Area Sports...

JUNE 16, 2004

Aikido Time
Aikido Expert Passing On Martial Arts Knowledge
Robert House went around the world to get to Broad Street in Commerce — literally.
Honing an expertise in the martial art known as Aikidio with 19 years of study and a seven-year pilgrimage to the far East during the last decade, the sensei is now passing on the knowledge of his travels here in Commerce where he’s lived with his wife and daughter since 2001.
With the ongoing renovations at the Commerce Opera House on Broad Street serving as a backdrop, House holds regular classes in his chosen discipline at the downtown locale which he and his wife bought in 2002 and now serves as their new dojo.
The building had lain dormant for more than 50 years.
The restoration of the old building is an ambitious project he and is wife, Ling, are currently tackling in order to give their “Aikido of Commerce” studio a more spacious home in addition to other potential uses. (The Houses are already holding gymnastics and cheerleading classes there.)
“Aikido of Commerce” has the distinction of being the lone martial arts establishment in Jackson County and House said response to Aikido in the city “has been great” ever since opening in 2001.
“We advertised in August (of 2001) and when he opened in September, we had 40 people already pre-registered,” House said.
There are over 60 students currently.
Most of House’s pupils converged on the Opera House this past Saturday for belt testing at the dojo, an event held about once every three months where instructions are called out in Japanese by House and students must show proficiency in various moves to achieve a higher rank. Younger pupils’ tests also include translating various Aikido terms from Japanese to English.
“I like doing that for the kids,” House said.
This form of martial arts differs from many others in that it centers on using an opponent’s energy to control or neutralize them rather than relying on kicking or punching.
“All the other martial arts I studied depended on you going back and forth, striking in some manner until your


Blaze Turner takes first place in So-Hi motocross series
Blaze Turner clenched the first place championship in the 4-6 year old 50CC class on his #7 KTM in the So-Hi Motocross Series. Blaze is currently running in the Bremen/Calhoun Maxis Supercross series.
In the So-Hi Series, Blaze accomplished the following: Most Improved Rider, 9 Hole-Shot awards, first place in the 50cc Open class, first place in the 50cc Oil Injected, eighteen first place finishes, two second place finishes, one third place finish and one seventh place finish.
Blaze also qualified for the Loretta Lynn Nationals in June. In order to qualify for the nationals, Blaze had to finish in the top eight in his age division at Echeconnee Race Park. He finished first among the other riders trying to qualify. Blaze will compete June 19 through 21 at Lazy River located in Chatsworth, where he will compete against the top 40 riders in the Southeast in the 50cc 4-6 year old age group.
Blaze is the son of Bill and April Turner, Gillsville. He has one sister, Casey. He is the grandson of: Keith and Dianne Nix and John and Frances Turner. Great-grandparents are: Peggy Jackson and the late Gene Jackson and Billy and Katie Nix.


Jackson County baseball coach Roberts resigns
Mark Mahoney takes over head baseball coaching reins
Jackson County head baseball coach and assistant football coach Scott Roberts is leaving the Panther athletic program to return to a position closer to home.
Monday the Jackson County Board of Education approved Roberts resignation and JCCHS athletic director Brent Brock confirmed the departure Tuesday.
In his place, Brock promoted assistant coach Mark Mahoney as the new Panther head baseball coach.
Mahoney has spent the past three seasons as the JCCHS fast-pitch head coach where he has enjoyed a considerable amount of success. He has also been an assistant with the Panther baseball program.
“I am very excited about the opportunity. This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Mahoney said. “I was able to work under a great coach last year...and we as a program, are going to get better and compete each day we step on the field, that means both in practice and on game day.”
The move means that Jackson County will have a different baseball coach for the third consecutive season, as Roberts took over for Van Samples prior to this past season.
Roberts will be heading back to South Georgia to be a coach at Colquitt County, according to Brock. He had been with JCCHS since 2002.
Clarke Central’s Standridge
named new Panther
offensive coordinator
The offensive coordinator position with the Jackson County football team vacated by Roberts departure will be filled by Warren Standridge, who was hired Monday night. Standridge was the offensive coordinator for Clarke Central in 2003 under Gladiator head coach William DeVane.
Standridge, a Jackson County native, will also coach quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, Brock said. The Panthers and Gladiators are both members of Region 8-AAAA.


Jefferson remains top public school in Directors Cup
Jackson County finishes in top half of Class AAAA on the strength of strong girls programs
As has been the case the last several years, Jefferson’s athletic program was once again the top public school in Class A in the recently released Georgia Athletic Directors Association’s Directors Cup standings.
The standings, which rate athletic departments in all Georgia High School Association classifications, ranked Jefferson fifth in Class A, trailing only first-place Landmark Christian, followed by Brookstone, Athens Academy, and Savannah Country Day. JHS’s 560 total points were 200 behind the first-place War Eagles.
Jefferson has consistently been the top public school in the rankings since GADA began presenting the award annually in the 1999-2000 school year.
Among boys programs, Jefferson ranked fourth with 300 points and the girls were fifth with 260 points. Scoring for the standings awards 100 points for state championships, 80 for state runner-up showings, 60 for third and fourth-place finishes, and 40 for places five through eight within the classification.
Among programs in Region 8-A, Jefferson was second overall, trailing only Athens Academy. The Dragons received 100 points apiece for winning Class A state wrestling and boys track and field state championships respectively. However, JHS was not awarded any points for winning the Class A state wrestling duals title. Slow-pitch softball, which Jefferson will replace with fast-pitch next season, brought home 80 points for finishing second in the state this past season.
Cheerleading, girls basketball, girls track and field, girls tennis and boys golf all brought in 40 points each for their respective fifth through eighth place finishes. Although Athens Academy was the region’s top performer, the Spartans lone state championship came in boys tennis. Their overall balance allowed them to win the crown however, especially in boys sports. Academy amassed 430 of their 710 points in boys athletics. Boys golf, girls tennis and girls cross country teams from Academy all earned 80 points apiece for finishing second in the state this past season.


‘Summer training’
MCHS baseball team hones skills with summer baseball schedule
It’s a lot like Major League baseball’s spring training — except a lot hotter.
The Madison County baseball team is currently in the middle of its 22-game summer schedule which helps bridge the regular season and the fall ball slate and keep skills sharpened.
“Basically, it’s just a way to evaluate new players and improve skill level,” said Raider head baseball coach Charlie Griffeth who coaches the summer team by himself. “It’s kind of like spring training — you don’t really care about wins and losses. It just lets them play some more.”
Madison County has played just six games so far this summer due to rainouts and cancellations. In fact, the group hasn’t seen any action since last Monday.
The Raiders were to break its hiatus tonight though in a 5:55 p.m contest with Cedar Shoals’ summer team while a weekend tournament at Hart County should also help to shake off the cob webs as the team will get in five games in three days.
This year’s summer slate is perhaps a bit more beneficial since the program is losing eight seniors off last years team and has to get a host of juniors ready by next spring.
Among that group, Griffeth noted that Chaz Perry “is hitting as good as any one” while pitcher Josh Strickland “has thrown well.”
“We’re trying to get people in the right places,” Griffeth said. “We only get three weeks of practice and one week of that is tryouts.”
Griffeth added that some schools really play up their summer slate,

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