In This Issue:
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE
09 On the Cover
Columbus Valley Area Wrestlers
December 2013 January 2014
15 academic athlete Jessica Thompson Northside High School
20 In The Stands
23 Player Spotlight
Santreece Stephens Brookstone School
27 Player Spotlight Bryan Foster
St. Anne Pacelli School
31 Freshman Focus Slayton Graham Hardaway High School
34 Coach’s Corner Karen Waters
also Inside Ten Questions with Gerald Turner
Sports Connection with Rob Morales
Chattahoochee Co. High School
Columbus High School
Harris County High School
Northside High School
And One Lamar Weaver, FCA
Shaw High School
Marion County High School
Columbus High School
40 Rising Star
Fort Middle School
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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE
December 2013 January 2014
From The Publisher The Holidays are here! Thanksgiving is a memory, and Christmas is around the corner, but winter sports are just gearing up in our area. This edition of In the Game highlights athletes from a variety of sports being played this time of year. Speaking of Christmas, one holiday tradition in our area is the Annual Shaw Christmas Basketball Tournament. Jordan High School’s Athletic Director Gerald Turner is the director of the tournament for the Muscogee County School District, and ITG asked Turner 10 Questions about the tournament. Maybe you can make a new family tradition this time of year by attending a game or two.
Mark Dykes Kaitlynn Passmore
Beth Welch firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover/Feature Photography Jerry Christenson
Contributing Photographers Jerry Christenson Chris Hood
Contributing Writers Robert Preston Jr. Beth Welch
Crystal Hubbard Ashley Dailey
Mark Dykes email@example.com
Website Manager Kaitlynn Passmore
Wrestling is going full force right now. In this issue we focus on the sport in several ways. Our cover features outstanding wrestling athletes from all over the Columbus Valley. Beginning on page nine, these athletes share a little bit about their lives and their passion for wrestling. The Sports Connection feature shines a spotlight on Central High School’s wrestling coach Rob Morales, and our Freshman Focus feature takes a look at Hardaway High School’s Slayton Graham who is wrestling in the 106 lb. class for the Hawks. ITG also has a couple of features involving the sport of high school swimming. Columbus High School alumni Karen Waters was the first member of the school’s swim team. She has returned to her alma mater as a teacher and swim coach for the Blue Devils. Waters’ story is a great example of how many student athletes are able to use their talents and abilities to secure a college education. Don’t miss this inside look at a former high school athlete’s life. Another swim story features Northside High School swimmer Jessica Thompson. The senior is a two-sport athlete, but that doesn’t begin to describe the level of activity Thompson undertakes on a daily basis. Despite her busy life, Thompson is committed to her performance in the classroom which earned her her spot as our Academic Athlete. Basketball is probably the most well-known winter sport for high schools. We’ve got that covered, as well. Both of our Player Spotlight athletes, Santreece Stephens of Brookstone School and Bryan Foster of Pacelli High School, are stellar athletes. Each is a multi-sport athlete which is impressive at the high school level, and both are currently involved in helping their school’s basketball teams achieve winning seasons. Take time to read their stories and be reminded again that our area is blessed with very talented student athletes. In addition to these basketball players, Kameren Parker of Fort Middle School is just starting to make a name for himself on the hardwoods, but you might want to make a note to follow this young man. He has the skills and maturity to play at the next level which is why he is our Rising Star this month. It’s a jam-packed issue with great photos, interesting school sports news, and a quick word from our local Fellowship of Christian Athletes director Lamar Weaver. And, to top it all off, we managed to get a photo of the Region 5-AAAA State Volleyball Champs in right at deadline. Congratulations to Coach Donna Fleming and the Blue Devils Volleyball Team of Columbus High School! Way to go ladies! All of us at In the Game High School Sports Magazine would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy holiday season. We appreciate your loyalty to our magazine and also to the local high school sports community. Hopefully, you can find time in all the hustle and bustle of the season to take in a sporting event. It’s always good to be In the Game!
Auburn Tigers • Beauregard Hornets Beulah Bobcats • Brookstone Cougars Callaway Cavaliers Calvary Christian Knights • Carver Tigers Central Red Devils • Chattahoochee Panthers Columbus Blue Devils Glenwood Academy Gators Grace Christian Crusaders • Greenville Patriots Flint River Academy Wildcats Hardaway Golden Hawks • Harris Co. Tigers Jordan Red Jackets • Kendrick Cherokees LaGrange Grangers • Lee-Scott Warriors Loachapoka Indians • Manchester Blue Devils Marion County Eagles • Northside Patriots Opelika Bulldogs • St. Anne Pacelli Vikings Russell Co. Warriors • Shaw Raiders Smiths Station Panthers Spencer Greenwave • Troup Tigers
Editorial & Features
Robert Preston, Jr.,
Features & Commentary
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
For distribution or subscription information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising information call: 888-715-4263 Dykes Publishing Group, Inc. P.O. Box 812 Valdosta, GA 31603
Beth Welch In the Game Magazine is published monthly excluding July. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in part or in full without written consent from the publisher. Dykes Publishing Group, Inc. makes no representation or warranty of any kind for accuracy of content. All advertisements are assumed by the publisher to be correct. Copyright 2013 Dykes Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1945-1458.
ach year during the holidays while others are finishing off the turkey and dressing leftovers and preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations, area high school basketball teams are busy showing off their talents on the court during the William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament. The event has grown so popular it has to be held in dual locations in order to fit in all the teams that participate each December. In The Game High School Sports Magazine asked Gerald Turner, Athletic Director at Jordan High School, 10 Questions about the upcoming event. Turner has been involved with the tournament for years and helps coordinate the event for the Muscogee County School District.
Ten Questions With
Gerald Turner by Beth Welch
In the Game: What is the William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament? Gerald Turner: This is an annual Christmas Tournament, sponsored by MCSD ITG: When will it be held? GT: December 26, 27, 28, 30 and 31, 2013 ITG: How many teams will participate? GT: 12 Boys and 12 Girls Teams ITG: Is this a co-ed tournament? GT: Yes ITG: Where is the tournament being held? GT: Jordan High School and Carver High School ITG: Who were the winners of last year’s tournament? GT: Northside (boys) and Kendrick (girls) ITG: Is there a schedule spectators can view online or elsewhere to see the dates and times teams will play? GT: We will send a copy of all information to the Ledger-Enquirer and TV stations
photography by Chris Hood & Beth Welch
ITG: What is your role with the Shaw Tournament? GT: Tournament Director ITG: Will your Jordan Red Jackets team be participating in the tournament? GT: Yes, both girls and boys ITG: How long have you been coaching at Jordan High School? GT: 26 years Age: 61 Hometown: Columbus, GA Education: Fort Valley State University and Troy State University Family: Spouse, Doris; daughter, Tonja; son, Gerald, Jr. Job title: Athletic Director, Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Hobbies: Walking and Reading Person you most admire: Thomas Works and Bill Screws Best thing about coaching and working in the athletic department at Jordan High School: We all work as a family.
On The Cover
are in a class all their oW oWn by Beth Welch
photography by Jerry Christenson
he sport of wrestling is gaining ground and popularity in the Columbus Valley area. From the first meet in November until the state championships in February, local wrestling programs are busy improving the skills of their athletes and focusing on winning and commitment to the values wrestling teaches. Several schools have the potential to see athletes move
on to the next level of play. Wrestling takes a lot of hard work and dedication as well as talent. In the Game High School Sports Magazine invited area schools to have an outstanding wrestling athlete featured on our cover. In this feature, the athletes also give a brief look at their lives and what makes the sport important to them.
Chandler Willis Age: 16 Height: 5’9” Weight: 138 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 132 lbs. Coach: Chris Huffman, Coach Cobb How long have you been wrestling? My second year
Parents: Charles Willis Graduating class: 2015 College: CSU Favorite food: Pepperoni Pizza Favorite movie: The Godfather Favorite sports team (college or professional): Alabama Football
Joshua Jamieson Age: 17 Height: 5’4” Weight: 126 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 126 lbs. Coach: Tommy Sanders How long have you been wrestling? Six years
Parents: Donald Jamieson and Tracy Jamieson Graduating class: 2014 College: Undecided Favorite food: Ice cream Favorite movie: The Campaign
Joshua s ampson Age: 16 Height: 5’10” Weight: 175 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 182 lbs. Coach: Robert Sanders How long have you been wrestling? Four years
Parents: Nicole Brooks Graduating class: 2015 College: USMC Favorite food: Key lime pie Favorite movie: Django Favorite sports team (college or professional) Oklahoma State
Matt Hogan Height: 5’9” Weight: 128 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 128 lbs. Coach: Shawn Sherman and Don Vestal How long have you been wrestling? Four and half years Favorite sports team (college or professional): UGA football; Penn State wrestling
Parents: James Thomas and Erika Milena Hogan Graduating class: 2014 College: Undecided Favorite food: Pizza Favorite movie: Vision Quest
Person you would most like to meet: Nick Saban Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Fourth place in city One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: Staying in shape and always liked wrestling.
Person you would most like to meet: Hillary Clinton Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Second at state in 10th grade and fifth at state in 11th grade One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: I am good at it.
Person you would most like to meet: Jordan Oliver Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: MVP 2012; 20122013 fourth place at state; third place at sectionals One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: I just love the sport.
Person you would most like to meet: David Taylor Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Captain One reason you enjoy wrestling: It teaches you that if you want something bad enough, you have to rely on yourself and no one else, and once you achieve your goals it feels amazing. 9
Christopher s hields Age: 16 Height: 5’7” Weight: 143 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 138 lbs. Coach: Shawn Connors, Garrett Tovey, Jason Quinley How long have you been wrestling? Since freshman year (three years)
Parents: Derrick and Andrea Shields Graduating class: 2015 College: Undecided Favorite food: Seafood Favorite movie: Yes Man Favorite sports team (college or professional): Georgia Bulldogs
Javon a . Walker Age: 16 Height: 5’6 Weight: 132 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 132 lbs. Coach: M.A. McGinty How long have you been wrestling? One year
Parents: Terri Irving Graduating class: 2016 College: Undecided Favorite food: Hot wings Favorite movie: The Purge and The Haunted House Favorite sports team (college or professional): Washington Redskins
Ethan BaBE Ba BE BEr r Age: 16 Height: 6’2” Weight: 190 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 182 lbs. Coach: Rob Morales How long have you been wrestling? This is my fifth year
Parents: Zane and Loretta Baber Graduating class: 2015 College: Undecided Favorite food: Wings Favorite movie: Vision Quest Favorite sports team (college or professional): Auburn Tigers
Jacob a foa Age: 16 Height: 5’10” Weight: 187 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 195 lbs. Coach: Ed Lovvorn How long have you been wrestling? Two years
Parents: Simon and Christine Bachmann Graduating class: 2015 College: University of Iowa or Penn State Favorite food: Cookies Favorite movie: Step Brothers Favorite sports team (college or professional): University of Florida
TrisT Tris Tan Ca CaTT TT er erT T on Age: 17 Height: 6 feet Weight: 160 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 160 lbs. Coach: Ben Foust How long have you been wrestling? Six years 10
Parents: Michael and Amy Catterton Graduating class: 2014 College: Undecided Favorite food: Steak and eggs Favorite movie: The Other Guys Favorite sports team (college or professional): Denver Broncos, Mizzou Wrestling
Person you would most like to meet: Bill Gates Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Second in my area One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: I’ve never loved doing something as much as wrestling. It’s the only thing I can talk about forever.
Person you would most like to meet: RG III, Alfred Morris Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Three medals (second place) One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: The intensity and it’s one on one.
Person you would most like to meet: Peyton Manning Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Invited to Australia for a trip One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: It’s one on one.
Person you would most like to meet: The President Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Placed third in state 2013 One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: It’s hard, and no one can do what I do.
Person you would most like to meet: Mark Wahlberg Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Top eight of state, fifth at sectionals, and secomd in region One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: It makes you tough and teaches you the value of hard work.
Lavon Xavier Woods Age: 17 Height: 5’11” Weight: 172 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 160/170 lbs. Coach: Kevin Noviello How long have you been wrestling? Four years
Parents: Judy Woods Graduating class: 2014 College: Undecided Favorite food: Shrimp Linguini Alfredo Favorite movie: Olympus Has Fallen Favorite sports team (college or professional): Alabama
Chris Drake Age: 18 Height: 5’5” Weight: 106 lbs. Coach: Bryce Robinson Weight class for wrestling: 106 lbs. How long have you been wrestling? Five years
Parents: Tom Drake, Gwen Drake Graduating class: 2014 College: Columbus State University Favorite food: Steak Favorite movie: Never Back Down Favorite sports team (college or professional): Auburn
Raymond BR B R owde owdeR R Age: 17 Height: 5’7” Weight: 234 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 285 lbs. Coach: Russell Scott How long have you been wrestling? Six years
Parents: Christina Glenn, Jeff Glenn, and Raymond Browder, Sr. Graduating class: 2014 College: Georgia University Favorite food: Pizza Favorite movie: Django Favorite sports team (college or professional): Miami Heat
Brian Grant, Jr. Age: 16 Height: 6’ Weight: 196 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 190 lbs. How long have you been wrestling? Three years
Parents: Katrina Jakes and Brian Grant Graduating class: 2015 College: Fort Valley State University Favorite food: Steak Favorite movie: Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Favorite sports team (college or professional): University of Georgia
Kalvin Harris Age: 18 Height: 5’10” Weight: 133 lbs. Weight class for wrestling: 132 lbs. Coach: Matt Redmond How long have you been wrestling? Three years
Parents: Kalvin and Monica Harris Graduating class: 2014 College: Undecided Favorite food: Buffalo chicken dip Favorite movie: The Hammer Favorite sports team (college of professional): NC State
Person you would most like to meet: Jordan Burroughs Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Georgia National Greco Roman Team and Georgia National Freestyle Team One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: I like the grind of the sport.
Person you would most like to meet: Keal Sanders Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: City champion, area champion, third in sectionals, seventh in state One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: It teaches focus.
Person you would most like to meet: LeBron James Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Fourth in city two years in a row One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: Very physical.
Person you would most like to meet: Kevin Hart Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Most improved wrestler One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: It’s a fun sport and a great challenge.
Person you would most like to meet: Jordan Burroughs Any awards or accomplishments as a wrestling athlete: Made the national team One reason you enjoy the sport of wrestling: I enjoy the sport because it is only you on the mat and nobody else. 11
restling as a sport is gaining in popularity in local high schools with each passing school year. Many area high schools are producing outstanding wrestling athletes through successful wrestling programs. One such program can be found at Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama. The Red Devils wrestling team is coached by Rob Morales, a Spanish teacher at the school who was a residential construction contractor for 12 years before becoming a fulltime teacher and coach. In The Game High School Sports Magazine asked Coach Morales 10 questions about his life, his wrestling program, and the athletes to watch this wrestling season.
Sports Connection With
Rob Morales by Beth Welch
In the Game Magazine: When did you begin your coaching career? Rob Morales: I began my coaching career in 1994 while enrolled at Kansas Wesleyan University. I began as an assistant in the county’s outreach program sponsored by the Salina, Kansas,YMCA. ITG: How long have you been coaching at Central High School? RM: I have been coaching at Central High School since 2009. ITG: Do you coach any other sports? RM: While at Central High School, I have had the opportunity to coach the defensive line for our varsity football team as well as the head boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams. ITG: What is one thing most people don’t know about the sport of wrestling? RM: Most people may understand the physical demands, discipline, and dedication that the sport of wrestling requires but neglect to appreciate the vigorous everyday life choices if requires. A good wrestler will train and compete year-round, always working on mastering his craft. He or she will always be conscious about nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness. These traits can lead to healthy lifestyle practices that last a lifetime. ITG: You have a successful wrestling program at Central. What are some of the accomplishments of your athletes and teams? RM: During my tenure at Central High School, numerous student athletes have accomplished greatness. Athletes have placed at our state tournament, including a state champion, an All-American, and several state tournament competitors as well. We are proud of the men and women that our student athletes develop into during their time as wrestlers. Our wrestling program provides the discipline young men need to become successful professionals, students, fathers, husbands and productive citizens once they leave our program. ITG: Who are some of your athletes to watch this wrestling season? RM: We have a great, young group of wrestlers returning this season. Junior Ethan Baber (182 lbs.), team captain and 2013 state tournament competitor will be returning this year hungrier than ever. Jamorris Ford (145 lbs.) will be very tough to beat, and Jared Marshall (126 lbs.) will be a force to be reckoned with. Other wrestlers to watch are: Jon Storey, Matt Gittens, Tony Morales, Dakota Pittman, Kristian Scott, and James Thomas to name a few.
photography courtesy of Rob Morales
ITG: What makes your program different from other high school programs? RM: I would like to think that we are no different than any of the other athletic programs here in our school system. We focus on the process. We strive for consistency in performance. We build others up and understand that the effort we give to prepare is what really matters. The rest will simply take care of itself. We try to be extra critical of our performances. We evaluate our strengths and weaknesses in order to properly evaluate and develop our game. We are always striving for continued improvement in all aspects of our sport. We are relentlessly pursuing excellence in all aspects of the student athlete’s life, from the field of competition to the way we carry ourselves in the hallways. We hold ourselves accountable to a different set of standards. ITG: Do you have specific goals for this season? RM: Our goal this season is to simply focus on the process, to consistently strive to perform at a high level, to think big, and to think opportunity not obstacles. ITG: When coaching athletes who have potential to compete at the collegiate level, what advice do you give them? RM: When you have a special athlete, it is the little things that seem to get over-looked. Little things make them a well-rounded individual. I talk to them about leadership, about seeing things for what they are and what they could be. We talk a lot about goal setting, and failures, and about how big a part of failures play on our successes. ITG: What is the best thing about coaching at Central High School? RM: Outside of having a great administration, faculty, and staff, one of the best things about coaching at Central High School is the ability to impact, influence, and inspire the young men and women of the Phenix City area. I love coaching, and it changed my life a long time ago. Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for this opportunity.
Age: 38 Hometown: Fortson, Georgia Education: Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, KS (1993-95), LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA (2003-05) Family: Elena Morales (wife), Tony Morales (son), and Isabelle Morales (daughter) Accomplishments: 2-year Varsity Letterman Lacrosse, 3-year Varsity Letterman Football, 1st Team AllState Lacrosse (1993); All-State Honorable Mention Football (1993); two-year starter at Kansas Wesleyan University (1993-1994); Peachtree, GA Ippon Tournament Runner-up summer 2011; NAGA Tournament Champion No-GI Division Fall 2012 in Atlanta, GA; NAGA Tournament Champion GI Division Fall 2012 in Atlanta, GA; and USA Combative Tournament Champion Summer 2013 in Columbus, GA. Person I most admire: Freddie Vazquez (uncle/mentor) Favorite past time: Grappling
Jessica Thompson Northside High School
Northside Athlete Always in Motion by Beth Welch photography by Jerry Christenson
essica Thompson is not one for sitting still. The Northside High School senior looks for things to do simply because being idle is not on her agenda. “It annoys me to do nothing,” says the 18-year-old. “I cannot be lazy. Just cannot.” Her aversion to inactivity is so great, Thompson is almost a constant blur of motion. She is a two-sport athlete at Northside while also working 20 hours a week at a local clothing store. Even adding in school and her studies, Thompson still finds time to fit in her real passion: riding horses. With all she has going on, the NHS senior might let her grades slack, but Thompson is as vigilant about her grades as she is about her pursuit of activity. She currently holds a 3.64 grade point average and looks to at least maintain that or perhaps improve her GPA this school year. There is no going backwards because her focus is on her future after high school. Thompson plans to pursue nursing and recognizes there are challenges in regards to that goal. “Can’t get into nursing school without the grades. It’s pretty simple. Getting a degree in nursing at Auburn is what I want to do, and I have to have the grades to make that happen,” she says. Thompson’s grades have always been above average. She admits she doesn’t find schoolwork to be very difficult, except for the math class she is currently taking - it’s trigonometry, and her grades are above average there, too. Academics are number one on her priority list, but sports are a very close second. During the winter, Thompson is a member of the Northside swim team. She began swimming competitively at the urging of her friend Mary Cook, who was on the Patriots’ team as a freshman and recruited Thompson to join her for their sophomore year. The 5’7” athlete had been a tennis player 15
he will be a leader and role model for the underclassmen and new swimmers. Jessica works hard and has a positive attitude. Her high GPa, determined work ethic, and her competitive nature would allow for a successful college career.”
- Coach Sarah bleich
and avid horseback rider for many years, but she had never been involved in a swim program. Gifted with natural talent, Thompson took to the sport like, well, a swimmer to water. “It was just good right from the beginning. I prefer freestyle swimming and as much as I love it, I love being a part of the team even more. We are like a family,” she says. When she first began swimming, Thompson was surprised by two things. “I didn’t realize I would be as fast as I was,and I learned swimming is a lot of work,” she says. So far Thompson has participated in the freestyle 50, 100, and 200-meter races as well as the 200- and 400-meter relays. She had a personal best last season of 31.02 in the 50-meter freestyle and has a goal of shaving a few more seconds off her time to get into the 20s this season. For Thompson, the special allure of swimming is its unique competitive structure, which allows the athlete to be a part of a team but also compete as an individual. Thompson declares she is extremely driven to succeed in sports and loves the opportunity to compete even against herself. “I am very competitive. I hate, hate to lose. I will obsess over something and then come back and do it better the next time. If you don’t give everything, you don’t get better,” she says. Swimming practices and meets takes up a lot of Thompson’s time, and sometimes she works during the holiday months at her job until
10 p.m. or later. That doesn’t leave room for much else besides school and her church youth group, but Thompson often gets up at 6 a.m. to make her way to a friend’s barn for a visit with her four-legged pals. She has plans to start showing horses soon, but until swim season is over, she has to be content with a few hours of riding here and there. Just about the time her last swim meet is held, Thompson will begin practice for her second sport. She is a member of the girls’ tennis team at Northside, where she lettered in the sport as a freshman. She is the number-two singles player on her team and goes after tennis just as relentlessly as she does most everything else. She hopes her hard work both in the classroom and in athletics pays off in the form of a college scholarship. Thompson says she would happily accept academic or athletic offers to gain the opportunity to get her nursing degree. Northside has a new swim coach this year. Sarah Bleich has taken over the program and has no doubt Thompson could wind up next year as a collegiate athlete. Thompson is currently looking to take care of business as a member of the Patriots’ swim team by helping the team take the region title and hopefully move on to the state swim meet held February 7-8, 2014. Her goals after that are pretty simple. “Just stay busy,” she says with a smile. ITG
Getting to know Jessica Family: Parents, Susan and Mark Thompson; brother, Josh Favorite food: My dad’s barbecue Pets: A cat and a dog Favorite place to eat: Mongo’s Clothes she likes to wear: XL T-Shirts and Nike shorts Favorite team: Auburn Music she listens to: Country Best concert she has attended: Gulfcoast Jam; I cried when Brantley Gilbert sang. If she could spend a day with someone, who would it be: My late grandparents Church she attends: Church in the County Person she most admires: My cousin, Taylor Caldwell Best thing about attending Northside High School: My friends
Brookstone Cougars Columbus, GA • www.brookstoneschool.org Cougar Wrestling Prepares For A Big Season
a wrestler must build a strong mental game in practices. The wrestler has to dedicate himself to both aerobic and anaerobic practices, often switching between running and lifting weights. New seasons bring both gain and loss, but this season brings more gain than loss. Only one member of last year’s team was a graduating senior, while an unprecedented number of fresh athletes have joined. As a result, the Cougars expect a huge margin of improvement this year and in the years to come. Additionally, the full and talented roster removes the possibility of forfeited matches from lack of players. The team will be led by a “triumvirate” of returning seniors: JD Fernicola, Nick Sargent, and Benton Bruce. Behind these three seniors are prominent juniors Hal Mansour, Chris Shields, and Morgan Nunnery. According to Mansour, the Brookstone upperclassmen have begun to adjust to the responsibility that comes with new leadership. “We’ve been watching other people lead from past years,” Mansour says, “and now we’re prepared to lead this team ourselves. We’re ready.” These seasoned veterans hope to be worthy role models for the freshmen and sophomores who, like the veterans, must put
The Brookstone wrestling team forms a veritable foundation for Brookstone studentathletes. For the wrestlers, it’s not just a sport; it’s a family. With wrestling season rapidly approaching, the Brookstone Cougars are taking great measures to step it up for the upcoming season. Coaches Shawn Connors, Jason Quinley, and Garrett Tovey are now in the conditioning phase, having the wrestlers run the track and cross country trail, drill moves, do push-ups, and then hit the weight room. These preparations, however, are intended to do more than build muscle and endurance. Head Coach Shawn Connors, affectionately referred to as “Sconners” by his wrestlers, reports that while winning matches is important, he also intends to build character. According to Connors, character and teamwork are critical for the Cougars. “I think that it’s a good sport for young men and women to pursue,” comments Connors. “Wrestling fosters and develops a lot of character, self-determination, and initiative.” To Connors, Quinley, and Tovey, wrestling requires a great deal of motivation— motivation from teammates, motivation from parents and influential adults, and not least of all, self-motivation. To succeed in the ring,
by Michael Gibbes and Gabrielle Resnick
on the captain’s singlet in future seasons. This full and talented team hopes to increase the number of people that qualify and place in state duals. Prather Hudson, a sophomore, impressively placed at state as a freshman last year and hopes that he will repeat his success this year. The first wrestling match takes place in November at Spencer High School. The wrestlers are eager to use the strength they have built in the weight room and the skills they have honed in practice together to pin down a winning start to the season.
Brookstone Cougars Columbus, GA • www.brookstoneschool.org Brookstone Basketball Starts A New Chapter Coach Sylvest sets the bar even higher for his girls this year with goals to win 20 games and the region championship. He has already had some interaction with the team before school started. He explains how this past “summer was about trying to build relationships with the kids as well as getting them used to the structure of practices and tempo that [he] will expect during the season.” Sylvest recognizes that his team has a lot of talent. All the girls are returning from last year since there were no seniors on last year’s team, and all of the women are “eager to work,” according to Coach Sylvest. After coaching for nine years at Montgomery Academy, where he played in high school, his overall record is 194 wins and 70 losses. He is excited to start with a clean slate here at Brookstone and ready for the season to begin. The Lady Cougars squad is packed with talent, but Rachel Moore, Neshia Thomas, and Isabel McCluskey are looking to be the leaders for the Cougars this year. Both Moore and Thomas have played varsity basketball for three years but have never run the up-tempo offense that Sylvest plans to employ. Each player shines in the fast break and is glad to have the freedom from Sylvest to “take any openings they see.” Thomas believes that “Sylvest is all about teamwork and supporting [our] teammates.”
Brookstone students stand mulling around waiting for the pep rally to start when an unfamiliar voice begins to come out of the loudspeaker with enthusiasm that is hard to resist. For the first time in a while, students actually cheer with the cheerleaders, and the pep rally gets everyone hyped up for that night’s game. The man behind the voice is Brookstone’s new girls’ basketball coach Glenn Sylvest. He is extremely amiable, cheerful, and full of energy. Although he knows that he has big shoes to fill after last year’s incredible season by the Lady Cougars, Sylvest seeks to continue Brookstone’s recent rise to dominance in the area but is determined to reach that goal by his own methods. Sylvest’s main goal as head coach is to inspire the girls to work their hardest in the basketball program at Brookstone. He wants his team “to work hard and have fun while staying competitive,” which can be hard to accomplish during the long grind of the basketball season. Last year the girls played 28 games, more than any other season, finishing 14-14 overall (10-4 in the region), a record number of wins for Brookstone. Six of the team’s losses were by five points or less, including the region championship, in which they lost 4948. He plans to heavily stress the intensity and endurance needed during the final few minutes to prevent games from slipping away.
by Trey Thorne and Caroline Sparks
It is clear that Sylvest has already made a positive impression on his players; Rachel Moore already has total confidence in him, saying, “He is a very good coach and knows the game well.” Another weapon for Sylvest is McCluskey, who missed last season due to a shoulder injury but will be back this year and is sure to make an impact at the small forward position both in points and rebounds. She admits that she “is nervous” about returning to the court but believes that “Sylvest is a really good coach who will bring out a positive environment for the players.” Courtney Tanaskovic is a new assistant coach with Margaret McCormick and Sally Bradley, who have both been helping with the team for multiple years. The players are comfortable with the coaching changes, and it seems that Brookstone is poised for a big season. Brookstone is very excited to have Coach Sylvest leading the Lady Cougars, who are all looking forward with anticipation for this season. He comments that Brookstone has a “family feel” and that he has received a very warm welcome. He also looks forward to becoming a bigger part of the Brookstone community. Outside of school, Sylvest is a big Auburn fan and enjoys going to the games with the drive being so easy from Columbus. He has enjoyed Columbus so far and looks to building a career here.
Greer Weed at the Pacelli / Brookstone game
Pacelli getting ready to play Brookstone
Riley Hastings showing Pacelli some love
Wendy Jacobs Pacelli football game
Alec Silv and Zane Ketchum showing off their fancy attire
Barah Baxis, JD Fernicola, Mihir John, Jack Mcgrory, Trey Thorne, Benton Bruce, Matt Hunter, and Will Mullins are strong supprters of Brookstone football
Several students cheering on Northside volleyball
Professional Photography by Chris Hood Photography ÂŠ www.chrishoodphotography.com
Carver football game played out in front of a great backdrop
Olivia Huntley cheering on the Carver football team.
Robert Snell being heard at the Carver football game
Jahnitrius Coley, Malik Turner, and e. Tyneisha Quarterman at the Carver gam
Shirley Coleman anticipating the play at a Carver game
Makayla Henderson, Mywa Brown, and Sundra Hardaway enjoying the Carver game
Camille Bruno, Sydney Held, and Peyton Held working the Northside volleyball game
Northside volleyball player getting air on the serve 21
Focused as she is on athletics, Stephens has a surprising attitude about her future in the world of sports. She has long-dreamed of being a lawyer and doesn’t want to do anything to distract her from her goal.
Player Spotlight Presented by:
Brookstone Athlete Proves She Can Handle Hits, Hoops and Hurdles by Beth Welch photography by Jerry Christenson
ooking back, Santreece Stephens can trace the beginning of her athletic career to being at the bottom of the pyramid - cheerleading stunt pyramid. “It’s kind of a funny story,” says the 16-yearold junior at Brookstone School. “We were living in Italy, and I was a cheerleader for like, a little league basketball team. My mom and dad were there to watch me cheer, but they also had to watch the game and my mom said she didn’t like that her daughter was at the bottom of the pyramid when she could see other girl athletes playing basketball. I was[a little chunky so that’s why I was on the bottom.” That was a long time ago, and she is definitely not chunky anymore. Today, the 5’8” athlete is a mixture of strength, action, and talent. Stephens uses those skills on the volleyball court, and as a basketball player and a hurdler for the Brookstone track and field team. Her mother, Christa GriffinStephens, got her involved in basketball when the military family moved from Italy to the Columbus area. From there Stephens grew into a multisport athlete. Basketball was Stephens’ main sport through middle school and also when she enrolled at Brookstone as an eighth-grader. Born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, both of Stephens’ parents were in the military. Children of military families are often familiar with being the new kid, but when Stephens came to Brookstone, basketball helped her fit in and make friends a bit quicker. Her freshman year found Stephens going out for the school’s volleyball team. At the urging of the coach at the time (he had seen her jump while playing around with friends) Stephens attended tryouts and was quickly placed on the varsity team. Stephens also realized volleyball made her rethink playing basketball.
“I liked volleyball and was a little hesitant about basketball after that. I eventually decided I could do both and managed to find a balance,” she says. Even though she is a junior, Stephens has been steadily developing quite a reputation as an athlete. She has attended camps at Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Emory. She plays American Amateur Union (AAU) volleyball, which has allowed her to travel and be seen by others outside this area. Coaches have been honest in appraising her talents, and she has been told she could have a future as a collegiate athlete. Her volleyball coach, Cynthia Todt, has been coaching for two years at Brookstone. Her team posted a very successful first season in 2012 with a 21-15 record, which included earning the title of area champs. Stephens was an important part of that team leading the way with 181 kills. Although she is only a junior, her coach feels Stephens has potential to play at the next level. “Yes, I do. She has the athleticism, commitment, and skills. She is also a serious student in the classroom, which should give her a lot of options. She is also very young and can still improve her game,” comments Todt. Stephens led the Lady Cougars in kills, blocks, and aces. She says she worked on her passing game prior to the beginning of volleyball season. Her coach noted the improvement in her passing skills and praised Stephens all the more for her efforts. “Absolutely. She is one of the best defenders on the court and does a great job reading the other team’s offense and getting in position to make the play,” Todt says. Now that another season of volleyball is in the record books, Stephens is lacing up her basketball shoes for the 2013-14 basketball season. There is a new coach for the Brookstone girls’ basketball team. Glenn Sylvest has taken over the reins of the program, but Sally Bradley, assistant coach for the Lady Cougars for eight years, has a little more firsthand experience coaching Stephens. She helped coach Stephens for two basketball seasons and one season of volleyball. During that time, Bradley has gained appreciation for Stephens’ talents. “Santreece has many strengths on the court. Her athleticism stands out first and foremost. There is little that you ask of Santreece that she can’t perform. Her speed and strength are impressive. Her rebounding was tremendous last season.
She works as hard in practice as any athlete I have worked with, and she is extremely coachable,” says Bradley. Bradley says Stephens is seeing most of her time at forward and center for the Lady Cougars this season. It’s early, but she knows the junior will have a big impact this year and the next. “Santreece will be a real leader for us this season. Since we have a new head coach this year, we are still developing on-court roles. The most important role that we will count on Santreece for will be leadership on and off the court,” Bradley says. The talented student athlete is unique in her skills and abilities with the two court sports she plays, but she also stands out as a track athlete. High school athletes sometimes play a second or third sport just to stay in shape for a main sport, and while natural talent enables them to be contenders, few excel at every sport they attempt. Stephens is among those few. She has set a school record for her time in the hurdles event and put in a time of 52.85 in 2013, a personal best. “I didn’t know I had set a school record for a while. It was surprising, and I wasn’t trying to do that. I just took the hurdles event as a challenge, and it has worked. I guess being able to jump helps there, too,” she says. Stephens embraces her athleticism as being useful in so many ways. She feels her involvement at the outset in high school sports enabled her to fit in and make friends. Later, sports taught her how to manage her time. Being a participant in organized sports is helping her see the value of leadership principles. “I put myself on a schedule and learned to balance everything. If I hadn’t, I probably would be a mess. I feel like now I can be a leader for my coaches and on the team because I have experience now. My parents taught me not to be cocky but to stay humble, and being in a leadership role helps with humility,” says Stephens. Focused as she is on athletics, Stephens has a surprising attitude about her future in sports. She has long dreamt of being a lawyer and doesn’t want to do anything to distract her from her goal. “I am waiting to see what happens next year. If the right opportunity came along, I might say yes to sports in college, but right now it’s hard to see how I could manage the studies becoming a lawyer would require with playing volleyball or basketball. I will just have to see,” she says thoughtfully. ITG
Getting to know Santreece Family: Favorite food: Favorite place to eat: Her “go to” place for clothes: Pets: Favorite movie: Last book she read: Favorite athlete:
Person she most admires:
Bryan Foster St. Anne Pacelli School
Player Spotlight Presented by:
Pacelli senior has college interest in three different sports by Robert Preston, Jr. photography by Jerry Christenson
ryan Foster is a fascinating young man. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, he would make a good wide receiver. Or shooting guard. He might be a little larger than the average high school second baseman, but with his athleticism, he could contribute just about anywhere on the field, if needed. As it turns out, Foster is more than just good at any of those positions. He’s excellent. At all three. As of In the Game’s press time, the Pacelli Vikings football team is 7-2 and coming off a 28-12 win over Schley County. Foster scored a touchdown in the contest, his sixth of the year. After not making the playoffs since 2007, the Vikings are enjoying a fantastic season. In four years, the Vikings have gone from an 0-10 squad to a playoff-caliber team. “We just worked harder this year. We know we can compete with everyone we play,” says Foster. Through the first six games of the year, Foster had 37 catches for 450 yards. Foster doesn’t want the football season to end. He isn’t ready to hang up his helmet and shoulder pads. It’s been a while since the Vikings have done much on the football field, and he would like to be a part of a strong run through the postseason, the kind of run that can transform a program and turn things around for years to come. There is something else that has his attention. It’s not a distraction. But it’s there, tugging ever-so-slightly each time he laces up his cleats and heads out to football practice. The basketball team is in the gym, practicing each day for the quickly approaching 2013-2014 season. The Vikings haven’t made the playoffs in basketball since Foster has been at Pacelli. And he would like to see that streak come to an end as well. “I love football. But I’m ready to play some basketball,” he laughs.
Bryan Foster loves baseball. He really, really loves baseball. A second baseman who hits in the middle of the order, Foster was an All-Region honorable mention last season. He didn’t hit a home run, but he finished with 17 stolen bases. “I’m a line drive, doubles kind of hitter. My main goal is just to get on base,” he says. Foster hasn’t received any baseball offers yet, but he’s still trying to generate some interest. He has been to several camps, most recently a showcase in Marietta in November. “I’d love to play football, basketball, and baseball in some combination in college,” he says. Foster can’t practice with his basketball teammates until football season ends. In the meantime, he’s going out every day after football practice, shooting and running a bit so when he is finally turned loose on the hardwood, it won’t take as long to catch up. “There are breaks in football. You aren’t always running. But in basketball, there are no breaks. You are constantly on the move. It takes a while to get my wind back,” he says. A multidimensional player who can play any position on the court, Foster spends most of his time at shooting guard. He can shoot the three, but he’s also good inside. On defense, he plays the post, banging with the big guys down low. Foster’s career highlights include a 32-point game against Beulah High School last year - more than twice his 15 points per game average. He found himself in foul trouble during the game so he says he started shooting more. Those extra shots went in, and he ended up with a career night. “I just looked for my shot more often. And they started falling,” he says. One of the keys to a successful future is keeping your options open, and Foster certainly has options. He’s an All-Region selection in football, basketball, and baseball, and wouldn’t mind playing all three in college. No one has come to the table for baseball ,but he has offers from in-state schools for football and basketball. Mercer wants him for both sports. Valdosta State University is recruiting him for basketball. And West Georgia wants him to play football. “If I had to choose just one sport, I don’t know which one it would be,” he says.
His uncle, Tay Cody, played at Florida State University and in the NFL and Canadian Football League. Cody, now an assistant coach at Calhoun County, has told his nephew not to make a decision too quickly. “He says for me to keep my options open. He thinks football is looking good for me now. He says I have the size and speed. We’ll just see how it all plays out,” says Foster. ITG
Bryan’s Favorites: NBA team: Player: Person to meet: Subject: Least Favorite: Superpower: Pepsi or Coke:
Young Wrestler Willing To Go To The Mat for His Team by Beth Welch
ost of Slayton Graham’s athletic endeavors thus far have involved running. The 15-year-old freshman at Hardaway High School played baseball until the age of 12. He has long been engaged in the sport of soccer, and his last year in middle school, he participated in track and field events. This fall, he launched himself into the world of high school sports by joining the school’s cross country team. It is perhaps a little surprising that the five foot, 93-pound teen decided to undertake a more stationary sport. This winter Graham is one of the newest members of the Hawks wrestling team, competing in the 106-pound weight class. Although he has never been part of a wrestling program, Graham decided to pursue the sport at the encouragement of his father. “I am very competitive. I hate to lose. Honestly, I get frustrated because I am so competitive and my dad said he thought I would be good at wrestling. I thought about it and said I think I can do that,” says Graham. Soccer drives Graham’s passion for athletics. He has played in organized soccer programs for many years and really had not thought about participating in a winter sport his first year in high school. Graham says he was going to start off as a XC runner and then check out the possibility of playing soccer in the spring. Putting wrestling in the middle of those two sports keeps Graham busy and plugged in to campus life in positive ways since he is a newcomer in a big school. Freshmen sometimes experience anxiety about attending high school. Graham is no different in that he wanted to fit in while also being able to participate in one or two sports he enjoys. He notes that the XC season thrust him right into “Hawk life.” “Honestly, I didn’t know very many people here but when I started with cross country, I met other people and have made some friends. It helped me to be a part of a sport right at the beginning of school,” says Graham. Wrestling gives Graham a chance to be a part of another set of Hardaway athletes and also learn a new sport. The school has a tradition of producing successful wrestling teams with stellar individual athletes. The sport is gaining notoriety in some arenas and several area middle schools have added wrestling clubs or programs which often act as feeder programs for high schools. Graham didn’t partici-
photography by Jerry Christenson
pate in wrestling in middle school but his high school coach still has high hopes for the rookie. “He will be the starting 106 pounder. He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but that is what this year is for. I have told him I did not care if he went 0 for 30 this year, just to learn and get better,” says Kevin Noviello, Hardaway head wrestling coach. The Hawks coach has been at the helm of Hardaway’s wrestling program for two years. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach for three years. Last year his team record was 16-4, placed second in the region and advanced to team state with three wrestlers making it to the individual state competition. The 2013-14 season has the HHS team filled with new and young talent. Seven first-time wrestlers have made the team and an additional seven freshman are part of the program. While breaking in the new recruits takes time and energy, Noviello views the task as an opportunity. Graham’s inexperience as a wrestler, in Noviello’s opinion, is offset by the freshman’s eagerness to learn. “When looking for kids that we think can compete at any level in sports, we determine their athletic ability, coachability and their enthusiasm toward their sport. Slayton grades high on all three of these. Slayton’s greatest strengths are his willingness and coachability. I would rather have an athlete I can coach/teach than a superstar. One of the two can’t be taught,” says Noviello. One way Noviello addresses the disconnect between new and returning athletes in his program is to have his three upperclassmen captains mentor the younger wrestlers. This includes sharing training techniques and helping the newcomers learn to mentally prepare for a match. In anticipation of his first wrestling season, Graham started preparing for his new sport by conducting his own research. “I studied up and began watching the moves. I didn’t know anything about wrestling until I started watching it, and now, I think it is going to be hard work but fun,” says Graham. Balancing his grades as a multisport athlete hasn’t been difficult at this point. Graham is a solid A-B student and he is well aware that three sports is a lot to undertake for a freshman, but he doesn’t appear to be worried. “I think I am going to be okay. Honestly, I am very determined. If I decide I am going to do something, I pretty much do it,” he says. ITG
Getting to know Slayton: Family: Parents, Miriam and Seth Graham; one brother, one sister Favorite food: Steak Favorite place to eat: Zaxby’s Pets: One dog; two cats What he most likes to wear: Adidas shoes Sports team he follows: Alabama Crimson Tide Music he listens to: Hip Hop Athlete he admires: AJ McCarron
Favorite television program: NCIS Place he would most like to visit: Spain or Japan Person he most admires: His late grandfather. Also, looks up to his parents. Favorite pastime: Fishing Best thing about attending Hardaway High School: The opportunity to play sports
Slayton Graham Hardaway High School
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE
Cusseta, GA • www.chattahoochee.k12.ga.us ChattCo Men’s Cross Country – Region 5-AA Runner-Up Team and Heard County High School. The team placed first at Schley County and Marion County meets and second at Kinnett Stadium and Heard County meets. The Region 5-AA Cross Country Tournament was held Wednesday, October 30 at McIntosh Reserve Park in Whitesburg, Georgia. The boys’ cross country teams consisted of Bremen High School, Bowdon High School, Temple High School, Kendrick High School, Jordan High School, William H. Spencer High School, Heard County High School, and Chattahoochee County High School. The score for each team is based on the top five runners for the team while the sixth and seventh runners serve as tie-breakers for the team. The top five runners for Chattco in the region tournament were Jaquan Zeno, Anthony Hernandez, Thomas Wingate, Antwian Mobley, and Marcelius Mobley. The ChattCo boys’ team placed second in the region with 69 points behind Jordan High School who scored 42 points. Bremen High School placed third while Kendrick High School placed fourth. The top four teams in each region qualify for the state cross country meet in Carrollton on November 9. The boys’ AA competition with begin at 10:35 am.
ChattahooChee County high SChool
Cross country is a sport of endurance, hard work, and dedication. At Chattahoochee County High School (ChattCo), the boys’ cross country team has been demonstrating each of these three traits since August 5 when their practices began. Training began during the hottest days of summer and will end Saturday, November 9 at the state cross country meet in Carrollton. Each cross country race is a 5K run. Members of the ChattCo Boys’ Cross Country team include Sven Carmona, Nathan Hedgecoke, Anthony Hernandez, John Jordan, Luke Lynch, Antwian Mobley, Marcelius Mobley, Reginald Rutherford, Damien Tully, Thomas Wingate, Derrick Woods, and Jaquan Zeno. They are coached by Tanya Morgan. Their cross country schedule began Thursday, September 5 as they hosted a home cross country meet at ChattCo against Marion County and Schley County. The ChattCo boys’ team scored their first-ever perfect team score at the school’s first-ever home cross country meet. A perfect team score means that the top five runners were in the top five of the meet. The team participated in four more regular season meets at Kinnett Stadium in Columbus, Schley County High School, Marion County High School,
Karen Waters Columbus High School
Success On the Side Karen Waters and Jamie, her husband of 20 years, have three daughters: 16-yearold twins Ashley and Hillary, and 14-yearold daughter Morgan. All three are athletic but none swim. The twins - one plays softball and one plays soccer - should have an opportunity to play their respective sports in college. “They are into team sports. I didn’t push them into swimming. I admire what they’ve done and how well they play. I know I couldn’t have played softball or soccer. They’ve done very well in the sports they’ve chosen, and I’m very proud of them,” Waters says.
Former Division I Swimmer Leads Columbus High’s Program by Robert Preston, Jr.
aren Waters. Former Division I swimmer. Current swim coach. State record holder. Came within a few seconds of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic swim team in 1984 as a 15-year-old. There’s surely a joke in there somewhere, that a person named Waters has spent almost all of her life in or around a swimming pool. She wasn’t a Waters back then, but still - it’s just low hanging fruit. Waters deserves more respect than that. For years, she was one of the best swimmers in the country. These days, she is passing on her knowledge to the young athletes in Columbus High’s swimming program. In the process, she is teaching them about hard work, achieving goals and instilling in them a lifelong love of a sport that will stay with them no matter what they do or where they go. Waters graduated from Columbus High in 1986. She was the sole member of Columbus High’s first swim team in 1984, the same year she came just a couple of places shy of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic swim team. Waters set several state records during her high
photography by Jerry Christenson
school years and went on to swim for three years at the University of Georgia on scholarship. She had to retire from swimming after her junior year because of injury. After Waters’s days of competitive swimming were over, she began coaching, including 10 years teaching and coaching at Woodward Academy. Waters eventually moved back to Columbus, where she taught at Columbus State University and coached in various summer swim leagues. Four years ago, she returned to Columbus High. A year later, she became the coach of the program she started back in 1984. To be truly competitive, a swim team must be comprised of swimmers who are in the pool year round. Swimming is considered a minor sport by many, but there is nothing minor about it. Serious swimmers are in the pool every day, twice a day most weeks, for a minimum of 15 hours per week - 20 or more for elites. Most high school programs, particularly those outside the metro Atlanta area, don’t have many year round swimmers. That means those programs can be competitive at the region level
but not necessarily at the state level, which is dominated by those schools from the Atlanta area. “I have about 50 swimmers here: 25 men and 25 women. Out of those, maybe five are year rounders. We don’t have our own pool. We practice 90 minutes per day and we have to work around other groups that want to use the pool. We usually send a few swimmers to the state meet. Last year, we had one swimmer almost make the finals. But it’s hard to compete with the schools that have a lot of kids who swim throughout the year,” Waters says. The experience level among Blue Devils swimmers is quite varied. Some can compete at the state level. Others come into the program with little to no competitive experience. They don’t know how the sport is organized and they haven’t mastered the stroke techniques. All the fitness in the world doesn’t matter if a swimmer doesn’t understand stroke technique. Likewise, a keen understanding of technique can hide a lack of fitness. Either way, Waters and her as-
sistant, Mark D’Antonio - himself a former Division I swimmer at Tulane - have their work cut out for them. “Stroke work comes first. Fitness comes later. Having Mark around gives us the opportunity to do a lot of stroke work,” she says. Swimming has provided Waters with a lifetime’s worth of opportunities. The sport paid for her education, allowed her to establish a career, and has helped her pass on a love of education and sport to thousands of young adults. Through their involvement in her program, she hopes that her swimmers will have the same opportunities. They all might not continue swimming but the lessons that they learn in the pool will translate into other areas of life. And perhaps a few might keep swimming through adulthood. “It’s a great sport. It got me in great shape and gave me a lot of confidence. It paid for my school and did so much for me. It’s a sport that you can do throughout your life. I hope that our swimmers will develop a lifelong love for the sport,” Waters says. ITG
Columbus Blue Devils Kinnett Stadium • Capacity: 6,000 • Columbus, GA Columbus High School Cross Country Team Wins City Championship Three Years Running country is not something to be taken lightly. “We don’t just get out there and run at our practices,” Head Coach Rusty Oliver says. “We cross train, lift weights, run hills, run sprints, and run distance.” The boys’ team includes only five seniors: Bo Bridges, Briar Champion, Christian Crapo, Katrell Smith, and Jack Zeller, while the girls have no seniors. The remaining 51 runners who will return next season hold great promise for another winning season. Individually, senior Bo Bridges has placed in the top 10 in every event. The following runners also finished in the top 10 at various meets during the season: Jake Cooper, Christian Crapo, Harper Fine, Connor Gilpatrick, Raja Gonzalez, Erin Moore, Hope Skypek, Clayton Slake, and Emmie Ruth Wise. The unexpected addition of Christian Crapo as a first-year senior had a significant influence on the team’s success. Likewise, many of the freshmen provided many positive results for the Blue Devils. David Dobson, Harper Fine, Hope Kypek, Frank Lumpkin ,Gigi Schorr, and Caroline Tucker and their classmates not only added a new dimension to the boys’ and girls’ teams, but they also contribute to the great potential for success in future seasons. While cross country is considered an individual sport, what stands out about this team is their commitment to one another as a whole. One parent commented after a recent race that, “The great thing about our team is to watch how much the kids support one another. Whether a runner finishes third or 53rd, they can count on their teammates to cheer them on to the finish.” You can hear the cheers of these runners far
above the rest. They are an incredible group of young athletes and students who teach all who watch them that they rise above the rest to run with perseverance in the race set before them. Next season promises to be another winning one with 51 underclassmen to lead the Columbus High Blue Devils forward. Great job to this outstanding team! Photos By Giovanna Gonzalez
Well, they did it again! For the third year in a row, the Columbus High School Cross Country team has taken both the boys and girls city championship titles, which was held at Kinnett Stadium on October 15, 2013. In that meet, the boys were very impressive. Bo Bridges finished in third place overall; Connor Gilpatrick took the fifth place slot; Clayton Slake brought home sixth place, and Christian Crapo rounded out the group with ninth place. The Lady Blue Devils also had a very strong showing. Freshman Hope Skypek took home fourth place, while Junior Emmie Ruth Wise was not far behind in fifth. Another freshman, Harper Fine brought in a sixth place finish, and Junior Erin Moore captured the eighth place. The team participated in several out-of-town meets throughout the season to prepare them for the city championship. Those meets included the team’s claiming of several titles as well. At the First Presbyterian Invitational in Macon, the girls took third place, while the boys took second place. Racing in the Sandy Creek Invitational the boys took fourth place, and the girls took fifth place. At the Asics Invitational, the boys were victorious with a first place title, and the girls brought home another third place trophy. In the Last Chance Meet held in Carrollton, both boys and girls teams came away with second place trophies. Recently at the Region 5-AAAA meet, the girls were second place finishers, with the boys close behind in third place. The Columbus High School Blue Devil Cross Country teams consist of 56 runners who have dedicated themselves to excelling both as individuals and as a team. The difficulty of cross
These Lady Blue Devils worked very hard to claim second place at the Region 5-AAAA meet.
The boys’ team took a first place trophy home at the Asics Invitational Meet.
The entire Columbus High Cross Country team celebrates their victory as city champions.
by Nan Bridges and Nisa Ayral
Columbus Blue Devils Columbus, GA • www.columbushighga.org Columbus High School Wins AAAA Volleyball State Championship
Photo By Alex DADe
Kianna Duncan, Kennedy Smith, and Michelle Vatral prepare for the coming serve.
tone that Saturday. Despite errors made in the third set, they were able to come back and win the fourth set against Marist High School. Leading the team to victory with 35 kills throughout the season, the seniors served as motivators to the rest of the Blue Devils. Senior Michelle Vatral, who suffered a serious injury
Photo By Kenneth Miles, lifetouch studios
After taking home the second place trophy in the state championship last year, the main goal of the Lady Blue Devils Volleyball team for the 2013 season was to win the AAAA State Championship. Through effective communication, positive attitudes, and flawless technique, they entered the running for the title by saying, “This is our year.” On November 2 in the Marietta High School gym, the team faced Marist for the state championship. In all, four sets were played, with Columbus winning three. The Lady Blue Devils had proven to everyone that this was their year. The last time the Columbus High Volleyball team had been state champions was 2007. Over the next six years, the team made it to the finals a total of four times, bringing home second place in 2012. Head Coach Donna Fleming says, “Last year’s seniors really motivated this year’s girls to go for the win.” Fleming attributes this year’s success to the experience gained by the girls last year, giving them a slight advantage over Marist. Their impeccable, constantlyimproving skills also helped them earn the title. Earlier in the season the team’s main concerns involved teamwork and communication. Staying focused was also a major factor. It is very rare that a team sweeps another in a championship match. That’s why four or five sets are typically played. Only a team with great focus can accomplish a win in high stake games such as these, and the Blue Devils set a victorious
by Alex Dade
around this time last year, says about the game, “It feels so good; the triumph felt a little more personal.” She went on to say that “all those days spent in physical therapy just made [her] climb [her] way to the top.” The ending of the season also leads to a “bittersweet feeling” according to senior Kennedy Smith. After playing volleyball for Columbus High School for four years, Smith says, “I’m just glad that I could contribute.” All of the members of the squad have always looked to support each other in any way they can. With a great turn-out from both students and administrators, the atmosphere of the game was intense. The gym was packed full of fans from both sides, but the Lady Blue Devils were not nervous. They came to win, and that is what they did. Natalie Twyford, another senior player says, “It was a lot of pressure, but we pushed through and won.” Coach Fleming remembers how great a challenge it was to win the first state title, and winning a second is even tougher, as schools across the state are well aware of the level of skill and athleticism the team brings to each match. Still, Columbus High worked diligently, believed in themselves, and shine today as the best in AAAA.
The Blue Devil seniors include Ki’anna Duncan, Brittany Griner, Michelle Vatral, Brianna Gogins, Natalie Twyford, and Kennedy Smith.
Tigers Hamilton, GA • www.hctdclub.com A Change In Their Routine: HCHS Dance Team Gets A New Coach
as at local schools. The team practices typically exceptional talent and leadership The HCHS Dance Team, whether in competition two to three days a week for an hour and a half or in performance, embodies the quote coined by each day. On performance days the dancers eat Merce Cunningham: “You have to love dancing to dinner together to allow for collective preparation among the team members. As evident in the stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts dance team’s preparation regimens, it requires far to store away, no paintings to show on the walls more than a talented dancer to become a member and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be of the team. The technique can be taught, but the printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” The HCHS Dance desire to dance cannot. It is this desire that cannot be compromised when selecting dancers for the Team has shown just how alive, talented, and determined they are every time they perform. HCHS team and is best displayed by senior and team captain Megan Feret. Although Feret sustained a knee injury at the beginning of the season and was largely unable to dance once practices resumed, she became the principal student facilitator for the team’s choreography and mixed the music the team danced to at senior night in November. Coach Woodall considers Feret to be her “star” competitor and is quite unsure of what the team The HCHS Dance Team won second place for their home routine at the would do in the absence of such
Harris County HigH sCHool
With the start of the 2013-14 season, the Harris County High School Dance Team had new leadership: Ms. Chelsea Woodall. The team has made a successful transition and is currently preparing for upcoming competitions. Coach Woodall’s primary goal for her team was to collectively improve the team’s technique so that they could “perform more complex routines and surprise people more often with their talents.” While being the coach for the dance team has had its challenges with regard to scheduling and staying in contact due to Woodall being employed at another school in the system, the rewards far outweighed the challenges. According to Woodall, the most rewarding thing about coaching the dance team is paying witness to the team’s stellar performance. Although both coaching and competing provide those involved with an opportunity to grow as a dancer and as a person, the growth is largely the result of the countless hours of practice and requires more determination and dedication than most people know. As November began, the team had not competed yet; however, they had performed at multiple home football games in the county as well
by Carly Smith
UDA camp in Auburn this summer.
Photo By Lifetouch StudioS
First Row: Elisabeth Miller, Kayla Frost, Hannah Holland, and Brooke Kennedy. Second Row: Jordan Meadows, Rylie Gavulic, Madison Juhan, Samantha Thomas, Hannah Reed, Morgan Kinney, Megan Feret, Alex Malloy, Courtney Hunter, and Macie Edwards.
Northside Patriots Columbus, GA • www.muscogee.k12.ga.us/northside The Legacy Of A Coach Coach John Drew has had a lifetime of experience working with students throughout his career as a teacher and a coach. He has coached little league baseball, football, softball, and golf. He currently coaches boys’ golf at Northside and is the kicker and punter on Northside’s football team. With a passion for coaching and a love for his players, he plans to continue coaching and to continue helping his players “not only learn the game of golf or football, but the game of life.” Growing up, Drew attended Baker High School in Columbus, Georgia. Being very athletic as a boy, he played almost every sport at his high school, including basketball, baseball, and running track. In 1954, his senior year, he contributed to his basketball team winning the state championship. In college, Drew continued participating in sports, playing football at Troy State University in Columbus. At Troy, he majored in political science, with a minor in business, a master’s degree in administration, and a doctorate in administration. His college education led him to the profession of being an economics teacher. He taught at Hardaway High School for 12 years and at Columbus High School for 18 years. Drew enjoyed being a teacher and working with his students but never thought that he would be a coach. He began coaching because a friend of his asked him to help him coach a little league team. Drew agreed to help, and coached little league for 18 years. He later began coach-
by Rachel Shehane
ing football and girls’ softball at Hardaway High School. He was the head coach at Hardaway from 1984 to 1990. He began coaching at Columbus High School when another friend of his, “Pig” Davis, convinced him to coach there as well. Drew retired from teaching in 2008 and soon after began coaching at Northside High School. This is his sixth year coaching at Northside, and he has high expectations for his players this year. His golf team has been to the state championship five years in a row, and many of his players who won last year are back this year. He sees talent and potential in all of his players, both varsity and JV teams, and is excited to see them all grow as both players and young men. He hopes that as they progress they can keep a goal in mind to “win with class, or lose with it if they do.” Not only does Coach Drew have a connection with his players, but his players have a connection with him. Eighteen year old Northside senior, Kyle Wilson, is one of Coach Drew’s golf players. “There are so many things I admire about Coach Drew; he has been an inspiration to me,” says Wilson. He admires Drew’s attitude and feels that his motivational speeches to the team really help inspire the team to play their best. Northside’s kicker, 15 year old freshman Nathan Robertson, is another of Coach Drew’s players. He says that Drew has helped him to improve his technique as a player. What he admires about
Coach Drew is that “he is funny, knows a lot about the game, and kicking,” and jokingly adds that “he is also the oldest person I know.” What Coach Drew has enjoyed most about his career as both a teacher and a coach is that he gets to spend time with the students, gets them thinking outside of the box, and has the opportunity to watch them mature as young women and young men. Drew says there are more opportunities for students to play sports now than when he first began coaching, and he tries to lead all of his students to “reach out and grab them.” In addition to a wider selection of sports, the equipment and facilities are better, and more players have more chances. Even so, he states, “The players who truly love the sport have always worked just as hard; it’s the same sport no matter what.” Having retired from teaching, Coach Drew spends his time coaching and with his grandsons. He has three sons of his own, and loves to watch his grandchildren play football and go fishing with them. Spending time with children as a teacher, coach, and mentor has been a huge part of his life. He has influenced the lives of children in multiple generations and continues to inspire his players to this day. He does not know how much longer he will coach, but plans to continue on and to do the best that he can do. Photo By Lifetouch StudioS
Drew with Northside’s spring 2013 golf team
City Championship Is Athlete’s Goal For Basketball Season by Beth Welch photography by Jerry Christenson
Kameren Parker 40
Fort Middle School
e’s usually not the tallest player on the court during middle school basketball games but Kameren Parker doesn’t pay attention to such details. His field of vision is solely focused on his team and he only has one goal for the 2014 season. “Winning the city championship,” says Parker, 14. It’s not like Parker hasn’t known the thrill of bringing home the title. As a sixth-grader at Fort Middle School, Parker was a member of the Patriots basketball team that claimed the city middle school basketball championship. Now an eighth-grader and in his last year at Fort, Parker has ideas about adding another city title and trophy for his school before he moves on to the next level. The 5’6”, 120-pound athlete has been playing basketball for a while. He tried baseball at age nine, but just a year later, Parker joined a basketball program at a local YMCA and discovered the game fit him. He admits he was more or less trailing after his older brother when he got involved with basketball. Somewhere along the way, Parker found out he had a few good basketball skills. “I can dribble, shoot and pass,” says Parker. “But I don’t really focus on me or what I can do. It’s about helping my team.” Because he enjoyed basketball so much, Parker signed up to play Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) ball. He has continued to play with the local chapter and is now a member of the Georgia Kings team. When he came to Fort, the confidence he gained through playing organized sports carried through, enabling Parker to try out for the Patriots. He made the team and even though he didn’t see a lot of playing time that first year, he had enough to feel he contributed to the team’s championship season. With those memories still fresh in his mind, Parker plans on a winning season that will culminate in making it to the championship playoffs. He continues to play AAU ball and has added a couple of other sports to his playlist in an effort to keep in top physical shape when not on the basketball court.
The 5’6” tall and 120 pound athlete has been playing basketball for a while. It wasn’t his first sport. That would have been baseball which he tried at age nine. But just a year later Parker joined a basketball program at a local YMCA and discovered the game fit him. After Parker took up basketball with serious intent, he left behind baseball. Last year, as a seventh-grader at Fort, Parker gave two sports a try that he otherwise had not had any experience playing. Soccer is a fall sport for middle schools, which gave Parker an option for a fall sport before moving into basketball season. It was a learning experience that produces a little laughter when Parker talks about his first attempts as a soccer athlete. “Yeah, I kept getting handballs,” he says. “The ball would come to me and I would catch it in my hands like a basketball.” Parker became a three-sport athlete for the 2012-13 school year when he participated in track and field for the Patriots. The spring sport offered him a chance to continue to stay active year round while also keeping him in shape for
the summer, when he puts on a Georgia Kings uniform. After his basketball season winds down, Parker will put on his track shoes and hopefully participate in the mile, the 800m and 4x400m events for Fort. He wants to keep in shape for summer basketball and also has hopes of playing high school ball in the years ahead. Parker has made a decision to attend Shaw High School next year (where his brother is a senior) and is even setting the lofty goal of attending the University of Kentucky in the future as a basketball player. There is a lot of road to cover before then starting with middle school basketball season in January. His passion for the game is demonstrated when asked what he loves most about playing basketball. “Everything,” he answers. ITG
Getting to know Kameren Family: Mother, Sonya Whittlesey; one brother and a sister
Person he most admires: Kobe Bryant (for his scoring)
Pets: Two dogs, Lincoln and Lacy
Clothing he prefers to wear: Jordans
Favorite food: Bacon Favorite place to eat: Red Robin Game time ritual: Pray before games Favorite team: Knicks Athlete he admires: Aaron Williams
Church he attends: Christ Holy Temple Favorite subject: Language Arts Best thing about Fort Middle School: The atmosphere; everybody knowing everybody.
To the ladies of the Columbus High School 2013 Volleyball team. They proudly secured the title of the 2013 Region AAAA State Volleyball Champions. Great job, Ladies!
Shardonee Hayes #1, Christie Lawton #5, Ki’Anna Duncan #6, Nancy Hatcher #7, Brianna Gogins #8, Madison Fleming #9, Natalie Twyford #10, Brittany Griner #11, Kennedy Smith #12, Elizabeth Hassenplug #15, Tatyana Wyatt #16, Michelle Vatral #17, Jha’Meisheia Griffin #18. Also pictured with the championship team: Varsity Coach Danielle McCoy (far left), Varsity Coach Donna Fleming (left), Varsity Coach Morgan Loewen (right side of team). Not Pictured: Rebecca Hagues, Junior Varsity Coach, and Brenda Smith, Freshmen Coach
And One T
he extra point in football, also known as the try or conversion, has an interesting history dating back to its rugby roots in the 19th-century. At that time, the object was to advance the ball into the end zone as a means of getting a free kick at the goal. By the start of the 20th-century, however, the touchdown had become more important and the roles of touchdown and free kick were reversed. By this time, the point value for the after-touchdown kick had been reduced to its current one-point value, and the touchdown was five points. The touchdown’s value was increased to six points in 1912. In basketball’s original rules dating back to 1892, a successful goal was awarded one point, and after three consecutive fouls by their opponents, a team was awarded an extra point. The free throw was introduced in 1894, in which a field goal and a successful 21-foot free throw counted as one point. In 1895, the free throw line distance was moved in to 15-feet. A year later in 1896, a field goal was counted as two points, its current value.
by Lamar Weaver
Initially, the free throw could be shot by any team member, thus resulting in the specialized free throw shooter. In 1924, the free throw rule was amended to require the person getting fouled to shoot the free throw. Imagine how intimidating that must have been for a regular player to have to shoot his own free throws. What would football look like if the person scoring a touchdown had to kick his own extra point? In today’s basketball, if a shooter is fouled while in the process of shooting and the shot goes in, a bonus shot is awarded. This shot has recently become known as an “and one.” Nonshooting players that are fouled are awarded one free throw once the opponent’s team has committed a set number of fouls. If he makes the first free throw, he gets another -- a “one-andone.” International basketball awards 1-and-1 free throws based on the number of fouls per quarter, while college and high school 1-and-1s are based on the number of fouls in a half. There are plenty of “and ones” in the Bible. Back in January, www.biblegateway.com listed
its heavily-researched “Top 10 Bible Verses of 2012.” At number three is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Its “and one” could be Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” At number two is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Its “and one” could be Jeremiah 29:13, “If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.” Finally at number one, John 3:16 understandably leads the way. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The “and one” to John 3:16 could easily be John 3:17, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” Perhaps you have your own Top 10 Bible verses and your own “and one” verses. The “and one” to humanity? The Only One, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! Amen!
Shaw Raiders Columbus, GA • shaw.mcsdga.net/football A Good Defense Is A Better Offense says, “Kenterill played defensive back for about three years and sort of became lost in the mix. We were a little shorthanded at wide receiver this year, and by accident we realized that he could catch the football really well. In addition, I was shocked at how much he already knew about the offense, even though he had primarily been a defensive player.” Boden now starts as a wide receiver. In the spring of his sophomore year, Boden fractured his collarbone during a regular practice. “I hit someone, and it just started hurting. I didn’t even realize what I’d done, but I went to the doctor and he told me it was broken.” Boden spent the summer in rehabilitation and physical therapy, trying to get his shoulder back in playing form. “One of my concerns once he showed some promise on the offensive side of the ball was the issues that Kenterill has had with one of his shoulders. I strongly feel that he would have been able Photo By Kali Jones
Kenterill Boden is a senior member of the Shaw Raiders. At seventeen years of age, he has been playing football since he was in seventh grade. A former member of the Boys and Girls Club, Boden has played baseball, basketball and even soccer. Despite the forays into other sports, he has repeatedly returned to football. He attributes this to his upbringing: “I grew up watching football, you know. The guys on TV, I wanted to be like them.” Many of the other players on the team have played together since middle school, and Boden is proud to consider himself a member of that family. Although zoned into Kendrick, Boden chose to be a Shaw magnet student in order to continue playing with the team he’s always known. The seniors pushed each other while simultaneously creating positive role models for the freshman. Coach Kyle Adkins, who believes that he is one of the strongest members of the team,
by Austin D. Nichols
Flying Like A Falcon
by Austin D. Nichols
losses, the team has held together admirably. Falcon has a lot of respect for both of her coaches, Laurie McInroy and Coach Tiffany Nicholas. She especially views Coach Mac as a role model. Falcon’s family supports her passion for athletics. Her older brother, Edgar, played baseball for Shaw during his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Gabriella, her younger sister, is eleven. Falcon’s uncle has stepped in as a father figure, helping to support her mother who is a breast cancer survivor. The illness was hard on the family, but even through treatment and pain, Falcon’s mother made an effort to attend her games and support her daughter. A lot of people supported and encouraged Falcon, but she feels that Coach McInroy is one of the people who helped keep her on track. A bright future is ahead of young Regina Falcon. She plans on obtaining a scholarship for softball. Already she has talked to several college softball coaches. Hopefully a softball scholarship will help her obtain her dream of becoming a teacher and maybe even a high school softball coach. One thing is certain, however; Falcon will excel at whatever task or career she sets her mind on.
Photo ByCaleB Vardeman
At 17 years old, Regina Falcon has been playing softball for as long as she can remember. Currently she plays for the Shaw Raiders but has played for several little league teams, including the Chaos, the Rebels, and the Vipers. Although Falcon enjoys tennis, her passion is softball, and that sport takes precedence. Even when Shaw’s softball season is over, Falcon still manages to play softball through travel softball. Combining both Shaw’s athletic program and travel softball, Falcon has practice almost every day besides game days. She hangs out with friends on occasion, but sports take up the majority of her time. Typically she will arrive home late and finish her homework before sleeping. The importance of academics is not lost on Falcon, as she manages her time in such a way as to be an excellent athlete and student. In the Game Magazine has featured Falcon before as part of the Top Ten All Bi-City in Columbus. “The girls are strong, you know. They have a lot of heart,” Falcon says, describing the Raiders as a group of girls with a tight bond. With a total of twenty members, there are eight seniors, including Falcon, and one freshman. Despite several
to contribute to our team last year, if he had not spent most of the year injured.” Despite these difficulties, Boden faithfully did his exercises and is now stronger than before he was injured. Family is an important part of Boden’s life. With practice every day except Saturday, he does not get to spend as much time with his sisters as he would like. Boden has three sisters Kierra (19), Dabria (2), and Destiny (4). His two younger sisters look up to Boden as a role model. As a senior, Boden has been giving a lot of thought to life after high school. He has decided to major in either accounting or communications, and has not ruled out the possibility of playing football in college. Georgetown University in Kentucky and Valdosta State University are Boden’s top two choices. While he realizes that a football scholarship is certainly possible, he does not think it likely. Whether his football career continues after graduation or not, this is an athlete who is headed places.
Regina Falcon pitches for the Raiders
Eagles Buena Vista, GA • www.marion.k12.ga.us/mchs Marion County Athletics FOOTBALL The Eagles’ middle school football team finished its season with a record of 5-1. They outscored their opponents 208 to 74, and in the process, 56 young Eagles gained valuable playing experience. Eagles’ quarterback Quentez Battle was a proven leader both on and off the field. The middle school team was coached by Derek Goodroe, Perry Smith, Kyle Long, and Mark Carlock. Our varsity football team, led by Coach Mike Swaney for the fourth year, has posted an incredible 8-1 record so far this season and achieved #1 Power Rankings among public schools for Single “A.” Eagle fans have packed the stands for home games, as well as away games. MIDDLE SCHOOL TENNIS We are up and running with our middle school team tennis program here at Marion County Middle/High School. All of the players have been practicing hard to improve their tennis skills. Match play began October 9 and will continue through November 20. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) league that we participate in is run by the Columbus Regional Tennis Association (CORTA), and most matches are played at Cooper Creek Park in Columbus. The middle school team tennis program plays a key role in developing players for our high school tennis program. Five out of seven members of our 2013 state champion boys’ team started their competitive tennis experience in the middle school team tennis program.
SOFTBALL The Eagles’ Middle school softball ended their season 6-2, earning the second place trophy for their region. They beat Schley County for the first time in years and also beat the undefeated Taylor County, who clenched first place for the region. Varsity officially made it to state with a record of 13-11.We are very proud of this group of girls for setting history for Marion County Softball. We are building a strong program, and it will take full effort from not just our girls, but also our community to continue to help varsity softball become successful.
LOOKING AHEAD…. Middle school basketball teams are set, and they will begin practice soon. Varsity basketball should be exciting again, with both the Eagles and Lady Eagles returning most of their players from a highly successful 2012-13 season.
CROSS COUNTRY Marion County Varsity Girls Cross Country team is over-flowing with talent. Over the 2013 season, they won three meets and the Greenwave Invitational in Columbus. Recently they captured second place in Region 1-A where they qualified for the state championships in Carrollton on November 9. The middle school cross country team was made up of very enthusiastic young runners. Over the course of the season they participated in several meets and even ran against and beat high school students in the junior varsity race at the Greenwave Invitational in Columbus. By the end of the season every runner had improved his or her time, many by two or three minutes, as they competed in the middle school state championships at Bleckley County. marion County HigH SCHool