Area Sports...

 April 26, 2000


Tiger Track Teams Set For Region Meets
McFadden Qualifies For State In 3,200
BY DREW BRANTLEY
Rain held up some of the schedule at the girls' Region 8-A track meet at Greater Atlanta Chrisitan this week.
Field events were canceled Monday due to wet weather. Preliminary heats in the sprint events were held Monday afternoon.
The remaining track finals and the field events will be completed Wednesday.
Commerce runner Stephanie McFadden also ran in the 1,600-meter final, taking second place. The runner-up finish guarantees her a shot at the state meet next month in Albany.
McFadden and Christie Westmoreland will also run in the 3,200 final Wednesday.
Crystal Rainwater finished third in the 1,600 for Commerce.
Several other Commerce girls qualified for the region finals in other running events.
Anna Roller and Rainwater both made the finals in the 800 run. Elizabeth Roller will run in the finals of the 400 run.
Shemika Reed will compete in the 100 and 200 finals.
The four-by-100 relay team also qualified for the region finals. Reed, A. Roller, McFadden and E. Roller make up the relay team.
The Commerce mile relay team will also be in the finals, defending their 1999 title. McFadden, Rainwater, E. Roller and A. Roller make up the mile relay team.
"They're all excited about the four-by-400," Commerce coach Jason Oliver said. "I told them our main objective was to get to state. If we win that's fine. But as long as we get second, we'll get one of their spots."
Commerce's boys will compete at their region meet May 1 and 3 at Jefferson High School, which is also the site of the state meet.


GHSA Finalizes 5-Class Realignment
Class A Keeps Own Slow-pitch Softball Championship
While final adoption of the new alignment was the biggest news, the Georgia High School Association also approved several other changes for the 2000-01 school year at its executive committee meeting last week.
The GHSA exectuve committee met last Monday and Tuesday in Forsyth for its semiannual meeting.
Changes brought about from the compromise between the GHSA and state legislators earlier this year were finalized.
Regions under the new five classification were adopted by the committee, including two appeals from teams to be dropped down a classification.
The GHSA approved using a 20 percent for each of the five classes in subsequent alignments.
The committee also adopted the method of multiplying private school enrollments by 1.5 for classification purposes.
St. Pius X and Paulding County High School were each placed in Class AAAA after their counts put each of them in Class AAAAA.
A motion was also passed to limit private schools affected by the 1.5 rule to be moved no more than one classification above their actual numbers.
The GHSA also approved several administrative measures to account for the new Class AAAAA.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The committee also organized how several sports will be grouped next year.
Four softball state championships will be awarded in both fastpitch and slow-pitch.
Slowpitch will combine Class AAAAA/AAAA.
The other four classes will have championships.
Region 8-A will include Commerce, Jefferson, Buford and Rabun Gap as the returning slow-pitch softball teams from last year.
In fast-pitch, a combined title will be awarded for Class AA/A. The other four classes will have championships.
Wrestling will have championships in all five classificiations.
Volleyball will be placed into four classes. Class AA/A will be the only group to combine.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS
The service area committee restricted private schools to only the county in which their school is located.
That means that a student wishing to transfer to a private school must live in the same county as the private school to be immediately eligible to participate in varsity GHSA activities.
Many private schools, primarily those in metro Atlanta, had been able to draw from several surrounding counties.
MORE STATE TEAMS
Baseball and girls' golf will have more representatives in the state tournament after rules passed by the executive committee.
Each region will submit four baseball teams to the state tournament in baseball.
The motion passed by the GHSA states that "regions will determine their representatives through regular season play."
Girls' golf will send two teams to the state tournament. Only the region champions earn a spot at the state event under the current rules.
OTHER BUSINESS
The committee also approved paying expenses for Lincoln County football coach Larry Campbell and former Mary Persons football coach Dan Pitts and their families when the two coaches are inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in Minneapolis later this year.
Pitts retired in 1998 as the all-time winningest coach in Georgia high school football with 346 wins.
Campbell moved into second place on Georgia's all-time winningest list last year for the state runner-up Red Devils, finishing with 327 career wins.


BCHS golfers take 2nd, 4th
Lady Leopards runners-up in region; GAC, Providence take boys' state tourney berths
Banks County's run at a third straight Region 8-A golf title slipped away Monday on the Leopards' home Scales Creek Course.
Cool temperatures and steady rain raised most second-round scores. But the state qualifiers turned in impressive scores, regardless of the weather.
Providence and Greater Atlanta Chrisitan took first and second in the boys' tournament with scores of 307 and 309, respectively.
Riverside was third with a score of 327.
Banks County was tied for fourth with Union County and Buford.
GAC took the girls' team match with a score of 190.
Banks County was second with a 197. Dawson County and Commerce were the only other schools with qualifying team scores.
Bree Whitlock and Haley Crumley shot 98 and 99, respectively, to lead Banks County.
Brandon Brown led Banks County with a 78. Drew Sparks followed with an 84. Jason Sparks shot an 85. Brandon Crumley shot an 88.
GAC made a sweep of the low medalists. Charlie Remaley shot an even par 72 to lead the boys. Meghan Trainor was the girls' low medalist with a score of 71.
The top two boys' teams, Providence and GAC, will advance to the state tournament in Calhoun next month. Only the girls' champion will go to state.


Gridiron Leopards set for 2000
After all the changes of realignment, the Banks County's football schedule for next fall is official.
The Leopards will compete in Region 8-AA, starting with a Sept. 22 game with Dawson County
"I think it's going to be a real competitive region," Banks County coach Rance Gillespie said. "There's a lot of traditional rivalries within the region. The region is compact. That should help us financially. There's no really long drives for anybody."
Banks County will play two non-region games. The Leopards will continue playing area rivals Jefferson and Jackson County.
As has been the case in the past two seasons, BCHS will open the season with Jackson County. This year's game will be in Jefferson. The Jefferson Dragons will visit the Leopards Sept. 8.
Banks County's schedule is fairly close to the one that was set before the GHSA moved to five classes and realigned the state's schools earlier this year.
Banks County was already going to play White County, Union County and Jackson County as non-region games.
The Leopards would have faced Jefferson, Greater Atlanta and Dawson County as region games in the old Region 8-A.
East Hall, Apalachee and Lumpkin County are the three games that would not have been played.


Jackson scores ace in region tournament
JEFFERSON golfer Sanford Jackson enjoyed a thrill that many hackers never experience. The Dragon linkster scored a hole-in-one on the par three second hole at Scales Creek during Monday's region 8-A tournament.
Jackson's ace came despite terrible weather for the event, and contributed to his team-leading 76, a mark that was only four strokes off the pace of region champ Charlie Remaley of Greater Atlanta Christian.
Michael Newton finished with an 89, Joel Thrasher and John Bramblett each took 92 strokes to reach the clubhouse, and Daniel Goza followed at 101 to finish the scoring for Jefferson, which took eighth in the event.
"I was hoping we'd finish third or fourth, and we could have," said Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose. "The weather played a role, but the way I see it, it rained on everybody."
Providence edged GAC in a battle of titans, 307-309, to advance to the state tournament. Banks County finished a surprising fourth at 335, one week after turning in a 150 for nine holes on the same course. Commerce finished ninth.


Local teams begin football practice
JEFFERSON football players will begin spring practice Monday.
Players will report with the knowledge that they already have locked up a spot in the state playoffs at the conclusion of the regular season, thanks to the Georgia High School Association's realignment under the watchful eye of House Speaker Tom Murphy.
Jefferson will open the season September 1 at GHSA newcomer Athens Christian, and host Banks County the following week. Prior to their short region schedule, the Dragons will face Johnson, Madison County, Social Circle, Oglethorpe County and Landmark Christian.
An open date October 20 will give Jefferson extra time to prepare for region opponents Buford, Commerce and Wesleyan. The Dragons will see little travel time in the region battles, as only the contest with Commerce is on the road.
PANTHERS START WITH FAMILIAR FOE
Though Jackson County's incoming freshmen started three-a-week practices earlier this week, their teammates will not report until May 8.
The Panthers, coming off an 0-10 year under new head coach Greg Lowe, will look to avenge last year's season-opening penetration loss to Banks County on September 1.
Jackson County faces Madison County in their second game of the season, before starting their region schedule. Though the Raiders are in the same region with Jackson County, the team has chosen not to play a region schedule in the upcoming season.
Region foes for Jackson County are Eastside, Elbert County, Franklin County, Hart County, Loganville, Monroe Area, Stephens County and Winder-Barrow.


Krystal Britt signs with Emmanuel College
BY TIM THOMAS
Jackson County senior Krystal Britt signed a basketball scholarship with Emmanuel College Thursday.
Flanked by parents Ronnie and Barbara Britt, the former Lady Panther point guard placed her name on the deal that will send her to one of the top small college basketball leagues in the country.
"I'm very excited about signing with Emmanuel," Britt said. "I'm looking forward to playing ball, and being point guard."
Emmanuel coach Arlon Beadles, on hand for the signing, said Britt will fit nicely into his team.
"I like the way she plays," Beadles said. "She passes the ball up the floor really well. I think she'll do a good job for us. We definitely need some help at the point guard position, as we only have one point guard returning next year."
Emmanuel finished 16-19 during its most recent season, taking fourth place in the National Christian College Athletic Association. Along the way, the team defeated defending national champion Lee University.
Emmanuel College is also a member of NAIA Division I, in the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina conference. The conference boasted three ladies' basketball teams among the top 20 in the nation last year ­ North Georgia College, Auburn University at Montgomery and Georgia Southwestern University.
Asked about the transition from high school to college, Britt was a bit hesitant.
"It's kind of scary," she said. "I'll be on my own."
Britt's new head coach expressed confidence that his rising young star would shine brightly on the court.
"Usually the biggest adjustment that high school players have to make is playing against the defense that you encounter in college," said Beadles. "That will take her a little while, but after that I think she'll be an excellent college basketball player."


Lady Panthers send two to state meet
BY TIM THOMAS
One was expected. The other was a most pleasant surprise.
Carly Parr and Sara Freeland qualified for the girls' state track meet in Albany by taking second place in three separate events at the region 8-AAA girls' track meet at North Gwinnett this week.
Parr continued to shave seconds off her time in both the 1600- and 3200-meter races, closing in on her times from last year's state meet. North Gwinnett's Kathleen Turchin finished ahead of Parr in both events.
Though the Lady Panthers claimed 14 season-best performances in the meet, it was Freeland's second at 800 meters that stole the show. Freeland, at best a long shot to qualify, shocked both the field and her coaches with a school-record time of 2:27.98, just 0.62 behind region champion Aimee Forbing of Dacula.
"That was a pleasant surprise," said head coach Steve Collins. "She's only run the 800 for about half the season. Sometimes you stumble into things like that. I think we've finally found a spot for Sara."
Freshman Crystal Yonce just missed qualifying in the high jump; her third-place finish earned her the honor of being an alternate in that event. Her jump of five feet even was her best ever, and equal to those of the two qualifiers, both of whom cleared the height in fewer attempts.
"Crystal finally getting five feet in the high jump was a big step," Collins said. The coach also expressed his pleasure with Lacey Phillips' performance in the long jump. "It was by far her best jump of the year. It felt good to get somebody over 15 feet." Phillips' leap of 15 feet, 8.5 inches was her best ever, good for fifth in the region. In addition, the 1600-meter relay team set a new school record in Saturday's preliminary round, but was not quite fast enough to reach Monday's finals.
Karla Rainwater finished fifth in the 100-meter intermediate hurdles final at 17.19 seconds, cutting seven-tenths off her previous personal best.
"We did about what I thought we could do," Collins said of his team's sixth-place finish. "Obviously, you'd like to finish higher than that, but realistically, that's about what I expected, though there were some surprises. We had a lot more things to be happy about than to be disappointed about."
Parr and Rainwater will represent Jackson County in the state meet beginning next Thursday. The 800-meter preliminary is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with finals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Parr will run the 3200-meter race Thursday at 8:45 p.m., and the 1600 Friday at 5:55 p.m.
BOYS' REGION AT HOME THIS WEEKEND
The Panther boys will host their region meet Saturday and Monday at Panther Stadium.
Field events will begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m., with track preliminaries around 12:30 p.m. Monday's finals are set for a 5 p.m. start.



Lady Raiders set for state
BY ZACH MITCHAM
The 14-2 Madison County girls' tennis team will travel to North Springs High School today (Wednesday) at 4:30 p.m. to open the state tournament.
The Lady Raiders advanced to the state playoffs with a second- place finish in the Region 8-AAA tournament this past week. Madison County downed Oconee County and Central Gwinnett before losing to North Gwinnett in the finals.
Certainly, the Region 5-AAA school near Cumming cannot be taken lightly - no team in the state tournament can - but Madison County coach Cliff Craig felt somewhat relieved Monday, learning that his squad would face the Lady Spartans and not six-time defending Class AAA state champion Marist in the opening round. The coach had expected Marist to be his squad's first round foe.
And however the girls' squad does this week, Craig says he's happy with how things are going for Madison County tennis.
"The tennis program in the county is looking good," said Craig, who will lose no girls' players next season and only one boys' team member, number one seed Chris Clark.
Craig was particularly happy that his girls' squad beat Oconee County in the region tournament.
"That was the first time we beat the Oconee girls' team in recent history," said Craig, who said he has always used Oconee as a barometer for the success of his team. "This (win over Oconee) was a major step in the program."
Winning for the Lady Raiders in that match were Rochelle Comer, as well as the doubles teams of Elizabeth Turner and Christy Thomas and Sara Fitzpatrick and Tiffany Ledford. Fitzpatrick and Ledford showed resilience in the match, grabbing the victory after losing the first set and trailing 1-4 in the second set.
Those posting wins in the squad's win over Central Gwinnett were Renee Mathews, Comer, and the doubles squad of Turner and Thomas. Madison County won no matches against North Gwinnett.
BOYS
While the girls' squad earned a berth to the state tournament, the boys' team felt the hurt of coming one point from competing at state.
The 10-5 boys' team had match point in the deciding doubles match in the semifinals against North Gwinnett Saturday, but the Bulldogs came back, spoiling the Raiders' state tournament bid.
The Raider squad advanced to the semifinals by beating Dacula in the first round, a team that defeated Madison County earlier this year. Winning in that match were Clark, Brandon Myers and the doubles team of Drew Perry and Cole Tonge.
Clark and Kenny Powers posted wins against North Gwinnett.
OUTLOOK
Craig said he is pleased with the improvement of his players this season and added that he is already looking forward to next year when the regions are realigned.
"I think we'll stack up better," said Craig. "There'll be no Gwinnett County teams. It all comes down to how hard they work in the offseason."


Raider golfers fall one shot short of state tourney
Hybl fires 76 in bad conditions to claim individual region crown
BY BEN MUNRO
A third consecutive trip to the state tournament fell one shot out of the golf team's grasp Monday as the Madison County squad placed third at the 8-AAA region tournament, firing a 327 at Royal Lakes Golf Course.
However, not all was lost as the Raider team did boast the best individual effort of the tournament as senior Ryan Hybl managed a 76 in less than ideal conditions to claim the spot as the region's low medalist. Hybl will now get a chance to compete in the AAA state tournament at Augusta's Goshen Plantation in two weeks where he will defend the state individual crown which he won a year ago.
Oconee and Dacula, the two squads which at the beginning of the season Raider coach Mark Turner predicted that Madison County would have to beat to make a third trip to state, were the two teams that the squad failed to top as Oconee, who had five players shoot below 80, pieced together a stellar 311, while Dacula finished one stroke better than the Raiders, posting a 326.
"I'm pretty disappointed," said Turner of the Raiders' absence from state tournament play this year. "I really thought we had a really good shot at going to state. But Oconee and Dacula are two of the better teams around. We just hit our slump at the wrong time of the season."
Rounding out the rest of the scores on the day for the Raiders were senior Lee Allen, who posted a 79 in his last event as a Raider golfer, Jeremy Cooper, who fired an 82, and Tyler McSpadden, who finished with a 90.
Though the team posted a very impressive 41-12-2 record this year, the team still fell short of preseason expectations.
"We lost way too many matches this year," Turner said. "I figured we'd only lose about five and have a good shot at having our best winning percentage for the season. But our record was not too shabby and we have nothing to hang our heads about."
For next year, the team will have to deal with the losses of its top two players, Hybl, the most decorated golfer in the school's history, and Lee Allen, who has made several big contributions to the golf team over the past four years. However, this burden should be lightened with the squad competing in a weaker region next year due to realignment.
"The change in the region came along at a good time for us because we are losing Ryan and Lee," said Turner. "We should be in good shape for the next two years."


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