When Marist senior Gray Taylor lined a shot into left middle Might 20 for a walkoff win for the Struggle Eagles within the GHSA Class 4A state finals, it marked the tip of a exceptional run for the Benedictine baseball group.
It was additionally the ultimate play of the highschool sports activities season for groups from the Larger Savannah space. It wasn’t the way in which the Cadets wished to finish it, however senior Carter Holton put issues in perspective the subsequent day. He may have been talking for athletes and coaches in all sports activities when he commented that he and his teammates felt fortunate to have their senior season after their junior years have been minimize quick by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 spring sports activities got here to an in depth earlier than the halfway level of the schedule, and fall sports activities — together with soccer — have been at risk of being canceled altogether within the fall.
However in some way, the seasons went on and the student-athletes have been capable of expertise every part that comes together with highschool sports activities in what turned out to be a memorable 12 months.
In soccer, Benedictine had a powerful run because the Cadets moved as much as Class 4A, with quarterback Holden Geriner cementing his repute as one of many high quarterbacks within the nation. The junior, who has since dedicated to Auburn, teammed with broad receiver Trent Broadnax (Duke signee) and jack-of-all-trades Justin Thomas to steer a squad that reached the state semifinals — dropping a heartbreaker to Jefferson 42-35.
Geriner and Thomas will return on a Cadets squad nonetheless stacked with expertise able to make one other playoff run within the fall.
Islands had the perfect soccer season in class historical past led by quarterback Jadon Adams, and a protection led by Bubba Chisholm and Damonte Smith. The Sharks had a shocking fourth-quarter comeback to beat Hardaway for the primary playoff win in class historical past. Search for extra of the identical coming quickly beneath coach DeShawn Printup.
Calvary Day embraced a brand new sport because the GHSA sanctioned women flag soccer, and the Cavaliers had gamers from quite a few completely different sports activities come out for the group. The Cavs had standout basketball guard Hannah Cail at quarterback, with Mahkayla Premo, one other basketball star, enjoying as large position because the received a state title beneath head coach Chad Griffin.
Nevaeh Hamilton, one of many stars of the squad, signed to play flag soccer at Warner College when the gamers acquired their state championship rings a couple of weeks in the past.
Basketball season had its ups and downs as groups have been affected by COVID-19 circumstances and quarantines after publicity. On the boys aspect, Windsor Forest was a basket away from a berth within the state finals because the Knights misplaced to eventual champion Cross Creek in what was star guard Shamar Norman’s closing highschool recreation.
The Knights might be sturdy once more subsequent 12 months with the return of one of many high recruits within the state as D’Ante Bass performs out his senior 12 months. Mike Cabellero, Abasi Scott and Qurahn Anderson have been a part of a supporting solid stacked with expertise.
Johnson was the perfect squad on the women aspect this season, reaching the state quarterfinals. The Atom Smashers hope to be again within the combine for a state crown subsequent 12 months with Amani Hamilton and Ok’Lya Hankerson hoping to shut out their senior campaigns in model.
Smaller colleges additionally original memorable years. The Habersham Faculty received one other GAPPS state title in volleyball, and in addition received state championships in boys tennis and in baseball, whereas swimmer Sam Parker swept three occasions within the state swim meet — his closing highschool meet earlier than he begins swimming at UGA.
Gaby Van Brunt of St. Andrew’s additionally swept three occasions within the GISA state swim meet — setting three GISA state data within the course of.
Aaron Seymour of Savannah Arts received one other GHSA Class 1-3A state crown within the 100-yard backstroke with a time of fifty.89 seconds, and completed third within the 200 particular person medley.
Richmond Hill wrestler Tate Evans closed out a stellar highschool profession with a state title for the Wildcats as he received the GHSA Class 6A 170-pound state title. The victory was a particular one as his father, Wildcats coach Invoice Evans, was in his nook to share the second. Evans later signed to wrestle at Newberry Faculty.
Spring sports activities had a greater really feel than winter, as sports activities moved exterior and COVID-19 vaccines turned available.
Benedictine had one other wonderful season on the baseball diamond with Holton, who has signed with Vanderbilt, main the way in which together with middle fielder Justin Thomas, the UGA commit. The Cadets have been enjoying for his or her third state title beneath Kevin Farmer since 2014.
Savannah Christian and South Effingham additionally had wonderful baseball seasons, with the Raiders advancing to the Class 1A Personal quarterfinals, whereas the Mustangs went to the 6A quarterfinals, dropping to Pope in three video games.
The Islands boys soccer group made faculty historical past by advancing to the semifinals for the primary time in Class 4A in Dante Casagrande’s closing 12 months as head coach.
On the women aspect, the St. Vincent’s soccer group moved down from Class 2A to the a lot harder 1A-Personal classification and made an impressive run to the quarterfinals in Katie Knight’s first season as head coach.
The observe and discipline season featured Meon McLeod of Liberty County, who posted the perfect 100-meter time within the state amongst all classifications as he went on to win state titles within the Class 3A 100 and 200 meters, with one other gold within the 4×100 relay.
Monitor and discipline:McLeod’s speedy delivery of individual titles carries Liberty County to 2nd at state meet
His Liberty County teammate Leia Williams took gold within the women shot put.
Cameron Edwards of South Effingham received a state crown within the 6A triple bounce.
Savannah Christian’s Maggie Byrd took house a gold medal within the Class 1A Personal excessive bounce, whereas Brogan Korta of Calvary received the 100-meter hurdles. Savannah Nation Day’s Kenny Odom, Paul Mosley, Alex Wynn and Johnathan Jackson set a college file with a time of 42.50 to win the state Class 1A-Personal crown within the 4×100 relay.
Trying again, it was a 12 months that no one will overlook. The return to sports activities was part of the return to normalcy because the COVID-19 pandemic lastly appeared on its option to passing.
Dennis Knight covers sports activities for the Savannah Morning Information. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN