DENVER – Lincoln Charter School inducted the inaugural class into its athletics Hall of Fame May 20, honoring two teams, three athletes, one coach and a pair of contributors who helped lay the foundation for two decades of success.
Dave Machado, one of two contributors inducted, was Lincoln Charter’s first athletic director. He was instrumental in having Lincoln Charter admitted to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, while also securing its membership in the Western Piedmont Athletic Association and the Piedmont Charter Athletic Conference.
Serving the school from its inception in 1998 until 2016, when he left to become director of the North Carolina Office of Charter Schools, Machado’s impact extended well beyond athletics. In addition to his role as athletic director, he served as principal and chief administrator during his 18 years, while also sitting on the school’s board.
Gary Morgan, the first president of the school’s Sports Boosters organization, was the other contributor inducted. His work at Lincoln Charter spanned a decade, starting in 2005, and included a three-year stint as the school’s softball coach in addition to his fundraising efforts. As Sports Boosters president, Morgan was involved in the planning and construction of the Lincoln Charter Athletic Complex.
Josh Williams, a man who wears many hats at Lincoln Charter, became the first coach inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Since joining the school in 2001, Williams has been tapped to lead the cross country, swimming/diving and track and field programs, and is currently the head coach of all three.
Williams has built one of the most successful cross country programs in the state, leading the Eagles to five regional championships, two state runner-up finishes and the 2018 NCHSAA 1A State Championship, as well as coaching two individual state champions. As coach of the swim team, Williams has helped deliver four regional championships and two state runner-up finishes in addition to coaching 10 individual state champions. In total, across all three sports, Williams has been named conference coach of the year six times.
Among the three athletes inducted was Sarah Kenley Hansley, who played on the varsity volleyball and softball teams in each of her four years at Lincoln Charter.
In softball, Hansley was an all-conference performer all four years and was recognized as the conference player of the year as a senior in 2013. She would go on to play collegiately at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where she received conference player of the year honors as a senior in 2017 after batting .429 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs. Hansley was named a National FastPitch Coaches Association All-American after her senior season.
Joining her in the inaugural class was Sophia Bhalla, who won individual state championships in cross country and swimming during her time at Lincoln Charter.
Bhalla took first place in the 2012 NCHSAA 1A Cross Country State Championship meet, delivering Lincoln Charter’s first individual state championship in school history. She also excelled in the pool, earning a state championship as a member of Lincoln Charter’s 200 medley relay team in 2014 before helping guide the 400 freestyle relay team to a state championship in 2015.
Bhalla’s high school successes led to her becoming Lincoln Charter’s first NCAA Division I athlete.
The final athlete inducted was Christina Lappin, Lincoln Charter’s most decorated swimmer, who went on to compete collegiately at the University of South Carolina.
Lappin won nine state championships in her four years at Lincoln Charter, including the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle as a freshman, the 50 and 200 freestyles and 200 medley relay as a sophomore, the 100 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay as a junior and the 100 and 200 freestyles as a senior in 2016. She was named to the NCHSAA All-State team in each of her four years and was recognized as the conference swimmer of the year each year as well.
The two teams inducted each delivered a state championship in 2017, with the boys basketball team cutting down the nets in March before the boys golf team won its state championship in May.
The basketball team compiled a 30-4 record en route to its first state championship, rallying in the West Regional Final to defeat Mount Airy before cruising to a 95-75 victory over Kestral Heights in the championship game. The golf team entered the state championship tournament as underdogs, but a dominant first round in which Justin Morgan led the team by shooting 74 helped the Eagles forge a lead that would not be overcome.