If you've ever watched the State of the Union address on television, you have probably noticed the man who comes in and announces the entrance of the president.
I don't have an announcer, but here is my State of the County address:
Section I, 2004-05: I recently wrote a column chronicling this past year's accomplishments.
Since then, however, the Georgia High School Association released its Director's Cup standings and Greenbrier, Lakeside and Evans all landed in the top 10 in Class AAAA.
The spring sports teams in the county might have been stronger, collectively, than ever. A baseball team, a soccer team and two tennis teams made the state semifinals and two other soccer teams made the state quarterfinals. Augusta Preparatory Day School won two state tennis titles and Augusta Christian Schools won the state championship in baseball.
Spring action capped off strong fall and winter seasons. Columbia County must be mentioned as the strongest non-Metro Atlanta county when you are talking about overall athletic programs.
Section II, 2005-06: On paper, this will be an interesting year.
Evans should be hurt by the graduation of a phenomenal senior class - probably the most productive in nearly a decade.
The Knights graduated most of the key players on the baseball and football teams.
The girls soccer team should be strong next season, and Kevin Kenny brings back some talent in boys basketball.
Greenbrier will be the county favorites on paper in baseball, girls and boys soccer, softball, cross country and girls basketball.
Garrett Black's softball team will be in the hunt for another state title, and he brings back all but one starter off his state quarterfinal girls basketball team.
The soccer and baseball teams should make deep playoff runs.
Lakeside will again be strong in spring sports. Randy Hill has built a dynasty in wrestling and the Panthers will be the region favorites.
Harlem has a chance to contend for a playoff spot in football, and Jimmie Lewis will have his baseball team in the playoff hunt again.
Augusta Christian should be a state title favorite in baseball next year and probably will field playoff teams in girls and boys basketball and softball and football.
Augusta Prep will have playoff soccer teams and will have a strong incoming swim class that won two junior varsity state titles.
Section III, the newspaper: We will have some new features this fall in the News-Times that we think will give us a better sports section.
We will highlight a student athlete - nominated by a teacher - beginning this fall in hopes of showcasing talents in the classroom.
"Game balls" will be given out weekly to some of the top athletes from the previous week of action.
The annual football preview section, which was awarded second place for special section by the Georgia Sportswriters Association last year, will debut Aug. 17.
There will be a number of other additions to the sports section this fall, and we hope that you will give us feedback to make the paper even better.
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