The war in Iraq is under way , and the ripple effect reached some Columbia County high school athletes last week.
The Greenbrier boys soccer team was gearing up for a tournament trip to Jekyll Island, but Greenbrier Principal Sandra Carraway prohibited the Wolfpack from participating in the event, which was played Thursday through Saturday.
"We're disappointed we can't go to Jekyll, but there's nobody to get mad at," Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said Thursday morning. "You never know what's going to happen, so I understand why (the trip was canceled). You'd hate to be 250 miles away and have something bad happen."
Although the Columbia County School system did not ban athletic travel, Carraway thought it best to pull the plug on the Pack soccer team.
"The biggest thing is we want the kids to be safe," she said. "With the nation under Orange Alert, we didn't want students to take any unnecessary trips. If you err, your want to err on the side of caution."
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lakeside's soccer teams played their scheduled matches Saturday in Statesboro, although Lakeside athletic director Randy Hill isn't averse to taking precautionary measures in the future.
"With war going on, if the county says we can't travel to athletic events outside the CSRA, we'll be patient and try to make games up at a later date," Hill said. "Everyone bans together when it comes to these decisions."
The Georgia High School Association has given each school system the option to set its own policy concerning athletic travel during the war.
"We're monitoring the GHSA, and there will be no changes (in current schedules of regular-season athletic events) unless there is a directive from the state Department of Education," said Charles Nagle, Columbia County Schools associate superintendent.
Several track-and-field athletes from Evans and Greenbrier had qualified to compete in the Georgia Tech Invitational meet this weekend in Atlanta, but they also were asked to stay home by school administrators.
The Georgia Tech meet is a prestigious event, and for Columbia County qualifiers, it was a shot to see how they stacked up against the best track-and-field athletes in the state.
Still, Evans athletic director Gail Connor agreed with the decision to skip the meet.
"The safety of the kids comes first," she said.
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