CFNN: Nick Perry & Laney Talley

On Tuesday August 30th,  the Cape Fear Women’s Volleyball team defeated the Lumberton Pirates in straight sets by a score of 25-14, 32-30, and 25-20 with the help of starting setter, Payton Gunter. She helped the volleyball team earn the victory in a number of plays. This was a very important win for the Colts. 

Gunter’s outstanding performance earned her CFNN Athlete of the Week honors.

“For me, Volleyball is a distraction from the continuous chaos of school and life in general. It’s like a stress reliever,” says Gunter. 

This win meant a lot for the Colts considering it was their first conference match. One of the points of emphasis for the Colts this season was to win the first conference match of the season.. 

She helped the team get the win with 6 service points, 7 kills, 19 assists and 9 digs. This is a big record for Payton, considering she had to start in a position that she does not usually play. 

“She is encouraging and a good person to be around. She is a great influence on the team and others around her,” said teammate Lilly Rayburn.

The Colts had two starting players out for this game, and Gunter stepped up to fill the role. Gunter played as outside hitter and helped Cape Fear dominate the Pirates. Payton has been playing volleyball for 7 years. She also played softball for 9 years until she stopped due to injuries.

Expectations are high for the volleyball team this season; the girls are looking to challenge for the United 8 Conference title this season after coming up just short last season. Gunter is a large part of the reason for the high expectations. Her leadership and talent have  been a huge factor in the Colts’ success.

Gunter’s determination on and off the court was one of the determining factors on her being chosen for Athlete of the Week. She shows her determination by practicing long after the team has left the court. This hunger to improve and compete has won her the respect and admiration of her teammate. It is her leadership skills that stick out most to her teammates. 

“Payton is a fun person to be around and good at bringing the team together when they’re down,” said teammate Olivia Melvin. “She’s a big supporter on and off the court. This team wouldn’t be the same without her.” 

Payton also takes great pride in her academics. She is a member of the Beta Club, Key Club, and she is a mentor to freshman students. She has taken several AP classes and has excelled in all of them. Gunter is an honor roll student who has always strived to be the best. Payton is a leader in class just like she is on the court. She helps others and wants the best for them.  

“Payton always does all her work; she is very sweet and thoughtful,” said Ms. Holden, Payton’s AP US History teacher. “She always offers to go the extra mile for her classmate; she even offers to do stuff for me. She is very studious and a great student to have in AP.”

From teachers to teammates, Payton is a popular figure in the hallways at Cape Fear High School. It is difficult to find someone more deserving of CFNN Athlete of the Week!

Payton Gunter gets it done on the court and in the classroom. She is full of positive energy, and she is a great team player. Her teammates respect her leadership and motivation to work hard. We look forward to seeing her on the court this season!