>> Building the ‘perfect beast’
GAME DAY UPSTATE
SPARTANBURG COUNTY EDITION
Youth Sports Magazine
>> MIRACLE LEAGUE
Special kids hit home runs in game of life
Dorman senior swimmer looks toward the future
BORN TO RUN Homeschool cross country team going the distance
> Boiling Springs runner SAGE KOSIOREK gives back ATHLETES IN ACTION >> FANS IN THE STANDS >> FCA SPOTLIGHT >> GOLF TIPS >> YOUTH FITNESS
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Top L to R: Dr. Gerald Rollins, Dr. Stephen Harley, Dr. David Mitchell, Dr. Michael Funderburk Bottom L to R: Dr. Michael Henderson, Dr. Michael Hoenig, Dr. Mary Joan Black, Dr. James Behr
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zack mitchell 15, can’t drive at night, but the Woodruff High School student sure knows how to make his way around racetracks.
BUILDING THE PERFECT BEAST HIGH SCHOOL SUCCESS STARTS AT THE YOUTH LEVEL, as area coaches instill knowledge that younger players can take to next level.
LAURYL WILLIAMS credits her faith, and focuses on a bright swimming future at the next level.
Plus: > CAROLINA HOMESCHOOL
COUGARS BORN TO RUN > MIRACLE LEAGUE HELPING SPECIAL KIDS HIT HOMERS
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Where does tomorrow begin? ...it begins with opportunity.
Is your child missing out on the sports team experience? They wouldn’t at Spartanburg Day School
All sports programs offered at SDS have a no-cut policy All students are encouraged to participate in sports they enjoy and always provided the opportunity to try something new.
Boys & Girls Cross Country, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boy & Girls Swimming, Boys & Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball, Boys & Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Baseball, Boys & Girls Golf, Boys Lacrosse, & Boys & Girls Track and Field
New state-of-the-art athletic facilities and fields
The school enjoys new and renovated athletic facilities spanning 29,000 square feet of modern spaces. This includes a new performance gymnasium and locker rooms, state-of-the-art weight room, training room, dance and multi-activity studio. Our campus also features 15 acres of newly refurbished fields including a top-level track, revamped performance fields, and two additional practice fields.
PE classes are offered four times per week in our lower and middle schools, helping our students build a foundation for a healthy lifestyle and prepare them for middle school sports and beyond.
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ATHLETE OF CHARACTER
Going the distance with Sage Kosiorek Boiling Springs runner found his path, now he gives back
ometimes, when you’re around the kids, you hear the laughter and you join in; you see the joy in playing the game and you remember back when that was your field, your time. And some of the kids, you genuinely like as you get to know them and say to yourself, “I’d like to have a kid like that.” Then, there are the kids like Sage Kosiorek, a cross country and track standout at Boiling Springs High School. Fifteen minutes and change -- that’s how long it takes Kosiorek to navigate five kilometers of winding paths and rolling terrain. You have one conversation with the senior distance runner and say to yourself, “I’d like to be like him when I grow up.” Kosiorek, who won the prestigious Eye Opener meet at Milliken to begin the cross country season, decided some time ago that he wanted to give back to the sport that helped mold him into someone he wasn’t even sure he could become. So, last year, the Ten Toe 5K Foot Race was born, and the second JOHN installment of the race was held at the CLAYTON beginning of October. “I think giving back to the sport is what I should do because it just changed the way I look at things,” said Kosiorek. “I’ve always wanted to start a race, and last summer we started it and it went real well last year.” The inaugural race raised about $4,000, which was turned into about 100 pairs of running shoes for disadvantaged youth in Spartanburg. While so many kids are running away -- from home, from school, from responsibility -- Kosiorek wanted to give them a chance to run toward something, just like he did. Kosiorek said he was in junior high school when the world seemed so big and he felt like he was just another guy, another teenager trying to find his way. Funny, there aren’t any course markers like at a cross country meet for that, so the kids are mostly on their own, just like Kosiorek was until he found out he could run -- and run and run. “I was in junior high and my grades were low C’s and B’s and stuff like that,” he said. “You can look at my transcript -- it’s just gone up and up and up. Now, I want to go to college and run. The way I look at my future, I want to do big things.” Big things can come from small things, such as the Ten Toe 5K Foot Race -- a hundred pairs of shoes last year and maybe many more this time around. Like running, you just have to take that first step like Kosiorek did. “It got me started. It taught me about setting goals and determination,” he said of running. “It taught me so much, and I think it can do the same for other people.
Sage Kosoriek recently hosted the Ten Toe 5K Foot Race. Here, he competes in the Dorman Invitational.
“It boosted my confidence about things. I know I can tackle things if I set my mind to it.” Kosiorek finished the course at Milliken in 15 minutes, 48 seconds during the Eye Opener and followed that up with a 15:49 at Dorman’s large meet in late September. He will continue to challenge the 15-minute mark -- and his personal best of 15:32 all season. If he doesn’t win the Class 4A state title, there will probably be an investigation. He’s that good -- so good that schools such as N.C. State and Georgetown are on his short list of places where he would like to continue his running career. That “personal best” will probably be improved upon before the season ends, too. Fifteen minutes and change. But the truth is, Kosiorek’s personal best doesn’t have anything to do with a stopwatch, but rather in his desire to help other people. He found it inside himself, the way we all should if only we would take the time to look. Like running, it just takes a first step. GD
NEWS & NOTES FROM THE LOCAL YOUTH SPORTS SCENE SEND YOUR NEWS AND PHOTOS TO LES.TIMMS@UPSTATEGAMEDAY.COM
Game Day Q&A Game Day caught up with some of Spartanburg’s young athletes at a recent sporting event and asked them to list their FAVORITES. Here are their responses.
From left, Fran Dunn, Executive Director, The First Tee of Spartanburg; Emma Harrill, Chair, Pine Street School Foundation; Anne Chapman-Jeter, Principal, Pine Street Elementary; Julie Brown and Joyce Morrow, PE teachers, Pine Street Elementary.
First Tee awarded Pine Street grant The Pine Street School Foundation has awarded The First Tee of Spartanburg a grant to fund The First Tee National School Program (NSP) for Pine Street Elementary School. Through NSP, The First Tee golf and life skills curriculum is taught by PE teachers during school hours. Pine Street is one of seven locally sponsored schools and over 4,100 schools nationwide to deliver the curriculum.
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Emily Williams Age: 7 Hometown: Lyman Team: AYSO Eagle Favorite food: Pizza Favorite movie: The Land Before Time Favorite TV show: Phineas and Ferb Favorite Sport: Soccer
Mark Williams Age: 13 Hometown: Lyman Team: AYSO Blue Royals Favorite food: Lasagna Favorite movie: Despicable Me Favorite TV show: Wipeout Favorite Sport: Soccer
Matt Williams Age: 10 Hometown: Lyman Team: AYSO Red Rockets Favorite food: Pizza Favorite movie: Lord of the Rings Favorite TV show: Johnny Test Favorite Sport: Soccer
Addison Dame Age: 13 Hometown: Spartanburg Team: AYSO Minions Favorite food: Pizza Favorite movie: Finding Nemo Favorite TV show: Wipeout Favorite Sport: Soccer
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Anna Smith Age: 14 Hometown: Pauline Team: AYSO Minions Favorite food: Shrimp Favorite movie: 50 First Dates Favorite TV show: Wipeout Favorite Sport: Soccer
Alana Dame Age: 9 Hometown: Spartanburg Team: AYSO Ninja Sharks Favorite food: Ramen Noodles Favorite movie: X-Men First Class Favorite TV show: Big Bang Theory Favorite Sport: Basketball GAME DAY u OCTOBER 2011 7
A LOOK AT THE
ED OVERSTREET / special
A CHURCH STEEPLE IN THE BACKGROUND AND A GOALPOST IN THE FOREGROUND SIGNIFY WHAT LIFE IS TRULY ABOUT IN THE SOUTH.
ED OVERSTREET / special
AS DUSK NEARS, CLOUDS AND STADIUM LIGHTS SET THE SCENE FOR ANOTHER FRIDAY NIGHT.
AFTER YET ANOTHER DOMINATING WIN, QUINSHAD DAVIS US
PAMELA DUNLAP / special
BYRNES FOOTBALL PLAYERS RAISE THEIR HELMETS HIGH AS THEY TAKE TO THE FIELD.
LES TIMMS III
ED OVERSTREET / special
S USES HIS INDEX FINGER TO SIGNIFY HIS TEAM’S RANKING.
AS DORMAN GOLFER OLIVIA SLATTON BLASTS OUT OF A BUNKER DURING A RECENT TOURNAMENT, BOTH SAND AND BALL APPEAR FROZEN IN MID-AIR.
Athletes in Action For considered inclusion on this page, submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
photos by: John Clayton * Tim Lambka * Ed Overstreet * Les Timms III * Lorin Browning * Pam Dunlap
Adversity causes some to break, others to break records
It doesnâ€™t take talent to hustle.
Winners never quit; quitters never win.
If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Fans in the Stands
FCA spotlight ‘Trash Talk’ (Part 2)
“W By Ryan Gloer
ith the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” [James 3:9-12] In last month’s edition of GAME DAY, we talked about how out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. We also shared that things such as gossiping, manipulating, complaining, slandering, lying, putting down others, and things of the like do not just come out for no apparent reason; they flow from the source, the heart. The tongue that is not under control can do damage far beyond what we may ever realize. It is vital that we pay attention to the words that are rolling off of the tips of our tongues. I believe that one of the most powerful passages in Scripture is found in Proverbs chapter eighteen. In verse twenty-one it says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” I wonder how often this truth crosses our minds: Our words have power. Every time we speak, we are releasing one of two kingdoms. Our words can speak truth, healing, and life; however they can also speak lies, destruction, and death. I have been on both sides of the equation. I’m sure we can all think of examples in our lives where we have both received and released words that have had a significant impact in either a positive or negative manner. It is important that we recognize how influential our speech is. James says that praise and cursing come out of the same mouth. Then he says, ‘this should not be.’ In other words, this is not okay. We cannot raise our voices loud on Sunday morning as we sing, ‘How Awesome is the Lord Most High,’ while during the
week we are in the stands insulting how bad of a coach our son or daughter plays for. We must not use our prayer groups as an opportunity to cleverly disguise prayer requests as gossip. We cannot be the athlete who is leading a Bible study during the week and trash-talking our opponent come game-time. We cannot be careless with what we say because it is next to impossible to stop the results once it has been spoken. “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” [James 3:6]. Thoughtless words spread destruction faster than Usain Bolt crosses the finish line. Peter is right on point as he writes, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” [1 Peter 4:11]. You and I may be the only Bible someone reads, the only Jesus someone sees, and the only sermon someone hears. What are they reading? What are they seeing? What are they hearing? It is essential to note that we should do it with the strength that God provides. We can try to tame our tongue on our own, but we will fail. We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to purify us from the inside out if we ever want to exhibit a life of selfcontrol. God alone can do a work in us that enables us to speak in a way that is honoring and glorifying to Him.
I would venture to say that a majority of us will deal with these types of situations on a daily basis. We should take note to stop and think before we react or speak out of emotion. Our words have power. Speak truth into your own life as you pour it into the lives of others. “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” [Proverbs 13:3]
QJ Hill gets a little help at the plate during a recent Carolina Miracle League game. LES TIMMS III PHOTOS
After a hit, QJ receives a helping hand around the bases.
Jonathan Sawyer heads to first base.
SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS GET TO EXPERIENCE JOY OF PLAYING BASEBALL By MARY CALDWELL
or too many years, Spartanburg area parents had to tell their kids with special needs that they couldn’t play baseball like their friends and siblings. But thanks to the Carolina Miracle League, that’s no longer true. From hearing their name announced when they come up to bat, to enjoying the cheers from the stands, they get to experience the joy of playing a sport, making friends and learning new skills. Pam Dean, executive director of the Carolina Miracle League, has been inspired by her son, Jonathan. “He’s why I do what I do,” she says.
Jonathan has Hurler syndrome and had a life expectancy of just 10 years without intervention. After two bone marrow transplants, the 25-year-old plays in the league in his power chair, which glides along the field’s smooth rubber surface. He was 20 years old before he had the opportunity to play baseball, but as Dean points out, a child in the area today will never have to be told that they can’t play because of their special needs. Before their new field opened, Dean and other parents would hold exhibition games on dirt fields, illustrating the need for a smooth playing surface that wouldn’t cause the kids to trip and would accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and braces. After years of fund-raising and preparation, the league’s current field at the North Spartanburg Sports Complex in Boiling Springs opened in April 2007, giving
Jonathan Dean at the plate.
Connor Bloomfield connects with the ball.
Kathleen Lee and buddy Isabel Martin.
kids a safe field on which to play. “It’s fun, and it’s just for them. They are the rock stars out there,” Dean explains. An able-bodied “buddy” helps assist Jonathan and other players as they bat, navigate the bases and field their positions. A buddy might hold a player’s hand as he or she goes from base to base, or they might help push a wheelchair. They are volunteers from local churches, civic groups and high school and college teams. The affection between players and their buddies is unmistakable. At a recent game, the announcer pointed out the second baseman hugging his buddy and an outfielder playfully jumping over two buddies who were lying down to form an obstacle. “Our goal with buddies is so that the parent can go sit in the stands, talk to other parents, watch their child play, maybe get a box of popcorn,” Dean explains. Instead of being hands-on, the parents can relax and enjoy the game. “We are a community. We do understand each other.” “It’s a little piece of normal,” she says. The kids get particular joy from buddies like the Wofford College baseball players who recently volunteered. “They’re just great. They work with them and help them field. It’s athlete to athlete, and the kids love it because it’s a peer. There’s lots of good social interaction,” Dean says. She helps spread the word about the league whenever she can, and that’s how Dean helped Mark Cann’s son start playing. Dean would see Cann as each dropped their child off at the McCarthy/ Teszler School, and she encouraged him
Thomas Campbell Micah Randall gets a hit.
to get 14-year-old Mark Jr. involved in the Carolina Miracle League. “I told her, ‘Pam, he can’t play baseball,’ “ Cann explains. But that was before he played with the Miracle League. Now Mark Jr. is excited about playing and has improved his skills every year.
Collin Melba at the plate.
“The progress that they make out here ... it’s just amazing,” Cann says. “He’s having so much fun.” The opportunity to play has helped Mark Jr.’s self-esteem and confidence and has given him something fun to look forward to. His teachers say he’s very excited on game days, and his dad talks about how Mark Jr.’s expression changes when he’s out on the field. The same is true of Chris Whitten, according to his mom, Kathie. He loves playing and used to hit the ball off of a tee, but he now can hit the ball thrown from the pitcher. “He can’t wait to get here. He loves it,” Kathie says. Chris enjoys practicing baseball in his yard and was excited to learn that this year he’s number 10, sharing a jersey number with his favorite player, Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves. He loves baseball so much that he knows the names of all the Braves players, the positions they play and their jersey numbers. Kids like Chris and Mark Jr. will soon be able to enjoy even more opportunies. Playground equipment has been ordered and will soon be added beside the field, giving Spartanburg its first playground for kids with special needs. GD
For more information about the Carolina Miracle League, visit www.carolinamiracleleague.org, call 864-574-1805, or come out and enjoy a game at the NorthSpartanburg Sports Complex, just off of Old Furnace Road in Boiling Springs.
PERFECTBEAST BUILDING the
High school football success all starts with youth programs
By JOHN CLAYTON
he dew is barely gone from the football field on a Saturday morning at Duncan Elementary School, and the Rebels are playing the Rebels.
As usual. “The kids want ‘Rebels’ across their chest,” said Johnny Owens, youth athletic director and football executive director for Spartanburg School District 5. “They wouldn’t have it any other way.”
If you’re not born a rebel -- as the song goes -- around here, you’ve at least embraced the concept by first or second grade. But that is part of the goal as youth football begins here with flag football for first- and second-graders and continues with tackle leagues through sixth grade before the players move on to middle school and then to the high school levels. It’s the part of the Byrnes playbook most people never really see, and, like other programs in the area such as Dorman and Spartanburg, success at the highest level is bred from the skills and attitudes that are taught from the beginning. Bobby Bentley, former Byrnes head coach and current offensive coordinator, said the “esprit de corps” of Rebel-dom is an effort to
TIM LAMBKA / special
REBELS COMPETE AGAINST REBELS WHILE FANS AND CHEERLEADERS CHEER ON THE TEAMS ON A SATURDAY IN SEPTEMBER.
JOHN CLAYTON PHOTOS GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011 19
The Rebels compete against the Rebels on a recent Saturday morning at Duncan Elementary School.
bring the several communities served by Byrnes together under one banner. “It’s a rallying point,” Bentley said. “It unites us as a district.” Getting behind the Rebels has been easy. Under Bentley and his successor, Chris Miller, as head coaches, the Rebels have won seven state championships over the past 11 years. But much of that success has begun here, on Saturday mornings. Bentley said the young Rebels begin learning basic formations and basic terminology used by their older counterparts at their earliest stages. While that has been an important component of the success Byrnes has enjoyed, Bentley said it is not the most important thing. “We try to do a really good job at character development,” he said. “With all the success we›ve had, character continues to be the focal point. . . . Look, we won a state championship last year and didn’t have one kid sign a (NCAA) Divison I scholarship. “I have parents coming up to me wondering how to get their kid a
scholarship, and he›s in third grade. We’re trying to teach them life skills -- how to be better men, better fathers and better husbands.” So is Freddie Brown, head coach at Spartanburg High School who occupied that same position in Woodruff, a football-obsessed community that was home to legendary coach Willie Varner W.L. “Willie” Varner for nearly half a century. Varner, who won 383 games and 10 state titles at Woodruff, had similar philosophies. His veer offensive system was taught early on in youth leagues and then run by such luminaries as Tony Rice, who went on to win a National Championship at Notre Dame, at the varsity level. “Building a team, that›s the easy part,” said Brown. “Building a program, that’s tougher.” Spartanburg High and the City of
Spartanburg work in partnership to put together viable youth leagues -- District 7 supplies the facilities for games and the city works to keep the leagues supplied with equipment. Brown said his focus is on building better young people, a few of which might help the Vikings. “We hold a lot of camps in the summer,” Brown said. “We focus on character development as well as athletic development.” Brown said teaching children about work ethic and conditioning at a young age is more important to him than teaching them how to run a Wing-T offense. “We want to give them structure at practice, teach them tackling fundamentals and things like that,” Brown said. “But learning about character and sportsmanship and conditioning is more important. “We’ll teach them systems when they get here. Learning to win is important, but if they don’t have those other skills, they’re not going to beat the teams they have to play around here.” Brown said the youth programs within
District 7 are “booming.” Prior to the season, Dorman head coach Dave Gutshall said his coaches and busy youth league coaches have coordinated their efforts over the years before the youth league players arrive one of several middle schools that are direct pipelines for the Cavaliers. D.R. Hill Middle School, located on a sprawling new campus on Highway 357 north of Lyman, is such a program for Byrnes. “We run the same offense and defense as Byrnes,” said D.R. Hill eighth-grade coach Ron Simmons. “All the warm-ups and drills are the same.” Simmons said the fact that the youth league players have a basic knowledge of the system when they arrive at D.R. Hill (where they have kept the traditional “Tigers” mascot and nickname) makes the transition seamless when they arrive as seventh graders. The youth leagues within District 5 include 22 teams and about 400 players, Owens said.
While those leagues teach the basics, coaches have to continue to learn as well, Brown said. He recalled the early stages of current South Carolina running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore at Byrnes. Lattimore was a linebacker, who finally got a chance at running back. “He kind of broke out against us at Woodruff,” Brown said. “It was something of a surprise, and the coaches said, hey, this kid could be a pretty good running back.” But those discoveries -- and those types of players -- are difficult to find, making the teaching of teamwork and other life-building skills even more important to Bentley. “In some ways, our success has become an enemy,” he said. “We have some kids who show up and they want their moment or to get the headlines. That’s not the way teams are built. . . . That’s why we have to continue to have character-building as our focal point.” GD
One-Day Bath Remodeling
>>‘KID QUICK’ ENOREE TEEN ZACK MITCHELL, 15, FOUND SUCCESS AT 12. NOW HE DOMINATES ON AREA RACETRACKS. By JOHN CLAYTON
he nickname, Kid Quick, sounds like it belonged once to a young gunfighter in the old west. Or maybe to a super hero on the pages of a comic, like the little brother of the Flash. But “Kid Quick” known by any other name is Zack Mitchell, an Enoree teenager who spends just about every weekend trying to live up to the brash nickname that came with early success on the racetrack. Mitchell’s weekend job isn’t that of a typical 15-year-old, but he’s been doing it since he was 12, working his way up the ladder at dirt tracks all over the Southeast, racing now in the top late-model divisions in bullrings such as Gaffney, Laurens and Charlotte. It’s a dusty, noisy path that once was practically the only
20 GAME DAY u SEPTEMBER 2011
“I failed my driver’s test the first time. I can drive side by side with somebody at 100 m.p.h. on Saturday night at a racetrack, but I can’t drive at night.” ZACK MITCHELL 15-YEAR-OLD RACE CAR DRIVER
ZACK MITCHELL, ABOVE, IS PICTURED IN THE COCKPIT OF HIS RACECAR. BELOW, ZACK COMPETES AT AN AREA RACETRACK.
route to NASCAR’s top series, and Mitchell hopes it will be just that for him. “Hopefully, I’ll get to NASCAR,” said Mitchell, a student at Woodruff High School on weekdays. “I’ve had a lot of people helping me since I got started.” But now NASCAR entices drivers from across the racing spectrum – from open-wheel sprint cars, karting and even former elite Formula 1 racers such as Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed have tried their hands at stock-car racing. Clint Bowyer and Carl Edars, who honed their skills on dirt tracks in the Midwest, are among the
few drivers of the current generation of Sprint Cup stars to come up through the late-model dirt-car ranks. Mitchell believes the door is still open, though. “It’s sort of halfway open,” he said. “It takes an opening and no matter where you’re from, you have to bring something to the table as far as sponsors.” The business reality of racing is unlike that of any sport. Mitchell would not have to find a sponsor to play high school football and potentially get noticed by colleges and then the NFL. But high school football players aren’t slinging
GAME DAY u OCTOBER 2011 25
ZACK MITCHELL BEGAN RACING IN HIS BACKYARD ON A HOMEMADE GO-KART TRACK. SINCE THEN, HE’S EARNED THE MONIKER “KID QUICK.”
600-plus horsepower behemoths through the mud and dirt, rebuilding engines to the tune of $15,000-$20,000 and pouring thousands more of personal and sponsor dollars into a race team. Into Mitchell’s dream. Mitchell began racing in his backyard on a homemade go-kart track under the guidance of his parents, Todd and Jennifer. He was five years old and Todd Mitchell encouraged his son. By the time he turned 12, the family made the decision to start a race team and put young Zack behind the wheel. Well, Zack forced the the decision when he won the Junior Big Dog Championship kart race at Carnesville, Ga., forcing Todd to follow through on the promise that that win would deliver a racecar. It did, and success soon followed. After learning the nuances of a straight-drive transmission, Mitchell took the racecar to the track and Young Guns divisions at Mile Back and Cherokee speedways. His career began with three consecutive victories and the class championship at Cherokee in 2007. He won more than 30 races in his first two years and earning the moniker, Kid Quick, and climing the dirt-track ladder. With success, Mitchell moved up to the highest level of late-model competition and has learned that victories are much tougher to come by. “I’ve only one 15-20 times the last two years,” he said. “It’d kind of depressing. . . . But anybody can go with the good times.
It takes a real driver and a real race team to get through the tough times.” Call them growing pains. “I really haven’t gotten as many wins as I’ve wanted to, but I’ve learned a lot this year,” he said. “I’ve picked up a lot of odds and ends, and it’s a lot different at this level. It takes a year or two for most drivers to learn it.” Mitchell said he’s had help from several of his competitors, including established dirt-track stars such as Jonathan Davenport, Johnny Pursley, Earl Pearson and Chris Madden. But even they couldn’t help him avoid his latest setback. “I failed my driver’s test the first time,” Mitchell laughed, recognizing the irony. “I can drive side by side with somebody at 100 m.p.h on Saturday night at a racetrack, but I can’t drive at night.” He forgot to use a turn signal, something that is not a problem in the left-turn world of his Saturday nights. The grind of racing at tracks all over the Southeast, including Wythe (Va.) Raceway and the Dirst Track at Charlotte -- two of his favorites -- is a shared family affair. Sacrifices are made. Money is spent. Miles are logged. “It cost a lot just to gas up the truck to get to a race,” said Mitchell, acknowledging considerable help from family, friends and sponsors. But Mitchell has made sacrifices, too. While his classmates are enjoying
the social scenes that surround school sporting events, dances and such, Mitchell is doing the math of lap times and fuel consumption. “I do make sacrifices, but it’s what I want to do,” he said. “I’ve missed some birthday parties and things like that. But it’s not life or death if I don’t go to a prom or a football game.” Mitchell said his social circles revolve mostly around the tracks. Several friends work with him on the race team in addition to his family members. Other drivers, including big names in the late-model division such as Chris Madden, Earl Pearson, Jr. and Jonathan Davenport, have become friends and mentors as well. Mitchell said he keeps his weekends and his week days separate for the most part. His peers at Woodruff High School may know he races, but he said he tries to not make a big deal of it at school. “I don’t really talk about it,” Mitchell said. “I have to keep my grades up or I don’t get to race, so I don’t talk about it much at school because people might have a lot of questions and stuff.” Mitchell, himself, said he still has questions himself. He said he has a healthy respect for the grown men he is racing against and picks their brains whenever he can. “They’ve been racing for longer than I’ve even been alive lots of times,” he said. “I want to do the best I can.” GD
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TINA WILSON PHOTOS
COACH KEN ROACH ADDRESSES HIS TEAM AFTER A RECENT MEET.
THE CAROLINA HOMESCHOOL COUGARS COMPETED AGAINST PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN THE EYE OPENER CROSS COUNTRY MEET.
“We have equal ability and can compete with anybody. There’s no need for specific training or gyms. All you have to do is run.” ken roach Carolina Homeschool cross country coach
HOMESCHOOLERS OFF AND RUNNING WITH RECENTLY FORMED COUGARS By KAREN L. PUCKETT
hen Jerrod Timmons showed an interest in running cross country in the seventh grade, there was a minor problem. There was no cross country team. At least none for which he was eligible because he was not enrolled in a District 3 school where he lives; he’s homeschooled. So his mother, Sonya, did her homework and after a diligent search for running opportunities for Jerrod, she became the catalyst for the Carolina Homeschool Cougars, a cross country team from primarily Spartanburg County whose 51 members are academically taught from their homes. When she secured Ken Roach, a youth track coach, to lead the team, the Cougars were off and running. “Our team is very good at what we do,” says Roach. What the team does is allow kids, as young as 6 years old, to participate and train with the older kids, seventh grade and up, who compete in high school invitational and dual meets throughout the fall season. Many of the same kids also compete in high school track meets
in the spring. The Cougars practice during traditional after school hours at Milliken Park six days a week, with an Jerrod Timmons at optional three days although most of the Eye Opener. the runners show up on those days, as well. While the younger and older kids are on the same track during practice, they are basically kept separate during their training. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for kids who are not on a team affiliated with a high school league, which includes homeschooled children as well as those taking classes online. The team is in its second season and competes in about 12 meets in the fall. Because the Cougars compete with area high schools, public and private, they opt to follow the same rules as their counterparts. “We want to keep the competition as fair as possible and keep a good relationship with the high schools, too,” Roach says, explaining why a sixthgrader may not practice with the high school team. The Cougars are eligible to win the local meets but are not eligible to compete in regional and state tournaments. However, the younger runners get to lace up for Saturday “fun runs” in the area. “The number one reason parents send their homeschooled kids to public or private schools is for sports,” say
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Timmons. “This is a way to provide sports and let them continue their education they way they want.” Cross country seemed like a natural sport for this growing team of enthusiastic athletes. Financially, all that’s needed is a good pair of running shoes. “We have equal ability and can compete with anybody,” Roach says. “There’s no need for specific training or gyms. All you have to do is run.” Currently, Roach says he has three runners on his team who are on track to earn Division IA scholarships and several others who can potentially compete for smaller colleges. While the training is simplistic, what goes on behind the scenes to make the Cougars a success is a little more complicated. Timmons, who serves as team manager, credits the parents for doing their part—including paying their child’s team fees (uniforms, accidental insurance and travel expenses) and getting them to and from practices and meets. Outside of the sport itself, the team has provided a good opportunity to meet other homeschooled students and parents across the county. Team colors are red, black and white, and Cougars who meet the standard requirements may also earn a letter that may be displayed on a jacket.
COUGARS TEAM BIBLE VERSE:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 Roach, an avid runner himself who gets his own track work in with the kids, says that the lessons learned from running can take his team a long way in life. “They find out they have the capability to do much more than they think, and running helps them learn this,” he says. “When you’re running, there’s a time when there’s nothing delightful about it. There’s a lot of discomfort. They learn to dig deep to finish the course.” Jerrod is now 14 and still has several
years left in his high school cross country career. “I don’t want this team to end when Jerrod graduates. I want to be able to come back in 20 years and have a reunion after other people have come along and taken it over,” Timmons says. GD For more information on the Carolina Homeschool Cougars, contact Sonya Timmons at email@example.com.
DIVING in PROFILE
AS HER PREP CAREER WINDS DOWN, DORMAN SWIMMER LAURYL WILLIAMS FOCUSES ON BRIGHT FUTURE By KAREN L. PUCKETT 32 GAME DAY u OCTOBER 2011
TIM LAMBKA / special
KAREN L. PUCKETT / special
“I’m not focused on the awards. I like to be with my friends and the competition, but I swim for the glory of the Lord.”
Lauryl Williams has been swimming for more than 12 years. Here, the Dorman swimmer tries to beat the competition, while below, she warms up with her teammates.
TIM LAMBKA / special
Lauryl williams Dorman senior swimmer TIM LAMBKA / special
auryl Williams holds the record in state swimming titles, and this month in Columbia she has a chance to add four more titles to the 13 she already won since the seventh grade. It’s not about the state records. “Those trophies will go away,” says her mother, Robyn. “If she’s not the person she needs to be, they won’t remember her, either.” The senior from Dorman agrees.
“I’m not focused on the awards, “ Lauryl says. “I like to be with my friends and the competition, but I swim for the glory of the Lord.” Lauryl has been swimming for more than 12 years although six of those years were not for competition. When her parents built a pool in their back yard, there was no need to swim at a club and her summer league participation came to a halt at the tender age of 6. A couple of friends got her back in the pool competitively at 12, when she began her swimming career at Dorman. Her career is expected to continue at the University of South Carolina
or Gardner-Webb University, the two colleges she currently is considering to attend next fall. “I might sign in November and I’ll go where God leads me,” Lauryl says. Her mother describes Lauryl as a natural swimmer and laughs when she says she can’t remember who even taught her to swim in the first place. “She probably took lessons at the athletic club. I don’t remember, “ Robyn says. “But she’s obviously a quick learner. God gave her a natural ability, and she has a lot of discipline.” Lauryl figures she spends at least 15 hours in the pool each week, often GAME DAY u OCTOBER 2011 33
GETTING TO KNOW
Hometown: Spartanburg Family: Parents, Greg and Robyn; brothers, Kyle, 21, Rion, 20, and Todd, 16; a boykin spaniel, Sophie and a “tuxedo cat,” Ruby Hobbies: Hanging out with friends and family, participating in church activities at First Baptist Spartanburg Beach or Mountains? Beach in the summer; Mountains in the fall Person She’d Like to Take to Dinner and Where: Ryan Lochte (Gold Medalist Olympic swimmer), to Wade’s Favorite Music Group: Lady Antebellum Favorite TV Show: “Law & Order,” “NCSI” and “I Love Lucy” Summer Job: Pool attendant at The Westside Club Pet Peeves: “I hate drama and I don’t like it when people talk about themselves all the time.” Most Interesting Place Visited: Missouri Favorite Food: Chicken Pot Pie Favorite Subject in School: Anatomy/Physiology Possible College Major: Exercise Science Advice to Young Swimmers: “Stay focused. Don’t let anything distract you, and know what your goals are.” 10 Years From Now: “I’ll be 28, probably married and starting to raise a family.” What Coach Jim Raymond Says: “Lauryl is a tremendous swimmer, but I believe she is a better person than she is a swimmer. What I mean by that is her love for Jesus shows everywhere.”
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KAREN L. PUCKETT / special
Lauryl Williams with her mom Robyn at the family’s home in Moore.
getting up early to practice before school during the season. She has swam year-round for Spartan Splash School and now is a member of the team at the Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club Middle Tyger YMCA. She won her first high school state title (200 relay) in the seventh grade, back when her motivation for the “casual” swimmer was hanging out with her friends. Which is something she still enjoys. But in the ninth grade, she realized her God-given talent could take her into collegiate competition. Beyond that, she hopes to make it to the Olympic Trials in a few months. She credits her parents for supporting her and keeping her motivated. “They let me do my thing,” she says. “They’re not like some crazy parents, but they make sure my priorities are straight and that my head is in the right place.” Lauryl also misses the support she received for many years from Ed Miller from Splash, who died recently. “He was a driving force in her swimming,” Robyn adds. “He was like a second dad.” Lauryl prefers competing in an individual sport, such as swimming, not only because she can focus on her own time that will contribute to the team as a whole, but also because she says she does not possess the hand-eye coordination required to excel at basketball or softball. “I can always blame myself ” when she doesn’t meet her time.
Calling all kids
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TIM LAMBKA / special
Lauryl prepares to launch from the blocks during a recent race. Lauryl notes when on a block, she’s “in a zone.”
“When I’m on the block, I’m in a zone,” Lauryl says. “I don’t really see anybody else around me when I swim.” Out of the water, Lauryl is “the kind of person who comes behind others and picks up after them,” according to Dorman Swim Coach Jim Raymond. “She cares for other people. That is one of her characteristics that stand out above and beyond her swimming, the way she carries herself and helps her teammates,” Raymond says. “She will definitely be an outstanding college swimmer because she’s not to the point where she’s burned out, like some others get, because she is a well-rounded person who is involved in a lot of things.” GD
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Consistent putting to the rescue
Byrnes golfer Abby Driscoll works on her putting stroke using a special trainer.
8 Missed Greens= 8 putts good short game can really hide a bad long Total putts for round to be game, but a good long even= 28 putts game can not cover a bad short This is a great way to keep up game. This quote truly makes with how good your putting is. sense to good golfers. Most of a Most good players are even on players golf shots come from 60 their putting par. So with all of yards and in. I have seen golfers this said, how do you become a hit two beautiful better putter? There are shots that travel a only two goals when total of 450 yards putting. That is to have only to three putt good speed and line. To and bogey a hole. do this, you must have I have also seen a consistent stroke. I golfers hit the ball teach a straight back everywhere but and straight through straight and save a stroke. I also use miraculous par due trainers to teach this. to a phenomenal chip If you do not have a KYLE and putt. With this putting trainer, two being said, short game clubs lined up correctly OWINGS is crucial on a good or works just fine. In PIC bad day striking the A, you can see Abby ball to ensure a good score. Driscoll, Byrnes H.S. leading lady golfer working on the proper On the PGA Tour, an average stroke. She works constantly on player hits about 12 greens in proper set up and the length of regulation or 66.6%, but the her stroke. Also in PIC B, you can average tour scoring average is see me holding her head in place. around a shot under par. How Donâ€™t look for the ball to go in does this happen? The answer the hold, LISTEN. So to work on in putting and having a good your putting, keep up with your putting par. putting par and develop a sound Putting par is taking two stroke with using clubs and putts per GIR and only one putt alignment aids. GD on greens you miss. An example is below: 10 Greens In Regulation= Reach the Kyle Owings Golf 20putts Academy at (864)205-4221
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Improve speed, avoid injuries by playing the basics
age and specialize in a sport or often got stopped by a activity if they are going to be parent or coach who asks successful. However, I think the me what I think the best real lessons are often distorted. drill is to help their son’s/ The truth is you need to be daughter’s/ athlete’s speed or ‘brilliant at the basics’. agility. It seems to me that everyone wants the shortcut or It’s not about sending your the quick fix. The truth is (and kid to pitching camp at age you know this deep 9. It is about playing down) there is no football, volleyball magic drill. If there or soccer in the fall, were I would have basketball or wrestling my athletes do it in the winter and track, every day. lacrosse or baseball in the spring. It can What is also (and should be) interesting is every about playing with the once in a while an neighbors until dark. athlete like Tiger It is about learning Woods comes how to run, how to along or we have KEN jump, to rotate or spin, best-selling books FINLEY how to lunge, skip like “Outliers” or or change direction. “The Talent Code” One day its playing kickball, and we get all consumed with the next day tag. The skills that emulating that success. The can and should be developed message conveyed seems to be I are fundamental to athleticism: need to start my child an early
38 GAME DAY u OCTOBER 2011
Sports specialization too soon may lead to fatigue and overuse injuries. However, learning how to jump, rotate or spin, lunge, skip or change direction at an early age can often be learned on the playground. speed up, slow down, turning power, read and react to various cues. No one single sport has the corner on developing these skills so no one single sport should dominate in the lives of children or even teenagers. Let’s be clear that there is nothing wrong with sending your child to basketball camp over the summer. Problems DO often occur when they play a sport year round. Research has clearly shown that the body will accomplish a given task with little regard to correct mechanics. Not a signal to practice just one thing until we get it right but rather a strong indicator that a platform for developing an overuse injury exists. If a 12 year old is pitching eight months a year, the task remains the same but the mechanics can change due to fatigue. Statistics show that these injuries are rapidly on the rise among our youth today. When I speak about avoiding early specialization I often hear ‘Oh yeah what about the 10,000 hour rule?’ In case you are not familiar with that rule it basically states that it
takes 10,000 hours of practicing a specific task to become an expert in that activity. Don’t misinterpret what the scientists and researchers are saying however. I am not saying drop the concept of hard work or ‘deliberate practice’. I am saying that the 10,000 hours should be spent moving in all kinds of environments and performing all kinds or movements and activities. What comes out of this is a group of athletes who are less likely to burn out, more likely to adapt to different coaching styles (a very important piece of the puzzle) and less likely to be hurt. These players will look like athletes no matter what sport the end up loving. So feel free to work on those 10,000 hours, but don’t drive by the playground on the way to John’s ‘elite’ super star camp. Stop the car and go play . GD Ken Finley is a physical therapist and certified youth speed and agility specialist. To learn more about his youth athletic development programs you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2010 Record: 7-4 (4-1), 2nd place
2010 Record: 14-1 (6-0) conference champs
Aug. 26 – at Travelers Rest Sept. 2 – Chesnee Sept. 9 – Polk Co., N.C. Sept. 16 – at Dixie Sept. 23 – Liberty Sept. 30 – at Whitmire Oct. 7 – at St. Joseph’s Oct. 14 – Southside Christian Oct. 21 – Blacksburg Oct. 28 – at Christ Church
2010 Record: 8-4 (4-1), 2nd place
Aug. 26 – Chase, N.C. Sept. 2 – at Landrum Sept. 9 – at Woodruff Sept. 16 – at Broome Sept. 23 – Chapman Sept. 30 – Liberty Oct. 7 – at Crescent Oct. 14 – Palmetto Oct. 21 – at Pendleton Oct. 28 – Carolina
WOODRUFF Region 2-AA
2010 Record: 10-4 (5-0), conference champ Aug. 26 – Greenville Sept. 2 – at Clinton Sept. 9 – Chesnee Sept. 16 – at Chapman Sept. 23 – Union County Sept. 30 – Emerald Oct. 7 – Newberry Oct.14 – at Saluda Oct. 21 – Mid-Carolina Oct. 28 – at Broome
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2010 Record: 6-5 (3-2)
2010 Record: 8-4 (5-0), conference champ
Aug. 19 – at Seneca Aug. 26 – Rock Hill Sept. 2 – Berea Sept. 16 – Greenville Sept. 23 – at Eastside Sept. 30 – at Union Co. Oct. 7 – Chapman Oct. 14 – at Clinton Oct. 21 – at Blue Ridge Oct. 28 – Chapin
2010 Record: 4-6 (1-4) Aug. 26 – York Sept. 2 – Union Co. Sept. 9 – at Seneca Sept. 16 – Chesnee Sept. 23 – Fort Mill Sept. 30 – at Mid-Carolina Oct. 7 – Emerald Oct. 14 – Newberry Oct. 21 – at Saluda Oct. 28 – Woodruff
Aug. 26 – Spartanburg Sept. 2 – at Broome Sept. 9 – at Gaffney Sept. 16 – Laurens Sept. 23 – at Woodruff Sept. 30 – Greer Oct. 7 – Chapin Oct. 14 – at Chapman Oct. 21 – Clinton Oct. 28 – at Blue Ridge
2010 Record: 2-8 (1-4) Aug. 26 – Seneca Sept. 2 – Wade Hampton Sept. 9 – at Travelers Rest Sept. 16 – Woodruff Sept. 23 – at Chesnee Sept. 30 – Blue Ridge Oct. 7 – at Greer Oct. 14 – Union Co. Oct. 21 – at Chapin Oct. 28 – at Clinton
2010 Record: 9-4 (4-1), 2nd place
2010 Record: 6-6 (4-2)
Aug. 19 – Boiling Springs Aug. 26 – at Dorman Sept. 2 – Greenwood Sept. 9 – Union Co. Sept. 16 – at Byrnes Sept. 23 – at Greenville Oct. 7 – at Clover Oct. 14 – at Rock Hill Oct. 21 – Lancaster Oct. 28 – Northwestern Nov. 4 – at Spartanburg
Aug. 19 – at Gaffney Aug. 26 – Greenwood Sept. 2 – T.L. Hanna Sept. 16 – at Clinton Sept. 23 – Mauldin Sept. 30 – at J.L. Mann Oct. 7 – at Dorman Oct. 14 – at Wren Oct. 21 – Riverside Oct. 28 – at Hillcrest Nov. 4 – Byrnes
Aug. 26 – Gaffney Sept. 2 – at Spartanburg Sept. 9 – at Greenwood Sept. 16 – T.L. Hanna Sept. 23 – at Riverside Sept. 30 – Hillcrest Oct. 7 – Boiling Springs Oct. 14 – at Mauldin Oct. 21 – J.L. Mann Oct. 28 – at Byrnes Nov. 4 – Woodmont
2010 Record: 12-3 (5-1) 2nd place; state champs Sept. 2 – Myrtle Beach Sept. 9 – Bayside, Fla. Sept. 16 – Gaffney Sept. 23 – at T.L. Hanna Sept. 30 – Mauldin Oct. 7 – Riverside Oct. 14 – at J.L. Mann Oct. 21 – at Hillcrest Oct. 28 – Dorman Nov. 4 – at Boiling Springs
SPARTANBURG Region 3-AAAA
2010 Record: 5-7 (2-3) Aug. 26 – at Union Co. Sept. 2 – Dorman Sept. 9 – Sumter Sept. 16 – Greenwood Sept. 23 – at South Pointe Sept. 30 – South Aiken Oct. 7 – at Northwestern Oct. 14 – Clover Oct. 21 – Rock Hill Oct. 28 – at Lancaster Nov. 4 – Gaffney
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