This year’s senior track and field athletes at Bulloch Academy have been part of three region championship teams, over the past four seasons. Unfortunately the opportunity to make it four out of five was ended as the season was cancelled recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. We had a chance to talk with boy’s head coach Ronnie Hodges about seniors Michael Corbett, Ben Dasher, Dalton Deal, Lynes McKinney and Leo Mendez.
“Michael has been a mainstay in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter races since he was a freshman,” Hodges said. “He has advanced to the state meet each year in all three events. His points each year in the Region meets have contributed greatly to Bulloch Academy winning three Region Championships.”
“This is Ben's first year as a shot putter for BA,” Hodges said. “He was going to be a major contributor this season, but never got a chance to show his ability. His drive to get better at practice was his desire to help his team win.”
“This was to be Dalton’s shining year in the discus,” Hodges said. “He placed first in the only meet we had this season. He was well on his way to place high at the state meet.”
“Lynes placed fifth in the discus at the state meet last year as a junior,” Hodges said. “He was going to be strong for us in the Region and state meets again this year. He was one of the most fundamentally sound throwers on the team. He worked each day to get better.”
“Leo has been a part-time distance runner for Bulloch Academy every year in high school,” Hodges said. “The only thing holding him back was his desire to be a great soccer player, which he is. He came to me before the season started and said he wanted to contribute more to this year’s team. After winning the 1600 in the first meet, he was well on his way to being a top contender at state.”
Bulloch Academy girl’s head coach Barbara Conner gave us her thoughts on senior Regan Ellis, Jana Beth Marsh and Brittney Potter.
“Regan has been a dominating force in the shot put since she first won state in the event as an eighth grader,” Conner said. “There are not very many athletes that can say they won an event five years in a row, and this would have been Regan’s chance to do just that. I know without a doubt she would have won again this year. She is a five-time champion to me!”
“This would have been Jana Beth’s first year running track since Middle School,” Conner said. “I knew her determination and competitive drive would make her a contributing factor this year. I just wish she had had a chance to show me more.”
“Although Brittney comes from a long line of distance runners, her speed was starting to really show,” Conner said. “As a member of our top 4x100 meter relay team, she helped lead us to a dominating first-place finish at the first and only meet this year. Brittney’s desire to also win the 800 meter race at Region was well on its way to being accomplished.”
Also missing out on their senior seasons are members of the Portal boys and girls soccer teams. A couple of the Panthers seniors were a part of the first ever soccer team, which started in the 2013-14 season when they were in sixth grade. Coach Matt Haddock had a chance to tell us about seniors Aiyana Brown, Jordan Gray, Maggie Howell, Felton Thomas, Avery Thompson, Felicity Upton and Dallas WIlson.
“Aiyana is a competitive leader with infectious enthusiasm,” Haddock said. “She has always been focused and committed to learning the game and improving her skills.”
“Jordan has played all four years in high school,” Haddock said. He is a dedicated team player. Jordan is one of the original members of our soccer program in Portal since the sixth grade. He played and practiced with his heart on his sleeve.”
“Maggie played all four years of high school,” Haddock said. She played midfield, and was always dedicated and very competitive. She always worked on her individual game, and asked for ways to improve.”
“Felton played all four years on defense for us,” Haddock said. Our team voted Felton as captain, and he is a dedicated leader. He was always committed to the program, and focused on improving his individual game.”
“Avery has been a defender for her three years of playing in high school,” Haddock said. “Avery is a well rounded original team member of our soccer program in Portal. She has always done whatever is best for the team by playing multiple positions.”
“Felicity is in her fourth year of playing on the offensive side of the ball for us,” Haddock said. “The team voted Felicity captain this year, and she developed into a good leader for the team. She was aggressive and competitive.”
Dallas was playing her first year of varsity soccer,” Haddock said. Dallas was a defender who was dedicated, and had a positive attitude. She was committed to the team, even while working through an injury and learning a new sport.”