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
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
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
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
Garner defeated New York's Alton Lucas 10-7 in the freestyle
finals, and, ironically, lost 5-2 to Lucas in the Greco-Roman
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 accordance 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.
"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.
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
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
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
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.