September 2017 Athlete of the Month

September 2017 Athlete of the Month

Cherokee High School

Brittany Duck, Senior, Cheerleading

Brittany is the daughter of Cheryl and Christopher Duck.  She is a member of the Varsity Sideline and Competition Cheer squads for Cherokee High School.

Brittany plans to study Biomedical Sciences in college while also cheering wherever she ends up.  After college, she plans to attend med school to pursue a career in plastic surgery.  She is a Superintendent Key Scholar recipient, a Scholar Athlete and has received the Cheerleading Leadership Award.  She represents the Senior Class this year as the Senior Class President.

Upon her selection of the CHS Female Athlete of the Month for September, Coach Sharpe had this to say “Brittany is a determined, hardworking student athlete who has stepped up to the plate this year and exhibited great leadership skills.  She is a pleasure to be around and very deserving of this honor.”



Mykal Reed-Hogue, Junior, Cross-Country

Mykal is the son of Tiana and Harold Hogue.  He is a member of the Cross-Country team.  He has participated in Basketball and Track.

Mykal hopes to get an athletic scholarship for Track.  His dream would be to run in the Olympics.   Coach Jennifer Jones had this to say about Mykal’s selection as the CHS Male Athlete of the Month “Mykal is an exceptionally talented runner with a noteworthy work ethic.  He is a shining example to his teammates.  He is driven, motivated, and respectful.  Any coach would be lucky to have him on their team.  There is no doubt in my mind that he will achieve his dreams if he continues to reach for the stars through hard work and dedication.”


Creekview High School

Hanna Siefert, Junior, Volleyball

Hanna is the daughter of Jennifer and Joe Siefert.  She is a member of the Creekview Varsity Volleyball team.

Hanna has been on Varsity Volleyball for two years and has stepped up in leading her teammates. She has been a key player in helping her teammates with skills and their position. She has an eye for the game by analyzing the opponent’s team and motivating/encouraging our team during practice and timeouts. She does this while juggling a rigorous course load and preparing for club volleyball outside of practice.  Hanna’s club team won Nationals this year for their age group.  She plans to play Volleyball in college.



Devin Smades, Senior, Football

Devin is the nephew of Jennifer and Sean Smades.  He is a member of the Varsity Football program for Creekview High School.

Last season Devin played Football at Ballston Spa High School in New York.  He moved to Creekview during the summer and has been a team leader ever since he arrived in the program.  Devin works hard to every practice and has earned the respect of his teammates during just a short time.  The energy and competitive flare the Devin brings to the field everyday has proven that he is a great leader for the program.  Devin hopes to play college football somewhere in the South.

Etowah High School

Emilie Watson, Junior, Softball

Emilie is the daughter Lisa and John Watson.  She is a member of the Etowah Varsity Softball team.

Emilie hopes to attend Georgia Southern for her core classes and then transfer to another bigger college to pursue her dreams of becoming a Veterinarian.   She is a recipient of the Coaches Award, MVP for travel ball, Offensive and Defensive Player of the year and is a Scholar Athlete.

Coach Carter had this to say on Emilie’s selection of September Athlete of the Month “Emilie has been an offensive threat in all games that we have played.  She is a true team player in playing multiple positions through the first couple of games.  She is always willing to do what is necessary to help the team succeed.”


Jake Weitkamp, Senior, Football

Jake is the son of Cheri and Roger Weitkamp.  He is a member of the Varsity Football program at Etowah High School.

Jake plans to attend college after graduation where he hopes to continue his football career.  Jake is a Superintendent’s Key Scholar recipient.  He has represented the Eagles as a member of the All County Defense in 2016, All Region Honorable Mention in 2016, and the 2017 Cherokee County Super Six.  He received the Cherokee County Iron Man and the Lifter of the Year Awards for 2016.

From Coach Svehal on Jake’s selection of the September Athlete of the Month “Jake is a great student who will be a Captain and a returning starter.  I am excited to watch him be a leader on and off the field.”

River Ridge High School

Paige Taylor, Senior, Softball

Paige is the daughter of Kay and Tony Taylor.  She is a member of the Varsity Softball team at River Ridge.

Paige plans to attend Georgia State and play Softball after high school.  She is a 3x All Region player, 2x Golden Glove recipient, a member of an RRHS Elite 8 team, has been selected as the team MVP and was a runner-up in the ASA Nationals in 2017.

When asked his thoughts about Taylor’s selection as the River Ridge Female Athlete of the Month for September, Coach Marinelli said “Paige is a natural leader on and off the softball field.  In the classroom she has a 3.8 GPA and has represented her team well as a 3 time All Region Player.”


Daniel Steele, Freshmen, Cross-Country

Daniel is the son of Linda and Shawn Steele.  He is a member of the Varsity Cross-Country team at River Ridge.

Daniel plans to continue his education while running.  He hopes to one day become an Engineer.   Daniel is proud of his personal record of 19:47 at the Chick-Fil-A 5K.

Coach Hooper acknowledges all the hard work that Daniel put in during pre-season training and congratulates him on his record at the Chick-Fil-A 5K.

Sequoyah High School

Karen Morris, Senior, Volleyball

Karen is the daughter of Lisa and Randy Morris.  She is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team at Sequoyah High School.

Karen plans to attend Gardner Webb to major in Psychology and minor in Visual Arts.  She hopes to also play Volleyball while attending college.  Her recognitions include, being a member of the 2016 Cherokee Tribune and 2016 Ledger-News All County Volleyball Second Teams, a 2015 All County Honorable Mention, a member of the 2015 Runner-Up State Championship team, a member of the 2014 State Championship team, selected as the 2015 Area 7AAAAA All-Area Volleyball First Team, the 2016 Area 6AAAAA All-Area Volleyball First Team and represented the 2016-17  team as Team Captain.  She will be a four-year letter recipient.

“Karen has taken on one of the leadership roles freely, with the understanding of how important being a positive vocal team member is.  Her presence on and off the court can be seen and heard.  Karen is also a teammate that will keep the team focused on what is needed to be accomplished.” – Coach John Edwards


Kameron Schofield, Senior, Cross Country

Kameron is the son of Terri Houff and Kevin Schofield.  He is a member of the Track, Cross-Country and Basketball teams at Sequoyah.

Although Kameron is currently undecided on college, he hopes to run Track and Cross- Country and WIN the 2020 Olympics.   Kameron’s accomplishments while at Sequoyah include being a Sequoyah MVP, a Rising Star, State Champion, All County and All Region for Track and Field.  He has been the Athlete of the Year for Sequoyah.  His academic recognition includes Academic Letter recipient, Scholar Athlete award and a member of the Junior Honor Society.

“On Saturday, Kameron placed 7th in his first ever Cross Country race. He ran 10:38 in the Hoya 2 Mile Invitational.  Kameron led the way for Boys Varsity, placing 2nd overall” Coach James Adams.


Woodstock High School

Laura Bishop, Junior, Fast-Pitch and Slow-Pitch Softball, Basketball

Laura is the daughter of Marla and Robert Bishop.  She is a member of the Varsity Fast-Pitch Softball, the Varsity Slow-Pitch Softball and Basketball teams at Woodstock High School.

Laura hopes to play Softball in college and receive a great education.  She has received the following honors 2015 Pitcher of the Year, 2015 and 2016 All Region 1st Team, 2016 All County First Team, 2015 All State Honorable Mention, and a recipient of the 2016 WHS Softball Academic Award.  Laura was a member of the 2016 Region Championship and Sweet 16 Fast-Pitch Softball team.   She also received the 2015 Defensive Player of the Year Award for WHS.

Laura Bishop is  athlete of the month at Woodstock High School for reasons beyond her athletic achievement. Ms. Bishop is a natural born leader due to her strong work ethic and “can do” attitude. She is always willing to go above and beyond when her teammates are concerned. There is never a hesitation when called upon to lead by example. In addition to her strong moral character, Ms. Bishops excels in the classroom as well as on the field, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. On the field, Laura has been the catalyst for helping to turn this program around. In the circle, she has dominated her opponents recording 37 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. Her ERA stands at 0.875 with a 3-1 record. I am honored coach  Laura Bishop and look forward to her continued success.


Evan Cowart, Senior, Cross-Country, Football, JV Soccer, Track

Evan is the son of Rhonda and Greg Cowart.  He is a member of the Cross-Country Team, Football and JV Soccer Teams as well as Track.

Evan plans to attend college and major in Engineering or Law.  He was a 2016 State Qualifier for Cross-Country and invited to participate in the Coaches Invitational Meet for Track.  He is a Superintendent Key Scholar recipient, Academic letter achiever and a 3 sport Letterman.

Coach had this to say about Evan’s selection of September Male Athlete of the Month “Evan is one of Woodstock’s best. HE is a leader by example both in the classroom and on the course. Evan is the first to show up for practice at 5:30 a.m. and works very hard every day. He has been a great leader during his senior year and is very positive among his teammates. I enjoy watching Evan because he always gives it his all.”

August 2017 Athletes of the Month

Cherokee HS | Creekview HS | Etowah HS | River Ridge HS | Sequoyah HS | Woodstock HS

Cherokee High School

Britney Cherry, Junior, Volleyball

Britney is the daughter of Jayme and Steve Cherry. She is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team at Cherokee.

Britney was selected as Cherokee’s female Athlete of the Month for her hard work and dedication during the off season this summer.  She is the ideal teammate who works hard every day to make the team better.




Hampton Humphries, Junior, Football

Hampton is the son of Preston Humphries.  He is a member of the Varsity Football team at Cherokee.

Hampton will be the Warriors starting quarterback for the upcoming season.  Head Coach Josh Shaw, had this to say about Hampton “he has worked hard to lead the Warriors this summer on the field and in the weight room.”  He plans to attend college as a musical producer/sound engineer.






Creekview High School

Nyah Hernandez, Sophomore, Cross Country

Nyah is the daughter of Kip Clark and Francisco Hernandez.  She is a member of the Creekview Cross Country team and the Track team.

Nyah was a 3X State Champion in her freshmen year.  She won the 2016 Cross Country State Championships and the 1600m and 3200m at the 2016 Track State Championship.  She has the eighth fastest time in Georgia state history in the 3200m, with a time of 10:38.  Nyah qualified for the New Balance Outdoor Track Nationals and was named the Cherokee County Track athlete of the year as a freshmen.  She was also named the Georgia Track freshmen of the year for the 2017 season.


Eli Daugherty, Sophomore, Wrestling

Eli is the son of Robin and Fred Daugherty.  He is a member of the Wrestling team.

Eli earned State Wrestling Championships in Freestyle and Greco Roman competition.  With these championships, Eli earned the opportunity to represent team Georgia in national competitions.  He traveled to York, PA and competed in the USA Wrestling National Duals.  Eli went 9-7 in that tournament helping team Georgia to an 11th place finish in the Freestyle competition.  In July, he traveled to Fargo, ND for the USA Wrestling Cadet National Championships, there he finished 2-2 in the top 24 in the country.



Etowah High School

Brooke VonSeeger Senior Track and Field, Softball

Brooke is the daughter of Cheryl and Chris VonSeeger.  She is a member of the Track and Field team and the Softball team.

Brooke is the recipient of the Eagle, S.O.A.R., the UGA Certificate of Merit, Academic and Community Service letters.  She is also a 3-year letter Athlete and Scholar Athlete.  She plans to attend the University of Georgia, majoring in Business and Human Communication Services.  Brooke was selected as the Etowah female Athlete of the Month because of her extreme work ethic and willingness to do anything needed to support her teams.


Kevin Jepson, Senior, Football and Baseball



Kevin is the son of Janeen and Mike Jepson. He is a member of the Varsity Football and Baseball teams.

Kevin has lettered in both Football and Baseball.  Kevin was selected as the August Athlete of the Month for his excellent leadership on the field and his great work ethic, especially this summer in the weight room.




River Ridge High School

Lauren Talele, Senior, Volleyball

Lauren is the daughter of Kellie & Tushar Talele.  She is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team.

Lauren is a member of the National Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, BETA Club, and the River Ridge Leadership Crusading Knights.  She is a Superintendent’s Key Scholar and Scholar Athlete.  She has received numerous recognitions including a nomination from the Positive Athlete Georgia Program, Athlete of the Week for Cherokee County, and the Cherokee Tribune All-County Volleyball team.  Lauren has committed to play Volleyball at Georgia College.

Lauren was selected as the River Ridge female Athlete of the Month because of her overall attitude and work ethic.  Volleyball Head Coach, Julie Winfield had the following to say about Lauren “She lives and breathes the game of volleyball year-round.  She is someone the leads by example and expects the best out of her teammates.  Lauren is every coaches dream on and off the court.  She excels in the classroom and makes that her number one priority.  She is a true representation of what a River Ridge Lady Knight is all about.”


Chris Long, Senior, Football and Track

Chris is the son of Rochelle and Mandel Long.  He is a member of the Varsity Football and Track teams.

Although, Chris is undecided in his choice of college, he plans to attend college next fall with hopes to continue playing football.

Chris was selected as the River Ridge male Athlete of the Month because of his tremendous off season.  Coach Wynn says “he has led by example for us all summer.  When asked to learn a new position on the offensive side of the ball, he spent the extra time to further his game.  Chris has always been a good student, but his dedication to getting his GPA and test scores up while also pursing the opportunity to play at the next level deserves to be commended.”


Sequoyah High School

Abby Mangum, Senior, Competition and Sideline Cheer, Tennis

Abby is the daughter of Stacey and Tim Mangum.  She is a member of the Varsity Competition Cheer Team, Sideline Cheer and Tennis teams.

Abby has emerged as a leader for both the Competition and Sideline Cheer programs at Sequoyah this month.  A restructured cheer program at Sequoyah High School has brought new coaches and a new set of expectation to the Varsity Cheerleaders.  Throughout the summer, Abby has been a voice of encouragement and positive energy for her teammates while they work together to build a new program.  SHS would like to thank Abby for exemplifying the type of attitude and work ethic that inspires others.


Cameron Stewart, Senior, Football

Cameron is new to Sequoyah and representing the Chiefs well.

Cameron came to Sequoyah in January and will be participating in his first season on the Sequoyah Football team.  His “team first” attitude and relentless effort have impressed his coaches and teammates this summer.  Moving to a new school and endearing oneself to a tight-knit community can be a challenging task, but Cameron has emerged as a leader for the Chiefs over the course of the summer.  SHS would like to recognize Cameron for his great attitude and ability to lead others even in unfamiliar territory.



Woodstock High School

Emilee Harris, Senior, Volleyball

Emilee is the daughter of Melissa and Sam Harris.   She is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team.

Emilee is a 3-year letter recipient in Volleyball and is the epitome of a dedicated student athlete.  She is a high achiever both in the class as well as on the court.  When she is not practicing with her team, she spends time training in the gym to refine her individual skills.  Emilee is passionate about her sport.  She is a leader and a nurturer.  She leads her team by encouraging them to give their maximum effort and perform at their best.  Emilee’s commitment to her school and her sport make her simply the best of the best.


Andrew Bartolero, Sophomore, Football

Andrew is the son of Stephanie and Jason Bartolero.  He is a member of the Varsity Football team.

Andrew is a talented and hardworking member of the Wolverine Football program.  Andrew’s hard work and commitment to his sport is commendable.  He has demonstrated great attendance and work ethic, as well as a positive attitude throughout the Wolverine Summer Workout Program.  As a rising sophomore, Andrew has stepped up his play and continues to work towards the goal of earning a varsity starting position.  Andrew had a great FCA camp at the University of West Georgia.  The Wolverine Nation is looking forward to watching him grow into an elite player.


Creekview leads local contingent in state golf championships

Alex Resnak 








Alex Resnak
Coming off the Area 4AAAAAA team title, Brady Keran and his Creekview teammates will vie for the Class AAAAAA state championship this week in Gainesville.


Championships will be up for grabs this week as the state golf tournament takes place Monday and Tuesday.

Led by the Area 4AAAAAA champion Creekview boys, Cherokee County has a strong group competing, with six teams and two individuals.

The Grizzlies enter the Class AAAAAA state tournament at Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Golf Club red-hot after setting a program record to win the county championship and going even lower to win at the area tournament by 14 strokes.
“Coming into the season, the goal is always to make the state tournament,” Creekview coach Jimmy Thigpen said. “Now that we’re here, it’s hard not to think we can do well. We’ve won eight of our nine tournaments this season. I have a lot of faith in my guys, so I think it’s hard to bet against them at this point.”

Brady Keran will lead Creekview after placing third as an individual last season, but he is far from the only golfer poised for a strong showing.

At the area meet, all six Creekview golfers shot under 80, with Walker Winslette, Brady Thomas and Jack Vajda joining Keran as the four golfers who contributed to the team score.

“Top to bottom, we have a lot of faith in all of our guys,” Thigpen said. “I was looking at it the other day and all 13 of guys are averaging a 78.8 (or better). It’s great to have that depth. If someone doesn’t have their best day, we know we have plenty of other guys who can pick up the slack.”

The Grizzlies will be joined in Gainesville by Sequoyah, who took the final qualifying spot from the Area 4AAAAAA tournament after finishing fifth.

The Chiefs do not have the same expectations as Sequoyah, but Hunter Clay and Thomas Brumbeloe are both set to contend as individuals.

“Our goal was to qualify, and we snuck in,” coach Jon Heath said. “We know we’re probably not quite ready to contend at the top, but I think a top-10 finish is realistic. We have a lot of young guys, so we want them to soak it all up and be ready to make it the expectation.”

The Class AAAAAA girls tournament will also take place in Gainesville, at Chicopee Golf Club, and Creekview has a chance to contend.

Led by Peyton Rich and Anna Frazer, the Lady Grizzlies finished third in the area tournament after winning the county championship. Sequoyah’s Erin Peterson will compete as an individual after shooting an 81 at the area tournament, just two strokes off the lead.

In the Class AAAAAAA boys championship at Chateau Elan’s Legends Course in Braselton, Etowah is among the favorites after finishing just one stroke back of Milton at the Area 3AAAAAAA championship.

The Eagles have an experienced lineup, with Ryan Hines, Caleb Jensen and Caleb Greiner all returning with state championship experience.

Woodstock, which got into the state tournament on an at-large bid, does not bring the same experience, but after shooting 309 to finish sixth in a competitive area, coach Kelly Burke said her team is ready to play even better.

“That was a good score,” Burke said. “It would have been good for second or third in a few other areas. I think we all played well, but a few of the guys came off thinking they could have dropped two or three more shots. If we can get rid of those wasted shots, I think we can do some good things.”

The Wolverines will be led by Garron Terrell, who shot under par at area, and freshman Ben Fey.

Lexi Dawson will represent Etowah as an individual in the Class AAAAAAA girls championship at Chateau Elan’s Woodlands course after finishing fourth in the area with a 76.

Woodstock, which qualified as a team after finishing fifth in the area, will look toward Abby Bolt and Ellie Skeen to build off their past state championship experiences.

Creekview, Woodstock girls finish in top-10 at state meets

Alex Resnak
May 13, 2017








Nyah Hernandez

The competition proved tough, but the girls teams from Woodstock and Creekview both came away with top-10 finishes at the track and field state championships.

Creekview scored 28 points to finish eighth in the Class AAAAAA championships at Carrollton, with Sequoyah (5) 32nd. On the boys side, Sequoyah (10) was 18th, with Creekview (8) 23rd and River Ridge (5) 30th.

In the Class AAAAAAA championships at Berry College, the Woodstock girls scored 26 points to finish seventh, while Cherokee (8) was 22nd.
Creekview got a boost from freshman Nyah Hernandez, who won state championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Hernandez finished the 1,600 in 5:04.52 and won the 3,200 in 11:06.80, by a margin of more than 16 seconds.

The championships added to the cross country state Hernandez won in the fall. Though much of the competition was the same, she said she knew she would have to bring her best.

“I knew I could do it, but it would be hard,” Hernandez said. “I know the competition with all of the fast girls. I had already run against most of them. I knew they were all getting better from the fall, so I had to run my fastest.”

In the shot put, Creekview’s Taylor Smith (third, 39 feet, 6½ inches) and Savannah Webb (seventh, 35-9½) each placed.

“Almost every girl either scored or finished better than they were seeded,” Creekview coach Travis Pope said. “You can’t really be mad about that. The more kids you have, the more the potential for points. That’s what got us excited for next year. With such a young team, we should send even more next year.”

Creekview only sent two boys to Carrollton, but each scored in a pair of events. Chase Burr finished sixth in the 100 (11.16) and seventh in the long jump (22-1), while Zac Cantrell was seventh in the 800 (1:57.72) and eighth in the 1,600 (4:23.17).

“What they did was great,” Pope said. “They both rose to the occasion. When that happens, you can’t be too upset. Only sending two boys and having quality points in both events is big for the team.”

Sequoyah had a state champion of its own after Kameron Schofield won the 800 (1:54.64) in a tightly contested race.

After qualifying fourth for the final, the junior took more than 3 seconds of his preliminary time to beat the field down the stretch. He won a sprint over the final 100 meters to finish .12 seconds ahead of Allatoona’s Blake Klepper and .18 ahead of Mays’ Alan Johnson.

“I knew winning this race would take some things I’ve never done this season,” he said. “I would need to take 3 or 4 seconds off my time. Deep down, I knew it was all about you effort at the end. I wasn’t sure coming in, but once I was out there, I found the confidence deep down.”

Payton Carroll was the only scorer for Sequoyah’s girls team, finishing fourth in the pole vault (10-6).

River Ridge denied by Pope in semifinals

Category : River Ridge HS

Carlton D. White







River Ridge catcher Connor Pavolony celebrates after getting Pope’s Antonio Jareno out on a play at the plate in Game 1 of the Class AAAAAA semifinals May 18, 2017. Staff – Carlton D. White


MARIETTA — Pope not only had to battle from behind Wednesday, but it had to battle with the lead as well.

The Greyhounds rallied from a five-run deficit to beat River Ridge 7-6 in Game 1, then earned a 10-0 shutout in the nightcap to sweep the Class AAAAAA state semifinals.

Pope (31-6) back in the state championship series for the second straight year, will Lee County for the title next week in either Rome or Savannah.

“I’m really happy for the kids and for the community,” said Pope coach Jeff Rowland, who led the Greyhounds to championships in 2009 and ’13. “It’s a credit to them. We had great support (Wednesday) and a great atmosphere.”

Pope trailed 6-1 through five innings in the opener before plating five runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the contest at 6-all. In the seventh, Jake Pralgo’s bases-loaded walk with two outs brought home Buddy Floyd with the winning run.

The Greyhounds sent 10 batters to the plate during their sixth-inning rally, which included four hits, two errors and a walk.

Tanner Huyck’s two-out single off the glove of diving River Ridge shortstop Noah Fitzgerald scored Caden Smith and pinch-runner Will Lantis with the tying runs. Smith also had a two-out, two-run single, and Parker Orr’s RBI single got the rally going.

Michael Wynne batted 2-for-3 and scored twice for Pope, while Floyd went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Orr batted 2-for-3 with an RBI, Smith and Huyck each had one hit and two RBIs, and Pralgo also had a RBI.

“We never gave up,” Orr said. “We know we have strong hitters, and we never got down on ourselves.”

River Ridge took command in the first inning behind Connor Pavolony’s two-run home run.

Pope closed to within one in the bottom half of the inning, but the Knights sent eight batters to the plate in the third and took advantage of two hits, two errors and two wild pitches to add four runs for its 6-1 advantage.

Nick Blubaugh went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for the Knights in Game 1. Fitzgerald had two hits, and Chris Williams batted 1-for-3 with an RBI.

River Ridge turned three double plays in the opener, but Pope came up with the timely hits late when it needed them.

“Sometimes, you have to be lucky with some timely hits,” Jeff Rowland said. “I’m really proud of our kids in that first game. They could have folded, but they’re tough and they kept playing.”

Williams allowed seven runs — five earned — on 11 hits, walked three and struck out four in 6 1/3 innings to get the loss. Ryan Webb gave up six runs — two earned — on seven hits while walking three and striking out three over seven innings to earn the victory.

“Ryan gutted it out,” Rowland said. “He competed and gave us a chance to come back.”

Cherokee County trio take next step in pursuit of state championship

Alex Resnak
May 16, 2017






Woodstock pitcher Josiah Siegel tries to outrun Parkview’s Isaiah Byars to the bag on a play at first in last week’s Game 3. Siegel has thrown one of the five shutouts the Wolverines’ pitching staff has accounted for in the team’s run to the Class AAAAAAA state semifinals.

Gwinnett Daily Post – Karl L. Moore

A 6-mile stretch of road from Eagle Drive to Towne Lake Parkway and Arnold Mill Road will have three baseball teams playing tonight as the state semifinals begin.

In Class AAAAAAA, Woodstock and Etowah advanced to the semifinals after beating Parkview and Brookwood, respectively, while River Ridge advanced past Alexander to reach the Class AAAAAA semifinals.

It marks the first time any Cherokee County baseball team has reached the semifinals since Etowah in 2006, and the first time the county has had multiple teams in the final four.

Things will not get any easier from here, with tough matchups awaiting each team.

Woodstock (23-14) may have the toughest draw in its trip to nationally ranked North Gwinnett (34-2). The Wolverines, however, may have the formula to slow a Bulldog team that has yet to lose this postseason.

“We feel like we can play with anybody in the state on any given day,” coach Jeff Brown said. “Our strengths are pitching and defense. If we can do that, we just need to find a way to get the timely hits when we need them. Now it’s about timely hitting with two outs and runners in scoring position.”

North Gwinnett has 10 players batting .300 or better this season, but Woodstock has one of the few pitching rotations that can match up.

Brant Hurter and Jared Staples have each thrown a pair of shutouts this postseason, while Josiah Siegel got in on the act in his first postseason start with a shutout in the Wolverines’ series clincher against Parkview. In all, Woodstock has five shutouts in seven playoff games.

The bigger problem for the Wolverines could be finding the offense against North Gwinnett pitchers Jake Brace and Cade Heil. Despite that, Brown feels good about the series, as long as the team can take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves.

“Defense is huge this time of year,” Brown said. “Parkview made some errors and gave us some chances. Being able to limit those free bases is huge when you’re on defense. On offense, you have to find a way to take advantage of those. When you have a chance to extend an inning or move a runner, we have to take it.”

Etowah (24-15) will also face a nationally ranked team in Mill Creek (33-6), but coach Greg Robinson said pulling off another upset will require the same formula as the first three series, after the Eagles made the playoffs as a No. 4 seed.

“It’s been a combination of good starting pitching and timely hitting,” Robinson said. “We’ve had a tendency to score first, which is of tremendous importance on the road. It lets you settle in and throw strikes without having to do too much. I would attribute most of it to being ahead.”

Robinson said the exact order of his starting rotation may not be decided until just before game time, though Ethan Anderson, Nick Torres and Andrew Keene will be the starters.

They will be responsible for shutting down a Mill Creek lineup led by Steven Kirk, Jay Pendley, Georgia Tech commit Cameron Turley and Clemson commit Davis Sharpe.

Etowah could cause some problems of its own with a lineup led by Nick Bartosz, Jackson Sisk, Drew Waters and Keene, meaning the difference could be the bottom of the orders.

“In high school baseball, you’ll have three or four really good players on your team,” Robinson said. “Those guys have to play at a high level. We look to those guys at the bottom of the lineup to have successful at-bats to get us back to the guys we expect to carry us. That’s always going to be the difference.”

River Ridge sweeps another playoff series

Category : River Ridge HS

Alex Resnak
May 4, 2017

River Ridge’s baseball team advanced to the Class AAAAAA state quarterfinals Wednesday with a sweep at Region 4AAAAAA champion Tucker.

The Knights (27-7) won 10-3 and 10-0 to push their winning streak to nine games, with coach Scott Bradley saying the team is playing its best baseball of the season.

“Everybody is playing really well right now,” he said. “During the regular season, you have your ups and downs. You have some slumps, but we’re all swinging the bat really well right now. We have the consistent pitching to go with it, too.”

Leadoff hitter Nick Blubaugh went 5-for-8 against Tucker with a home run and three RBIs. Connor Pavolony had four hits in the series, while Branson Bowling had five hits and drove in seven runs.

“I think our kids are very competitive,” Bradley said. “They love each other and want the best for each other, but they always want to outdo each other. I think it’s a good thing. They’re all competing and wanting to do well.”

Six different players had hits in Game 1, including five with multiple hits, and eight players had hits in Game 2. If River Ridge can continue to get that kind of production from the bottom of its lineup, Bradley said the team can be very dangerous.

“It’s very encouraging when those guys come up late in the order,” he said. “For a lot of high school teams, when you get deep in the order, it’s tough to find guys who can get hits and keep the lineup moving. I think we have that, though. They’re not necessarily batting .400 or anything, but they’re putting it in play and swinging the bat well.”

While the offense has been the driving force behind River Ridge’s success in the postseason, the Knights have had the pitching to match.

Chris Williams and Noah Fitzgerald combined to allow just nine hits and three runs against Tucker, with Fitzgerald throwing a five-inning shutout. Together, they struck out seven over 11 innings.

“Our pitchers have done exactly what we need them to do,” Bradley said. “We ask them to go out, throw strikes and execute. They’re keeping us in games, and that’s all we can ask. They’re both experienced and, really, just competitors, and it shows.”

River Ridge will await either Alexander or Valdosta in the quarterfinals, which are set to begin next Wednesday.  Until then, Bradley said the main focus will be on keeping momentum.

“I don’t think we do, but it’s important that we don’t start thinking we’ve arrived,” he said. “We haven’t accomplished our goals yet. We’re going to give them a day or two off, but we need to make sure when we get back out there, we’re still playing our best.”

Creekview regains top prize in county golf tournament








Creekview’s Luke Ledford hits the ball.

Alex Resnak
Apr 26, 2017

CANTON — After finishing third last season, Creekview re-established itself as the premier boys golf team in the county with a county championship Tuesday at Woodmont Golf Club.

The Grizzlies shot 286 as a team, well ahead of defending champion Etowah (307), Sequoyah (319), Woodstock (323), Cherokee (348) and River Ridge (441).

“I was pretty confident in my guys coming in,” Creekview coach Jimmy Thigpen said. “We’ve been playing well all year, but I didn’t see a 286 coming out of them. We’ve certainly had the capability of doing it when everyone plays their best. It just all came together, I guess, and we kind of showed out (Tuesday).”

Jack Vajda led Creekview, tying for medalist honors with a 3-under par 69.

“I started out pretty well with seven straight birdies,” Vajda said. “I finally worked some birdies in the middle of the round. That helped set me up. It’s just good to win on your home course, where you play twice a week.”

Brady Keran (70) lipped-out a birdie putt on 18 to fall one shot behind Vajda, while Brady Thomas (73) and Walker Winslette (74) also scored for Creekview.

Even the scores that did not count toward Creekview’s overall score — Landon Schultz (76) and Luke Ledford (78) — would have been good enough for any other team.

“The experience we have is great,” Thigpen said. “All of the guys we had out there were back from last year. We’re still relatively young, but we’ve all played some big-time golf. They know what it takes to peak at the right time. I think we were comfortable out there, and when we’re comfortable, we can play with anyone.”

Etowah was led by Ryan Hines, who matched Vajda after recovering from a 1-over start through seven holes with birdies on three of his next four.

“I just stayed positive throughout,” Hines said. “I didn’t have the best start, but you have to keep going. I hit some better shots and finally got some putts to fall. That was the difference.”

Caleb Jensen shot 74 for Etowah, while Evan Buckner shot 81 and Caleb Greiner 83.

Sequoyah also played well, posting its best 18-hole score of the season. Hunter Clay (73) and Thomas Brumbeloe (74) narrowly missed shooting par, ahead of teammates Ryan Medlin (84) and Ryan Wakefield (88).

With a young lineup, Woodstock took a step back, but it left plenty of hope for the future.

Senior Jesse Dalfonso (76) led the way, but the rest of the Wolverines’ scoring golfers — Gannon Terrell (78), Billy Goddard (84) and Adam Burns (85) — were new to the tournament.

Steve Kilbare (78) was the only Cherokee golfer to shoot under 80, while Zach Johnson (108) led River Ridge.

All six teams will be back in action next week for their area tournaments.

The Area 3AAAAAAA tournament will be held Monday at Chestatee Golf Club in Dawsonville, while the Area 4AAAAAA tournament will take place Tuesday at the Brookstone Golf and Country Club in Acworth.




Creekview’s Davis, Johnson add to state championship collections

davisCreekview’s Bryce Davis holds the head of Effingham County’s Xavier Wallace to the mat in their final at 120 pounds Saturday. Davis went on to win by decision, becoming just the third wrestler in county history to claim a third state championship.

The show of solidarity paid off in huge way for the pair, who each won a state title in their respective weight classes Saturday at the Macon Coliseum.

Davis became a three-time champion, captured the Class AAAAAA 120-pound title with a 5-1 victory over Effingham County’s Xavier Wallace. Johnson earned his second championship, beating Effingham County’s Zebrandon Gant 10-4 for the crown at 170.

Creekview placed three of its six wrestlers, and the titles sparked the Grizzlies to an eighth-place finish overall with 75.5 points. Alexander (140.5) won the team title, followed by South Paulding (114.5), Allatoona (98) and Effingham County (94.5).

“It’s a great job by those guys and all our wrestlers,” Creekview coach Wyatt Wilkie said. “It’s been a grueling season, but the guys put in the hard work and they pushed through right to the finish.”

Davis held a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period and did not relinquish a point in the second after holding Wallace down. He scored an escape point 20 seconds into the third period and a takedown with just under a minute remaining to seal the victory.

“Normally, I let guys go when I’m on top, but I was only up 2-1 and wanted to ride him as long as possible. I knew going into the third that I should win if I kept wrestling hard,” Davis said.

Davis, who won at 113 last season and 106 in 2015, became the third wrestler in county history to claim a third state championship, joining former Sequoyah standouts Carrington Banks and Leslie Morrow.

No Cherokee County wrestler has won four state titles, though Banks won a fourth after transferring to Union Grove for his senior season.

“It’s great that I won, but I wish I had won freshman year, too,” Davis said. “I’m upset about that. I should have won four, but I’ll take three.”

Johnson was in full control throughout his match with Gant. He led 2-1 at the end of the first period, collected an escape, takedown and 2-point near-fall in the second and went ahead 7-2 heading into the third.

Johnson’s takedown with 1:09 on the third period clock gave him a seven-point edge.

“It feels good to win again, and especially to do it with my buddy, Bryce,” said Johnson, who won at 152 pounds in 2015 and was a runner-up at 160 last season. “This was for my family, who came all the way down from Indiana to watch me this weekend.”

Creekview’s Wyatt Higgins placed fourth overall at 138 pounds, while Etowah’s Alex Pham was sixth at 182 in Class AAAAAAA.

Sequoyah did not place any wrestlers, but Christian Small (106), Kasey Karch (113), Bryce Leatherwood (132) and Justin Poole (160) helped the Chiefs place 32nd (13.5) in Class AAAAAA.

River Ridge (5) was 41st behind Alex Hewgley (126) and Tanner Amason (182).

Etowah (12) tied for 27th in Class AAAAAAA with Pham, Blake Smith (126) and Skyler Shuman (160). Matt Silka (120), Eli Weatherby (170) and Logan Newby (195) helped Cherokee (4) tie for 33rd, while Logan Venable (170) competed for Woodstock.

County sees record-setting display of college-bound high school athletes

rgbSigning day_1 (2).jpgStanding from left, Cherokee Principal Todd Miller, coach Josh Shaw, coach Rob Williams, trainer Nick Digaetno, AD Jeremy Adams Seated from left, mother Tshai Knowles, Aaron Knowles, Father Eric Knowles

By Alex Resnak

CANTON — Cherokee County student-athletes gathered Tuesday morning at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center to solidify their commitments on National Signing Day.

In total, a county-record 74 athletes officially accepted their scholarships. It was 16 more than the same time last year, and it is a trend that is expected to continue.

“I think we’ll just see more and more,” Cherokee athletic director Jeremy Adams said. “The county is growing, but our kids are working harder and getting better. Any time you win, you bring attention to your program. The coaches in the county do a great job of getting these kids exposed to the college scene, and I think we’ll definitely see an increase in the coming years.”

Woodstock was the most represented school with 14 signees.

The Lady Wolverines’ softball team had three players sign — Madelyn Reid (West Georgia Tech), Breanna Roper (Georgia Tech) and Lexi Solorzano (Kennesaw State). A trio of baseball players also signed in Brant Hurter (Georgia Tech), Jared Staples (Kennesaw State) and Nolan Tressler (Georgia Southern).

Ethan Chamberlin will continue his football career at Rhodes College, while lacrosse player Ian Mastriani will play at Methodist University.

Jared McWhorter accepted a soccer scholarship to Lee University, and though it came down to the wire, teammate Logan Llano eventually settled on playing at Presbyterian, as opposed to staying closer to home at Oglethorpe.

“My decision was really tough,” Llano said. “I had to go visit both schools to get a feel for them. I made the decision last week. I’m just excited to be there now.”

Devyn Lowe will continue her basketball career at South Alabama, and golfer Abigail Bolt signed with Appalachian State. Nicole Frazer signed with Georgetown College for lacrosse, and Jaclyn Csubak will swim at Georgia Southern.

Creekview had 13 athletes sign.

Football players Josh Horwitz (Huntingdon College), Trevor Kolb (Tennessee Tech) and Jacob Webb (UNC Charlotte) were joined by baseball players Brian Davis (Gordon State), Connor Dove (Georgia Highlands), Bradford Martin (Washington & Lee) and Austin Owen (Toccoa Falls) in signing.

Rachel Chapman (Brenau) and Allison Luly (Belmont) will each continue their basketball careers.

“It’s crazy,” said Luly, who committed last October. “I’ve been waiting for this for a couple years. It took me a little longer than I expected, but everything works out. I’m really excited to start my career at Belmont now.”

Michelle McCord (Illinois) and Emily Snyder (Missouri) will both head west to swim. Leah Waagen signed with Toccoa Falls for soccer, and Molly Morris signed to run cross country and track at Georgia State.

Five of Cherokee’s 13 signees came from the football team.

Montrell Washington signed with Samford, while Aaron Knowles (Army) and Jake Alvey (Air Force) will both head to service academies. Charles Perry and Kamari Walker will continue to play together at Reinhardt

Cherokee’s softball team also had a pair of players who will continue to play together at Reinhardt in Alise Hooks and Autumn Bible.

“I liked how close it is,” Hooks said. “I liked that I would be able to stay close to people. Autumn committed way before I did, but when I told her I was committing, too, we were really happy.”

Kindell Reeves will also continue her softball career at Georgia Highlands.

Braxton Swanson (Sewanee), Andrew Cline (Covenant) and Ryan Inches (Cleveland State Community College) all signed to continue their baseball careers.

Emily Pope will play volleyball at Georgia College and State University, while Brandon Leftwich will run track at Piedmont.

Etowah baseball players Andrew Keene (Georgia State) and Drew Waters (Georgia) both signed to stay in-state.

Stuart Head and Tyray Devezin signed with Stanford and Mercer, respectively, for football, while Hayes Johnson signed to play lacrosse at Young Harris.

Soccer player Rhys Jeffrey signed with Georgia Southern, while his teammates, twins Reese and Rylan Lavery, both signed with Missouri State.

“We didn’t really even think about going to school together,” Reese Lavery said. “After we found Missouri State, we just both fell in love with it and wanted to go there.”

Ansley Froman signed with Azusa Pacific for acrobatics and tumbling, and Macki Walsh will run track and cross country at Troy. Alexis Palazzo will play softball at Georgia Highlands, while Mallory Gilmer and Cole Heller will play tennis at Alabama and Appalachian State, respectively.

Reinhardt lacrosse will get an infusion of talent from Sequoyah, after Katie Williams and Olivia Sengstock signed with the women’s team and Matt Webb and Taylor White signed with the men’s team.

A trio of Sequoyah baseball players also signed in Dawson Pfost (Birmingham-Southern), Joseph Cuomo (Bryan) and Tyler Koprowski (Trevecca Nazarene).

Kendall Williams signed to play softball at Georgia Highlands, while Amanda Brown signed to play soccer at Life. Marcelle Butler will play volleyball at Howard, and McGwire Wells will continue his football career at Berry.

River Ridge’s signing class was highlighted by five softball players —Hannah Bruce (Andrew), Brianna Collender (Kennesaw State), Bayleigh Lott (Montevallo), Darion Spencer (Reinhardt) and Gabby Williams (Tusculum).

Soccer teammates Reiley Mullen and Caitlyn Peterson signed with Georgia State and Columbus State, respectively.

Somadina Okeke will play football at North Carolina Central, Hayden Martin signed to play baseball at Georgia Southwestern and Maxwell Miller signed to run track and cross country at Piedmont.