Cats finish season
in sectionals as region champs
advance LA tennis to State
LA Track & Field Team closes 2004 season
Cats finish season
in sectionals as region champs
photo courtesy of Lynn Burnett
LA Wildcats posing with the 2004 Region 5A-AA trophy at Springfield
are, front row from left, Luke Eldridge, Phillip Murphy, Drew Randolph,
Lance Ruanto, Robert Brady, Matt Myers, middle row, Cory Cross,
Blake Vaughn, Andy Gunnels, Matt Anderson, Casey Ledbetter, back
row, Coach Ethan King, Logan Huffman, Ben Jolley, Jonathan McGill,
Jacob Pennington, Westley Burnett, Graham Goodman, Wesley Puckett,
Alex Gunnels, and trainer Chuck Wheeler.
By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN staff
It has been an exciting week for Livingston Academy soccer.
Having moved firmly into postseason play by finishing undefeated
in District 9 A-AA play and winning said district's title as a result,
the Cats came home on Tuesday, May 18 to face Station Camp High
School in Region 5 A-AA semifinal action.
LA Soccer Coach Ethan King said, "We scored pretty early in
the game. They pulled down Wes Burnett in the box and we got a penalty
kick as a result. Alex Gunnels put the penalty kick in and gave
us a 1-0 lead."
Much close competition then ensued, with both teams having their
chances at making goals. After some antsy moments, LA solidified
their winning position with another goal at the boot of Jacob Pennington
late in the second half.
At the horn, the Wildcats had won 2-0 and headed into the Region
5 A-AA finals against Springfield High School.
"It was hot," said King of the 90 degree temperatures
at Springfield's, well, field.
"We played earlier, about 3:30, so it was in the heat of
The Wildcats scored the first goal of the game on a throw-in. The
small size of the field allowed senior Robert Brady to throw the
ball all the way across the goal box, resulting in a header from
Brady, who graduated Friday night alongside fellow seniors Luke
Eldridge, Phillip Murphy, Drew Randolph, and Lance Ruanto, explained,
"I was down about the 10 yard-line, and it was just a straight
throw all the way across. The goalie was playing near post, and
Wes was on the far post. It just sailed right to Wes and he headed
it in... It was pretty."
At about three-quarter time, LA scored a second goal. Alex Gunnels
took a through ball on the outside and crossed it low in front of
the goal, where Jacob Pennington would get the final credit.
Another close one was had as Brady attempted the same throw-in
technique later on at about 20 yards out. Burnett again waited,
but the referees ruled that he didn't actually touch the ball before
it rolled into the goal, thus thwarting LA's try at a third tally.
The horn sounded, and for the second time in a week, the Wildcats
posed for trophy pictures, having captured the Region 5A-AA title.
The Cats got the privelege of coming home to an enthusiastic home
crowd for the A-AA sectional game versus Hume-Fogg.
After a tied but tight first half, the score remained 0-0.
Coach King said, "Both teams had their chances. They hit
the post a couple of times, and we hit some that were just wide..."
"And Wesley Puckett headed it over the goal," noted Brady.
In the second half, Hume Fogg made the best of a couple of opportunities
in front of the goal, crowding the box and capitalizing on the slightest
mistake from goalkeeper Drew Randolph to make the score 2-0.
And so it would end, with LA being knocked out of postseason play
at the sectional game. Still, it's farther than the LA boys' soccer
program has ever been.
King said, "It was just a great season. The boys reached every
goal that they set for themselves and they did a great job.
"We appreciate all the fans and everyone who came out and
supported us. It's nice to have that support.
"And thanks to the boys for all the hard work they did. They
ought to be proud of what they've accomplished this year."
Barlow, Curd advance
LA tennis to State
Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
Livingston Academy's Rachel Barlow, left, and Wrenda Curd,
along with LA Tennis Coach Scott Cole, are prepared to travel to
Memphis to face University School of Jackson today in State A-AA
By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN staff
This may very well be the farthest LA girls' tennis has ever gone.
After regional play ended last week, LA senior (and Bethel College
signee) Dana Ledbetter had been eliminated in singles play, but
seniors Rachel Barlow and Wrenda Curd advanced, winning the region
title in doubles play.
In the regional semifinals, Ledbetter won her match 2-6, 6-4,
6-2, advancing to the regional finals, where she was handed a loss
by a Cannon County player 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to finish regional runner-up.
Curd and Barlow played a team from Davidson Academy in the semis,
winning 6-1, 7-6 and advancing to the finals to face last year's
state runner-up in the form of Mt. Juliet Christian Academy.
The tandem made short work of the MJCA squad, winning 6-1, 6-2
and advancing on to the state tournament this week, starting today,
Wednesday, May 26, in Memphis at 8 a.m. versus University School
LA Tennis Coach Scott Cole said, "I don't know much about
this team in particular, but this school is traditionally a strong
Speaking about Ledbetter, her senior season now complete, Cole
said, "She's had a great year. She went 15-4 and went undefeated
in the district in the regular season."
And of his state championship competitors, Coach Cole said, "They
beat last year's state runners-up pretty convincingly. They played
probably the best match they've ever played. And according to other
coaches, they've played the best matches they've ever seen, too.
We're very proud of them.
"I believe," started Cole, "I'm not really sure,
but I believe that this is the farthest anybody has ever advanced
for Livingston Academy in tennis."
LA Track & Field
Team closes 2004 season
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
The 2004 season came to a close last week for the Livingston Academy
Track & Field Team.
The LA team played in the Middle Tennessee Class A/AA Sectional
track held at David Lipscomb High School, and two LA players received
medals for their efforts.
Heather Burchett placed 7th in the discus throw, and was presented
a medal. Those who placed in the top 8 in the field events won a
Mike Jones competed in the 100 meter dash and placed 7th, also
good for a medal. The top 9 runners received medals.
The two finished were the only scores for Livingston Academy.
LA Track & Field Coach Merl Smith said, "It's pretty tough
competition down there. We did well.
"Mike ran a good, hard race.
"Some of them did more than they ever have, but it still wasn't
good enough. They're just tough down there."
Coach Smith looks for the team to build on this year's experience,
and wants to add more players.
"Hopefully, we can get a few more people out for track,"
he said. "Those people we have are all back. So, they can improve
and do better next year.
"Mike Jones in particular, and Heather Burchett. They could
do real well next year because they'll have another year underneath
their belts. They did pretty well this time.
"We had a few more people this year than we've normally had,"
he said. "We had 9, 10, or 11 people going to most of the meets,
and scored quite a few points.
"Heather Burchett placed 1st or 2nd all year long in the disc
and the shot.
"And Mike Jones was always 2nd or 3rd in the 100, and Kalihib
Lander was always 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the long jump. He did a good
job. He didn't jump well at the sectionals, but Mike jumped well.
Mike just liked three inches being in the top 8 in the sectionals.
So, he did a good job.
"I think, the people that have stayed with me all year long
have really enjoyed it and got better at it," Coach Smith said.
"And they saw improvement each time; so, that's the main thing."
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