The 2009-10 school year was a pretty successful one for the area high school teams and athletes. The area teams won five region championships, nine individual track athletes were region champions in their particular events and Jenna Wesley of Spalding High finished as Class AAA state champion in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:15.11 at the girls state track and field meet in Albany, Ga.
Wesley, a rising senior, is the first female athlete at Spalding High to finish as a state champ in the school’s history.
Griffin High and Spalding had two region championship teams each this past school year and Griffin Christian High ended up with one, as the Crusaders won the GISA Region 4-AA football title with a 20-14 double-overtime win over Flint River on Oct. 30.
The Griffin High region titles were won in football and girls tennis while the Spalding High region titles were won in softball and golf.
The nine individual track region champs were Griffin’s Denarius Appling (100 m dash), Buck Hancock (200 m dash), Walter Forts (discus), Cartavious Woods (shot put) and Spalding’s Wesley (800 m), Stanariel Phinazee (high jump, 400 m run) and Dominique Nock (long jump). In boys track, the Griffin 4x100 relay team of Chandler Worthy, Tyree Mathis, Appling and Hancock were region champs and the Spalding girls 4x400 relay team of Phinazee, Nock, Grenisha Daniels and Wesley were region champs.
The school year started with four of the area’s five high school football teams making the playoffs this past school year, with Spalding qualifying for state for the first time since 2003.
Griffin made consecutive state Final Fours for the first time since 1979-80 and Faith Christian Academy went 7-4, making the playoffs in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama Athletic Association (ICSGA).
In softball, both Griffin and Spalding qualified for state, with region champ Spalding lasting until the Sweet 16 while Griffin lost in the first round.
In basketball, both Spalding teams made the state playoffs for the second straight year with the girls actually winning the first state game in school history against Crisp County. The Lady Jags managed to knock off Washington County in the Sweet 16 before losing to Kendrick in the Elite 8.
In other girls basketball action, the Skipstone Academy Lady Warriors advanced to the ICSGA title game, losing to North Ga. Christian 40-25.
The Spalding boys basketball team lost in the first round of state.
The GCHS boys basketball team achieved many ‘firsts’ this past year: It won 20 games, won region tournament games, made it to the region title game against Arlington and qualified for the GISA state playoffs. The Crusaders finished the year 22-7.
The spring produced more winning in the area, as three local baseball teams qualified for the state playoffs. Spalding and Griffin made consecutive berths — in fact, Griffin has qualified for state for 3 years in a row, the first time that’s happened in decades — while GCHS made it after a one-year absence.
The Spalding girls tennis team joined the Griffin football team as the second area team to make it to the state Final Four, while the Griffin girls tennis team, Region 4-AAAA champs, lost in the state first round.
In boys tennis, Spalding made it to the Sweet 16 after losing in the first round last season.
In soccer, the Spalding boys and the Griffin girls qualified for state, but lost in the first round. The Spalding girls made it to the second round, beating Peach County before losing to Columbus on the road.
The Spalding High golf team steamrolled through its schedule this season, winning 9 straight before losing and then rolling again to capture the Region 4-AAA title. The Jags golfers tied for fourth in the state with a score of 303 at the Maple Ridge Golf Club in Columbus earlier this month.