This article is part of The Pilot’s look back at the year’s most significant local news stories. Click here to see the other stories that defined 2018 in Moore County.
The tragic death of Union Pines senior Samantha Davis in September touched off a nationwide effort dubbed “Samantha Strong.”
Samantha Davis, known as “Sam,” was mourned by high school and college athletes nationwide.
Davis died Sept. 24 at a Charlotte hospital after collapsing at the prestigious Hare and Hounds Invitational cross country meet at McAlpine Greenway Park the day before.
Soon after, the hashtags #SamanthaStrong and #1kforsamanthadavis began trending on social media, as runners throughout North Carolina and as far away as California and Colorado paid tribute to Samantha by running the 1K she didn’t get to finish before collapsing.
She would have turned 18 on Oct. 22. Samantha had been diagnosed with epilepsy following a 2016 softball injury but had more recently been seizure-free and medically cleared to run.
Nat Carter, Union Pines’ longtime track and cross country coach, said that Samantha’s unfailingly positive attitude stands out among the most dedicated athletes he’s encountered in his career.
“Sam was a true ambassador of love,” he said.
Her life was remembered during a memorial service Sept. 29 at the Union Pines High School stadium, where as trumpet section leader she had marched with the band and run laps with the track team.
“What a fitting venue, a facility where Sam spent a lot of time, where she played that sweet trumpet,” said Union Pines Principal Andy McCormick in his opening tribute. “We must live the rest of our lives Samantha Strong.”
SEPT. 25, 2018 | Nationwide, They’re Going the Distance for Samantha Davis
SEPT. 29, 2018 | Union Pines Vikings Bid Farewell to Their ‘100-Percent Girl’
NOV. 20, 2018 | Students Rally to Name School for Fallen Classmate