An outstanding year of sports at LaFayette High School came to a close this past Tuesday at the school’s annual sports banquet. Over the past school year, the Bulldogs captured two AHSAA Class 2A runner-up trophies and the boys’ track team captured the first state championship in the sport in school history. It was truly a remarkable season and the athletes and coaches were honored at the banquet for their hard work and dedication.
Not only did the boys’ track and field cap their season with a state title, but the girls accomplished the best finish in school history as well. They earned the 2A runner-up trophy at the State Meet on May 3rd and 4th. At the banquet, Coach Don Turner recognized his two MVP’s from each team.
Bria Huguley was named the girls MVP. She won two individual state titles at the State Meet, the 100m dash and 200m dash. She also earned two silver medals in the long jump and triple jump.
On the boys side, Joe Vines was named the MVP. He also won two individual titles in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles.
The track team wasn’t the only LHS squad with a strong season, as the boys’ varsity basketball team capped a miraculous season with a runner-up finish in 2A. The year included the Northeast Regional title and a semi-finals win over Elba. Rather than giving out individual awards, Coach Obadiah Threadgill named his entire team as MVP’s. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like that,” he said. “But it’s also the first time I’ve ever been around a team like this. We couldn’t have gotten as far as we did without everyone on the team.”
The team consisted of Trevond Barnes, Damien Paige, Qua Boyd, Quan Whitlow, Justin Griner, Tyric Davis, Cordeski Floyd, Jalen Davis, Kentavious Landers, Kaminski Bledsoe, TeQuarri Whitlow, Jeremy Vines and Creigory Greer.
In varsity girls basketball, Coach Michael Bratcher gave out two individual awards. Cyneldra Busby was named the team’s defensive MVP, while Nia Minor was named the Lady Bulldogs’ offensive MVP.
In varsity football, outgoing Coach Steve Coker recognized three athletes for their play on the gridiron this year. Quarterback Qua Boyd was named the team’s overall MVP. Receiver Joe Vines earned offensive player of the year honors and linebacker Kwon Ross was named the team’s defensive player of the year.
On the baseball diamond, Coach Michael Pattillo handed out three individual awards. The Bulldogs’ offensive MVP was Kentrell Holloway. The defensive MVP was Okoye Williams and the team’s most improved player was Quintavious Whitlow.
Five Chambers Academy softball players have been chosen to play in the annual AISA Junior-Senior All-Star games on June 4th in Montgomery. The two games pit the best players in Classes 1A-3A against each other. The contingent of Chambers players is the most from any team in the AISA. Three senior and two juniors, the most selected in school history, will represent the Lady Rebels as part of the National (East) teams.
Representatives from the senior class are Britne’ Adams, Jordan Crowder and Aly Lashley. Both Adams and Lashley are two-time all-star selections. Adams starred as a catcher for the Lady Rebels and was named the team MVP. She hit .500 and drove in a team-high 25 runs. Lashley was a defensive leader for the Rebels at third base and led the team in batting average with a .509 mark; she also collected 15 RBI’s. Crowder had a stellar year both at the plate and on the mound. She pitched nearly every game and finished with a 6-8 record. Crowder hit .394 and was honored with the Rebel Award at the team’s sports banquet last week.
Out of the junior class, Heather Blackburn and Deven Still will represent CA on the National team. Blackburn and Still were the backbone of the CA outfield, with Still being named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. The speedy Blackburn also provided a boost to the Rebels offense in the leadoff spot hitting .358 and driving in 10 runs. Still hit .340 for the Lady Rebels and only struck out four times all season.
The games will take place at Lagoon Park in Montgomery on Tuesday, June 4th. Blackburn and Still will play in the junior game at 5 pm, and Adams, Lashley and Crowder will play in the senior game at 7 pm CST.
SELMA – It’s time to clear out a little more room in the LaFayette High School trophy case. For the first time in more than a decade, the Bulldogs are state champions. The boys track and field team accomplished the milestone this weekend when they won the AHSAA Class 2A state championship at the State Meet in Selma, bringing home the school’s first ever track and field title.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” LHS coach Don Turner said about the team. “Because they set a goal at the beginning of the season of what they wanted to accomplish, and they worked hard to achieve that goal.”
It was a long time coming for many of these athletes, as the Bulldogs had been on the cusp over the past two seasons, finishing in the third spot overall in both 2011 and 2012.
“We’ve been right there,” Turner said. “And the guys just made up their mind that they didn’t want to go through that again. And having the seniors who had been through it, they wanted to go out as winners.”
“I felt like we had a little bit more experience and we were getting better over the year and like Coach Turner said, we got tired of losing,” senior Joe Vines said.
“In the beginning of March all we were talking about was winning the state championship in basketball, but we got the runner-up,” senior Qua Boyd says. “So me and Quan (Whitlow) were talking and we decided that we were going to win the championship in track because this was our last chance to get a ring.”
Overall, the Bulldogs dominated the meet. There were suspenseful times, but as the final scores started coming in, it was clear that the title was headed home to LaFayette. And it was a reaction from their normally reserved coach that signaled that the win was secure. “When I saw Coach Turner (jump and scream), I knew we had just won,” Quan Whitlow said.
“When they said second place, Mobile Christian, I just jumped over the rail and ran out there to the field along with the rest of the team,” Boyd said. “That’s when it really hit me.”
When the final totals were announced, LaFayette earned the title with 120.5 points, while Mobile Christian finished with 110 points. The Bulldogs won four individual state titles as well and had 11 top-three finishes, 14 top-fives and an astonishing 23 top-10’s.
Thought they won by a comfortable margin, there was a scare in the most unexpected event. The two time defending state champion 4x100m relay team was almost a lock to earn their third straight title, but a mishap between the second and third leg caused them to be disqualified. “It was crazy,” Whitlow said, “because I’m used to winning the 4x100m. And on Saturday I’m sitting there waiting on it (the baton) and I turned around and seen Joe and Maurice (Foster) falling and I thought it was over with.”
“I guess we were so anxious because we knew we had it won,” Vines added. For Boyd, it provided him a little extra boost heading into his final event. “I was inspired after the 4x100m disqualification, because I knew we needed to go 1-2-3 in the high jump.”
They didn’t go 1-2-3, but Boyd did clear 6’ to get his first gold medal in the event and Kentavious Landers won the bronze. It was just one of the many events the Dogs excelled in on Friday and Saturday.
Vines’ final high school meet proved to be one of his best, as he won a team-best two individual state titles. He got the gold in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.49s and in the 300m hurdles with a time of 41.53 seconds. “I promised myself the night before the finals that I wasn’t going to lose,” he said. “I was determined to win because I made a mistake on day one so I felt myself pushing harder than I’ve ever pushed.” He also earned points with a seventh place finish in the long jump.
SELMA – The most successful season in LaFayette High’s girls track and field history came to a close this past weekend with the Lady Bulldogs taking the runner-up spot in Class 2A. The girls came up just short of earning the first title in school history, but still proved to be the best team to ever come out of LHS.
LaFayette won two events, posted six podium finishes, nine top-fives and 20 top-10’s and earned a total of 91 points at the AHSAA State Meet on Friday and Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Selma, finishing 19 points behind state champion Montgomery Academy.
But this team didn’t hang their heads; with their youth and relative inexperience, it surprised many that they were even in contention.
The team’s senior leader Bria Huguley was proud to see the team grow after back-to-back third place finishes in 2011 and 2012. “I’m pretty ecstatic,” she said. “We made history. It’s the first time ever we’ve finished this high and I’m pretty proud of all the girls. We worked hard all season and it really paid off. They (Montgomery Academy) had the best performance but we still did well.”
“They worked so hard,” LaFayette Coach Don Turner said. “They pushed themselves in training and workouts throughout the season and off-season. I’m really proud of them.” Turner has said that he was considering hanging up his title as head coach at the end of the season, but that the youth and potential of this team will bring him back for another year. “I think I’m going to stay on,” he said. “We’ve got some girls that are really motivated and want to get better. They want to win it all.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge for next year will be to replace Huguley, who was the star of the weekend for the Bulldogs. She won two individual state titles, giving her a career total of three individual titles. Ever the team player, Huguley says that the team’s finish gave her a great feeling. “Because it’s something that we worked for together, it’s not just me,” she said, “it’s us as a whole team working together, pushing each other, encouraging each other and gathering points.”
Late Monday night, in a special called meeting, Chambers Academy Board members approved Jason Allen to take over as the new head football coach and athletic director at the school. Allen is currently the head football coach at Glenwood School in Phenix City, but has twice served as head coach at CA.
Allen will return to his alma mater, where he was a 1992 graduate. His tenure will officially begin in June, though he will be at the school in an unofficial capacity over the next two weeks to get to know the current team and work with them during the spring training period.
“I’m excited,” Allen said. “And I know it’s a cliché but there’s no place like home. You work harder and tend to go above and beyond when you’re home.
“I’m looking forward to getting the football program back on the right track like it has been in the past. We’re going to work hard and do what it takes to get that confidence back. We’ve won there before and we can win there again.”
Allen will replace current Chambers head coach Shenan Motley, who will not return to the school next year. He will also take over the role of athletic director for longtime AD Don McGinty. A staple at Chambers Academy for more than three decades, McGinty will retire at the end of the school year.
“It’s definitely a big responsibility,” Allen said about stepping in as the AD. “I’ll be in charge of the whole program, both girls and boys. And I take great pride in improving every aspect of the athletic programs at the school.”
“We’re excited to have someone of his caliber,” CA Board President Rickey Elliott said. “He’s someone that knows the area and knows the AISA and that was very important as we fill the athletic director role as well. He’s going to give us the boost we are in need of with our football program.”
“Coach Allen has proven that he is a winner in all his stops in his coaching career,” CA Headmaster Jim Childers said. “We believe that he will be very successful in resurrecting our football program.”
Allen had previously served as head coach at CA from 1998-2001 and from 2006-09. He also served as an assistant for the Rebels from 1996-97, and has also served on the staffs at Beulah High School, Lanett High School and Lee-Scott Academy and as the athletic director at Escambia Academy. He left CA for Glenwood in 2010, and has compiled a career record as a head coach of 68-58. During his tenure at CA, he had a 47-43 mark, that included five playoff appearances and state runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2000. His Glenwood team finished as the state runners-up in 2011 as well.
“It just felt right,” Allen said about his decision to come back to CA. “I live nearby and rode by there every day…It feels like home.”
Domination, there’s no other word to describe the performance of LaFayette High’s boys and girls track teams at the AHSAA Class 2A Section 2 Meet this past weekend in Beauregard. Over the course of two days, in their last test before this weekend’s State Meet, the two Bulldog teams made a statement combining to win 17 events and posting an astonishing 44 top-three finishes. Of course, both teams took the sectional overall titles, easily outscoring their closest competitor, Lanett.
The LHS girls finished with 219 total points, besting second place Lanett by 79 points. They won nine events, had 22 top-three’s, 29 top-five’s and swept the top three positions in two events.
The Bulldog boys totaled 235 points, 59 points ahead of the second place Panthers. They won eight events, had 22 top-three’s, 27 top-five’s and swept the podium finishes in two events.
One of the most impressive individual performances came from Bria Huguley, who won three events and earned four medals at the meet. She placed first in the 100m dash, 200m dash and the long jump. She was second in the triple jump.
Nakia Blunt won multiple events this weekend for LaFayette as well. She won gold in the discuss throw and the javelin throw and was second in the shot put.
The Bulldogs took the top-three spots in the discus and almost pulled off the same feat in the shot put. Marticia Briskey, who had a strong meet with a win in the shot put, finished in second behind Blunt in the discuss, while Tanyka Huguley placed third. Behind Briskey and Blunt in the shot put was Nykeria Barens in fourth. D’Essence Boyd also earned a medal with a third place finish in the javelin.
Tyanna Askew had a breakout performance, winning gold in the high jump in addition to a bronze in the 100m dash. Skylar Hardnett earned the silver for LaFayette in the high jump.
LaFayette swept the medals in the 100m hurdles at sectionals as Bianca Walker earned the gold, followed by Hardnett with the silver and Bertice Williams with the bronze. Hardnett also earned the bronze in the 300m hurdles, while Williams finished fourth and Kayla Watts was fifth.
Watts had a strong meet, earning points with a silver in the 400m dash and a fifth in the 200m dash.
The Bulldogs girls’ relay teams performed well earning a gold and silver over the weekend. The 4x400m relay team of Hardnett, Symerica Haynes, Watts and Raven Floyd took home first place in the event, while the 4x100m relay team of Askew, Cyneldra Busby, Walker and Williams placed second.
Other top finishes for the LaFayette girls included Breonna James with the bronze in the triple jump and a fourth in the long jump, Busby with fifth in the long jump and Laporche Shaver with fourth in the triple jump.
For the LHS boys, Qua Boyd was one of the top performers, taking the gold in three events, the high jump, shot put and javelin throw, and fourth in the triple jump. His wins in the high jump and javelin were also part of LaFayette sweeps. Kwon Ross was second in the high jump, while Kentavious Landers was third. Tequarri Whitlow placed second in the javelin throw behind Boyd and Romello Tolbert was third.
Joe Vines also took home multiple gold medals at sectionals, winning both the 110m hurdles and the 300m hurdles with relative ease. The Bulldogs’ Brendan Tucker medaled in both hurdle events as well, earning two bronzes. Vines also earned fifth in the long jump.
The winner of the long jump was LHS’s Quan Whitlow, who won four medals on the day. His gold in the long jump came with a season-high effort of 21’10,” Whitlow finished second in the 100m dash, close behind University of Alabama football commit and Fultondale star Ardarius Stewart. Whitlow was also third in the 200m dash, behind Stewart, who took the top spot and LaFayette’s Steven Bledsoe who earned silver.
Bledsoe was impressive over the weekend, earning the bronze in the 100m dash, in addition to his 200m silver, and a fourth in the 400m dash.
Both Whitlow and Bledsoe played roles in the three medal performances of the boys’ relay teams. The only gold medal run came from the 4x100m relay team of Maurice Foster, Wilvoski Pitts, Whitlow and Vines. The 4x400m relay team of Bledsoe, Tyric Davis, Pitts and Rasheed Williams earned the silver and the 4x800m relay team of Leshawn Howell, Travon Smith, Tolbert and Tucker finished in second as well.
Foster took the other gold medal for the boys, winning the triple jump with a mark of 42’5.50.”
Both Davis and Torres Vines earned multiple medals over the weekend. Davis placed third in the 400m dash and 800m run, while Vines was third in the shot put and discus throw.
Other Bulldogs who earned points toward the sectional team win were Jeremy Vines with a fourth place finish in the shot put and a fifth in the discuss, Williams with fourth in the 110m hurdles and Pitts with a fifth in the 400m dash.
*Read the full story in this week’s print edition.*
Chambers Academy’s girls track team accomplished a first for the school on Thursday. They won the AISA Class 1A State Track and Field title becoming the first girls team to win a varsity state championship in school history. Making the feat all the more impressive was that it was the first track and field team at CA in more than 20 years and the squad consisted of just four girls, senior Aly Lashley, junior Heather Blackburn, junior Jordan Brown and eighth grader Klancy Harmon. Lee-Scott won the overall 1A-3A title, with Chambers finishing seventh after earning 26 total points.
“We knew that we had a lot of athletic ability,” CA Coach Shenan Motley said, “but I think we were all a little surprised that we won the title. It was the first time we’ve had a team in so long, so we really weren’t expecting that outcome, so I’m really proud.” In fact, they were only on hand to receive the championship trophy because they thought that some members might have a chance for individual honors.
“We didn’t expect it so we were really excited,” Blackburn says.
For Blackburn as well as Lashley, who have both played starring roles for the Rebels’ softball and basketball teams in their athletic careers, the chance to compete in track offered a new and different challenge. “It’s more about individual performance than team,” Lashley says.
The senior had an impressive meet for the Rebels that included taking home the school’s first individual state title in the 100m dash with a time of 13.50 seconds. She also earned the bronze in the long jump with a mark of 15’10.5” and fourth in the 200m dash with a time of 38.79 seconds.
“She really pushed herself,” Motley said about Lashley. “She was always asking ‘what do I need to do to get better.’”
With a running order of Blackburn, Brown, Lashley and Harmon the Rebels 4x100m relay team just missed a podium finish, placing fourth with a time of 55.5 seconds.
Blackburn scored points with a sixth place finish in the 100m dash with a time of 13.88 seconds, an eighth in the 200m dash with a time of 31.38 seconds and a sixth in the 400m dash with a time of 1:10.08. Harmon was seventh in the 400m with a time of 1:10.88.
Motley, Lashley and Blackburn all noted the interest this championship has generated for the sport throughout the school and are expecting the girls team to expand along with adding a boys squad next year. “Several are showing interest, especially underclassmen,” Motley said. “And I think we are really going to expand into the field events as well.”
LaFayette’s track team had another impressive showing this past weekend, with both the girls and boys teams finishing in third place overall at the Wayne Murphy Auburn Invitational at Auburn High School.
Host Auburn took the top spot in both team competitions, while another 6A school, Opelika, placed second. LaFayette’s girls team finished with 59.7 total points, which included eight top-five finishes and four top-three’s. The Bulldogs boys totaled 91.5 points and racked up 13 top-five finishes and five top-three’s.
LaFayette’s girls had podium finishes in two relay events. The 4x100m relay team of Bertice Williams, Bianca Walker, Kayla Watts and Tyanna Askew won the bronze in the event, while the 4x400m relay team of Watts, Jasmine Woody, Askew and Symerica Hayes won the silver.
Askew also won a silver medal for her performance in the high jump.
Bria Huguley placed third in the long jump for LaFayette and Cyneldra Busby finished fifth in the same event. Huguley also placed fourth in the 100m dash and fifth in the triple jump. LaFayette’s other top-five finish came from Marticia Briskey, who came in fourth in the shot put.
On the boys’ side, LaFayette got a strong performance from Qua Boyd, who scored four top-five finishes. His best finish came in the javelin throw with second; Boyd also finished third in the triple jump, fifth in the high jump and fourth in the shot put. Kwon Ross scored a fourth place finish in the high jump ahead of Boyd, Maurice Foster was fourth in the triple jump and Torres Vines earned the bronze in the shot put.
The Bulldog relay teams also had solid showings, placing in the top-five in three events. The 4x400m relay team of Steven Bledsoe, Quan Whitlow, Wilvoski Pitts and Tyric Davis earned the bronze in the event, the 4x100m relay team of Bledsoe, Whitlow, Joe Vines and Rasheed Williams placed fourth and the 4x800m relay team of Davis, Leshawn Howell, Romello Tolbert and Travon Smith was fifth.
Vines also earned points with a fourth place finish in the 110m hurdles and a fourth in the long jump, while Whitlow was third in the long jump.
The Auburn meet officially ended the regular track and field season for the Bulldogs and up this week is sectional, which will determine who makes it to the state meet.
LaFayette will likely have numerous athletes that will qualify for state this weekend, and both girls and boys teams will be serious contenders for the team state titles. Sectional will begin on Friday at 9 am at Beauregard High School and will continue on Saturday.
The AHSAA State Track meet is next week, from May 3-4 at Memorial Stadium in Selma.
LaFayette’s boys track and field team continued their record setting season with another meet win last week at the Beauregard Speed Meet on Thursday. The LHS girls also had some strong performances and finished seventh overall.
The team win was the second of the year for the boys, and they easily outscored their closest competitor, host Beauregard, with a point total of 116 to the Hornets’ 86. The boys totaled five wins at the meet, along with nine top-three finishes and 13 top-fives.
LaFayette is scheduled to participate in the highly competitive Auburn Invitational at Auburn High School this Saturday, their final event before Sectionals on April 27-28. Events will start at 9 am CST this Saturday.
In the boys’ events, Joe Vines once again picked up multiple first place finishes for the Bulldogs. He won the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.92 seconds and the 300m hurdles with a time of 42.01 seconds, more than a full second ahead of the second place finisher from Benjamin Russell High School. Vines also place third in the long jump and was fourth in the 4x100m relay with teammates Steven Bledsoe, Quan Whitlow and Rasheed Williams.
For the second consecutive week, Kentavious Landers won the high jump, this time with an effort of 6’0”. LaFayette’s Qua Boyd, who finished second in the high jump, got a win in the javelin throw with a mark of 157’3”. Torres Vines place fifth in the javelin and earned a first place finish in the shot put with a mark of 44’0”.
In addition to their fourth place finish as part of the 4x100m relay, Quan Whitlow and Bledsoe scored multiple top-five finishes. Whitlow was third in the 100m dash and fourth in the 200m dash. Bledsoe was second in the 200m dash and both he and Whitlow were part of the 4x400m relay team, along with Wilvoski Pitts and Tyric Davis that placed third in the event.
Other top-five finishes for the boys included Brendan Tucker with a fifth in the 300m hurdles and Tequarri Whitlow with a fifth in the discus throw.
In the girls’ events, LaFayette scored one win and four top-fives. Nakiamalika Blunt got the only win for the Bulldogs, with an effort of 85’4” in the javelin throw.
Tanyka Huguley was fourth in the discuss throw for LHS and Marticia Briskey was fifth in the shot put. The 4x100m relay team of Cyneldra Busby, Bria Huguley, Bianca Walker and Bertice Williams placed fifth for the Bulldogs, while the 4x400m relay team of Tyanna Askew, Symerica Hayes, Jasmine Whitlow and Kayla Montgomery also finished fifth.