This season of sports has truly been one for the record books as many incredible and memorable events have transpired in the Wesleyan community. In two fall sports this season Wesleyan made a run for the state championship in the single A classification. Thanks to the hard work of the athletes and the leadership of their coaches, the Wolves have once again achieved excellence in the opening season of the school year.
For starters, in Columbus, Georgia on Oct. 28, the Wesleyan softball team played in the class A state championship against Tattnall Square Academy. This match was a nail biter as both teams were exceptionally skilled and well prepared for their respective opponent. By the bottom of the eighth inning the score was 4-4 with Wesleyan freshman Reece Holbrook at bat, the tension was high as the wolves already had two outs. “I knew that I needed to go all out. It was all or nothing. I also knew that it would most likely be my last at bat as a freshman, so I wanted to make it good.” With the final pitch Holbrook hit a walk off home run and claimed the championship victory for the Wolves.
This marked the first time in school history that the Wesleyan Softball team won a state championship. After her legendary hit Holbrook said, “It didn’t really hit me until after I hit 2nd base, and after I did I just wanted to get back to my team waiting for me at home. It’s a moment I will never forget.” Upon her arrival at home plate, all the members of the softball team swarmed her as the massive celebration began. Naturally, this evoked great bustle and excitement in the community, especially from seniors Cassie Henning and Megan Gallagher who have also cemented their legacy as the first seniors to win a state championship for the Wesleyan Softball Wolves. Senior Cassie Henning said, “It honestly feels amazing. There have been so many great softball players to go through Wesleyan, so to be on the first team to win it is pretty special.”
Even with all the incredible talent of the athletes, all this could not have been accomplished without head coach Mary Stephenson and assistant coaches Greg Lisson, Demetrius Frazier and Karley Conley, who also become the first coaching staff to win a softball state championship. As Athletic Director Marc Khedouri said, “These coaches also join an elite class that have won state championships in multiple different sports.” So, with the conclusion of a very successful season the softball team set many records, shed many tears and made history.
After placing third in the class A Region meet at Athens academy on Oct. 26, the Wesleyan Wolves qualified for the single A cross country state meet on Nov.3 in Carrollton, Ga. All the preparation, grueling work-outs and team building that the cross-country team had endured was tested by the meet to end all meets, the big one, “the final business trip” as sophomore Jamarcus Turner called it. Excitement, tension and ruthless ambition to succeed: these were the desires and emotions that were felt by all runners and coaches on the state team.
On Nov. 2 (a day before the state meet), the cross-country state team left during the school day to embark on their final journey of the season. Head coach Chad McDaniel said, “The team always leaves the day before the state meet to see the course and plan our strategy for the following day’s race.” Upon arrival in Carrollton, the boys and girls varsity team enjoyed their last day together before running the most important race of the season. When Nov. 3 finally arrived, the team was well prepared to showcase their abilities against tough opponents such as Providence Christian Academy, Landmark Christian School and Hebron Christian Academy.
By the end of the meet, both the Wesleyan boys and girls Varsity teams placed fourth, gaining a spot on the podium, with freshman Mac Howie leading the wolves in 11th place with a time of 17:58. Seniors Zach Hanger and Jeb Brown followed him in 23rd and 26th place with times of 18:34 and 18:38. In the girls’ race, freshman Caitlin Kelly led the girls team, placing 19th with a time of 22:05. After her, junior Quinn Kaloper and freshman Mikayla John placed 29th and 30th with times of 23:06 and 23:09. After the conclusion of the state meet, McDaniel said, “I am happy for our boys and girls, because we ran really well as a team. Our pack running and team depth is the reason for our high finishes and I am extremely proud of our teams.”