Region 8AAA named its All-Region teams this week with the Dogs and Lady Dogs being well-represented in the final awards. Avery Kirby was named the Region’s Most Outstanding Player in a unanimous vote. The senior has not dropped a single Region match over the past two years and was hands-down the best player the Region had to offer. Coach Stacy Kirby bragged on the heart-and-soul of this year’s team saying, “I went to the Jackson County coaches’ meeting this week and they were discussing her when I came in. There was no question in their minds that she was deserving of the award. Not only did they talk about her physical talent, but also competitiveness and sportsmanship on the court. She’s a competitor and a fighter as well as a team leader for us.”
Morgan also received a first-team All-Region award for the doubles team of Caroline Rittenhouse and Mariella Plumley. This senior doubles team will be sorely missed a year from now with all the success they had in their final season for the Lady Dogs. Dearing again commented, “These two girls are very gracious competitors with great character and sportsmanship. When the coaches were talking about who was the best, they weren’t just looking at wins and losses. They were also looking for athletes that truly deserve the award. With their conduct and play on the court, they rose to the top when the coaches were discussing the awards. Other coaches noticed these things about them.”
Second team honorees included number two singles player Madison Gasque. According to Dearing, had it not been for a lone loss during Region play, she might have been chosen to the first team. She said, “Madison is a fighter. She has the highest character, commitment, and sportsmanship you could ask for. At our tennis banquet Monday night, she was awarded the highest honor on our high school team. The Coaches’ Award is a prestigious award for constant commitment to the team and respect for the sport.” Kirby was also given this award for her performance throughout the season and her career. Dearing said, “They are just great kids with great commitment.”
The doubles team of Abbey Adams and Karlie Lane were named to the All-Region second team for their play while John Cardwell and Sara Moore made the honorable mention list in singles. Coach Dearing made these comments about her players, “Abbey and Karlie are both fighters and both freshmen playing on the varsity. They’ve worked hard on their game and came out with several wins throughout the season. Both are striving to demonstrate leadership skills even at their young age. John’s stats were very respectable playing at our number one singles spot. He is very gracious, a true sportsman and an incredible athlete. The other coaches commented about these qualities. He is a rising leader and they noticed it. Sara is only a sophomore who has shown dedication to her team and sport. Her competition stats were respectable. She has shown herself to be a pressure player at our number three singles, which is a tough spot. I felt Sara was very deserving of the award for how she handled herself emotionally and competitively on the court.”
The Lady Dogs finished second in the Region before being ousted in the first round of the State Tournament by Lumpkin County. The boys were young and did not qualify for State finishing fifth in the Region. It was another fine season for both squads. Coaches Dearing and Jill Cribbs should be commended for a job well done. Congratulations.