The team set Magner up for a spectacular win in Stage Six.
“It was the last stage so we looked over the race route and paid special attention to the final 10k run into the finish,” Team Director, Thomas Craven was quoted saying on the team’s website. “We marked all the final turns and bridges and tried to figure out the elevation changes and turns with the different bridges, turns and roundabouts.”
From there it came down to strategy.
“We knew we were going to come down off a bridge, exit to the right and then make a sharp left almost a U turn to the finish,” said Craven. “Ty and the team amassed at the front and shot the gap at the front of the field, made the U turn at the front and let Ty loose, he instantly had a 100m gap so he kept on going.”
Magner also won the USA Elite Road National Championships in Augusta on June 22 and the Grant Park Criterium last year each in dramatic fashion with sprints at the end.
Local golfer Tye Waller set the world on fire this summer. Waller, who was a freshman on the three-time region championship team at Spalding High in the spring, won three tournaments in a row on the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour this summer, including the SJGT Championship at the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club in Montgomery, Ala., with a blazing 66-74-67—207 in the 14-15 Division.
Prior to that he scored victories in the SJGT Junior Peach Blossom at the Hour Idle Club in Macon in June with a 74-69—143 and the Brunswick Junior Classic at the Bruswick Country Club in July with a 71-71—142. Not bad considering he started the summer with a 68-72—140 to place second at the Orchard Hills Junior Classic in May.
Of all the players in the 14-15 Division on the SJGT who played 10 or more rounds, Waller had the lowest stroke average (71.27).
Waller finished runner-up with a 78 in the individual standings to teammate Jake Harpe (74) when the Jags won the region championship for the third consecutive year in April at Heron Bay. Waller also went on to finish runner-up (71) in the state Class AAA tournament at the Augusta Country Club in May.
Early in the summer, Waller shot a final-round 73 to finish in a four-way tie for 5th place in the 47th annual Georgia Junior Championship golf tournament at the Doublegate Country Club in Albany.
Waller (72-72-73—217), who opened with back-to-back rounds of even par, started the final round in a two-way tie for 4th. The top-8 finishers of the Georgia Junior Championship automatically qualified for the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match later in the summer.
Round-one leader Lee Brannon choked on a piece of steak Saturday night, had to have the Heimlich maneuver performed on him by his brother-in-law and was later taken to the hospital where he wasn’t released until around 11 p.m. A few hours later Brannon did anything but choke as he added a closing-round 69 Sunday to his opening-round 69 to win the R.P. Shapard Jr. Griffin City Championship by seven strokes at the Griffin City Golf Course.
“I played better than I thought I would,” said Brannon, who became the tournament’s first two-time winner in nine years, since Chris Rivers (2000 and 2003).
Brannon, who also won the tournament in 2008, started the final round tied for the lead with 2009 champion Joey Tinsley. But in a round where Tinsley didn’t produce a single birdie, Brannon shot out of the gate with birdies at No. 2 and 3.
“I got off to a good start with birdies at 2 and 3 and that made a big difference,” said Brannon.
The boys basketball and the girls volleyball teams at Griffin Christian enjoyed their greatest season in modern times, each reaching the state finals.
Before the basketball season started, Griffin Christian head coach Mic Savage thought his team was good enough to make it to the state finals. Teams he said had similar potential included Bethesda and defending state champ Mount Vernon Presbyterian.
Savage turned out to be prophetic in more ways than one as the greatest season in the modern history of Griffin Christian came to an end with a 71-46 loss to No. 1-state ranked Bethesda in the finals of the GISA Class AAA state championship at Georgia College. It came 48 hours after Bethesda eliminated No. 2-state ranked Mount Vernon Presbyterian 73-56 in a state semifinal-round game.
On the day of the finals, Bethesda, which resides in Savannah, dominated again in a game Griffin Christian never led in as the Blazers (27-3) claimed their first title in school history and Griffin Christian (20-8) saw its greatest season ever in the GISA come to an end.
The Griffin Christian volleyball team’s stellar season saw the Lady Crusaders advance to the Class AA state finals for the first time ever. Unfortunately for the Lady Crusaders (28-3), they fell one match short of their first GISA state title, losing the state finals 20-25, 18-25 and 21-25 to the Frederica Academy Lady Knights at Augusta Prep Day School.
The greatest season in Spalding High boys tennis history came to an end with a 3-0 loss to No. 2-state ranked North Springs in the Class AAA state semifinals at The Beach in Jonesboro.
“They were the second-ranked team in the state behind (defending state champion) Woodward Academy, so we knew we had our hands full coming in,” Jaguars head coach Greg Crawford said.
It showed as Spalding No. 1 singles player Brett Piland lost 6-1, 6-2 before the No. 1 doubles team of Daniel Blake and Andrew Winter also lost 6-1, 6-2. The deciding team point came when Hez Apperson lost 6-2, 6-3 at No. 2 singles at which time Spalding’s No. 2 doubles team of Ben Eady and Barrett Lavender was pulled from the court in a match they were trailing in 6-4.
Jags No. 3 singles player, Colby Willis, never even made it onto the court.
Still, Crawford couldn’t help but be overjoyed by the season his team had. The Spalding boys team not only won its second region championship in school history and first since 2006, it also far eclipsed any of its predecessors by going at least four rounds deep into the state playoffs — well ahead of the team’s previous best run of two rounds set in 2002 and matched in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Crawford saw Saturday less as an ending and more as a beginning for a team that returns every player next season.
Freshman Tye Waller shot 1-under 71 and junior Carson Willis shot even-par 72 to lead the Spalding High golf team to its greatest finish ever — third place — this spring in the Class AAA state championship at Augusta Country Club.
Led by Waller, who finished runner-up in the individual standings three strokes off the pace set by low medalist Parks Brown of state champion Gainesville, and Willis, who finished in sole possession of third place in the 103-player field, Spalding matched last year’s school state tournament record stroke total of 302.
“It was the best showing we ever had,” said Jags head coach Rusty Hudson, whose team shot 302 last year but placed fourth and 303 to place tied for fourth in 2010. “We played well.”
Spalding’s team — comprised of three freshman, two sophomores and a junior — surprised many.
Spalding High’s Dominique Nock enjoyed a banner weekend at the 2012 Class AAA state track and field championships in Albany. The senior, who finished third in the long jump (17-7 1/4) on Friday, also finished third in the the 100 and 200-meter dashes at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
In the process, Nock — who qualified fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.51 on Thursday in the preliminaries — set a school record (12.1) in the 100 on Saturday. Later in the day, Nock — who qualified second in the 200-meter dash with a school-record run of 24.75 two days earlier — ran a 25.1 in the 200.
Spalding’s 4x100 relay team of Grenisha Daniel, Shaquoria Reid, Veronica Anderson and Nock — which had the seventh fastest qualifying time (48.55) in preliminaries — ran a 48.7 on Saturday to place seventh in the finals.
A pair of locals, Max Gresham and Bobby Rainey, turned pro this year and hit the big stage — Greshman in NASCAR Truck Series and Rainey in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens.
Local race car driver Max Gresham, who won the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title in 2011, moved up in the racing world. The 18-year-old, who cut his teeth racing in the Thursday Night Thunder Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway, competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2012.
Gresham drove the No. 24 truck for Joe Denette Motorsports, running in 13 races. His best finishes were 11th in the Kroger 200 and 12th in the WinStar World Casiono 350 at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Rainey, a 5-foot-8 dynamo who ended his career as Western Kentucky all-time leading rusher with 4,542 yards, was signed this as an undrafted rookie free agent by the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens not long after the 2012 NFL Draft ended. Later, he was the last player cut and signed to the team’s practice squad. Rainey (knee) was later replace on injured reserve status in the middle of November.
Long noted as a school with strong spring sports, Spalding High might have outdone itself during a five-day stretch this spring when it grabbed every main headline on the sports pages in the Griffin Daily News for four consecutive days on the way to winning four region team titles. Included in the run were three individual event winners, two low medalists and a high-point winner.
This tear’s run started with the Greg Crawford-coached boys tennis team which
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claimed its first and only other region championship since 2006 on the afternoon of April 19 by defeating Sandy Creek 3-1 in the Region 4-AAA finals at the Gerald A. Matthews complex in Lovejoy, Ga.
A few hours later (after deadline), the Mickey Moody-coached Spalding High baseball team put the finishing touches on its second region championship in a row and fifth overall — 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011 being the others — to win back-to-back titles for the first time in the team’s 12-year history.
Not to be outdone, 48 hour later the Dolores Owen-coached Spalding High girls track and field team scored 134 1/2 points in the Region 4-AAA championship at Sandy Creek High School, in Tyrone, Ga., to also win back-to-back region championships. Paving the way for Spalding was high-point winner Dominique Nock. Individual event region champions included Nock with a run of 12.21 in the 100-meter dash, freshman Chadneeshia Arnold with a throw of 120-05 in the discus and Mary Owen Howell with a height of 7-0 in the pole vault.
No teams were in action on Sunday, but 48 hours after the track team celebrated the Rusty Hudson-coached boys golf team won the region championship for the third year in a row and for a school-record sixth time overall to celebrate at Canongate at Heron Bay in Locust Grove, Ga. The Jags fought off winds of 30-35 mph to shoot a 316 to top their nearest competitor in the seven-team field by 48 strokes. It was the Jaguars largest margin of victory ever at region, easily eclipsing the team’s 36-stroke victory in the 2005 region championship at the Griffin country Club.
Paving the way was low medalist Jake Harpe with a 2-over 74. By winning the sophomore joined former Jags Corey Dinkins (2005), Brett Upson (2006) and Henry Mabbett (2008, 2010 and 2011) as region champs. Not to be outdone, Spalding High’s lone entry in the girls Region 4-AAA championship, Emma Johnston, cared a 99 which was good enough to finish low medalist also at Canongate at Heron Bay on the same day to become the Lady Jags first individual region champion since Caitlyn Cook in 2005.