You'd think in a county with no college or professional sports, there wouldn't be much of a problem keeping up with what's going on in the Columbia County athletic world.
That's just not so.
We've got four public high schools with four varsity sports - football, softball, volleyball and cross country - going on this fall. Augusta Christian Schools adds varsity football and cross country (boys and girls) to the mix, while Augusta Preparatory Day School provides soccer, volleyball, and cross country.
Then there's the junior varsity sports. Sprinkle in a few active club and travel teams, some competition cheerleading squads, a pair of gymnastics teams, and then take a look at the county's nine middle school sports programs featuring both softball and football.
It's been a busy fall.
Soon basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving will begin. Before we move into another sports season, there are several fall sports teams that could have been overlooked.
I just couldn't let that happen.
First up, there's the boys from Lakeside. The junior varsity Panthers claimed the Columbia County JV football championship Oct. 20 with a 22-12 win over Evans Middle.
It's called the County Cup, although there's no actual "cup" involved. According to Lakeside coach Kevin Waters, the plans are in place, but a coordinated effort from the schools to make a literal "County Cup" hasn't happened.
Either way, the Panthers finished the season with a perfect 4-0 record against Columbia County teams and earned their first-ever County Cup.
In the championship game at Lakeside, Panther quarterback Will Evans completed 5 of 6 passes for 50 yards. Recent transfer Daniel Harmon led Lakeside with two touchdown runs and a two-point conversion on 14 carries for 77 yards. Patrick Tynan also got into the end zone on a two-point conversion run.
Then there's the Augusta Prep Lady Cavaliers. Under the leadership of head coach Rich Bland, the Augusta Prep volleyball team has had a successful year despite playing in less-than-ideal circumstances.
The team lost five senior starters (four were named Georgia Independent School Association All-State) from last season's squad and came in with virtually an entirely new team for the 2005 season. After a surprisingly successful regular season that saw the Lady Cavaliers capture yet another Region 4-AAA title, the team lost key starter Jessica Dossett to a torn ACL five days before the state playoffs.
Despite the loss, the girls rallied to win their opening round and quarterfinal round matches over Holy Spirit Prep and Pinecrest for their fourth consecutive appearance in the GISA AAA Final Four. The Lady Cavaliers fell in the Final Four to North Cobb, but finished the season with a 22-4 mark.
All four Augusta Prep losses came against the other three Final Four teams. That's a quality volleyball season.
With a winning performance, Greenbrier's cross country team looked impressive in the Columbia County Invitational on Oct. 15. The Greenbrier boys ran to a first-place finish out of nine teams with an average time of 17:48. Bo Duran led the Wolfpack with a second-place finish at 17:04. Evans and Lakeside also competed, with the Knights taking fifth place as a team and Lakeside at seventh place.
On the girls side, Greenbrier's Bridget Lyons took first place with a time of 19:20. The Lady Wolfpack finished in second place as a team and only 10 seconds behind winner Peachtree Ridge. Evans (fourth) and Lakeside (sixth) also had impressive showings in the invitational.
That's it - for now.
I know there's probably a winning team I missed or an athlete with amazing stats that I simply haven't seen.
It's a good problem to have. Keep those winning results coming.
One day, somehow, we're going to get an actual County Cup.
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