Ralston Cash, Lakeview Academy: 5-for-6 with a home run and a double against in two games against Fellowship Christian, pitched a one-hitter with eight strikeouts in Game 1 last Friday.
Ross Biegler, Lakeview Academy: 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs in two games against Fellowship Christian last Friday.
Brett Armour, Lakeview Academy: Two home runs against Fellowship Christian last Friday.
Kasey Hudgins, Banks County: Pitched a complete-game shutout in Game 1 against Chattooga last Friday.
Chris Beck, Jefferson: Pitched a one-hitter in Game 1 against Model last Friday.
Jake Fields, Jefferson: 3-for-5 with three home runs and five RBIs Game 2 against Model last Friday.
Jamie Sexton, Jefferson: 4-for-5 in Game 2 against Model last Friday.
Devin Dunson, Lumpkin County: Struck out 11 against Elbert County last Friday.
James Wilson, Flowery Branch: 2-for-3 with an inside-the-park home run and a double against Oconee County last Friday.
Mary Mancin, North Hall: 20 saves against St. Pius X last Friday.
Julia Matthews, North Hall: Two goals and an assist against Spalding last Tuesday.
Juan Arbelaez, West Hall: Returned from a knee injury and scored a goal to lead the Spartans to a 2-0 win in the Class AAA state semifinals last Thursday.
Track and field
Cody Barger, North Hall: Won the 3,200-meter with 9 minutes, 31 seconds at the Georgia Games last Friday.
Paul Malquist, Gainesville: Won the Class AAA pole vault with a height of 15 feet, six inches at the Georgia Games last Thursday.
Tyler Porter, Jefferson: Won the Class AA pole vault with a height of 15 feet at the Georgia Games last Thursday.
Daniel Drummond’s performance at last week’s Georgia Games was a fitting finale for such a decorated athlete.
The Flowery Branch High senior, who is scheduled to graduate Saturday, capped off his high school career with Class AAA state titles in the discus (169 feet, 6 inches) and the shot put (57-6.5) last Thursday in Jefferson.
It marks the end of Drummond’s campaign with the Falcons, complete with three state titles in track and field, state runner-up in football, The Times Football Player of the Year recognition and a football scholarship from Georgia Tech next fall.
“It’s a great way to finish my athletic career,” Drummond said. “I didn’t want to go out a loser. I wanted to go out on top.”
Not even a nagging injury could stop Drummond from doing that. He suffered a strained hamstring two weeks before the Region 7-AAA meet, which hindered his ability to spin in the discus circle. It was serious enough to create uncertainty as to whether he would even compete in region, let alone state.
“I basically went about a month without throwing,” Drummond said.
Too determined to let down his school, his teammates and himself, Drummond put the injury in the back of his head, and put the discus and shot put in front of him.
Way in front of him. Farther in front of him than anyone else.
His discus throw was three feet ahead of the runner-up, and his shot put was a 1 1/2 feet longer than second place. He earned all 20 of Flowery Branch’s points at the meet.
For Drummond, the secret to winning a state championship after a month without preparation was simple.
“I got lucky,” he said. “I was winging it.”
Dedication to self-improvement may have helped as well. While nursing his hamstring, Drummond spent additional time in the weight room, making for up the loss of technique practice with added strength training.
“My main focus was lifting like crazy,” he said. “My bench press went up about 100 pounds during the season.
“I didn’t focus on technique, but relied on strength instead.”
Even with important practice time missed, Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells had a feeling Drummond would still perform well at the region and state level.
“He’s a mentally tough competitor. He’s very good at what he does, and he works very hard,” Sorrells said. “When you have all those components in an athlete, success is almost a guarantee.”
That’s why Drummond was ranked fifth in the nation among fullbacks by Scout.com and was offered a football scholarship with Georgia Tech, where he will enroll over the summer.
“I’m excited, a little nervous,” Drummond said. “It’s going to be difficult, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
While football is Drummond’s primary focus with the Yellow Jackets, track and field as a spring sport may not be unrealistic, according to Sorrells.
“He could have easily gotten a scholarship for throwing,” Sorrells said. “I did receive some recruiting information from other universities.
“He’s so talented that he has his options.”
The idea has intrigued Drummond, but not without realizing the busy schedule that would come with it.
“I probably could, I’m a lot better with a college discus,” he said. “But football is going to be time-consuming.”