Page 1

HOOPSEEN'S gwinnett basketball PRESEASON ■ family sports & rec ► FREE

life is active | NOVEMBER 2013


Run For Your LifE! FOCUS:



Park Events running calendar Atlanta, GA Permit #2883






 live  learn

lifeguard gwinnettcounty parks & recreation Work at the best aquatic centers in the nation! Make New Friends  Fun Work Environment Winter and Summer Employment Flexible Hours  Competitive Pay Lifeguard Competitions  Save Lives

All year-round aquatic centers offer training courses throughout the spring.

Training Courses Available

Register for training courses online at

Year-Round Facilities Bethesda Park Aquatic Center • Lawrenceville Bogan Park Aquatic Center • Buford Collins Hill Aquatic Center • Lawrenceville Mountain Park Aquatic Center • Stone Mountain West Gwinnett Park Aquatic Center • Norcross Seasonal Facilities Best Friend Park Pool • Norcross Dacula Park Pool • Dacula Lenora Park Pool • Snellville Rhodes Jordan Park Pool • Lawrenceville

Call 770.237.5652 for more information or e-mail


MOVE 5K, 10K, marathons, cycling, walking

and moving

25 PARKS Highlighted events and happenings at

Gwinnett County Parks

26 best seat in the house Highlighting the past month in pictures. FRONT COVER HOOPSEEN'S gwiNNEtt baSkEtball OvErviEw ■ ParkS ■ SPOrtSgwiNNEtt.cOm

liFE is aCTiVE | NOVEMBER 2013



PrivatE ScHOOl SPOrtS PrOgramS cOmE back atHlEtE

"tHErE'S NO crYiNg iN SOFtball" Atlanta, GA Permit #2883



[ 8 ] RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! [14] aN oVERVIEW OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS & sPORTS [16] a gUIDE TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS & SPORTS [20] THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED Have you head of pickleball? [22] There's No crying in softball [24] hoopseen's gwinnett high school basketball preseason

tHE rOaD lESS travElED: PicklE ball


COVER CREDIT Cover: Photographed on the cover are avid runners Deano Montreuil (left) and Scott Meckert - both from Suwanee, GA Photogrpahy by Jonathan Phillips This page's feature image is of third grade softball player Tatum Hendrickson featured in "There's No Crying in Softball." Photography by Kathryn Nee

SCAN THE QR CODE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND ENTER OUR ONLINE CONTESTS! To get the app reader (i.e. ScanLife), visit your phone’s app store and search QR Code readers. sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett


Clint Conley and Rico Figliolini C0-PUBLISHERS



Reg is a freelance writer and photographer from Johns Creek, Georgia. He is the author of Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties (Billboard Books 1998), which was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Award for excellence in music writing. He is also the author of Walking Up Lombard: My Long Journey Home (AuthorHouse 2012), a memoir of his journey through major depression and healing. You can find him at


Reg L. Carver Joel Hillsman Amanda Helmstetter Matthew Quinn Sydney Sattler Tori Vogt Abby Wilkerson


Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer from Marietta, Ga. He is also associate editor of The Roswell Current and has edited a weekly newspaper and reported for a daily. An aspiring novelist, he has a book under consideration with two publishers.


Owner and partner of H & H Multimedia sports photography, Steve has nearly a decade of experience capturing youth, collegiate, and professional sports.


Jonathan Phillips Kat Goduco Kathryn Nee



Tori Vogt MBA is a professional writer and marketing executive based in Peachtree Corners.


Tom Ball

Patti Leach

Nicole Lynch Website Assistant

Katherine Macmanus Website Intern

Kara Jones SPORTS360GROUP LLC 4305 River Stream Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 678.358.7858


Jonathan Phillips has been a professional, award-winning photojournalist for the past 13 years and the owner of JTPhotography . Jonathan was born and raised in Gwinnett County and has seen it change and grow into the bustling metropolitan area that it is today. You can visit his website at


Kathryn is a photographer and owner of Kathryn Nee Photography. An Atlanta area native, Kathryn has been photographing life as art for over fifteen years. Her portfolio can be viewed at


Joel a native of Athens, GA is a sports media freelancer covering high school and pro sports since 2009. He is playby-play announcer for high school football and basketball for iBN Sports covering the southeast and produces game highlights for NBATV and Turner Sports.


Katherine is an IB Diploma student at Norcross High School. She is a member of the NHS Marching Band and Relay for Life Team.


A country girl at heart but metro Atlanta by address, Abby cultivated a lifelong love of sports and writing at the University of Georgia before moving to Gwinnett upon graduation. Abby is a pop culture lover, brakes for yard sales, and an unashamed basher of all non-SEC conferences.


Kara Jones is a North Gwinnett High School senior. She is an officer of National English Honor Society and the author of the novel Heavensent. In the spring, she also plays Varsity Lacrosse.


Coming Issues: DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014 Ad & Editorial Deadline: December 3, 2013

Sports Gwinnett Magazine is published once a month by SPORTS360GROUP LLC. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publishers, editor or Sports Gwinnett. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. ©2013 SPORTS360GROUP LLC. The editors welcome submissions and photogrpahy. Please direct them to

• SG50/2013 Our Best of Issue FEBRUARY 2014 Ad & Editorial Deadline: January 28, 2013


Rico Figliolini and Clint Conley Co-Publishers



Please email about advertising deadlines and editorial considerations.

UPDATES Gwinnett Braves Holiday Packs are back for 2013. The club has announced the return of the popular four-game, eight-game and 12-game packs, each the perfect gift of spring and summer excitement for family, friends and coworkers. Holiday Packs are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office, by phone at (678) 277-0340 and online at

Sports, Speed, Agility Strength Training Private Instruction Team Training Cage and Facility Rental Youth or Corporate.

Greater Gwinnett Championship Names Benefitting Charities Norcross Sports Training Academy 4825 S. Old Peachtree Road ■ Suite 1100 ■ Norcross, Georgia 30071 770-559-0083 ■

The 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship Presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating has named the charities that will be the recipients of the proceeds. These recipients include Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation, and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation.

AD_NorcrossSportsTrainingAcademy-THIRD.indd 1

10/7/2013 4:58:19 PM

Serving families, small business, and professionals for their insurance needs since 1986.

The Most Competitive Rates & Best Service Type of insurance: Life, Health, Disability, Long Term Care, Vision, Dental

2014 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series comes to The Arena at Gwinnett Center Following a year hiatus, fans in the Atlanta area will once again get the opportunity to cheer on the stars of the PBR during the upcoming 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series season. During this two-day event, the Top 35 bull riders in the world will face off with foes nearly 10 times their weight in sinewy brawn during 8-second battles where only one athlete will be left standing. The action begins Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7:50 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19

SDK & Associates Insurance Service Our motto is that good service is good business. ■ 678.521.8484 Mr. Sunil Sachdeva An Atlanta resident since 1970 AIG, Guardian, Banner, Mass Mutual, Transamerica, Nationwide, Hartford, John Hancock, SBLI, Protective, United of Omaha, Prudential Kaiser, Bluecross, Atena, Cigna, Humana, Assurant, United Health Care, Coventry



5k, 10k, Marathons, Cycling, Walking and Moving

Saturday, Nov 23

MV Turkey Trot: Run for Ruth MV Turkey Trot 5K : Run for Ruth : Kids Race Mountain View High School 2351 Sunny Hill Rd, Lawrenceville, GA 30043 www.gcps-jaimeclaymore.onmycalendar. com/?PK=A1S2Q63S1Q2Q95P&IK=...

Ryan Daniel 5K Run 7:40 AM Historic Downtown Buford 395 E Main St Buford , GA 30518 All proceeds from the race go into the Ryan Daniel Scholarship Fund and will go to help some deserving students further their education. With your help the Scholarship Fund was able to give over $11,000.00 in scholarships last year alone! Ryan meant so much to the Buford family through his coaching and teaching in the Buford School System. He will never be forgotten and will forever be missed. So come out to help raise money for the scholarship fund and to do as Ryan would say "get better".

Color Vibe 5K 9:00 AM Stone Mountain Village 922 Main St.reet Stone Mountain, GA 30087 Phone: 770-413-0607 Get ready for the most colorful


fun-filled day of your life! You'll have more color on you than your happy levels can handle! So get your friends and family stretched out for this amazing 5k run!

Official race parking is at The Forum. There will be plenty of parking available with an easy walk to the start and finish lines.

Sugarloaf Country Club Turkey Trot 5K

Sunday, November 24

Thanksgiving Half Marathon, 10K & 5K 8:00 AM Tribble Mill Park 2125 Tribble Mill Parkway Lawrenceville , GA 30045

Thursday, Nov 28

Turkey Day 5K 8:00 a.m. The Forum,, Norcross. Contact Marty Whitcomb marty@ or (678) 662-6421 index2.html This event includes a 5K, 1-Mile Run, and a Tot Trot. Awards are given out. Proceeds go to Military Charities.


9:00 AM Sugarloaf Country Club 2595 Sugarloaf Club Drive Duluth , GA 30097 This event is sponsored by Women's Club of Sugarloaf Country Club Charities Inc. benefitting Rainbow Village, The Partnership Against Domestic Violence, The American Heart Association - Go Red for Women and Wellspring Living. You must register on or before November 21st to guarantee you receive a T-Shirt. Online registration closed at midnight on Tuesday November 26th. Walk up registration is available the day of the race. The walk up registration fee is 30.00.You can pick up your race number and t-shirt on Wednesday November 27th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the TPC Sugarloaf Club house located at 2595 Sugarloaf Club Drive in Duluth.

Saturday, Nov 30

ICPA Fitness 5k Run/Walk Tribble Mill Park 2125 Tribble Mill Pkwy Lawrenceville, GA 30045 integritychristianprepacademy.

Join the Integrity Christian Prep Academy as we kick off the Over the 5k Fitness Run and Fitness 1 mile Fun Run event. There’s something for every member of your family, where adults and youths can be a part of the official Community Family Fitness Event. The course starts and finishes at the Tribble Mill Park Lawrenceville, Ga. Schedule of Events: Saturday, November 30th 2013 • 8:00 AM –Check In • 8:30 AM – 5K Start Youth Division • 8:30 AM – 5K Start Adults • 9:30 AM – 1 mile Fun Run

Saturday, Dec 7,

The Gwinnett Parks Foundation 5K Race & Fun Run 9:00 AM Little Mulberry Park 3855 Fence Road Dacula, GA 30011 Gwinnett Parks Foundation 5K Race & Fun Run!!!All Race Proceeds to benefit the Karina Miller unBeLEAFable Playground at Little Mulberry ParkGhost Runners Welcome and T-Shirt will be mailed to you!

Sunday, December 8

Season's Greetings Half Marathon 8:00 AM Harbins Park 2995 Luke Edwards Road Dacula , GA 30019

WWW.GWINNETTPEDS.COM www.deborahmontgomeryracing. com Entire course will be run on a wide paved path through a gorgeous scenic park. Well stocked aid station at the start/finish area and a water station at a little over 2 miles. Generic tech shirt and medal to all finishers.

Saturday, Dec 14

Jingle Jog Suwanee 5K

Peachtree Corners Christmas Run Christ the King Lutheran Church 5575 Peachtree Pkwy, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 Event will begin and end at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church - Out and back course. Water stations every 2 miles; great family event! The race will benefit more than 10 Peachtree Corners non-profits! PeachtreeCornersChristmasRun.html




8:00 a.m. North Gwinnett Church 4963 West Price Road Suwanee, Georgia


Contact Rob Goldsmith or (678) 985-3921

AD_GwinnettPediatricsf.indd 1

11/6/2013 10:06:50 AM

Course Info: Fairly flat and fast course down mainly down Level Creek road

2nd Annual DSC Revolution 1 Mile Family Fun Run and 5K 2:00 PM Rabbit Hill Park Main Soccer Venue 400 Rabbit Hill Road Dacula , GA 30019 The proceeds from this race solely benefit the Abunaw Scholarship Fund - a fund that was set up to provide soccer scholarships to Dacula Soccer Club families who have lost a parent due to illness or accident.

15 OF

$ Gladiators vs. Evansville Ice Men November 28 – 29, 2013 Gladiators vs. Evansville Ice Men December 1, 2013 Gladiators vs. Kalamazoo Wings December 6, 2013 Gladiators vs.South Carolina Stingrays December 13, 2013 Gladiators vs.Orlando Solar Bears December 15, 2013 Gladiators vs. South Carolina Stingrays December 20, 2013 Arena at Gwinnett Center 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097 770-497-5100,

ANY CLAS F S N ew membe rs only

GYMNASTIC CLASSES ages 1 - 18 years

Gymnastics teams

(Compulsories through Elite)

Tumbling, Dance, After school care

(with included gym or tumbling class)

Camps 3145 Northwoods Pkwy, Suite 100 Peachtree Corners, GA 30071

(404) 803-1218





In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that. – Fred Lebow, Co-founder, New York City Marathon

Taking The First Step (And Another, And Another) to Better Health by reg l. carveR photography by Jonathan Phillips and jeannine smith of PortraitSnap


hat may be the best path to good health involves two of the first things we all learned to do – walking and running. Believe it or not, becoming fit and healthy is that simple. Not always easy, mind you, but it is that simple.

Truth is, we all know this. We drive past our neighbors who are jogging, and we know we should be out there with them. We immediately recognize those who run regularly – they all have a healthy glow about them, maintain an optimum weight, and, not insignificantly, have a warm and relaxed disposition. (Think about it, do you know even one super-stressed runner?) So, if all this is true (and it is), why aren’t we all runners? Why won’t we all simply take 30 minutes to an hour four to five days per week and virtually guarantee ourselves good health? What holds us back from regularly doing one of the things we loved to do best as children?


The most common excuse we tell ourselves is that we just do not have the time. Most of us believe we are just too busy, that we have too much to “get to.” Think about that. We actually believe in our heart of hearts that we simply cannot find time for exercise. But as earnest as we may be in making excuses, the simple truth is that each and every one of us has time for exercise. Indeed, the three most recent former U.S. presidents made time for regular runs. These gentlemen found the time to exercise vigorously – all while being the leader of the free world! Honestly folks, time is not our problem. THE WISDOM OF RUNNING For many reasons, running just may be the best option you can choose regarding exercise. The only equipment necessary is a good (no, great) pair of running shoes. And running has the largest “playing field” – Earth. According to, running most likely provides the most benefits of any type of exercise. Running has been shown to 1) promote one’s overall level of health, 2) aid in the prevention of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even breast cancer in women, 3) reduce fat while building lean muscle and also help maintain optimum body weight, 4) boost self-confidence and


self-esteem, 5) significantly reduce stress, and 6) aid in the prevention of depression. Again, much of this we all know already. So what’s holding some of us back? We each have our own reasons – it can be the fear of trying something new, the fear of failing to meet a goal, even the fear as not being perceived as a “real runner.” But all these are just excuses, really. SG found three very busy Gwinnett County executives who make time for running. All are forty-somethings with a spouse and children. Each has his or her unique story to tell, but all have become devoted runners and will tell you that running has changed their lives in many positive ways. And all has reached goals they never really thought about at their earliest stages of running. LEA BAY – PRESIDENT - GWINNETT MEDICAL CENTER – DULUTH The first thing you notice about Lea Bay is that she is literally a picture of health. Looking youthful and fit, she is cheerful, enthusiastic about all aspects of her life, and is passionate about sharing her joy of running with others. Lea has been running consistently for the last five years. She began exercising regularly to lose the weight she gained in preg-

Lea Bay (photo PortraitSnap)


scott meckert (left) and deano montreuil (photo by Jonathan Phillips)




nancy. She completed a “boot camp” program that resulted in her ability to run a 5K. Her twins are now almost 10-year-olds, and she is still running. Having long ago reached her goal weight, she now runs, in part, to set a good example for them. “I want to be healthy – and look healthy – for them,” she notes. “And I want to be as healthy as I can be for as long as I can be to reduce any burden to them [as a result of my aging].”

Scott Meckert of Suwanee started running consistently to become healthier in general. On and off since high school, Scott has started and stopped running several times. During these times, he says "he didn't actually enjoy running," it was just something he felt he had to do to maintain his health. But, much like Lea Bay, Scott began to take running seriously when he and his wife started a family.

Lea has a regimen of running early mornings (beginning around 5:00 AM) about four to five days a week. Her early morning routine is simply a result of not wanting to take time away from her husband and the twins. Depending on the event for which she is training (she is always training for the next event), her daily runs range from a few miles up to twelve. (Lea mostly runs 5K’s, but occasionally does 10K’s and has also completed seven halfmarathons.)

At the time his wife was first pregnant, Scott says, “I was overweight, hadn’t been to the doctor in a while, and decided to go get a checkup. Well, my cholesterol was [very high], a lot of my numbers weren’t very good, and the doctor said, ‘Scott, you’re too young for me to put you on cholesterol medication. I’m going to give you six months – start dieting and exercising – and let’s see what happens when you come back.’”

She believes in setting all sorts of goals for herself – “to keep things interesting,” she says. For 2013, she set a goal of running one thousand miles. (As of the end of October, she was just 195 miles shy of reaching this goal. If she averages 20 – 25 miles per week for the rest of the year, she will make it. She will – no doubt. Lea is not the type person to set a goal and fail to reach it.) She also swims, does spin classes, and other exercises to maintain her core. These exercises help with overall strength, and also aid with running speed and endurance. Lea’s passion for running has spread throughout Gwinnett Medical Center. She started the Gwinnett Medical Center – Duluth Roadrunners. The club is comprised of approximately 140 employees, their family members, and friends of GMC – Duluth. Notes Lea, “the club consists of people in their 20’s all the way through their 60’s – proving that you don’t ever have to stop being active.” The club consistently runs as a group in races and raises funds for health-related causes.

And so began Scott’s journey to serious running. He began a combination of going to the gym at work and running. He exercised with co-workers, which he says was invaluable to his sticking to it this time around. “I started doing 5K’s and 10K’s and the weight dropped off, my cholesterol numbers went down, I began eating healthy – it all just started to work for me.” Later he started doing half marathons, believing this to be the limit for him. But soon thereafter, he found himself running marathons, his first one coming in 2005, just a few years after starting to run. Lea Bay (photo by PortraitSnap)

Lea Bay is an accomplished executive and an accomplished runner. Her co-workers find her to be an inspiration for bettering Gwinnett Medical Center as well as bettering themselves. She sums running up simply, noting “it brings joy, perspective, peace and serenity. Running is a sort of cleansing.”

After the first marathon, he was hooked – in a big way. He started to do marathon after marathon – sometimes just weeks apart. Before long, the distances became crazy. Motivated by just seeing what he was made of, and raising money for good causes (he has raised money for, among other things, leukemia research and lupus research), he consistently ran more and more – 50 milers, and now he runs 100 milers. It’s safe to say that Scott has learned to en-


gan just two days before that first 5K, “running a couple laps around the neighborhood” for his training. He finished the race. As siblings will do, she then quickly challenged Deano to run a half marathon, and then a full marathon – both within the span of less than a year. Deano, of course, accepted both challenges, “and it just kind of progressed from there.” For the first five or six years of his running, Deano trained for and ran a marathon or two each year – “just training from one marathon to the next.” And Deano found that he absolutely loves to run. He says it’s a feeling he just can’t quite describe. (Deano does not exercise or train in other ways. He simply runs. But he emphasizes that he knows that rest days are important, and he has learned to “read” his body to help prevent injury.) Like Scott, Deano also ran the Pinhoti race. Notes Deano, “My goal was to finish under 24 hours . . . and I was on track for a 24 hour finish through the first half of the race. I then managed to rally in the second half (the last 30 miles in particular) and finished in 22:32 for 22nd place overall.

JUST GO RUN Lea, Scott, and Deano have similar advice for beginning runners. They all believe it is best to run with a group. This helps keep you motivated and accountable, and also makes the experience more fun. Moreover, don’t worry about how fast and how far – all that will come. As these three runners have shown, you just never know how much you will accomplish. In the beginning, none of these ever thought about doing what they are now able to do. joy running. Over the weekend of November 2 – 3, he ran the Pinhoti 100 Mile Trail Run in Heflin, Alabama. He finished in “25:31:46 . . . under my target of 27 hours. I felt great pretty much the whole way. I raised $2,300 for the Lupus Foundation of America.” Scott doesn’t think far in the future as to mileage. He simply looks for new challenge after new challenge. But with feeling “great”


through a 100-mile race, who knows how far he could go. DEANO MONTREUIL – VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE – NCR Deano Montreuil, also of Suwanee, is perhaps the running purist of our trio. He has been running seriously for about ten years. Inspired by his sister, who ran the Chicago Marathon, he started running when she urged him to join her in a 5K. He literally be-


Running is like a lot of things. It takes motivation, consistency, and being willing to keep going - even when the going gets tough. But most of the difficulty is in your head. You can become a runner – even a really good runner. If you could just begin, you may surprise yourself with just how far your journey will be. Reg L. Carver is a freelance writer and photographer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You may find him at


AN OVERVIEW OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND SPORTS There Is Much Available For Gwinnett County Students



Sports remain a great metaphor for life’s more difficult lessons. It was through athletics that many of us first came to understand that fear can be tamed; that as a team the whole is more than the sum of its parts; and that the ability to be heroic lies, to a surprising degree, within. – Susan Casey


by reg l. carver photogrpahy by Kathryn Nee

t goes without saying that prep sports are taken seriously in Gwinnett County – among students and parents alike. But often, the programs highlighted are those of the large public high schools. And Gwinnett County should be proud of its public school system. Gwinnett high schools maintain some of the top sports programs in the entire state – and in some sports, the country. But Gwinnett County also has ample private schools for students and parents desiring this route. And just like its public schools, Gwinnett County’s private schools have much to offer in the way of sports programs. Many are “powerhouses” in their own right. Following are some notable programs offered to Gwinnett County student athletes. WESLEYAN SCHOOL Founded in 1963, Wesleyan School is a K through 12 independent school located in Norcross. With an enrollment of 1,136, it competes in GHSA’s “AA” division. Athletic Director Marc Khedouri maintains sports programs at the middle and high school levels.

Athletic Director Marc Khedouri standing in front of Wesleyan's trophy wall. (photo by Kathryn Nee)

At Wesleyan School, students are encouraged to participate in one or more of its sports programs, and Wesleyan has over 90% student participation in sports. Notes Khedouri, “All our teachers are also coaches and so participation is encouraged at every level.” Wesleyan offers the full gamut – from football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and

tennis, to track & field (including cross country), wrestling, volleyball, and cheerleading, and to golf, lacrosse, swim & dive, even water polo. The school has won dozens of team state championships, and almost more individual state championships than one can count. Khedouri acknowledges the school’s sports success, and is no doubt proud of it. But he is ever cognizant that the sports program’s overall purpose is “to further the Christian mission of the school, and that is what is most important to us.” GREATER ATLANTA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Also in Norcross is a Wesleyan rival, Greater Atlanta Christian School. The school (K3 through 12) was founded in 1961 and has an enrollment of 1775. GAC is the third largest private school in Georgia, and like Wesleyan School, it participates in GHSA “AA” division. Also like Wesleyan, GAC offers a wide variety of sports at the middle school and high school levels, including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, strength & conditioning, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling. GAC’s sports programs have also enjoyed great success with more team state championships than any school in Gwinnett County except Parkview High School. Overall student participation in sports is just under 70% of the student body. Health and wellness is emphasized early on at GAC. It has recently developed a new program called “Don’t Sit, Get Fit.” Administrative Vice President Bill Burton notes that it is “for our kindergarten and elementary students in the morning - before school starts – and is a walking program sponsored by the PE Department. There are probably at least 100 kids out there every morning.” Burton notes that “the combination of a strong spiritual focus, an outstanding coaching staff, and a quality weight training/sports performance program” is what makes GAC athletics stand out from other private school programs.




Another Gwinnett County standout is Providence Christian Academy (K through 12) located in Lilburn. A relatively new school (founded in 1991 with a current enrollment of 620), it nevertheless has been voted Best Private High School the last two years by Inside Gwinnett.

Even though going through grade 8 only, the last of the highlighted schools is Atlanta Academy. (Atlanta Academy students attend a variety of high schools, including those in Gwinnett County.) With an enrollment of 350 students, and located in Roswell, the school offers a remarkable variety of sports for a school its size.

Under Athletic Director Michael Woods, Providence offers baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball. Through a partnership with Gwinnett Medical Center, it also has a sports performance/sports medicine program that works with all sports teams. Student participation in athletics is right around 70%. With Providence being a relatively small school (playing in “A” division), it does not have the same class of facilities that some of the larger schools have. But Woods sees this as a positive challenge, noting, “we use a ‘best practices’ mentality to our environment. So [I ask myself each day], what can I do each and every day to enhance the athletic experience for our parents and our students in a manner that they will look at and say, ‘This school is a positive experience, and I want to invest in this program because I believe [the school] is trying to serve students effectively.’ I force myself every day to make myself get better, so that everything that I do will hopefully [result in the athletic department] being perceived as a very competitive and positive experience for our athletes.”

Athletic Director, Michael Deubel and Principal Angela Naples. (photo by Reg L. Carver)

For grades K3 through 4, team sports are basketball, whiffle ball and cross country. For grades 5 through 8, there are soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball teams. In addition to team sports, the school offers golf and tennis clinics. There is a school-wide “no cut” policy, meaning any student desiring to play a team sport can do so. Athletic Director Michael Deubel notes that “at least 30 – 40% of students participate in athletics. We offer something for everyone. We have good coaches, good parental support, and everyone gets a chance to play – a student’s particular skill level doesn’t matter. Everyone can be a part of a team.” TEAM CONCEPT AT HIGHER LEVEL Many of Gwinnett County’s private schools

are K through grade 12. As a result, many students attend only one school prior to college. In some ways, this makes for a level of camaraderie unmatched by the public schools. As a result, the concept of team is perhaps enhanced at private schools. And with significantly lower student/teacher ratios, a private school athletic environment builds self-confidence and self-image in ways that perhaps public schools cannot. Students do not all have the same likes and needs. In many cases, the private school environment is altogether different from a public one – including with athletics. As a result, private schools are a great choice for many. Reg L. Carver is a freelance writer and photographer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You may find him at


This guide highlights some of the many private schools offering a sports program in Gwinnett and some surrounding counties.

Compiled by KARA JONES Weslyan School Initially a part of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, Weslyan school began in 1963 as the Weslyan Day School, teaching only preschool students. At first, Weslyan Day School was housed at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church. In the early 1970's, an elementary school was added followed by a middle school in 1987. Shortly after the high school was established in 1994, Weslyan School ended its association with the Sandy Springs Church and moved to its current location in Peachtree Corners. For the 2013-2014 school year, this Christian college preparatory school has 1,136 students enrolled in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. The education curriculum is guided by Chris-


tian beliefs and aims to challenge and nurture the mind, body, and spirit while developing responsible stewards. The school is a member of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and competes in class AA, region 6. However, middle school sports are also available. Go Wolves! Sports include: Football, Cross Country, Softball, Football and Basketball Cheerleading, Volleyball, Basketball, Swim & Dive, Wrestling, Baseball, Golf, Soccer, Lacrosse, Tennis, Track & Field Athletic Director: Marc Khedouri 5405 Spalding Drive Peachtree Corners, GA 30092


770-448-7640 Financial aid is given to those who demonstrate need; the average grant is 65% of tuition.

Greater Atlanta Christian

In fall 1968, Greater Atlanta Christian first opened with 150 students in grades 7-11. Now, approaching its fiftieth year, it has an enrollment of almost 1800 students from 16 counties in grades

K4-12 , making it one of the largest Christian schools in the nation. The school’s mission is to “help students grow as Jesus did, in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” As a member of the Georgia High School Association, GAC competes in 6-AA in athletics. Since 2000, Greater Atlanta Christian has won 39 state athletic championships. Recently, the boys swimming team were state champions in 2010, and the boys basketball team were state champions in 2011. In 2012, the Girls soccer, golf, and track and field teams were state champions as well. Go Spartans! Sports include: Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swim & Dive, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Wrestling Athletic Director: Tim Vick 1575 Indian Trail Road Norcross, GA 30093 770-243-2000 All scholarships are given based on documented need and are not merit-based. However, the student must be entering grades K5-9th, have a B average or higher, and have a good behavior record.

Providence Christian Academy With 352 students, this academy opened in 1991, hosting its classes in a shopping plaza. Since then, its student body has grown to include 700 students enrolled in grades K through 12. The campus has moved and grown to a total of 35 acres with 200,000 square feet of indoor space. Additionally, the school has separate facilities for elementary and upper grades, as well as gyms and other athletic facilities. The school’s mission is to “provide excellence in Christ-centered education as an extension of the Christian home.” Even though it has won state championships in fine arts, athletics, and academics, Providence is excited to continue to grow. As a member of the Georgia High School Association, Providence Christian competes in region 8A with fourteen varsity sports while offering middle schoolers the opportunity to participate in some sports on middle school teams. Go Providence Storm!

Sports include: Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading (Competition and Spirit), Cross Country, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball Athletic Director: Michael Woods

expressing need after a financial aid application through the School and Student Services (SSS) is completed and submitted.

4575 Lawrenceville Highway Lilburn, GA 30047

770-279-7200 Tuition grants are available to those with demonstrated financial need. Average grants cover 30% to 50% of a family’s annual tuition but a grant will not exceed 70%.

Cornerstone Christian Academy This academy began when members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, GA voted to start a school, which would provide a Christcentered education. After the vote in 1998, the school opened at the church in 2001. In 2005, it held classes at its current location across from the church. The school’s mission is to provide a quality education while developing students that “follow Christ, embrace Biblical truth, and lives that glorify God.” The current headmaster for Cornerstone Christian Academy is Colin Creel and he has been at the school for three years. The enrollment in 2012 was 236 students in elementary and middle school grades (kindergarten through 8th grade). The school’s first sports award was a third place trophy from a volleyball tournament in 2008. Later the next year, they brought home a first place trophy in basketball in the North Atlanta Metro League. Then, the volleyball team defeated a larger school in 2010 to earn its second straight championship. Go Cougars! Sports include: Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball, Cheerleading, Baseball, Golf, Tennis 5295 Triangle Parkway Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 770-441-9222 Financial Aid may be provided to families

Notre Dame Academy Headmaster Debra Orr founded and opened Notre Dame Academy in 2005. A Marist Catholic and IB World School, Notre Dame Academy offers early years, elementary, and middle school programs (Pre-K3-8th grade) for 520 current students. It is the only Pre-K through 8th grade catholic school in Gwinnett County. This academy strives to incorporate teachings of the gospel and the Marists with academics while teaching students to value freedom, justice, and nobility of work. Also, it encourages students to pursue social progress and promote global awareness by exploring themes with global importance. Marists belong to four religious communities, including the Society of Mary, which has a province center in Atlanta. They strive to live “compassionately and mercifully” as Mary Mother of Jesus lived. Additionally, Notre Dame Academy has a physical education program and competitive athletic program that aims to teach students values and worth ethics. This school is part of the North Atlanta Metro League and Catholic Metro League. Go War Eagles! Sports include: Cheerleading, Soccer, Running Club, Basketball, Cross Country, Track & Field, Golf, Tennis Athletic Director: Ken Oxendine 4635 River Green Parkway Duluth, GA 30096 678-387-9385 Financial assistance is awarded based on need to families that fill out an application. Additionally, Notre Dame Academy works with the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program to offer need-based scholarships to students in Pre-K4, Kindergarten, or first grade or to students who previously attended a Georgia public school.

Killian Hill Christian School

A ministry of Killian Hill Baptist Church,


Killian Christian School has held its doors open since 1972. The first senior class graduated in 1986 with 14 students. Now, a total of 500 students are enrolled in grades K3 through 12th grade. The school’s priorities are Biblical instruction, academic rigor, scholarship, and achievement, but they also have a fine arts and athletic program. As a member of the Georgia Christian Athletic Association, a division of the Georgia Association of Christian Schools, Killian Hill Christian School competes in playoffs and tournaments that lead to region championships and state championships. However, some Junior High sports are played within the North Atlanta Metro League Division II or independently. For example, the junior basketball league allows students grades 4th-7th to play a competitive sport. Killian Hill Christian School has won state championships in Varsity soccer, Junior Varsity basketball, and golf in the last two school years. Go Cougars!

Church, and the school’s headmaster is Bobby Scott. Perimeter School’s goal is to assist parents in educating, equipping, and encouraging their children “to glorify and enjoy God.” Concerning athletics, Perimeter School provides competitive sports for students sixth grade through eighth grade. The school participates in the North Atlanta Metro League as a Division AA member. Since its athletic program began, it has won several middle school level championships or earned the runner-up position in most sports. With an Olympic-size pool, gym, and track, Perimeter School is looking to continue improving its athletic program. Go Eagles!

Varsity Sports include: Volleyball, Golf, Cheerleading, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball


Athletic Director: Doug Hillard 151 Arcado Road SW Lilburn GA, 30047 770-921-3224 No scholarships are available; however, tuition can be paid in 12 installments or 10 installments.

Perimeter School Founded in 1983, Perimeter School has grown to include 552 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school is housed on an 100 acre campus at Perimeter

Sports include: Basketball, Baseball, Track, Cross Country, Volleyball, Tennis, and Golf Athletic Director: Scott Mosher 9500 Medlock Bridge Road Johns Creek, GA 30097-5987 Families can obtain scholarships through the Georgia GOAL Scholarship if their student is entering kindergarten or transferring from a public school. Additionally, if the previous requirements are met, families with an adjusted gross income of $90,000 or less may be eligible for financial aid based on income and family size.

Dominion Classical Christian Academy

sical Christian Academy has embodied this mandate. It has grown to offer grades K4-9th; however, the board hopes to add a grade every year until grades K4-12 are present. Although the school is not affiliated with a church, classes are held at Ivy Creek Church. Also, Dominion Classical Christian Academy treats the Bible as the final authority and teaches Christian principles. It’s curriculum is based upon a rich heritage of western civilization and culture; its classes “cultivates wisdom, joyful learning, and love of God.” Dominion Classical Academy has just begun its athletics program, and although it only offers two sports, the school believes that a classical education is incomplete without athletics. Therefore, it is working to develop its athletics program to teach students discipline, honor, courage, and other important character traits. Go Gryphons! Sports include: Cross Country and Girls Basketball 1416 Braselton Hwy Lawrenceville, GA 30043 770-338-7945 Dominion sets aside money every year to help families who wish to send their students to the school. The Arete Scholars Fund gives aid to qualified applicants also. Lastly, the Apogee Scholarship Fund helps Georgia taxpayers redirect a portion of their tax dollars to assist paying for a school of their choice.

The word “dominion” signifies the dominion mandate God gave Adam, Noah, and Christ: “to rule, fill and transform the earth.” Since it’s opening in the fall of 2006, Dominion Clas-

Editor's Note: This article and guide will be published online at If you are a private school that would like to be listed in this guide please forward your information to, with your contract information.





Sport Events for a Cause

Tasting on the Tee Tasting on the Tee presented by Infiniti of Gwinnett was an official event of the Greater Gwinnett Championship Presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Proceeds from the wine tasting will go towards the Greater Gwinnett Championship’s 2014 benefitting charities: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation and Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation. Photos by Kate Awtrey.

Preschool - 8th Grade

Smaller Classes Greater Learning 2000 Holcomb Woods Parkway, Roswell, GA 30076 678.461.6102 The sports program includes: Soccer, baseball, basketball and volleyball An intramural program, golf clinic and tennis clinic is available for our growing gladiators.



THE road less traveled HAVE YOU HEARD OF PICKLEBALL? Written and photographed by Reg L. Carver This is the second installment of a new and regular column, The Road Less Traveled. Here, we will take a look at individuals and sports/recreation that are often overlooked by most mainstream sports magazines. We hope you enjoy our detours.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?


little that neither my editor nor I have a clue as to what this sport even is. Actually, until this very moment, I’ve never even heard of it. There couldn’t be a better idea for this column.” UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH I began researching pickleball. As it turns out, not only is the sport played widely, it is apparently the fastest growing sport in the United States! And it is growing at breakneck speed among the senior community. (Gwinnett resident Joe O’Toole told me that. Turns out, he’s right.) The Villages of Florida is becoming commonly known as “pickleball paradise.” The Villages Florida Book notes that, “The Villages, boasting more than 100 pickleball courts, has been called the Mecca of Pickleball and was

everal weeks ago, I was having my regular monthly meeting with SG’s Executive Editor. We almost always meet early in the morning and plan the upcoming issues over breakfast. (If I say so myself, we’ve managed to get a lot accomplished sitting in a booth eating stacks of pancakes.)

Me – “I’m still thinking about it – not sure.” Executive Editor – “How about pickleball?” Me – “What the heck is pickleball?” Executive Editor – “I don’t know. All I know about it is that it is a fast-growing sport.” “Well,” I thought to myself, “now that’s interesting. The pickleball road is traveled so


Pickleball is a sport anyone can easily learn to play, involves a rigorous cardio workout, and is as fun as any court sport there is. What’s more, due to two very passionate pickleballers from Gwinnett County, it is catching on like wildfire in metro Atlanta. (See SG’s recent online article, Gwinnett Residents Honored, November 1, 2013, to learn more about Joe and Peg O’Toole and their pickleball passion.) JUST WHAT BALL?



Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road. At first, pickleball sounded like it would be a fun sport to learn and write about. But let me be honest, this month’s column has tested the bounds of my journalistic aptitude! I’ve spent the better part of two weeks on this, and just now feel like I know enough to hold one essential piece of equipment – the paddle.

This, my new regular column, came up. Executive Editor - “So, what are you thinking about for your second installment of “The Road Less Traveled?”

same sort of thing happened to me regarding the term “twerking.” For the longest time, when the word was mentioned, I pretended, but I didn’t know. I finally Googled it. Now I’m back in the know – street cred fully intact.)

named the #1 Place to Live for Pickleball by Masters Athlete Magazine." - Look, folks, if you have not picked up on this already, you need to learn as much as you can about pickleball – and quickly. It’s going to be the topic everywhere you turn. Unless you get with the program, you’ll no longer even be able to engage in small talk at a cocktail party. (This


But I’m no quitter. (This is true, but I must admit this trait is not borne out of some honest work ethic. I usually just won’t quit something – no matter how hopeless – simply out of spite.) And I can say without reservation that this column contains the most comprehensive definition of pickleball in writing today. So here goes. (Please bear in mind that the definition takes up the entirety of the next three paragraphs. You may have to read them several times to begin to grasp even the tiniest

bit of what I’m trying to convey. That said, again, the following is the best definition I’ve come across.) Pickleball is a sport testing the skills of hand-eye coordination and quickness of reflex. It is a mix of no less than six well-known sports. The game requires only a modest investment - the only equipment one needs is a paddle and a greenish/yellowish ball. (The paddle is shaped and sized exactly the same as a racquetball racket, but it is not “strung,” rather it is covered much like a ping pong paddle. There are basic wooden ones (about $15), but if you’re going to be a contender, you’ll want a composite paddle like the tricked-out one in the photo (upwards of $70). The ball is the exact same as a whiffle ball with the exception that it is the color of something that Jimi Hendrix would have worn.) With me so far? Pickleball is played on a hard surface (indoor or outdoor) that is marked exactly like a badminton court with the exception that the net is lowered to 34 inches in height. Play is begun by one player serving (hitting the ball underhanded) over the net. The opposing player or players (you can play singles or doubles) try to return (hit in any fashion whatsoever) the ball back over the net before it touches the playing surface. Pickleball is scored much like volleyball, and is played until a team reaches the score of 11 or 21 – it seems to vary, depending on the region of the country in which one plays. Players are free to decide how many games they wish to play. Once a player quits playing, he or she is replaced by whomever has called “I got next.” Finally, there is no required pickleball uniform, but it seems most fashionable to wear contemporary tennis attire. There you have it. Clear as crystal? If so, then congratulations. You are ready for what will surely be the next Olympic sport. If not, then read the above three paragraphs over and over until it is. In case you were unable (or just quit caring), to name all the sports involved in pickleball, they are racquetball, ping pong, whiffle ball, badminton, volleyball, and tennis. ORIGIN AND NAME Some of the confusion about pickleball, I’ve discovered, can be explained easily. I visited the official website of the USA Pickleball Association ( It explains that pickleball was co-invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, a US Representative from Washington State. Okay, this explains a lot. No one, excepting a member of Congress, could turn a simple paddle ball game into the complex web that is pickleball. And just how did pickleball get its odd name? The USAPA explains this, too. Turns out, the first ball used in pickleball was a toy belonging to a cocker spaniel named Pickles. (Something tells me this cocker spaniel was not a pure breed, but perhaps a mix of a half dozen dog breeds that turned out to be a fun pet.) ENOUGH SAID By now, I’m guessing you are thoroughly exhausted of this column. But actually you will thank me once you actually hit the pickleball court. I recently spent some time watching pickleball at the YMCA. Let me warn you, pickleball is a sport so quick that you’re going to need all the stamina you can build. So, go ahead, read this again and again. You’ll be a better pickleball player for it. Reg L. Carver is a freelance writer and photographer in Johns Creek. You may find him at

Schools and Sports Team Banquets, Fundraisers and more.

only $35.00 Shane’s Pork Butts are delicious, juicy, seasoned, and slow smoked. Each butt feeds 8-10 people. Great for school and sport fundraisers! 5770 Peachtree Industrial Blvd Norcross, GA 30071

CATERING HOTLINE 404-989-1313 770-416-6022 Store

Follow Us On Facebook Visit our website


Two Atlanta Locations Rifle and Pistol Ranges Largest Safe Dealer in Atlanta Professional Team of Experts

► ► ►

Layaway Program Firearms, Ammunition, & Accessories FFL Transfers





ne of the major WITH THIS AD sports offered in Peachtree Corners is soccer, organized by non-profit associations using county parks. The Northeast Atlanta: 4025parks Pleasantdale Road, host Atlanta, GA 30340 770-447-8900 also roller hockey, Forest Park: 285 Lake Mirror Rd, Forest Park, GA 30297 404-366-7861 and softball, M-F 11am-8pm baseball - Satruday 9am-9pm - Sunday 12noon-6pm karate,



"There’s No Crying in Softball" Tatum Hendrickson, 3rd Grade Softball Player

Tatum "Tot" Hendrickson (photo Kathryn Nee)



by abby wilkerson photography by Kathryn NEE

It’s tough to tell an 8-yearold she can’t play. Whether on a playground, in the back yard, or in organized sports, kids are meant to play – and play hard.


hat was the difficult situation Courtney Hendrickson found herself in after her daughter – eightyear-old softball player Tatum – was diagnosed with a previously undetected spinal condition known as Chiari malformation. “My sister-in-law was watching Tatum swim in her pool, and noticed a curvature of her spine,” said Courtney. “We took Tatum to the pediatrician a few days later, and were sent for x-rays and to an orthopedist. The x-ray confirmed a 32 degree curve and scoliosis, but no malformation of the bones. MRI images later showed fluid on her spine.” Chiari malformation is a congenital defect of the cerebellum, where the brain and spinal cord connect. The defect was causing Tatum’s blood flows through the spinal cord, rather than around it, causing her spine to curve. “Dr. Germ” “Words cannot describe the fear I felt, especially as I was reading about the condition online,” said Courtney. “I felt like I had failed, especially since her only symptom was one that was visible. Our pediatrician, Dr. Christine Furr, put my fears to rest. She assured us that, "This is new. She has not had this for long." The Hendricksons were referred to Dr. Joshua Chern (or, “Dr. Germ,” as Tatum called him), a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta . Dr. Chern discussed the procedure he wanted to do to correct both the malformation and the scoliosis. "Tatum asked Dr. Chern if she could play softball. He said she couldn't," Courtney said. "At first she was fine. Then you look over at her and the tears started.” “I knew that no more sports was a possibility with this condition. Thankfully, Dr. Chern only meant she was out for the season.”

Back in the Game Tatum had the procedure in August 2012, correcting the spinal curve to 15 degrees. After missing the fall softball season, she returned for the spring season with the North Gwinnett Bulldogs, earning a spot on the summer all-star team for the second year in a row in the process. Tatum Hendrickson, #5, team name "Tot" (left) with best She was also named friend Avery Fielden, #99, team name "Sassy" Children’s Healthcare the University of Georgia or Alabama.” of Atlanta’s Comeback Athlete for the month of October. "I always knew she was a fighter," said "After being unable to play in the fall, it kind of stoked the passion in her a little bit," her father, Michael, said. "She would talk more about how much she liked it, about things she wanted to do."

Courtney. "I knew that she would come out of it stronger, and I think she has." Editor's Note: Tatum was Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's October Comeback Athlete.

A third grader at Riverside Elementary, Tatum – or “Tots,” as everyone calls her – is a right fielder and first baseman. She wears number 5 in honor of her favorite player, Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman. The things she missed the most about softball were seeing her friends and playing the game she loves. "I just like to play," she said. “I’m better now that I’ve had surgery. I hit harder.” Stronger Than Yesterday Symptoms of Chiari malformation range from neck and back pain, headaches, and vision problems to balance issues, depression, and fine motor skill impairment. Tatum has been lucky. “Chiari affects everyone differently. So far her symptoms have been minimal, mainly scoliosis and some pain in her right leg,” said Courtney. “Dr. Chern had hoped that the decompression surgery could correct the flow completely, but in her case there is still fluid present. At this point we are monitoring and will decide next steps if new symptoms arise or her curve becomes greater.” Not that this has done anything to slow Tatum down. “I want to play football, but I’m afraid my neck would get hurt. I would like to play golf,” she said. “I want to play softball for North Gwinnett High School and for either



spirit GWINNETT HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PRESEASON by Robert Alfonso Jr., Of hoopseen Special for Sports Gwinnett Magazine HoopSeen, founded by Suwanee Sports Academy. is your trusted source for grassroots basketball news and events. HoopSeen's team covers high school basketball, travel basketball tournaments, leagues and training. Check them out at

Gwinnett County has long boasted about being the place where champions live.


ast year two of the boys high school basketball programs lived up to that reputation with Norcross winning the AAAAAA state championship and Greater Atlanta Christian securing the AA title. As the basketball season gets started again, here are some of the Gwinnett County teams and players to keep an eye on during the 20132014 season. Recent Champions Norcross is the defending AAAAAAA state champions. The Blue Devils return eight players from that championship team and know what it will take to get back to Macon. In true Norcross fashion, it has a schedule loaded with talented teams who will be looking to knock them off the top spot. Devils’ head coach Jesse McMillian is modest about where his team is headed but likes the makeup of his program. Last season, GAC throttled its opponents by an average of 27 points a game in its victory. The Spartans went on to win the AA state championship and many have them selected to win again. However, the burning question is whether the Spartans could beat Norcross to end the conversation on who is the better high school program. Well, that would be hard since Spartans


head coach Eddie Martin taught at Norcross for years and had current Blue Devils coach as an assistant. We are sure, while neither coach is afraid of playing anyone, it would be hard for these two friends to match wits on the sideline.

DON’T HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON ON THESE PROGRAMS High school coaches love the element of surprise, especially if it is their team surprising everyone. These programs are capable of disrupting the standings this season.

Dacula High coach Russ Triaga is known for developing guards and doing well with them in the past. This season the Falcons The burning question for many basketball are guard heavy and will be tough to matchup fans is: Which is the next program to make its against. mark as the next power program in Gwinnett Size, depth and camaraderie will be the key county? for Berkmar High this season. The Patriots Well, North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge play hard on both ends of the floor all the time. and Duluth look like they want to take a shot Be prepared to play 32 minutes of physical basat dethroning Norcross in Region 7 AAAAAA. ketball with them. North Gwinnett is a junior-laden program Brookwood High quietly patrolled the looking to avenge its early exit from the region hardwood last season to a successful mark. tournament. The Bulldogs have been focused This season the Broncos could buck some on getting beyond that upset as it focuses on trends and get into the state playoffs as head the little details of the game. Look for head coach Daniel Bowles continues to build a coach Zach Smith to have his players in constrong program. tention for the region and state title. You may read this here first; Grayson High The Peachtree Ridge Lions have been coach Geoffrey Pierce could have the bigatop of the region before and are several plays gest turnaround of any team in the county. away from winning the title again. UnfortuThe Rams are building a winning attitude and nately, mishaps and a tough opponent have could help shake up some programs that may kept them from claiming the title. Head coach not take them seriously. Keith Arrington has some experience returning from a 17-11 state qualifying team. The Ridge has the tools to make a deeper run this season. Who’s Next?

Duluth wants to fly under the radar this season, but it will be hard. The Wildcats have added some pieces to their program that will provide athleticism, defensive presence, poise and scoring. Third-year head coach Eddie Hood now has to put all these pieces together as the team looks to find an identity. Getting to the top will not be easy but the Wildcats will scratch their way there.




Highlighted Parks and Recreation Events and Programs

Thursday Nov. 28

Saturday Dec. 7

Annual Lighting of the Tree

Holiday Breakfast

5:00 PM Contact 770.822.5450 Free! A favorite event in Gwinnett County returns! Festivities include music and entertainment in the gazebo and a parade to usher in Santa Claus. On the East Lawn there will be photos with Santa in his sleigh (on loan from the North Pole), dance teams and kid’s activities. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

Saturday Nov. 30

Breakfast with Santa

8:30 AM Contact 770.822.5450 Enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast with Santa Claus in the beautifully decorated Superior Court Ballroom. Kids will enjoy sing-a-long songs, crafts, and a keepsake photo, too! All ages, $11/person (infants up to 12 months are free with a paid adult). Seating is limited, pre-registration required here or call 770.822.5450. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

9:00 AM Contact 678.277.0860 Bring your list and sit on Santa’s knee! Kick off your holiday season with breakfast, jolly old elf, fun crafts, sharing your wish list and getting pictures with your favorite man in the red suit ~ Santa Claus himself! Breakfast will be served until 10:30am or while supplies last! Age 3-up; $5/person; must pre-register by 12/2 here with code LSCC14343 or call 678.277.0860. Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Rd, Norcross.

Pet Pics with Santa

10:00 AM Contact 678.277.0850 Why should kids have all the fun visits with Santa? Bring your pets to visit with Santa and receive a keepsake photo. $7/photo, must pre-register by 12/2 here or call 678.277.0850. Dacula Park Activity Building, 2735 Auburn Ave, Dacula

Visits with Santa Claus

11:00 AM Contact 770.822.5450 A family tradition returns! Children will be able to visit with Santa and make holiday crafts in the Elf Workshop. Elf Workshop tickets are $1 for two crafts. Visits with Santa are $5/child or family and include one photo in a keepsake card. Parents are welcome to take additional photos during paid visits. Call 770.822.5450 for more information. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

Basketball Skills Challenge

3:00 PM Contact 678.277.0890 Who has the best basketball skills? Players will showcase their shooting, dribbling, passing, and fitness abilities in this basketball skills challenge! The winners will even receive prizes! Age 5-14, $3/person, register here or call 678.277.0890. Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center, 100 East Crogan St, Lawrenceville.

Sunday Dec. 8

Visits with Santa Claus

1:00 PM Contact 770.822.5450 A family tradition returns! Children will be able to visit with Santa and make holiday crafts in the Elf Workshop. Elf Workshop tickets are $1 for two crafts. Visits with Santa are $5/child or family and include one photo in a keepsake card. Parents are welcome to take additional photos during paid visits. Call 770.822.5450 for more information. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 West Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

Thursday Dec. 12

Annual Christmas Tea

2:00 PM Contact 678.277.0190 Come jingle your bells and celebrate the season at our annual Christmas tea. There will be festive treats, music, and fellowship for all to enjoy. $5/person, must pre-register by 12/5 here or call 678.277.0190. Prime Timers Pointe at George Pierce Park, 55 Buford Hwy, Suwanee

County Park Facts: Bogan Park, Buford 2723 North Bogan Road Buford 30519

Aquatic Center & Pool Rentals: 678.277.0853

Amenities ∙ 83 acres ∙ Indoor aquatic center with competition and leisure play pools ∙ Double gym ∙ Indoor badminton courts ∙ Outdoor basketball courts ∙ Dance studio ∙ Classroom ∙ Seven field baseball/ softball complex ∙ Football field overlay ∙ Sand volleyball courts ∙ Pavilions ∙ Playgrounds ∙ Restrooms ∙ Two miles of trails ∙ Grill

Gym & Youth Sports & Pee Wee Sports: 678.277.0855

Info & Rentals: 678.277.0850

Gym Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm

Trails Hotline: 770.978.5270 Park Hours: Sunrise to sunset unless posted otherwise Community Recreation Center Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:00am-9:00pm; Friday-Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm



BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE The Passion of Sports and Recreation in Pictures

Norcross Blue Devils Water Polo completes undefeated season, winning their first state title.

Blue Devils Division-1 Champs Pictured (kneeling) coaches: Carlos Santini, Matt Roberts Row1 – John David Strickland, Patrick Gaddis, Travis Bruce, Mark Gross, Chandler Schaefer, Sam Medinger, Eric Strickland Row-2 - Ian Bagent, Alex Ullrich, Brandon Cunningham, Nick Hoover, Jake Einig, Robert Pope Below: Celebration at the championship win. The Norcross Blue Devils finished their season in spectacular fashion on Sunday afternoon, defeating second seeded St. Pius in a very close game, 7-5. The final win capped an undefeated season and delivered Norcross’s first state water polo title since the program was started 4 years ago. In addition the division 2 Blue Devils team also completed the regular season as the sole undefeated team in their division finishing in first place and earning an 11th seed for the tournament. After winning all but one game in the tournament, the division 2 team finished in 9th place capping a tremendous season, setting the stage for continued strength next year. Norcross coaches, Carlos Santini and Matt Roberts, were honored themselves, receiving co-coaches of the year prior to the final two games being played. The state tournament was held at the Cumming Aquatic Center. The Blue Devils championship team was predominately seniors, most of whom joined the team in its 2010 inaugural year as freshmen. Ian Bagent, Travis Bruce, Brandon Cunningham, Patrick Gaddis, Mark Gross, Nick Hoover, Sam Medinger, Chandler Schaefer, John David Strickland, and Alex Ullrich. Roundng out the division 1 champs were underclassmen Jake Einig, Robert Pope, and Eric Strickland.





3 4

7 5


Archer vs. Grayson 1 - Archer's Kenny Muraoka (#1) points the way as he and his Archer teammates prepare to take the field in Friday night's game with Grayson High School. 2 - Archer Touchdown Club President, Darrell Bryant (right) celebrates Archer's 10-0 season with Steve Dyer, father of head coach Andy Dyer 3 - Quarterback, Gabe Tiller (#7) scrambles for an Archer fourth-quarter, first down as the fog begins to settle at Grayson High School 4 - Archer head coach, Andy Dyer, celebrates a fourth quarter touchdown. 5 - Archer's KJ Parmer (Left) and Kyle Davis (Right) celebrate a touchdown 6 - Grayson running back, Mohamed Berry (#8) 7 - Archer coaches, Josh Alexander (left) and Brian Lane (right) celebrate a huge victory over rival Grayson 8 - Archer captain, John Gillis (#21) 9 - Grayson's Dustin Hopkins (#84) attempts to block Archer's Dillon Bliss (#20) as he pressures quarterback, Chase Brice (#20) Photography by Sonny Kennedy:



Pee Wee Champions at Pinckneyville Park, Fall 2013 This Fall out at Pinckneyville Park in Norcross, the Pee Wee Mariners turned in a competiive and fun season of baseball! As a team, the Mariners were able to hit coach pitch well throughout the season while playing great defense! We allowed a total of eight (8) runs in three (3) playoff games and our "kid pitching" only gave up one (1) run in a total of six (6) innings pitched. Our Team Motto throughout the playoffs was "One More Time"! The final score of the championship was 8-3, Mariners defeated the Red Sox! Pictured left: Front Row, left to right: Justin Dipietro, Jones Deems, Grayson McCollum, Stephen Gagnier, Leo Tartaglione Second Row, left to right: Shawn Simmons, Andrew Minor, John Barcena, Faustina Barcena, Jack Whitlaw Back Row, left to right: Coaches: David Whitlaw, David McCollum, Jason Deems, Mike Simmons & William Barcena



GREAT DOCTORS. Worse than bumps or bruises, hard landings can cause serious head injuries. So remember that the doctors and nurses at Children’s have the expertise to treat pediatric concussions. Learn more at

©2013 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.

Dedicated to All Better


Sports Gwinnett November 2013  

Articles featured includes: Run for You Life, Private Schools in and around Gwinnett and their Sports Programs, The Road Less Traveled: Pic...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you