When spring break ends, the championship season begins for Columbia County's high school athletic teams.
Squads returned to action after Masters Week, and it didn't take long for the action to heat up, as several region titles were captured last week.
The Evans Knights clinched the Region 7-AAAAA soccer title Tuesday with a 4-0 win at Stephenson High School. The shutout gave Evans its first region soccer championship since 1998.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday at Newman Tennis Center, Augusta Christian and Augusta Prep shared the spotlight at the Region 4-AAA tennis tournament.
The Lady Cavaliers edged defending state champion George Walton Academy to clinch Augusta Prep's 35th region championship in tennis.
Augusta Prep's Cary Gibson won the region singles title and helped her team to a region title.
Photo by Mike Howell
"That's one tradition we have at Prep - tennis is king," Augusta Prep coach Mark Farmer said.
George Walton seemed to have a secure hold on the trophy, but several Augusta Prep players, including singles champ Cary Gibson, helped the Lady Cavaliers pull out an 11-9 victory.
"It was tight. At one point, I thought we'd lost it," Farmer said. "The way the tournament was set up, all the teams were in the thick of it, and things worked out for us."
Augusta Christian's boys easily defended their region title. AC's Chris Motes was the singles champion, while Nate and Joe Tingen cruised to the top spot in doubles.
The Lady Lions weren't left out of the celebration - Brittany Jackson and Katie Holmes won the region doubles title.
Along with the individual and team titles up for grabs at the region tournament, players also were vying for a top-four finish, which guaranteed a berth in the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA individual state tennis tournament this week.
The following players earned a trip to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton:
Boys singles - Motes (AC); Neil Shine (Prep); Harley Nalley (Prep). Girls singles - Gibson (Prep); Jessica Faulkner (AC). Boys doubles - Nate and Joe Tingen (AC); Shiv Sharma and Peyton Bell (Prep); Alex Newton and Troy Freeman (AC). Girls doubles - Jackson and Holmes (AC); Kathryn Stone and Caitlin Burley (Prep).
At state, AC's Tingens will attempt to win their third consecutive state doubles championship, but they may have to get past teammates Newton and Freeman.
"Actually, there's a good possibility that Troy and Alex will meet Nate and Joe in the doubles finals," AC coach Mike Giddens said.
More trophies are up for grabs this week.
Harlem's teams compete in the Region 3-AAA soccer and tennis tournaments. Also, Greenbrier and Lakeside battle in the 3-AAAA subregion tennis tournament, while the Augusta Prep and Augusta Christian track-and-field teams shoot for Region 4-AAA honors at Augusta Prep.
Greenbrier and Lakeside meet in the Region 3-AAAA track-and-field championship Saturday at the Brierpatch, with the Lady Pack attempting to take a second-straight title.
In golf, Augusta Christian and Augusta Prep travel Monday to Monroe, Ga., for the Region 4-AAA tournament.
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