Wildcats Soccer headed for state
Wildcats' baseball season ends in region tournament
Kalihib Lander to compete at state meet
headed for state
Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Livingston Academy's Westley Burnett, #8, sets for a scoring
shot against Springfield.
By BETH UNDERWOOD, OCN Sports
While they may have been plagued with an injured player and sudden
death face-offs on more than one ocassion, Livingston Academy's
boys soccer team rose to the challenge in semi-regional and regional
play last week, squeaking past all the competition.
Semi-regional play saw the Wildcats going up against Springfield
on Tuesday, May 17.
A first-half goal by Wes Burnett gave LA a 1-0 lead, which was
matched by Springfield in the second half, before Burnett went down
with an injury.
The tie set the teams up for one of a series of multiple sudden
"It was stressful," LA Soccer Coach Ethan King said.
"My number one shooter was hurt, and (we) had to come up with
a new order. We'd practiced a shootout, just in case it came to
it. The boys were ready."
But victory continued to elude the team, even after two sudden
deaths. While the team made 5 out of 8 picks, it wasn't until the
eighth shooter that LA came away with the win.
Picks were made by Alex Gunnels, Wes Puckett, Andy Gunnels, Blake
Vaughn, and Cory Cross.
"It is toughest on the goalie," King said. "Graham
was one cool customer in the shootout."
The pressure didn't let up as LA moved on to face Station Camp
in the region finals on Thursday, May 19, knowing that a key player
would be benched due to injuries.
"I was unsure how the team would react with Wes unable to
play," King said.
They reacted with defense intact, as did their opponent, with neither
team able to find the net until late in the game after a good hustle
by James Dellapace on a long ball resulted in a foul by the goalie
in the box.
"It was a tough call to make with what was at stake,"
Coach King said. "But after seeing the foul on tape, he made
the correct call."
Alex Gunnels finished the pick to give LA the 1-0 region championship
The team moved on to sectional play on Saturday, falling quickly
behind in the first 6 minutes of the game against Christ Presbyterian
A shot by Matt Anderson was stopped by CPA, before Alex Gunnels
finished another pick to tie the game at 1-1.
The strong CPA team continued to dominate play until LA's defense
settled down. But both teams were unable to put the game away before
the end of regulation play.
The teams moved on to sudden death, where, with 2 minutes left
of the 5-minute half, Jacob Pennington slipped a cross to Alex Gunnels,
breaking the tie and sending the LA team to the state tournament
for the first time since the team's inception.
"CPA has a great team," Coach King said. "They passed
and moved the ball well.
"Our boys would not be denied. They showed a lot of heart."
The sectional victory sends the 18-3-3 LA Wildcats to the state
tournament, where they'll face Sheffield in their next game on Wednesday,
May 25 at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis.
"This team has made history and no one can take that from
them," Coach King said.
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season ends in region tournament
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
Normally in sports, the better team wins. But sometimes that is
not the case.
When Livingston Academy's Wildcats met Greenbrier's Bobcats in
the single-elimination first round of the Region 7-AA Tournament,
Big Blue played error-free baseball, and the Green Machine committed
5 errors. Yet, the visiting Bobcats moved to the second round with
an 8-6 victory while Livingston's season ended with an 18-11 final
"It was a tough, tough loss," LA Wildcats Coach Pat Swallows
"We got the big hit when we needed it. We advanced runners
with bunts. We made no mistakes. We had no errors. When you play
well and lose, it hurts as bad, maybe even worse, than when you
play poorly and lose."
After two scoreless innings, Livingston Academy broke through for
5 runs in the third inning, and held a 5-1 lead going into the fourth.
The LA Cats added a run in the fourth inning.
Greenbrier scored a run in each of the next two innings to narrow
the LA lead to 6-3. Then, in the seventh inning, Greenbrier struck
for 5 runs and ultimately the victory.
"We really felt we were in control the whole game, and we
just let it get away from us there in the seventh," Coach Swallows
said. "It was just one of those situations where everybody
felt pretty comfortable, especially with Cody (Sells) on the mound
in the seventh, up 6-3, and, as well as we had played throughout
the game, that we were going to win this game.
"It just turned on us.
"I hate it so bad for the boys because they played a great
game. I'm really proud of the way they played. It was just a tough
way to end the season."
Cody Sells took the loss on the mound for LA. On offense, Sells
had 3 hits. Andrew Dixon, Tyler Thrasher, and Johnny Cyrus each
had 2 hits in the game, and Brian Colson, Chris Nelson, and Jon
Maynard each had hits.
Eight senior starters for the Wildcats baseball team received their
diplomas on Friday, May 20 - Brian Colson, Johnny Cyrus, Jimmy Davidson,
Shane Livingston, Jon Maynard, Chris Nelson, Cody Sells, and John
"Brian has been a 3-year starter as well and set the career
home run record," Coach Swallows said. "He's been an athlete
who has gone from football to basketball to baseball, and started
a little slow because of injuries, but he ended up hitting over
.400 and 8 home runs again this year.
"Johnny Cyrus is a 3-year starter at second base," Coach
Swallows said. "He started out hurt the first part of the year
and didn't play as well as he would have liked to have played.
"He was consistent with the glove. I would rather have the
ball hit to him at second base than just about anybody because I
just knew he wasn't going to make any mistakes.
"He's a solid guy, a hard worker.
"Jimmy Davidson was a 2-year starter, and probably the best
center fielder in the district," Coach Swallows said. “There
was just nothing he couldn't catch, and he made two or three great
plays at the end of the year to help us win the district tournament.
"His speed will be missed, and he ended up having a great
year with the bat.
"Shane Livingston, this was his first year getting a chance
to start and play," Coach Swallows said. “Though he struggled
a little with the bat, he made up for it defensively, and then did
a great job on the mound when Colson went down. Shane stepped up
and had some great games.
"Jon Maynard's another senior that this is his first year
to get a chance to play," Coach Swallows said. "He's been
a catcher all three years he's been here, and we moved him to the
outfield because Chris was in the catcher position and we wanted
to get Jon into the lineup somewhere. He got some key hits for us,
and had good speed.
"Chris was a 3-year starter behind the plate," Coach
Swallows said. "He has improved tremendously back there.
"He was probably out of position. He probably should have
been a first baseman and possibly even a pitcher, but we couldn't
afford to take him out from behind the plate because he was so valuable
"So, we have to replace a 3-year starter at catcher. He was
a quiet leader. He didn't say a whole lot, but led by example and
always worked hard at everything that he did.
"Cody has been the main go-to guy for the three years that
I've been back," Coach Swallows said. “He's set numerous school
records - strikeouts, wins, games pitched, innings pitched, and
ERA. He'll be tough to replace on the mound.
"John Ward was a designated hitter this year, and just had
a great year," Coach Swallows said. "He hit over .400
and had 6 home runs.
"He was probably as hard a worker as anybody we had. He came
up here and hit off the tees and off the soft-toss machines and
made himself into a very good hitter, and made All-District his
senior year. Through hard work and desire, he made himself a good
"This year's senior bunch was four-time district champions,"
Coach Swallows said. "That's something to be pretty proud of.
They had a good four years.
"We've got eight pairs of shoes to fill, but the guys that
have been here all year and have stuck it out and worked hard have
certainly improved from the start of the year until now. So, we
as coaches have a lot of optimism about next year simply because
of the way these guys have worked to get better."
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Kalihib Lander to
compete at state meet
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
The team portion of the Livingston Academy Track & Field Team's
2005 season ended last week in the sectionals held at David Lipscomb
College on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, May 16, 17, and 19.
LA Track & Field Coach Merl Smith said, "The season went real
well. We had quite a few school records broken, and had some people
improve their times and improve their distances.
"And we found out that we can compete individually with a
lot of people."
Coach Smith was also encouraged with the growth of the program
at Livingston Academy.
"We had a few more people involved in the sport this year,"
he said. "We scored more points than we have in the past because
of the increase in numbers.
"But we can't compete as a team because of the numbers also,"
he said referring to the lack of enough players for each event offered
in track & field.
At the sectionals, Kalihib Lander qualified for the state tournament
in the long jump while setting a new school record of 20 feet, 5
and 3/4 inches. His jump was good for the 2nd place medal and a
trip to Briarcrest High School in Memphis where he will compete
at 1 p.m. Friday, May 27.
Heather Burchett continued to break school records in the discus
throw. She took the 4th place medal with a new school record of
96 feet, 5 inches.
She also won the 6th place medal in the shotput with a throw of
30 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches.
"In the running events, our 4 by 100 relay team qualified
for the finals," Coach Smith said.
The LA team of Mike Jones, Kalihib Lander, Vincent Woodruff, and
Dewayne Woodruff set a new school record with a 46.84 run that was
good enough for the 8th place medal.
The team has lost two members to graduation - Krista Clinard and
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