The year 2008 was exciting for high school and middle school sports in Dawson County.
The newspaper has attempted to compile the top sporting accomplishments for this year. It was an endeavor to reward school record breakers and teams that qualified for a state tournament. Obviously, some outstanding deeds were left out, such as students that signed athletic scholarships like Katie Lebel (University of Redlands), Kayla Grizzle (LaGrange), and the list could go on forever.
It is a testament to all the hard work that comes from parents, players and coaches that makes this county so full of good athletes.
We hope 2009 will reap the same rewards for teams and athletes in Dawsonville.
Lady Tiger Golf Team finishes state runners-up
The number one sports story this year was the Dawson County Lady Tiger golf team.
The Lady Tigers finished behind Metter High School to capture second place in the state tournament held at Gold Creek Golf Course.
The team was made up of seniors Kasay Holbrook, who signed a Division I golf scholarship to Presbyterian College, and Katie Turner. Also on the team were Charley Whitmire and Katie Stowers.
Dawson had a team score of 177, which was just eight strokes behind Metter, who came in with a 169.
Holbrook finished as state runner-up individually coming in with an 86 in the 18-hole event.
“We played well but came up just a little short,” Head Coach Shari Chastain said. “I felt like we played our best and that’s all you can ask from them.”
All four Lady Tiger golfers fired under a 100 to take the runner-up trophy.
Stowers, a junior, shot a career best 91 for the Lady Tigers.
Whitmire came home with a 94, while Turner scored a 98.
It was only the second team in Dawson County High School history to capture a second place trophy in any sport.
Coach Steve Sweat and his girls’ basketball team finished second in 1991.
Basketball Tigers advanced to state
Dawson County High School Head Basketball Coach Thad Burgess and his Tiger basketball team qualified for the state AA tournament for the second year running during the 2007-2008 school year.
Dawson defeated Morgan County, 54-45, to make history. Getting a state tournament bid two years in a row was the first in Dawson County High School basketball history.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” Burgess said. “They have battled all year.”
Burgess has built a positive reputation at Dawson County.
His teams play with a lot of passion and desire. Over the last two years Burgess’ teams have a 42-19 record.
The Tigers were led by seniors Zach Cook, Robert O’Quinn, Lee Little, Nick Fiorentino and Alan Gilleland.
Dawson was eliminated from the state playoffs by a very strong Greater Atlanta Christian team by a score of 82-54.
Hammond sets school record
Dawson County High School senior wrestler Jonathan Hammond broke the school record for career wins with 153 during the 2007-2008 season.
Hammond had only 55 losses in his four years at Dawson County High School.
The previous record was held by Adam Kimbrell who had 149 wins for the Tigers when he finished his career in 2004.
Hammond completed his high school career with several awards. Hammond was his team’s MVP. He finished fifth in the state at 215 pounds his senior season, qualified for the state four consecutive years, had a first place finish in the Amicalola Classic and a King of the Mountain title.
“Jonathan is one of a kind,” commented Head Coach Arron Haynes. “He was a leader on the mat. The career wins will be a goal for future wrestlers to strive for.”
Tiger soccer finishes in Sweet Sixteen
First year Dawson County High School boys’ soccer coach Jed Lacey guided his Tiger team to a Sweet Sixteen berth in the AA state playoffs.
The team defeated top seed LaFayette by a 2-1 margin to advance to play Providence Christian Academy.
The Stars defeated Dawson 5-0 to end their season at Tiger Stadium. But it was a magical ride for the Tigers.
It was a season of first-time events for the Tigers. The team recorded double-digit wins (10) and a Sweet 16 playoff game.
Dawson finished the season with a 10-9-1 record, finalizing one of the best teams in school history. The team scored 45 goals, while only allowing 35 goals.
At the end of the year banquet Lacey honored several players.
Jose Garcia won the Offensive Award; Chris Keating was presented with the midfield best player; Daniel Simmons got the defensive best player; and Josh Bolz was awarded the Iron Tiger; while David Scully took the overall team MVP.
“We can only get better,” said Lacey at the banquet. “It was a great year for our kids, but the best is yet to come.”
Named to the Gainesville Times All-Area soccer first team was David Scully.
Receiving honorable mention were Garcia, Keating, Bolz and Daniel Simmons.
Girls Cross Country team advances to state
Dawson County finished in eighth place at the state cross country meet held in Carrollton in October.
The Lady Tigers scored 221 team points in an impressive end to their year.
The state meet was dominated by two regions.
Region 5-AA, (Lovett, Westminster, Blessed Trinity and Buford) and Region 8-AA (North Oconee, East Jackson, Jefferson and Dawson County) placed seven teams in the top 10.
“I think our region really prepared us,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose.
“We finished in eighth again, but we improved. It helped running with some pretty tough teams. Every year we start out to do better than the year before. I think we did that this year,” he said.
Individually, freshman sensation Maddy Walters led all Dawson County runners, crossing the finish line 17th out of over a 100 runners at the meet.
Walters turned in an impressive time of 21:10.55, which tied her school record.
Junior Emily Beusse also ran a good race. She covered the 3.1 miles in a time of 22:05.84 for a 30th place finish.
“Emily ran a good race, even though her time didn’t reflect it. The course was very tough,” DeRose said.
Also competing for the Lady Tigers were Krista Morgan, Morgan Bennett, Morgan Williams, Paige Reese and Alora Mitchell.
Lady Tigers qualify for state soccer tournament
The Lady Tigers earned their first ever trip to the state playoffs this past April.
The team had been in the regional playoffs before, but never participated in a state event.
Dawson played #11-ranked Calhoun in the first round. The Lady Yellow Jackets squeaked out a 2-1 victory ending the Lady Tigers storied season.
The team finished with an impressive 10-5-3 record.
“It was an enormous successful season for us,” said Head Coach Patrick Johnson. “Our girls really deserved it.”
It was ironic that an exchange student from Iceland, Iris Gunnardottir, would capture the Offensive Player of the Year award for the Lady Tigers at the team’s banquet.
Gunnardottir was a force around the goal for Johnson’s team.
Also capturing awards were: Brittany Tosh-midfield; MVP-Stephanie Bishop; Defense-Michelle Kraus; and the Coaches Award went to Melissa Edwards.
TJ Byrd breaks pole vault record
Junior TJ Byrd set a new standard for the pole vault last track season.
Byrd smashed into the first week of track season last year by breaking the school record, previously held by Jonathan Hill.
Byrd set the school record with a jump of 12’6.”
He also qualified for the state track meet held at Jefferson High School, where he finished fifth overall. Byrd tied his school record at the meet.
“I want to come back next year and win the whole thing,” said Byrd. “I went to the Georgia Track Camp this summer and it has really helped me out.”
Lady Eagles capture Mountain League Title
The Riverview Middle School Seventh Grade Lady Eagles basketball team finished in first place by capturing the Mountain League tournament championship in February, during the 2007-2008 school year.
The team was coached by Nichole Gilleland and finished the season with an impressive 10-3 record.
Members of the team were: Hannah Porter, Jade Perry, Libby Redmon, Gracie Hovan, Carly Gilreath, Kacie Bearden, Whitney Glover, Kenna Seitz, Natalie Burt, Jenna Abbott, Allie Costley and Samie Smith.
Ladies win softball championship
The Dawson County Middle School softball team picked up the Mountain League Championship with a 4-0 win over Gilmer County Middle School in October, during the 2008-2009 school year.
The championship capped a perfect 12-0 season for the Lady Tigers and head coach Karen Spencer.
Lady Tiger Pitcher Jenna Abbott dominated opposing batters all year.
The team scored 144 runs, but allowed only eight to opponents.
“Gracie Hovan, Carly Gilreath and Natalie Burt had clutch hits all year for us. They always came through in clutch situations. I also thought that Savannah Estes and Hannah Porter played really well in the outfield,” Spencer said.
Members of this year’s championship team were: Jenna Abbott, Abby Barrett, Natalie Burt, Savanna Estes, Morgan Gaddis, Carly Gilreath, Gracie Hovan, Megan Matthews, Hannah Porter, Libby Redmon, Martie Rogers and Kenna Seitz.
Riverview Middle School captures football championship
The Riverview Middle School football team won the Mountain League Middle School championship with a 34-6 win over Clear Creek in October.
The win was revenge for an 18-13 loss the week before that ruined the team’s perfect season.
“We talked all week about how we let Clear Creek set the tone of the game, and all of the opportunities we gave them. We also felt we let them be more physical than us during the first game. We called out our leaders to respond. We wanted to leave no doubt who the best team was and we did not leave any doubt,” said Riverview Middle School Head Football Coach Mark Thomason.
The Eagles finished the season with a 7-1 record.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at email@example.com.