What a difference a year makes. Freshmen become sophomores, sophomores become juniors and juniors become seniors. With that caveat is a revolving door of athletes and coaches that come together to reach a common goal: win. There was a lot of the latter between the two bordering counties of Newton and Rockdale and we recap some of the best stories of the 2014-2015 academic year here.
Jeremiah Holloman might be the headliner right now for Newton track and field, but look past his individual accomplishments and you'll find a young Newton team that finished fourth overall at state this year.
When Newton sophomore Jeremiah Holloman placed fifth in the triple jump last year, he did so in disappointment to himself. Malik Franklin a former triple jump state champion for Newton, had been teasing Holloman about it in effort to motivate him. Franklin has a record distance of 48-10 and it's the record Holloman has been shooting for since the beginning of the season.
On Friday evening a little after 6 p.m. Newton students, parents and fans came out to watch the Rams hold their blue and white game, which is more of a glorified practice for people to come and watch than anything.
For any high school athlete, signing that national letter of intent to their respected college or university may be the best moment of their high school tenure. Usually that special moment comes somewhere during that athlete's senior year, but in some cases it can come after that. Well, how about nearly a year after graduation? Newton's 2014 forward Mercedes Booker finally got that moment as she will be taking her talents to Southern Crescent Technical College.
A number of Newton track and field athletes qualified to go to state, which takes the eight best times from sectionals. After pushing the team hard in practice throughout last week, coaches Demetrice Perry-Stokes and James Rolloson saw the hard work the girls put in pay off. Below you will find the times and the qualifiers for state.
Markea Sheppard, whose also president of Claflin University's 2014-2015 Student Athlete Advisory Committee, won the Female Athlete of the Year award on April 17 Claflin's Annual Athletics Award. Sheppard, a senior, hit .474 this season, stole 14 bases and blasted seven homeruns.
There isn't a better way to finish off the baseball season and prepare for the playoffs than a series against your rival. The third and fourth seed from Region 2-AAAAAA, Newton and Rockdale, started a three-game series on Tuesday, and finished up on Thursday. Though Newton lost the series after losses in the first two games, the Rams took the final regular season game of the season and sealed the three-seed with a 4-0 win over Rockdale, Thursday evening.
Newton basketball will lose three of its best players this year to college as D.J. Hill, Antonio Smith and Donovan Grubb all signed letters of intent to play at the next level. Hill will play at the University of Mobile while Grubb and Smith grind it out together at West Georgia Tech.
Alex Grady, current Georgia Tech sophomore cross country/track and field athlete and former Newton high school valedictorian, has been voted the first-ever recipient of the Ultimate Haier Achievement Award for student-athletes and their accomplishments beyond sports according to a news release. Grady, who majors in mechanical engineering, was one of six Georgia Tech student-athletes to receive the ACC Top Six for Service Award in 2014 In less than two years he has amassed more than 210 community service hours. Grady volunteers at Peachtree Academy in Newton County. There, he helps students with their scholarship applications.