North Murray High School Mountaineers

May 6, 2014

No shortage of highlights this year for Phillips

CHATSWORTH — When Grace Phillips finished posing for photos of her signing a volleyball scholarship with Andrew College on Monday in North Murray High School’s library, a crowd of supporters gathered for the ceremony put their hands together.

It wasn’t the first time she’d heard applause during a memorable and achievement-filled senior year.

Phillips — who was chosen the school’s homecoming queen, prom queen and Miss North Murray during the 2013-14 school year — is leaving enough of a legacy on the volleyball court at North Murray that Lady Mountaineers coach Connie Hudgins decided to name the team’s MVP award in her honor for future seasons. As for Phillips, who also played basketball at North Murray, she will turn her attention to making an impact at Andrew College, a two-year school in Cuthbert, about an hour south of Columbus.

Phillips is also involved in student council and one of just three National Society of High School Scholars at North Murray. Monday’s recognition was much like the other honors she’s received during the past few months.

“This year has been crazy rewarding,” Phillips said. “... All the work you put into yourself and how you treat others pays off in the end.”

A 5-foot-9 middle hitter, Phillips was a member of The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Volleyball Team this past season, when she finished with 360 digs, 80 kills and 63 aces in 47 matches. While the Lady Mountaineers missed the Class 3A state tournament in 2013, Phillips helped lead them to their first state berth during her junior season, when they won in the opening round before losing to eventual state semifinalist Woodward Academy.

Phillips spent five years with North Murray’s volleyball program, playing junior varsity — as permitted by Georgia High School Association rules — while still an eighth-grader at Bagley Middle School before becoming a varsity contributor as an underclassman.

That gave her plenty of time to develop as a middle hitter/blocker, which isn’t an easy place to learn the game, Andrew College coach Donna Rountree said. That made Phillips’ ability to excel there all the more impressive.

“Middles are harder to come by,” Rountree said. “On top of that, she’s a skilled middle.”

Rountree, who singled out Phillips’ blocking skill, court vision and ability to hit the ball to multiple spots, found Phillips thanks to Machaela Bickford, a former Lady Mountaineer now playing for the Fighting Tigers. When Phillips decided she was interested in playing college volleyball, she contacted Bickford for advice and that led to a tryout at Andrew, which began its volleyball program in 2010.

The Fighting Tigers won two matches last season, their first under Rountree. As Georgia’s only junior college with a women’s volleyball program, Rountree said most of Andrew’s competition is against Alabama and Florida programs, and the Fighting Tigers’ advancement to postseason national competition is through Alabama’s junior college conference.

Although Phillips was also a major contributor for the Lady Mountaineers in basketball, earning all-area honorable mention this past season, she said greater confidence in her volleyball skills has allowed her to be more aggressive in that sport. That confidence also helped her be a leader as the lone senior on North Murray’s volleyball roster in 2013.

But Phillips’ talent made it natural — and wise — for the Lady Mountaineers to listen to her.

“Her leadership has been big,” Hudgins said. “She’s been a huge role model for the other girls. They all look up to her and they want to be like her. She’s just very talented overall — offense, defense — she works really hard and is dedicated. If other girls aren’t doing what they need to do, she’ll speak and tell them, ‘Let’s go.’”

Phillips, who wants to study business administration, said she’ll work to remain dedicated to all phases of being a student-athlete even as she moves up to a higher level of challenges in the classroom and on the court.

“When you get to college that first year, it’s going to be rough,” she said. “Staying committed to workouts and the team and academically (is important).”

Text Only
North Murray High School Mountaineers
  • s-CCHS softball 8.jpg On a mission

    The local girls who visited the Dominican Republic last week on a mission trip through Score International tell a matching story.
    Toward the end of a visit to Pasitos de Jesus, a girls orphanage in Boca Chica, the children began singing the Gospel song “Mighty to Save” to their visitors.
    “It sent chills down your spine,” said Kala Franks, a rising senior at Coahulla Creek High School. “I felt they were ministering to me rather than us ministering to them.”

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Murray-Newton2.jpg N. Murray second at Cam Newton

    Members of the North Murray High School football team and coaching staff pose with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, standing center, after finishing second in the third annual Cam Newton Foundation 7 on 7 Football Tournament at North Cobb High School in Acworth. The Mountaineers will advance to face other regional tournamentwinners at the Charlotte (N.C.) Championship Tournament on July 10-12. Northwest Whitfield also competed in the tournament with linebacker Clay Phillips (not pictured) being selected as a Tournament All-Star.

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • N. Murray cheer duo headed to DSC

    CHATSWORTH — For North Murray cheerleader Tori Stainton, earning a spot on Dalton State College’s competition squad is the fulfillment of a long process. Classmate Stacia Baker went for a tryout on a whim and found her own spot with the Roadrunners.

    May 9, 2014

  • Phillips signing at NM 3 mlh.jpg No shortage of highlights this year for Phillips

    CHATSWORTH — When Grace Phillips finished posing for photos of her signing a volleyball scholarship with Andrew College on Monday in North Murray High School’s library, a crowd of supporters gathered for the ceremony put their hands together.
    It wasn’t the first time she’d heard applause during a memorable and achievement-filled senior year.

    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014