June 6, 2013

Drinking from the Cup

Dalton, Northwest earn statewide recognition

By Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— An impressive showing for Dalton High School in the Regions Director’s Cup is standard procedure. But this year, two area teams earned top-10 finishes.

Dalton finished fourth in Class 4A and best among all local and Region 7-4A schools with 899 points in the 2012-2013 cup standings, which were recently released by the Georgia Athletic Directors Association. Northwest Whitfield was close behind, finishing seventh with 713 points for its best finish since the GADA began archiving cup results in 2003-2004.

Schools earn points based on their finish in state competitions and tournaments throughout the school year. Dalton’s boys and girls teams earned 693.5 points in the race against other Class 3A schools in 2011-2012.

Marist, which earned points in 21 different sports, won the Class 4A cup championship this year with 1,366.5 points. Only Class 2A’s Westminster (1,513) and Class 3A’s St. Pius (1,391.5) scored higher.

Dalton, which finished ninth in Class 3A last year and seventh in 2010-2011, has been in the top 15 of its classification in seven of the past eight years and in the top 20 for eight consecutive years. However, this year is the best finish for the school in that stretch.

“A lot (of DHS teams) made the state postseason and several won region championships,” said Jeff McKinney, who takes over as Dalton’s athletic director on July 1. “Most of our teams made the state playoffs. Any time you can put together a group like that you’re going to do well in the Director’s Cup. It shows a lot of hard work that the coaches and players have done.”

The Catamounts’ boys programs finished second to Marist and earned 496 points, while the Lady Cats teams finished sixth and earned 403 points. Dalton had multiple programs enjoy banner years, including state titles from the boys swimming and diving and soccer teams. Each of those teams earned Dalton 100 points.

“In my view, Dalton has always had a lot of pride in their extracurricular activities,” boys soccer coach Matt Cheaves said.

The football squad reached the second round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2005, and both basketball programs made it to the first round. Both the boys and girls golf and tennis teams reached the state postseason, and the volleyball and softball teams did the same. The boys riflery and cross country teams, plus girls cheerleading and track and field programs, also earned the school points.

“Any time you can have a couple state championship teams with the swimming and soccer teams, that’s obviously going to boost your point total,” McKinney said. “All of our programs this year had successful seasons.”

Northwest Whitfield’s girls teams finished fifth in Class 4A, earning 412 points — led by 100 from the state-championship softball squad — the most of any local high school. The boys finished 12th with 301 points, led by the soccer team reaching the state semifinals and earning 83 points. That is the second top-10 finish in the past nine years for Northwest, which finished ninth in Class 4A in 2007-2008.

Both basketball squads reached the state postseason, including the boys winning their first region championship. Northwest’s baseball team also won the region title and reached the second round of the state playoffs. Both cross country and golf teams reached state events, and the volleyball program advanced to the second round of the state tournament while the girls soccer team reached the first round. Both track and field programs, plus the cheerleading squad, also earned the school points.

“I’m an alumni from (Northwest) and I want them to do well in every sport,” softball coach Jason Brooker said. “ ... The good thing about Northwest is every coach and program supports each other, and we want everyone to do the best they can.”

North Murray finished 25th in Class 3A with 418.5 points. The boys programs (23rd) earned 219 points while the girls (25th) scored 199.5. Both the boys basketball and boys soccer teams reached the second round of the state postseason, with the soccer team winning its second consecutive region title. The tennis and cross country teams also reached the state postseason. On the girls side, the basketball, softball and volleyball teams reached the state postseason. The wrestling and girls track and field programs also earned the school points.

Southeast Whitfield finished 40th in Class 4A with 279.5 points. The boys garnered 39th place with 147 points, while the girls earned 38th place with 132.5 points. The Raiders’ boys soccer team reached the state championship game for the second time in program history — losing to Dalton — and the volleyball program advanced to the quarterfinals. Southeast’s wrestling squad and girls golf program also earned points.

Coahulla Creek finished 50th with 156 points from the boys soccer team and boys and girls cross country and tennis teams. The boys (45th) finished with 95 points and the girls (50th) with 61.

Murray County finished 52nd in Class 2A with 144.2 points. The boys programs (42nd) scored 119.2, with the girls (59th) earning the other 25. The Indians’ soccer team reached the state tournament, losing in the first round to Lovett, while the boys cross country and girls tennis squads also reached the state postseason. The boys track and field and wrestling programs also earned points for Murray County.

Christian Heritage finished tied for 77th overall in Class A with all 53 points coming from the Lions’ baseball team, the only team from the school to reach the Class A state postseason.