Johnson City Press Friday, December 19, 2014

Sports High schools

Local athletes get ready for Spring Fling

May 18th, 2014 10:03 pm by Douglas Fritz

Local athletes get ready for Spring Fling

It’s time for Spring to Fling as area teams and athletes make a mad dash at high school state titles.

The TSSAA’s five-sport state championship chase, born in Chattanooga in 1994, gets under way Tuesday in Murfreesboro.

At stake are first-place finishes in baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and track. Here’s a sport-by-sport look at what’s on tap in The Boro this week:

Baseball

Class AAA games will be played at Siegel and Oakland while the Class A event is scheduled for Middle Tennessee Christian and Riverdale. Class AA games are at Smyrna and Blackman.

All championship games will be played at MTSU’s Reese Smith Field on Friday.

Five area teams reached the sectional round, but only two broke through to The Boro: Dobyns-Bennett in Class AAA and North Greene in Class A.

The No. 1-ranked Indians (33-4) — who play Germantown Houston (34-9) at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday at Oakland — look to earn a state tournament win for the first time since the mid-1990s. D-B made it to Murfreesboro last year, but was swept away in a two and done.

With No. 2 Dyer County (33-7), No. 5 Houston, and No. 10 Brentwood (28-6) in the Indians’ bracket, it looks like a tough draw in the lower bracket. The upper bracket houses No. 6 Murfreesboro Riverdale and No. 7 Knox Farragut, but Farragut owns eight state titles — and has been champion or runner-up 11 times in the last 15 years.

In Class A, No. 4-ranked North Greene (31-4) awaits the winner of Community versus Columbia Academy, which was scheduled for Sunday. Community is ranked No. 10, and the Huskies are in the opposite bracket from top-ranked Goodpasture Christian (34-6) and No. 3 Jackson Christian (33-7). North Greene will play Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Riverdale.

Softball

All games are scheduled for the Murfreesboro Sports Complex and adjacent McKnight Fields. Championship contests are set for Friday.

Six area teams reached the sectional round, but only University High (Class A) and Greeneville (Class AA) made it through.

In Class A, University High will play Forrest, which defeated Richland 6-2 in its sectional game on Sunday. The Lady Buccaneers (34-8) have the second-most wins of any Class A team in the state behind Columbia Academy (38-5).

It’s a great opportunity for UH as perennial state power Goodpasture Christian fell on hard times and didn’t even get out of the district.

In Class AA, Greeneville (30-5) got a challenging first-round draw against Dyersburg (35-5), a game set for Tuesday for 5 p.m. at McKnight Field. The Class AA field is loaded with defending champion Lexington (41-5), DeKalb County (40-6) and CAK (36-5) in the mix.

Soccer

All games will be played at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex with the quarterfinals set for Tuesday, semifinals on Wednesday, and championship slated for Friday.

Area teams Science Hill (Class AAA) and Greeneville (Class A-AA) reached the state event.

The Hilltoppers, who are ranked No. 4 in the state despite their record of 20-0-1, will play Cookeville on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Cookeville (17-3-1) is ranked No. 8.

Science Hill is in the same bracket with No. 1 Franklin, the only other unbeaten team at 16-0-0. No. 2 Knox Farragut (20-2-0) is slotted in the upper bracket.

In Class A-AA, Greeneville (16-3-1) has to be thrilled with its first-round matchup as it didn’t get Memphis Kingsbury. The Greene Devils lost to Kingsbury in the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons.

Greeneville, ranked No. 4, will play unranked Jackson Madison at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Greeneville also avoided the bracket of the top three teams in the state: No. 1 Signal Mountain, No. 2 CAK, and No. 3 Hume-Fogg.

Tennis

All matches will be played at Old Fort Park. The team events are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday while the individual tournaments are set for Thursday with the finals scheduled for Friday.

Tennessee High was the only area team to reach the state team semifinals, making it on the boys’ side. The Vikings will meet Siegel on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Individually, the best bet for a local title is Elizabethton sophomore Danielle Vines, who is competing in Class A-AA girls singles. She will open play Thursday at 1 p.m.

Also in the mix in Class A-AA is Unicoi County’s doubles team of Emily Lynch and Mallory Jackson. They will also play Thursday at 1 p.m.

In Class AAA, Dobyns-Bennett’s Josie Rogers — the 2012 state runner-up — will have a shot. She will play Thursday at 10 a.m. Also in the title mix is Tennessee High’s boys doubles team of Matt Henson and Jacob Marshall, who will play Thursday at 10 a.m.

Track and field

MTSU’s track is the site for all of these events. The girls kick things off Wednesday with the Class AAA pole vault finals. The remainder of the girls’ events are set Thursday.

As for the boys, the Class AAA pole vault finals are Thursday with the remaining events scheduled for Friday.

Daniel Boone’s Adam Barnard could have a shot at multiple state titles as he runs in the 800, 1600 and 3200. The Trailblazers 4 x 800 relay team will try to repeat its 2013 championship.

In Class A-AA, University High pole vaulter Jared Smith should have a chance to threaten a title chase. Elizabethton triple jumper Katie May is also among the top competitors.

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