Each week during the summer, The Columbia County News-Times will highlight a different high school with a look back at its five biggest stories from the previous school year.
This week's focus is on Augusta Prep.
The Cavaliers' year was an eventful one.
Senior Jim Hull, long known for his high-scoring exploits on the basketball floor, led his team to the school's first region title in boys basketball, then chose to continue his athletic career on the track. He signed on to run track and cross country at Richmond, leaving Prep as its all-time leading scorer.
The Cavaliers boys soccer team also captured its first-ever region title, while the girls finished second to Westminster.
The school announced this month that Tom Norton will coach both soccer teams next season. Norton replaces Forrest Wimberly, who had been with the program eight years.
Prep also unveiled the inaugural class of its Steve Boyd Athletic Hall of Fame, named for the longtime Cavaliers coach. In the future, the Hall could include members of the school's first-ever football program, which will kick off in the fall on the middle school level.
Harry Bacheller, formerly a coach at St. Pius X, was named Prep's first football coach.
The Cavaliers girls cross country team won the GISA AAA state title, beating out Stratford Academy.
Here is a look back at five of the biggest stories from the Cavaliers' year.
Cavs earn region title with defense
Feb. 14, 2009
Augusta Prep Head of School Jack Hall paused Friday for a look at the Cavaliers' boys basketball banner hanging above the bleachers. The slot recognizing Augusta Prep's region championship teams was blank.
It didn't stay that way.
On the court, the Cavaliers were on ladders cutting down the nets, celebrating their GISA Region 3-AAAA title after coming from behind to beat rival Westminster, 39-34.
The Cavaliers will enter next week's GISA Class AAA tournament as the top seed from their region.
...Guthrie urged his team to play defense after Westminster started the game on a 9-0 run. The Wildcats led by as many as seven during the second half. Augusta Prep's first lead didn't come until 1:43 left, when Jim Hull converted a three-point play.
Hull scored the Cavaliers final eight points. He finished with 29 and was named tournament MVP.
Cavaliers focus on the future
Oct. 2, 2008
If Augusta Prep's middle school football program struggles during its first few years of existence, don't expect Harry Bacheller to enact many radical changes.
The Cavaliers' first football coach wants to ensure his players have a grasp on the multiple offenses he plans to employ. He expects it to take two or three years for his players to become comfortable with the schemes.
The result might be a middle school team that struggles at times, but Bacheller expects his players will have a grasp on the system by the time they reach high school.
That's Bacheller's blueprint for building Augusta Prep's program from scratch.
His history of building programs is why athletic director Tom Holodak hired him.
"You want to build some momentum with the program," Bacheller said. "And you have to do it the right way."
Augusta Prep inducts first Hall of Fame class
Oct. 8, 2008
Walter Davis wasn't going to escape Augusta Prep on Saturday without telling the story more than once.
The school's first athletic director also coached the soccer team to two state titles in the 1970s, the second of which included a dramatic comeback.
Davis was among those in the first class inducted into the Steve Boyd Athletic Hall of Fame. The inductees included Davis, Steve Boyd, professional golfer Larry Mize (Class of 1976), three-sport standout Frances Barrett Swartz (1978) and golfer Cortland Lowe (1998). All were in attendance except Mize, whose parents were there on his behalf.
The inductees were honored with plaques Saturday and also introduced to the crowd at Prep's homecoming soccer game.
The Hall was named for Boyd, who has served as a teacher and coach at the school for 31 years.
"He epitomizes what Augusta Prep athletics is," said Lowe, who played on Boyd's last boys basketball team in 1998. "They couldn't have picked it better."
Signing caps off years of activity
April 16, 2009
Augusta Prep's Jim Hull donned his navy blue cap, bearing the name of University of Richmond, where he will run track and cross country starting in the fall after signing his letter of intent Wednesday.
The move could have been symbolic, could have put a lid on everything we need to know about Hull's high school career. He came, he dominated, he signed. On to Richmond.
But there are holes in the story, tidbits not yet known. Like how Hull and Richmond Academy golfer and University of North Carolina signee Clark Palmer are first cousins.
Or, more importantly, how Hull reached this point.
It started with his dad dragging him from the bed before dawn as a sixth-grader to work out with Demetrius Jones, of Demetrius Jones Personal Fitness and Wellness.
"And being a sixth grader, that is one thing you do not want to do," Hull said.
Hull would run 1 or 2 miles, lift light weights and plead for an extra hour of sleep before the next round. Before long, Hull had developed the work ethic to no longer need help rising from bed.
And Hull developed an appreciation for what his dad, Jim Hull Sr., had done those early years.
"I guess he thought it's a good thing to work out and be active," Hull said. "He put me in that situation, and it's worked out for me."
Cavaliers win girls GISA state crown
Nov. 2, 2008
Augusta Prep cross country coach Mike Burley's speech to his team before its state meet didn't deal with individuals his runners would have to beat. He gave his team the names and jersey colors of what he thought would be the Cavaliers' toughest competition and told his runners to stay ahead of them.
Augusta Prep's girls squad did, edging Stratford Academy by a point to win the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA state meet on Oct. 27. The Cavaliers' boys team finished runner-up to First Presbyterian Day School.
"When we had our little prep meeting, I said there are certain people they were going to have to hang with and beat at the end," Burley said. "With cross country, every position counts. All the girls had to do their portion and push through what they think is their personal pain barrier to a new level. I think they all did that."
...The Cavaliers' boys squad finished 40 points off the pace set by state champion First Presbyterian. Augusta Prep standout Jim Hull finished third overall, running in 17:22.
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