All of the pages have been turned and the book closed on the 2013-2014 school year in Barrow County.
As such, another high school athletic season has also come to another conclusion. Local athletes are already working for the upcoming school year and it won’t be long before football returns on Friday nights, softball players take the diamond and cross country and volleyball athletes begin their new seasons.
There was plenty which occurred locally in 2013-2014, which is usually the case over the course of a school year. Some of the highlights include:
•The end of the David Wagner era arrived for Winder-Barrow High School football after four years. Despite not having the success he would have liked with the Bulldoggs, Wagner will do well moving forward at Flowery Branch High School.
•A tough 0-10 season for the Apalachee High School football program has players and coaches eager to return to the field to remove that memory.
•The return of former WBHS boys basketball coach Ron Garren to his former position corrected a wrong done many years ago. Times have changed, however, and the decision to bring Garren back (he should have never been forced out to begin with) has the program on sound ground.
•Another memorable season for the Apalachee High School boys basketball team, which included a trip to the state tournament. Coach Kevin Morris continues to work wonders with the program and has provided a stable hand of leadership for the Wildcats.
•Another record-breaking season was turned in by the AHS volleyball team. Coach Joey Alfonso has done tremendous things with the program and helped put it in the spotlight.
•More success by the WBHS cross country teams, led by coach Michael Lofton. This has really become the norm year in and year out.
•A trip to the Elite Eight for the Bethlehem Christian Academy boys basketball team and coach Mark Barth.
•A standout season was enjoyed by the WBHS girls golf team this spring.
•The WBHS softball team, coached by Monty McClure, made a trip to Columbus as one of the top squads in the state. McClure has done a solid job in building the program into a winner.
•The hiring of Heath Webb as WBHS football coach seems to have energized a fan base which hasn’t had a lot to get excited about in a long time. It won’t happen overnight, but Webb’s brand of fast-break football should benefit the program and help the Bulldoggs earn some respect once again.
•Matt Moore was simply too strong to stop on the wrestling mat for AHS. Moore finished his senior season with a state title and an undefeated record. Moore is preparing to compete at the University of North Carolina this upcoming school year.
•The BCA baseball team won its second state title in as many years. Now the program is set to move up in classification. With all team members returning, however, don’t be surprised if the Knights continue their winning ways.
•Personal and program records were broken on a regular basis by the WBHS swimming team, coached by Jennifer Blevins. In a few years, Blevins has helped make the Swim Doggs a force to be dealt with.
•Long-time WBHS cheerleading coach Jerrie Hulsey retired after starting the program from scratch and leading it to numerous state championships.
•Long-time AHS coach Mike Cavey, who directed the school’s baseball and softball programs, has moved on to other ventures. Cavey, who was always a big help to me and this newspaper, will be missed.
•And the big news recently was the selection of WBHS graduate Max Pentecost in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Pentecost helped the Kennesaw State Owls advance to a Super Regional before falling to Louisville last weekend. This is the second time in his career that Pentecost has been drafted. It appears this time he will become a professional baseball player.
These are just a few of the highlights from the 2013-2014 school year. No list of this nature is ever really complete. However, it is worth mentioning the ones above.
Our local athletes and coaches work hard year around to be successful. Let’s pack the stands on Friday nights and the gyms during the winter sports seasons. The players and coaches deserve — and need — your support. It will be interesting to see what the new school year brings. As always, it will be fun to watch and chronicle on these pages.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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