Former local star athletes inducted onto “Wall of Fame”
Ruthie Pope Sports Writer
To find some of the biggest names in Clinton sports, all you have to do step into the back room of Lil Joe’s Barber Shop on Vance Street, across from the Sampson County Court House.
The first section of the wall is filled with the stories and pictures of men from Sampson and Clinton High School. A new section has recently been opened up, and these pictures and stories are of some of the star female athletes of Clinton.
Lenzie Grice and Joe Colwell are authors of “the wall” and said the idea for a sports wall of fame came about as they were sitting around talking one day. They discovered that the younger men had never heard of many of the local “star” athletes from Grice and Colwell’s early days.
The idea took off after the men started calling around for pictures, old newspaper articles, and mementos they could hang on “the wall”.
Grice said after the first section was unveiled, someone asked why there weren’t any female athletes displayed.
“I knew they had a good point, so we started making some phone calls and got a good response,” he explained.
The women “inducted” onto the Wall of Fame recently were Clinton High graduates Tonya Colwell, Revena Monk, Whitney N. Boykin, and Danyel Parker. Felicia Autry was also added to the wall, but she was not present to receive her certificate.
Bill Jacobs, who coached at Sampson and Clinton High Schools, Wilber Bell, football and softball stand-out, as well as brothers Jackie and Carl Robinson, football all-stars, were also recognized at the gathering. Bell, Jacobs, and Carl Robinson were not present.
Retired Clinton High Coach Karen Foxx introduced the women and gave a short bio of their careers. She coached three of the four inductees.
Grice and Colwell introduced Jacobs and Jackie Robinson.
Colwell said in Robinson’s heyday, he was “the talk of the town” and the player that everyone else wanted to be like.
“I played football with a passion because I wanted to be the best I could be,” Robinson responded.
Some of the career highlights of those inducted include:
Tonya Colwell - 1985 graduate and first female from CHS to be selected to play in the East-West All-Star Game her senior year. She was also the first Lady Dark Horse to be offered a college basketball scholarship. Colwell is currently back in Sampson County and leading Roseboro Elementary School as its principal.
Whitney N. Boykin - 2009 Clinton High graduate who played volleyball, basketball, softball, and was also a member of the marching band, and a cheerleader. Before she was born, the doctors believed she suffered from a condition called Amelia, and could possibly be born without legs. Instead, she went on to win numerous athletic awards, including MVP in softball and the NCHSAA Heart of a Champion award and the Kay Yow Award. She was
the youngest athlete in the school’s history to be awarded the Female Athlete of the Year Award. Her scholarship took her to NC Central University where she played softball and graduated this past May with cum laude honors. She has applied to Physician’s Assistant School.
Danyel Parker (Wimberly) - 1989 graduate of Clinton High who set basketball records that still stand today. These include second in the state in all-time scoring as a freshman with 690 points; second in the state in all-time per-game average points with 30.7 throughout her high school career; and she is still first in points scored during her four years at CHS with 3,225. Honors awarded to Parker during her high school years were the Parade All-American, Naismith Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the year. Her senior year, Parker and the LDH were undefeated with a 27-0 season after they won the NCHSAA championship. Her scholarship took her to NCSU where she played for legendary coach Kay Yow. Parker was on the Dean’s List and an All-ACC performer. She was a starter on State’s 1991 ACC Championship team. Parker also received NC State’s highest female athletic award, H.C. Kennett. She earned her Masters in Electrical Engineering and currently works at IBM.
Revena Monk - She was on the first female basketball team at Clinton High in 1975. She was a tri-captain of the team and was asked to attend East Carolina Basketball Camp, which was an exceptionally high honor at that time. Monk said she picked up her baskerball skills from competing with the boys in her community. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from SCC and works as a Pre-K teacher with Telamon Corp.
Jackie Robinson - 1971 graduate of Clinton High School and stand out football and basketball player for Sampson High in 1968 and Clinton High from ‘69-71. All conference in both sports. Graduated from Winston-Salem State University and will soon retire from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Carl Robinson - Football great from Sampson High. He played split end and defensive back.
Willie Jacobs - athlete and coach. He played football for Sampson High and graduated from N.C. Central University. He coached 2 Sampson High players, Bardell Berry and Victor Fryar, to the 1966 State Tennis Championship. At Clinton High, he coached an undefeated junior varsity team as well as 2 college All-American players.
Wilber Bell - Football and softball. Running back and defensive back. In one softball game, he hit 5 home runs and his team won five championships.
In speaking about her abilities, Colwell said the love and support of her parents played a big part in her success.
She also said, “When I got knocked down, it forced me to get back up. That helped make me not only a better athlete, but a better and stronger person.”
Boykin said she was so grateful to her parents and to all those that supported her and helped her earn these achievements.
She also stressed that a youngster must be a good student first before he or she can become a good athlete.
Parker said her mother, Flora Mae Parker, who was a top player on the 1970s and 1980s Piratees championship softball team, was a great inspiration and role model for her. She came from a family of athletes, but according to Parker, “You didn’t want to come home with less than an A on your report card, either.”
Monk said when she came along, women’s basketball had just been added as a high school sport, so she didn’t have the opportunities the girls have today. She said she was happy to help get it started at Clinton High.
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