomore Tess DeZurik. Mason had back-to-back kills assisted by Gemma Ines, leading to set point which was sent long on an attack attempt by Orange.

The Firebirds started strong in the second set, building an 8-1 lead behind three straight kills by Holcombe, which led to a timeout by Orange coach Hope Heverly. The Lady Panthers responded with a 14-2 run to take a 20-13 lead. Wimsatt took control of the set, which he racked up eight kills, six digs and two aces. At one point, Wimsatt had three straight kills to give Orange a 15-12 lead. Jordan notched consecutive points assisted by Silcott to increase the Lady Panther advantage to 20-13. Wimsatt evened the match when she spiked home a point on set point.

In the third set, Orange built a 14-5 lead following an ace by Abby Silinski and consecutive kills by Wimsatt and Mariah Poole. It appeared would blow out the Firebirds after an ace by Silcott put Orange ahead 22-11, but the Firebirds scored ten straight points. Kelcey Peterson’s kill and a return by Orange that went wide narrowed the Lady Panther lead to 22-21. Orange sophomore Ava Wilkerson, who finished with nine kills, scored a crucial point that led to an Orange side out. Wilkerson ended the set with a kill on set point assisted by Silcott at the net.

Orange led 8-7 when they went on a 7-3 spurt to take control of the fourth set. Jordan and sophomore Mariah Poole had back-to-back blocks to give Orange a 15-9 lead. Wimsatt had a wild dig off an attack from Holcombe that led to a kill from Jordan, which led to a Falls Lake timeout. Orange took its largest advantage of the set at 22-14 off an ace by Silcott. Wimatt’s fifth kill of the frame came on match point.

Orange will conclude a three-match homestead when they face Western Alamance on Thursday night (tonight) in Hillsborough. The Lady Panthers swept the Warriors in Elon on August 29.


Orange volleyball’s Ella Wimsatt and Aubrey Jordan discuss win at Cedar Ridge

While they’re only two games into their conference slate, the Orange volleyball team has established itself as the team to beat in the Central Carolina Conference. The Lady Panthers defeated crosstown rival Cedar Ridge 3-0 on scores of 25-18, 25-21 and 25-14. Orange ended Cedar Ridge’s 44-game conference winning streak, as well as the Red Wolves’ 31-game home court winning streak. Senior Ella Wimsatt made her final game inside Red Wolves Gymnasium a memorable one. She had 19 kills, tying her second-highest total of the year. She also had 12 digs. Sophomore Aubrey Jordan had 15 kills, her second-highest total of the year. Orange ended an eight-game losing streak to the Red Wolves. While conference play just started, Orange is already the only undefeated team in CCC play and stand alone in first place with a 2-0 league mark. On Thursday, Orange will start a string of two games in two days, both against teams from Roxboro. The Panthers will face Person on Thursday night in Hillsborough. It will be their first home game since August 15. On Friday night, the Lady Panthers will travel to Roxboro Community School, currently the #5 team in the 1A East RPI rankings. Orange is 8-3 overall.