I can't believe that another year of high school sports is over. There's one thing for sure: I've seen a lot of excitement, as well as a lot of disappointment.
Even though Eastside's cross country team didn't win at state, they experienced the excitement of sending both squads to state for the first time in the history of the school. Alcovy's football team also had a first as it hosted its first playoff game. Alcovy continued to have a great season with its basketball teams as both the boys and the girls made it to the Final Four.
Then there's Eastside's soccer teams. For the first time in school history, the girls hosted a playoff game at home and both teams made it to the second round of the playoffs before getting eliminated. While being ousted was not pleasant -- the girls lost to Columbus and the boys lost to Woodward Academy -- they did lose to the teams that eventually made it to the championship games.
Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles were on the bad end of what I would consider a complete lack of sportsmanship. For whatever reason, the Columbus coach felt he needed to end the game by mercy rule, 10-0, his team scoring the last goal with barely more than three minutes left to play.
The Heritage girls soccer team also provided a lot of drama as it made it to the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
We can't forget about Eastside junior Dallas Worthy, who won the Class AAA state championship in the 400-meter run with a time 55.92 seconds or Salem's Dontavius Wright, who was just .33 second short of winning the Class AAAA 800-meter run. He ran the event in 1:53.18.
Of course, it wasn't all fun and games. Both Eastside and Newton football teams lost one region game too many as they both missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in their region. Newton's baseball team was on the cusp of getting to the Class AAAAA playoffs, once again losing a couple of games it shouldn't have lost.
There were also some athletes who made it to the next level in a big big way. Eastside's Sheldon Rankins is heading to Big East school Louisville and Alcovy's Devon Edwards is heading to Duke. Plus there are several others who are going to smaller D-I schools such as Blake Rouse (Georgia Southern), Dante Blackmon (Appalachian State) and Shaquille Huff (Middle Tennessee) in football with Newton's Stephen Croone heading to Furman for basketball.
Rockdale County had its share of D-I athletes as well. Kree Clark from Rockdale is heading to Jacksonville State University with a track and field scholarship and Heritage's Ryan Watson will be playing football for the Air Force Academy. Then there's Arielle Gunderson, who's going to be a soccer-playing Gator -- I am so hard trying to resist saying something about her choice of school (Go 'Noles).
Manny Fils is a sports writer for The Citizen. Fils can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.