The year is nearly complete. Looking back, 2010 offered a bit of everything.
There were two individual state titles won by one of the best runners Columbia County has ever seen, Lakeside's Anna Bowles, and a state title won by one of the county's best up-and-coming runners, Augusta Prep's Amanda Murphy.
Lakeside made it to the top of the golf scene, while Greenbrier came agonizingly close.
There was a pair of team state championships won by county schools: Lakeside in golf and Augusta Prep in cross country.
There was reclassification. When the new school year began in August, Greenbrier moved down to Class AAAA after competing in the state's highest classification for the past two years, while Harlem, the size of a AA school, moved out of AAAA into AAA.
There were numerous near-misses on the state championship front, as well as many notable accomplishments.
Hoards of county athletes signed on the dotted line to take their talents to the collegiate level.
In Grovetown High School's inaugural year, Seth Hill became the school's first athlete to sign a college scholarship when he signed with The Citadel.
The Lakeside boys lacrosse team also earned its first playoff berth in program history.
In basketball, Augusta Christian's girls won their region, while Lakeside's girls made the state playoffs for the first time in program history.
Evans boys advanced the furthest among county teams, making it to the second round.
Harlem baseball coach Jimmie Lewis earned yet another accolade in a storied career. His 600th victory came at home, as the Bulldogs defeated Richmond Academy, 12-2, in five innings in a game stopped early because of the run rule.
On the baseball diamond, Lakeside won its first three playoff rounds in a nerve-wracking three-game series to get to the semifinals.
The Panthers then swept the next round in a hostile environment at Wayne County to reach the finals. Once there, the Panthers lost both games to Marist in a series played at Lakeside.
Greenbrier and Harlem advanced to Round 2 of the state playoffs, while Evans lost in the opening round.
Lakeside's boys golf team won the state title in Jekyll Island, as the Panthers' Kelby Burton shot 67 to win the individual title.
Greenbrier made it into a sudden-death playoff the same day at the Class AAAAA state tournament in Greensboro. Once there, the Wolfpack came up one shot behind state champion Harrison.
Lakeside's boys and Greenbrier's girls and boys all won region titles.
In tennis, Evans' and Greenbrier's girls and Lakeside's boys all made it to the state semifinals. In that round, all three squads lost to the eventual state champions.
The Bassmasters Elite Series returned to Thurmond Lake in 2010 for the Pride of Georgia event.
The national series had held an event locally from 2005 to 2008, but not in 2009. The 2010 return appears to be short-lived; when the 2011 schedule was announced in June, Thurmond Lake was not listed.
When the dust settled on the soccer season, advancing to the Elite Eight round proved to be a trend among county teams.
Greenbrier's, Lakeside's and Evans' boys squads and Greenbrier's and Lakeside's girls squads all won two playoff games to advance to the final eight teams.
None, however, advanced to the final four.
Evans' girls won one playoff game before falling in the second round.
It was announced that Blanchard Woods Park will play host to the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division II men's and women's national soccer championships.
The news came after the county approved plans to build two new locker rooms at the park.
Keiria McCaskill made Evans High School proud when she competed in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2010 Special Olympics National Games in Lincoln, Neb.
The 16-year-old earned a gold medal in the hoop discipline and silver medals in clubs, ribbon and ball.
Overall, she earned a silver medal.
After a senior season in which she helped Lakeside to its first playoff berth, Ashlee Williams signed the first lacrosse scholarship in county history. She signed with Erskine College in Due West, S.C.
Charlie Beale announced his year-end retirement after serving for more than 33 years as manager of the Columbia County Recreation Department.
One of the county's parks became a hub of activity, as 11 teams from 10 Southeast states competed in the Dixie Ponytails World Series at Patriots Park.
The host Columbia County team opened with a mercy-rule blowout win over Crosby, Texas, and finished with a 1-2 record. In the end, a Louisiana team from the parish of Sabine defeated Burgaw, N.C., to win the World Series title.
A panel was put together by the Columbia County school board to examine whether changes needed to be made in the county's middle school sports.
School board members decided in November not to immediately act on a list of recommendations to restructure the middle school sports programs.
Recent Evans High School graduate Tony Davis, 18, was charged with making false statements in a government matter in connection with the slaying of a military policeman in July.
Davis starred for the Knights' basketball team last season and had signed to play basketball at East Georgia College in Swainsboro.
Lakeside senior Vergil King collapsed and died after a pick-up basketball game at the Wilson Branch of The Family Y.
The 17-year-old was one of the county's most promising basketball players as a tall post presence. Coach Tony Kucela described King as a "superstar."
Grovetown's volleyball team won the school's first area or region championship.
After starting the season with little to no experience on the court, the Warriors completed a run to the Area 3-AAA title.
The Warriors made it to the second round of the state playoffs, as did Greenbrier and Evans.
In addition, Augusta Prep played host to the GISA Class AAA State Tournament in October. The Prep girls squad advanced to the state semifinals before bowing out to Calvary Christian.
Greenbrier's softball squad made a run to the state finals.
The Wolfpack won their 16th region title in the school's 16th year.
Ultimately, they would come up just short of a state championship, falling 3-1 to Jones County in the title game.
Harlem and Evans nearly secured a trip to their respective Elite Eight tournaments, but fell in the second round.
Augusta Prep's girls cross country squad achieved the program's fourth state championship at the state meet in Macon, and the school's boys squad finished runner-up.
Amanda Murphy earned the state title as a sophomore. She not only won, but dominated; she finished nearly a full minute ahead of the second-place runner.
Lakeside's Anna Bowles followed up a track and field state title in the 3,200 meters in May with her second consecutive cross country state title in the 5K in November.
Lakeside's girls finished third at the state meet in Carrollton behind the standout trio of Bowles, senior Katie Townsend (fourth) and sophomore Sarah Bowles (sixth).
Lakeside's girls and boys squads won the region, the boys doing so in a tiebreaker over Greenbrier.
On the gridiron this fall, only one of the county's football teams -- Augusta Christian -- earned a state playoff berth.
The Lions made it to the second round after opening with a 9-7 win over Ben Lippen, but bowed out to SCISA Class AAA powerhouse Hammond.
In coach Jarrett Troxler's first season, Lakeside advanced further than any other public school. The Panthers made it into a Region 2-AAAA play-in game, but lost 31-6 to Ware County to fall short of the playoffs.
In junior varsity, Evans earned The Columbia County News-Times County JV Cup with a 3-1 record, the county's top mark.
Meanwhile, it was the inaugural season for Augusta Prep's JV squad. Excitement was sky high for the Cavaliers; supporters took fan buses to away games.
In October, Augusta Prep won its first JV home game, 13-6 over Edmund Burke.
At the middle school level, Grovetown had the best record among county teams, going 5-0-1.
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