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State of the Program: West Hall looking to start fast in the fall with talent in football, volleyball, softball and cross country
Spartans ended 2021 with playoff appearances in baseball and boys soccer
Tilil Blackwell
West Hall's Tilil Blackwell runs the ball against East Hall during the 2020 game in Oakwood. - photo by Scott Rogers

West Hall’s athletics programs are going to have a brand-new feel this fall, which has its athletics director David Wagner excited for all the boys and girls at the Oakwood school who choose to play sports. 

Like many in Hall County, the Spartans will have a nice new synthetic-playing surface for football and soccer, as a result of SPLOST funding. 

The stadium, now 33 years old, will also be pressure washed and given a more vibrant appearance. 

Also, West Hall is benefitting from a new six-lane track at the stadium, which Wagner is very appreciative to be able to have at the disposal for its runners. 

“We’re very thankful for what we’re getting,” West Hall’s athletics director said. “Our kids are really going to enjoy everything new coming in.”

The basketball gymnasium is also the beneficiary of upgrades, including new bleachers. 

And with upgrades in facilities also comes new optimism with a wide swath of athletic talent coming back across all seasons. 

Wagner said a passionate coaching staff at West Hall will provide kids a great chance to be competitive in Region 7-3A in the fall, winter and spring. 

“We are constantly working on the culture and school spirit,” said Wagner. “We want our students and athletes to be proud to be West Hall Spartans.”

All of these new amenities are exciting, especially with everyone coming off an entire school year impacted by protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

“Everyone is just excited to get back into a normal routine,” said Wagner.

The Spartans’ athletics director said some of the policies implemented during the nation’s pandemic will remain in place, including enhanced cleaning procedures and optimizing the logistics of getting fans in and out of the stadium easier on game day. 

In 2021, the Spartans ended the school year on a high note with its baseball team making the playoffs in the toughest Class 3A region in the state, with state champion North Hall and state quarterfinalist Cherokee Bluff also in the mix. And in boys soccer, the Spartans lost a hard-fought 1-0 first-round match against North Murray. 

“I’m insanely proud of the way our baseball and boys soccer teams,” said Wagner. 

In the fall, West Hall fans should be excited about a flourishing football program under coach Krofton Montgomery. 

The Spartans return a talented group of seniors, led by defensive back Jaden White, running back Tilil Blackwell, linebacker/tight end Nick Sturm and offensive lineman Reagan Byrd. 

Wagner, who spent most of his previous time in education coaching football, said a good season in football will set the tone for the rest of the year. 

“This is small town Oakwood, Georgia and Friday Night Lights,” Wagner said. “We can turn this into the hottest ticket in town.”

Also in the fall, Wagner is thrilled to have first-year volleyball coach Tiann Myer working with West Hall’s program, after she sustained a long and successful run coaching in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

“(Myer) has a phenomenal volleyball knowledge,” Wagner said. “It’s incredible what she’s done in her career.”

In softball, Lauren Gault is stepping into the role of head coach, while Jennifer Miller is coaching the competitive cheer program. 

In the spring, Harper Seymour will head the girls track and field program, while Wayne Jones will work with the boys. 

In cross country, Stephen Clarke will be returning after placing at the 2020 state meet. 

The wrestling program is also in tremendous shape for the Spartans after sending 10 wrestlers to the state traditional meet last season. West Hall wrestlers who went to state in 2021 were Nayeli Sanchez (102 pound girls), Michael Moya (106), Abby Escobar (112 girls), Emely Salud (122 girls), Brian Armstrong (132), Ethan Crofutt (152), Tristan Campellone (170), Caleb Beverly (182), Dan Diasa (195) and Shakye Shaw (220). 

Wagner said that his wrestling coach Phil Daniel has a tangible passion for the sport that carries over to athletes wanting to compete. 

For 2021-22, the volleyball program will rely on Chloe Radich, Kayleigh McFarland and Erin Emerick, among others. 

In cross county, Clarke and Elise Thornhill are two of the names who will be expected to standout for the Spartans. 

In softball, Saphirre Barker, Ali Svertz and Angelica Lux are three names to watch. 

In competition cheer, Lexani Martin and Skylar Dontje  will be expected to perform well. 

In basketball, Owen Jenkins and Andrew Malin are two of the top names for the boys, while Makenzie White and Macie Burell are leaders for the girls. 

In wrestling, Campellone, Crofutt and Abigail Escobar are all returning. 

Mason Andrews, Erin Emerick are two of the top returning swimmers for the Spartans. 

In track and field, Nick Davidson, Blackwell, Elise Thornhill and Kaycie Smith are geared up for a good season. 

In tennis, Vu Nguyen and Zach Stephens are expected standouts for the boys, while the girls will have Lilliane Bird and Faith Gibbs. 

Gladys Sepulveda and Sarah Castaneda are top expected returning talents for the girls soccer program, while Diego Chacon and Jesus Ramirez are expected back for the boys. 

In baseball, Sturm and Tyler Maynard are expected to be two of the top standouts returning. 

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