If Gainesville doesn’t have room in its trophy case, a larger space might be more appropriate.
Perhaps a long hallway or sizable room. Because after the spring the Red Elephants have had, they’re going to need it.
Gainesville has dominated athletics in the region this spring, taking titles in boys and girls soccer, boys and girls golf, and baseball.
Name a sport, and there’s a good chance Gainesville had at least a fighting chance at taking the region.
But the success doesn’t even end there.
Not only are they winning region titles, but the Red Elephants are doing it in very convincing fashion.
Take the baseball team, for example. Gainesville swept North Hall in the region championship series last Friday, winning both game by 10 runs. The two wins kept the Red Elephants a perfect 25-0 on the season, making them the only undefeated team left in Class AAA.
It is the first time Gainesville baseball has had an undefeated regular season. The Red Elephants host Heritage-Catoosa on Friday in the first round of the state playoffs.
And then there’s soccer, where both the girls and boys ran through the region almost perfectly.
The boys were perfect in Region 8-AAA and lost only one game overall to Mill Creek in the second game of the season. Since then, the Red Elephants have won 14 by a combined score of 62-3.
The girls were nearly as good, losing only to Johnson in the region. The girls will host Dalton in the first round of the state playoffs, while the boys host Cartersville.
Given how the season has gone, I would not be surprised to see either team playing deep into the playoffs.
In golf, the boys didn’t just win the region tournament, they won it by 16 strokes. Pep Brown finished with the best individual score, carding a 6-under 66, four strokes better than White County’s Eli Crumley.
Track and field will also be well represented at the state meet as well as two athletes qualified in the 800 (Marcquel Woodard and Pablo Alberto), one in the 1,600 (Woodard), one in the pole vault (Joseph Lozano) and a 1,600 relay team. Meanwhile, the girls team qualified for eight events, led by Sara Hayes, who will compete in three.
And both boys and girls tennis teams also advanced to state competition.
It’s not easy to be that successful in one sport, much less across the board. But it’s just a testament to the strong athletics the school maintains year round.
Will any of the teams break through for a state championship? It’s hard to say.
The state is full of top-notch teams, and adequately comparing any of Gainesville’s to those isn’t feasible.
What I do know, however, is that the Red Elephants have as good a chance as any.
The baseball team is balanced on both sides of the ball, and winning 25 consecutive games is something you can hang your hat on no matter where you play. And the soccer teams already play amongst some of the best competition in the state, so it would come as no surprise if either finished the season at the top.
For now, though, those teams should feel proud of what they have accomplished during the regular season.
Winning a region title isn’t easy — even if the Red Elephants make it look like it is.
David Mitchell is a sportswriter for The Times. Follow him at twitter.com/gtimesdmitchell.