Here’s a look at what the local high school teams did in their respective spring sports:
(1 state title, 2 region titles)
The Faith Christian Academy Lions won the area’s only state championship in 2012, as the Lions steamrolled through the ICSGA all season long. After consecutive second-place finishes at state in 2010 and 2011, the Lions finally broke through and won the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama Athletic Association (ICSGA) state title May 3 with a score of 339 to finish 13 strokes ahead of Creekside Christian. The Lions were led by Chris Flake’s 81 and Jake Farrell’s 83 that day en route to the state title.
On April 23, the Spalding High Jaguars golf team won its third consecutive Region 4-AAA title with a score of 316, a winning margin of 48 strokes which happened to be a school record. The Jags were led by Jake Harpe that day, but Carson Willis, Parker Plageman, Tye Waller and others performed well all season for Spalding, which finished third at state, its highest finish ever. Also on April 23, Spalding’s Emma Johnston shot a 99 to finish as low medalist at the girls Region 4-AAA Championship. Johnston became the first Lady Jags golfer to win an individual region title since Caitlyn Cook in 2005.
(1 region title)
Spalding High boys and girls head tennis coach Greg Crawford said before the season started that his boys team was primed for a great season and he was exactly right. The Jags steamrolled through Region 4-AAA all season and capped off their tremendous season with the Region 4-AAA title on April 19. The Jags didn’t stop there — led by singles players Brett Piland, Hez Apperson and Colby Willis and the doubles teams of Andrew Winter/Daniel Blake and Barrett Lavender/Ben Eady — the boys team advanced all the way to the state Final Four, where they lost to North Springs 3-0. The Jags finished 17-4 overall.
The Lady Jags did a great job as well, getting to the region tourney finals and also advancing to the state second round before losing to West Laurens.
At Griffin High, the Bears and Lady Bears tennis teams played hard, but only the Lady Jags made the Region 3-AAAA Tournament. The Lady Bears, who were led by Rebecca Rose Hill, Forrest Dukes and others all season, lost to Starr’s Mill in the opening-round of the region tournament.
TRACK AND FIELD
(1 region title)
The Spalding Lady Jags won the Region 4-AAA title with a score of 134.5 at Sandy Creek High on April 21. Led by high-point winner Dominique Nock and field standouts Chadneeshia Arnold and Mary Owen Howell, the Lady Jags managed to snag their second straight region crown for head coach Dolores Owen. The Lady Jags had several individuals and both relay teams qualify for the state track meet in 2012.
The Griffin High track and field teams performed decently all year, but didn’t break through at their region championships this season.
(0 region titles)
The Spalding boys and girls soccer teams competed very well in 2012, with the Jags nearly winning the Region 4-AAA title. A crushing 2-1 home loss to Sandy Creek spoiled the Jags’ plans for a region championship, but the Jags didn’t hang their heads. Instead, led by Harrison Turner, Jake Jeffcoat, Braxton Stephens, Kent Hinton and several others, they reeled off two straight wins to qualify for the state playoffs as a No. 2 seed, blanking the Westside-Augusta Patriots 2-0 in first-round action at Memorial Stadium before falling 4-0 to Carrollton in the state second round. Spalding finished 13-5-1 overall.
On the girls side, the Lady Jags won 6 of their first 8 matches before suffering devastating losses to Eagle’s Landing and Eastside to drop out of contention for a second straight region title. Thanks to stellar play from Myra Fisher, Olivia O’Brien, Natalia Jones, Madison Stewart, Madison Stansell and many others, the Lady Jags rebounded to win their six remaining regular season matches and whip Harlem 9-0 in first-round state playoff action before falling to St. Pius X 6-0 in second-round action. The Lady Jags had an outstanding 11 shutout wins this spring, including 5 run-rule victories, and finished 13-5 overall.
The Griffin boys and girls soccer teams didn’t have winning seasons this year, but they played as hard as they could in each match. Cleavon Jackson, Brandon King, Dominique Appling, Martin Gutierrez and Marcus Stringer did well for the Bears and Summer Griffeth, Rachel Mullis, Michelina Walcott, Priscilla Perez, Christina Odom, Katelyn Handley, Emily Betsill and Faith Lozano all worked hard for the Lady Bears.
(1 region title)
The Spalding High Jaguars, led by five seniors (Casey Moody, Austin Smith, Matt Hayes, Michael Martin and Robert Green) and a great group of role players, played stellar ball during the regular season. They recovered from an 0-2 start — the first time in several years the Jags lost two straight regular-season contests — to capture the 2012 Region 4-AAA Championship, making it back-to-back region titles for the first time in team history. The Jags embarked on another win streak (11 straight) and while they didn’t smash the ball like they did in 2011 (mainly due to the new bats), they scored runs in bunches at times and played solidly down the stretch when it was necessary.
Spalding (22-9 overall) defeated Westside-Augusta 2-games-to-1 in the state first-round before falling to Carrollton 2-1 in the second round.
Griffin finished 8-16 overall and suffered through another long losing streak — this time it was 9 straight games. The Bears may have found gems in pitcher Daniel Gooden and infielder Cornelius Randolph, who had good years on the mound and at the plate for Griffin High.
Griffin Christian lost a team of seniors from the 2011 squad and had to work with a bunch of newcomers and young players, but they competed as well as they could in a tough GISA Region 2-AAA. The Crusaders finished 3-17 overall and won one region contest, a 4-3 victory over Trinity Christian.
Skipstone Academy started its inaugural season in 2012 and won nearly 10 games.