The highlights for local high school sports programs this past spring on area tracks, tennis courts, golf courses and soccer fields included quite a few standout performances, and quite a few team accomplishments, too.
Dalton’s girls and Northwest Whitfield’s boys took home Region 7-4A track and field titles. Dalton’s girls tennis team and both of the school’s golf teams also won region championships. North Murray’s girls golf program captured the Region 5-3A championship.
All of those honors and the individual athletes who helped make them possible are worth celebrating.
Here’s a look at The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Spring Team — all-area baseball and boys soccer honors were announced earlier — as picked by the newspaper’s sports staff based on input from local coaches:
• William Duffie, Dalton: As the season went on, it was hard to predict who would register a counting round for the Catamounts from tournament to tournament, but Duffie was a constant throughout the year from tee to green. He had the lowest tournament stroke average on the team and the senior seemingly came through at the biggest moments. His 3-over-par 75 at the Region 7-4A tournament at Dalton Golf and Country Club was key to the Cats winning the title, and he was also the medalist at the Warrior Invitational this year, carding a 74.
• Colby Hipp, North Murray: A standout for the past three years, Hipp capped his senior season with a 1-over-par 73 at the Class 3A state tournament to finish fourth overall. He was the medalist of the Region 5-3A tournament and was also the medalist at the Nob North Invitational as the only player in the field under par. He was on the Fields Ferry Invitational all-tournament team, and he will play collegiately at Emory University.
• Silas Ledford, Northwest: A senior, Ledford had his best year on the fairways and greens. He put a season-best 1-over-par 73 on the scoreboard at the Apple Mountain Invitational early in the schedule and continued his strong play throughout the year. Consistently in the high 70s, Ledford was on the all-tournament team at the Nob North Invitational after firing a 76. He had scores of 79 in the Warrior Invitational and the Packer Invitational. He shot a disappointing 82 in the Region 7-4A tournament, but improved by four strokes on the same course during the state tournament.
• Sam Speights, Northwest: Speights had a strong senior season at the top of the lineup for North-west. His low tournament score came at the North Georgia Invitational at Adairsville’s Barnsley Gardens with a 3-over-par 75. He was a member of the all-region team after shooting a 79 in the 7-4A tournament, and he shot a 78 in the Class 4A state tournament. Speights also made the Packer Invitational all-tourney lineup after shooting a 77 in the early event.
• Cole Townsend, Christian Heritage: A four-year starter for coach Gary Whaley, Townsend is an all-area selection for the third straight year. He was the most consistent scorer for Christian Heritage with a stroke average of 79. His best score of the season in tournament play was a 75 at the Georgia Invitational in Athens. He also broke 80 in six of the nine tournaments the Lions competed in during their first season of Georgia High School Association competition and was the medalist at the Nob North Invitational.
• Honorable Mention: Christian Heritage — A.J. Hooper, Kyle Stanley; Murray County — Dylan Hubbard; Northwest — Ethan Hayes.