2004 sports was a year to remember

Published 12:35 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2005

By Staff
The 2004 sports year in this area gave us a little bit of everything.
For some teams, it was a year of "close, but no cigar."
There was the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball team, which advanced all the way to the Class 3A state championship game only to be derailed by Abbeville.
The Tigers football team entertained dreams of an undefeated season and a state championship until they were knocked off in the semifinals by Oneonta.
The 23 wins by T.R. Miller's baseball team was the second most in school history. That accomplishment was dampened some when the Tigers were ousted in the second round of the playoffs by Montgomery Academy.
The Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawks baseball team fell a game shy of qualifying for postseason competition.
Close was also the name of the game for T.R. Miller golfer Tripp Owens, who fell one stroke shy of a state championship.
The W.S. Neal football team also felt the feeling of "close, but no cigar."
The Blue Eagles could look back at Straughn kicker Bobo McVoy's 41-yard field goal on the last play of the game as what kept them from the playoffs…or getting stopped at the three-yard line in the waning moments at Slocomb.
There was one area team that was able to go all the way in 2004. Coach Alan Baker's T.R. Miller boys track team not only won the Class 3A state title, but did so by a stunning 34 1/2-point margin.
Individual track athletes also felt the taste of the ultimate accomplishment.
T.R. Miller's Antonio Gomez won the state 3A championship in the triple jump and set a new state record en route to the 110 meter high hurdles championship. Teammate Skylar Fountain captured the state crown in the long jump.
Chris Johnson gave w.s. Neal its biggest accomplishment of the year with a state title in the shot put.
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Lady Tiger Jasmine Sanford broke her own state record en route to the girls 3A state triple jump crown.
T.R. Miller's 1600 meter relay team of Sanford, Joy McCorvey, Keonshaye Lane and Aja McConnico also captured a state crown.
It was a break through year for some teams with the T.R. Miller softball team at the top of that list.
The Lady Tigers earned their first ever trip to the state tournament and set a new school record for wins (21) in the process.
Both the W.S. Neal girls tennis team and Lady Blue Eagles softball team posted their first ever victories. The softball broke through against McKenzie and the tennis broke through against Greenville.
Getting middle school players involved in volleyball at W.S. Neal was a step in the right direction for that program.
T.R. Miller's volleyball team went into unchartered waters with its first ever regional tournament berth.
Summer youth baseball teams had a big summer. Brewton Babe Ruth 13, 14 and 15-year-old all-star teams all claimed district championships and the 15-year-olds earned a berth in the state tournament. The Brewton 9-10 Little League All-Stars also advanced to the state tournament.
While it was a year with a lot of "good", it was also a year that had some "ugly."
The skirmish that broke out between T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal baseball players and fans after the last play in a game at East Brewton was a black eye.
W.S. Neal's 25-game losing streak in boys basketball was not very pretty either nor was the fact only four of its girls started and finished the 2003-04 basketball season.
Who knows what 2005 will bring, but there are things to keep an eye on.
* The East Brewton Youth Complex will finally open its doors after years of hard work and donations by area workers and citizens.
* What kind of sendoff will the T.R. Miller boys and girls track teams give coach Alan Baker in his final season?
One key rule change for track this spring is the reduction in events an athlete may participate in from five to four. That change will force teams to rely a little more on depth instead of loading up with an outstanding individual for an extra event.
* Tigers football coach Jamie Riggs needs just two wins to reach 200 for his career.