Sports in 2011 in Columbia County featured changes in the leadership of the county’s Recreation Department and big plans for a new park, along with successes for area teams. Here are the highlights:
• The Columbia County school board was presented with $1,328 raised during the Peach Belt Fall Festival cross country meet held in November 2010 at Blanchard Woods Park. The money was for the school system’s middle school sports programs.
• Former Greenbrier High football star Reggie Rice and two others pled guilty to first-degree burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the February 2010 home invasion and robbery in James Island, S.C. Rice was sentenced in March to 30 years in prison.
• Daniel Swenson won the Open Pro division of the Augusta Disc Golf Ice Bowl for a second time.
• The Lakeside High swim team won the Columbia County Swimming Championships.
• The Greenbrier High girls and Lakeside High boys won the CSRA Swimming and Diving Championships.
• Former Evans High basketball coach Danny Black was added to the school’s Wall of Fame.
• Grovetown High girls basketball team made it to the first round of the AAA state playoffs.
• Greenbrier High boys basketball team made it to the first round of the AAAA playoffs.
• Lakeside High cross country runners Anna Bowles and Katie Townsend signed letters of intent to compete for the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, respectively.
• The cheerleading squad for Augusta Christian Schools won a national title for a fourth time from the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders.
• Grovetown High School basketball star Ebony Wells accepted a scholarship to play for Florida State University.
• The Columbia County Commission and school board announced a joint project to build a $12 million athletic complex at Lakeside High School.
• The Evans High tennis team completed an undefeated regular season.
• Eunice Yi, of Evans, took second place in the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s girls 14-18 division at Kiawah Island.
• Chad Waddell of Greenbrier High was named Columbia County basketball player of the year. Lakeside’s John Kucela was named boys basketball coach of the year.
• Grovetown High basketball player Ebony Wells and girls coach Jamie Echols were named player and coach of the year, respectively.
• Golf legend Gary Player autographed bottles of wine at the Vineyard Wine Market in Evans during Masters Week.
• Augusta Prep officials faced resistance from residents in the Springlakes subdivision when they proposed installing lights on the school’s football field. Commissioners later approved the lights with conditions.
• Former Evans High assistant baseball and football coach Russell Lee retired at the end of the school year after 33 years of coaching and teaching.
• Greenbrier High girls and boys teams won the Columbia County Championship track and field meet.
• The Greenbrier High tennis team won the Region 2-AAAA Tournament.
• Lakeside High School senior Anna Bowles won the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters in Class AAAA to finish her high school career with five state titles between track and cross country.
• The baseball teams for Grovetown, Harlem and Greenbrier high schools made the state playoffs. Grovetown was defeated in the first round. Harlem lost in the second round. Greenbrier advanced to the state quarterfinals, but lost to Marist.
• Grovetown and Greenbrier high schools’ boys soccer teams advanced to the state quarterfinals. Grovetown lost in the second round and Greenbrier lost in the third round.
• Augusta Christian’s Stephanie Cipollone won three gold medals and set two state records in the SCISA Class AAA meet.
• Augusta Prep’s girls soccer team advanced to the GISA Class AAA state quarterfinals.
• Greenbrier High School senior Rita Cave became the school’s first girls lacrosse player to sign a letter-of- intent to play in college. Cave signed with Shorter College in Rome, Ga.
• The Greenbrier girls tennis team lost in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
• The 6- and 7-year-old Ravens of the Columbia Area Youth Football Association won the “CAYFA Super Bowl” to finish the season 11-0.
• Grovetown High golfer Danielle Reynolds named the Region 3-AAA Player of the Year.
• Lakeside High soccer player Matt Tran named Region 2-AAAA boys player of the year and Lakeside’s Dave Morgan was named boys coach of the year.
• Greenbrier High soccer player Carly Ray named Region 2-AAAA girls player of the year and Greenbrier soccer coach Wes Kendrick named girls coach of the year.
• Former Columbia County Community Events Manager Stacie Adkins became the county’s recreation and events manager, replacing Charlie Beale, who retired in 2010.
• The Columbia County school board approved spending nearly $3 million to update athletic facilities at Harlem, Evans, Lakeside and Greenbrier high schools.
• Grovetown High’s Corey Stone is The Columbia County News-Times All Area Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
• Augusta Prep’s Jamie Alexander is The Columbia County News-Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
• Greenbrier High’s Will Price named The Columbia County News-Times All-County Baseball Player of the Year.
• Masters City, an Augusta-based organization, capped off a back-and-forth championship game over previously undefeated Martinez-Evans National in the Georgia Little League District 6 Machine Pitch Tournament at Crawford Creek Park.
• Jessica Kirby, who started the sports medicine program at Grovetown High School, won the Gatorade Secondary School Service Award for District 9 from the Southeast Athletic Trainers’ Association.
• The Martinez-Evans Little League Junior League All-Star team went undefeated in winning the Little League District Tournament and the State Championship.
• The Martinez-Evans Little League 9-10 All-Stars won the 2011 District 6 Championship in Elberton, Ga.
•Dixie Major, Pre-Majors and Ozone teams all won state titles and competed in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series.
• Harlem High was voted unanimously by Region 3-AAA coaches as the recipient of the Georgia High School Association Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award.
• Former Harlem High running back Mikey McIntire moved and transferred to Lincoln County High just days after the Bulldogs lost to the Red Devils.
• Long-time Recreation Department coach and volunteer Jim Siple died after a battle with cancer.
• Greenbrier varsity volleyball competed in the state playoffs, but lost in the second round.
• Evans softball played in the state AAAA playoffs, but lost in the second round.
• Greenbrier’s softball team played in the state AAAA tournament, but lost in the second round.
• In the GISA region 4-AAA championship, Augusta Prep’s girls cross country team won with Prep runners taking the top three slots.
• Lakeside cross country runner Sid Vaughn won Region 2-AAAA individual title. Lakeside’s Sarah Bowles earned the girls title. Lakeside boys took first and Greenbrier second in the boys team race, while Lakeside took first and Evans second in the girls team race.
• Lakeside football team made the Region 2-AAAA playoffs.
• Augusta Prep’s football team earned a playoff berth in its first year of varsity football.
• County commissioners approved $4,800 for an architect to draw a plan to build BMX racing and skate tracks at Blanchard Woods Park.
• Greenbrier’s Brian Smith resigned as head football coach.
• Augusta Prep won the GISA Class AAA cross country title. Amanda Murphy won the individual title.
• Greenbrier swimmer Kate Clark committed to Georgia Tech.
• Lauren Masters, a Greenbrier High School student, signed a letter-of -intent to play for North Carolina State University. In December, her 20-year-old sister, Ashlyn, decided to transfer to N.C. State from a college in Florida.
• The Lakeside High competitive cheerleading squad won the 2-AAAA region championship and earned a top-10 state finish.
• Augusta Christian’s football team lost in the semifinals of the state SCISA playoffs.
• Lakeside High golfer Jack Gibbs signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Virginia.
• Jamal Hadley, a 2011 Lakeside High graduate, received a scholarship to play rubgy for American International College.
• Following reclassifications by the Georgia High School Association, Evans, Greenbrier, Grovetown and Lakeside form Region 2-AAAAA, Subregion A for 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Harlem was slotted into Region 3-AA, Subregion B, along with Davidson Fine Arts, Laney, Screven County and Westside.