Before closing the chapter on 2012, the DeKalb Neighbor is taking a look back at a memorable time in the local sporting world … from the triumphs to the agonizing near-misses.
'TAMING THE BIG, BAD WOLVES'
St. Pius X nearly did just that in handing Buford its toughest challenge of the season in the teams’ GHSA state Class 3-A football title tilt at the Georgia Dome.
The game, an instant classic by most standards, ended with the Golden Lions on the wrong side of a 10-3 decision.
St. Pius hadn’t played in the final game of the season in 44 years — a feat deserving of a tip of the cap to coach Paul Standard and company. The burning question: Can/will they pull off an encore?
'THE STANDARD, STILL'
Marist was honored as one of the nation’s top 15 high school athletic programs by Sports Illustrated, based on “all-around excellence.”
'THE CHAMPS ARE HERE!'
Individual and team state championship hardware was hard to come by in 2012, but these elite few managed to pull it off:
n Redan girls’ track
India Hammond, Nikkia Jefferson and Crystal Gray were among Redan’s stable of standouts who keyed it to Class 4-A gold.
n Alex Cameron, Dunwoody girls’ cross country
Cameron powered the Lady Wildcats to their first ever state team title. The junior took top individual honors, beating out archrival and runner-up Lakeside’s Jenn Cora.
Hayley Keady gave Dunwoody a boost by finishing third.
n St. Pius X cross country
St. Pius X won the boys and girls’ Class 3-A titles.
Austin Sprague topped the boys’ field. His strongest competition came from teammates Calvin Tirrell (second) and Joseph Ferrugia (third).
The Lady Golden Lions triumphed on the legs of Devon Dabney (second) and Margaret Crawford (third).
n Marist cross country
Marist swept the girls and boys’ Class 4-A titles.
Individual champ Michael Thurston’s time of 16 minutes 13 seconds beat out runner-up and teammate Daniel Navarro.
The Lady War Eagles were led by Morgan Ilse, who cruised to victory.
n St. Pius X water polo
St. Pius earned its 2012 title by upending Collins Hill, 5-4, on Rafael Garcia’s go-ahead goal with 1:54 left to play and with key contributions from super goalie Sam Beckwith and leading scorers Josh Chatfield and Zach Halbig.
n St. Pius girls’ tennis
St. Pius shut down Allatoona, 3-0, for the AAA crown. Singles players Blaine Boaz and Jennifer Leib and doubles tandem Ansley Jones and Grace Mendzef led the way.
n Marist boys’ golf
Jack Larkin, John Quirk and Will Maggard paced the War Eagles to victory.