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Boys Athlete of the Week: North Hall's Paul Powers
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Honor Roll

Basketball

Gunnar Armstrong, Dawson County: Tallied 18 points in a win against Banks County last Tuesday.

Shaquan Cantrell, Gainesville: Recorded 28 points in a win against Cedar Shoals last Tuesday and 20 points in a win against Heritage on Thursday.

Ty Cockfield, Johnson: Scored 15 points and had five assists in a win against Monroe Area last Tuesday and 25 against Chestatee on Friday.

Jordan Degraff, Chestatee: Recorded 29 points in a win against Stephens County last Tuesday and 14 against Johnson on Saturday.

Cody Dewing, Flowery Branch: Tallied 22 points in a win against East Hall on Saturday.

Tyler Dominy, Dawson County: Scored 18 points in a win against East Hall last Monday.

Drew Dunham, Johnson: Tallied 20 points in a win against Monroe Area last Tuesday.

Brian Edwards, East Hall: Recorded 17 points in a win against West Hall last Tuesday.

Jordan Egerton, White County: Recorded 19 points in a win against Banks County on Friday.

James Hodges, Johnson: Scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds against Chestatee on Friday.

Adrian Humphrey, Riverside: Scored 37 points against Rabun County last Tuesday and 14 against Lakeview on Saturday.

Adam Kelly, North Hall: Scored 14 points in a win against West Hall on Friday and 25 against Jefferson on Saturday.

Jeshua Kidd, Jefferson: Scored 18 points against North Hall on Saturday.

Rhett McCombs, Union County: Scored 34 points against Jefferson last Tuesday.

Montrell McKenzie, Johnson: Had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win against Monroe Area last Tuesday and 10 points and 22 rebounds against Chestatee on Friday.

Austin Montgomery, Lakeview: Scored 17 points in a win against Commerce last Tuesday, 22 against Towns County on Friday and 16 against Riverside on Saturday.

Griffin Olson, North Hall: Recorded 15 points in a win against Fannin County last Tuesday.

Keelan Passmore, Chestatee: Scored 20 points in a win against Stephens County last Tuesday.

Tyler Patrick, Jefferson: Tallied 19 points in a win against Union County last Tuesday.

Ebo Smith, North Hall: Scored 16 points in a win against Fannin County last Tuesday, 33 against West Hall on Friday and 14 against Jefferson on Saturday.

Jamaad Stephens, Flowery Branch: Recorded 21 points in a win against East Hall on Saturday and 24 against Gainesville on Friday.

Rick Valentine, Lakeview: Tallied 15 points in a win against Commerce last Tuesday.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Tallied 20 points in a win against Flowery Branch on Friday.

Swimming

Hudson Howard, Flowery Branch: Won the 50 freestyle at the Hall County Championships last weekend.

Colin Monaghan, Gainesville: Won the 200 individual medley at the Hall County Championships last weekend.

Ty Powers, North Hall: Won the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and helped the team win two relay events at the Hall County Championships last weekend.

Tristan Taylor, Chestatee: Won the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle at the Hall County Championships last weekend.

Wrestling

Austin Donaldson, Chestatee: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 120 pounds on Saturday.

Greg Hilliard, Lumpkin County: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 113 pounds on Saturday.

Cody Humphries, Chestatee: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 170 pounds on Saturday.

Devante King, Flowery Branch: Won the Area 8-AAAAA individual championship at 195 pounds on Saturday.

Tyler Kratzer, North Hall: Won the Area 4-AAA individual championship at 145 pounds on Saturday.

Daniel Locklear, Lumpkin County: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 138 pounds on Saturday.

Jose Martinez, Johnson: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 195 pounds on Saturday.

Tommy McCormack, Chestatee: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 160 pounds on Saturday.

Elliott Raiford, West Hall: Won the Area 4-AAA individual championship at 152 pounds on Saturday.

Jose Reyes-Lavallee, Chestatee: Won the Area 8-AAAA individual championship at 106 pounds on Saturday.

Grant Simonds, Flowery Branch: Won the Area 8-AAAAA individual championship at 182 pounds on Saturday.

Zach Winter, Flowery Branch: Won the Area 8-AAAAA individual championship at 138 pounds on Saturday.

Compiled by Kelsey Williamson

For North Hall’s Paul Powers, the Hall County Championship swim meet is a time to fine tune skills before the state meet, as well as a weekend full of “friendly competition.”

The meet, which featured teams from six out of nine county schools, offered a chance to compete against the area’s best swimmers along with promoting the growth of the sport, which Powers believes has a bright future in Hall County, even if it’s still working to gain popularity.

“Hall County Championships for swimming is not too big of a deal,” Powers said. “Well, for everyone who swims it is, but it’s not really recognized around the county.”

The local mindset, however, is changing, especially with Powers making a name for himself along with the introduction of swim programs in other local schools, like West Hall and Lakeview, both new to this year’s meet.

At the championships last weekend, Powers set new county records in the two individual events he won, the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke, and helped the relay teams break records in the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.

For his efforts, Powers is The Times Boys Athlete of the Week.

For Powers and the local swimmers, the championships are a big deal because “everyone knows everyone, and they really want to show off,” he said.

“When you’re racing your friends, you want to be able to say, ‘hey I beat you in this race,’” Powers added.

He admits it isn’t the biggest meet of the year — “that’s high school state,” he said — but it’s certainly a chance for him to exhibit his skills.

“Personally, I didn’t set any of my best times,” Powers said, “but it was a good tune-up for high school state.”

Powers spends an incredible amount of time training and competing with everyone from Debby Duncan, the North Hall swim coach, to Olympic trainers, to his family. And, in this final stretch of the season, it begins to pay off.

“I would say going into this week, it’s really tough,” he said. “I mean ever since summer it’s been non-stop, hardcore training, but about halfway through last week we started laying off the yards and fine tuning the technique and we will do miniature races at practice.”

Powers’s training is especially tough considering some of his biggest competition comes from the same house.

“I love having a younger brother who swims because were kind of both on the same path,” he said. “We have goals of carrying swimming through college. There’s always family competitions. In state, I’m seeded first in the 50 free and he’s seeded second.

“We’re training partners, but when it comes to the race, we’re arch rivals.”

Heading into this weekend’s state meet, held at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Powers is excited to swim both with and against his brother, Ty, who won the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke at the Hall County Championships and is a member of both of the Trojans’ relay teams.

“I’m excited about both of my individual events, primarily the 50 because I get to race my brother,” Powers said.

Powers wants to show his absolute best not only in order to beat his brother, but also to impress the many college scouts looking at him.

“This week is really where I have to show up,” he said. “The Auburn coaching staff is coming to watch.”

After state, Powers has one more regional short-course meet in March before he picks up intense training again for the summer. As for his future in college swimming, Powers is focusing on all aspects of each school, including academics, relationships with coaches, and of course, the quality of the swimming program.

“I have a couple options, but I wouldn’t say I have any favorites right now,” he said.

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