It was an unpredictable year to say the least but despite the week-to-week uncertainties Richmond Hill High School athletics prospered.
For the fifth consecutive year Wildcats athletics finished in eighth or better in the Class 6A rankings for the Directors Cup which is awarded by the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and sponsored by Regions Bank. The award is designed to recognize athletic departments in all GHSA classifications who have excelled and shown superior performance.
This past school year saw the Wildcats, who were third a year ago, finish fifth in the overall standings behind Buford, Cambridge, Carrollton and Allatoona. Boys teams were ranked fifth and girls teams sixth. There are 56 schools in Class 6A.
In the Class A Public rankings Bryan County was ranked 47th overall among 68 schools with the boys ranking 53rd and the girls, bolstered by a third-place finish in the softball state tournament, were 40th.
All 26 sponsored GHSA sports are counted in the school standings with each school’s eighth highest scoring sports for each gender counted in the standings.
Wildcats teams in every varsity sport with the exception of girls golf qualified for the state playoffs. The issue with girls golfers was numbers. A team must have three players and Richmond Hill had only two.
Points were awarded in two categories: bracketed team sports scoring (soccer, football, basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, softball, lacrosse) and non-bracketed (track, golf, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, wrestling, cross country, cheerleading, riflery).
Richmond Hill’s top performance came from wrestling which finished third in the state traditional. That was good for 85 points and the team got a boost from Tate Evans who won an individual state championship at 170 pounds.
The further along a team advances in the playoffs the more points and four teams---volleyball, flag football, boys basketball and girls soccer—all reached the Elite Eight to each earn 53 points.
Coach Levi Sybert’s In cross country and track teams were major contributors. The boys cross country team (80) was fourth in the state meet, the girls were 11th (57) while in track the boys were 12th (54) and the girls 10th (60).
Boys golf, led by Grant Mahaffey’s 12th place finish, were 11th (57) in the state tournament. Mahaffey shot an eight-over par 150 in the 36-hole state tournament.
The Wildcats reached the second round of the playoffs in football, softball, baseball and duals wrestling. Boys soccer and both lacrosse teams lost in the first round.
With the exception of football and boys basketball all other Wildcats teams top performers were primarily underclassmen so the overall run of success should continue next year.
Football and basketball lost heavily to graduation and will enter their seasons with a lot of question marks.
Coach Matt LeZotte must find replacements for several key players in football as he had nine seniors sign to play in college. In basketball Coach Bill Henderson lost seven seniors, including three starters, who went 45-9 the last two seasons.
At Bryan County Coach Jason Roundtree’s softball team will most likely be ranked No. 1 in the state entering the season as it returns all-staters Kenzie Mobley, Becca Johnson and Hayden Joyner. All three are rising juniors.
Coach Cherard Freeman, who had to bypass spring practice because of the number of players participating in other sports, is optimistic the Redskins will snap their 24-game losing streak.
Freeman returns several key starters including quarterback Sean Kelly Hill, running backs Austin Clemens and Jacari Carney and lineman Kameron Boggs.