May 21st, 2014 8:52 pm by Douglas Fritz
MURFREESBORO — Tears of sadness were at least mingled with tears of joy for University High, thanks to Kutu Hall.
The reserve senior hit her first-ever home run, a three-run blast over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning. It wasn't enough to spark the Lady Buccaneers to victory as they fell 12-6 to Huntingdon in the losers' bracket of the Class A state softball tournament at Starplex on Wednesday afternoon.
It was a season-ending loss for UH, which finished at an impressive 34-10 but allowed 24 runs in two games in Murfreesboro.
"We didn't play good defense the last two days," said UH head coach Keith Jeffers. "If you don't play good defense down here, it doesn't matter what you do unless you hit the lights out. I would have never dreamed we would score six runs and get doubled up."
Just like the loss to Forrest on Tuesday, UH got off to a good start. The Lady Bucs jumped ahead in the bottom of the second inning with Tanner Horton's infield hit, Sarah Higginbotham's sacrifice, Madi Freeman's bunt single, and Miranda Honeycutt's RBI ground out.
Then the wheels came off in the third inning. Lydia Hayes doubled in two runs, and Paige Jennette added an RBI double. Then Hannah Belew added an RBI double. Suddenly the Lady Bucs trailed, 4-1.
UH clawed back on the strength of Belle Bright's home run over the center field fence in the bottom of the third inning.
But the Fillies were at it again in the fourth, scoring three times to open a commanding 7-2 lead.
UH cut it to 7-3 on Barrett Wherry's fourth-inning sacrifice fly, but Huntingdon poured on five runs in the sixth inning to end any suspense until Hall connected on a fastball.
"The ball was coming, and I thought I better not strikeout because it was our last chance," said Hall, whose blast came with one out. "Might as well go all out, and hit it the right way.
"It gave me hope we could still come back. We didn't, but it was still a great season. We just weren't ready to play today, I guess."
Jeffers said Hall's homer didn't change the overall disappointment, but added, "It was great, and I'm really happy for her."
Bright had a big day at the plate for UH, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Horton finished with two hits for the Lady Bucs.
Leading the way for the Fillies was leadoff weapon Savannah Dodson. She went 3 for 4 with two runs, two RBIs, and two stolen bases.
Hayes, Jennett and Belew, who was the winning pitcher, each had two hits.
Overall, Jeffers said reaching the state was a good deal.
"Only 24 teams make it in Division I, and only eight in Class A," said Jeffers. "And we were one of them. Some girls in high school never get to come here.
"But that's why it's disappointing when you don't play your best game. You don't have these opportunities very often, so you want to take advantage of it. And we failed to do that."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 20th, 2014 9:35 pm by Douglas Fritz
MURFREESBORO — After a very good start, University High simply got flattened.
Forrest struck for six runs on six hits in the second inning, including a booming two-run homer from Katie Warrick, and ran away for a 12-3 win over the Lady Buccaneers in the opening round of the Class A state softball tournament at McKnight Field.
University High fell to 34-9, and will play Gordonsville or Huntingdon in the losers' bracket today at 12:30 p.m.
"I'm disappointed," said Lady Bucs' head coach Keith Jeffers. "You always want to win, but the girls have a legitimate shot of playing better (today) and getting on a run the rest of the week."
Things started nicely for University High. After retiring Forrest in the top of the first inning, Barrett Wherry and Taylor Treadway each hit singles. Eventually they would both come around to score on Forrest errors for a 2-0 UH advantage.
It would be short-lived. Savannah Brothers smacked an RBI single in the top of the second inning, and Warrick followed with her no-doubter — a two-run blast over the left field fence to put Forrest ahead, 3-2.
Samantha King followed with a two-run double, and Liz Daughrity added an RBI single to make it 6-2.
Forrest had some big strong players, and the Lady Rockets hit some rockets.
"There's no doubt they are a good team," said Jeffers. "I would never take anything away from a team when you flat get beat. But we had five errors in the game. You can't do that at this time of year."
Forrest kept pouring it on, scoring four times in the third inning before adding single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
UH was down to its last at-bat on the mercy rule, but managed to force another inning when Tanner Horton rapped an RBI single down the left field line. Forrest ended the threat by turning an inning-ending double play.
Warrick finished 2 for 5 with three RBIs for Forrest. She also went the distance in the circle, allowing five hits and three runs, one earned.
King had two hits and three RBIs while Sara Jordan totaled three hits and Daughrity had two hits.
Jeffers said the best thing his team can do is have a short memory.
"I told them by the time they go through that fence, all of this should be forgotten," said Jeffers. "If they are still thinking about it now, it's too long. They've got to get ready for the next game."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 16th, 2014 10:54 pm by Trey Williams
University High tripled its pleasure while clinching a third straight tournament berth Friday at Basler Field.
Barrett Wherry led off the game for the Lady Bucs with a triple during a two-run first inning, Ari Ramsaran began the sixth with a triple and scored the go-ahead run on Sarah Higginbotham's one-out single and the Lady Bucs held on for a 3-2 victory against Meigs County in a Class A Sectional.
University High (34-8) will begin play in Murfreesboro on Tuesday. Meigs County ended the season with an 18-13 record.
Junior pitcher Tanner Horton overcame wet conditions, including a 12-minute rain delay, and a somewhat fluid strike zone to improve to 25-3 with the complete-game victory. She allowed four hits, five walks and struck out eight.
After walking Madison Hampton to begin the seventh, Horton retired Meigs County's Nos. 2, 3 and 4 batters in order to end it.
"I was crying after the game," Horton said. "I was just so, like, overwhelmed with happiness. I have been waiting for this game for a really long time. And to bring this team back to state is just unbelievable. I can't describe it."
The score was tied at 2 entering the bottom of the sixth. Ramsaran, a freshman shortstop, led off the frame by lining a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line for a triple. One out later, Higginbotham went the other way to line a 1-2 pitch over third baseman Madison Crabtree for what proved to be the game-winning single.
"When Sarah hit it we could hear everyone hold their breath," Horton said. "It was so intense."
Ramsaran's poise belies her youth. She also calmly fielded Hampton's one-out grounder in the fourth and threw home to catcher Belle Bright to force out a sliding Angel Davis on a play close enough to leave fans waiting to exhale.
"I just got it ... knew to go home and I mean, came through," Ramsaran said. "Belle came through right there, too."
Horton then got Taylor Boggess to fly out to right field to strand three runners and leave the score tied through 3 1/2 innings.
Madison Stiner led off the second with a solo home run for Meigs County, and tied the score at 2 on Brandi Kilpatrick's single after leading off the fourth with a walk and advancing to third on Angel Davis' single and a throwing error.
UH coach Keith Jeffers said he told his players before the game that three or four runs and solid defense should be a recipe for victory, and the Lady Bucs' defense was solid save for the throwing error.
"We started off quick," Jeffers said. "We blistered the right-field line (with right-handed batters). But after the second inning you could tell it was gonna be a good battle."
Lady Tigers' pitcher Morgan Boggess allowed three runs in six innings. She struck out five, walked none and gave up 10 hits.
"She pitched out of several jams," Meigs County coach Jeff Davis said. "They hit it better than us, obviously. ... It's hard to win with four hits. We put it in play. They got the big hit and we didn't."
Boggess got a swinging strike on Ramsaran to make the count 1-2 during the critical sixth-inning at-bat, but Ramsran took the ensuing pitch to even the count before lining the ball into the right-field corner for the lead-off triple.
"Getting that triple with no outs was huge,"said Jeffers, who was equally impressed with Higginbotham's one-out hit. "Sarah's been struggling, and she would tell you that. And it was just great to see her hit that ball. ... She went with the pitch and took it where it was thrown. ...
"With these faster pitchers ... you've just gotta make contact. And that girl was a good pitcher from Meigs County. ... Ten hits against her, that was pretty good."
Taylor Treadway was 2-for-2 with a run and a sacrifice bunt for UH. Ramsaran and sophomore Madi Freeman were each 2-for-3, and Wherry finished 2-for-4.
Veterans, freshmen and sophomores all contributed to yet another state berth. Jeffers noted freshman Miranda Honeycutt delivering the late go-ahead RBI against North Greene in the Region 1-AAA championship.
"Oh, man, it's great," Ramsaran said. "This is my first substate game. ... Sarah came through really big right there. That was really clutch. ... Madi came up big, too.
"Tanner's been battling the whole year. I mean, she does really good coming back in counts. She came through. I have confidence in everybody on the field. I knew we could pull it out."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 14th, 2014 8:46 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High didn't take much time to celebrate winning the Region 1-A softball crown over North Greene Wednesday evening at ETSU's Betty Basler Field. The players and coaches were already looking ahead to Friday.
That's when the Lady Bucs (33-8) will host Meigs County in the sectional round at a time yet to be determined. A win will give University High its third straight state tournament berth. A loss will mean the end of the season.
Regardless of that outcome, the Lady Bucs' season has already been filled with hardware. Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Lady Huskies gave UH a sweep of conference, district and region titles. Still for a team with five seniors, they might as well be holding up a sign, "Murfreesboro or Bust."
"The worst we could do this season is 10 losses, but I don't want another loss and these girls don't either," University High coach Keith Jeffers said. "I know they're happy with the accomplishments they've made so far, but we've been to state twice. We want to go to state and our ultimate goal is to bring that title back."
It didn't mean the Lady Bucs could afford to take North Greene lightly. The game was tied 1-1 in the fifth inning until Miranda Honeycutt's sacrifice fly to left field scored Madi Freeman. The Lady Bucs added a couple of insurance runs in the sixth as Taylor Treadway, Belle Bright and Mollee Cohee had three consecutive stand-up doubles.
"They were playing a good game and we were in a battle," Jeffers said. "Miranda's sacrifice fly was huge because we were tied and getting that run across was big."
It helped starting pitcher Tanner Horton earn her 24th win of the season. The junior with the hard-to-hit screwball struck out six, gave up five hits and walked just one in a complete-game effort.
Bright led UH at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored. The senior catcher, who is committed to Tennessee Temple, has been on a tear since coming back from a midseason thumb injury. She knew exactly what the situation called for when her team led just 2-1 in the sixth.
"I saw it was a close game," Bright said. "I knew what I had to do. We put in everything we had and did what we had to do to get the win."
Cohee came through twice with Bright in scoring position. She hit a single to advance Bright to third in the first inning and then had the RBI double for the game's final run.
"We weren't hitting the ball that well this game, but we had some clutch hits when we needed them," Cohee said. "We knew what we had to do. If we put the ball in play, good things will happen."
Ari Ramsaran had a RBI single to score Bright in the first inning, while the Lady Bucs had plenty of highlights in the field.
Barrett Wherry recorded four outs while battling the sun and win in center field. Then, Treadway made a spectacular diving catch when the Lady Huskies' Macy McNeese popped up a bunt attempt in the sixth inning..
Talley Bailey suffered the loss for North Greene, which will head to Region 2 champion Knoxville Grace Christian on Friday. Bailey was charged with two runs off four hits in five innings of work before giving way to Emily Starnes.
At the plate, the Lady Huskies found some production at the bottom of the lineup.
Anna Craft was 2-for-3, including a RBI to score Abby Weems in the fourth inning, while Julia Penley also finished 2-for-3. Most of all, head coach Renee Light liked how her team battled the Lady Bucs for the entire game.
"My girls are pretty solid defensively," Light said. "UH has beaten about every single-A school by double digits. I think we're the only team in our conference which has competed well with them. I'm glad to see that out of my girls."
Cohee and her teammates were happy to come through with the victory and posed for pictures afterwards. More than the region title, however, they celebrated the chance to play on ETSU's field one more time.
"It's a big accomplishment because that's one thing we wanted to do," she said. "Hosting sub-state is important for us. But, we aren't done yet so we've got to keep fighting through it."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 12th, 2014 8:42 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High put up plenty of big numbers to rout Washburn in Monday's Region 1-A softball semifinal at ETSU's Betty Basler Field.
The Lady Bucs had 20 hits which resulted in a 23-2 beatdown of the Lady Pirates in five innings.
Surprisingly scoreless after one inning, Mollee Cohee opened the second inning with a double. Seven hits and 10 runs later, University High was well on its way to clinching a sectional berth.
The Lady Bucs (32-8) will host North Greene (11-13) today at 5 p.m. in the Region 1-A final. Besides the region championship, the winner will get to host a sectional game on Friday, while the loser will go on the road.
As for Monday, no one had bigger numbers than Taylor Treadway who ended 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
"I feel like every game we come out confident," Treadway said. "We try to get a big lead early and hopefully relax later in the game, although you always have to play like you're down."
They were certainly playing that way in the second and third innings, holding a 20-0 lead by the time they were finished. Starting pitcher Tanner Horton had six strikeouts and had only given up one hit through those first three innings.
The biggest damage, however, was at the plate.
Belle Bright finished 3-for-4 as did Madi Freeman, who also ended with three runs scored. It's been a strong return for Bright, the Lady Bucs' starting catcher, who suffered a midseason thumb injury. She won District 1-A MVP honors last week and followed it up with Monday's outburst.
She explained what it has meant to be back on the field after missing a chunk of her junior season.
"It's the best feeling in the world," Bright said. "Like I hated to be standing there and watching all the games. But, I feel really confident for tomorrow and Friday."
So does head coach Keith Jeffers, who saw big efforts up and down the lineup.
Lead-off Barrett Wherry went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Cohee was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Besides her work in the circle, Horton was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Even in the nine-hole, the Lady Bucs got great production. Miranda Honeycutt reached base all three at-bats and parlayed those into three runs scored.
"The bad thing about this time of year, you mess up one game and it's over," Jeffers said. "But, we've been hitting the ball real well for about two weeks. Hopefully, we can keep up with that."
Washburn got its first run when Payton Simmons took a high pitch and drove it into center field. The Lady Pirates added a second run in the fourth, but the Lady Bucs responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning after Kutu Hall led off with a double.
Focus has been a key word bantered around the UH dugout. Jeffers emphasized this is not the time of year any team can afford to take a game or even an inning off.
"It goes back to if you have a bad day, your season is over," he said. "We want to keep going and win our next game so we can host that sectional game. We want to host it. We don't want to travel."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 13th, 2014 1:00 am by Dave Boyd
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 8th, 2014 9:10 pm by Douglas Fritz
After years of living in the shadows of soccer giants Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, playing on ETSU's spacious field gave Sullivan South the kind of fresh-air breath it needed to capture a district title.
Creighton Shivell was the point man, using his head to left the Rebels to a 2-1 victory over University High in the championship game at Summers-Taylor Stadium on Thursday.
Shivell scored on a pair of headers as the Rebels capped off their first year in 1-A/AA with a title.
South (9-8-2) will play host to Chuckey-Doak in Tuesday's Region 1-A/AA semifinal contest. University High (4-7-1) will travel to take on District 2-A/AA champion Greeneville, which improved to 13-3-1 with a 5-0 win over Doak.
All of the goals for UH and South came in a span of four minutes early in the first half. The Rebels struck first as Cole Killen delivered a cross and Shivell headed it into the net.
One minute later, University High's Ramiro Rodriguez got an open look from the top of the box in the middle of the field and ripped it into the net to tie the game.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, Shivell still had a direct line of sight two minutes later. He caught Colton Young's cross with his head and banged it true to give the Rebels the final score of the game with 66 minutes still remaining.
Shivell said he was unimpeded to the ball on both scoring occasions.
"They didn't mark us, and when I made a run on the back side I was wide open," said Shivell. "(Each cross) was a perfect ball. On a big field with all of this space, there was plenty of time to get a good ball across."
South head coach Keith Parker said the goals were something his team was looking for after spending a big portion of the season on a small home field.
"We talked about it all week," said Parker. "With the width of the field, we wanted to cross the ball to the far post. We like a big field."
For UH head coach Tony Houston, it was partially a matter of some missing weapons — most notably Lowell Williams, who posted a hat trick before suffering an injury in the 3-0 win over South just nine days ago and did not play in this game.
"We're still dealing with key injuries," said Houston, who took over as head coach in the middle of the season. "But South has a good team. I feel this rivalry building up. I thought our kids battled to the end, and gave it their all."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
UH wins 1-A title in softball
FROM STAFF REPORTS
ELIZABETHTON — Tanner Horton tossed a two-hitter and University High rolled in the District 1-A softball championship with a 7-1 win over North Greene on Wednesday at Ronnie Hicks Field.
Horton struck out nine and walked two in seven innings, and didn't allow runner past first base after the second inning.
UH scored two runs in the first and second, and home runs in the third by Barrett Wherry and Miranda Honeycutt put the game out of reach.
Honeycutt hit a solo shot with two outs, and Wherry followed, after Lexi Cruthers reached on a error, with two-run shot. Wherry, who had three hits on the day, led off the game with a single and scored on a double by Belle Bright.
Horton helped her own cause with an RBI single in the first that scored Ari Ramsaran, who reached on a triple.
North Greene, which advanced to the championship game with a 5-2 win over Unaka earlier in the day, got a hit apiece, both singles, from Anna Craft and Rochelle Frazier. The Huskies run came in the second inning on a sacrfice fly by Amethyst Crawford.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 6th, 2014 11:04 pm by Jeff Birchfield
ELIZABETHTON — Barrett Wherry started it off with a bunt single and the hits kept coming for University High on Tuesday night.
Wherry, who actually bunted her first two at-bats, ended 4-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Lady Bucs to an 18-1, five-inning win over homestanding Unaka in the winners' bracket final of the District 1-A softball tournament at Ronnie Hicks Field.
"Our last game, we didn't hit very well," Wherry said after leading UH's 18-hit attack. "I actually chose to bunt both times. He never gave me the sign to, but I love bunting because I love running them out."
After she quit bunting, Wherry broke out of a recent slump with by driving a pair of two-run doubles to center field.
If the offense wasn't enough, UH pitcher Tanner Horton kept confounding the Lady Rangers with her screwball. She gave up just two hits overall. University High (30-8) was at full strength after Horton and catcher Belle Bright each missed recent games with injuries.
Horton aided her cause, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while Bright was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
"Having them back, that's huge," UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. "You're talking about our pitcher and our No. 3 batter and catcher. Any time we've got those back, that's a huge thing for us. Then, the way we hit..... The other night against North Greene, we only had one hit in seven innings."
Horton was certainly glad to be back in the circle after being slowed by a severe ankle sprain. University High took a 2-1 lead in the first, but she had plenty of breathing room after the Lady Bucs scored nine runs in the second inning and six runs in the third inning.
"It's great, especially to be coming back from such a nasty sprain," Horton said. "It's a work in progress and I'm trying to strengthen it at the moment to where it needs to be. But, I love to play softball and it's just great to be back."
In addition to the aforementioned, there were plenty of offensive stars for the Lady Bucs.
Taylor Treadway, Mollee Cohee, Madi Freeman and Miranda Honeycutt all finished with two hits, while Ari Ramsaran and Sarah Higginbotham each batted in a run.
Unaka lead-off Lexi Perry scored the Lady Rangers' only run in the first inning off a RBI single by Caitlyn Buckles.
The Lady Rangers (9-13) will face North Greene in today's loser bracket final with the winner to advance and play University High in the championship round.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
U-High's season ends on fitting note, with little offense
FROM STAFF REPORTS
University High fell to South Greene 3-1 in the losers' bracket semifinal of the District 1-A baseball tournament Monday at Indian Trail Middle School.
Trey Brown pitched a three hitter and struck out eight to lead the Rebels.
"It was the story of our year," UH head coach Josh Petty said. "We had great pitching all year, we played great defense. We just didn't score the runs. We've been a 1-2 run deficit team all year. The law of averages played out."
Brent Fields scored University High's only run off Ben Jackson's RBI single in the sixth inning. Andrew Bishop and Luke Willoughby had the other base hits for the Junior Bucs, who ended 11-17 on the year.
Logan Metcalf suffered the loss in a complete-game effort. He struck out three, while giving up just five hits and three walks.
The Rebels (12-11) scored one run in the fourth inning, a RBI single by Jon Zavaleta. South Greene added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, one off an error and the other off a RBI hit by Daniel Lowery.
Zaveleta led South Greene at the plate with a double, a single and a RBI.
The Rebels will face Unaka today in a losers' bracket final.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 3rd, 2014 11:05 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High never expected to be in such a fight.
Ben Jackson hit a RBI single in the sixth inning and a pair of Cloudland throwing errors followed to allow the Junior Bucs to escape with an 11-7 victory in the District 1-A baseball tournament at Cardinal Park on Saturday evening.
It appeared the Junior Bucs (11-16) were cruising to an easy win over the winless Highlanders after scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Their first five runs came off two wild pitches, two RBI walks and a RBI ground out.
However, the Highlanders weren't ready to go away without a fight.
Cloudland scored two runs in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth to take a 7-6 lead. UH ralled with a RBI ground out by Luke Willoughby to tie the game in the fifth and then had the big sixth to truly survive and advance.
"We came into this game maybe overconfident," University High coach Josh Petty said. "We hit lazy flyballs and did everything I told them not when we talked before the game."
After the Junior Bucs lost 3-1 to North Greene earlier in the day, an upset loss would have meant the end of the season. It called for desperate measures. Petty called Jackson back on the mound for four innings after he pitched all seven innings against North Greene.
"Normally, I wouldn't throw a guy like that," Petty said. "He ended up throwing 123 pitches in both games. But I knew he was a senior, and he would be terribly upset if he still had innings left out there and we went home with a loss."
In other games: Unaka defeated South Greene 4-0, while Hampton knocked out South Greene 8-7 in a late elimination game.
Cloudland showed it meant business early when Noah Arnett and Matt Houston scored off a UH error for a 2-0 lead. Arnett added a two-run triple for the Highlanders the next inning and Cloudland closed to 6-5 on Curtis Hitchew's bases-loaded walk. A RBI triple by Jonah Woods in the fourth tied the game before the Highlanders pulled ahead on Nathan Hicks' fielders choice.
Adding to the surprise, Cloudland was without three starters and its No. 1 reliever.
"The guys that were here, they played their hearts out," Cloudland coach Kevin Kendall said. "I've been looking for senior leadership all year and today I had it from 1 (Hitchew) and 44 (Alex Heaton). Hitchew starts off catching and has a long inning. Then, he comes in and pitches his hind-end off. We had a couple of miscues from inexperienced players, but I was proud of them. I thought we had a chance to win, and for the first time the players were like, 'Who are we going to play next?' Credit UH, we didn't throw it away, they beat us, but I was so proud of my boys."
Brinkley Mull ended 2-for-4, while Arnett ended 2-for-5 with the two RBIs. Hitchew just allowed three hits in the loss.
Nick Walley led University High with two singles and a walk. Still, the Junior Bucs were able to take advantage of the Cloudland miscues.
Jackson scored three runs, while Logan Metcalf, Nick Sewell and Walley all scored twice. Luke Willoughby provided two RBIs.
North Greene 3, University High 1
Tyler Bailey struck out the first eight batters he faced and 15 batters overall to lead the Huskies (26-4) over the Junior Bucs in Saturday's opening game.
Bailey had a no-hitter going through 6 1/3 innings before it was broken up by Logan Metcalf's double. University High ended the shutout bid a batter later when Luke Willoughby's grounder went through the second baseman's legs.
Bailey (8-1) gave up just one hit and one walk to go along with his: 15 strikeouts. He also accounted for the first run a RBI on a 5-3 ground out to score Zane Britton.
"Tyler has been the man for us," North Greene head coach Tim Lady said. "We had to have his performance today because we were a little flat coming out. Even though we were the No. 1 seed, if we had lost that game, it wouldn't have been any better than being a No. 5 or No. 6 seed. That was a big performance by Tyler and we had to have it."
The Huskies tacked on two runs with two outs in the sixth off RBI singles by Brett Bolton and Zak Potter.
Ben Jackson, who gave up six hits, suffered the loss for the Junior Bucs.
North Greene will play at 7 p.m. Monday night.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
May 1st, 2014 8:40 pm by Pat Kenney
Times-News photo by Ned Jilton II
JOHNSON CITY — The 36th Times-News Relays started off with a bang Thursday.
Science Hill's Savannah Hirst shattered the meet record in the girls pole vault when she cleared the bar with a leap of 10-6. The previous record was 9-6 set last year by Dobyns-Bennett's Jamie Almeria.
The Lady Hilltoppers' Hannah Bowman finished second (10-0) while Almeria and Daniel Boone's Abby Howe were tied for third at 9-0.
In the boys competition, top seeded Jarod Smith of University School of Johnson City lapped the field with a vault of 13-0. Science Hill's Jake Laughlin was second (11-6) while the Hilltoppers' Ivan Whitman finished third (11-0).
Hirst came into the event with the top qualifying vault of 10-6. She started her competition at 9-0 and cleared four straight heights before failing on her three attempts at 11-0.
"I was comfortable clearing 10-6," said Hirst, a junior. "To go higher you have to be adventurous, be patient and have a good attitude.
"I come out each day with the attitude to do my best and just see what happens. I think with a little more practice I can go higher."
Bowman, who is a freshman and a diver on the Lady Hilltoppers swim team, is in her first year of vaulting. She had a personal best in the competition by a foot.
"My teammates were encouraging me and that helped a lot today," said Bowman. "Maybe being a diver allows me to be more comfortable when I'm inverted and that allows me to go higher."
Smith had qualified with a vault of 13-6 so he was not a stranger to going high. But it was not in the cards on Thursday for him to get a shot at the meet record of 14-0 set by D-B's Brandon Lawson in 2007.
"I would liked to have gone higher but I liked the way I vaulted today," said Smith. "As you try to go higher it's the little things that make a difference. Right now I need to polish my form and clean up a couple of things.
"You also have to be totally committed and focused to make it as the bar gets higher."
© 2014 Kingsport Publishing Corporation
April 29th, 2014 10:36 pm by Pat Kenney
KINGSPORT — It was billed as a showdown.
It turned out to be a smackdown.
With the District 1-AA boys regular-season soccer crown on the line, University High's Lowell Williams scored three goals in the first 17 minutes of the game and the Junior Bucs made that hold up in a 3-0 win over home standing Sullivan South that secured the title.
"I feel like we played as a team today," said University High coach Tony Houston. "I've been telling the guys if they used teamwork on both ends of the field they would be a hard team to beat."
The Junior Bucs (2-1-1 District 1-AA) also earned a bye into the finals of the upcoming district tournament.
The final outcome was a bitter pill to swallow for the Rebels (6-8-2, 1-1-2).
"We didn't play any defense in the beginning," said South coach Keith Parker. "We changed things around in the second half and I thought we controlled the ball and outplayed them but just couldn't put the ball in the net."
Down 3-0 when the second half started, South's offense went into overdrive. The determined Rebels pressured the University High defense into 11 second-half corner kicks, but none produced a shot on goal.
South had 14 shots on goal over the final 40 minutes of play, with four of those on frame.
Junior Bucs freshman goalkeeper Luke Wexler became the man of the hour. He made four crucial saves in the second half to preserve the lead.
"There were a lot of shots in the second half that could have gone in, but my defense came up big," Wexler said.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
April 10th, 2014 9:21 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High is on pace for its best year ever in softball, sporting an 18-3 record at the midway point of the season.
The Lady Bucs had the best record (6-1) of any local team in last weekend's Eastman Invitational tournament in Kingsport, although their only loss came at a bad time, a Round of 16 elimination game against Daniel Boone.
The Lady Bucs are led by a senior class which has the experience of two straight state tournament appearances and a first ever win at the state last season.
"That group has come together really well," University High head coach Keith Jeffers said. "One of the things that is helping us right now is their experience. They've been there and done that.
"But, we've got a long ways to go. We just have to prepare and keep getting better every game."
Barrett Wherry is a strong-armed center fielder and also the team's leadoff batter. She is among the team leaders in both RBIs and runs scored, although Wherry is best known for her performance at last season's state tournament. She hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and accounted for six RBIs in an 11-5 victory over South Fulton. The victory at the Murfreesboro Starplex was the program's first ever in the Class A tournament.
"My home runs were great, but I loved that we were able to win as a team," Wherry said. "It was exciting to win our first game ever at state. We have everyone back from that team but our starting pitcher, so we've gotten closer than we were last year.".
Taylor Treadway is a third baseman whom her coach said has a glove like a vacuum cleaner at times. She's also pretty effective on the offensive end with a team-leading 25 runs scored. She also ranks third in RBIs behind Ari Ramsaran and Wherry. More than stats, Treadway said chemistry and commitment set this senior group apart from so many other teams.
"I think all the seniors are pretty close and all of us are really committed," Treadway said. "All of us know what we are capable of, so we know the goals set for us."
A big goal is a return to the state, although their head coach said that alone will not determine how successful this season is. He wants them to simply focus on one game at a time.
It's a strategy that has worked so far with UH piling up wins against several larger schools including victories over David Crockett and Tennessee High from the Big Seven Conference.
"We're very confident going into any game," Treadway said. "We know what we're capable of and we never go into a game intimidated. Their school might be bigger than ours, but it doesn't mean they're better."
Belle Bright, the talented catcher, fractured her thumb and wrist catching a foul ball on Saturday and didn't get to play in the Boone loss. She is expected to recover from the injury and be back on the field in three weeks. She is certainly a big prescence for University High, the team leader with eight doubles. She also ranks second on the team in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Most important has been her job on the defensive end, catching for Johnson City Press All-Northeast Tennessee selection Haley Faulkner last season and for Tanner Horton, who has compiled a 16-3 record so far this season.
Bright explained that catching for each of them presented different challenges.
"Haley is more speed, while Tanner is more movement," Bright said. "Tanner just hits her spots really well. But, both are really good pitchers."
Kutu Hall is more of a role player, but she's made the most of limited opportunities with a .421 on-base percentage. Behind the scenes, coaches and teammates say she plays a valuable role making sure everyone is prepared and ready to go.
"I try to make sure everyone is at a good place with their attitudes," Hall said. "It matters what you carry on to the field with how you play. Attitude is everything in this sport. We've had a couple of rough patches, but we've been able to come together and play as a team when we've needed to."
Attitude is something that Bright emphasized as well.
She explained how the Lady Bucs have more confidence than a season ago, and with that she feels they have a better overall team.
Overall, the class has been a part of 89 wins as well as last year's historic postseason run. Right fielder Sarah Higginbotham is proud of how the group has helped elevate an already good UH program, which has five state tournament appearances over the last nine years, to the next level.
"Keith and (assistant coach) Joe (DeGroat) have been the best coaches," Higginbotham said. "All the seniors have been working hard to get to this point. Overall, we have a good starting nine and some good back-ups. We're really proud of how far we've come."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
March 31st, 2014 8:58 pm by Jeff Birchfield
The University High softball team wasted no time taking care of business.
The Lady Bucs got off to a fast start against Unaka and cruised to a 10-0 victory in five innings Monday evening at Indian Trail Middle School.
Junior pitcher Tanner Horton gave up just two hits, and University High scored all 10 runs in the first inning to improve to 11-2 overall and 3-0 in the Watauga Valley Conference.
Lead-off batter Barrett Wherry got things going right away with a blooper to left field. She later added a two-run single, ending the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
"It meant a lot for us to jump on them early," Wherry said. "We kind of came into it, thinking we've got this, but I'm glad we took care of it early and didn't have to go seven innings. "
Unaka fell to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in league play. After a rough first inning which included starter Chelsea Grubb giving up eight hits and the defense committing two errors, the Lady Rangers settled down the rest of the game. Sarah Hardin gave up just two hits and one walk over the next three innings.
"We're young, starting four freshman," Unaka coach Dayton Buckles said. "Both of our pitchers are freshmen. We were trying something a little different. The second pitcher we brought in, she's been our starter, but she's been nervous at the start of some games. We thought it might help to switch, but we got down too far off the bat."
Much of it had to do with what was coming off University High's bats.
Horton hit a double and single in the first inning and ended 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
"It was a good day," Horton said. "We've been working really hard at the beginning of the season, and everything is working out. We're happy where we are right now."
Adding to the big inning, Taylor Treadway belted a two-run double, and Ari Ramsaran came through with a two-run single. Eight players in the Lady Bucs' starting lineup scored runs in the first inning including Belle Bright, Molle Cohee, Sarah Higginbottom, Lexi Crouthers and Madi Freeman.
"We really hit the ball well that first inning," UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. "We've done a lot of work on making contact with the ball and they were able to accomplish that, at least in the first inning. I don't know what happened after that."
The lack of additional runs didn't matter as the Lady Bucs' defense took care of the rest. Wherry, playing in center field, made a quick throw to second base to get Unaka's Shanda Matheson out on a fielder's choice for the first out of the third inning.
Despite losing the base runner, the Lady Rangers were able to get Jessie Matheson to third base and Lexi Perry to second later in the third inning. However, Horton shut down the scoring threat with a 1-3 ground out.
In one sense, it was simply doing what was expected by a UH program which has reached the state tournament in three of the last four years. So far this season, the Lady Bucs' only losses have come to Class AAA White County and to Class AA Carter in the championship game of the Gordonsville tournament.
Jeffers believes another tournament this weekend in Kingsport will reveal to him exactly how far his team has come this season.
"This weekend in the Eastman (Invitational) is going to determine a lot," he said. "We're going to play a lot of tough teams outside this area, as well as Crockett and a couple of other teams. But, I'm pleased with where we're at right now."
University School vs Unaka softball Image Gallery
April 1st, 2014 11:55 pm by Dave Boyd
© 2014 Johnson City Press
Link to Video of Softball and Baseball game reports from April 1, 2014
April 1st, 2014 10:53 pm by Douglas Fritz
University High could have been caught in a cat-nap situation, but instead the Buccaneers took things seriously and went about their baseball business.
With the odd statistic of 30 baserunners and only eight official at-bats where outs were recorded, UH pounded Cloudland 20-0 in a Watauga Valley Conference game Tuesday at Thomas Stadium.
UH had 15 hits, received 10 walks, got hit by pitches twice, reached on a error three times, had three sacrifice flies, and added one sacrifice bunt. The Bucs improved to 3-3 in league play and 5-6 overall.
(For Twitter videos of the game, and a post-game interview with Logan Metcalf, follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz).
On Monday in Roan Mountain, the Bucs took the first of the two-game series with an 11-1 decision. They could have taken the winless Highlanders lightly in the rematch, but instead were patient at the plate.
"It was really hard, but we tried to come in like it was against North Greene," said Metcalf, who had a three-RBI performance. "We wanted to come in and play as hard as we could. We got an eye on the ball and started to hit."
One of the highlights of the game was Metcalf's inside-the-park home run. He slashed a line-drive-would-be double to right-center field and it got to the fence. With the generous amount of turf at Thomas Stadium, Metcalf went wheels up around the bases — much to the delight of his teammates.
It was that kind of day for the Bucs, who listened to the advice of head coach Josh Petty.
"We've been preaching that we've got to keep the ball below our hands," said Petty. "We want hard ground balls and line drives."
UH got those early and often. The Bucs plated seven first-inning runs as Nick Sewell started things with a leadoff triple. Ben Jackson drove him in, and Dayshawn Hamilton later added an RBI single.
Skylar Miller added an RBI hit, and Luke Willoughby plated two runs with a single.
In the third inning, UH struck for a five spot. Metcalf and Andrew Bishop drove in runs with sacrifice flies, and Nick Walley had a two-run single.
In a seven-run fourth inning, Jordan Sell had a two-run double while Brent Fields added an RBI double.
Hamilton finished with three hits while Miller and Metcalf had two apiece.
On the mound, Jackson (2-1) was steady for three innings and earned the win. He allowed three hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
After a pair of league setbacks to North Greene, UH has won three of four conference games. The Bucs step outside of the league and play host to Johnson County on Thursday, and then meet Happy Valley in a doubleheader Friday with all of those games at Thomas Stadium.
"It will be simple baseball," said Petty. "The pitchers need to throw strikes, we need to make the routine plays, and we need timely hits."
Noah Arnett had a double to pace Cloudland.
University School vs Cloudland baseball Image Gallery
April 2nd, 2014 1:00 am by Dave Boyd
© 2014 Johnson City Press
The following pictures were published in the Johnson City News and Neighbor (772nd Edition 3.15.14-3.21.14).
(click on pictures below to display large image)
Congratulations to our Bucs Basketball teams on a great season! Marcus Taylor made the District 1-A All-tournament team. Lady Bucs Lexi Crouthers and Taylor Treadway also made All-Conference team.
Our Middle School Girls finished the season as the "Washington County Seventh Grade Tournament Champions"!!! Proud of our Bucs!!!!
January 10th, 2014 11:41 pm by Trey Williams
University High is temporarily without point guard Luke Willoughby and shooting guard Joseph Phillips, but it still has quite a backcourt in Marcus Taylor. The 5-foot-9 senior overcame constant attention from Cloudland to score 25 points, including 11-of-12 foul shooting in the fourth quarter, and the Junior Bucs pulled away for a 57-49 Watauga Valley Conference victory Friday at Brooks Gym.
Four of Taylor's free throws came compliments of two Cloudland technical fouls in the final 63 seconds after Brady Horton's two free throws had given UH (2-3, 8-9) a 50-41 lead.
Taylor put the finishing touches on the victory with a crowd-pleasing driving dish to Horton for a lay-in that made it 54-41 with 47 seconds left.
Horton and fellow senior frontcourt players Nate Berning and Jordan Evans were instrumental in victory, according to Taylor. They combined for 10 blocks. Horton had 14 rebounds and four blocks. Berning had five blocks and Evans had nine rebounds.
"They made it tough on me but everybody played so well around me, and that was important to the outcome," Taylor said. "Those blocked shots are something that are invaluable. They came through really big for us." Taylor scored four of his five field goals and 14 points in the first half, including a pair of free throws with 4.5 seconds left in the second quarter that gave UH a 26-18 halftime lead.
"We thought they'd do a lot to limit his touches and they did a pretty good job of that," UH coach Justin Penley said. "Some other guys that have been role players took it upon themselves to impact the game in a positive way. I thought our posts played well. I thought Brady really provided a spark for us. Cloudland usually does a good job on the glass. We had to take advantage of that size in the post."
The Highlanders (2-2, 7-11), who were led by guard Austin Whitehead's 16 points, opened the third quarter with a 10-run that gave them a 28-26 lead on Zack Benfield's transition basket that Whitehead assisted with 5:51 left in the period. But Taylor answered with four straight points, including an 18-footer.
"We came out flat," Cloudland coach Gary Harrison said. "They outplayed us the first half and we never recovered from it. We've gotta become more mentally tough. If you don't play four quarters in this league you're gonna lose. "He (Taylor) is a great player and we knew that coming in. ... He can singlehandedly beat you."
Dustin Estes scored 14 points for the Junior Bucs, who made 29 of 39 free throws.
Cloudland was 14 of 24 at the line.
Preston Ongtengco's 3-pointer via a two-dribble pull-up gave UH the lead for good (43-41) with 2:50 left. He dove to force a turnover at the other end 27 seconds later.
"I thought we played really well defensively and we were able to get to the free throw line and convert," Penley said. "Down the stretch I thought we played smart."
UH was 2 for 16 from 3-point range. Taylor made the other trey.
Colby Birchfield scored 11 points for Cloudland. Jesse Potter added eight.
Cloudland at University School basketball
January 12th, 2014 11:55 pm by Dave Boyd
Cloudland (girls) 54
University High 40
Haley Johnson scored 15 points and point guard Courtney Clarke had 14 points and five assists to help the Lady Highlanders (2-2, 17-3) outlast the fired-up Lady Junior Bucs.
Taylor Treadway's 10-foot baseline shot went halfway down before spinning out with around 4:45 remaining, It would've cut Cloudland's lead to 46-39, Instead, Clarke found Johnson for a transition basket that made it 48-37 with 4:25 to go.
University High coach Rayne Price credited Clarke as Cloudland's catalyst. "We wanted to stay between her and the basket and make her a shooter," Price said. "She does a good job of making them go."
Barrett Wherry scored 14 points for University High (0-5, 5-10). Treadway and Brie Nikolous added 10 and eight, respectively.
The University High starters played 159 of 160 minutes. "I was real encouraged by how they played tonight," Price said. "It's hard to be mad when the girls are playing that hard, especially when they (starters) are playing (basically) the whole game."
Forward Courtney Wilson scored 12 points for Cloudland.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
November 30th, 2013 8:14 pm by Jeff Birchfield
Both head coaches agreed: Marcus Taylor was the difference for University High against Happy Valley.
Taylor scored 37 points to lift the Junior Bucs to a 68-65 victory over the Warriors in the opening game of Saturday action at the 24th annual Hardee's Classic basketball tournament at David Crockett High School.
In the fifth-place game, Daniel Boone rallied from 14 points to beat Cherokee in overtime and Greeneville beat Unaka for seventh-place.
Taylor had 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a rare 4-point play, to put the Junior Bucs ahead in a game which featured six second-half ties and 10 lead changes.
"I'm just glad it was enough," Taylor said as the Junior Bucs improved to 2-4.
"We needed a win, and I was just lucky I hit enough to win the game. We lost a tough game to Unaka the other night that was kind of the same way. Today, we were down in the fourth quarter, but we came back and won. That's promising for us.
We needed it."University High's coach Justin Penley had plenty of his praise for his 5-foot-9 senior guard's efforts against the Warriors (1-7).
"The difference in that game was that Marcus played on our team and not theirs," Penley said. "Marcus definitely came to play tonight. He made enough plays at the end to pull it out for us."
For the Warriors, it was a better showing after losing by double digits in each of their first two Hardee's Classic games. Happy Valley had a chance to send it into overtime, missing a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. "I thought our effort level was much better than the last two games," HV head coach Chuck Babb said.
"Mistakes were more limited. We made two or three in the last two minutes that were critical, but all in all, I was much happier with the effort.
"Taylor, we knew who he was when we got here, and two of our timeouts were spent talking about him and what they were going to do to get him the ball. But, he's a great player and credit to him how he made some big shots down the stretch.
"Happy Valley emerged from the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.
After University High led most of the second quarter, the Warriors regained the lead on a Josh Hammonds bucket. Nathan Kyte knocked down a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer to give HV a 26-23 lead at the half.
The Junior Bucs had their own buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter, when Luke Willoughby knocked down a 3-pointer to close within 42-40 heading into the final eight minutes.Willoughby gave University High the lead for good with a 3-point play to put the Junior Bucs up 64-61 in a second half.
Still, it came down to that final buzzer, which Penley said will serve his team well once they get to league play.
"Often times, it comes down not to coaching as much as guys making plays," he said. "Night in and night out, you know you're going to face solid game plans and guys are going to put their guys in spots. Hopefully, your guys make plays more than the other team."
Joseph Phillips added 15 points and nine rebounds in the University High victory.
Tyler Marlowe led Happy Valley with 18 points, while Corey Matherly posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Young matched the rebounding total, while freshman Austin Hicks scored nine points for the Warriors.
© 2013 Johnson City Press
October 24th, 2013 8:41 pm by
University High captured the Region 1-A/AA boys' cross country championship on Thursday at Daniel Boone High School for its first regional title since 2009.
Noah Jones (17:25) and Levi Carter (17:44) had individual finishes of sixth and seventh as the Junior Bucs finished ahead of runner-up Sullivan East 56-69 in the team standings.
"We were really struggling early in the season, but the boys worked hard to turn it around," UH coach Dee Perry said. "I've got to thank Landon Milhorn, the former ETSU runner who has been helping coach the boys. They responded well to Landon, but they worked hard and wanted to win this. They wanted us to bring that championship plaque back home again.
"A mixture of youth and experience was needed to haul in the prize. Freshman Zach Branham finished 10th (18:09), while seniors Hayden Simmons and Tanner Smith placed 15th and 18th in the individual standings.
"My fifth boy, I'm really proud of him," Perry said. "Tanner had a stress fracture and he's not even run since Sept. 15. He was tough. Without Tanner, he wouldn't have made it today.
"Wesley Pectol of Greeneville easily captured the individual title with his time of 15:44, nearly 23 seconds ahead of runner-up Zach Long of Grainger. Pectol enjoyed being out front at the Daniel Boone course where he hasn't always had the best times.
"It was a good race and it felt good," Pectol said. "I like this course, but the funny thing is I never ran very well on it the past three years. I don't know what it was, but I just felt so much better on this course today.
"Addie Leonard made it a Greeneville sweep of the individual titles with her run of 20:32, placing her 31 seconds ahead of teammate Hannah Rhodes.
As a result, Greeneville won the girls' team competition 34-61 over Sullivan East with University High third with 82 points.
Elizabethton's Maci Shell finished third individually at 21:30, and Whitley True of Unicoi County finished 10th (22:38) to make her the final individual to qualify for the state meet.
University High's Cora Allison finished one spot behind Shell in fourth. Others who scored for the Lady Bucs were: Olivia Augsburger (eighth), Rebekah Owen (12th), Ashley Daniel (20th) and Makenzie Taylor (44th).
"I'm really proud of my girls," Perry said. "We came into today with only two (runners) from varsity. The other three were eighth-graders we moved up after their eighth-grade race. That's all we had."
© 2013 Johnson City Press
October 22nd, 2013 9:24 pm by Douglas Fritz
When two teams can't score in soccer, they stop playing the full-field game and reduce the action to penalty kicks.
For University High, it was a season-ending miniaturization.
Chuckey-Doak defeated the Lady Junior Bucs by an official final score of 1-0, outscoring them 4-3 on penalty kicks in the Region 1-A/AA semifinals Tuesday night at Summers-Taylor Stadium.
UH finished its year at 8-5 while Doak improved to 9-6-2 and advanced to Thursday's title game against Greeneville, which defeated Sullivan South, 4-1
What set up the PK drama was two 40-minute periods of scoreless soccer, followed by two 10-minute periods of the same. Then after a pair of 5-minute sudden death periods, the teams lined up and took their shots on goal.
Savannah Wexler connected for UH first, but Doak answered.
After each team missed — with UH getting a nice save from goalkeeper Taylor Treadway — Belle Bright's shot sizzled inside the left post for a 2-1 advantage.
Doak fought back for the tie, but Aubrey Campbell pushed the Junior Bucs back in front.
Again, Doak answered to make it 3-3.
When Lady Black Knights' goalkeeper Beth Ann Burns denied UH's fifth attempt, the game was in the hands of Doak's Alicia Phillips.
"You know it's do or die, and you know it's all on the line," said Phillips.
"I had given 100 percent on the field, and I knew no matter what happened we could hold our heads high. I was thinking all glory to God because we gave 100 percent.
"In practice, Phillips said her PK attempts always go to the same spot: left corner. Phillips took a rip and planted it inside the left post, leaving UH stunned and touching off a Chuckey-Doak celebration.
"I have a superstition you can feel the ball is going in when you kick it," said Phillips. "So I had confidence it was going in."
Treadway couldn't pull off her second PK stop, but it was her play in goal that got the Junior Bucs that deep into the game. She made a pair of terrific saves in the second half to keep the Black Knights scoreless.
"She has tremendous heart," said UH assistant coach Caitlyn Epps. "She's had back trouble, and she has been on crutches and laying in bed. But there was no question she was going to play tonight.
"UH had its chances in regulation play, but couldn't get its best shots on frame. Three times the shots were high, and two of them just barely went over the crossbar.
"We were pretty unlucky the whole game," said Epps. "And it was a sloppy game for us. We didn't put more than a couple of passes together. We weren't creative with the ball.
"The end of the game was spotlighted, but Epps said UH didn't really lose the contest at that point."We told the players at the end of the game it wasn't their fault," said Epps. "It was up to us to score earlier. Every person on the team was to blame."And the coaches were to blame. We didn't have the team as ready as we should have. (Penalty kicks) was a hard position to be in."
© 2013 Johnson City Press
October 15th, 2013 9:46 pm by Douglas Fritz
ELIZABETHTON — After a career total of 101 goals, none was sweeter for Savannah Wexler than this one.
With just 62 seconds left in regulation, the University High senior delivered a 20-yard sizzler just under the crossbar to give the Lady Junior Bucs a 1-0 victory over Elizabethton in the District 1-A/AA soccer semifinals at Rider Field on Tuesday night. It was a season-ender for the Lady Cyclones (8-10) while UH (7-4) advanced to Thursday's championship game against Sullivan South at 4:30 p.m. in Kingsport.
"This was the best goal I've scored," said Wexler. "It was the most meaningful." In a contest that seemed destined for overtime, Wexler caught a nice pass from Maya Houston in the middle of the field. Immediately it was clear the Lady Cyclones were in trouble. Wexler struck the ball solidly and kept it high enough to prevent a play from Elizabethton's goalkeeper.
"Because I've played soccer so long, I can tell when the ball is going in," said Wexler. "On that shot, the minute I struck it I knew it was going in the goal.
"God gave me the ability to score. I was happy to put it in."
After a scoreless first half where Elizabethton couldn't finish a couple of really nice chances, the Lady Junior Bucs controlled possession most of the second half. But UH couldn't get ball into the net.
University High head coach Victor Chirica said his team won because of effort. "I think we really tried hard to win this game," said Chirica. "We fought the whole game, beginning to end. We knew if we lost, the season was over for us. The girls gave 100 percent." UH won many of the 50-50 balls, and that was one of the differences, said Cyclones' head coach Bill McClay.
"They were quicker to most of the 50-50 balls," said McClay. "Hats off to them. They physically won the match. We played Tennessee High a couple of days ago, and we won most of the 50-50 balls. It's hard to understand why we didn't tonight. We just didn't have that extra gear." McClay said the game's lone goal was just one of those things.
"It's the way the ball bounces," he said. "But we didn't do a great job of thinking, 'Hey, I've got to clear the ball now.'
" Wexler said she believes her team still has some postseason noise to make. "If we play like we did tonight, I think we have a chance to go a long way," said Wexler. "We came close the last time against Sullivan South, but lost in the last two minutes."
Link to pictures
Lady Cyclones vs University Dave Boyd/Johnson City Press
© 2013 Johnson City Press
Cross Country Victory! A big congratulations to both our Boys and Girls Middle School Cross Country teams who competed in the regional meet on Saturday October 12th. The boys team walked away with a fourth place finish with Jeb Jones placing 2nd overall and Pablo Rivas finishing 13th. The remaining boys demonstrated pack running at its finest to help the Junior Bucs advance to state. The girls team was lead by Cora Allison who placed 7th overall and Bekah Owen followed by Breanna Fee, Ashley Daniels, Camilla Rivas, and Calli Newberry. All the Junior Buc Ladies had a strong day to get the team to a fifth place finish which allowed the team to advance to state. Both teams will compete in Knoxville for the State Meet on Saturday, October 19th. Congrats to both teams on a job well done!
Congratulations to our Cross Country teams who competed in the Hagan Stone Cross Country Meet in North Carolina. Middle School Boys Team came in 3rd, Jeb Jones came in 7th, Pablo Rivas came in 13th overall, and Cora Allison came in 7th overall for Girls. Way to go, Bucs!!!
UNIVERSITY HIGH WINS September 3rd, 2013
Lee Talbert Press Photo Editor email@example.com
September 3rd, 2013 11:42 pm by Lee Talbert
University High Lady Bucs played Elizabethton Lady Cyclones at the Civitan Park Soccer Complex in Johnson City Tuesday evening. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
University High beat Elizabethton 2-0 in girls' soccer on Tuesday.
Lady Bucs top Elizabethton
Savannah Wexler scored a goal and assisted on another as the University High girls soccer team defeated Elizabethton 2-0 in a conference match Tuesday night at Civitan Park.
Wexler, who scored on an assist from Sarah Robinson, helped out on Maya Houston's goal. Taylor Treadway got the shut out in goal. Centerback Gracie Gregg helped out on defense.
University High improved to 4-1 and 1-0 in the league, and plays again Thursday night against Tennessee High at Civitan Park.
Above, University High's Alayna Smith controls the ball.
Above, UH's Michaela Lane moves in for a tackle on Elizabethton's Olivia Bell.
© 2013 Johnson City Press
Congratulations to Pole vault Winners, Salter Blowers, 1st place, and Reed Bush-Mackie, 2nd place, in the 59th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games!!! Way to go, Bucs!!!!
Congratulations to Jarod Smith and Salter Blowers! Jarod placed 3rd and Salter placed 6th, in the Men's Pole Vault, in the TSSAA State Track and Field Championships May 21, 2014 - May 23, 2014 @ Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN! Proud of our Flying Bucs!!!
May 16th, 2014 12:32 am by Jeff Birchfield
University High's Jarod Smith prepares for takeoff on his way to winning the Class A/AA' pole vault competition on Thursday at CAK.
KNOXVILLE -- University High's Jarod Smith soared above the competition at Thursday's Class A/AA sectional meet, while Elizabethton's Katie May used the occasion to qualify for two events at next week's state championships.
Following in the footsteps of two-time state champion Devon Wade, Smith cleared 12-feet to win the boys' pole vault at Christian Academy of Knoxville. His Junior Bucs teammate, Salter Blowers, was second at 11 feet and six inches.
Smith wasn't the only local champion as May won the girls' triple jump with a distance of 34 feet and 6 3/4 inches. Smith's 12-feet didn't come close to his qualifying mark, which was a foot higher, but that was secondary to two UH vaulters qualifying for state.
"The pole vault is something I really like to do and it's more fun having my teammate take second place," Smith said. "I would have liked to have vaulted higher, but the weather was hard. It's as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. In pole vaulting, you have to be headstrong."
While Smith didn't match his personal best, Blowers clearing 11-6 was over four feet higher than where he started the season.
"I was not expecting that," Blowers said. "I did terrible at the beginning of the year. I no-heighted twice and was afraid I wouldn't even qualify for sectionals. Then I started listening to my coach and it was a huge deal for me. I started jumping double-digit numbers consistently and now I'm going to Murfreesboro. That's awesome, amazing to me. The first time I vaulted it was like seven-feet and now I'm 11-6. That's amazing."
© 2014 Johnson City Press
Link to Video of Softball game report from May 14, 2014
May 4th, 2014 8:30 am by Dave Boyd
Friday, May 2nd, 2014, District 1-A, Indian Trail
University High 1
© 2014 Johnson City Press
HS Girls Softball
By Staff Reports
By Collin Brooks
University High has been a step faster and a few runs better than most teams around the area as its 26-4, 9-0 record can vouch.
Things were no different on Thursday as they defeated Unaka 10-0 in five innings at Hicks Field. The win also clinched the Watauga Valley Conference regular-season championship.
"We didn't play our A-game," Unaka head coach Kayla Clawson said. "UH is a good ball club and when you play them you have to have all components there, and we didn't have that today."
2014 All Rights Reserved, Elizabethton Star
Athletic News: Congratulations to our
on a great showing for the
Frank Carver Invitational meet
. Jarrod Smith won 1st place in Pole Vault, with Salter Blowers taking 2nd place!!!!! Proud of our Running, Climbing, Leaping Bucs!!!!!
Also, our High School Boys Soccer team claimed victory over Elizabethton and our High School Girls Softball team defeated South Greene, 6-3!!!!
April 11th, 2014 9:56 pm by Douglas Fritz
University High and Elizabethton used to be on an island, and therefore were forced by the TSSAA to join up with teams like Greeneville, Grainger and Cumberland Gap for a far-flung soccer region.
Now the Cyclones and Buccaneers have their own little league since Sullivan South moved to the Class A-AA ranks.
Right now, the Rebels (1-0-1) and Buccaneers (1-0-1) have the upper hand in league play over the Cyclones (0-2-0). But each of the teams will play again, and then they will do it all over in the district tournament.
Here's an update look at University High and Elizabethton:
The Buccaneers have struggled a bit against the bigger schools, but where it counts they are right on track.
UH defeated Elizabethton in a recent match, and earlier this season played to a 1-1 tie against Sullivan South. Head coach Victor Chirica said his team should have had the win against the Rebels.
"We hit the post twice, and we pretty much dominated the game," said Chirica. "They had a free kick from about 30 yards away in the last minute and a half of the game, and they were very lucky the ball went over our goalkeeper and went in. It was pretty much the only chance they had."
Leading the way for UH, which has a record of 2-3-1 overall, is a strong and consistent defense. Seniors Johnny Burke and Alex Destefano join Logan Webb to create a wall in front of goalkeeper Luke Wexler.
"I like what I see," said Chirica. "They work together really well, and they know each other. They've played together for quite some time. They understand the game."
In the midfield, Chirica relies on two of the team's top players: senior Wesley Ongtengco and junior Lowell Williams.
"They help the team a lot," said Chirica. "They control the ball very well, and they are very skillful players. They are technique players. I've been blessed to have them in there, and I'm very happy with the job they do."
Up top, sophomore Dani Houston has been the main man.
"He's good with both feet," said Chirica. "He's a very technical player."
Overall, Chirica said he feels good about the way his team is performing.
"I feel pretty confident," he said. "But you never know how the kids are going to play. One day they are good, and the next day they aren't.
"We need to work on communication on the field, and be more disciplined. We need to be more serious about the game."
Chirica said he expects a tougher game if his team meets Elizabethton again, and Greeneville is once again expected to be the top team in the region.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
HS Girls Softball
Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team on a fantastic showing in the Eastman Tournament!
Thursday: UH 3, Crockett 2
UH 2, Murfreesboro-Oakland 1
Saturday: UH 7, Union County 5
UH 8, Tennessee High 1
UH 17, Pendleton County 0
UH 2, Cookeville 1
Sunday: Daniel Boone 8, UH 1
Wow!!!! Great Games, Lady Bucs!!!!!!!
December 31st, 2013 11:55 pm by Dave Boyd
December 30th, 2013 11:11 pm by Jeff Birchfield
...University High 47, Unaka 43
Taylor Treadway scored 18 points as the Lady Bucs (5-9) held off a late Unaka rally for the win over their conference foe.
Shanda Matheson hit a 3-point goal to pull the Lady Rangers (5-12) within two points with 15 seconds left.
On the next possession, UH's Barrett Wherry got a loose ball out of a scramble and scored on a lay-up to put the game away. Wherry ended with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Lexi Crouthers had a 15-point effort.
"When we play with enthusiasm and energy, I like how we play as a team," UH coach Rayne Price said.
"Taylor had been struggling behind the perimeter, but she's coming around. Barrett had a great game, a double-double as she was rebounding the ball really well. She did a good job on (Brandi) Ensor when we needed her the most."
Ensor and Jessie Matheson scored a dozen points apiece to lead Unaka. The Lady Rangers trailed 18-9 after one quarter, but scored 11 straight to take the lead.
UH responded with the next eight points to go ahead 26-20. They led the rest of the way.
© 2014 Johnson City Press
HS Boys Basketball
November 26th, 2013 11:00 pm by Jeff Birchfield
Unaka 74 University High 70
The Rangers (4-4) went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 64 seconds after the Junior Bucs (1-4) had erased a 17-point deficit.
Unaka held a 29-13 lead over University High 29-13 in the first quarter and 45-33 at halftime.
Logan Carrier led Unaka's charge over its Watauga Valley Conference rival with 27 points. Alex Baltaji worked the interior for 25 points. In the final minute, freshman point guard Joe Searfoss and senior forward Eli Rasnick were perfect from the free-throw line.
"I keep saying if these guys will stay together and be all in with what we want to get done, we will be pretty good," Unaka head coach Aaron Dugger said.
"We just have to keep getting better. The main thing right now is our shot selection when we have a big lead. If we clean that up, we're going to be all right."
Marcus Taylor tallied 27 points, including six shots behind the 3-point line, and Joseph Phillips came through with 15 for University High.
Still trailing by a dozen heading into the final quarter, the Junior Bucs went on a 16-2 run to briefly take the lead.
"What it really boils down to is Unaka was ready to play tonight and we weren't," UH head coach Justin Penley said.
"We went through the motions and weren't sharp early. By the time we woke up and started doing good things, we had spotted them too much. Give Unaka credit, when we briefly took the lead, they made the plays down the stretch to get the win."
© 2013 Johnson City Press
HS Boys Basketball
November 25th, 2013 10:51 pm by Jeff Birchfield
David Crockett 66 University High 52
The Pioneers (5-1) scored seven points in the last 15 seconds of the third quarter to pull away from the Junior Bucs (1-3) in the nightcap.
Before then, University High had cut a 14-point Crockett lead in half.
"That's what you play for, those 6-0 to 8-0 runs," Pioneers head coach John Good said.
"If you can get one of those each quarter, at the end of the game, you've got a lead. The kids just really got it. It's one of those things when you score, you play better defense."
Sophomore guard Patrick Good led the way for the Pioneers with a 22-point performance, including six points in an 11-2 run to put the game away in the final quarter. Luke Hopson tallied 10 points and Isaac Barkley added nine in the Crockett victory.
"It was a grind," Coach Good said. "I knew (UH) coach (Justin) Penley would have them prepared and they came out body blow after body blow. But, our kids just ground it out. We played hard and that's what we're going to be about, playing hard."
Joseph Phillips was the leading scorer for the Junior Bucs with 18 points.
Fellow senior Marcus Taylor finished with 17 for UH.
Crockett will face defending tournament champion Greeneville in today's late quarterfinal. University High will meet Watauga Valley Conference rival Unaka in a losers' bracket contest.
© 2013 Johnson City Press
November 2nd, 2013 11:30 pm by From staff reports
NASHVILLE — Daniel Boone finished state runner-up in the Class AAA boys cross country meet for a second straight year on Saturday at Percy Warner Park.
Other local squads also had plenty of success. Science Hill posted fifth-place finishes in both the Class AAA boys' and girls' races, while the University High boys were fourth in the Class A-AA competition .
In the Class A-AA boys, Noah Jones finished 12th individually (17:08) to lead the Junior Bucs to a fourth-place team finish.
Levi Carter and Zac Branham added finishes of 17:55 and 18:08, respectively.
Seniors Tanner Smith (18:16) and Hayden Simmons (18:46) also added to the University High points total.
"We wanted to be top-five and fourth-place was great," University High head coach Dee Perry said.
"It was a lot better than we did last year. Our top three come back so next year, we want to finish even higher.
Our girls finished 12th and we have the top-five girls back for the next two years. I'm really looking for them to win it in the next two years."
© 2013 Johnson City Press
University School Golf,
Nick Sewell, who fired a 2-under-par 70 at the District 1 A/AA Golf Tournament at Elizabethon Golf Course on September 16th. Nick finished third overall, qualifying for the Regional Tournament. In the Regional Tournament Nick shot a 73 on September 23rd, qualifying for the state tournament at Willowbrook Golf Club in Manchester. At the State Tournament, Nick carded a two-round total of 162 (84-78). We are proud of you, Nick! Swing, Bucs, Swing!
Congratulations to the Middle School Cross Country Boys and Girls teams who had a STRONG showing at the Overmountain Run which was run at Sycamore Shoals. The boys walked away with a second place finish and were lead by Jeb Jones who placed first in the meet, Pablo Rivas who placed 9th, and Cooper Pack who came in 12th. The top 6 were rounded out by Caleb Strickler, Alex Lemery and Nick Pohlgeers. Congratulations to all the boys who ran hard to lead the Junior Bucs to a strong showing!
The girls had a strong meet finishing in 6th place overall and were lead by Cora Allison who placed 6th overall in the meet as well as Bekah Owen and Bekah Rice who came in the top three for the bucs. Ashley Daniel, Courtney Henley and Calli Newberry also had strong finishes rounding out the top 6 for the bucs. Congratulations to all the ladies for a job well done!
Cross Country Victory!
Congratulations to the University Middle School Cross Country runners who had a strong showing on Thursday during the Redskin Rally Invitational. A record number of runners participated with 699 among the field. The JV boys were lead by Lewis and Collin with Nelson, Kalin and Tuck rounding out the team. The varsity middle school girls were lead by Cora Allison who finished 10th with Bekah Owen and the rest of the team close in tow. The middle school boys finished 1st as a team with Jeb Jones placing 2nd and Pablo Cooper, Will Owen, Caleb Strickler and Nick executing pack running to bring home the win for the Junior Bucs. Congratulations to all the runners for an amazing race!
Link to Tennessee Runner - Run Fer Da Hills Meet Results (photo gallery!)
Congratulations to both
Cross Country teams. The High School boys finished 1st in the Run fer da Hills meet last Saturday. Levi Carter was our first finisher in 5th place. Noah Jones and Zach Branham were in the top 15. Olivia Augsburger was the top finisher for the girls in 24th place.
Middle School boys also took 1st place at the same meet. Jeb Jones finished 2nd overall with Pablo Rivas and Cooper Pack finishing in the top 10. Cora Allison was our top girl in 9th place overall. The girls finished 7th. Good job!
Buc Booster memberships are on sale for $25.00. Buc Booster family passes for members are on sale now for $150.00. This provides entrance for members and all family (i.e., cousins, uncles, grandma, etc.) to all home games of all sports. Free UH Buc hat will be provided for all family passes while supplies last! Membership Form