Area Sports...

 June 21, 2000


Tiger Sharks Open Swim Season
The Commerce Parks and Recreation Department Tiger Shark swim team opened its 2000 season with a home meet against Chattahoochee last Thursday.
The team followed Saturday with its first big meet of the year at the North Georgia Swim League Invitational in Lilburn.
Nick Moulton was the leading swimmer for the team with three 18-under first-place finishes. He took first in the short freestyle, backstroke and butterfly compeitions.
Josh Totherow took first in the 14-under short freestyle. He was second in the backstroke and third in the breaststroke.
Kristina McFaddden was first in the 10-under butterfly. She was also second in the short freestyle.
Other placers for Commerce's 10-under girls included: Katelyn Nevil, third short free and ninth backstroke; Casey Teague eighth, backstroke and ninth butterfly.
Sara Ervin was fifth in breaststroke, sixth in short free and ninth in individual medley for the 12-under girls.
Mallory Ridling was ninth breaststroke for the 12-under girls.
Laura Beth Baker was second in the backstroke for the 18-under girls. She was also third in both the short freesyle and breaststroke.
Also participating were: Morgan Flint, Alex Martin, Chris Cornelison, Jordan Lord, Michelle Cornelison, Lauren Martin, Heather Meeks, Danielle Hembree, Catherine Vance and Kristy Teague.
This weekend the Tiger Sharks will travel to Gainesville for the North Georgia Sports Festival at the Green Street Pool.


BCHS teams prepare for 2000-01 season
Banks County High School is still two months away from starting the next year of classes. But the sports teams are not taking that time off for vacation.
The basketball and football teams are putting in extra work in the summer to help them be ready when the season arrives.
LADY LEOPARDS
The Banks County girls' basketball team has begun another summer season with area teams. The varsity and junior varsity BCHS teams will see action like Tuesday night's games with soon-to-be region foe Lumpkin County.
The JV and varsity girls competed in a team camp last week at Madison County with 11 area teams.
BOYS' CAMP
The boys' basketball team hosted a team camp last week and are attending another this week in Gainesville. The boys' team is at the Number One team camp in Gainesville this week after serving as a host in the Jackson County team camp last week. A total of 14 area teams played at Banks County high and middle school gyms.
WEIGHT ROOM DUTY
Football players are working on their strength, endurance and quickness in the weight room and practice fields this summer.
Leopards go through lifting workouts and do running drills to get ready for the football season that won't start until the first week of September.


JCCHS to host Georgia Games wrestling
Jackson County Comprehensive High School will host the 2000 Georgia Games wrestling competition Saturday, July 22. Sidney Garner, president of the Jefferson Wrestling Club, will serve as tournament director.
Divisions for competition include: Bantam (born 1992-93), Midget (1990-91), Novice (1988-89), Schoolboy (1986-87), Cadet (1984-85) and Junior (born after Sept. 1, 1980 and enrolled in grades 9-12). In addition, an open class will be available for anyone born prior to 1981, or anyone who has competed at the high school level before the year 2000. Both freestyle and folkstyle competitions will be held, and a USA Wrestling card is required for all participants. Cards may be purchased at registration for $25. The tournament is sanctioned by Team Georgia USA Wrestling.
Nearly 150 wrestlers participated in 1999, up from the Games' low of 81 in 1997. In 1993, there were 310 participants. Overall, more than 10,000 amateur athletes participated in the Georgia Games last year.
According to a Georgia Games brochure, the Games is "a sport festival created for Georgia's amateur athletes. Patterned after the Summer Olympics, the 2000 Georgia Games Championships will consist of 43 sports, providing Georgia's amateur athletes of all ages and skill levels a meaningful opportunity to participate in a true amateur sport competition."
Created in 1989 by an act of the Georgia State Legislature, the Georgia State Games Commission is a member of the National Congress of State Games, which is in turn a member of the United States Olympic Committee.
Garner said this week that tableworkers and other volunteers are needed for the event.
For more information on the wrestling competition, contact Garner at (706) 367-4124, or via email at Gabush@aol.com. Interested parties may also call the Team Georgia hotline at (770) 222-0903.
For information on this or any of the 42 other Georgia Games competitions, call (770) 528-3580 or (770) 528-3592, or visit the Games' website at www.georgiagames.org.


JCPRD spring baseball, softball champions crowned
The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department completed its end-of-season baseball and softball tournaments last week by crowning seven league champions. Jefferson teams swept the baseball leagues, winning all four tournaments. In softball, two teams from West Jackson and one from Nicholson earned championship wins.
A pair of baseball teams from Jefferson - the 9-10 Marlins and 7-8 Mariners - shared the honor of being the department's only unbeaten teams. The two capped off the JCPRD tournament schedule by winning their championship games Monday.
After going 10-0 in the regular season, the Marlins defeated the Nicholson Giants by a single run in their tournament final, closing their season at a perfect 13-0.
With the score knotted at three in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Marlins had the bottom four hitters in their order coming up. Josh James, the final hitter in the lineup, took the count full before delivering only his third hit of the season and driving in the winning run.
The Mariners needed extra-inning heroics to win over the Nicholson Diamondbacks. Jason Demos drove in Daniel Barber for the winning run in the come-from-behind win.
Also winning baseball championships were the Jefferson Hammerheads (11-12) and Boll Weevils (13-14). Softball champs were the Nicholson Indians (7-8), and the West Jackson Astros (9-10) and Lookouts (11-12).


Madison County's Jedd McLuen competes in U.S. Open but fails to make cut
The shots didn't quite fall as he might have planned and he didn't advance to the weekend rounds of play, but if you ask Colbert's Jedd McLuen, his trip to the U.S. Open this past week will always be at the top of his greatest golf memories.
McLuen, who failed to make the tournament cut with a 16-over-par, two-day total of 158, said he got the privilege of living the PGA tour lifestyle during his stay in Pebble Beach, Calf., dining, practicing, playing and sharing the same limelight as all the golfers he grew up watching on TV.
"Just things like being at the first tee at first day of the practice rounds were pretty memorable," McLuen said. "I got to play with Steve Jones and Stuart Appleby. Also, just getting to hang out in the hospitality tent with all the guys and to have my locker next to Phil Mickelson, Mark O'Meara, Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus - the whole atmosphere was just really neat."
McLuen, who signed a few hundred autographs while at the 100th U.S. Open, said he was able to meet and make friends with several of the tour players during this stay. He said former U.S. Open Champion Steve Jones even left a note in his locker encouraging him in his upcoming week of play.
"All the guys were just really nice," he said.
But as for his performance in perhaps golf's greatest event, McLuen said he was disappointed with his showing in his first PGA tournament.
"I played horribly. I actually hit the ball well and hit a lot of fairways and greens, but I missed so many short putts during the tournament. The greens were really fast."
However, McLuen, who shot 79-79 on Thursday and Friday's rounds, didn't believe that the degree of difficulty of Pebble Beach, which Nicklaus once called "golf's great test," led to his disappointing score.
"I honestly did not think it was that tough - except for the rough," McLuen said of this year's U.S. Open host course, which only saw tournament champion Tiger Woods, who won by 15 strokes, finish with a four-day total under par. "The rough was just really thick. But from where I hit the ball, I shouldn't have shot over 74. I could have played well, I just didn't."
McLuen, who was playing in front of a national television audience, nearly scored an ace while ESPN turned their cameras on him during the second round of play on hole number 12. He said he wasn't nervous despite the magnitude of the tournament and all the distractions.
"I wasn't really nervous at all when I first teed off," he said. "Everything kind of happend so fast out there."
McLuen fell victim to bad playing conditions during his first round on Thursday, as severe fog sat in on the beachfront course, allowing him to playonly two holes of the round and forcing him to finish the rest on Friday before his second round.
"That (getting to play onl;y two holes that day) didn't really bother me that much," McLuen said. "But I didn't like it the next day when I played bad during the rest of that round and then had to go out and play my next round after that."
McLuen, who during the second round of play hit an impressive 13 out of 18 greens in regulation, said his experience at Pebble Beach taught him the importance of concentration in the game of golf. He believes that the mental aspect of golf is the key to success in major events.
"You've got to focus so much when you're playing in a tournament like this," he said. "It's such an extreme mental grind. I felt I focused pretty well, but it was also a lot of fun too, so I might have let myself get caught up in that."
Despite shooting a two-day total he believed was high, McLuen said he wasn't discouraged by his score or any of the struggles he might have had during the tournament.
"I wasn't discouraged at all," he said. "Just from the way I played in my practice rounds and the way I played during the end of the tournament. It showed me that I can play with those guys."
And for McLuen, just being part of the event made everything worthwhile.
"This is probably my proudest moment in golf because it was such an honor to be there," he said of the experience. "I got treated so well out there. I was treated just as good as Tiger Woods was. The fans were so great and supportive - I heard a lot of cheers.
"Every time I hit a green I heard cheers from the crowd and I heard 'awwhs' when I missed a putt. This makes me want to work so much harder so I can get back there again."


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