Area Sports...

JULY 7, 2004

4-H archers compete at state contest
Banks County 4-H’ers took aim at the Georgia 4-H Compound Archery Cham-pionship held on May 1st during the 4-H Target Challenge Weekend at Rock Eagle 4-H Center.
The Junior Team finished 1st in the competition with a score of 1,031. Team members were: Adam Edenfield, Jenna Garrison, and Jared Wagoner. In addition to winning 1st place, Adam Edenfield was the Junior High Individual at the competition with the highest overall score of 354.
Senior Team member Otis Rylee, scored 330 points in the FITA contest and 55 points on the 3-D contest.
The Cloverleaf Team finished 5th in the competition with a score of 784. Team members were: Richard Bending, Levi Loggins, and Gray Lunsford. The teams were coached by Phil Garrison and Randy Edenfield.
To complete the contest, each archer shot twelve arrows at three distances for a total of thirty-six arrows. The event culminated 6 months of weekly practices for the team. For their efforts, each team member received a 4-H Shooting Sports medal. The top teams and individuals were recognized with trophies.
The Archery Program is a part of the Georgia 4-H Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education Program (S.A.F.E.). The Georgia 4-H Foundation sponsors the program. Locally, the team is supported by Banks County 4-H, Shuler’s Deer Cooler .
4-H is the youth program of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. For more information about this program or other 4-H activities in Banks County, contact Gina K. Gailey at the Banks County Extension Service at 706-677-6231

Junior League All-Stars Going Back To State After Claiming Second-Straight District Title
Thanks to a pair of clutch wins, the junior league district title crown won’t be going anywhere but back to Commerce.
This year’s edition of Commerce’s junior league all-stars have picked up where last year’s team left off, repeating as district champions Friday night — and punching their pass to the state tournament in Baxley — after gutting out 14-13 and 4-3 title-clinching victories over Union County.
“Two things stood out,” head coach Murray Brett said. “We had a really great team last year but I think we’ve improved on our hitting and our pitching was perhaps a little stronger.”
Brett has yet to find out who his team will play at state but the team will have a week to hit the practice field to prepare before trekking down to south Georgia.
The first-round of play is set to start July 14.
If the district tournament is any indication, a battle-tested Commerce team will go into start tournament play as the squad fought its way out of the losers’ bracket at district to close the tournament with the pair of dramatic one-run wins over Union County.
The journey started with an 18-1 throttling of Lumpkin County and then continued with a 6-4 win over Towns County in the second round of the winners’ bracket.
However, the team was sent to the losers’ bracket with an 11-1 loss to Union County — which would be the first of the three games against that squad.

No panic in the Colbert streets Saturday morning, just a road race
If you awoke on the west side of Colbert around 8 a.m. Saturday morning, you probably found 150 or so people running through the streets.
No — no Fourth of July terrorist attack found this quiet country town, nor was a bull running amuck through the streets in the Spanish tradition.
It was just runners from as far away as Indiana, Texas, Missouri and South Carolina descending upon Colbert’s roads to leg it out for 3.1 miles in the city’s 17th-annual Canna 5K Run — basically Madison County’s Peachtree Road Race minus those 50,000 or so runners.
There were, of course, the many locals who laced up their shoes amongst those out-of-staters.
County educators were particularly well-represented in the event. In fact, associate superintendent of schools Allen McCannon motored in at impressive 21:13 to finish 13th. Score one for the school board office.
Then there were local sports figures like MCHS boys’ track coach Mike Haynes and MCHS girls’ head soccer coach Susanna Hawley who also braved the 3.1 mile course.
One-hundred fifty-three runners isn’t a bad turnout for this race or any race in general — especially when you consider that those 153 forked over money to run.
Which brings me to my next point.
Road racing — and its popularity — is an interesting enigma.
Paying to run is a foreign concept to some given that we pay so much money in this nation to, well, not use our feet.
You know, like how we hand over our wallets for gas so we can drive our eight-door SUV with a private movie theater in the back a block down the road to get rations of Bud Light and Southeastern Athlon.
And don’t forget, we’re also “junkies” when it comes to having fun. We’re always having to be entertained in our pastimes.
So the concept of running to the point of physical pain doesn’t exactly compute in the equation for thrill-seekers.
Because, aside from maybe trotting by some eye candy while on your run — like spotting the ocassional blonde as she runs in the opposite direction — you can count on the highlights consisting of coughing, wheezing, dry mouth and the occasional vomiting.
All 153 runners Saturday in Colbert surely felt an assortment of these “sensations.”
But maybe that’s the kicker oddly enough.
It’s the weird willingness to accept this pain in order to run the good race that makes this an admirable pursuit.
Because running for three, five or more miles is not about ballin’ or freestylin’ or any EPSN lingo that shouts “look at me.” It’s not about style points. It’s about dedication.
When it comes down to it, people do this — as Bill Clinton would say — because they can.
A runner, who puts his lungs through a blender to finish three miles in under 17 minutes, does it to prove he can pass an extreme test of physical endurance. Not because he gets a kick out of violently gasping for air.
And there are no cheering blondes around at the finish line after he’s done.
Just someone who will give an respectful nod and a pat on the back while he throws up.
“It’s good he can do that,” they’ll say, “because there’s no way I’d go through that torment.”
And in that brief moment of respect, maybe they’ll understand why a runner laces up their jogging shoes in the first place.
Ben Munro is a reporter for the Madison County Journal and the Commerce News.

Handful of locals take part in Peachtree
The 35th running of the Peachtree Road Race, the country’s largest 10K road race, saw a handful of local runners take part on Sunday. Fifteen Jackson County participants made the trip to Atlanta for the Fourth of July event, which has grown into an Independence Day staple in Atlanta over the years. Once again the race saw some 55,000 participants take part in the early morning start. Over 500 volunteers helped coordinate the start, which alone takes more than an hour to get all the runners started on the 6.2 mile run down Peachtree Road to the finish on 10th Street. By then, this year’s winner, Martin Lel of Kenya, had been savoring his victory for over half an hour.
The Peachtree is arguably the best and most famous road race in the county and this year it once again hosted the PRRO Race of Champions, the culminating event in the 5-race Professional Road Running Organization’s circuit. The elite field was drawn from the top point-earners in the circuit, however the majority of the participants were taking part for one prize in particular — the coveted Peachtree Road Race t-shirt. The shirt, which has become famous itself, is only awarded to registered participants who finish the race.
Among the county’s runners, a pair of locals tied for the best time among area participants, according to the race’s unofficial results.
Mark A. Singleton, 52, and Gary Higgins, 35, both from Braselton each finished the race in 39:27.
The top female from Jackson County was Stephanie A. McFadden, 21, of Commerce. She finished the course in 44:25.
Of the towns in Jackson County, Hoschton had the most participant’s in this year’s race, with seven.
Lel’s winning time of 28:04, was aided by cooler temperatures than were expected (it was a 71 degrees when the top-seeded runners began the race). He used the climate to average 4:52 per mile. Women’s winner Susan Chepkemei (31:55) also set a solid 5:08 per mile pace. The men’s wheelchair winner was Saul Mendoza (18:38) while Susan Roy (23:57) took the women’s wheelchair title. Men’s masters champion was Jakson Kipngok (30:11) and the women’s masters was won by Colleen De Reuck (32:31).
Other local participants taking part in the race Sunday were: Commerce — Roderick Wilson, 31, 50:33. Hoschton — George E. Baker, 44, 45:24; Alex P. King, 33, 45:48; Mark Stephens, 49, 50:02; Louis D. Pannell, 50, 51:38; William T. Norris, 53, 53:11; George A. Souza, 41, 55:41; Charlie Wetzel, 44, 58:44. Jefferson — Bert H. Elder, 46, 53:07; Duane J. Champlin, 45, 59:30. Braselton — Mark A. Singleton, 52, 39:27; Gary Higgins, 35, 39:27. Maysville — Douglas M. Cassiday, 38, 40:20.
The Peachtree Road Race’s inauguration in 1970 held few indications of the future glory it has now attained. The idea for a Fourth of July race down Atlanta’s main thoroughfare caught on the year before when a carload of Atlanta Track Club members went to Fort Benning, Ga. for its modest Independence Day run. Later, it was suggested Atlanta should have its own Fourth of July event and it was added that it could go down the main street given the light holiday traffic. Thus, approximately 110 runners gathered together at the old Sears parking lot at the corner of Peachtree Road and Roswell Road and, at 9:30 a.m. on July 4, 1970, headed downtown towards Central City Park in the first Peachtree Road Race.
The race was but one of a series of small, local races put on by the Atlanta Track Club, which began in 1964 when a group of post-collegiate runners joined together with some metro area coaches to support track and field and road running at the local level.
The 1960s were the pre-dawn of the running boom; those who ran for exercise were viewed as amusing eccentrics. Road races were small and infrequent, with runners driving long distances to take part in the low-key competitions. To help fill this void, the ATC began a modest series of races in the late 1960s, administered informally and attended by a few stalwarts. The Peachtree would became one of these races and eventually matured into the huge event that its is today.

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