Athens-area’s top high school performers this week - ABH
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Matilee Rogers, Winder-Barrow– At the Fourth Annual Apple Hawkins Invitational in Winder, Rogers finished third among 101 runners in 19:59.
Lily Crane, Sam Minish, Madison County– In Madison County’s 8-0 victory over Chestatee on Monday, Crane pitched a complete-game two-hitter with eight strikeouts and had three hits and one RBI, and Minish added a home run.
Madi Gillespie, Prince Avenue Christian– In victories on Monday and Tuesday over Elbert County and St. Francis, Gillespie earned two pitching victories, working 11 innings with 10 hits, two earned runs, four walks and 11 strikeouts. She also collected three hits, two runs and four RBIs.
Casey Holloway, North Oconee– In North Oconee’s 2-1 victory Monday over Jackson County, Holloway pitched a complete-game five-hitter with one earned one, one walk and five strikeouts.
Avery Mercer, Chloe Middlebrooks, Oconee County– In two victories on Monday and Tuesday over East Jackson, Mercer went 4-for-6 with a grand slam and five RBIs and Middlebrooks went 4-for-7 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Carlee Schotter, Alyssa Logston, Winder-Barrow– In Winder-Barrow’s 4-2 victory Tuesday at Dacula, Schotter had three hits and one RBI and Logston pitched a complete-game four-hitter with two earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Mac Turner, Ravyn Saxon, Taylor Spivey, Jefferson– In Jefferson’s 4-0 victory Friday over North Oconee, Turner had two hits (including a home run), one run and three RBIs and Saxon (five innings, five hits, one strikeout) and Spivey (two innings, two hits, one strikeout) teamed up to shut out the Titans.
Jaycee Harder, Westminster Christian– In a 3-2 victory Tuesday at Lanier Christian, Harder recorded 27 assists.
Abbey Howard, JoJo Smith, Maddie Grace Smith, Jefferson– In victories over East Hall, North Oconee, West Hall and Prince Avenue Christian, Howard had 20 kills, three aces and three blocks, JoJo Smith had 49 kills and 12 digs and Maddie Grace Smith had 51 assists and 12 digs.
Ali Rumpel, Athens Academy – In Athens Academy’s victories Monday over Chestatee and Jackson County, Rumpel had nine kills, 16 service points, four blocks and nine digs.
Anna Greer Vandagriff, Kelsey Cascella, Brooke Shambo, Prince Avenue Christian– In a victory over West Hall and a loss to Jefferson on Thursday, Vandagriff had 21 kills, 6 ½ blocks and four aces, Cascella had 27 assists and three aces and Shambo had 21 digs and six assists.
Grace Wenrich, Anne McKenzie Haugabook, Christiana Hines, Oconee County– In a victory over Jackson County and a loss to Winder-Barrow on Thursday, Wenrich had 106 assists, 33 digs and nine aces, Haugabook had 30 kills and 21 digs and Hines had 68 digs.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Christopher Parada-Rubio, Winder-Barrow– At the Fourth Annual Apple Hawkins Invitational at Winder, Parada-Rubio finished 12th among 121 runners in 17:26.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Averie Akin, Apalachee– At the Fourth Annual Apple Hawkins Invitational at Winder, Akin finished 12th among 101 runners in 21:22.
Karlee Armstrong, Kam Caldwell, Audrey Vandagriff, Prince Avenue Christian– In victories over Elbert County and St. Francis, Armstrong had four hits, four runs and four RBIs, Caldwell had four hits, six runs and three RBIs and Vandagriff had two hits, two runs and two RBIs.
Maliah Lee, Jackson County– In Jackson County’s 2-1 loss Monday to North Oconee, Lee recorded 12 strikeouts.
Ava Massingill, Jefferson– In victories over East Hall, North Oconee, West Hall and Prince Avenue Christian, Massingill had 30 assists, three digs and one block.
From cross country wins to softball no-hitters, Athens-area’s best performers of the week - ABH
Brinley Bartlett, Grace Wenrich, Oconee County– In three matches this week (one win and two losses), Bartlett recorded 22 kills, 10 aces, four blocks and 15 digs and Wenrich posted 80 assists, 17 kills, 25 digs and seven aces.
Ava Massengill, JoJo Smith, Jefferson– In victories Thursday over Chestatee and Cedar Shoals, Massengill had 41 assists, five aces and three digs and Smith had 23 kills, three aces and four digs.
Ali Rumpel and Mara Thomas, Athens Academy – In Athens Academy’s victories Thursday against Loganville Christian and Tallulah Falls, Rumbel had 18 service points, 18 digs and 13 kills and Thomas had 43 assists, 21 service points, three aces and nine digs.
Abi Shannon, Westminster Christian– In victories over Gatewood Academy, Athens Christian and Oglethorpe County, Shannon recorded 13 aces and 10 kills.
Anna Greer Vandagriff, Prince Avenue Christian– In victories on Tuesday over Madison County and Stephens County, Vandagriff posted 25 kills.
AOTW: Wheeler's big week leads Spartans to five wins - Oconee Enterprise
Athens Academy junior Peyton Wheeler didn’t know what volleyball was before the seventh grade. She was talked into trying out by her English teacher.
Only five years later and Wheeler has fallen in love with the sport. It acts as her place of zen.
“It was an opportunity to work on myself and work on what I’m good at,” Wheeler said. “I just kept working hard at it.”
She’s gotten pretty good in a very short period of time.
The Spartans had a loaded weekend in which they played five matches between Thursday and Saturday.
Wheeler was one of the Spartans’ standouts over the five-match stretch.
Wheeler led the team with 26 kills in the Spartans’ five wins. Wheeler added 11 aces and 41 digs. Her performance has made Wheeler this week’s Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week.
Since she began playing in the seventh grade, Wheeler has wanted to play volleyball collegiately. The journey began toward that goal in only her second season playing when her father suggested she play club volleyball and began filming her matches.
Wheeler subliminally pushed that message as she donned a Wofford College shirt at practice on Monday.
“Its my main goal,” Wheeler said. “I’ve wanted to go to college for volleyball for since I started. I want to get a scholarship.”
The seventh-grade version of Wheeler was only learning how the sport worked. The club volleyball scene changed Wheeler’s mentality about the sport. It pushed her more deeply in love with the newfound sport.
“Once I started seeing the competition and the whole club experience and how much work it was, I actually kind of enjoyed it,” Wheeler said. “It made me realize that I wanted to push this further than middle school or high school. I wanted to play it in college. I just really love it.”
This summer provided Wheeler with another set of lessons. COVID-19 cancelled the club volleyball season. Wheeler was set to join her A5 Gwinnett team in nationals. It was an opportunity to get seen by a lot of college coaches in the summer before her junior season.
Wheeler didn’t stop working out. She had to get creative in how she prepared. The summer featured days of Wheeler hitting the ball against her parent’s house.
“I kind of figured out other ways for me to work on stuff while I’m at home,” Wheeler said. “I started doing workouts at home and it taught me to build my fundamentals. Once I came back to the team, I realized how much I missed it and being in that atmosphere instead of being by myself and doing it.”
Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week is chosen by the sports staff of The Oconee Enterprise. You are welcome to email nominations email@example.com Monday at 10 a.m.
Fast and furiously improving: Athens Academy goes unbeaten on the week - Oconee Enterprise
The first sprint of the 2020 volleyball season has been a peaceful frolic for Athens Academy. The Spartans have raced to a 14-1 start.
The 2020 volleyball season is only two and a half weeks old. The Spartans have done a lot of playing and a lot of winning.
How have they done both?
First, they’ve stacked up their games on the weekends. Before Saturday, the Spartans played four matches on Aug. 15 in Dacula High School’s playdate.
This Saturday, the Spartans played host to a playdate of their own. Athens Academy rolled in the Athens Academy Invitational.
The Spartans won three matches on Saturday. They defeated Winder-Barrow High School (25-14, 25-15) in their second match. Peyton Wheeler and Mary Miller led the Spartans with five kills apiece.
They closed the day by defeating Clarke Central High School (25-5, 25-10). Wheeler led with four kills in the match.
The Spartans’ first match of the day was the one that drew the most excitement wails and yelps. The Spartans played a thriller with Morgan County High School in their second match of the day.
They held on to defeat the Bulldogs (26-24, 25-21). Senior Ali Rumpel had seven kills, which was the highest total of the day. The early deficit the Spartans faced acted as a bit of an activator. The Spartans have been dominant early in the season. Playing challenging competition is priceless for the Spartans at this point in the season. The Spartans only had four days of practice prior to their first scrimmage. Despite their 14-1 record, the Spartans are still figuring things out on the court.
“I think they started to figure some things out,” Athens Academy head coach Jane Thomas said. “Morgan County was a good opponent. I think they were able to understand what their (MCHS) tendencies were and we sort of got that a little figured out.”
The Spartans defeated the Bulldogs again on Tuesday (25-22, 25-9). Thomas has been afforded the luxury of working her entire roster into games with the early run away wins the Spartans have had. Thomas only has nine players on the varsity to begin with, but every one of the Spartans’ players have had an opportunity to contribute so far this season.
“We were able to get everyone playing time, which is awesome,” Thomas said. “We have a small team. All week long everyone gets a lot of court time whether its in practice or in a match. We try to do our best to get everyone some experience.”
While the kinks are still being worked out on the court, the Spartans have already hit their stride in team chemistry. There are a few new faces from last season’s team.
For the most part, the Spartans have played a lot of volleyball together. The Spartans like one another. That’s seen as a positive trait. The Spartans’ chuckles can be heard over the music blaring during a practice or pre game.
“I think we all mesh really well together,” Wheeler said. “We all connect, we’re all talking on the court. I feel like we get along really well. We’ve all adapted to each other, which I’m really excited about. We’re closer than we were in the past years. That’s what helps us communicate.”
ATHENS ACADEMY SWEEPS:At the Spartan Center, Athens Academy defeated Walnut Grove (25-13, 25-13) and Morgan County (25-22, 25-9) to improve to 14-1 for the season.
Against Walnut Grove, Mary Miller had seven kills and seven digs, Emma Hooper had five aces and nine service points, Olivia Nealy had seven digs and Mara Thomas had 21 assists.
Against Morgan County, Ali Rumpel had eight kills, 11 digs and three blocks, Peyton Wheeler had 11 digs and four aces, Nealy had 11 digs and Thomas had 23 assists.
The Spartans will play Cedar Shoals and Westminster Christian on Tuesday at Cedar Shoals.
ATHENS ACADEMY WINS THREE:At the Spartan Center, Athens Academy improved to 12-1 by running the table against Morgan County (26-24, 25-21), Clarke Central (25-5, 25-10) and Winder-Barrow (25-14, 25-15). In other matches, Winder-Barrow scored a 2-1 victory over Clarke Central, and both the Bulldoggs and Gladiators lost to Morgan County.
Against Morgan County, the Spartans were led by Ali Rumpel (seven kills, two blocks), Olivia Nealy (12 digs, five kills), Peyton Wheeler (10 digs), Emma Hooper (10 digs) and Mara Thomas (22 assists). Against Clarke Central, Thomas had nine digs and nine assists, Wheeler had four kills and Addison Olendick-Smith had two blocks. Against Winder-Barrow, Mary Miller had six digs and five kills, Wheeler had five kills and four aces, Thomas had 15 assists and 10 digs and Rumpel had seven digs.
Athens Academy will play Cedar Shoals and Westminster Christian on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Cedar Shoals. Winder-Barrow (3-10) will play Loganville and George Walton on Tuesday at Loganville. Clarke Central (1-3) will play North Oconee and Oconee County on Thursday in Bogart.
ATHENS ACADEMY TOPS WINDER-BARROW, OCONEE COUNTY: At the Spartan Center, Athens Academy improved to 9-1 with straight-set victories over Winder-Barrow and Oconee County.
The Spartans bested the Bulldoggs 25-20, 25-19 and beat Oconee County 25-19, 25-8. The Warriors defeated Winder-Barrow 22-25, 25-23, 15-7.
Against the Bulldoggs, Athens Academy was led by Peyton Wheeler (eight digs, six kills), Emma Hooper (six kills, six digs, three aces), Olivia Nealy (eight digs, five kills), Mary Miller (11 digs, two blocks) and Mara Thomas (20 assists).
Against the Warriors, the Spartans were led by Ali Rumpel (11 digs, seven kills), Miller (six kills), Thomas (18 assists, nine digs), Wheeler (15 digs, seven kills) and Hoopre (10 digs).
For Oconee County (5-3), Grace Wenrich had 35 assists and four blocks, Christina Hines had 13 digs, Bailey Bartlett had nine kills, Ivy Baugher had eight kills and Anne McKenzie Haugabook had eight kills.
Athens Academy will host Winder-Barrow, Morgan County and Clarke Central on Saturday. Oconee County will host Monroe Area and Lanier on Tuesday.
With one of the first school-based volleyball programs in the area, Athens Academy enjoys a strong and successful history. In preparation for deep runs in the playoffs, including many trips to the final four, we traditionally schedule a rigorous level of non-Area opponents.
So that our athletes receive quality instruction with a realistic opportunity for playing time, the size of teams in some sports is limited. Students "try out" for teams. Although there is no guarantee that a student will be selected for a specific team, the number and variety of offerings provide many opportunities for each player.