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APRIL 30, 2003


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Leopard golfers win region tourney
By the end of regular play at the region golf tournament Tuesday, the Leopards knew they had earned a spot at the state tourney.
Banks was tied with GAC at 318. And since the top two schools get to go to state, the Leopards knew they’d be there.
But it wasn’t until after a second playoff hole that Banks knew it would be the top team from region 8-AA.
“As soon as the last GAC player blew his putt, everybody just jumped up and down,” coach Chris Colwell said. “It was like winning the Ryder Cup.”
On the second playoff hole, Banks stepped up with four pars. GAC had three pars and a bogey, the one stroke the Leopards needed for the win.
“They were excited indeed,” Colwell said about his team.
Leopard Matt Dale also got the low medal with a region tourney low 71 through 18 holes.
Jacob Fountain shot a 76, Mark Speed posted an 83 and Seth McCoy shot an 88 for the team.
The Leopards will make the trek to Stone Bridge County Club in Rome on May 12 for the state event.
“We have the capability of doing quite well at state,” Colwell said.
Banks has gone undefeated since the Madison County tournament in late March.
“We have just improved since the beginning of the season,” Colwell said. “Since spring break, we’ve been playing real well.”
REGULAR SEASON MATCHES
The Banks County Leopards golf team closed out the regular season with two wins.
In the final two regular season matches last week, Banks picked up back-to-back wins.
Thursday, the Leopards downed Union County 154-182.
Matt Dale shot the low score for the team with a 35. Jacob Fountain shot a 37, Mark Speed posted a 40 and Jazz Hulsey shot 42 through nine.
Seth McCoy and Josh Miller were also on the greens for the Leopards, shooting a 43 and 47 respectively.
Banks also picked up a win Wednesday, taking Apalachee and Buford. The Leopards posted a team score of 152, more than 20 strokes lower than Buford’s 173 and Apalachee’s 177.
M. Dale was again the low scorer for the Leopards. He also topped the field among all three teams with a 36.
J. Hulsey posted a 38 on the course. Both J. Fountain and S. McCoy shot a 39. All four of the Leopards’ top golfers for the match were under 40 through nine.
J. Miller and Tanner Goodson also shot for the Leopards in the match, posting scores of 45 and 46.


Lady Panthers overcome odds, finish fifth in region
Jackson County’s lone competitor in the girls state meet this year will be the top Region 8-AAAA high jumper, Crystal Yonce. Her leap of five feet, two inches was good enough to secure the region crown last week and amass nearly half of her team’s point total.
Jackson County finished with 22 points during the two-day meet, good enough for fifth-place in the region behind Region 8-AAAA champion Clarke Central.
The host Lady Gladiators overcame a huge first-day deficit by dominating the events on the track after a poor showing in the field events. They won the title with an amazing 122-point total that saw them come from fifth-place, 62-points behind first-place Cedar Shoals after the first day. Cedar Shoals wound up second, five points behind their Classic City rival, Heritage (94) and Winder-Barrow (57) rounded out the top four.
For the Lady Panthers though, just finishing fifth in the region was quite an accomplishment considering the gigantic numbers deficit they were facing heading into the event.
Jackson County’s eight participants accumulated all 22 of their points, while the gargantuan size squads of the top three teams had them placing as many as two teams in the relay finals and overwhelming the rest of the field in individual events.
“We were fortunate enough to finish fifth and considering the limited number of girls we had competing I’m pleased with that,” Jackson County coach Steve Collins said.
“Really, we were pleased with the showing the girls had all year, despite the low numbers we came out and worked hard all year and continued to improve and that’s the main thing.”
With the top two finishers in each event moving on to state, Yonce’s ten points from the high jump were accompanied by Jaimeca Cooper’s four points in both the 200 meters and the long jump where she took fourth respectively. Her 200-meter time (26.67) was just fractions of a second from landing her a spot in the state meet on May 8-10. Clarke Central’s Kathryn Walker won the event with a time of 25.44 while Delise May of Heritage took the other state qualifying spot with a time of 25.99.
Elsewhere, Cooper also ran a respectable 12.92 in the 100 meters, but finished sixth. Likewise, Yonce took sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:45.07.
Melissa Lerette also took sixth in the shot put, while the 100-meter relay team from Jackson County secured the team’s other point with a 53.11 showing.
The Lady Gladiators were able to narrow the lead thanks to a remarkable start on Thursday. They took first or second-place in seven of the first eight finals and they capped the comeback off by winning the 400-meter relay. Clarke Central also took first in the 100-meter relay, Walker won the 100 meters and Valentina Howard took first in the 300 hurdles and 110 hurdles. In all the Lady Gladiators brought home six first-place finishes. In addition, Winder-Barrow’s Brittany Holland dominated the long distance events, winning both the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters for her squad.


Do Or Die:
For the Commerce baseball team, it’s a tall task — but not an insurmountable one.
That’s how diamond Tiger head coach David Cash weighs his team’s chances of extending its season into the Class A state playoffs as it sits with a 5-8 mark (as of Tuesday) in 8-A entering the final region stretch.
Three of Commerce’s last four contests this year are must-win matchups with teams it’s battling against in the race for the fourth and final postseason spot out of the region — Athens Christian (6-6), Social Circle (7-6) and Rabun Gap (4-8). The Tigers played another squad they’re in contention with for that spot, Lakeview, this past Tuesday, but results weren’t available.
So if the Tigers get hot the rest of the way, it could provide a pennant-fever feel to the close of the year.
Commerce has a Friday contest with Jefferson, a May 6 meeting with Social Circle, a May 7 make up date with Rabun Gap and a May 9 regular season finale against Athens Christian.
Cash said Tuesday that his team could afford no more than one loss the rest of the way if it wants to qualify for the post season.
But the coach pointed out that if there’s a time for the team that hasn’t won since March 28 — except for a forfeit win over Tallulah Falls — to get hot, it’s now, 15 games into the season.
“That’s what you figure this time of the year. People should have their hitting eye by now. And our pitchers should be well seasoned,” Cash said.
Commerce has already proven it can beat Rabun Gap while it lost to Athens Christian narrowly on a walk-off homer.
The only team of those the Tigers are contending with that handled them was Social Circle who won overwhelmingly, 18-2, in just four innings March 4.
Despite that lopsided loss, Cash feels that given the parity in the region amongst all the teams aside from Prince Avenue, anything can happen in the rematch with the Red Skins.
“We still feel like we’re equal with all of them,” he said.
Even if the Tigers were to go on a tear, they’d need a little help along the way to make it to the state playoffs.
Commerce, as of Tuesday, sits two games behind Lakeview, Social Circle and Athens Christian in the loss column. Those schools have each lost six times.
“We have eight losses, so we’ve got to beat them and someone esle has got to beat them,” Cash said.
LAST TUESDAY:
PRINCE AVENUE 12, COMMERCE 0
The Wolverines quest for the Class A state title rolled through Commerce last Tuesday and Prince Avenue demonstrated why its a contender for the crown.
The region front runners no-hit the Tigers in a 12-0 five-inning, run-rule shortened win.
Area standout Josh Fields held Commerce hitless through four innings before giving way to relief in the fifth.
Offensively, Prince Avenue scored at least once each inning, scoring two in the first, four in the second, three in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Casha Daniels started for the Tigers, lasting four innings, giving up nine hits, five earned scores, walking three and fanning five.
Daniel Taylor worked an inning of relief, surrendering two hits, two earned runs and a walk.


Heading to Albany
Success can be measured in many ways and Tuesday night’s Region 8-A championship performance by the Jefferson girls had coach Tim Corbett smiling for more than just one reason.
Sure, qualifying at least one competitor in 13 of 16 events at the state meet in Albany (May 8-10) was awesome, and the team’s 194-point first-place point total was outstanding, but what was perhaps the most gratifying, from a coaching standpoint, was the way the Lady Dragon team peaked at exactly the right time, Corbett said.
“(The region meet) was the epitome of our season. I knew going in that we’d be competitive but I didn’t think we’d win in that fashion,” Corbett stated after his team’s 108-point 8-A championship victory.
“But it’s just a tribute to our kids and the work they have put in this year...they really came on strong there at the end.”
In all some 18 personal Lady Dragon records fell at the 8-A meet, with more than 10 season best times recorded. All positive signs for Corbett’s first year coaching the girls track and field squad.
With the title, Jefferson assured themselves at least one place in nearly every event at the state meet, while also qualifying twice in a number of events, with the top two in each event advancing on.
Monday the Lady Dragons started off on the right foot following a dominating performance in the field events.
Seniors Annie Goza and Michelle Boring swept both the shot put and discus, with Goza recording a personal best throw of 112-feet, nine inches in her last region competition. Boring, battled illness to qualify for state.
Molly Cleveland secured second-place with a personal record of 31-6 1/2 in the triple jump which landed her in the state meet.
Likewise, Shenita Moon saved her best performance of her career for the region meet, winning the long jump with a leap of 15-7 1/2. Erin Walker’s second-place high jump showing qualified her for state as well and help the Lady Dragons secure a 37-point lead over Tallulah Falls after the first day of competition.
On the track, Jefferson was even more impressive on Tuesday, literally running away from the rest of the field.
The Lady Dragons took first in both the 4 X 400 and 4 X 100-meter relays and recorded wins in four sprint events.
Brittany Caudell was impressive in the 400 meters, as she easily eclipsed personal best time by some three seconds (61.84). Likewise, her 300-meter hurdle effort was a personal record (55.76) and landed her the top spot in that event on the day.
Katie Champlin won the 100-meters with a time of 13.56, while Moon fell just short of a state spot with a third-place showing in the event. Erin Walker was the top 200-meter runner on the day (28.0), while Katie Champlin took second-place, running a personal-best 28.59.
Vanessa Guzman was also solid at the longer distances, as she won the 1,600 meters with a 5:42.53 that was nine seconds better than her previous best. She also qualified for state in the 800 meters with a 2:37.71 showing that might have been faster, her coach says, had she not been so dominating in the 1,600 earlier in the meet.
All in all, there’s not much the team failed to accomplish in region, as the team hopes to continue to succeed at state. Particularly impressive to Corbett was the leadership of his seniors, as they have avoided the temptation to get caught up in “spring fever.”
“I was really impressed with the seniors, they really came through and focus late in the year...sometimes there’s a tendency to get distracted during the end of your senior year but they really came through. I was impressed,” Corbett explained.


Three-peat
The classification was different this year.
The result wasn’t.
Madison County’s 16-1 girls’ tennis squad made the jump from 8-AAA to 8-AAAA with no problem, claiming yet another region championship, its third in a row.
“I’m just really proud of their effort,” Raider head coach Cliff Craig said of his girls’ squad. “Everybody took care of business.”
The girls’ team will host Clarkston High School in the first round of the state tournament. No date for the matchup had been set as of press time. Craig said he will try to schedule the match for Thursday or Friday.
Madison County’s girls won the region tournament by downing Winder 3-2 Monday in the championship match.
“With the score tied 2-2, Tiffany Ledford came through with a dominating performance at No. 3 singles to clinch the match,” said Craig.
The girls advanced to the finals with a 3-1 victory over Clarke Central and opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Jackson County.
While Craig had plenty to smile about as his girls’ squad clinched its sixth straight state tournament appearance, the MCHS guys’ team also excelled in the region tournament, earning its third straight trip to the state tournament with a third place finish in Region 8-AAAA.
“Our goal every year is to make the state tournament,” said Craig. “For the girls, it’s six years in a row; that’s pretty consistent performance,” said Craig. “This is the third year in a row for the boys. I’m real proud.”
The 15-2 MCHS boys’ squad lost to Rockdale County 3-2 in the semifinals, but won its consolation match against Heritage 5-0. The guys won their opening match of the tournament against Newton 3-1 last week.
The boys will travel to North Atlanta in the first round of the state tournament later this week. No date had been set for the matchup as of press time.
Both MCHS boys’ and girls’ squads advanced to the elite eight last years in the AAA tournament.
Craig said both of his teams have a good shot at getting back to the elite eight this year.


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