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sports and rec in THE city of duluth


SPORTS GWINNETT life is active | JUNE 2013




Adult Sports






Adventure Camps Full day recreation camps with a thematic twist!

Preschool Camps Fun morning camps at select locations.

Special Interest Camps Partial day camps led by specialized instructors.

Register today! Top Notch convenient locations Buford Bogan Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0850 Dacula Dacula Park Activity Building 678.277.0850 Duluth Shorty Howell Park Activity Building 770.814.4914 Lawrenceville Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0890

Lilburn Mountain Park Park Depot Building 678.277.0179 Norcross Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0860 Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0920 Snellville Lenora Park Gymnasium 770.978.5271 Stone Mountain Mountain Park Activity Building 678.277.0179 Suwanee George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0910


Perimeter Church One Heart Church Intown Community Church Turner Broadcasting Atlanta Gas Hennessy Lexus Jim Ellis Porsche Hendrick Chevrolet Simpson Elementary Berkeley Lake Elementary Norcross High School Wesleyan School Office Depot Wells Realty Florida Rock and Tank Georgia-Pacific Georgia Power Home Depot Macy’s US Gypsum Siemens Northside Hospital Community Loans Iron Mountain Amway Cox Communication PGA Golf Tournament 2011

Create your own catering package or choose from our other specially created packages.

The Favorite Package

Self-service, but can be full-service upon request. This is our most-asked-for catering combination, and includes the following for your guests: • • • • • • •

Chopped pork Chopped chicken Brunswick stew Cole slaw Sandwich buns and french bread Iced tea Plates, cups, plastic ware


• • • •



per person

Stew cups, napkins Barbecue sauce Salt, pepper, ice, lemons, drink cups Serving utensils

Add an extra side for .75/person | Add dessert for 1.75/person


6601 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross, GA 30092

J.R.’s first started serving great barbecue and breakfast in May 1983. Today, you can still see some of the same employees here who helped us open our doors!

Visit our website for a complete menu We also cater BREAKFAST. Check out our bulk prices on meats, sides and more. Full service, which includes serving staff at your event is available.


FIRST UP Happenings in the next 45 days

SPIRIT Youth Athletic Leagues, Schools, Clubs

and Achievements

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

and moving

13 GWINNETT BRAVES 26 NOURISH Great places to eat and meet friends

and meet your teammates

28 PARKS Highlighted events and happenings at




Edward Waters and Trent Phillips, founders of Georgia Stars Baseball.



Todd and Austin Cormack on sharing the passion for hockey

brothers, [18] best best friends

opportunity point

Mercedes White plays with the drive few kids can match.


Sports and recreation in the City of Duluth


TEAM SPORTS Adult league sports in Gwinnett County Parks

Gwinnett County Parks

30 best seat in the house Highlighting the past month in pictures. 32 TEAM MOM & DADS Tips, recommendations and advice. 32 COACH’s CALL Advice and insight from

respected coaches




Cover (Left to Right): Kevin Wisner, Trent Phillips, Chase Waters and Coach Edward Waters. Cover photography by Kathryn Nee




Pictured on this page is Mercedes White. Photography by Kathryn Nee




Opening in June

2108 TerOn Trace, suiTe 200, dacula

1 91192.1.4_JUNE2013--B.indd 1

5/29/2013 2:19:49 PM

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


SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE JUNE 2013 sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett





your PurchaSe of $50 or more*

valid 12/15/12–6/30/13 MORE EXCLUSIONS MAY APPLY. VISIT SPORTSAUTHORITY.COM/EXCLUSIONS OR SEE STORE FOR DETAILS. *No cash value. No cash back. No rain checks. Coupon not valid on prior, online or S.A. Elite by Sports Authority purchases, gift cards, licenses, event tickets, store services or items intended for resale. Offer good on in-stock merchandise only. Must present coupon at time of purchase to redeem. Cannot be combined with any other offer, Cash Card, coupon or Employee or Friends & Family discount. Coupon may not be reproduced. One coupon per customer, per purchase. Exclusions include clearance items marked with $.97 price endings; Power Play Deals; UGG; Under Armour; The North Face; Brooks; Babolat; Titleist; Burton; Volkl; Penn Reels; firearms and ammunition.

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CMR Generic 12-13 Pr $10 OFF COUPON 11/01/2012 to 6/30/ Ashley Brawdy


Director of Photography Kate Awtrey is a professional photographer and owner of Gwinnett Event Photography. She was born and raised in Gwinnett County and enjoys taking photographs of interesting people, places and things.


Rico Figliolini and Clint Conley Co-Publishers

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.

Coming Issues: JULY 2013 • Life Balance Issue • Sports and Rec in Buford • Guide to Life Balance Sources AUGUST • High School Sports Preview • Sports and Rec in Suwanee • Guide for a Hungry Team (Top Catering Choices) SEPTEMBER • Faith in Sports • Sports and Rec in Peachtree Corners • Guide to Fall Sports Gear and Apparel


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.


Amanda is the mother of two youth athletes – a son who plays baseball and lacrosse for Duluth and a daughter who plays softball and basketball for Norcross. She and her “Coach” husband have lived in Peachtree Corners for 14 years and is the Principal Engagement Manager for The SAS Institute.

Please email about advertising deadlines and editorial considerations.


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


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


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


Reg is a freelance writer and designer 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


Sydney is a mom of 2 boys that have grown up playing baseball in the Duluth Youth Baseball and Softball Association. She has been a Team Mom for both recreational teams and travel teams – from tee ball through majors. She also serves as uniform coordinator for the DYBSA.


Tony is a recent graduate of Southern Wesleyan University. He is passionate about sports and formerly played professional baseball in Neuenburg, Germany. He currently resides in Gwinnett County.


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.

VISIT WWW.SPORTSGWINNETT.COM FOR NEW CONTESTS AND GIVE-A-WAYS. You can always find out the latest of what we're up to on our FACEBOOK.COM/SPORTSGWINNETT page.







Tom Ball

SAtuRdAy & SundAy

Between 12-3:30pm Dine in Only St ES

JOn d




Nicole Lynch


All yOu CAn EAt WE

Patti Leach





Ann Bishoff price

KATHERINE MACMANUS SPORTS360GROUP LLC 4305 River Stream Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 678.358.7858

We want to share the inspirational stories; to improve lives, and the world around us, through the passion of sports. 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 book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. ©2013 SPORTS360GROUP LLC. The editors welcome submissions and photogrpahy. Please direct them to

Learn lacrosse from coaches who have been in your shoes

dgE ROAd


Kate Awtrey Photography Kat Goduco Kathryn Nee


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

WA y


pA R



Matthew Quinn

Storm the Field with Thunderbird this summer and elevate your game to the next level!


Kate Awtrey PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR 678-876-0042



Dynamic practices & challenging tournaments Learning and reÞning core fundamentals Developing team concepts and game IQ Building team chemistry Elevating decision-making abilities

¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥




Clint Conley and Rico Figliolini

Gwinnett · North Fulton · Sandy Springs · DeKalb

2 large 2-topping pizzas $22.99 2 med. 2-topping pizzas $18.99

Valie for Dine-In, Take-Out or Delivery at Johnny’s Norcross. Not to be combined with any other offers

Valie for Dine-In, Take-Out or Delivery at Johnny’s Norcross. Not to be combined with any other offers

Buy a large Specialty pizza at Regular price, get a FREE appetizer & 2 liter drink Valie for Dine-In, Take-Out or Delivery at Johnny’s Norcross. Not to be combined with any other offers

5005 Peachtree Parkway Norcross GA 30092 | Peachtree Corners


3150 Main Street, Suite 102 Duluth, GA 30096 Call 770.623.0817 Fax 770.623.8258

providing insurance and Financial Services





What's Happening 45 Days Out

Virtual Race

iRUN AGAINST DIABETES iRun Against Diabetes Inaugural Virtual Challenge Weekend is a National Event with distances of 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. This event was created to increase awareness of Diabetes through fitness. The cost is $10, plus a $3.25 processing fee. All participants will receive a finisher’s medal. Registration is set at $10 to encourage registrants to donate to the American Diabetes Association. Donations can be made via donate link on Any amount is welcomed. Type II Diabetes can be regulated, or prevented with clean eating and exercise. iRun Against Diabetes encourages everyone to join us for this important cause. Make an effort, register to run/walk/jog 3.1, 6.2 or 13.1 miles during iRun Against Diabetes Challenge Weekend. Still need convincing? Worried about the distance? No problem! You have the entire weekend from June 21st through June 24th to complete your distance run. There is a referral program to make things a little competitive and fun. We challenge you to refer 20 people to register. Your name will be entered in our drawing to win a road bike. Referrals must enter your name as the referral source to be eligible. Refer 30 people and your name will be entered in the drawing to win an Xbox Kinect. Each week during May we will be raffling off restaurant gift cards. Winners will be notified by email. Winner’s names will be listed on event website and Facebook fan page. Gift cards will be mailed to the winners at the end of each week. This is a Nationwide Virtual event! This means that you choose the location. If you’re in the local area, join us for group run on June 22nd at 7:00 AM at Lifetime Fitness, 11555 Johns Creek Parkway, Johns Creek GA. Join iRun for Weekly Social Run/Walk/Jog Club at same location.


"Playing Together: Games" Exhibit at GEHC

June 24-27, 2013

May 29 - September 02, 2013

Georgia Gwinnett College Teams & Individuals, Girls and Boys 12-18 yrs old A time on perspiration and inspiration. Athletes will learn from NCAA, NAIA & USSF college coaches what it takes to become the WHOLE athlete and lead both on and off the pitch. Join us this summer! For more information visit

The exhibit highlights games from around the world and across the centuries and demonstrates how people have invented imaginative ways of playing together. The exhibit features one of the earliest games known to man. Visitors can rewind the clock and play a game of Senet, which is an early racing game that dates back 3,000 years. The exibhit is divided into categories of strategy, math, coordination and physical skills. The focal point of the exhibit is an oversized chessboard with giant game pieces.

About the Exhibit:

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center Skate and…Create! June 22 until August 25, 2013 Discover the sport of skateboarding this summer at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC as we explore skate culture and learn how skateboarding is becoming more environmentally aware. Visitors will get a first-hand look at how skateboards are created, view some original skateboard art, design their own boards, and learn about some unique products that are being salvaged from skateboard waste materials.

iRun Against Diabetes increasing awareness through fitness


Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center 2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford, GA 30519


One of the earliest games known to man is featured. Visitors can rewind the clock and play a game of Senet, which is an early racing game that dates back more than 3,000 years. The game was discovered in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and carved into the roof tiles of ancient temples. Other games featured include Nine Men’s Morris, a strategy game that inspired checkers, chess, and backgammon, and Boc-Tin, a Chinese game similar to Shut the Box, which was played by French sailors aboard ships many years ago. The exhibit is divided into categories of strategy, math, coordination, and physical skills. The focal point of the exhibit is an oversized chessboard with giant game pieces. Activities also include an area where visitors can invent their own games, an area that explores how people react to winning and losing games, and a “House of Cards” playing area where guests can play a variety of board games.

FARMERS markets

June 21 – 23, 2013

Suwanee Farmers Market

June 25 – 28, 2013

Gwinnett Braves vs. Syracuse Chiefs

The best place for locally grown sustainable food.

Gwinnett Braves vs. Buffalo Bisons

June 01 – October 5, 2013 Suwanee Town Center Park 370 Buford Hwy at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suwanee, GA 30024 Get it fresh in Suwanee! The Suwanee Farmers Market offers in-season produce, herbs and plants, free-range eggs and meat, baked goods, fresh flowers, and jams and jellies. The market is open at Town Center Park from 8 am-noon every Saturday and on Tuesday evenings from 4 pm to 7 pm May 7 - August 6. (No market on 9/21 due to Suwanee Day Festival)

Berkeley Lake Farmers Market June 06 – August 29, 2013 Berkeley Lake 4043 S. Berkeley Lake Rd., Berkeley Lake, GA 30096 Popular Farmers Market held at the Berkeley Lake Chapel. Soaps, local produce, fish oil, BBQ, GA Coast Shrimp/crab cakes, plus other delicacies.

Lilburn Farmers Market June 07 – August 30, 2013 Lilburn Farmers Market 76 Main St., Lilburn, GA 30047

Lawrenceville Farmers Market June 08 – September 7, 2013 Downtown Lawrenceville 153 E. Crogan St., Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046

June 04 – 07, 2013

Gwinnett Braves vs. Rochester Red Wings June 08 – 11, 2013

Gwinnett Braves vs. Columbus Clippers

July 04 – 05, 2013

Gwinnett Braves vs. Charlotte Knights Coolray Field, One Braves Avenue, Lawrenceville, GA 30043 The Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves, plays baseball in their 10,000 seat state-ofthe-art Coolray Field on Buford Drive in Lawrenceville, less than 5 minutes from I-85 and the Mall of Georgia.


EVENT coverage

Grayson Farmer's Market June 12 – August 28, 2013 Grayson Park 475 Grayson Parkway, Grayson, GA 30017






Stepping Out

How Soccer Has Transformed Greater Atlanta Christian’s Brynn Finneran into Who She is Today by abby wilkerson photography by KATE AWTREY


t age five, most people regarded little Brynn Finneran as a quiet, reserved young lady –until they witnessed her on the soccer field. The sweet little girl on the sidelines immediately became an aggressive competitor the minute she stepped onto the field. Finneran has come a long way since peewee soccer, but one fact remains the same – she gives 100% at everything she does. “Brynn is a highly motivated girl and has improved tremendously over the past 12 months,” said Tony Annan, Executive Director of the Norcross Soccer Academy. “A lot of that improvement comes from her own drive to be better, play college soccer, and her willingness to be coached and learn from her coach. She always gives her very best effort in training and in games and never backs down from the challenge that is placed in front of her. She is a strong player physically and technically, but also has a very tough mentality.” That tough mentality has been especially useful to her this season at Greater Atlanta Christian. After playing offense almost her entire soccer career, Finneran was presented with the opportunity to move to anchor the defense as a center back, she took advantage and has not relinquished the position all year. “She is invaluable to us in the back,” said GACS Head Girls' Soccer Coach Troy Bendickson. “She has been the rock that can't be moved back there. She is smart and instinctive – a terrific one-on-one defender, always making a perfectly timed tackle. You can't plan center back without being tough, as


challenges in the air come at her over and over and she stands tall and strong.” “I have basically played offense my entire soccer career,” said Finneran. “Due to injuries on our team, we were in need of defenders. I told Coach B I would play center D – it may not be my favorite or most comfortable position, but I work hard and get the job done. My speed and athleticism has helped me make the transition from [offense] to [defense]. It has been fun having a new challenge.” “I have had to face adversity this season playing a new position,” Finneran said. “Knowing that my team was counting on me gave me the strength to power through and not give up.” Described by Bendickson as a dream player to coach with an incredible attitude and work ethic, Finneran grew up with perhaps the perfect role model for striving to be the best she can be – her father, former Atlanta Falcons player Brian Finneran. “My dad is much more than just a professional football player – he is a good person, a great dad and the ultimate competitor, “said Brynn. “He has a positive attitude and great work ethic in everything he does. Every game my dad played in he gave it his all. Every time I step onto the field it is game time and my dad has taught me to leave it all out on the field. Looking up to someone like this who is very athletic makes you want to be more like him.” Being successful on the field has led to equal success off the field. Described as “a model Greater Atlanta Christian student,” Finneran is strong academically, as well as in step with the school’s mission. She has spent her last two spring breaks serving on mission trips with GACS in Ensenada, Mexico and Guatemala.


“The mission trips I have gone on have been some of the best experiences in my life. They have helped me to grow as a person and grow in my faith. On my last mission trip we built a house for a family in Guatemala. This trip was extremely rewarding, not only for the fact we could build a house in a week and help to change their lives, but getting to know the family and others in the community, especially the children, has changed me. It helped me to see the important things in life and inspired me to realize how grateful the people were and has helped me to be a better person.” Finneran exemplifies the broad reach sports can have on a young person, not only influencing health, but social skills and leadership skills, impacting the rest of their lives. “Being part of a team and working together, along with my personal goals, has helped me to stay determined and passionate for the game,” Finneran commented. “Soccer has taught me the importance of hard work, discipline, setting goals and keeping a positive attitude.”




SPIRIT Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame inducts 2013 honorees

six honored inductees


by matthew w. quinn ix Gwinnett-bred athletes and coaches were inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame May 4, the last such ceremony held at Coolray Field. Gwinnett Sports Commission Executive Director Stan Hall said the Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame’s purpose is to recognize those who have played or coached sports in Gwinnett public or private schools. “These are people who really went on to have as an athlete great careers well beyond the high school ranks [and] these are coaches who just did a phenomenal job here in Gwinnett County,” he said. “It is a branch of the Gwinnett Public School Foundation, but the Sports Hall of Fame has sort of taken on its own life.” May 4 saw the most recent ceremony inducting people into the hall of fame. Nominations come from the selection committee, which consists of people who are heavily involved with Gwinnett County sports. People who sit on the committee include Mike Emery, the director of the Gwinnett County Schools’ Office of Athletics, Student Activities, and Community Schools; Gwinnett Daily Post high school sports writer Will Hammock, and even some members of the hall of fame itself. The committee compiles a list of those to be considered that year and out of those hundreds of nominations picks the ultimate winners. Honorees and their families are invited, no matter where they live now, back to Gwinnett. Athletes who are inducted receive their accolades from those who coached them while they were in high school, while coaches it’s someone who worked with that coach. The honorees are introduced one at a time and their accomplishments are discussed. “It’s a real special ceremony they have,” Hall said. “We present them with a blazer that’s got the Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame


on it and we provide them with a ring.” Usually after the ceremony, honorees are announced on the field at the Gwinnett Braves game, but the weather prevented it this year. Hall predicted over the next couple of years the hall of fame would grow rapidly. Next year’s induction ceremony would be more formal. Attendance at prior events was limited by the space available at Coolray Field, but the hall of fame wanted to include the community. “Next year what we want to do is open it up and make it a community-wide affair where we could invite the general public to attend,” he said. There would be a banquet and a keynote speaker of interest to the community before the honorees are formally inducted. The hall of fame plans to have future inductions at one of the ballrooms at the Gwinnett Center. Another goal is to have a physical location for the hall of fame, which is currently onlineonly. One of the athletes honored was Courtney Swaim Trimble, a graduate of Duluth High School and the women’s golf coach at the University of Louisville. When she was in high school, she played basketball and golf. She won the state championship in golf in 1998 and was three-time Gwinnett County Female Golfer of the Year. She played in two U.S. Opens and was a member of the 2002 victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team in 2004. She spent three and a half years as assistant coach at Auburn University and became head coach at the University of Central Florida before going on to Louisville. “It was a great experience,” she said. “There were a lot of incredible athletes that were being inducted at the same time. They did a nice job of bringing us all back and recognizing everybody. It was a very nice ceremony.” It was great to see what wonderful athletes


Kelly Herndon, Executive Director of the Foundation Fund, Inc have come out of the county, including Heisman trophy winners, current NBA players, and people who have played in the World Cup. She felt honored to be included with such great athletes. The other honorees included: Brookwood High School football coach David Hunter, Buford High School’s Darius Walker for football, South Gwinnett High School’s Lou Williams for basketball, Greater Atlanta Christian School’s Sherill Baker for basketball, and Parkview High School’s Josh Wolff for soccer. Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer and editor and aspiring novelist living in Marietta, Ga.

Sherill Baker receiving her jacket from former Greater Atlanta Christian Basketball Coach Dana Davis

Left to right: Courtney Trimble, Darius Walker, Louis Williams, Sherill Baker, Josh Wolff, David Hunter(seated)

Darius Walker and Dexter Woods his football coach from Buford HS

Courtney Trimble and her father

David Seago, President of the Foundation Fund, Inc. Trustees

J. Alvin Wilbanks, GCPS Superintendent



MOVE 5k, 10k, Marathons, Cycling, Walking and Moving CALENDAR OF RACES

Runners *While supplies last for late registrants

Saturday, June 08 Saturday June 8th

Lace Up in the Fight Against Breast Cancer ► Suwanee, GA

5K begins at 8:00 a.m. Fun Run to immediately follow. 7:00 a.m. Registration Begins $25 if registered before 6/1/2013 (includes t-shirt) $28 after 6/2 and $30 day of race Cost is $13.00. Parents who wish to run BOTH races may do so at no additional cost.

Saturday June 8th

Peachtree Corners Festival 5K

► Peachtree Corners, GA Fun Run & Charity Challenge, 7:30 a.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 10am-6pm Sunday, June 9, 2013 - noon-5pm

Saturday June 8th


3rd Annual Lace Up in the Fight against Breast Cancer 5k 8:00 a.m. North Gwinnett 4963 West Price Road Suwanee, GA 30024 Third Year- bigger, better and stronger...Join us in Suwanee on June 8th as we run/walk/jog in honor and memory of Margaret Gilbert who lost her battle with Stage 4 breast cancer at the age of 41 on April 21st 2009. She fought hard for 2 1/2 years.. She was well known in the Swim community-St. Pius and Gwinnett County Swim League. She was a true inspiration to everyone she met!! Your chance to make a DIFFERENCE and DO SOMETHING in the Fight against Breast Cancer

Sunday, June 9

Rock The Park Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Running for Rain 5K

Lenora Park 4515 Lenora Church Road SW Snellville , GA

9:00 a.m. Registration starts at 8:00A.M. Greenway Trail, Lilburn, GA $20.00 Pre-Registration Deadline June 7, 2012 Register today at or *T-Shirts for all Pre-Registered

Registration Closing Date Friday, June 7, 2013 @ 11:59 pm


Saturday, June 15th

Saturday, June 22

Christian Tripp-a-Doodle's Runners and Trot - Tripp Zulu Racing Halstead 5K present the 2013 Coolray Field 2500 Buford Drive Run Zulu 5K! Lawrenceville , GA 8:00 a.m. Dunwoody Village Shopping Cernter FAMILY SPECIAL: Buy 3 entries and get 1 free! *Register in person at any of the 6 Big Peach Running Co. locations! AWARDS Top Overall Male/Female Top Three Overall Male/Female Age Group Awards Rewarded in 15 Age Groups

Saturday June 15th

5 Alarm 5K

Start: 8:00 a.m. $25.00 after June 1st and on race day All race proceeds benefit the Gwinnett Fire Employees’ Benevolent Fund, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to help Gwinnett Fire employees and their families in times of crisis. You can be assured that all proceeds will go directly to help Gwinnett County Fire employees and their families. Pick Up Your Information Packet: Friday, June 14th 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Big Peach Running Co. in Suwanee or morning of the race beginning at 7:00 a.m.

Tripp was critically injured during Super Storm Sandy. His strength and determination has been an inspiration to all of us and we want to do all we can to help his Family. Benefitting: Tripp Halstead

Sunday, June 23

Run Into Summer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K 6:30 a.m. Tribble Mill Park 2125 Tribble Mill Parkway Lawrenceville, GA 30045 Entire course will be run on a wide paved path around a lake in a very scenic park. Well stocked aid station at the start/finish area. Half - 4 loops and an outand-back. 10K - 2 loops and an out-and-back. 5K - 1 loop and an out-and-back. Medal to all finishers and a generic tech shirt.


Gwinnett Braves Highlights and Information

G-Braves HOLD Benefit for Tripp Halstead

Braves Award April Grant to Gwinnett County Special Olympics


5K Race, Benefit Night at Coolray Field set for Saturday, June 22

The Skinny

he Gwinnett Braves have awarded their $1,000 grant for the month of April to Gwinnett County Special Olympics. The “Take Me Out to a Ball Game” themed grant, aimed at assisting organizations that promote youth athletics and activities, will help fund Special Olympics’ sports programs for youth with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics program was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and provides year-round training and athletic competition for more than one million athletes in nearly 150 countries and all 50 states in the United States. Gwinnett County Special Olympics is the agency that operates the Special Olympics program in Gwinnett County. Their program supports more than 2,000 athletes of all ages including school-age children with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy of sports participation. The funds from the grant awarded by the Gwinnett Braves will help Gwinnett County Special Olympics in its continued mission to provide uniforms, transportation, sports facilities and equipment for youth athletes specifi-




cally in Gwinnett County. The Gwinnett Braves and Gwinnett County Special Olympics have had a strong partnership for the past five years, including an annual “Best Buddies” clinic where disabled youth learn baseball skills from G-Braves players at Coolray Field. “The Special Olympics mission remains as vital today as it did when the movement was founded in 1968 by Eunice Shriver,” said Karen O’Connor, Fundraising & Outreach Chairman of Gwinnett County Special Olympics. “Through the power of sport, Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people. Our 2,100 school age athletes, parents and volunteers are so appreciative for the Gwinnett Braves’ support.” About Gwinnett County Special Olympics: Working on a local

level to serve the intellectually disabled athletes of Gwinnett County, the Gwinnett County Special Olympics provides numerous sports including bowling, gymnastics, ice skating, equestrian, floor hockey, tennis, softball, track and field, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other physical activities. All of the funds raised by Gwinnett County Special Olympics go directly to Gwinnett County athletes. To volunteer your time or donate to the program, please contact Lynnette Swanson, Coordinator, at Lynnette_swanson@gwinnett. For more information on the Gwinnett Braves Grant Program, including details on how your organization can apply, call Community Relations Manager Shay Marlowe at 678-277-0346 or email

The Gwinnett Braves are raising funds for Tripp Halstead, a two-year old Barrow County, Georgia boy who suffered a brain injury when he was struck by a tree limb during Hurricane Sandy last October. The G-Braves will host a 5K Race, dubbed "Tripp's Trot," as well as "Tripp Halstead Night" at Coolray Field on Saturday, June 22. "Tripp's Trot" will take place in the Coolray Field parking lot at 8:00 AM on June 22. Those interested in registering may do so by visiting The cost is $25 if registering before May 22, $28 if registering before June 1, $30 if registering before June 20 and $35 on the day of the event. A Fun Run will also be held that day, costing just $20 to participate. A race day raffle for G-Braves' autographed items and a special PreGame Parade on the field for all race participants are also planned for June 22. That night, the Gwinnett Braves will host the Syracuse Chiefs for a 7:05 PM game. Prior to the game, country singer/songwriter Jordan Covington will play a special acoustic set. To purchase tickets for the "Tripp Halstead Night" fundraiser, visit and enter the special promo code TEAMBOOM. For more information on "Tripp's Trot" and "Tripp Halstead Night," contact the Gwinnett Braves at 678-2770340.




by Reg L. Carver

photography by KATE AWTREY

Edward Waters and Trent Phillips, founders of Georgia Stars Baseball, are quite different in temperament. Waters, general manager and head coach and a native of Chicago, cannot help but display his unbridled enthusiasm for life and heartfelt concern for others. Trent Phillips, president and business manager hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina is somewhat reserved and expresses himself in calm and measured tones. But there is no difference in both men’s commitment to young athletes. Through GSB, they are making real differences in the lives of countless youths. First and Foremost, Outstanding Fathers Waters and Phillips have proven themselves time and again in sports. Waters spent 18 years as a professional baseball player, including six seasons between MLB’s Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. He is currently a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates and provides private instruction to numerous young


athletes across the South. Phillips was a four-sport high school standout, lettering in baseball, football, basketball, and track. After suffering a serious leg injury his senior high school year, he nevertheless recuperated and ran track for three years at East Carolina University. He currently runs his own web design firm he founded 14 years ago. But these men do not count their athletic feats as their greatest accomplishments. Both view their roles as fathers as being their greatest blessings and highest achievements. Among Waters’ children are a couple of GSB stars (one of whom having just committed to play baseball at Division I Alabama State University), a daughter attends Tuskegee University on a track scholarship, another son is a GSB star, and his remaining son is training to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. As for Phillips, both his sons are GSB standouts, with his oldest,just 16, already being scouted by several Division I college baseball programs. But Waters and Phillips will quickly tell you that their own and their children’s sports achievements are simply the natural results of several key traits – self-esteem, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, discipline, and, of course, heart. These are also the traits that good fathers pass to their children. Founding Georgia Stars Baseball GSB’s formation was set in motion almost two decades ago. As a rookie pro, Waters met the legendary Hank Aaron, who planted a seed in Waters’ mind. “Hank Aaron reminded me, ‘you know you are not going to be able to play baseball forever,” Waters said “You need to think about what you’re going to do when your playing career ends.’” Waters has never forgotten those words.


“Baseball is the only place in life where a sacrifice is really appreciated.” Author Unknown

Waters and Phillips became friends as a result of Waters providing batting instruction to Phillips’ sons. “He was the first person I ever m et who knew more about batting than I did,” said Phillips. Perhaps recognizing the complementary nature of their personalities, Waters approached Phillips about running a league of their own. Waters knew he had the baseball knowledge, but needed someone to handle the business side. Phillips agreed to give it a go. To this day, unlike many coaches of elite youth teams, neither man has taken a dime for operating GSB. Starting by fielding just one team, Waters and Phillips placed their emphasis on teaching basic baseball skills. Waters sadly acknowledged that he sees many high school players who have never been properly taught the most basic of skills. And, just as important, they emphasized the same traits they emphasized in their roles as fathers. And their system has not changed since day one, even though the GSB now fields eight times and will soon move to 12 Quick Success and Growth Since its inception, Georgia Stars Baseball has provided instruction at the highest level. Some teams hold national rankings. Players are trained to be standouts at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. “I have put 38 guys in major league baseball with my training – more than that in Division I college baseball,” noted Waters in a matter of fact but not boastful tone. GSB’s reputation has brought much growth. It fields teams in 17U, 16U, 15U, 13U, 12UAAA, 12UAA, 9U, and Lady Stars 14U. It has added more quality coaches as well. Another Head Coach, Pascanel Ferreras, has played AA baseball in the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, and Atlanta. And GSB has two pitching coaches. Clint Conley is another foursport high school athlete with a collegiate career – and also co-publisher of Sports Gwinnett, while John Delk, a two-sport high school athlete, has coached baseball for the past 12 years. A major component of GSB is the notion of giving back. All GSB players and coaches participate in community outreach programs. GSB works closely with the Brian Jordan Foundation, YMCA, Atlanta Braves Baseball Academy, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. “These kids need to learn that life is more than just about themselves.,” said Phillips. “We’re teaching much more than baseball – we’re teaching good citizenship.” Forming Responsible Adults Waters sums up Georgia Stars Baseball in a simple and straightforward manner. “We love our kids. We teach them to become better citizens. We put God first. And we’ll accept anybody. We don’t turn away anyone because of [a lack of] money. If a kid can make our teams, we’ll come out of our pockets to make sure he plays. We’re teaching them to become good men and women – it’s as simple as that. If you can get them here, we’ll get them ready.” To learn more about Georgia Stars Baseball, please visit Reg L. Carver is a writer and designer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You can find him at

Back: Kevin Wisner Mt. Pisgah HS Graduate, University of South, DIII Baseball Commitment, Pitcher & 1B –GA Stars 17U) and Trent Phillips. Front Coach Edward Waters with son (Chase Waters- Shiloh High School Graduate, Alabama State Univ. D1 Baseball Commitment, Center Fielder – GA Stars 17U)



REKINDLING OF AN OLD FLAME by Reg L. Carver photography by KATE AWTREY

Often times, a father passes a passion to his son – a love of sport, music, adventures found outdoors. More rare is the occasion where the son passes a passion to his father. It does happen, however, and this is the story of one of those occasions. Georgia native Todd Cormack,49, became a hockey fan as a kid due solely to his following the Atlanta Flames, a hockey team founded in 1972 that moved to Calgary after eight seasons. Loving the fast pace and physicality of the sport, Todd played in neighborhood streets using oldfashioned roller skates and homemade sticks. The Flames left Atlanta in 1980, the same year Todd started college. With his team gone, he quickly lost interest in the sport. Indeed, he did not play another game until his son, Austin, 15, started showing interest in taking to the rink. A Father Teaches His Son Austin began the sport at age six at the South Gwinnett Athletic Association (SGAA) in Snell-


ville, playing roller hockey using inline skates. Right away, Todd felt his son was not being coached in the best of ways. But not wanting to be simply a “complaining parent,” Todd volunteered to be an assistant coach. As it turned out, Todd received a telephone call the day before the start of Austin’s first season. It was a call to action. Todd was told the team needed a head coach. And so started the father/son Cormack duo. Learning as they went along (Todd learning to coach and, in turn, Austin learning to play), both have not only remained in the game, but have become “barn regulars.” Readily admitting they had a lot to learn, through the years they have been blessed by spending a lot of time together. They agree it has made for a close relationship. Todd learned the ropes as a coach – reading, surfing the Internet, and attending coaching clinics. His instincts told him that the littlest ones – like Austin at the time – should just learn to skate and have fun learning the game. As the players get older, the time comes for more competitive play. So Todd stepped up his coaching accordingly. He loved the days he coached Austin. He’s loved coaching all the kids he’s come to know.


“Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.” Chinese Proverb

New And Rekindled Passions Turns out, Todd became a great coach, teaching Austin the skills he had taught himself all those years ago and much more. By the age of 12, Austin began playing on ice – a faster and much more physical form of hockey - and he started to get serious about his play. He still plays roller hockey on occasion, but ice hockey (“the most exciting sport there is”) is now his main focus. He plays at The Ice Forum in Duluth, which is the practice facility of the Gwinnett Gladiators, and The Cooler in Alpharetta. A rabid Chicago Blackhawks fan, Austin has always played goalie. He is on several teams, including the ice and roller squads at Brookwood High School , as well as other travel and league teams. Coincidentally, Austin is coached regularly by Dan Bouchard, an NHL standout who once served as a goalie for the Atlanta and Calgary Flames, the same Flames player who was Todd’s boyhood hero. One moment stands out to Austin as a turning point in his play. At 14, he went to an Atlanta Thrashers game and got to see opposing team Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward play upclose. “I wanted to be just like him,” Austin remembered. “He seemed to care more, to try 110 percent.”

Todd Cormack and son Austin

Unfortunately Austin is currently not playing due to what may be a serious high ankle injury. Now undergoing testing and reviewing

treatment options, he is hoping to recover and resume trying to keep the puck from sliding between the pipes. Austin would love to play at the collegiate level, where it is exclusively ice hockey. And he has caught the coaching bug. He and Todd are currently coaching together. Austin also gives talks at camps to young goalies. (It seems dad has passed a passion to his son after all.) Coming Full Circle Todd has come full circle, it seems. He is now coaching exclusively the 8U teams – the little guys – kids that are now the age he was when he played in the street all those years ago. And he has continued to play as well now in several adult roller leagues at SGAA. His passion for play is as strong as ever. “I live for the nights I get to go play hockey,” he said. “I’ll play as long as my knees and hips will let me play.” True passions never disappear forever. Sometimes they will stray temporarily, but they never wander too far. In the case of the Cormacks, the passion fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Of course, a family tree’s roots run the deepest. Reg L. Carver is a writer and designer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You can find him at




by Reg L. Carver

photography by KATE AWTREY

The McCoy brothers, Rocky,53, and Tim, 49, are close – each calling the other his best friend. And it has been this way as long as each can remember. Bound first by family – and soon thereafter by baseball you recognize their kinship and mutual respect immediately. Each has many stories of great times, most involving each other and sports. An Early Love Of Baseball Like a lot of boys, the McCoy brothers spent their earliest days playing baseball and studying every move and stat of their favorite player. Both are lifelong Cincinnati Reds fans, with Rocky idolizing shortstop Dave Concepcion (“the best shortstop I’ve ever seen . . . a magician on the field”), and Tim having two heroes, outfielder Cesar Geranimo and catcher Johnny Bench (“[Bench] was big and imposing, always had that stone look on his face”). But Rocky and Tim didn’t get the chance to play in organized leagues as kids. With workingclass roots, league play was simply not an option. “Growing up, baseball was always a big deal in the family,” Rocky said. “We all followed our favorite teams . . . but money and time [prohibited our getting to play.”] The lack of official league play did not interfere with actually playing the game. The McCoys played a lot of baseball, rounding up neighbor-


hood kids and heading to local fields. From watching their beloved Reds, to trial and error in countless pickup games, to willing themselves to play through injuries, the McCoy brothers can honestly say they learned America’s game the old-fashioned way – by teaching themselves. Organized Leagues

The McCoy family moved from Michigan to Georgia in the early 1980s. One day Tim happened upon DuPree Park in Woodstock and noticed a softball game in action – a Jaycees’ match. Immediately, Tim wanted to play. Upon inquiry, he was told that in order to do so, he first had to join the Jaycees. He remembers responding quickly, “Okay, I’ll join the Jaycees. Now can I play?” As of that day, Tim became a Jaycee and adult league softball player. Finally, his dream of playing organized ball had become a reality. Not surprisingly, Rocky started to get the softball bug around the same time as Tim. Their first league team together - a company team called the Barron Flames - played at the old Softball Country Club in Clarkston. By far the worst team in the league, in its only season, the Flames went 1 – 9. In terms of stats, there hardly could have been a worse starting year. The Flames were extinguished after one season. McCoy Softball But while the Flames were no more, the passion remained ignited in Rocky and Tim. The McCoys started to form their own teams. Gathering members from any and every source they could find, McCoy Softball’s first team, which played at DuPree Park was named the Zombies. “We knew we were going to be a bunch of stiffs,” joked Rocky. Once again, the record was an awful 2 – 12. Adding insult to injury, the two games officially recorded as wins were the result of forfeitures due to their opponents’ lack of fielding teams those nights.


But rather than take a step back, Rocky and Tim plowed ahead, assembling and fielding one team after another. At any given time, since its inception in 1991, McCoy Softball may be comprised of five to eight teams, both men’s and coed. The emphasis has always been to make all aspects of the experience fun. Picking team names and uniforms has been especially creative. Just to name a few, there have been “Smoke On The Water,” which wore deep purple, the “Dirty Dozen” in camouflage, and “The Rocky Horrors” – with no relation to the picture show.

“It’s just that I was team captain and I knew the team was going to be horrible,” Rocky said. Now going strong for 22 years, McCoy Softball is a staple of Georgia adult league softball – taking a team to the state tournament in 2000. While still known for their creative team names and colors, the McCoy Softball teams are also known to be extraordinarily committed and for having players with mettle. In over two decades, both Rocky and Tim (and plenty more) can count on one hand the number of games they have missed. They have played through torn ligaments, muscle strain, broken bones, even kidney stones. McCoy Softball teams are as dedicated as they are fun. As passionate as ever, Rocky and Tim do wonder at times how many playing days they have left. The reality of aging is slowly coming their way. But Rocky is optimistic. “I’d like to be like Norman S. Mapp, Jr.,” he said. “He’s 60, and has played over 1,000 games with us - and is still playing. He won a team batting title last year at 59!” Today, McCoy Softball fields teams at Bethesda, George Pierce, and Lucky Shoals Parks. For more information, please visit Reg L. Carver is a writer and designer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You can find him at

“Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply . . . � Jane Austen

Rocky and Tim McCoy


mercedes white



Mercedes White

OPPORTUNITY POINT by Reg L. Carver photography by KATHRYN NEE


ven on a full stomach of her favorite meal – waffles with peanut butter – Mercedes White, 11, barely hits 60 pounds. At 4’3”, she is growing daily in stature in both height and athletic skill. She has a clear goal, “to become a professional tennis player.” All the elements are in place – talent, supportive parents with her best interests at heart, superior coaching, and unrivaled drive. Perhaps most importantly, she also possesses a measure of an elusive trait for someone her age – wisdom. Gray Clouds Loom At age two, Mercedes, an only child, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, she also developed several food allergies. With these clouds hovering, her parents Todd and Laura, vowed to do more than just stand with her under the darkness. They committed to helping Mercedes find the best path out of the shadows. Along with the physicians and staff at Emory-Children’s Center, they developed a progressive regimen to help their daughter face her health challenges. She was prescribed a special diet – sugar-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free. And she was advised to start a rigorous exercise program. “We wanted to address [her health challenges] with activity level more so than with medication,” Todd said.

The family discovered that the diet was doable, since there are plenty of alternatives to her prohibited foods these days. The greater challenge was finding the best physical activity suiting their young child. They tried dance for a time, as well as soccer. But Mercedes showed no more than a passing interest in either. Discovering Tennis At three, following in the footsteps of her father, a college tennis player at Anderson University in South Carolina and the University of Georgia, she walked onto a tennis court for the first time. And she immediately fell in love. Moving to Loganville three years ago, the family looked for the right tennis facility. They found it in Life Time Fitness in Peachtree Corners, formerly Racquet Club of the South). A world-class tennis facility, it includes a Junior High Performance program designed to prepare players to compete at the highest levels of high school, college, and professional tennis. Mercedes is the youngest player in the high performance program, which provides a full day of school and tennis running from 7 a.m. – to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facility provides schooling, fitness training, and five hours of tennis each day. She competes in tournaments on the weekends, often traveling to other states. Currently Mercedes participates in Life Time’s programs, as well as USTA and ALTA leagues. She plays mostly singles on both hard and clay courts. A “dirtballer” at heart, she will quickly tell you she prefers clay courts. A Phenom In The Making In the beginning, Mercedes’ play was about getting the proper exercise. “We never thought it would be anything more,” said Todd. “When we first started, we wanted to make sure she actually wanted to play for herself, and that it wasn’t something I was pushing her into. That’s the reason that [early on] I stepped out of the coaching role.” But Todd immediately recognized her competitiveness, her drive to improve, and that continued on the next page


laura and todd white with mercedes continued from previous page she losing didn’t always devastate her.. “She has a healthy balance of understanding that when she loses [a match], she can learn something from it,” he said. “She knows it’s not about winning and losing right now.” Laura recognized her daughter had special talent, but admitted, “It’s been different than I expected. And I was most reluctant about pulling her out of regular schooling. But I understand her dreams, and with her having this talent, I’ve adapted.” Mercedes and her parents could not be more pleased with Life Time Tennis under Director of Tennis, Grant Stafford. Coached primarily by Greg Amerson (pictured right) and Alan Simmons, Todd is especially impressed with the discipline they provide, noting also that they stay in regular contact about Mercedes’ development. “The communication has been very good,” he said. A Coach’s Perspective Mercedes works most closely with Greg Amerson, a 20-year veteran of coaching tennis. Having worked with her for a year and a half,


he sees in Mercedes all the qualities necessary to be a great tennis player. “She has a good attitude and I would say that’s one of her best qualities. She’s here every day with an attitude to work, change, and grow – and it’s consistent.” “We can see that her athletic ability has now increased, and we have a full-time fitness program here, so now we see her moving better,” he said. “She’s much more consistent with her forehand and backhand, and her serve has improved – almost every aspect of her game has gotten better.” Coach Amerson also praised Mercedes’ parents. He singled out her father in particular for providing primary direction and said she was very fortunate to have such supportive parents. A Future In The Sunshine For all her talent, Mercedes knows the road ahead will require her full efforts. She has learned this partially from


watching her favorite player, Maria Sharapova. “I think that she tries very hard, she’ll never give up, and she will always give her best,” she said. Mercedes’ goal is to go straight from high school into professional play. She continues to focus on developing all aspects of her game, and knows certain facets will always require extra attention. At present, she said she would like to develop her serve more. Nothing in life is a given. And every endeavor involves the risk of failure. But Mercedes has learned not to dwell on the negative. She knows that her best approach to tennis is the same one she uses to battle diabetes – staying positive and working hard. “This is my dream and I really think I can get there,” she said. Reg L. Carver is a writer and designer from Johns Creek, Georgia. You can find him at

greg amerson

Doctor honors mentor at Duluth awards ceremony

Receives GMC Duluth’s Pioneer in Sports Medicine Award by Matthew W. Quinn


eteran sports physician Champ Baker honored his late mentor Dr. Jack Hughston when he re received Gwinnett Medical Center Duluth's Pioneer in Sports Medicine Award.

team physician for multiple sports teams, including the University of Alabama, and earning a teaching appointment at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, La.

At an April 26 ceremony held at the 1818 Club, Sam Crenshaw of 11 Alive served as the master of ceremonies.

Baker spent most of his presentation talking about the influence Hughston had on him.

“I’m thrilled to be here tonight to celebrate the great field of sports medicine,” he said. Some of the nation’s leaders in sports medicine are at GMC Duluth, more than any hospital in Georgia. None of this would be possible without the pioneers in the field of sports medicine like Baker, or before him, Hughston, who founded the Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga. in 1949. Baker, originally from Louisiana, earned his doctorate at Louisiana State University’s New Orleans campus before serving a decade in the military. Before leaving the military in 1982, he served a fellowship with Hughston himself. After that, he went on to serve as the

“I’m here because of him,” he said. “No him, no me.” During his speech, Baker cited Hughston extensively, including his advice to take nobody’s word and examine injuries oneself and to record one’s observations. He advised his fellows to listen to patients and to document. Hughston was one of the first sports medicine doctors to sit on the sidelines at sports games to see where the injuries occurred. Hughston devised a system of examining knee injuries that, although replaced by MRIs and other screenings in many places, is still done at the clinics bearing his name. Hughston waited 10 years to publish his report on the matter because he wants to be sure his techniques worked in the long run.

Dr. Gary Levengood presenting Dr. Champ Baker with his award.

Baker reminisced about some other incidents from Hughston’s life, like how he emphasized the perception of doctors by their patients. He showed everyone a memo from Hughston telling doctors at his clinic who were meeting patients while wearing medical garb that if they didn’t have suits, he’d go to Goodwill and buy them one if they couldn’t afford it.

“This is my pioneer,” he said. “This is the man I learned from.”

Baker said he learned from Hughston the importance of respecting one’s patients, being humble, listening to patients, and documenting examination. He then cited a quote by Ben Franklin Hughston lived by — either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to recognize my mentor for this award,” Levengood said afterward. “He is truly deserving.”

When asked if he would do anything differently, Baker said he wouldn’t change anything. After his speech, Dr. Gary Levengood, owner of Lawrenceville’s Sports Medicine South, formally handed Baker his award, a golden trophy of an athlete.





The city of Duluth has many sporting opportunities, both for those who want to watch sports and those who want to play them.

GOLF Duluth also has golf opportunities. From April 16 to April 20, the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship golf tournament took place at the private golf club TPC Sugarloaf. In addition to many private golf clubs, public golf is available at the Georgia Trail at Sugarloaf and the Peachtree Golf Center and the Hooch Golf Club on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

GWINNETT GLADIATORS The city of Duluth has many sporting opportunities, both for those who want to watch sports and those who want to play them. For professional sports aficionados, the Gwinnett Arena hosts the Gwinnett Gladiators minor league hockey team. Gladiators Vice President of New Media Sales and Communications Dustin Bixby said the team is an ECHL hockey team, equivalent to the AA. It’s affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes, so players starting with the Gladiators have the chance to move up to the National Hockey League. The team recently finished its tenth season at the Arena, with its triumphs including making the playoffs in eight of the ten seasons, earning three division titles, making the conference finals twice, and becoming the American Conference champions in 2006. This year, the Gladiators made the playoffs for the second consecutive season, ultimately falling in the sixth game of seven to the Cincinnati Cyclones.

For those interested in team sports, both the City of Duluth and Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation have many offerings within city limits. Duluth Director of Parks and Recreation Kathy Marelle said tennis is one of the city’s strongest offerings for those ages four all the way to senior citizen. The city hosts ALTA for teens and adults, USTA, and recreational tennis for senior citizens. Marelle said many teams from Duluth have gone on to be state tennis champions. Assistant Director of Recreation Jason Rogers estimated 600 to 1,000 participate each year. He estimated that with growing interest in tennis, five more parks with only tennis courts could be filled up. Those interested in signing up can sign up via Duluth’s website.

“It’s just a good diversion. A lot of our fans say they’re fans of the team, not hockey fans,” he said.

The city of Duluth also partners with the Atlanta Fire United soccer league. Marelle estimated 2,500 to 3,200 people ages five all the way to adults from Duluth participate in Atlanta Fire. Atlanta Fire offers youth recreation and youth travel as well as adult leagues. The traveling teams have gone all over the Southeast.

Tickets range from $10 to $20 and parking at every event at the Arena is free.

“It’s a growing sport in the state of Georgia,” Marelle said.

Bixby said although the Gladiators are a minor league team, they’re Atlanta’s only hockey option. Their target market is those who just want something fun to do, not hardcore sports fans.




Duluth Youth Athletic Association

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation gwinnett/Departments/CommunityServices/ ParksandRecreation

Gwinnett Gladiators

City of Duluth Parks and Recreation

Peachtree Ridge Athletic Association

Cheer and Dance Atlanta http://www.cdaspirit. com/

Atlanta Fire United Soccer

The Hooch Golf Club

The city hosts the Peachtree Ridge Youth Athletic Association’s softball program. Marelle estimated 100 to 150 participate in five to six teams of 15 to 18 players. Occasionally the city also hosts Duluth Youth Athletic Association. The city also hosts the association’s baseball team, as well as baseball teams not affiliated with any association. Rogers said 500 to 1,000 participate in baseball. The city does not have its own leagues to avoid competing with the community — instead, the city focuses on coordinating with others to make it better for the whole community. The city also provides an intramural basketball program to 140 boys ages 15 to 18 at Bunten Road Park. Youth from Dacula and Collins Hill as was as Peachtree Ridge and Duluth participate. For senior citizens, there’s the Duluth FAB — Fifty and Beyond. Not only does it feature tennis, but it also has badminton, table tennis, yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Rogers said 300 to 400 seniors participate. The city is looking to provide waterborne recreation. In June, a canoe launch will open at Rogers Bridge Park to accommodate those who want to canoe, tube, or kayak. Marelle said it will be just in time for the hot summer season. GWINNETT COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation’s programs center on Shorty Howell Park. Athletic Coordinator Gary Schussler said these programs are operated by the Duluth Youth Athletic Association and include baseball, softball, lacrosse, football, and cheerleading. The association and the county partner, with the county entrusting the association with the park’s seven baseball fields and one multipurpose field used for football. “We provide them with the facility space,” he said. “We drag the fields pertaining to the schedule they give us.” The baseball and softball offered during the fall and spring at the park ranges from t-ball to the senior league and included 654 participants in 2012, with a slight majority in baseball. Football runs from the summer into the fall and is open to those from age six to eighth grade, with multiple teams at each grade level. 251 kids participate in foot-

ball, while 71 kids participate in cheerleading, which runs at the same time. Lacrosse is a growing sport in the county, with 119 youth, mostly boys, participating in the fall and spring of 2012. There is no soccer program at the park, but nearby groups like the Peachtree Ridge Youth Athletic Association or Norcross Soccer offer it. Those interested in participating in these programs should visit the Duluth Youth Ath► Bunten Road Park, a 45 acre community park, is located at 3180 Bunten Road, Duluth GA 30096 The park includes: · 3,600 sq foot playground · soccer fields · baseball fields · softball Field · tennis Courts · 1.08 mile Asphalt Bike and Walking Path · Restrooms/Concession Facilities ► Church Street Park, a 1.72 acrea park with limited parking is located at 3350 Church Street, Duluth GA 30096 · Pavilion (700SF) · Playground (1,750 SF) · Basketball Court · Picnic area with grills ► Rogers Bridge Park's 16 acreas is located at 4291 Rogers Bridge Road, Duluth GA 30097 · 2 Pavilions (3100SF) · 1 Sand Volleyball Court · Playground · 2 Horseshoe Pits · Picnic area (10 tables / 2grills)

Gwinnett's Evan Bloodoff (10) battles South Carolina's Ryan Button (4) in an ECHL game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Photo Credit Steve Hampton

letic Association website or contact Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, which will get them in touch with the association. All registration is done via the association website. Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer and editor and an aspiring novelist from Marietta, Ga. ► Scott Hudgens Park is a 47 plus acrea park that sits in the River Green Office Park located at the 4545 River Green Parkway, Duluth GA 30096 This park serves as site of high school cross country races and the Fourth of July celebrations. · 4 Soccer Fields (U-19) [800 space] Grassy Parking Lot · 2 Pavilions [200 space] ► The W.P. Jones Park is 20 plus acreas providing tennis and picnic facilities, as well as a soft surface trail and located at 3770 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth GA 30096 ► Taylor Park is 2.2 acreas in front of the Duluth City Hall and is located at 3167 Main Street, Duluth GA 30096 · 1/2 acre in town park · Train theme playground · Covered pavilion



NOURISH Great Places to Eat and Meet Friends and Teammates

don't just wing it, do it with shane's rib shack


"It was hard to have a conversation with anyone. There were so many people talking." - Yogi Berra, on going to a dinner at the White House

Question & Answer


by Tori Vogt hane's Rib Shack is a true American rib shack, known for its slow-cooked baby back ribs, hand-chopped chicken and pork, and many Southern sides to complement each plate. The Norcross location opened in 2007, an offshoot of the original shack founded in 2002 in McDonough, Ga. by Shane Thompson.

Sonic 4190 Duluth Highway, Duluth, GA 30097 (678) 205-2306 When you’re in the Duluth High School vicinity, pull into Sonic, where you can order breakfast all day, or handspun milkshakes, refreshing fruit freezes, burgers, hot dogs, and much more.

The Shack’s corporate credo involves giving back to education and youth programs in the surrounding community, and the Norcross location is a huge supporter of Norcross High School and youth football, Brookwood High School and youth football, and Gwinnett County swim teams.

Outback Steakhouse 145 Gwinco Blvd. Suwanee, GA 30024 (770) 614-0092

Sports Gwinnett talked with Amy Busby, Catering and Marketing Director, and here’s what we learned:

On your way to or from a game near Collins Hill High School? Relax, chat and enjoy a lunch or dinner of your choice: Steak, chicken, baby back ribs, burgers, seafood salads, sandwiches, and delicious desserts.

SG: How does Norcross Shane’s Rib Shack partner with local youth sports? Shane's: Pretty much anybody who comes to us, we take care of them. We frequently host in-restaurant spirit nights, where teams receive 10 percent of sales from that evening. We also partner with sports clubs and teams to do a Pork Butt Fundraiser -- some have raised as much as $2,500. In January, we fed the Norcross High School varsity football team the day of the state championship game. We typically provide inkind sponsorship of team meals four times a year, and we’re glad to provide an additional team dinner the day before the championship game.


SG: What’s involved in the Pork Butt Fundraiser?

Pork Butt purchased. They take orders for two weeks, and then on the day they designate, we deliver the Pork Butts, pre-cooked, that feed up to 10 people each. People really love the idea. This fall will be the third year offering the Pork Butt Fundraiser, and people are already asking us about it.

Shane's: Teams keep $15 from each

SG: If people want to enjoy delicious


BBQ at home, work or at the clubhouse, do you deliver or cater? Shane's: Folks can call in lunch or dinner orders and we deliver. We also offer catering and there’s no party too small or too large: Banquets, Teacher Appreciation Days…you name it!

Texas Roadhouse Grille 1969 Dogwood Rd., Snellville, GA 30078 (770) 985-1450 All roads lead to Snellville, it seems, so when you’re traveling through South Gwinnett High School territory, meet up with your group at Texas Roadhouse Grille where you can select from hand-cut 100% U.S. beef steaks, Buffalo wings, fall-off-thebone ribs, homemade chili, country dinners, and ice-cold drinks.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AND WE’LL LIKE YOU BACK! You never know when we will be giving away prizes Matthew W. Quinn tobyour fans on FB. Georgia Gwinnett College’s

new baseball stadium is but the first of this year’s coming improvements. Completed softball stadium and new athletic building are on the agenda, as is preparing for possible post-season play.

So keep an eye out Georgia Gwinnett College and helpofusAthletics noticeDarin Wilson Director andon President Daniel Kaufman you Facebook. took the occasion of the March 9 opening of the college’s new

Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance SPORTS GWINNETT journalist and aspiring novelist from Marietta, Ga.

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Highlighted Parks and Recreation Events and Programs Saturday June 8

Saturday, June 15th

Beep Kickball Play Day 9:00 am Free Admission! New! We’re partnering with the Georgia Blind Sports Association for a fun, Beep Kickball Play Day! This is an adapted version of an old favorite game. All ages are welcome and blindfolds are optional for beginners. Shorty Howell Park Football Field, 2750 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth. Call 678.277.0900 for more information and to register or register here.

Saturday, June 15

Movie Under the Stars

5:00 pm Contact 678.277.0890 Free! Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and gather the family! Enjoy fun games and activities before a movie on the big screen under the stars. Great fun for all ages! Call 678.277.0890 for more information.

Saturday, June 29

Line Dance Marathon

6:00 pm Contact 678.277.0860 Grab your friends and learn The Cupid Shuffle, the Wobble and more! Country to hip-hop and everything in between will be played for all levels of dancing. Drinks are provided, bring a dish to share. $5/person. Register here or call 678.277.0860.


Cops & Robbers 5K and 10K Run at Snellville's Briscoe Park. Runners, sign up now for the 5K and 10 K Cops and Robbers Run, with proceeds benefiting the Snellville Citizens Police Academy Alumni and the Snellville Rotary Club. The race begins and ends at Briscoe Park, and is a great tune-up for the Peachtree Road Race. Pre-registration is $25 through June 8th, or you can register onsite for $30. Sign up online, or download the race application. Participants must be at least 13 years old.

TRAIL EXTENSION COMING FOR IVY CREEK GREENWAY The Ivy Creek Greenway trail near the Mall of Georgia will soon stretch 4.4 miles after commissioners approved the construction contract for a $2.2 million extension project on Tuesday. The addition of slightly less than three-quarters of a mile of 12-foot wide asphalt trail will feature three wood boardwalks, a 270-foot cable bridge, an overlook platform and restrooms. According to Community Services Director Phil Hoskins, school groups visiting the Environmental and Heritage Center will use the recreation trail because it connects to a recently completed nature trail through the nearby F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center site. Long range plans call for the greenway to connect to an existing section at George Pierce Park, creating seven miles of biking and walking opportunities. District 1 Commissioner Jace Brooks said, “Greenways are an important extension of our park system and provide a chance for individuals and families to focus on fitness in a natural setting.” Funding comes from a $1 million state and federal transportation grant and the 2005 and 2009 SPLOST sales tax programs. Astra Group Inc. was the low bidder for the construction, which should be finished by the end of this year.


ADULT LEAGUES SGAA - South Gwinnett Athletic Association Men's and Coed Slow Pitch Spring & Fall Leagues. Email to enter a team. Individuals can register as a FREE AGENT under the registration link free of charge Adult Lacrosse, hockey, softball sgaa/events.html

SUWANEE: Adult Athletic Leagues Information about adult sports leagues also is available through the county parks and recreation department. Call 770/822-5149.

SUGAR HILL For questions or more information, please contact Darcee Shafer or Sam Taylor at 770-831-7413.

SNELLVILLE Martial Arts, boot Camp, International Adult Soccer League (8v8, Adult Softball, Adult Lap Swimming, Adult Flag Football, Tennis Lessons http://www.snellville. org/index.asp?Type=B_ BASIC&SEC={04A03DAE-4EB44F5F-A38B-967E027A752A}

This is only a partial list of adult programs in Gwinnett. We'll be adding to the list.

Adult Sports Leagues in Gwinnett County

team sports by TONY RONCO Every year, numerous high school and collegiate athletes from Gwinnett County will play their final game in their respective sport. Or will they? Today, over 5,000 athletes are still playing sports in Gwinnett County thanks to Gwinnett County Adult Athletics. Adult athletes come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, ranging anywhere from 18 to 60 years old. Many are former collegiate athletes that have played at Georgia colleges such as Kennesaw State University. Sports that can be played through Gwinnett County Adult Athletics include flag football, volleyball, and softball. Leagues are held all year round depending on the season and the demand. Playing in an adult league is very simple. Anyone can sign up and teams are typically created by the players. There are no tryouts or evaluations. Each team compiles their own group of players which usually consists of friends, relatives, or co-workers. The team will then select their sport and league to play in based on their interests and availability during the week. Individuals without a team are also able to play as Gwinnett County Adult Athletics will keep a running list of individuals they will contact when a team is in need of another player. The adult leagues are very successful largely due to the uniqueness and labor of the organization and staff. With so many teams, (there are over 350 teams per year in softball alone) Gwinnett County is able to provide different types of leagues which allows teams to play with others at their level of play. Gwinnett County is committed to provid-

ing their players with the best experience possible. Part of this means providing top notch facilities and fields. Field maintenance is taken very seriously as each field is dragged and lined daily. Safety is also very important. The organization goes so far as to test every softball bat to make sure it is on par with regulations. Another necessity is to provide quality officials. A poor officiating crew can ruin a sports game. Therefore, Gwinnett County puts a strong emphasis on providing adequate officials. In softball, all officials are accredited by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA).

“It was a lot of joy,” said Edwards. Edwards went so far as to attribute his team’s success in the state tournament to the work of Gwinnett County Adult Athletics. He mentioned the quality of the fields, the organization of events, and the competition which he claims to be “second to none.”

At the helm of Gwinnett County Adult Athletics is adult athletic coordinator, Stacy Fowler. Fowler believes that what makes his organization special is their family atmosphere. All leagues are held to a high standard of sportsmanship. Misconduct such as profanity is not tolerated. Fowler does as much as possible for adult athletics himself, but he attributes much of the organization’s success to his staff, particularly four parttime members that work night games. All four have been with the organization for at least ten years and set the tone in terms of culture for the players.

“(The best part about playing) is just guys getting out here and enjoying some peace and relaxation from the daily grind at work,” he said. Being able to get out and just live life and continue to be able to play ball. We’re blessed every day. We’re not promised tomorrow. We’re thankful we have the opportunity to play ball here.”

“They’re familiar with everything that we do,” said Fowler. “They love being out there with the players. When people get upset they know how to handle those kinds of situations. We definitely could not be successful with our retention of teams without them. They help start that family atmosphere.” Jeremy Edwards, a two sport athlete and former North Gwinnett High School baseball player, decided to get back into athletics eighteen years ago because of his own competitiveness, desire for camaraderie, and love of the game. Since then, he has been very successful, particularly in softball where he led his team to a state championship. Last season, the “Mean Machine” as Edwards’s team is called, became the first team from Gwinnett County to win the Men’s Equalizer Slow Pitch State Championship.

He also talked about how Stacy Fowler “bends over backwards” to help them in any way that he can. However, even with all of the success his team has experienced, winning is not the foremost compelling factor that drives Edwards to the ball field every week.

In the future, Stacy Fowler hopes to see the organization continue to grow. According to Fowler, numbers fell during the economic decline, which caused the loss of many of the industrial leagues. Fowler, a former Columbus State basketball player, hopes to see the return of industrial leagues and also hopes to hold basketball leagues once again as early as next year. For years, Gwinnett County has gone above and beyond to deliver the best experience possible for their adult athletes and they are committed to continuing to do so. Whether the desire is for flag football, volleyball, or softball, adult athletes across Gwinnett County have a place to play and an experience waiting for them. Tony Ronco is a recently graduated college baseball player and Gwinnett native.



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

Cornerstone Christian Academy For the first time in school history, Cornerstone Christian Academy claimed the NAML A Overall Champions Cup for most successful athletic program by claiming seven championships (Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Flag Football, 7th Girls Basketball, Boys Golf, Boys Track, Ultimate Frisbee) and eight runner-up finishes (8th Girls Volleyball, 8th Boys Basketball, 7th Boys Basketball, Baseball, Boys Tennis, Girls Tennis, Soccer, Girls Track). The athletic program is spearheaded by Athletic Director, Chuck Faust.


Final NAML Cup Standings: 1 Cornerstone Christian Academy 118 2 Bridgeway Christian Academy 68 3 Dominion Christian Academy 50 4 Excel Christian Academy 44 5 Intown Community School 38 6 Dawson Christian Academy 24 7 Cherokee Christian School 16 8 Sugar Hill Academy 16 9 Bethlehem Christian Academy 10 10 Shiloh Hills Christian School 10 11 Horizon Christian Academy 4 12 Covenant Christian Academy 0 13 Wildwood Christian Academy 0 Scoring System- 10 points for 1st place, 6 for second place, 4 for third place and 2 for fourth place.


Please check for stories and pictures Want to be here? Send your photos to with “Best Seat in the House” in the subject line. Include a caption (name of person or people in the picture, team, school, game, etc., photo credit). It needs to be a current photo. Deadlines are the 18th of the month prior to publication.

Alex Timm blocks a penalty kick for the win! Providence Christian Academy Storm varsity boys soccer team. April 25,2013. Rob Clark Photography.

SGAA Hockey

Caitlin O’Farrell, U12 Gliders, Atlanta Fire United Soccer. Austin Cormack




Advice and Insight From Respected Coaches


Tips, Recommendations and Advise

Coach Clint Conley, co-publisher of Sports Gwinnett Magazine and respected baseball coach talks about starting your baseball team on the right track.

Remember the Coaches

A Coach's Foundation Have you ever had a coach who challenged you to be the best you could be? Who pushed you harder than you thought you could go? Who taught you life lessons on and off the field or court? Who made you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time? I have. He was my coach and my father. For as long as I can remember my brother, Jeff Conley, an educator in Gwinnett County Public Schools, sister Priscilla Rhinehart, an interior designer/ builder, and I have been around coaching. Our father, Bill Conley, a legendary coach, athletic director, art director, and an administrator of The Lovett School (1963-1996) was considered one of the most respected in his profession. Our lives were shaped by the life lessons we learned from our father and mother, Phyllis Conley. It was never easy growing up in a household when you felt like you were competing in every way through various sports programs, keeping up with the rigors of a private school academics, and campus life. We did it to seek approval from the man we so admired. A few days ago, I had a chance to visit with one my father’s best friends and high school teammates Joe Willingham, who was considered one of the best baseball pitchers, quarterbacks and top athletes at Murphy High in East Atlanta back in the late 1940's and early 50's. During my visit, he shared stories about my father and how a coach at Murphy named Joel Eaves taught them the core values of faith, family, character, integrity, respect, honesty, and teamwork. As I listened to countless accounts of how the community, teachers, and coaches helped mold their generation, it was perfectly clear why this silent generation made such an impact on our country. They invested in those around them. Survivors of the Great Depression produced some of our country’s greatest leaders and coaches. Joe believes that my father and he both benefited from a mentor and father figure like Coach Eaves who helped mold them into respected husbands, fathers, and successful businessmen. Both Joe and my father never strayed too far from educating and coaching. Joe is a successful State Farm agent in Atlanta, served eight years on DeKalb County’s Board of Education, was a head baseball coach at Oglethorpe University, and was a pro baseball scout for the New York Mets organization for 25 years. My father had a similar career as a head coach in multiple sports, administrator, and art teacher in private schools like Marist, St. Pius, and the Lovett School, as well as a collegiate scout for the Atlanta Falcons for 14 years. It is rare today to find those unique individuals who can have a huge impact on students and athletes. They possess the ability to praise and discipline players and students. They infuse common sense problem solving strategies applicable to life now and in the future. They never made a mountain out of a molehill. They insisted on teamwork, the fiber that bound the team together when times were tough. They were a generation who insisted on respect for authority. Men like my father are proof that it’s important to dedicate yourself to making a positive impact on others, teach what you love, and share your gifts and talents because you never know whose life you will influence.



Make sure that as you plan the team party, you remember to recognize the coaches. Gift ideas include: team pictures, plaques, cards, balls signed by each player on the team, gift cards, etc.

End of Season Encourage Tournament Early Sign In most parks, each age group has an end of season tournament. Ups for This calls for new schedules for the dugout, scoreboard, book, Next Season and snacks. Make sure that you stay ahead of the games. You will need to communicate often so that everyone makes it to each game on time.

Memorable Moments

Throughout the season, make note of memorable moments. Share these with the coaches and parents at the team party. What a great way to “relive the season.”


Since everyone on your team had such a great time, encourage them to sign up early for the next season! There will be communications from the park on timeline, but it is never too early to encourage participation!

Sydney Sattler is a mom of 2 boys that have grown up playing baseball in the Duluth Youth Baseball and Softball Association. She has been a Team Mom for both recreational teams and travel teams – from tee ball through majors. She also serves as uniform coordinator for the DYBSA.

Take pictures at the team party. As each child is recognized, snapping a picture that can be shared on the team website or electronically with the parents is a great way to close out the season!

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Sports Gwinnett June 2013  

Sports Gwinnett Magazine covers sports and recreation, and the passionate people that participate in them. It's also a resource for active p...

Sports Gwinnett June 2013  

Sports Gwinnett Magazine covers sports and recreation, and the passionate people that participate in them. It's also a resource for active p...