Area Sports...

JULY 16, 2003

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‘Tuners Gone Wild’ event set
Atlanta Dragway will host a “Tuners Gone Wild” event this weekend at the track. Friday’s pre-party will include a test and tune from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. plus dance music and a foam party until 1 a.m.
Saturday will feature all-day action, including a car show with top 100 mild and top 100 wild awards.
The event will also have a drag race with $2,000 payout in six classes; a sound-off with 17 classes for highest SPL, highest SQL and best install; dyno challenges for four, six and eight-cylinder cars; a bikini contest with $3,000 in cash payouts; and a battle of the bands for cash and bragging rights.
The weekened of activities begins at 6 p.m. on Friday. Gates open at 8 a.m. for competitors Saturday and 9 a.m. for spectators.
Test and tune passes for one car, driver and spectator on Friday are $20. A Friday spectator pass costs $10.
Saturday spectator tickets will cost $15. Competitors can get in Saturday for $50, which includes the entry into one event and one spectator pass.
A two-day spectator pass can be purchased for $25. Spectators can get a $5 discount on Saturday or two-day admission with a “Tuners Gone Wild” rave card flyer.

Six To State
The Tiger Sharks’ participation at the state swim meet this year will increase by three fold over last season as six members of the team qualified for the event at this past Saturday’s district meet in Habersham County.
The state meet will be held July 25-26 in Moultrie.
Josh Totherow, the only member of the Commerce team who qualified last year, Amy Nichols, Allen Yancey, Whitney Wilbanks, Gabrielle Joransen and Madison Nick all secured their pass to state by finishing in the top three in at least one event this past weekend.
Commerce sent two swimmers to Moultrie last year.
Tiger Shark president Jo Totherow said the number that’s headed to state this season is the most it’s had in “several years,” adding that six members representing the team is quite respectable when considering the strength of the teams in Commerce’s district.
“When you’re competing against teams like Oconee and Habersham, who swim year-round, that’s good for a summer time team,” she said.
Josh Totherow garnered the team’s only finish at district, taking the top spot in the boys’ 18-and-under 100-yard freestyle. Totherow added a second-place showing in the 50-yard butterfly and will compete at state in that event as well.
Also taking second place finishes were Gabrielle Joransen ( girls’ 10-and-under individual medley), Whitney Wilbanks (girls’ 18-and-under 50-yeard breast stroke) and Madison Nick (girls’ 10-and-under 25-yard breast stroke).
Taking third were Allen Yancey (boys’ 14-and-under 50-yard freestyle) and Amy Nichols (girls’ 14-and-under 50-yard backstroke and 50-yard free style).

Local teams back on the gridiron soon
The summer transition towards fall officially begins next week as football again makes its way to the gridiron in Jackson County.
First to hit the practice field among local teams is Jackson County, as the Panthers begin their second season under head coach Brent Brock. The following day Commerce takes the field followed by Jefferson later in the week on Sunday, July 27.
For the Dragons the first practice of the year will include a twist that is perhaps more familiar to fans of college basketball than high school football.
Jefferson coach Bill Navas, also beginning his second year of tenure, said he hopes to generate enthusiasm for the program by hosting their version of midnight madness. The team will meet Sunday at 6 p.m. for a meeting, movie and guest speaker before practicing at midnight to start the year with a bit of a change.
“We’re hoping to generate a bit of excitement,” Navas said of the move to practice so late. In addition the they are inviting parents and community members to stay up late and attend the event and watch the team practice.
Jefferson opens the regular season on August 29 at Apalachee, however the team will play preseason scrimmages against Greene County (Aug. 8) and Chestatee (Aug. 22) before the opener.
As for the Panthers, Brock stated that his squad has been training hard this summer in the weight room, as well as working on fundamental aspects of the game. But, come Monday the level of intensity goes up a notch as preparations for the season-opener at Winder-Barrow get underway.
The Panthers will also play twice in the preseason with games schedules at White County (Aug. 15) and North Forsyth (Aug. 21) before beginning their second season in Region 8-AAAA.

Bowing out gracefully
A state championship will have to wait another year, but Madison County 9-and-10-year-old softball all-star coach Tony Croya isn’t overlooking what transpired on the diamond for his team the past few weeks.
“I think we had an outstanding season,” Croya explained Tuesday, a day after his District 7 championship team was eliminated from state tournament play in Danielsville.
Madison County, which went unscathed in district play last week, found itself an inning away from advancing to the state semifinals Monday, leading Oconee County 3-2 in the sixth, before falling 4-3 in extra innings.
Paired with a 14-6 loss to Elbert County Sunday, the team finished the tournament with two losses. The team’s lone win came Saturday when it overwhelmed West Coweta 31-0 in a game where the team scored 21 first-inning runs.
Croya explained that the squad had simply exhausted its pitching by crunch time in Monday’s contest when Oconee tied the game in the sixth and then won the contest on a bases loaded walk in the seventh with a full count with two outs.
“It was just one of those things,” Croya had explained.
Croya pointed out that the team, however, earned a fan in the coach in the opposite dugout in the loss.
“The Oconee coach wanted to know if he could draft all 12 of our players for his travel ball team,” he said. “That meant a lot to the girls to hear that come from him.”’
Croya said he had a similar respect for Oconee which he said boasts a top-notch youth softball program.
“They’ve got an outstanding ball team with the sponsors and coaches they have.”
The coach praised the effort of the defense in Monday’s nail-bitter, pointing to players like catcher Olivia Duncan, first baseman Hannah Fleming, pitcher Katie Wages, third baseman Tara Dove, who Croya said “didn’t miss anything all day long,” short stop Keely Carey, left fielder Sarah Smith, center fielder Bree Croya, center fielder/second baseman Abby Atkinson, center fielder Lea Cochran, secondbaseman Brandi Osborne, and Jena Jansen.
“Everybody made plays. Nobody missed a ball.”
Croya added that his team held its own at the plate as well.
“Every girl who came to the plate yesterday hit the ball,” he said.
While the team didn’t garner a state banner, Croya said Madison County is still the team to beat next season.
“We’re still the number one team,” he said. “We’ll be back next year ... We got four girls who won’t move up plus other girls who didn’t play this year because they were on vacation and their names didn’t get put in the pool. So the talent this there.”
Croya said that much credit of the 9-and-10-year-old all-stars’ success must go to his assistant coaches.
“I couldn’t have done this without the help of my two coaches David Carey and Darrel Wages. They did the job and carried out the work. They did an excellent job.”

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