Area Sports...

MARCH 24, 2004

Running Wild
Track Team Boasts Seven
First-Place Finishes Monday
If the Commerce track teams have any early-season rustiness it didn’t surface Monday afternoon.
Participating in only their second meet of the season, the squads boasted a combined seven first-place finishes in a four-team meet at Franklin County in a performance that impressed their coach.
“I’m really excited,” Tiger track coach Terry Canup said. “These kids come to practice everyday with a smile on their face, they work hard and they’re fun to work with. It’s great to see them excell. It makes it fun.”
No team scores were kept.
The track teams will look to carry the momentum over to this week in meets at Jefferson today (Wednesday) and a Tuesday at Cedar Shoals.
On the boys’ side Monday, Tommy Eason notched two first-place finishes, winning the shot put with a throw of 46’5” — two feet better than his previous best this year — and then won the discus with a throw of 137’5”, just shy of a personal-best. Canup also noted that Eason launched a throw of approximatley 150 feet that was foul.
Eason has placed first three times already this season in two events.
“He had a really good day,” Canup said. “... He’s really starting to throw well. I hope he continues to improve for when region comes around ... The potential is there.”
Distance running standout Gary Saxon finished third in the 1,600-meters but garnered his first sub five-minute time of his career with a 4:54 in the race and then turned around and won the 3,200 meters, finishing in 11:13.
Canup said Saxon, who’s also finished first three times this year, ran well against a good field of runners both distance events.
“That was good competition for him,” he said.
On the girls’ side, the combo of Denea Grant and Stephanie Rainwater controlled both the short and long distance events, combining to give the five-member girls’ team four first-place finishes on the day.
Grant dominated the sprinting events winning the 100- and 200- meter events with times of 13.4 seconds and 28.12 seconds while Rainwater outdistanced the competition in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, finishing first with times of 6:29 and 15:16.
Rainwater has three first-place finishes in two meets for the girls’ team.
Other notable performances came from Randy Womack who took second in the 100-meter race with a time of 11.83 seconds; James Rucker, who placed third in the long jump with a distance of 18’5”; and Whitney Canup, who finished third in the discus with a throw of 82’3”.
The solid outing Monday came after a 13-day layoff after opening the season March 9 at Franklin County. Commerce’s meet this past Thursday at Banks County was cancelled while this past Saturday’s Cedar Shoals Invitational was postponed due to the death of one of the school’s long-time coaches.
The Cedar Shoals Invitational, which features approximately 25 teams, has been rescheduled for April 17. Canup entered the team in an April 20 meet at Hart County to make up for the cancelled meet at Banks County.

Two wins for Banks County
The Banks County Diamond Leopards added two more wins for the season after defeating White County on Tuesday and Apalachee at home Monday night.
The team will travel to Buford Wednesday to take on the Wolves before hosting Wesleyan on Friday. They will battle Greater Atlanta Christian on Tuesday in Norcross. All three games will begin at 5 p.m.
Banks County was on fire Monday night as they beat the Apalachee Wildcats 13-2. It was the first region win of the season for the team. Umpires called the game in the fifth inning, because of the run rule.
The weather was freezing and emotions were running wild, Banks led the game 10-0 in the third inning and one angry Apalachee fan started screaming profanities at the coaches, players and umpires. He calmed down after Apalachee scored two runs and he wasn’t thrown out of the game.
The fourth inning was filled with excellent offensive and defensive plays. Tyson Baxter hit a two-shot home run, a dropped pitch sent Jacob Williams to first and Alex Cruce hit a double to load the bases. Bradley Angel made several important defensive plays during the game, including one catch over the fence in center field that ended the game.
Banks County Coach Mike Williams was at the hospital with his wife, Christy, who was giving birth to their son, Bryson Miles. Bryson was born late Monday night and weighed 8 lbs 12 ounces. Coaches Josh Lord, Joe Lord and Shiloh Scroggs filled in.
“Coach Williams lets us know he has confidence in us during the games, he gives us responsibilites so we were able to get it done today, but it was difficult not having him here.,” said Josh Lord.
Coach Scroggs said the players won the game.
“Our guys are good,” he said. “We have a good group of kids, they know the game so they just got out there and played. It was difficult not having his (Williams’) leadership around.”
Baxter went three for four in the game, scored three runs and earned one RBI with his home run. Ramon Vasquez went two for four and had four RBI’s. Cruce pitched all five innings of the game.
The Leopards traveled over the mountain and through the rain to Blairsville Thursday, March 18, to battle Union County. After leading the entire game Banks County fell in the bottom of the seventh, 8-9.
The Leopards earned all eight runs by the fifth inning. Union County tied it up in the sixth with a three-run home run.
Tyler Scroggs pitched six innings of the game, Cruce closed it out.
B. Angel hit a two run shot home run, went one for two and earned four RBI’s. Michael Haynes had two RBI’s.
After losing to White County at home, 11-12, on Friday, Banks traveled to Cleveland Tuesday, March 16, and defeated the Warriors, 8-6.
Cruce pitched a complete game, striking out eight batters and allowing four earned runs.
Williams went three for four, had three RBI’s and stole two bases. Scroggs was two for three and had one RBI. J.T. Elrod went two for four and had two RBI’s.

Jefferson bests local rivals on the court
The Jefferson High School tennis teams had an eventful week recently, defeating two local rivals.
The boys’ team ran their record to 3-1 on the season as they defeated arch-rival Commerce 5-0 and cross-town rival Jackson County 4-1 last week. Winning matches for the boys against Commerce on March 16 were: Marc Baskett, Caleb Thurmond and Jason Laughinghouse. Also, the doubles team of Dawson Bryan and Kyle Thrasher was victorious.
Baskett cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 victory in No. 1 singles action, while Thurmond did much the same in No. 2 singles, winning 6-3, 6-0. In No. 3 singles play, Laughinghouse was dominating, wining 6-0, 6-0. Bryan and Thrasher also only surrendered three games in their straight set win.
The Dragons followed that win up against Jackson County last Wednesday, with another victory. Thurmond led the way on the day in singles play with a 6-3, 6-2 win and the No. 2 doubles team of Parker Sims and Chas Castellaw was also victorious.
In girls action last week, the Lady Dragons ran their record to 4-1 with victories against Commerce (5-0), Jackson Co. (3-2) and Brenau Academy (4-1) all in the span of three days. Winning matches for the girls against Commerce were Hannah Sims, Betsy Bryan, Breanna Bray and the doubles teams of Ashley Garmon and Gabrielle Yates, and Natalie Shirley and Hether Scheel.
Sims was tested in her No. 1 singles match, but survived 6-4, 7-5, while Bryan and Bray each cruised to straight set wins without surrendering a game in No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively. The No. 1 team of Garmon and Yates won 6-2, 6-0, while the No. 2 tandem of Scheel and Shirley were also winners, 6-1, 6-2.
Against Jackson County, Bryan cruised to victory 6-1, 6-4 in No. 2 singles, while Bray was stretched to three sets but came away with a hard earned 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory. Also on the day, the No. 1 doubles team of Garmon and Yates won 6-2, 6-0, and the No. 2 doubles squad of Shirley and Scheel were victorious 6-2, 6-0. Next up for the Dragon tennis squads are trips to Buford and Prince Ave. to close out the month.

Panthers to host first home game of the season Thurs.
On Thursday night the Jackson County soccer program will get a taste of something that it has yet experience so far this season — a home game.
The boys’ team will host Franklin County at Panther Stadium at 5:30 p.m., a match that will mark the first time a Jackson County soccer squad, be it boys or girls, has played at home so far this season.
The Panthers (0-7) come in reeling following losses to a host of powerhouse teams, all of which are in one of the state’s tougher soccer regions, 8-AAAA.
With No. 1 Heritage and No. 8 Salem having already handed Jackson County sound defeats so far this season, along with Madison County and Cedar Shoals, the Lions will be a welcomed site. Franklin County is winless on the year so far, and was defeated 2-1 last season by the Jackson County.
“They’re looking forward to it,” Jackson County boys coach Keith McCory said. “They’ve been practicing hard so they’ll be ready for it.”
Last week the Panthers were shut out by Winder-Barrow 8-0 during a game that pitted two nearby rivals. That said though, McCory chose to focus on the positives and not dwell on the negatives that transpired that day. Case in point, he said, was a 14-save performance turned in by goalkeeper Cooper Stout against the Bulldoggs.
While Thursday’s game against the Lions will be the first home contest of the season for the boys’ team, the girls squad from Jackson County will have to wait a couple of days later to see their first home match of the year.
Saturday, both boys’ and girls’ teams will take part in the annual Panther Invitational, a day-long tournament that will also feature teams from Franklin County and Hart County, with all games to be played at Panther Stadium.
The boys will have senior day Saturday, during which they will recognize the team’s seven seniors. The girls’ team has no seniors this season.
With a 15-0 loss to Heritage last week followed by an 8-1 defeat at Winder-Barrow, the home games will be much welcomed for the Lady Panthers as well.
The girls’ team will play Hart County at 9 a.m. followed by a boys game, also against Hart at 10:45 a.m.
The girls will then be in action again at 1 p.m. against Franklin County, before the boys wrap up play by the home side at 6 p.m. against the Lions.
Following Saturday’s action though, Jackson County will not play at home again this season. Trips to Eastside, Rockdale County, Loganville and Clarke Central will close out the year.
Because of the costs associated with hosting games, school officials have noted that playing on the road for the most part is more economical feasible for the Panther program.

Shivers sets school record in track meet
Marcus Shivers set school records in the 200 and 400-meter races as Madison County took third in a three-team meet at Oglethorpe County Thursday.
The speedster ran the 400 in 53.38 seconds and the 200 meter sprint in 23.44 seconds.
“I was pleased with Marcus,” said Raider head coach Chris Davis. “He was looking for a goal to set his sights on. Now he’d just got to keep working at breaking his own personal records.”
Madison County’s boys’ squad finished with 45 team points, behind Oglethorpe County, 61; and Putnam County, 53.
Davis also noted that Pattrel Pattman also had a personal-best time of 5:09 in the 1,600-meter race, shaving 30 seconds off his time from the previous week. Justin Neal hurled the discus a personal-best 114 feet and six inches.
“We had some guys who improved drastically over the past week,” said Davis. “Overall, I’m pleased with the boys. They’re doing a good job and working hard.”
Davis noted that his team got to run on the almost-finished MCHS track Monday. The track won’t be ready for competition this year, because it still lacks its rubber surface. However, the track squads will be able to use it as a practice facility.
Davis said the enthusiasm was evident as the team tested out MCHS’ first-ever track.
“The kids were very excited about that,” said Davis.
Both boys’ and girls’ squads are scheduled to travel to Hart County Thursday. The girls will then visit Monroe April 1, while the boys will travel to Franklin County on April 2.

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