For the second year in a row, Dalton High’s athletic program has proven itself to be one of the best in the state.
The school finished ninth overall in the 2011-12 Regions Director’s Cup standings, which were recently released by the Georgia Athletic Directors Association.
Schools earn points based on their finish in state competitions and tournaments throughout the school year, and Dalton’s boys and girls teams earned 693.5 points in the race against other Class 3A schools. Woodward Academy, which won state titles in boys tennis and boys soccer and earned points in 20 different sports, was Class 3A’s Directors Cup champion with 1,193 total points.
Dalton, which finished seventh overall in 3A last year, has been in the top 15 of its classification in six of the past seven years and has finished in the top 20 for seven consecutive years. This year’s showing was the second-best effort during that stretch.
“That is two years in a row in the top 10, and we are very pleased when you consider that we had to forfeit games in football,” Dalton athletic director Ron Ward said.
“I am extremely proud of our coaches and the athletes for achieving the excellence we strive for in athletics and academics.”
Dalton’s boys swimming and diving team and its competition cheerleading squad gave the school the biggest boost as both teams scored 72 points in the standings. Catamounts and Lady Catamounts teams earned points in 15 different sports. Boys soccer (70 points), boys golf (69) and girls golf (67.5) were the other top point-earning sports for Dalton.
Ward said a strong spring — both boys and girls teams in soccer and tennis qualified for state, while Brendie Rockholt (girls golf) and Susan Meinders (girls track and field) won individual state titles — helped Dalton to its big finish.
“It was a such a fast-paced spring,” said Ward, who saluted the work of his coaches in addition to the school’s student-athletes.
“David Hilley does such a great job with our tennis program, and Chad Jordan and Nancy Hallsworth had a great golf season. Brendie and Susan brought us home a couple of more individual state championships.”
During the winter, Cats swimmer Taylor Dale won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100 backstroke titles at the Class A-4A state meet and teamed with Pierson Scarborough, Omar Farag and Will Cushman for another championship in the 200 medley; Scarborough also won an individual title, taking the 100 breastroke.
In addition, sophomore wrestler Sydney Wheeler captured the 182-pound title at the state traditional tournament to become the school’s first champion in that sport since 2004.
“Individually, Dalton has produced a lot of state titles this year, and now it is time to focus on team state championships,” Ward said. “I met at the end of the school year individually with all of my coaches, and they are all excited about their prospects for next year.”
Among Region 7-3A schools, Dalton finished second to Allatoona. The Acworth school scored 1,101.5 points to take fourth overall in 3A, and it also had the most pointsfor girls sports, 616, of any 3A program.
In Class 2A, North Murray had an impressive showing with a 21st-place finish in its third year as a school. Boys golf and boys soccer were the top scorers for the school, which earned points in eight different sports.
Northwest Whitfield finished 59th in Class 4A with 169 total points. The Bruins’ softball team earned 83 points for their run through the state tournament in Columbus to a fourth-place finish, while the boys soccer team earned 70 points for advancing to the state quarterfinals.
Southeast Whitfield was 51st in Class 3A with 153 points from its boys soccer, volleyball and wrestling teams, while Murray County earned 54 points for the finish of its girls golf team, which was the only sport to advance to state.
In Class 2A, first-year school Coahulla Creek got 85 points, all from boys cross country and baseball, to finish 69th of 80 programs.
Morris Innovative, which began athletic competition this school year but fielded just one varsity team (boys soccer), did not register any points in Class A.
Almost all of the area’s schools will find themselves in a different region and classification next school year as the Georgia High School Association transitions from five to six classes.
Dalton, Northwest and Southeast will compete in Region 7-4A, Coahulla Creek and North Murray will compete in Region 5-3A, Morris Innovative and Murray County are in 7-2A and Christian Heritage joins the GHSA as a member of Region 6-A.