With the 2012-13 high school sports season officially in the rearview mirror, it's time to look ahead.
It will be a new picture for most of Northeast Tennessee, so here's a brief look at some things that will change as soon as the fall sports season arrives in a couple of months. (Yes, it's coming soon!)
District 1-AAA — It's the same old crew, minus Sullivan South. The Rebels really weren't a title threat very often in the Big Eight Conference, so things shouldn't change much at the top of the ladder.
It's still Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett in just about every sport. Daniel Boone could get a little boost by not having to play Sullivan South as a league rival, focusing more of its attention on the Indians and Hilltoppers.
District 1-AA — It's the same group with a sprinkle of Sullivan South. Well, perhaps make that a thunderous stomp.
The Rebels figure to immediately be installed as the team to beat in football — if for no other reason than the removal of the mental burden of having to play Dobyns-Bennett.
One of the biggest changes in this league is Elizabethton and Unicoi County's jump to Class 4A in football. That might sound good for Sullivan North in Class 3A, but it greatly increases the likelihood of the Raiders having to play Alcoa or Christian Academy of Knoxville in the quarterfinals or even earlier.
The Class 4A playoff mix gets very interesting with Elizabethton, South and Greeneville likely in the same quadrant with Knox Fulton. That means Quadrant 1 could house the last three state champions.
In basketball, the Rebels and Lady Rebels should immediately be in the mix for Three Rivers Conference title chases.
As for baseball, South should be a title threat and a tough postseason out.
In the smaller sports, the Lady Rebels should be a state title threat in volleyball and a postseason soccer contender for the boys and the girls.
District 1-A — South Greene is the new kid on the block, and the Rebels should immediately provide a stumbling block in football for Hampton.
South Greene won nine of the 12 most recent meetings with the Bulldogs, and in a given year the Rebels could be a significant factor in the Class 2A playoffs.
In basketball, the Rebels and Lady Rebels will have their say but neither figures to be a bully. The Lady Rebels didn't get a bargain at all with Hampton, Cloudland and North Greene each making recent Class A state tournament appearances.
In baseball and softball, it's anybody's guess what kind of factor the Rebels will be.
As for the smaller sports, the Lady Rebels could make a serious run at a state title in volleyball.
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Greeneville is looking for a new girls basketball coach once again.
After two seasons, Lesley Murray has been released from her duties. A once-dominant program, the Lady Greene Devils fell on hard times over the last two seasons and finished with losing records.
Last season they were 10-18, losing seven of their last 10 games and getting eliminated by West Greene in the opening round of the District 2-AA tournament.
Murray will remain in her role as head coach of the boys and girls tennis teams. The boys' tennis team reached the Class A-AA sectional round before losing to eventual state champion Christian Academy of Knoxville.
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Pigeon Forge standout pitcher Wil Crowe was chosen as the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year recently.
The right-hander led the Tigers to a record of 39-2 and the Class AA state championship.
A University of South Carolina signee, Crowe is expected to be drafted in the early rounds of the major-league draft, which begins Thursday.
Crowe finished the season with a record of 16-1, tying the all-time state record for wins. His ERA was under 1.00, and he totaled almost 190 strikeouts. At the plate, Crowe hit over .400 with 50-plus RBIs.
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Unicoi County's Tiffany Laughren and University High's Haley Faulkner were recently selected by the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association as East Tennessee Miss Softball players of the year.
Laughren was selected as the East Tennessee Miss Softball winner in Class AA while Faulkner was the pick in Class A. Tori Etheridge of Knox Farragut was the Class AAA winner.
Neither player was chosen as the statewide winner for her classification. Those honors went to Martin Westview's Megan Prince (Class AA), Richland's Ashton Edwards (Class A) and Clarksville's Heather Norris (Class AAA).
The overall state winner will be selected June 13 at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville as part of an all-star game event.
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Kayla Sanders of Daniel Boone and Megan Devotie of Science Hill were selected to the TSCA Class AAA All-State softball team.
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Prep signing: Tennessee High softball standout Kaitlin Bledsoe has made her college choice. She will make it official today with King College. The signing will take place at 4 p.m. at the Rotary Park Softball Complex. …
Also for the Lady Vikings, Chloe Neil will sign to play basketball for Motlow State. The ceremony will be at 2 p.m. in the auditorium lobby.