HENDERSON — The 2020 edition of the Vanco Outdoor Classic at Kerr-Vance Academy was much more subdued than normal due to restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although safety protocols will still be in force this year, KVA athletic director Sam Feaver is expecting a much more vibrant and energetic Vanco Outdoor Classic this weekend with more spectators and six participating schools.

Feaver is in his first year overseeing the Vanco Outdoor Classic and is ready to carry on the things that made the event special for the student athletes and coaches of KVA and other schools.

“The weather is looking great for this weekend,” Feaver said. “I’m feeling pretty good and I think this will be a fun little adventure for both our teams playing back-to-back-games. Hopefully our community will come out and support the students.”

The two-day event will feature four soccer and volleyball matchups, with KVA, Crossroads Christian and Oxford Prep set to compete in both sports.

Henderson Collegiate is only fielding a soccer program for the Vanco Outdoor Classic, while Lee Christian and the Carolina Mustangs are each taking a day in volleyball.

A healthy field of teams for the Vanco Outdoor Classic is exactly what Crossroads Athletic Director Scottie Richardson wanted to see as Henderson and the surrounding cities continue to gradually recover from the global pandemic.

Richardson has now been a part of the Vance Outdoor Classic for four consecutive years at Crossroads and said the event strengthens the close ties the students and coaches at the participating schools already share with one another, while also having the community support high school athletics in a family-friendly environment.

The Vanco Classic “is great for our city, our county and the surrounding counties,” Richardson said. “All of the kids know each other, and I already built a pretty good relationship with Sam when he was at Cresset Christian. I think the two of us will be able to continue what George [Hoyle Jr.] and I accomplished when he was at KVA.”

While Richardson and Feaver are both looking forward to two consecutive days of volleyball and soccer, they know that safety is going to take precedence with COVID-19 cases increasing across North Carolina.

Feaver has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation over the past several weeks. He hopes that no major issues arise following the Vanco Outdoor Classic but is asking coaches, students and spectators to be responsible, adhere to KVA’s policies and look out for one another.

“We’re not taking temperatures or checking for vaccination cards, but any spectators inside the gym are required to wear a mask,” Feaver said. “As of right now, student athletes and coaches who are vaccinated do not have to wear a mask, but the unvaccinated do have to wear them. There aren’t many restrictions for soccer but we are encouraging social distancing in the bench area.”

Richardson knows that Crossroads’ participation is not a complete guarantee while COVID-19 cases rise, and he hopes that all of his students and coaches do their part to stay vigilant and avoid any scenario in which they could potentially be exposed to the virus.

“I’m hoping we stay on course,” Richardson said. “We had our first COVID cancellation [on Tuesday] in middle school volleyball with [Community Christian Middle School] having some issues. We’re hoping to just keep things moving forward.”

Despite the COVID-19 concerns, Richardson is confident that Crossroads will succeed in both sports at KVA this weekend. The school’s volleyball program has gotten off to one of the best starts in program history, while the men’s soccer entered the week with momentum following two straight wins against KVA and Henderson Collegiate.

KVA has only played a handful of games in soccer and volleyball so far in the 2021 season, but Feaver has similar expectations for both programs and believes they will put together strong performances in front of their home crowds during the weekend.

“I think [KVA] will compete well,” Feaver said. “Having fans in the stands is definitely going to give our students a boost. Everyone’s been working hard in practice and it’s going to be interesting to see how our teams stack up.”

The Vanco Outdoor Classic will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday. A complete schedule of events can be found below.

Vanco Outdoor Classic schedule

Friday

Soccer

Crossroads Christian vs. Oxford Prep (4 p.m.)

KVA vs. Henderson Collegiate (6 p.m.)

Volleyball

Crossroads Christian vs. Oxford Prep (4 p.m.)

KVA vs. Lee Christian (6 p.m.)

Saturday

Soccer

Crossroads Christian vs. Henderson Collegiate (11 a.m.)

KVA vs. Oxford Prep (1 p.m.)

Volleyball

Crossroads Christian vs. Carolina Mustangs (11 a.m.)

KVA vs. Oxford Prep (1 p.m.)

Contact Brandon White at bwhite@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2840

Contact Brandon White at bwhite@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2840