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Bulldog wrap-up with full summaries

Find out how well our Decatur Bulldogs sports did this year.

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Bulldog wrap-up with full summaries

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Fall sports

Football

The 2015 season was good, however varsity coach Scott Jackson and Senior John Tyler Brett both agree there were some games they would do over.

“Personally I was satisfied with our season this year,” Brett said. “We were definitely a good team but we should have done better.”

Brett stresses the need to build stronger relationships within the team.

“Next year I hope the team continues to succeed, but in order to do that, they need to grow together and become more of a family,” he said.

Cross-country

Despite the muddy and rainy season both girls and boys varsity qualified for the state meet in the 2015 season.

Sam Ellis, Casey Todd, and Kate Immergluck all had outstanding performances at the state meet, and many other athletes ran well throughout the fall,” Varsity coach Mary Souther said.

Senior Casey Todd specifically remembers the state meet.

“The meet with everyone was so focused. [Everyone was] excited about running on a very muddy course, like up to our knees in mud, and having everyone finish with a pound of mud on them,” she said.

Coach Whichard leaving was something the team had to overcome together early on in the season.

Both Todd and Souther recognize the efforts from the underclass men and look forward to the young team coming back this fall.

Volleyball

The 2015 volleyball season ended in a final four game against Westminister.

By focusing on the defensive players, the varsity team was able strengthen the relationships between setters  and hitters.

The team’s strongest rivals were Blessed Trinity and Westminster causing them to play their hardest when they met on the court.

The team played well,” Varsity volleyball coach, Yvette Battles said. “Worked through a lot of adversity and this year we plan to play together as one with no fear against any opponent”

 

Softball 

Softball, like girls volleyball, had an outstanding season. They made it to the Elite Eight round of playoffs. This year, they had no seniors on their team, so the members for this past season were expected to be pretty much the same for the next season. Junior co-captain Olivia Brozek said this was the perfect opportunity for “the team to grow together and see what [they] need to work on.” The girls will begin summer conditioning and workouts soon in order to get a head-start on their season.

Winter sports

Wrestling

Infants aren’t expected to help around the house once they hit their second birthday. Or third or fourth or even sixth, really. They need time to grow and learn the ways of the world, and we let ‘em have it.

The Decatur wrestling team marked its second birthday at the beginning of this season, and celebrated it by sending four of their own to the state playoffs.

Those four wrestlers (seniors Matt Gilchrist, Deaundre Wilson, Xyron Jackson, and sophomore Kaden Spann) helped the team surpass all expectations, with many, notably Gilchrist, chalking it up to their extensive conditioning.

“[Wrestling at DHS] was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said, “but being able to have four people make state on a two-year-old team made it worth the struggle.”

Next year, the team hopes to replace the three departing seniors with promising young talent. However, they recognize the amount of work they’ll need to get done in the offseason to continue their success.

Freshman Jack Brierley is willing to take on the challenge.
“We just need to keep getting stronger and keep improving our technique,” he said. “Everyone on the team has a chance to make state next year. They just need to keep working.”

Swimming

The DHS SwimDawgs are a family. Or, rather, The Family.

“They eat a lot, the love the smell of chlorine, they all enjoy shaving their legs, their hair turns green and they are ‘sponsored’ by Waffle House,” said Coach Tania Kane. “The Family is supportive of one another no matter what the ability level difference between the swimmers is, and increased speed or the survival of a particularly grueling event is celebrated on the bus after every meet.”

That mentality carried the team to success during the 2015-16 season, with this year’s team breaking every record in every event. A whopping seven SwimDawgs qualified for the state meet.

Torey Brierley was one of the members of the girls’ 4×100 freestyle relay that finished eighth at this year’s tournament. She will be attending the University of Tampa, where she plans to continue to swim.

“To me, [DHS] swimming was the highlight of my year,” she said. “It was always so fun to come into each new season with all of the new swimmers. The team was great because everyone supported everyone no matter how fast or slow you were. It never felt like an individual sport; it was always for the team.”

She, along with fellow seniors Alan Adams, Maddie DePree, Casey Randleman, Ian Hawkins, and Lisa Studstill, are leaving the program this year.

Kane isn’t worried about that.

“It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to some seniors this year, but the juniors are ready to step up, shoulder the responsibility of keeping the family together, and allow no slacking to occur,” she said. “They have a reputation to protect.”

Spring sports

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Tennis

Finishing the season with the boys team advancing to the second round of state playoffs, and the girls barely losing the first round of playoffs to Brantley County High School, the tennis team seeks redemption and reevaluates their goals for next year.

Junior captain Aubrey Mattingly believes the team should focus on strengthening their doubles teams, as well as team structure.

“As captain, I’d like to see team members continue and take more initiative to work out outside of team practices,” she said.

Singles players Mattingly and junior Emma Jorgensen won their individual games during the first round of playoffs, even though the girls team lost cumulatively.

As for the boys team, junior captain Joey Emerson said he was a bit disappointed in his performance at state, but is proud of the team as a whole.

“I’d like to see freshman step up, again, like this year,” Emerson said. He reaches out to potential tennis fans, claiming that “Glenlake Park is the new McKoy.”

Boys soccer

Going into boys soccer’s 2017 season, they will be losing many seniors. This, junior Devon Allowitz said, will be one of the greatest struggles for the team.

“We have plenty of sophomores like Gideon Davinsky and Owen Tumperi who have shown their potential this year and will help fill those missing positions next year,” he said.

Coach Harbin says the team is full of strong players.

“We have veteran players who are able to rely on their experience, as well as young players who have filled in very important roles,” he said.

Harbin says that the goal going into next year, which is to build a tradition, will remain the same as it was this year.

“After our success last year, we wanted to create a foundation for future teams to build on,” he said. “We want to continue to be a team that people talk about when they are naming state contenders.”

Boys lacrosse

With the loss of many talented seniors, this season of boys lacrosse was a challenging one. So challenging, in fact, that the boys lost their #1 rank in the region and many of their starting players due to injuries.

Senior Matthew Tatum broke his wrist during the second game of the season. Junior Grant Walker missed the whole season because of a shoulder surgery. Junior Terrill Hall broke his hand. Junior Nolan Ronk played through the season with a groin injury.

The one thing that the team didn’t break, though, was their drive for a comeback next year.

The team will move into next season with a few less players and a new head coach.

As for this year’s season, junior Carson Crouse believes the team did well, especially considering the amount of injured players they had.

The team was runner up in the Inside the Perimeter (ITP) tournament. Crouse, as well as junior Nolan Ronk, were voted All-Tournament players.

“My goal for next year is to be #1 in our region again,” Crouse said, recognizing sophomore Alessio Griffin as a player who will help them reach that goal in the upcoming season.

Griffin believes next year’s team will be a whole new one, with players coming back and Hatfield leaving.

“We need to develop better chemistry for next season,” he said.

Ronk agrees.

“Next year we can’t think about the games we’re supposed to win and the games that don’t matter,” he said. “We just have to go out there and give it our best effort.”

Baseball

Baseball has made it to state playoffs the past four years. This year was the same game.

“This is one of the winningest classes in DHS history,” Coach Sprull said. “Next year we hope to compete for a region championship.”

Senior Cam Franklin, during his senior night speech, notes the main accomplishment for the team is the sense of family.

“During my seven years as a Decatur Bulldog I’ve learned what family is all about,” he said. “These players are my brothers and I will fight for each player.”
Senior Jalen Sprull agrees.

“I have learned that this group of young men is more than just my teammates, they are my brothers,” he said. “We are family.”

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About the Writers
Jake Miller, Carpe Diem Sports and Features Editor

Jake Miller (Class of 2018) does many things, none of which you need to know about. He has been given too much leadership this year and the program will...

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