Throughout the school year, Columbia County's top upperclassmen, especially seniors, seem to get most of the attention in prep athletics.
There is no doubt that those accolades are well deserved, but a lot of time the younger athletes are overlooked.
So, as the summer break is upon us, let's look back at some of the top high school underclassmen from the 2001-02 seasons.
All of the budding stars we'll recognize have at least two years of eligibility left, and if they use their time wisely this summer, working and improving their skills, the sky's the limit for them.
Travis Clark: rising junior, football and baseball - Clark is a smart competitor, and a much better athlete than many realize. He could become one of the best quarterbacks ever to wear the black and gold. He also is a big-time talent on the diamond.
Rich Poythress: rising freshman, baseball - Poythress plays other sports, but he's dominant in baseball. His middle-school numbers were mind-boggling, and he already has great size at 6-2, 190.
Bekah Gibbs: rising sophomore, basketball and track - Gibbs isn't big, but she was fast enough to run away with awards in basketball and track during her freshman year. She could be on the fast-track to the top.
Amy Rigdon: rising junior, basketball and softball - Rigdon shows glimpses of things to come when she hit a school-record eight 3-point shots in one game last season. She also contributes to the perennial region champion Lady Wolfpack softball squad.
Kristan Glover: rising sophomore, softball - Glover already is one of the best fastpitch hurlers in the CSRA, and has to be the best rising 10th grader in the state. Her younger sister, Amanda, joins the Greenbrier team as a freshman this fall, and she's going to have a huge impact as well.
Scott Wandless: rising junior, baseball and football - Wandless led the Pack baseball team in hitting in 2002, and he should become more of a power hitter as his frame fills out. Also, he can lay down a hit on the football field at linebacker. He'll anchor the Pack in both sports the next two school years.
Eric Taylor: rising sophomore, basketball - This will be a very important summer for Taylor. He is immensely talented in hoops, and has a good attitude. The best thing for him now is to work on the weaker parts of his game, and to absorb as much information as he can from new Pack coach Garrett Black.
Brooks Robinson: rising junior, football and baseball - Despite the familiar name, Robinson isn't well known locally - yet. Look for his to be the starting quarterback for Coach Mickey Derrick this fall. He also came on strong late in the 2002 baseball season.
Chris Johnson: rising freshman, baseball - Johnson is one of the most highly-regarded baseball players to enter the high school ranks in quite some time. He's the younger brother of former Wolfpack star J.J. Johnson, who is now playing minor league ball in the Chicago Cubs organization. Keep an eye on Chris, who is already an adept switch hitter.
Jon Rickerson: rising sophomore, basketball and baseball - Rickerson had a quiet freshman year, but he should make some noise as a sophomore, and could eventually be a three-sport star for the Bulldogs.
Reggie Rice: rising freshman, basketball and pure athlete - Rice already has good size (6-1, 190), and he'll be vitally important in the Dogs' drive to continue their recent success on the hardwood.
Brittany Merriweather: rising freshman, basketball - Merriweather can flat-out play basketball, and she's good enough to emerge as a starter for the Lady Dogs next season. She plays AAU ball, which should allow her to keep improving.
Matt Scott: rising junior, basketball - Scott doesn't seem to realize how good he is, in the respect that he gives his all in practice and games. I hope that continues, because if Scott keeps that desire to improve, his future is unbelievably bright. He has all the tools to be a Division I player.
Chang Ho: rising sophomore, football and basketball - Ho has great potential in football, although he is really more of a raw talent in both sports. In hoops, he'll have to hone his skills to excel at the high school level, although his speed and leaping ability are huge assets.
Ryan Blackburn: rising sophomore, golf - Blackburn could dominate his sport more than any player on this list. As a freshman he was the region medalist, and his swing is rock solid.
Abby Alexander:rising sophomore, cross country, basketball and track - Alexander will probably re-write the record books at Prep. She was the Lady Cavaliers team leader in basketball, and claimed a state title in track. Simply a legend in the making.
Cole Rabun: rising junior, football - Rabun's blinding speed makes him a threat every time he touches the football. He may not make AC fans forget record-setting tailback Joel Whinghter, but Rabun should put up some big rushing numbers this fall.
While these prep athletes aren't the only rising superstars in Columbia County, this elite 18 are names you'll be hearing for the next few years.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.