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North Forsyth girls basketball and head coach Eric Herrick had a thrilling run in the Class 6A tournament with a comeback victory in the first round and a heart-breaking double overtime loss in the second round. - photo by File photo

About this series

Sports editor Brian Paglia has a conversation with each Forsyth County high school athletic director about this past season and how the future looks.

Today: North

Tomorrow: South

Friday: West

Sunday: The county

Right from the start, North Forsyth saw what it was in for in Region 6-AAAAAA. Three games into the Raiders’ football season they were 3-0 for the first time since 2009. Then North’s region schedule began. Seven games later, they were 3-7.

"We play a very tough schedule," North athletic director Nathan Turner said. "Each week is competitive. You can’t take a week off in this region."

Maybe North got off to a slow start in the fall. But by the end of the 2012-13 school year, Turner and the Raiders program’s outlook for next season started to improve. The wrestling team won a county championship, was region runner-up and had two individuals place at the traditional state tournament. Girls basketball went a school-best 24-6 and lost in double overtime in the second round of the state playoffs. The boys and girls track and field swept the county championships.

Turner talked with Forsyth County News sports editor Brian Paglia about competing in Region 6-AAAAAA, the athletic program’s college signees and optimism for next season:

What is your overall impression of how North Forsyth athletics went this season?

"Just to be honest, I think we made some great strides in several sports. We made state playoffs, won a few region championships. We were led by some great seniors who laid a good foundation for the underclassmen to have a great 2013-14 season.

"Each season brought something special for us which is always fun to see. I think we’re at a stage with young growth. We’re excited about the direction of the football program. We ended on a high note in spring football. Softball is reloading for another great year. Cross country numbers and expectations are high. And volleyball is improving. We’re looking for each fall sport to get our school year started on a high note."

What stands out to you the most this season?

"We did over 23 colleges signing ceremonies at North. That’s the most we’ve had in several years, and it was in multiple sports. That was exciting to see that many seniors move on toward to the next level. When you have kids who are doing that it shows the strength of the program.

"I’m proud of the coaches. Our coaches really stepped their game up this season. They’re really pushing kids in the right direction. We had a coaches committee the other week, and I told them I appreciate their commitment to success."

Were there any particular challenges for your program?

"We played in one of the toughest two regions in the state. We play a very tough schedule. Each week is competitive. You can’t take a week off in this region. And you have so many rivals too. You play all your county rivals. I think the biggest challenge is being prepared. You don’t get a day off."

How do you think your athletes and coaches handled those challenges?

"We make a commitment to working hard. We commit to applying ourselves to the game and sport. When you do those two things, good things are going to happen. Kids have to be receptive to coaches and coaches have to be receptive to kids. When you get all fighting for the same common goal, I think winners put themselves into position to win.

What was the community support like this season?

"I think that’s the key piece of what makes North unique. You’ve got this small community on the north side of the county that believes in each other. They believe in the kids, coaches and program as a whole. When you’ve got everybody buying in it makes it exciting. That’s contagious, and it just spills over into so many directions."