Red Bay's Roberts Notches 800th Career Victory


                                                           By KEITH LETBETTER
                                              Red Bay News (Special to the AHSAA)

    Red Bay High School girls coach Donnie Roberts notched the 800th win of his long prep basketball coaching career Jan. 25 as the Lady Tigers beat Colbert Heights 64-37. The Lady Tigers improved to 22-2 this season with the win.
    Roberts, who has compiled an 800-346 overall record in his 41-year coaching career, is now the state’s career wins leader for girls basketball and the first in state history to win 800 games.  He will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in March as a member of the Class of 2014.

   “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay and the 10 years Icoached at Tremont (Ms.). All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than Idid.

   After earning a Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School just across the state line from Red Bay and compiled a 142-127 record in the next 10 seasons. Roberts moved to Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
    “I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before. We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5,” Roberts said.

    Roberts, who owns a 658-219 girls coaching record at Red Bay, led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently directed Red Bay to the 2012 Class 2A state finals, a 54-49 loss to Section. Last year Roberts’ team won the Northwest Regional again and lost in the Final 48 semifinals.
     “It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program. It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

      Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,”said Roberts. They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.

      Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”

Prep Tix

Perennial Powers Set Pace In State Cross Country Meet

        MOULTON--Several perennial powers emerged as state champions again to highlight the 2011 state cross country championships here Saturday at the Oakville Museum and Indian Mounds Course.

GIRLS: Scottsboro, Mountain Brook Continue To Set The Pace
            Scottsboro won its 11th straight  Class 5A championship and 17th in the last 18 years, Mountain Brook won its ninth consecutive Class 6A title and  11th  since 2000, UMS-Wright its third straight 4A crown, American Christian its fifth straight 1A-2A title and Montgomery Academy its third Class 3A title in the last four years.


Class 6A Girls

             Mountain Brook, coached by Greg Echols, placed four runners in the top seven finishers to take first place with 25 points. McGill-Toolen junior Carmen Carlos ran the 3.1-mile course in 17:19.76 to win the individual championship, her third in a row. McGill finished second with 78 points and Bob Jones third with 112.

             Mary Grace Strozier, a Pelham eighth grader, was second with a time of 18:32.28, moving up two notches from her fourth-place finish as a seventh grader in 2010. Sage Blackwell of McGill-Toolen was third at 18:44.51 followed by Mountain Brook’s top finisher, Ann Sisson (18:56.94).


Class 5A Girls

            Coach John Esslinger’s Lady Wildcats scored 33 points to beat runner-up Saint Paul’s, which totaled 68.  Scottsboro, which has won every 5A state championship since 1994 except for the 2000 title, was led by senior Maggie Thompson’s second-place finish at 19:12.30.            

            Winner Rachel Roberts, a John Carroll senior, ran the distance in 18:08.07 to cap her prep career with three state championships in a row. John Carroll was seventh overall.

            Jamie Delay, a Scottsboro junior, was third individually for the second year in a row.


Class 4A Girls

            UMS-Wright runners finished 1-2-3 with junior Kathryn Lazarchick capturing the individual Class 4A championship with a winning time of 18:57.22. She finished sixth in 2010.

             Coach Pat Galle also saw Bulldogs runner Ellie Carter, a freshman, take second at 19:42.19 and junior Claire Kennedy third with a 19:46.04 time. Kristen Lazarchick, a junior, finished sixth to round out the top four UMS finishers.
             Pope John Paul II of Huntsville was second in the team standings with 88 points.


Class 3A Girls

             Montgomery Academy, the state champs in 2008 and 2009, won its third title in four years with 36 points to edge defending state champion Rogers with 49 points.

            Sophomore Karisa Nelson of T.R. Miller ran the 3.1-mile course in 18:20.07 to cruise to her third straight Class 3A individual title.  Taylor Gerald, a seventh grader, clocked 19:16.93 to finish second overall for Coach Kevin Weatherill’s Eagles.


Class 1A-2A Girls

            Coach Charles Tiller’s American Christian Patriots nipped Tuscaloosa rival Holy Spirit in a close two-team race, 50 points  to 58.
            Senior Analisa Patrick of American Christian won the individual championship for the second year in a row with a winning time of 19:12.12. Jordan Richmond, a seventh grader at Holy Spirit, finished second at 19:31.01 and St. Bernard freshman Ayleana Mami third at 19:50.10.  Kaitlin York, another freshman, was fifth as ACA’s second finisher.


BOYS: Randolph, Mountain Brook, Cottage Lead The Charge
            In the boys competition, Randolph captured its seventh straight  Class 3A championship, Mountain Brook its fourth straight and Cottage Hill Christian snapped Hatton’s three-year domination in Class 1A-2A.


Class 6A Boys

            Mountain Brook made it a complete sweep of boys and girls Class 6A divisions with its fifth title in the last six years. Coach Greg Echols’ Spartans totaled 45 points with Hewitt-Trussville finishing second with 93 points.

            Senior Brandon Hazouri of Spain Park clocked a winning time of 15:45.04 to win the individual title for the second year in a row. The Jaguars were third overall with 119 points.

            Senior Buddy Soto of Baker was second at 16:04.89. Junior Payton Ballard was Mountain Brook’s top finisher with a third-place time of 16:08.05.


Class 5A Boys

             Coach John Esslinger’s boys scored 43 points to give Scottsboro a sweep of the Class 5A competition for the third time in the last four years.

              John Carroll junior Griffin Lee, second a year ago, clocked 16:13.11 to win the individual race.

             Senior Dan Drew of Saint Paul’s was second at 16:22.22 and teammate Joe Albrecht-Frueh third at 16:28.09. Scottsboro’s top finisher was Evan McGee with a16:29.72 time in fourth place.        

Class 4A Boys

            UMS-Wright runners Robert Hope and Chase Tan finished 2-3 as the Bulldogs won the Class 4A state championship for the fourth year in a row and completed a sweep of the boys and girls Class 4A divisions.

             It was junior Alex Gilliland of Oneonta that  grabbed the spotlight, however. Gilliland, who finished 28th in 2010, sped the distance in 16:26.56 to take top individual honors. He beat UMS-Wright freshman Robert Hope  (16:43.05) by 27 seconds.

            Pope John Paul II of Huntsville finished second overall with 97 points and Brooks third at 110.


Class 3A Boys

            Randolph  senior Leland Collins, who finished second a year ago, clocked 16:45.41 to finish first as Coach James Terwilliger’s Raiders won the 3A crown for the seventh consecutive year. Teammate Eshan King was fourth in 17:00.42 as Randolph posted 24 points ahead of runner-up Montgomery Catholic (84) and third-place Montgomery Academy (94).

             Sophomore Wesley Curles of Trinity Presbyterian was second with a time of 16:51.06 and Catholic’s Jarrett Mason, a junior, third at 16:57.06.


Class 1A-2A Boys

            Senior Adam Dunkerley of Westminster-Oak Mountain ran the 3.1-mile distance in 16:55.44 to win the Class 1A-2A individual title after a six-place finish last year.

             Colby Verdin finished sixth to at 17:23.10 lead Cottage Hill Christian to its first state championship. Cottage Hill, coached by Joe Swagart, had 49 points to edge out three-time defending state champion Hatton (86).

             Blake Brackin, a senior, anchored Hatton’s effort with a second-place  finish with a time of 17:02.43. Sophomore Alex Ennis of Holy Spirit was third at 17:04.52.