Area Sports...

July 11, 2001


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Panthers name new girls' hoops coach
The Jackson County Board of Education approved the hiring this week of Chad Pittman as the new girls' basketball coach at Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
Pittman, who graduated from Johnson High School in 1991, has been a boys' assistant with the Knights for five years. He is married to the former Leigh Ann Shumake.
Pittman indicated that the success of former Lady Panther head coach Annette Watts was a primary factor in his decision.
"I knew she wouldn't be involved in it if it wasn't a good situation, so it was really attractive to me. I've gotten a lot of support already from the parents and the players and the administration. Everyone has been real friendly and outgoing, wanting to help out in any way they can. It makes my job much easier."
Pittman wasted no time in working with his team; in fact, he led three practice sessions and went with the team to a camp at Clemson University before the board approved his hiring.
"We were really fighting a timeline," Pittman said, "and I didn't want the girls to lose interest. We wanted to get the ball and run with it ... Robin Potter has really made the transition a lot easier for me; she'd been working with the team a lot and doing a great job with the girls this summer."
The Lady Panthers will participate in another team camp this weekend at North Georgia College before closing their summer session.




Going to state
The Banks County 12-and-under softball team is going to the state tournament July 19-20 in Adele. The team beat Commerce to advance to state competition. The team is coach Rodney Porter, Kayla parks, Charity Dobbs, coach Jan Parks, coach Cindy Autry, Jessica Wiltse, coach Sam Baker Jackie Baxter, Hope Autry,Samantha Porter, Kami Pendley, Leigh Hope, Hannah White, Gabbie Flemming, Nikki Redmon, Kayla Sims, and Brooke Whitemore.




Local youth runs well in Peachtree
JEFFERSON'S Daniel Elder, 14, finished 416th overall in last week's 32nd annual Peachtree Road Race, the largest 10K road race in the world. More than 55,000 runners participated in the race.
The event marked the second time Elder had run in the race. In addition to finishing among the top one percent of all participants, Elder was the fastest runner in his age group.
He ran the course in 39 minutes, 39 seconds.
Elder is a member of both the track and cross country teams at Jackson County Comprehensive High School, and also is amember of the school band.
FORMER JEFFERSONIAN ALSO IN TOP 500
Former Jefferson and current Norcross resident Andy Wilkes also turned in a solid performance in the race, finishing 481st overall.

Two area wrestlers earn All-American honors
WINTER may be the time for high school wrestling season, but a pair of area wrestlers earned All-American honors during a recent national tournament in Birmingham, Ala.
Jackson County's Rusty Colley and Jefferson's Forrest Garner were each named to the third All-American team. Colley participated in the high school division at 125 pounds, and Garner in the 155-pound middle school division of the National High School Coaches' Association tournament.
Colley finished second for Jackson County at 125 pounds in the State Class AAA tournament in February, and Garner is an upcoming freshman at Jefferson.
Team Georgia finished third overall in the high school division, and only 4.5 points behind winner Ohio in the middle school division.
Georgia's elementary school division bested Florida by 2.5 points to win the NHSCA national title.
MORE HONORS FOR GARNER
Garner also recently won the National Kids' Freestyle championship at 150 pounds, and finished fourth in the national Greco-Roman competition.
Garner defeated New York's Alton Lucas 10-7 in the freestyle finals, and, ironically, lost 5-2 to Lucas in the Greco-Roman consolation finals.




Gender Equity Reviewed For Commerce Sports
The Commerce City School System will take a closer look at the equality of the girls' and boys' athletic programs in the 2001-2002 school year. The Commerce system, like all school systems across Georgia, is required by the state to have a gender equity in sports policy in place for the coming year that is in accordanc
e with the Georgia Equity in Sports Act.
During Thursday night's work session and again at Monday night's regular meeting, superintendent Larry White explained to the Commerce Board of Education what the policy will involve.
Basically, it calls for equal facilities, practice times, uniforms, coach pay, travel expenses, tutorial offerings and so forth for both sexes, White said. Comparisons will be made for the same or similar sports involving girls and boys. White gave the general example of girls playing a sport on a recreation field while boys play a similar or same sport on a nicer school field as a situation that could be called into question throughout the state under the new law.
White passed out copies of a quote from the NCAA Gender Equity Task Force that stated: "Gender equity is an atmosphere and a reality where fair distribution of overall athletic opportunity and resources are proportionate to enrollment, are available to women and men and where no student-athlete, coach or athletic administrator is discriminated against in any way in the athletic program on the basis of gender."
As part of the policy requirements, the board appointed new assistant superintendent Dr. Nancy Baird as the sports equity coordinator to handle any equity grievances and to disseminate information on the issue.
Come fall, the school system will also distribute an athletic interest survey to students to determine if there are sports students are interested in adding to the athletic program. Nine students will have to show an interest in the sport for it to be considered, White said, adding that the survey is good for two years. The system will also be responsible for completing by the end of August a participation rates report that determines the number of boys and girls involved in the various sports offered, and the amount of money spent on those programs.
The proposed policy, which will come before the BOE for approval at its August meeting, offers procedures to follow in the event of a gender equity complaint.
POSSIBLE CHANGES
"We may see some changes as a result of this law," White said Thursday. "A lot of things are untested."
For example, if significant interest is shown in a sport, a school system must at least offer any versions of it that allows for college scholarships, White said, adding that this will most directly affect softball.
"It may signal the end of slow pitch softball (in the state) because slow pitch softball doesn't offer college scholarships, but fast pitch does," he said. "If the interest is there in a sport, (a school system) will have to at least offer the one with a college scholarship."
If girl athletes are interested in slow pitch and fast pitch softball, the system would have to at least offer fast pitch, but can also offer slow pitch if it chooses, White explained.
Competitive cheerleading is another area that has already come into question in regard to the policy requirement, White said. Based on a 1972 act, the federal government, which administers Title 9 funds, does not consider competitive cheerleading a sport, therefore it cannot be counted as such in the gender equity in sports report for funding consideration.
White told the board that the superintendents' association for Georgia has already talked to the state department and has gotten competitive cheerleading added to the list of sports offered for the state's statistical purposes to show how many females and males are involved and how much money a school system spends on a program.
"We still need to know that information," White said of competitive cheerleading, adding that the numbers will be included in the school system's report to the state and locally for budgeting, but that the information won't "count" at the federal level.
He and BOE chairman Steve Perry emphasized that, on a local level, the Commerce school system will continue to treat the competitive cheerleading squad fairly and consider it a sport.
The policy will lie on the table for 30 days, and copies are available for public review at the central office.


Junior American Leaguers eliminated despite furious rally
Facing elimination, desperation fueled a frantic rally for the Junior American League all star squad Saturday, but the heroics still weren't enough to keep their postseason run alive.
The team fell a run short in an 11-10 loss to Franklin American, despite scoring five two-out runs in the final inning. Madison County had trailed by as much as 11 runs during the third inning of the contest.
Early on, the contest looked like it would end in anything but a one-run affair.
Down 3-0 heading into the third inning, events nearly turned disastrous for the Madison County team, surrendering eight runs in the bottom half of the inning to fall behind by double digits.
But with the danger looming of the game ending in the fifth due to the run rule, the team slowly whittled away at the Franklin lead.
Madison County tallied three runs in the top of the fourth and tacked on a run in the fifth and added another in the sixth.
Things still looked bleak in the seventh though as the team trailed 11-5 with two outs.
But with their backs against the wall, the team's bats started getting hot.
Brent Bird slapped an RBI single to cut the lead to five, followed by Garrett Hochstetler, who ripped a two-run, bases-loaded double to trim the lead to 11-8.
Aquino Gantt kept the hot streak alive, delivering a two-run single to pull the team within one.
However, the rally and the game ended after Gantt was tagged out coming off the base during a play at second.
Despite the loss, the 10 runs scored by the Junior American League team show the resurgence of the squad after being shut out 3-0 by Habersham in the opening contest of the Area tournament.
After the loss to the Habersham team, Madison County tallied 23 runs in wins over Toccoa American and Hart American, leaving them as the only team remaining out of the loser's bracket.
Twelve of those 23 runs came in a shutout win over Hart Friday, striking for nine runs in the third inning and adding three more in the fourth before the game was called in the fifth due to the 10-run deficit mercy rule.
The Junior American League team's offensive resurgence started a day earlier in a rain-delayed win over Toccoa American which began on Tuesday and ended Thursday.
Madison County trailed 4-2 in the fourth inning July 3 when the game was called due to rain. But the team struck for seven runs two days later when the game resumed Thursday en route to an 11-4 win.
The Junior American League all stars were one of nine teams to bow out of action this past week. Of the squads that started play either July 1 or 2, none were able to advance past an area or district tournament.
For a recap of the other all star action, see this week's Madison County Journal.


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