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Archives 05-26-2004

Sports

 

 

 

Cats finish season in sectionals as region champs
Barlow, Curd 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 day."

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 Burnett.

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 quarterfinal play.

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 at Jackson.

LA Tennis Coach Scott Cole said, "I don't know much about this team in particular, but this school is traditionally a strong sports school."

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 medal.

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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