After a full 2005-06 sports season, the verdict is in on the best sports program in Columbia County. Among the county's four public schools, Lakeside is No. 1.
"We're always fighting to be at the top," Lakeside athletic director Randy Hill said. "We've been a bridesmaid so long. It's nice to be the bride."
Lakeside's No. 1 ranking came from the Georgia Athletic Director's Association's Dodge Director's Cup. The association announced the final standings for the year, and Lakeside finished in a tie for No. 5 in Class AAAA with 430 points.
"It's not a typical everyday conversation, but people do mention it," senior Emily Brandenburg said. "Lakeside's always been known for academics, but it's nice to be for our athletics as well."
The Dodge Director's Cup is determined through a system that gives 10 or more points for each sports team that reaches the state playoffs.
Lakeside saw five boys teams reach the postseason, led by a boys golf state championship (100 points) and a boys tennis state runner-up (80 points). The Lady Panthers also contributed, highlighted by a girls cheerleading third-place state finish (60 points) and a girls golf seventh-place finish (40 points).
Hill said earning the top sports program title started this time last year.
"It's the summer," he said. "I heard someone say one time, 'Summer athletes become spring, fall and winter champions.' Kids are doing things here during the summer that makes them better."
Lakeside's Kyle Hill played on the boys soccer team that reached the second round of the state playoffs to earn 20 points toward the Panthers' total. The senior said winning this award is a reflection of all Lakeside sports teams.
"That goes to show we have athletes all across the board," he said. "All of our kids are real dedicated. We talk about how other schools have the big athletes. We have heart."
Lakeside finished the 2004-05 season tied for 12th place and more than 130 points behind Greenbrier and 10 points behind Evans. Randy Hill said the jump to fifth in the state and No. 1 in the county signals good things to come for the Panthers.
"We've got a good future. Our ninth- and 10th-grade classes have some of our best athletes," he said. "The key now is to keep them active. We want them working hard and playing more than one sport."
Greenbrier finished at No. 7 in this year's Director's Cup with 410 points, and Evans ranked No. 19 with 250 points. Harlem finished tied for No. 42 in the Class AAA standings with 120 points.
Lakeside state playoff teams
Boy's Golf (1st)
Boy's Tennis 2nd)
Girl's Golf (7th)
Boy's Swimming (9th)
Girl's Swimming (14th)
Boy's Soccer (Final 16)
Girl's Volleyball (Final 16)
Girl's Soccer (Final 16)
Girl's Tennis (Final 16)
Girl's Cross Country (26th)
Baseball (Final 32)
Softball (Final 32)
Dodge Director's Cup Final Standings
1. Marist (1090)
2. Woodward Academy (750)
3. St. Pius X (720)
4. Etowah (440)
5. Lakeside (430)
5. McIntosh (430)
7. Greenbrier (410)
19. Evans (250)
1. Westminster-Atlanta (1090)
2. Columbus (864)
3. Oconee County (810)
16. Richmond Academy (250)
42. Harlem (120)
62. Thomson (56.66)
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