Area Sports...

APRIL 21, 2004

Track Coach Optimistic About Upcoming Region Track Meets
This past weekend’s Cedar Shoals Invitational closed the door on the regular season. Now the Tiger track teams will see what the post season holds.
The girls’ 8-A region meet will start Saturday and continue Monday while the boys’ region meet begins May 1 and continues on May 3.
Commerce track coach Terry Canup hopes that both his teams can maintain the progress that’s been made over the past six weeks as he’s seen times and distances improve since the season started March 9.
“I feel optimistic about it,” he said. “Hopefully they’re peaking at the right time.”
Canup added that he hoped that his teams will be in the right frame of mind for the region meets.
“There are a lot distractions toward the end,” he explained. “We’ve got prom Friday night and then girls region meet Saturday. So hopefully they can have fun but still stay focused. But I feel good about it. I think the kids have progressed all year long. Now’s the time to show it.”
In the last action before the region meets, the Commerce track teams earned three medals at Saturday’s Cedar Shoals Invitational.
State hopeful Tommy Eason won the discus with a throw of 142’ and placed third in the shot put with a throw of 47’8”.
Stephanie Rainwater finished third in the 3,200 meters with a time of 15:40.
The track teams were slated to compete this past week at

Soccer team falls short
The Banks County boys soccer team defeated Franklin and Union counties last week.
The Leopards hosted Dawson County Tuesday night in the area semi-finals and fell, 1-6. The team’s overall record for the season was five wins, two losses and one tie. The tie was with Dawson earlier in the season when the two teams were notted at one.
The team defeated Franklin County on the road with the largest Leopard output of goals so far this season with a 5-2 win over the Lions.
Banks County coach Don Gillig had good things to say about the teams performance.
“Daniel Mitchel seems to have found a new home, as a forward, he scored the first two goals of the game,” he said. “Ben Vang, and Phee Yang each added one goal to complete the first half tally 4-1.”
Franklin County mounted a second half challenge, and it resulted in a penalty kick being awarded to the Lions. Miguel Torres, making his debut in goal, made a solid effort in attempt to save the penalty, but it was all for naught, and the Lions cut the Leopard lead to 2, making the score 4-2.
Banks County responded with strong efforts by Andy Paulk and Jose Paz, who both forced the Franklin goalkeeper into making several saves, according to Gillig.
“Jose Santiago and Corey Schmid both provided hustle getting back to help thwart the Franklin County counterattack,” he said. “The air was let out of the Franklin County balloon when Miguel Paramo scored the 5th goal to stop Franklin’s comeback and securing the Leopard victory.”
An intense game against Union County Thursday ended in another win for Banks County, 3-1. Last time the two teams met Banks County won 3-2.
Banks County put up the first goal early in the game. Shezti Heu’s driven corner kick found Daniel Mitchell inside the six. Mitchell was able to get a quick shot off, but the Union County goalie made a relax save with the ball bounding out past Mitchell to Ben Vang. Then, Vang hit the second shot and the goalie was unable to do anything about it as it went into the goal and Vang sped away in celebration. A few minutes later Mitchell looked to be in search of Banks County’s second when he was put through on a break away only to be involved in a hard collision with Union County’s goal keeper and a defender. The score remained 1-0, Banks County, heading into half-time.
In the second half, Union County came out trying to level the score.
“The team was counting on Banks County goalie, Miguel Torres, to continue making some superb saves, as he had in the first half,” Gillig said. Union County, however, was able to score off a sailing shot from 35 yards out. The shot went over the keepers head and into the corner of the goal. The score was now level at 1-1.
Gillig said the 30 minutes following the Union County goal, Banks County played some of the best soccer that the team has played all year.
Union County put pressure on the goal and looked to be in the process of claiming its second goal when one of the BC defenders: Germain Alvarez, Jermiah Vang, Pheng Yang or Peengjee Vang came up with a big play and denied the goal. With 10 minutes left in the second half and the score knotted at 1-1, senior attacker Miguel Paramo came back for a ball and neatly side stepped a Union County defender and chipped a ball into the path of Pheng Yang who dribbled to the top of the penalty area and hit a vicious shot into the upper right hand corner of the net sending the BC bench into pandimonium. With the wind knocked out of the sails of the Union County team, their defender made a poor kick on their next goal kick sending the ball to Pheng, who chested down the errant pass and dribbled forward and struck home his second goal, breaking the back of the Union County
team to the joy of the Banks County supporters.
(play by play account provided by Coach Don Gillig)

Making a statement
Dragons show they’re for real with Relays win
With a tough, deep field in town the Jefferson boys put to rest any doubts about whether they had the talent and determination to vie for the Class A state crown on Saturday.
The Dragons won the 40th annual Jefferson Relays with a team score of 139 points over the weekend. That mark bested Oglethorpe County (102), Landmark Christian (82), Athens Academy (62), and Crim (48) in Group 2 (which consisted of Class AA and A schools).
What’s more, that performance was followed up by an impressive tri-meet win Tuesday over Oglethorpe County and Apalachee. The Dragons defeated the Patriots for first place by 12 points, however the two teams were tied following 10 events.
“Saturday I felt like we did a little better that I thought we would,” head coach Tim Corbett said. “I think we’ve done a better job of staying focused.”
Jefferson saw six athletes attain personal best performances on Saturday in as many field events. Stephen Wiley led the way in the long jump, with a mark of 21-feet, 2 1/2 inches. Travis Reed (triple jump), Courtney Wiley (high jump), William Martin (pole vault), Marc Baskett (shot put) and Justin Mize (discus) all also reached personal best marks to win their events.
With the region meet right around the corner and state later in early May, the latest showing by Jefferson shows that the squad appears to be peaking at the right time.
Others placing in the field events and scoring valuable team points were S. Wiley (triple jump), Adam Rooks (high jump), Travis Martin (pole vault), Mize (shot put) and Baskett (discus).
On the track the Dragons placed in the top three in seven of the nine events on the day. Travis Reed won the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 15.44 seconds. In addition, both the 4 X100-meter (Reed, Riley, S. Wiley, and Brandon Vinson) and 4 X 200-meter relay (Vinson, S. Wiley, Andy Martin, and Riley) squads took home golds thanks to season best performances.
“I think the nice thing right now is that in every event, we’ve got quality guys,” Corbett added. “And we’ve got a lot of guys that are fighting it out and it’s good competition.”
In girls action, Jefferson took second place in the team standings for Group 2 with 93.5 points. The Lady Dragons trailed only traditional girls power Landmark Christian’s 111 on the day. Crim took third with 78 points also.
A pair of Jefferson athletes won events: Shenita Moon (long jump), Shalita Brooks (high jump). In addition, Brittany Caudell took second place in both hurdle events, with Moon also taking second in the triple jump.
In Group 1 (Class AAA-AAAAA), Elbert County took first in the boys team standings, with Brookwood finishing first in the girls.
Jackson County was ninth in the girls ‘team standings and 15th in the boys’ team standings.
Jackson County’s Jaimeca Cooper took fourth in the long jump and third in the 100 meters with a time of 12.75, just .11 second off of the winning time.

Where are they now?
Plenty of former local prep
standouts are now excelling in college athletics: a look at where they’ve been and how they’re doing
In the last few years a number of local athletes have taken their talents to the next level and continued to excel in their respective sports in college. Here’s a look at some of those that continue to show their stuff and represent our community on college playing fields across the country.
Fast-pitch Softball
Hannah Freeman, LaGrange College (2003 Jackson County graduate)
• As the first fast-pitch player from Jackson County to ever sign with a college team, Freeman has represented the Lady Panther program solidly so far this season at LaGrange College. She has started 11 of 18 games this season for a LaGrange team that was 18-20 heading into this week. The squad is currently 8-4 in conference play. The Nicholson native is batting .179 with a .261 on base percentage. Her fielding percentage is .677. The team’s last win came on Saturday against Maryville College by the score of 7-0.
Jeremy Smith, University of Tennessee-Martin (2003 Jefferson graduate)
• Smith, a former Jefferson High School linebacker and fullback, was one of 29 freshman on the 2003 Tennessee-Martin team. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound linebacker was part of a Skyhawk squad that went 2-10, 1-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference, an NCAA Division I-AA league. Smith played in nine games and recorded six tackles on the season. Said UTM head coach Matt Griffin of him: “Jeremy Smith is a good tough football player. He comes from a solid program.”
Dustin David, Piedmont College (2002 Jackson County graduate)
• The 6-foot-7 sophomore from Nicholson is doing for the Lions what he was well known for in high school at Jackson County — scoring points. David led Piedmont in scoring this past season, averaging 18.9 points per game, on his way to earning first team all conference honors. He was also the team’s leading rebounder during a season in which he started all 26 games. As a team the Lions finished 9-17 on the season, but they did advance to the Great South Athletic Conference championship. He was also a member of the All-Academic Team for the conference.

Buzz Wehunt, University of Georgia (2002 Jackson County graduate)
• After attending a prep school in Ocala, Fla. for a year, Wehunt followed in the footsteps of his older brother Richard (a 2003 UGA graduate) and attended the University of Georgia this past season. The former Jefferson and Jackson County player was part of a Bulldog team that finished 16-14 and advanced to the NIT Tournament under first-year men’s basketball coach Dennis Felton. Wehunt averaged 10.5 minutes, 2.8 points, and 1.4 rebounds per game. He played in 28 contests, was second on the team in free throw shooting percentage, and had the fewest turnovers of any player that played at least 10 minutes per outing. His role on the squad was primarily as a reserve in the backcourt at the shooting guard position. Wehunt was the only reserve to score in the Bulldogs’ win over national runner-up Georgia Tech. As a senior at Jackson County, he averaged 27.0 points — a school record — and 7.1 rebounds per game. He also set the school’s records for single-game points (45) and single-season (729). He also played at Jefferson from 1998-2001, once scoring 60 points in a game.
Lee DuBose, Georgia Southern University (2002 Jefferson graduate)
• As a junior DuBose started 29 of 26 games, was second on the team in minutes played with 27 per game, led team in 3-point shooting percentage and makes, led the team in steals with 38, was fourth in points per game (6.9), third in points for the season. The Lady Eagles finished 15-14 overall.

Annie Goza, North Georgia College (2003 Jefferson graduate)
• After hurting her knee in October, Goza opted to red-shirt this season, but head coach Buffie Burson indicated that she expects big things from Goza in the future at North Georgia. “She has basically used the year to adjust to the college game and focus on her academics,” Burson said. “The sky is the limit for her. She is the type of player we are looking to play inside and outside. We will have more size as a team next year so we will need her to step outside and play on the perimeter some. Annie brings a lot of heart and spirit to the team. The Lady Saints finished 30-6 and advanced to the school’s eighth NAIA national tournament this season where they fell in the quarterfinals. The Lady Saints also won the GACC Tournament Championship and were co-champions of the conference as we“She should be ready to go full speed ahead next year,” Burson said. “I am looking forward to seeing her healthy and on the court.”
Shaudrick Martin, Truett McConnell College (2003 Jefferson graduate)
• Martin, a former Jefferson post player, helped lead the Dragons to the Region 8-A title in 2003 as a senior. He signed with Truett McConnell College out of high school, but saw limited action in his freshman season. He is expected to transfer to Emmanuel College, where he will play for former Jefferson standout Jason Gibson.

Hunter Garner, Anderson College (2003 Jefferson graduate)
• The former four-time state champion at Jefferson was 17-15 in his first season at Anderson.
Jeremiah Wilson, Anderson College (2003 Jefferson graduate)
• As a freshman, the former Dragon was 17-15 in his first season with the Trojans.
Nathaniel Wilson, Anderson College (2003 Jefferson graduate)
Nathaniel Wilson went 2-2 individually in his freshman season at the Anderson, SC based school. As a team the Trojans saw two wrestlers advance to NCAA Division II National Tournament and finished the regular season with a dual meet record of 5-9. Of those nine losses, however, four came against Division I programs.

Ryan Gurley, North Georgia College (2002 Jefferson graduate)
• Gurley, a former multi-sport standout at Jefferson, was part of a North Georgia College and State University baseball team that won the 2003 NAIA GACC regular season title and advanced to the NAIA Region XII Tournament. The 6-foot, 205- pound sophomore plays in the outfield for the Saints. So far in 2004, the squad is again one of the better teams in the Southeast. They sit at 44-14 and are tied for first place in the conference, ranked 23rd in the country.
Kyle Potts, North Georgia College (2003, Jefferson graduate)
• Potts, another former Dragon, is also a member of the North Georgia College and State University baseball team. Over the weekend he scored two runs for the Saints during a 4-1 win over Shorter College on Saturday in Dahlonega.

This year’s college-bound athletes:
Fast-pitch Softball
Krista Bess, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, signed with North Georgia College.
Haley Freeman, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, signed with Lagrange College.
Diana Robinson, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, committed to Emanuel College.
Brandi Townsend, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, undecided but expected to commit soon.
Brandon Vinson, on track to graduate from Jefferson in 2004, signed with Newberry (S.C) College.
Nikki Sosebee, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, committed to Piedmont College.
Tosha Ransom, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, committed to Middle Georgia College.
Cece Hill, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, committed to Middle Georgia College.
Clay Scott, on track to graduate from Jackson County in 2004, committed to Carson Newman College.
Jarvis Hunter, on track to graduate from Jefferson in 2004, undecided but expected to commit soon.
Tierre Shields, on track to graduate from Jefferson in 2004, undecided but expected to commit soon.
Did we miss anyone? If you know of a local athlete that is excelling in college currently, please contact The Herald sports department at (706) 367-2348 or at

Region showdown
First-place teams to clash in Danielsville
The scoreboard watching will end Friday and so might much of the speculation over who’s the region’s top dog.
Madison County (15-5, 13-3) and Newton County have been jockeying for position all year long in the race for 8-AAAA’s penthouse — winning games and waiting to see if the other will lose — but the two will get to settle it on the field in Danielsville Friday night in the long awaited double header between the two best teams in the region.
“I think we’ll be ready to play,” Raider head coach Charlie Griffeth said. “I like it that we’re at home. That’s the position you want to be in.”
Thanks to a Raider win over Winder-Barrow Tuesday night and a Newton County loss to Loganville, both teams enter tied for first with 13-3 region marks. Madison County is seeking its first region title since 1998.
Either team could stand to gain a lot from the twin bill as one squad could potentially pick up two games over the other with just four region contests remaining in the regular season.
“If you win two, you’re two games up on everybody in the region. If you lose two, you’re tied for fourth. That’s how tight the region is,” Griffeth said.
The Raiders took a pair from Newton County in dramatic fashion last year, winning 8-7 and 13-12 over in Covington.
But this year’s edition of the Rams has proved to be much-improved over the middle-tier region team of last season. Newton County, who sports several seniors on its roster, has been in first or tied for it with the Raiders for most of the year.
Much of the Rams success has come from being an

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