MONTGOMERY – Jasper High School’s Lady Vikings (29-3) powered to eight straight victories last week, including going 6-0 to win the Spain Park Heffstrong Invitational Tourney, to claim the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight this week.
Coach Bobby Daniel, who picked career victory 700 as Jasper finished second in a tourney in Tennessee two weeks ago, saw his team beat five teams ranked by al.com in their respective classifications including Class 6A Spanish Fort, the top-ranked team in Class 6A, in the finals of the Heffstrong tourney. His girls did not lose a single set.
McKinley Ferguson and Alex Oliver provided the power up front with 74 and 67 kills, respectively, for the Lady Vikings. Ferguson also had 30 service aces, and Oliver managed 19 blocks.
Daniel had taken four different schools to the AHSAA State Tournament semifinals, including Winston County, Curry and Arab, in addition to Jasper.
Walker’s strong performance for the week edged strong performances by Hazel Green and Carbon Hill for the AHSAA Volleyball Spotlight.
The Class 6A Trojans (31-8) were 11-1 on the week winning the Huntsville Ironman Tourney. Gracie Lynn Butler had 111 kills and 26 blocks, setter Catherine Smith dished out 211 assists and middle blocker Myah Magwood recorded 31 blocks.
Carbon Hill’s Alyssa Dutton had a killer week with 127 kills, 17 blocks, 71 digs and 24 service aces and the Bulldogs (36-3) won the Brooks Invitational to finish the week 13-0.
In other top performances reported for the week:
MACKENKZIE DAVIS, ATHENS BIBLE: Recorded 265 assists to surpass 2,000 for her career, and also had 40 kills in Athens Bible’s nine matches last week.
MARISSA KOCH, ST. JOHN PAUL II CATHOLIC: Totaled 93 kills and 48 digs in 11 matches.
MADISON CARTEE, DANVILLE: Slammed 79 kills, 15 aces and had 11 blocks in 10 matches for the Hawks.
JASMINE BROOKS, SPARKMAN: Had 75 kills and 33 digs in 10 matches last week.
RYA McKINNON, HOOVER: In two match wins over Thompson and Tuscaloosa County, McKinnon totaled 29 kills for the Bucs (20-4).
BAILEY JOHNSON, BROOKWOOD: In three matches, she recorded 31 kills, 7 assists and seven blocked shots as Brookwood (13-8) went 2-1.
MAGGIE WOOD, HORSESHOE BEND: Had 28 kills, 14 blocks and 29 aces as the Generals (18-2) won six matches and the Wadley Varsity Classic tourney title.
KENYA McQUIRTER, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Registered 22 kills as the Dirty Dozen (21-3) beat St. Paul’s Episcopal and Bayside Academy in regular-season matches.
ANN VANDEVELDE, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Helped the Spartans (25-5) go 9-2 with 238 assists and 88 digs for the week.
SAVANAH FREE, DANVILLE: Recorded 234 assists, 19 aces and 40 digs in 10 matches.
LEIGHANNA TRALONGO, BOB JONES: Had 196 assists as the Patriots (23-6) went 8-2 for the week.
JOY MULLINS, WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN: Picked up 196 assists as WCA finished 6-3 on the week.
LAEKYN BENNETT, LAWRENCE COUNTY: Had 190 assists and 17 digs as the Lady Red Devils (31-6) won eight of nine matches.
KAYLA KESHOCK, SPANISH FORT: Posted 178 assists as the Toros (27-3) tolled to eight wins in nine tries last week. Spanish Fort lost to Jasper in the finals of the Spain Park Heffstrong Tourney.
ISABELLE FUELL, HUNTSVILLE: Totaled 175 assists, 33 service aces and 49 digs in 10 matches for the Panthers (15-10), who won seven of 10 matches on the week.
MADELYN DIZON, LINDSAY LANE: Had 144 assists and 33 kills to lead Lindsay Lane (23-7) to an 8-1 record and runner-up finish to West Point at the Priceville Invitational.
LAUREN HUNT, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Had 135 assists as the Panthers were 6-2 to finish second in the Sandy Hunter Invitational to host Pleasant Valley.
BEATRICE LINDQUIST, MARY MONTGOMERY: Accounted for 118 assists and 29 digs in six matches.
BRINKLEY HEARN, FAITH ACADEMY: Had 100 assists, 43 digs and eight service aces as the Rams (17-11) went 6-1 en route to the title at the Battle of the Bridge Tourney.
VICTORIA SCHMER, CHELSEA: Helped the Hornets (27-4) win eight matches, capturing the championship of the Hewitt-Trussville Husky Challenge. She had 114 digs and 20 service aces.
MADALYNN OWEN, PRICEVILLE: Had 110 digs in nine Priceville matches to lead her team to a 7-2 record for the week.
MEGAN EDMOUNDS, BAKER: Had 38 digs and six service aces in two wins for the Hornets (14-5).
LAURA LEE KEENER, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Managed 85 digs and 15 service aces in seven matches over the week.
TAYLOR BROWN, WILSON: Had 64 digs and Tori Walker had 25 blocks as Wilson (22-8) finished the week 6-2.
LEXIE DISHNER, PHILLIPS: Had 60 digs, 162 assists and 14 aces as Phillips (17-7) went 5-3.
KRISTEN BLACK, SARALAND: Managed 53 digs, 55 kills and nine aces as the Spartans (13-3) finished second to Faith Academy at the Battle of the Bridge tourney. Saraland was 6-1 for the week.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More and more student-athletes are joining the 128 high school varsity girls’ and boys’ swim teams in Alabama. And, those Alabama High School Athletic Association swimmers are finding success beyond the confines of the pools in this state.
Wade Thaxton, swimming and diving coach at Bob Jones High School in Madison, said, “The state of swimming in Alabama is as good as it’s ever been. We are seeing more and more kids take it to college, it’s a good avenue for scholarships.”
Thaxton, who was an assistant for two boys’ state titles at Bob Jones and has been head coach for the past four years, said he was thrilled with the spirit his swimmers bring to the pool. “With high school swimming, it’s all about the team,” he said. “I asked my kids what was different between their summer league teams and our team and they told me, ‘We are together. We do things together besides what we do at the pool.’ One of my swimmers told me, ‘It is all about the school spirit, not just about yourself.’
“To see them celebrate with each other and the parents taking pictures, not of their swimmer in the pool but the team on the sidelines, that is really something that stands out.”
According to the latest reports, 72 AHSAA schools offer varsity girls’ swimming and 56 field boys’ teams. The 716 boys’ varsity swimmers is an 11.5 percent increase over the 2016-17 academic year. Girls’ participation jumped 3.8 percent to a total of 844 swimmers.
The Bob Jones swim teams do agility and weight training along with their work in the pool – which is at a local recreation center, since none of the Madison City Schools System teams have pools at school. “We practice five days a week, about 2½ hours a day,” Thaxton said. “Some of our kids also swim on their own, too. Sometimes in practice, I just want them to do sets for speed – ‘OK, just go as fast as you can on this, just get there.’ Other times, I ask them to go 60-70 percent so we can work on technique. They need individual instruction to know what they need to work on. It’s about doing every little thing that is going to make their time faster.”
Faster pays off for the high school teams – Bob Jones has won nine boys AHSAA championships, including seven straight in the 2000s, and one girls title in 2007 – and for the individual swimmers. Former Patriots standout Zach Harting, who now swims for the University of Louisville, won a bronze medal this year in the Pan Pacific Championships with a personal best time (1:55.01) after finishing second in the 2018 U.S. National Championships in the 200-meter butterfly.
High school swim season for the AHSAA began with the opening of practice on Aug. 6 with the first contests on Aug. 23. The sectional meets – in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile – are Nov. 16-17 with the State Meet set for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Auburn University.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions.
By Lucas Nunn, Special for AHSAA
VESTAVIA HILLS – From the volleyball court to the international mission field, Hannah Vines’ extracurricular life is nothing short of exciting.
Hannah is a rising senior at Vestavia Hills High School and has played on the varsity volleyball team since her sophomore year. She is also a member of the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Student Leadership Group, one of two members chosen to represent the state at a national conference in Indianapolis this month.
On the court, Hannah has had success both in school and club volleyball. Vestavia Hills reached the super regionals last season, and just last month her club team – Southern Performance Volleyball Club – placed second at the national tournament.
While her athletic achievements are impressive, it is Hannah’s desire to serve her community that sets her apart from the rest.
The 17-year-old is one of thousands of AHSAA athletes who give of themselves to their communities during their summer break, as well as spending many hours the rest of the year as they juggle sports, homework, family and volunteer time.
Hannah has been an active member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills since she was 5 years old, and the church is her favorite place to serve the community. “I really like to work with kids through my church,” she said.
Her service for others also goes well beyond the walls of the church. This past spring, Hannah spent her school break on a mission trip to Guatemala. She worked with children there and assisted in putting on a Bible School for them.
“The trip was amazing. Spanish is one of my passions, I have been taking Spanish since I was in the seventh grade, so going down there was great,” Vines said. “It was just another way to connect with the kids and hear about their lives talking about the differences in culture between the U.S. and Guatemala.”
In March, Hannah was one of 18 student-athletes from around Alabama selected for membership in the AHSAA Student Leadership Conference, and she was thrilled to learn she and Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby were chosen to represent the state at the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Student Leadership Summit in Indianapolis. The NFHS Summit wrapped up this week.
“I was really excited when I heard about it,” Vines said. “The goal is to come back and be better leaders on our teams and in our communities.”
Upon graduation, Hannah plans to continue serving her community through her church, as she continues her volleyball career at Samford University.
Last year, Hannah was also featured in the AHSAA #MoreThanAGame social media campaign. Watch her video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3fayZMkAkY
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control has approved allowing modification of the kicking game rules for non-varsity football competition beginning this fall and approved regional sites for softball and bowling for the coming school year. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones recommended modification of the kicking rules for non-varsity contests due to current health and safety concerns and limited time to devote to the kicking game for the non-varsity programs.
Beginning in the 2018 season, the Central Board of Control will allow schools to choose one of three options for a non-varsity football contest. The two competing schools may choose Option 1 (simulation of kicks); Option 2 (no kickoffs or punts allowed); and Option 3 (utilizing all aspects of the kicking game in accordance with NFHS rules).
If the two schools cannot agree, then Option 1 will be the default choice. In Option 1, teams will be allowed to conduct simulated kickoffs and punts, but with no blocking or contact, including no rushing the kicker and no kick returns. Receiving teams may fair catch a kick but after the non-contact kickoff, the ball will be placed at the receiving team’s 35-yard line to begin the offensive series. After the no-rush and non-contact punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage but not inside the 20-yard line of the receiving team.
Should both teams agree to Option 2, no kickoffs or punts will be attempted. A series will start at the receiving team’s 35-yard line following a touchdown. In lieu of a punt, the ball will be placed 30 yards from the line of scrimmage, but not inside the receiving team’s 20-yard line.
Option 3 will be conducting kickoffs and punts without modification. Field goals and extra points will not be modified and will be live under all three options.
The Central Board of Control approved waiving membership dues for member schools for the 27th straight year – a cost savings of more than $83,000 in 2017-18 and more than
$2.2 million in savings to our member schools since 1992. The Board also approved a Revenue Sharing Plan $2 million payout for the 2017-18 school year but put the distribution to schools on hold until the AHSAA’s current litigation has concluded.
The Board selected Camelia Lanes in Mobile and Vestavia Bowl in Vestavia Hills as the sites for the South and North Regional bowling tournaments in 2019. The AHSAA State Bowling Championships will return to Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham for the third straight year.
Florence and Oxford were also selected as new sites for regional softball competition for the next two years (2019 and 2020). Florence will host the North Regional which has been held in Huntsville since regional tourneys began for softball in 2009. The South Central Regional, held in Troy from 2009-18, will move to Oxford and will be renamed the East Central Regional. Tuscaloosa will remain the host of the North Central Regional, which is being renamed the West Central Regional, for 2019 and 2020. Gulf Shores, which has two years remaining on its current contract, will once again host the South Regional. Lagoon Park is still under contract to host the State Tourney.
In another softball item, the board, upon recommendation of the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee, approved allowing the team emerging from the winner’s bracket to choose whether they will be the home team or visiting team in all championship games in area and state tournament play. Several recommendations from other sports committees were also approved by the Central Board. Those changes can be found at www.ahsaa.com.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 AHSAA Sports Book. The Legislative Council also met and approved the AHSAA publications Wednesday afternoon and heard a review of the Central Board’s action.
In other Central Board action:
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved drafts of the 2018-19 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2017-18 audits for each group.
-- Removed fines for middle /junior high declarations.
-- Approved the purchase of six new wrestling mats for State Championship and Duals competition and also approved moving all wrestling duals tournament finals to the same day.
-- Approved new officials’ fee for state wrestling and track championships and discussed the schools’ current scratch list policy concerning officials.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Discussed Mandatory Summer Meeting Requirement for administrators.
MONTGOMERY – Six officials with a combined 257 years of officiating experience received the Greg Brewer Distinguished Service Award at Saturday’s AHSAA Officials Awards Luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Receiving the AHSAA’s highest officiating honor were: Eugene Reynolds (46 years); Warren Bowron (45 years); Wayne Carden (42 years); Jimmy Chaffin (40 years); Larry Short (40 years); and Jack Minshew (36 years).
More than 400 attended the luncheon that recognized all contest officials who officiated in state championship events in 2017-18 as well as those selected district and state officials of the year in each AHSAA sport. Laird Hayes, a veteran of 22 years as an NFL official, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that officially closed the 2018 AHSAA Summer Conference and Coaching School.
The Alabama Sports Officials Foundation (ASOF) also presented nine scholarships to children of officials in honor of the dedication and sacrifice families make to support the service of the state’s contest officials. To be eligible, the student must be planning attend a post-secondary school in Alabama.
Those selected for the grants were: Gary Shirley III, Rainbow City; Jalon Jimmerson, Douglas; Jonah Trotter, Oakman; Peyton Luker, Thomasville; Danielle Covert, Arab; Anna Grace Murphy, Southside; Delandrion Woods, Hillsborough; Emma Mayer, Maylene; Allyson Phelps, Meridianville.
AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones also recognized two AHSAA officials, Joe Mangone and Mark Russell, who received national honors from the NFHS. Mangone, the AHSAA soccer rules interpreter and State Finals director of officials, received the NFHS Citation for Officials for 2018 as national official of the year, and Russell was chosen one of eight Section recipients of the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award. He was selected from Section III, which includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Jones also announced that AHSAA football official Anthony Jeffreys has just been selected to become an NFL football official.
AHSAA Officials of the Year were also selected from in each officiating district and one official was also chosen state official of the year in each sport.
Among those honored were:
State Officials of the Year: Phillip Winslett (Baseball); Anthony Dupree (Basketball); Eddie Carr (Football); Bill Presor (Soccer); Mike Heath (Softball); Joey Lauderdale (Track); Willie Moore (Volleyball); and Heath Williamson (Wrestling).
AHSAA District Officials of the Year included:
East Central: John Ewing
North Central: Chris Pike
Northeast: Bill Ward
Northwest: Roger Crafts
South Central: Mike Stewart
Southeast: Philip Winslett
Southwest: Greg Fairchild
West Central: Tommy Colvin
East Central: Anthony Dupree
North Central: Mike Pretnar
Northeast: Matt Driver
Northwest: Andy Pruitt
South Central: Eric Morris
Southeast: Ronnie Burnett
Southwest: Elicia Lynch
West Central: Charlie McCant
East Central: Cecil Garrison
North Central: Anthony Jeffries
Northeast: Ben Smith
Northwest: Amel Drake
South Central: Garnett Ray
Southeast: Philip Thomas
Southwest: Eddie Carr
West Central: Jeff Halcomb
East Central: no selection
North Central: Luis Mendez
Northwest: Jeff Edwards
South Central: Bill Presor
Southeast: Garrett Franklin
Southwest: Coral Grubler
West Central: no seletion
East Central: Steve Nelson
North Central: Larry Jordan
Northeast: Michael Tidmore
Northwest: Phillip Pugh
South Central: Bruce Arnold
Southeast: Mike Heath
Southwest: Tim Porter
West Central: Michael Mullally
TRACK & FIELD
East Central: no selection
North Central: Joey Kyle
Northeast: Joey Lauderdale
Northwest: Willie Ray
South Central: Tony Reaves
Southeast: no selection
Southwest: Wayne Kulakowski
West Central: no selection
East Central: Connie Higgins
North Central: Willie Moore III
Northeast: Phillip Mosley
Northwest: Anthony Gunn
South Central: Kevin Foley
Southeast: Morris Murphy
Southwest: Maureen McKannan
West Central: Kimberly Dailey
East Central: Adam Pierce
North Central: Jeff Saxon
Northeast: Matt Smart
Eight high schools that attended Friday’s 10th annual Media Group as recipients of a $1,000 al.com Sportsmanship Grant. Al.com, in support of good sportsmanship, has provided $88,000 over the last 10 years – proving one scholarship to a fine and ejection-free school each from all eight of the AHSAA’s districts.
The recipients this year were: Choctaw County (District 1); Dothan (District 2); Trinity Presbyterian (District 3); Central Coosa (District 4); Jackson-Olin (District 5); Ragland (District 6); Covenant Christian (District 7); and Fyffe (District 8). The schools were selected from the 75 that completed the 2017-18 school fine and ejection free.
Former major leaguer Todd Jones was the guest speaker at the Sportsmanship Luncheon. Jones, who spent 15 years pitching in the majors, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.