Wayne Vickery didn't know what to expect when Gainesville High School made the jump from Class AAA to AAAAA in the fall of 2012. The Gainesville athletic director wondered if the school's sports programs might struggle, at least initially, by moving up more than one classification at once.
Summer provides a different set of challenges than the fall season for cross country runners, and local teams have been hard at work to make sure they've made good use of these offseason months.
If you look closely during 7-on-7 summer football scrimmages, you'll see defenses on the field. As much as these fast-paced passing camps are designed to improve offenses, coaches say the setup also gives them a great defensive test.
ATHENS - Gainesville High rising junior Spencer Ralston has qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship for the second year in a row.
Boys first team
Colton Quinones was a spectator when Class AAAAA discus medals were handed out in 2013.
Gabrielle Hoffman never planned on being a pole vaulter. But a quick exchange at practice as a freshman at North Hall jumpstarted a passion that led to a pair of state championships.
Andrew Smith and Sims Griffith are friends with the same expectations in the Heartland Baseball Classic, even though they will take very different roads once this week-long baseball showcase for some of the nation's top talent representing seven different states is complete in Oklahoma.
Gainesville High golfer Spencer Ralston shot a 6-under par 210 (69-70-71) over three days to finish third in the Georgia Junior Championship on Wednesday at the Brunswick Country Club in Brunswick.
ATHENS - West Hall graduate Hunter Atkinson has decided not to pursue a football career at the University of Georgia, the school announced Wednesday in a press release.
Gainesville High's Spencer Ralston remains in striking distance of a victory in the Georgia State Golf Association's Junior Championship at the Brunswick Country Club after a second-round 2-under 70 on Tuesday.
Gainesville High's Spencer Ralston fired a 3-under par 69, while Nathan Williams carded a 2-under par 70 Monday in the first round of the Georgia State Golf Association's Junior Championship at the Brunswick Country Club in Brunswick.
East Hall's Devin Watson didn't try to dial back his athletic brilliance, even though Monday's competition against Johnson was just the first of two days in the NFL High School Player Development Camp sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons at East Hall Stadium.
Jake Higginbotham didn't start pitching until he was 15, the summer before his freshman year of high school. By the end of his junior year at Buford High, opposing batters probably wished the lefthander had never set foot on a mound.
Michael Gettys changed the face of the Gainesville High baseball program.
Lakeview Academy's Lewis Brooks finished fourth overall in the Region 8-A cross country meet and will run in the state meet in Carrollton.
HELEN - Quintin Miles didn't have to look far for motivation at the Region 8-AAAA cross country championship.
TYRONE - Tatum Shipes danced all through the pregame, hollered during the warmups and high-fived her teammates after just about every point of Wednesday's volleyball state semifinal win 25-20, 30-28, 23-25, 25-20 over Sandy Creek.
The Riverside Military Academy cross country team qualified for the state championship meet with a third-place finish in the Region 8-AA meet it hosted Wednesday in Gainesville.
Building championship cross country teams is all about peaking at the end of the season, according to Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells.
Banks County's individual runners dominated the Region 7-AAA cross country championships on Tuesday in Homer.
The East Hall High volleyball program lost its state quarterfinals playoff matchup against Oconee County 25-22, 25-18, 25-13 on Saturday in Watkinsville. The Vikings' season is now complete.
DAWSONVILLE - Joy Lewis fielded the final out from the pitchers circle and fired the ball over to teammate Brooke Wende at first base.
BUFORD - Samantha Thomas and Tessa Daniels have identical expectations for the Buford softball program in the upcoming state championship rounds, even though they have very different experiences playing in Columbus.
Sydney Cleveland led North Hall with 17 kills, 11 digs and an ace to lead North Hall to the Elite 8 in the AAAA state championship.
Emily Roberts says she is usually a little "off and on" when she puts in serious time in the front court blocking for East Hall.
Chris Williamson is too valuable an asset to stand on the Gainesville sideline for long.
Freshman Lindsey Grater finished second out of a field of 106 runners for the Chestatee War Eagles Saturday morning at the Sharptop Invitational in Jasper.
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