Athletic News 2012-2013

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icon UH's Wade repeats state pole vault title

May 24th, 2013 9:24 pm by Jeff Birchfield

pictureMURFREESBORO — Devon Wade and Kyle Greene aren’t related. They’re not even from the same school. Still, the two are like brothers when it comes to competition.

Wade, a senior from University High, cleared 14 feet on Friday to repeat as the Class A/AA pole vault winner at the TSSAA boys’ state track and field championships on Friday at Middle Tennessee State University.

Right behind him was Unicoi County’s Greene, who finished second in the competition last season, and whose mark of 13-feet-6, tied Chris Charles of CPA for the second-best height.

Wade explained he and Greene benefit from their competition with each other. The week before the state meet, Greene won the East Tennessee sectional meet with Wade in second.

“It’s almost like a sibling rivalry,” Wade said. “We love to vault with each other, but we hate to lose to each other. It’s definitely been great because we have each other to push. If one goes over 13 feet, it’s like, ‘Follow me over.’ It’s back and forth the whole way.

“I’ve really been blessed to have someone like Kyle to jump with. It’s nice to have someone to train with, to push yourself with and just to have fun with.”

It resulted in the back-to-back state championships for Wade, whose height was a foot and a half better than his 2012 mark.

“This year has been phenomenal,” Wade said. “Last year, I was sick as a dog, but this year I felt great.”

Greene said he couldn’t think of anyone who deserved the title more than Wade.

“It shows off in the end who works the hardest,” Greene said. “I work pretty hard myself, but Devon works all the time.”

Still, it’s been a senior season to remember for Greene, who hit 14-2 at one point this season, and broke Jerry Huskins’ four-decade school record at Unicoi County.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that I have the new school record,” Greene said. “It’s an honor breaking a 40-year-old record. It gave me the confidence to make it all the way to state again. This year, my senior year, I wanted to have fun, have the best time possible. I enjoyed every second of this year.”

Gabe Simerly added a fourth-place finish for the Blue Devils in the 300-meter hurdles. He ran 41.06, passing a couple of runners in the final 100 meters.

Elizabethton senior Nikolai Simpson finished among the state’s best in a couple of throwing events. He was fifth in the discus with a heave of 134-7, and was sixth in the shot put at 45-1.

“It wasn’t my best and it wasn’t my worst,” Simpson said. “But, I sure would have liked to have thrown better. I felt good going into the preliminaries. It just seemed like when I let it go, it wasn’t going anywhere.”

Also from the Class A/AA girls’ meet on the previous day, University High’s Eliza Gillespie placed sixth (33-11) in the girls’ triple jump.





icon Another late rally falls short for ‍JuniorBucs
  By JEFF BIRCHFIELD   Press Sports Writer                 

    MURFREESBORO — University High’s miraculous comeback ended in an agonizing defeat.  

Coming back from a 6-0 deficit, the Lady ‍Bucs dropped a 6-5 decision to Whitwell in the losers’ bracket quarterfinals of the TSSAA Class A state softball tournament.  

For the second time in three days at the Murfeesboro Sports Complex, the end came with the tying runner on third in the final inning.  

“Being down 6-0 in the sixth inning, they never quit,” UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. “We started hitting and Whitwell changed pitchers. We hit her even better so they changed back in the seventh. We hit the ball really well those last two innings”  

University High finished its season 28-15, while the Lady Tigers improved to 24-16.   Taylor Treadway led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to spark a four-run rally. She ended up scoring off an error as Sarah Higginbottom, Barrett Wherry and Tanner Horton later contributed RBI singles.  

After Belle Bright doubled to start off the seventh, Treadway had a RBI double to move UH within one. She moved to third base on a steal, only to be held on base by a well-played 5-3 ground out. She was then picked off on a 1-5 double play after Ari Ramsaran’s hard-hit ball landed right in the glove of Whitwell’s first baseman.  

“Whitwell is a good team, a well-coached team, and their third baseman is awesome,” Jeffers said. “It was disappointing, but at the same time we were one of the last six teams playing in Class A.     Only one team gets to go home feeling happy.”  

Taking a 1-0 lead into the fourth inning, Whitwell used four straight bunts to force two UH errors and score three runs. The Lady Tigers loaded the bases an inning later and tacked on two more runs for a 6-0 lead.  

“We had to bunt to make something happen,” Whitwell head coach Grace Pickett said. “We were having trouble at the plate, so we decided to bunt. The girls executed and then at the end, our defense came through for us.”  

Riley Long, who pitched the first five innings and then closed in the seventh, picked up the win. Horton suffered the loss, giving up three hits and four runs (two earned) in the first four innings.  

It was the final game for UH seniors Haley Faulkner and Beth Morgan, who accomplished a goal a day earlier when the Lady ‍Bucs won their first ever game at the state tournament.  

“The happiest moment was my life was when we won that game,” Faulkner said. “All me and Beth wanted to do was win one, the way we had been killed by the other ones.”  

Faulkner, who pitched the final three innings, finished a brilliant prep career 2-for-3 at the plate. She was, however, lamenting the fact she was the next batter up when the final out occured.  

“I was up to bat next, thinking this might be last at-bat,” Faulkner said. “It didn’t happen.”  

Horton was 3-for-4 to lead UH, which had all nine in the starting lineup reach base at some point in the game. The Lady ‍Bucs outhit the Lady Tigers 11-6 and were literally 60 feet away from a tie game in each of their state losses.  

“This was a great year,” Jeffers said. “We were 0-6 at the state tournament and lost our first game. But, that first game we did the same thing, rallied back to be one down with a runner at third. We just came up one run short.”



icon   Wherry powers Lady Bucs’ win
  By JEFF BIRCHFIELD   Press Sports Writer                 

    MURFREESBORO — Barrett ‍Wherry couldn’t have picked a better time for a breakout performance.  

Not known for her power, ‍Wherry hit a grand slam in the fifth inning and added a two-run home run in the seventh to lift University High to an 11-5 victory over South Fulton on Wednesday at the TSSAA Class A state softball championships. In both cases, the center fielder sent the ball flying well beyond the fence at the Murfreesboro Starplex Field.  

Wherry, who hadn’t hit a home run prior to Wednesday, ended with gaudy numbers, 2-for-4 with six RBIs and three runs scored.  

“When that first one went out, I didn’t actually believe it,” ‍Wherry said. “It had never happened in my life. The next time up, she threw me the same pitch, so I was like, ‘Guess I will hit that again.’ ”  

Wherrys breakout day symbolized   a breakthrough for the entire University High program. Winless in seven previous games at the state tournament, including a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Oliver Springs on Tuesday, the Lady Bucs (28-14) battled from a 4-2 deficit to score seven runs in a decisive fifth inning.      

“This was the same dugout, the same field where we got knocked out last year,” UH head coach Keith Jeffers said. “You always remember those losses because they sit with you. We came out, had a bad inning and we weren’t playing that well. They got up 4-2, but after that, we just started hitting the ball.”  

Belle Bright and Mollee Cohee had RBIs to push University High to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.  

However, South Fulton answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Although the Lady Red Devils (24-15) added another run in the third, they couldn’t hold off the University High onslaught.  

The Lady Bucs had already pulled ahead 5-4 in the fifth with a RBI single by Taylor Treadway and a two-run double by Haley Faulkner before ‍Wherrys grand slam.  

Tanner Horton picked up the win, giving up five runs and 11 hits over seven innings. She was among several UH stars at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  

Faulkner was also 2-for-4   as eight of the nine in the Lady Bucs’ starting lineup reached base at some point.  

There were also enough big plays on the defensive end to keep the game in hand, and to give UH its first ever state-tournament win.   “It’s amazing to win this game,” Bright said. “We’ve been down here three of the past four years and we hadn’t won a game. But, we’re confident this year and feel we have a shot against anyone.”  

It was a sentiment shared by her head coach.   With good hitting up and down the lineup, Jeffers felt confident about UH’s chances at the state tournament. His players certainly didn’t disappoint him on Wednesday.  

“It’s getting to the point where I feel comfortable with everybody in the lineup hitting,” Jeffers said. “Everybody is contributing and everybody is hitting the ball hard. Tanner pitched an awesome game. Even though her speed was off a little today, her location was good. We gave up those runs, but for the most part, we kept them in check.”  

University High will play Whitwell in a losers’ bracket quarterfinal today at 1 p.m.



icon U-High rallies, falls 4-3

  By JEFF BIRCHFIELD   Press Sports Writer                 

    MURFREESBORO — University High rallied from four runs down for a chance in its final at-bat, but came up just short in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A softball championships Tuesday night.  

The Lady Bucs dropped a 4-3 decision Oliver Springs at McKnight Fields after falling behind by four runs and not having a single hit against Lady Bobcats pitcher Courtney Jones through five innings.  

UH (27-14) scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and loaded the bases in the seventh, only to see Oliver Springs end the game with a fielder’s choice.  

“I will be honest; this is pretty disappointing,” University High head coach Keith Jeffers said. “We had that (third) inning when they scored three runs and we had a couple of errors. We blew it on that inning. We play a solid seven-inning game and we win this game.”  

After Jones was untouchable for the first five innings, the Lady   Bucs tagged her for five hits and three runs over the last two innings. Taylor Treadway had a hard-hit ball to center field to score UH’s first two runs, and Mollee Cohee followed with a RBI double.  

In the final inning, UH loaded the bases, with Sarah Higginbottom and Tanner Horton each providing singles. Treadway hit a ball up the middle on the final at-bat, but Oliver Springs shortstop Emily Griffith made the play in the field to end the game.  

“We came back and never gave up,” Jeffers said. “We just didn’t hit it until too late. Basically, we needed to put together few more hits earlier in the game. We had bases loaded. It just didn’t work out this time.”  

Jones recorded 13 strikeouts for the game, but impressed her Oliver Springs coach Matt Headden the most with the poise she showed in holding on for the   victory.  

“Courtney has been our only pitcher this year, but she’s stepped up many, many times,” Headden said. “She’s so calm, cool and collected in that circle. I’ve never seen her get rattled.”  

University High was living dangerously with Oliver Springs batters on base in the top of the second and bases loaded with no outs in the top of the third.   The Lady Bucs’ defense stepped up to shut down the Lady Bobcats in the second. They got two outs in the third before Rachel Griffith ripped a bases-loaded double for a 3-0 Oliver Springs lead.   It remained that way until Macy Martin crushed a home run over left field in the sixth inning for a 4-0 Bobcats lead.  

Haley Faulkner suffered the loss, giving up three runs and     seven hits in four innings. Tanner Horton came in to pitch the final three innings.  

The Lady Bucs will face South Fulton, a 5-1 loser against Richland, in an elimination game today at 12:30 p.m






icon UH headed back to state softball  tournament

Published May 17, 2013 By - Press  Sports Writer

Neither rain, nor lightning, nor one inning of shaky defense could keep  University High from delievering the goods against Coalfield in Friday’s Class A  softball sectional at Betty Basler Field.

Behind an 11-strikeout performance by Tanner Horton and a game-winning double  by Mollee Cohee, the Lady Bucs outlasted a lengthy weather delay and overcame  the Yellow Jackets rallying from four runs down to take a 5-4 victory.

“That rain delay, that’s hard,” University High head coach Keith Jeffers  said. “It was like starting over, even though we were up. I give Coalfield  credit with the way they stormed back.”

University High held a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when the  game was stopped, first for lightning and then for heavy rain.

Near three hours later, play resumed and the Lady Bucs (27-13) clinched their  third state tournament appearance in four years and their fifth in the last nine  years.

The weather wasn’t the only twist.

Jeffers opted to use Horton as starting pitcher instead of senior ace Haley  Faulkner. The strategy worked with the sophomore striking out six and giving up  just one hit through three innings before the delay.

She lost a 4-0 lead in a fifth-inning when the Junior Bucs committed three  errors, but she stayed in the game, giving up four hits and four walks overall.

She finished the seventh inning by striking out two of the three batters she  faced.

“I had a little bit of an adrenaline rush going on and stayed pumped up,” Horton said. “I never got too worried when they came back because I have faith  in my team. My pitching coach tells me to never give up, not matter what the  circumstances. I try to follow by that and not lose any hope.”

With the game tied, Taylor Treadway doubled in the bottom of the fifth and  Cohee followed with her own RBI double, which proved to be the game-winner.

“That pitch was right down the middle and I was thinking we needed a good hit  to at least get her to third,” said Cohee, who ended 2-for-3 with two RBIs. “The  plan was just to put it in play and hope that something good happens. It was  really important for us to come back out and be strong.”

In the first couple of innings, it looked like UH was going to run away.

Lead-off batter Barrett Wherry was 2-for-2 in the early going, which included  a RBI double and two runs scored.

Wherry singled and later scored off a fielding error for the first run. Cohee  added a RBI single to score Belle Bright for a 2-0 lead at the end of one.

Madi Freeman got on base with an error in the second inning, and Wherry  plated her with a RBI double. Horton followed with another RBI double for a 4-0  advantage.

Once back in action, Coalfield’s Megan Meredith led off the fifth with a  single and the Yellow Jackets and also had an RBI triple from Kera Keathley to  rally from four down.

Despite that and pitcher Hannah Melhorn scattering seven hits, they weren’t  able to hold off the Lady Bucs, who beat them in a sectional game for the second  time in four years.

It was, however, an example of the never-give-up attitude displayed by  Coalfield throughout the year. The Jackets rallied from a 6-0 deficit to beat  Grace Christian in the regional semifinals.

“We have a special group of kids,” Coalfield coach Jennifer Laurendine said. “When their backs are against the wall, they always come out person-by-person  and come back. We came back that way against Grace Christian and we’ve battled  that way all season. Tonight, we just fell one short.”

As for University High, Jeffers said there is business to attend to next week  at the state tournament in Murfreesboro.

“We’re going to do something this year that UH hasn’t done,” Jeffers said. “We’re going to go down there and win some ball games if it’s at all possible. I  know it’s going to be tough competition, but the way we’re hitting the ball, we  have a shot to make some noise down there.”




icon U-High routed at CAK; Tribe knocked out


  KNOXVILLE — University High couldn’t get past Steve Thompson and defending state champion Christian Academy of Knoxville in Saturday’s Class A/AA sectional soccer game.

  Thompson scored three goals and the Warriors ended the Junior Bucs’ season with a 9-1 win that put them in the state tournament.

  Thompson’s first goal of the game put CAK up 3-0 in the 14th minute. Ryan Creel and Dallas Dunn scored earlier goals for the Warriors (20-3).

  Freshman Brady Sant netted the Junior Bucs’ only goal late in the first half and they trailed 4-1 at the break. CAK controlled the second half with Thompson scoring two more and Christian Bruner closing out the scoring with 24 seconds left.

  “They’ve got a really good team,” said University High coach Victor Chirica. “They play the ball very fast paced. They are very skillful.”

  The Juniors Bucs finished the year at 13-4.


icon UHfalls in soccer championship


  GREENEVILLE — Greeneville won the Region 1-A/AA soccer championship with a narrow 3-2 victory over the Junior Bucs.

  UH will take a 13-3 record into a sectional game on Saturday at Christian Academy of Knoxville with a berth in the state tournament on the line.

  Lowell Williams and Nick Fabus scored goals for the Junior Bucs.

  Greeneville had beaten ‍UH 9-2 two weeks ago in the regular season.

  Greeneville went up 1-0 early, only to have Nick Fabus tie the game near the end of the first half.

  The Greene Devils scored two goals early in the second half, but Lowell Williams scored for ‍UH in the 74th minute off a cross from Kevin Mast. The Junior Bucs missed two good chances to tie in the final six minutes.

  Logan Webb’s ball was six inches over the crossbar, and Greeneville goalkeeper Taylor Bailey was barely able to make a save on Westley Ongtengco’s shot to the corner of the goal.

  University High’s own goalkeeper had what head coach Victor Chirica described as an outstanding effort.

  “Ben Page did an outstanding job in the goal,” Chirica said. “I was really proud of him. The whole team did great. The game could have gone either way.”




icon UHcaptures Region 1-A softball title


    University High scored early and often to easily defeat Cosby in Wednesday’s Region 1-A softball championship.  

The Lady Bucs scored nine runs over the first three innings and tacked on six more runs in the fourth on their way to a 17-2 mercy-rule victory.  

“We told them before the game started we needed to score several runs in the first inning,” University High head coach Keith Jeffers said. “They came out swinging and scored those five runs.”  

Barrett Wherry led the ‍UH offense, going 2-for-4 with five RBIs.  

There was plenty of pop in the lineup with 16 hits overall.  

Taylor Treadway was 4-for-4 with a double and a triple and two RBIs, while Mollee Cohee was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. In addition, Tanner Horton belted a solo home run in the first inning.  

“The hitting is what we’ve improved on more than anything from last year, even from the time we started this year,” Jeffers said. “We’ve preached to hit it hard whether it’s a ground ball, a line drive or whatever. They’ve done a good job at making solid contact.”  

There was plenty of good work in the circle as senior Haley Faulkner struck out five over the first three innings, and Horton had four strike outs in the last two innings.  

Next up, the Junior Bucs will host Coalfield at ETSU’s Betty Basler Field in a sectional matcup on Friday.

iconCongratulations to Conner Bartow and Zak Vicars for making the All-Conference Baseball Team!!!!  Love our Athletic Bucs!





Haley Faulkner, University School Senior and Lovely Lady Buc Softball pitcher, has now signed with Patrick Henry College.  Pictured with Haley are her parents and coaches and also our Lady Bucs 2012-2013 Softball Team.  Wishing Haley the best in her future career!  Proud of our Bucs!





icon Greeneedges Wade in pole vault  

Unicoi County’s Kyle ‍Greene edged University High’s Devon Wade in the pole vault, and Gabe Simerly won the 300 hurdles on Tuesday at the Class A/AA East sectional track & field meet at Christian Academy of Knoxville.  

Wade — the defending state champion — finished second in the pole vault after both he and ‍Greene cleared 13-foot-6. ‍Greene, who finished runner-up to Wade last year at state, did so on fewer attempts to win the title.  

Sullivan East also had two qualify for state. Luke Meade was second in the the 1,600, finishing in 4:31, and Jennifer Warren clocked 2:28 in the girls 800 to advance.   Happy Valley pole vaulter Emily Holtsclaw cleared 7-6 to finish second and move on to the state meet. Elizabethton’s girls 4x400 relay team of Whitney Roberts, Kyra McCrary, Mandi Largent and Katie May also placed second, clocking 4:11.90, to advance.

UH’s Eliza Gillespie won the girls triple jump to move on.    

Simerly also led a trio of Blue Devils that finished in the top four and have a chance to qualify for state depending on results from other sectional meets. Simerly had a top-four finish in the 100 hurdles, and was joined by Whitley True in the girls 3,200 and Alex Edwards in the girls pole vault.  

For UH, Jared Smith finished third in the pole vault, Seth Hilbert was third in the 400 and Gabe Perry was fourth in the 800.  

Elizabethton’s Nikolai Simpson had top four finishes in the shot put and discus, throwing 45-05 and 144-11, respectively, in the events. May was in the top four in the girls 100 hurdles, clocking 17:34 and Ethan Thomas finished fourth at 20-1 1/2 in the long jump.   Happy Valley’s Kaitlyn Simerly also cleared 7-6 in the girls pole vault for a chance to advance. Holtsclaw had fewer attempts.   Johnson County’s Jacob Henson leapt 40-8 1/4 in the triple jump to finish in the top four.




icon Williams lifts UH past Doak

Published May 14, 2013 By Jeff Birchfield - Press Sports Writer

Photo - University High's Nick Fabus breaks into the open field!

pictureThree weeks ago, Connor Williams was on the ground writhing in pain with an injured ankle, wondering if his high school soccer career was over.

In his first match back from that injury on Tuesday night, the University High senior forward took a big step forward. His goal in the fourth minute spurred the Junior Bucs to a 6-0 victory over Chuckey-Doak in the Region 1-A/AA semifinals at Civitan Park.

"I was quite out of shape where I hadn't played in three weeks, but it was good to come back and get that first goal," said Williams after heading in a cross by Kevin Mast. "I'm probably only about 50 percent right now and to be able to finish that, it seemed like it set the momentum for us.

"It was probably one of my better goals of the season. I was just happy to be back on the field again."

With the victory, University High (13-2) advanced to Thursday's Region 1-A/AA championship against Greeneville. The Junior Bucs also advanced to Saturday's sectional round with a state tournament berth on the line.

Both head coach Victor Chirica and assistant coach Tony Snapp praised their team's effort.

"The midfield controlled the ball and we had a lot of shots," Snapp said. "We didn't finish a lot early, but Connor coming back today and getting that goal less than five minutes in was a big asset to the guys and his confidence. We had some good looks at the goal and had a good effort."

Overall, the Junior Bucs outshot Chuckey-Doak 26-4, with a 15-2 advantage in the first half. Westley Ongtengco scored UH's second goal in the 22nd minute off a penalty kick.

Five minutes into the second half, Mast made it 3-0 with a strike from around 12 yards out off an assist from Federico Aghito. In the 50th minute, Mast added his second assist of the match, this time to freshman Tani Houston for a 4-0 lead.

Mast, a senior midfielder, said his passing skills are no accident, and that he gets more joy from seeing his teammates score goals than his goals.

"The quick touches on the ball, I've always wanted to do that and I practice it at home," Mast said. "It helps me get it quicker to the center for the best shots.

"One of my favorite parts of playing with these guys, I feel as gratified if I score or if they score, even if I'm not the one passing the ball."

It was an all-around effort, which led to University High's victory. The defense gave up just four shots, three of them on free kicks by the Black Knights' Birkier Viddison. Otherwise, the Junior Bucs did a bang-up job marking Viddisson, who had set a Chuckey-Doak school record with 26 goals this season.

"Coming into the game, No. 7 (Viddison) was their offensive threat and we wanted to stop him," Snapp said. "The defense stood pretty tall back there and he didn't have a shot on goal all game.

"He got frustrated halfway through the second half because he couldn't do anything and that's what we wanted. It worked out to our favor."

Back on the offensive end, Aghito had a near-miss in the 61st minute when his left-footed attempt bounced off the crossbar. Nick Fabus, who spent a large portion of the match marking Viddison, then scored off a tap from Collin Newberry in the 70th minute.

There was another reward for an outstanding defensive effort as Logan Webb scored the last UH goal off a cross by Aghito.

Chuckey-Doak finished its season 7-9-1, meaning the final contest for a pair of fourth-year seniors Giovanni Jimenez and Wes Carroll, as well as fellow senior Steven Berry.

"We've had sickness on the team, tons of injuries. We went from 23 players down to 14," C-D head coach Anna Ricker said. "So for us to advance to this point is amazing, because we've gone through so much adversity this season. Today, we just never found that breakthrough moment."

University High will be looking for that moment against Greeneville, anxious to avenge a 9-0 loss from nearly three weeks ago.

"We're ready and the guys are ready," Snapp said. "We've got Connor back and we've got our keeper (Ben Page) back. That's a big asset to have our starting keeper back as far as confidence. We're going to mix it up and try some different things. I think it will be a little different situation than last time."




  • Good luck to our HS Boys Soccer The next tournament game will be against Chuckey Doak, on Tuesday, May 14th, at 6:00 p.m., at Civitan. Go get em' Bucs!
  • The Athletic Awards Reception will be held on Sunday, May 19th, at 3:00 p.m., in the Martha Culp auditorium. Athletes can attend for free, but there is a $5 per ticket cost for adult family and friends to cover the food and auditorium rental.  Great year, Bucs!!!
    Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team who defeated North Greene in the championship game 6 to 0 to win the District 1-A softball championship on Friday evening.  The Bucs continued on to defeat Washburn on Monday in the Region 1-A Semifinals by a score of 15 to 2!   The Lady Bucs will play in the Region 1-A Championship game on Wednesday, May 15th. Way to go, Lovely Lady Bucs!
    icon WJHL (Channel 11) had a clip from the Region 1_A Semifinal game.  The following shows the entire sports section; 1-A softball is near the end.
    icon Junior Bucs advance to final in 1-A softball
        Haley Faulkner struck out eight of the nine batters she faced in three innings and Belle Bright drove in four runs as ‍UniversityHigh whipped Washburn 15-2 in the Region 1-A softball semifinals on Monday.   The Lady Junior Bucs (24-14) play on the road Wednesday at Cosby in the region championship.   Bright, Tanner Horton and Barrett Wherry all tripled in the UH victory. Horton added two RBIs, while Madi Freeman went 2-for-2 and reached base another time with a walk. Faulkner also finished 2-for-2.   Lexi Crouthers came on in relief of Faulkner and struck out another three batters.
    icon Lady Junior Bucs win 1-A title

    Published May 10, 2013 By Douglas Fritz - Press Sports Writer
    It took a mercy-rule slap in the face to awaken University High, and nobody was more ready to go than Tanner Horton.

    After North Greene delivered an 11-1 six-inning beatdown in the championship round Friday at ETSU's Basler Field, the Lady Junior Bucs responded with a 6-0 win in the if-necessary game behind the hitting and pitching of their sophomore standout — giving UH the District 1-A softball championship.

    "It's always important to win the district and keep going from there," said UH head coach Keith Jeffers. "We hope to see North Greene again next Wednesday."

    The Lady Junior Bucs (23-14) will play host to Washburn in Monday's regional semifinal while North Greene (18-16) will travel to play Cosby.

    Horton was simply dominant throughout the game. She went 4 for 4, drove in a run, and scored two runs.

    "I was really focused," said Horton. "And I also got some good pitches that were easy to hit."

    In the circle — after North Greene rang up 12 hits in the opener — Horton silenced the Lady Huskies' bats with a tidy three-hitter. She walked one and struck out 10.

    "That was probably the best game I've pitched," said Horton. "At first I was a little nervous because I hadn't been pitching that well. But I was really excited, and I wanted to do good and help our team."

    Only one North Greene runner reached second base in the game.

    "Tanner did awesome," said Jeffers. "She hit her spots, she had good speed, and her off-speed pitches were working. She did all anybody could ask."

    Horton said she had good movement with her pitches, especially her screwball.

    UH quickly created an edge in the nightcap. Barrett Wherry and Horton led off the game with singles, and eventually advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.

    Taylor Treadway then hit a short fly ball to right field, but Horton raced home anyway. The throw to the plate got away, and a hustling Belle Bright scored all the way from second base to give the Lady Junior Bucs a 2-0 lead.

    UH wasted some chances to score with some wacky baserunning in the second and third innings, but finally broke the game open in the fifth inning — where their aggressive style on the bases actually paid off.

    Horton smacked an RBI single, and eventually scored from third base when North Greene tried to make a play on a runner who drifted away from first base.

    Treadway doubled with two outs, stole third, and scored on the catcher's throwing error to make it 5-0.

    In the seventh inning, UH added an insurance run on Lexi Crouthers' bases-loaded walk.

    North Greene coach Renee Light said her girls likely ran out of gas.

    "We played two tough games yesterday, and I feel awesome about our performance in the first game tonight," said Light. "But in the second game, bodies were tired and arms were worn out."


    North Greene 11, University High 1

    It was all Huskies as they pounded out 12 hits.

    Amethist Crawford led the way with three hits and two runs batted in. Talley Bailey added two hits and two RBIs while Shania Harmon also totaled two RBIs.

    Jessie Donihue got the win in the circle, going the distance with no walks and no strikeouts.

    UH had just four hits, two by Sarah Higginbotham. Haley Faulkner took the loss in the circle, giving up 11 runs, seven earned. She walked four and struck out 10.

    iconJunior Bucs lose despite no-hitter

    picturePublished May 10, 2013 By staff reports

    Despite a pair of University High pitchers combining for a no-hitter, the Junior Bucs lost 1-0 to Unaka in the losers' bracket final of the District 1-A baseball tournament at Cannon-Gouge Park.

    University High, which lost earlier 13-3 to North Greene in a winners' bracket final, ends its season at 13-10. The Rangers (14-11) and Huskies (19-3) will play at 2 p.m. today in a championship game with an if necessary game scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

    Connor Bartow pitched six innings of no-hit baseball for University High before Justin Wiseman took over for the final 11⁄3 innings. Wiseman suffered the loss after Taylor Edwards led off the eighth inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hardin.

    After Edwards moved to third on a wild pitch, University High foiled Unaka's squeeze attempt to score. However, on the next pitch, Jeffrey Yerkes hit a ground ball to short, which allowed pinch runner Andrew Long to score from second base.

    For Unaka, sophomore Jonathan Wright threw five scoreless, allowing just a pair of infield singles. He struck seven batters before giving way to Thomas Hardin, who followed with two scoreless innings before Danny Bales came in to pick up the win.

    The Junior Bucs missed an opportunity with bases loaded in the top of the eighth. Zac Vicars hit a hard-hit ball, but Hardin was able to knock down the ball to get the out and end the threat.

  • Congratulations to our Boys and Girl's Track Team for their outstanding effort and performance at the TSSAA A-AA East (North Sub Sectional).  Eliza Gillispie took 1st place in both the Long Jump and the Triple Jump.  Seth Hilbert placed 1st in the 400 Meter Dash, and Devon Wade placed 1st in Pole Vault!  How about those Bucs!!!!!  We also had several 2nd and 3rd place winners!!!!!  All results can be viewed on Tennessee Runner .  Good luck in the All East Sectional Track Meet on Tuesday, May 14th!  Run, Bucs, Run!
  • Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team who defeated Unaka, with a score of 14-6 on Wednesday night in the District 1-A softball tournament winners’ bracket final at Basler Field!



icon Faulkner one-hits 'Landers

Updated May 6, 2013 10:04 PM By - Press Sports Writer

Youth and experience — University High had the best of both worlds in a 10-0 victory over Cloudland on Monday night in the District 1-A softball tournament.

Eighth-grader Ari Ramsaran led the youth movement with a three-run home run in the third inning which bounced off the scoreboard at Betty Basler Field, and senior pitcher Haley Faulkner gave UH (21-13) the experience, allowing just one hit against the Lady Highlanders in the winners’ bracket semifinal.

Unaka defeated North Greene 6-1 in the other semifinal after Cloudland (3-15) took a 5-3 win over Hampton in a battle of No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.

“That was pretty neat to see her hit it off the scoreboard,” an UH head coach Keith Jeffers said about Ramsaran’s three-run shot. “That was something like you’d see in a movie. We’ve been working on hitting it hard on every at-bat.”

Apparently, the youngster has taken notice. She was 3-for-3 which included a pair of doubles before Cloudland decided to walk her on the final at-bat.

That didn’t work out either as Ramarsan scored off a throwing error to end the game in the sixth inning.

Faulkner did her part as well.

She was 2-for-3 at the plate and even more effective in the circle, giving up just one hit, a single to Cloudland lead-off Kelly King. In fact, that was all that kept her from a perfect game with no walks and eight strikeouts.

“I had my pill drop and my screwball working a lot,” Faulkner said. “We had to come out and do well this game to work towards getting better throughout the tournament. I’m glad we won. It was a good way to start the tournament.”

There was plenty of run support as the Junior Bucs had nine runs in the second, third and fourth innings. They had 13 hits overall with catcher Belle Bright going 3-for-4, Mollee Cohee 2-for-3 and Barrett Wherry 2-for-4.

“If we can hit like this, we will be OK,” Jeffers said. “We’ve hit the ball the last 2-3 weeks really well. We’ve just got to keep up hitting like this and we’ll be fine.”

Hunter McKinney suffered the loss for the Highlanders (3-15), who were hurt by six errors.

The Jr. Bucs will meet rival Unaka in a winners’ bracket final tonight at 7 p.m. The teams split during the regular season.

“Whoever wins that game is going to be in the championship game, so that’s a big thing,” Jeffers said. “It’s a rivalry that has gone back long before me. Unaka and UH, that’s something big every year.”


The following article was printed in the Johnson City News and Neighbor (727th Edition 05.11.13-05.17.13)








icon Bartow nearly perfect in UH sweep  



University High senior Calen Archer slides home behind Mitchell County’s catcher as the Junior Bucs swept a doubleheader in Wednesday’s Senior Night at Thomas Stadium. UH senior Connor Bartow pitched a five-inning no-hitter for the 5-0 victory the opener and went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the 8-6 win in the nightcap.

University High senior Connor Bartow was nearly perfect on Senior Night at Thomas Stadium. Bartow (7-3) pitched a five-inning no-hitter and was within a two-out walk of a perfect game in the opener, a 5-0 Junior Bucs victory, of a doubleheader sweep.   “He was getting his breaking stuff and his slider over and down and away,” UH coach Josh Petty said, “and he made it tough for them to hit. His slider was working pretty well tonight. It was Senior Night and a good all-around performance. Everybody contributed.”   Bartow finished the doubleheader 5-for-6 at the plate. He was 2-for-2 with two runs in game one and went 3-for-4 with two runs in the nightcap, which UH won 8-6 in eight innings.     Marshall Hurley got the victory in game two. He helped his cause by going 2-for-4 with two runs. Conner Moore was 3-for-4, Andy Hardin was 2-for-3 and Zac Vicars went 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs in the eight-inning victory.   Justin Wiseman was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and Vicars doubled and scored twice in the opener.   The Junior Bucs (12-8) open District 1-A play against Unaka on Monday at 7:15 p.m. at Happy Valley.

© 2013 Johnson City Press - All Rights Reserved




iconCome out and support our High School Boy's Soccer team as they take on arch-rival Greeneville on Tuesday, April 30th, in Greeneville.  The University School Boy's Soccer team is having a season for the ages.  We lead the state in scoring per game with a phenomenal 7 goals.  We're ranked 10th in the state for A/AA classification.  We have scored 84 goals!   And, we are ranked #83 in the entire nation!  

According to web site, our team is currently:

*  Ranked #15 in the state of Tennessee in A/AA classification poll (sterngth+seccess) *  University school is ranked 10th in the state for A/AA classification for best win lost record *  They ranked in the top 25 in scoring defenses with only giving up 0.9 goals per game (that's for all classifications) *  Have out scored their opponents 84-11 to date (this not counting preseason games) *  Have posted 5 shuts out to date *  Ranked 1# in scoring production with a 7.0 goals scored per game average (best in the state for all classifications)

According the web site:

University School Ranks 21st in the state and have earned a ranking of 83rd in the nation for spring boys soccer programs as of 4/23/13.

Give it up for our boys!



The following article was printed in the Johnson City News and Neighbor (727th Edition 05.11.13-05.17.13)






iconCheerleading Tryouts for 2013-2014:  Clinic- May 23rd and 24th Tryout Day- May 28th, location University School gym from 3:30-5:00 p.m.  Contact Coach Gray for more info at


iconUH blanks Elizabethton


Updated April 23, 2013 9:21 PM By - Press Sports Writer
ELIZABETHTON -- University High scored four goals on its own and benefited from a pair of own goals from Elizabethton, romping to a 6-0 boys’ soccer victory on Tuesday night at Brown-Childress Stadium.

The Junior Bucs improved to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in the Region 1 A-AA standings. The win sets up a showdown next Tuesday at Greeneville, also undefeated in the region.

A pair of early goals set the tone for UH.

Kevin Mast crossed a corner kick and Noah Jones put in a header in the fourth minute.

Nine minutes later, Junior Bucs were the receipent of the Cyclones’ first gift when the ball bounced off the chest of an Elizabethton defender and into the goal.

As head coach Victor Chirica was off to the side attending to Connor Williams who suffered an ankle injury, assistant coach Tony Snapp talked about the importance of those early goals.

“We talked before the game about having high pressure on the top,” Snapp said. “We got that head ball off the corner kick to get started with and then had the deflection on the second one. That kind of set the pace.”

Elizabethton fell to 6-5-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the district with the loss. Cyclones head coach Bill McClay could only remember one other high school match with two own goals, and that was a girls’ contest years ago.

“We knew we were going into a tough match, and you can’t make mistakes against a team with that kind of skill,” McClay said. “We made some mistakes early, but we survived the first half down 2-0. We come out in the second half and our intensity stepped up. Then, we give up another own goal when the ball was just going to go harmlessly to the keeper. I was disappointed with the final score.”

With an emphasis of controlling the midfield, the Junior Bucs controlled action on both ends of the field. They had a 15-3 advantage in shot attempts, including 11-1 on shots on goal.

“We wanted to be first to the ball,” Snapp said. “I told the guys at the beginning of the game if we won the ball in the midfield, we would win the game. They played up tempo all game and made some really good passes.”

They included Mast’s assist on the first goal from the left corner. The senior put the ball exactly where the coaches told him to, leading Jones to finish it on the back post.

“It just felt right. The touch on the ball was just perfect,” Mast said. “Then Noah’s header was perfectly paced. Those early goals gave us a lot of momentum.”

Pedro Teixeira had Elizabethton’s lone shot attempt in the first half and Isaac Fife had the team’s only shot on goal early in the second half.

Dominic Avento gave University High extra breathing room in the 63rd minute. Wesley Ongtengco assisted as Avento let loose a quick strike from the right side of the penalty box.

“After the start of the second half, that was big to get us up 3-0,” Snapp said. “That takes a little breath away from the other team because a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous margin in soccer.”

There was no stopping the Junior Bucs at that point. They scored on a second own goal in the 71st minute when the ball bounced off the head of an Elizabethton defender.

Just three minutes later, Tani Houston took the ball off the foot of another Cyclone defender for an unassisted goal. Lowell Williams blasted a free kick in the 77th minute for the final goal of the match.

It wasn’t all about the offense, as the UH defense was equally successful in marking Teixeira.

“We talked about that before the game how we didn’t want to let him turn with the ball, especially from 20 (yards) in,” Snapp said. “The guys played him pretty tight and didn’t give him any free looks at the goal.”

In addition to UH’s showdown with Greeneville, Elizabethton has a key contest next Tuesday. The Cyclones play host to Grainger with likely a No. 3 seed in the upcoming region tournament on the line.


© 2013 Johnson City Press - All Rights Reserved



Tournament time rapidly approaching


Published April 22, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer
University High’s soccer team is 7-1 on the season after Thursday’s 10-1 whipping of Cumberland Gap.

The Junior Bucs have a key Three Rivers/Blue Ridge Conference contest today at Elizabethton.

On Thursday, UH will have the opportunity to play at ETSU’s stadium. The Junior Bucs will play host to Sullivan Central at 6 p.m.

Another big league game awaits on April 30 as the Junior Bucs travel to face Greeneville with the regular season title likely on the line.



Winning streak continues!  Lady Bucs Softball team defeated Cosby - both games of the Double Header - 10 to 0 and 5 to 0. Go, Bucs, Go!


iconLady ’Toppers win Tri-Cities Track Classic

Published April 20, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer


Another notable performance was University High’s Devon Wade flying high in the boys’ pole vault. The defending Class A-AA state champion in the event, Wade cleared 14 feet, a foot and a half better than the height to win last year’s state title.

“I had a head wind today so I was vaulting a little bit shallow,” Wade said. “I had to wait for the wind three or four minutes a couple of times, but I finally got the extension so it was fun.”

Eliza Gillespie also picked up a second-place for University High in the girls’ triple jump (34-1 3/4) after placing fourth in the long jump.



How about those Lady Bucs!!!!  Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team for repeated Victories the past few games!  Tuesday night, April 23rd is Senior Night and will be dedicated to Kirah! On Thursday, UH Lady Bucs defeated North Greene in both games of a Conference Double-Header; first game score UH 3, NG 0; second game score UH 8, NG 0.
Tiny Day Tournament this past weekend:

On Saturday:  scores were          Cherokee 2, UH 0          UH 3, Chuckey-Doak 1.    Sunday:UH 2, Volunteer 1.                     UH 7, Happy Valley 2.  

          Also, our Lady Bucs selected for the All-Tournament Team were Barrett Wherry and Haley Faulkner.
                     Lady Bucs Team MVP:  Tanner Horton.
                     Jr. Lady Bucs were the Division Champions!!! 
On Monday, UH Softball team defeated Hampton 21 to 0!!!!!. Our Lady Bucs are on the move!

Victory again! UH Softball Team defeated Cloudland on Tuesday,  9 to 0!  Keep on swinging!, Lady Bucs! Congratulations to our Bucs Baseball team for their victory over Unaka, 7 -5!  Way to go, Bucs!

Proud of our Lady Bucs!  Congratulations to our Lady Bucs Softball team who played in the NFS Tournament in Erwin this past weekend.  Game scores:
     Volunteer 3, UH 1      UH 4, Dobyns Bennett 2      UH 8, Hampton 3      UH 9, Crockett 6      Unicoi County 13, UH 0.


iconRelay team leads Boone at TC Classic

Published April 19, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer


In the girls’ DMR, Science Hill’s team of Olivia Greeley, Hannah Hausman, Courtney Keith and Katie Lance finished fourth, one spot ahead of University High’s group of Alisha Elliott, Megan Lee, Carly Owen and Taylor Rice


iconScience Hill, UH bounce back at Eastman

Published April 6, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer

KINGSPORT — Science Hill and University High bounced back from disappointing losses in the Eastman Invitational softball tournament with a pair of victories early Saturday afternooon.

The Lady ’Toppers beat Letcher Central (Ky.) 6-2 after losing to Greeneville 5-1 earlier in the day. University High battled back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Richlands (Va.) 8-7. It came less than 24 hours after the Lady Jr. Bucs lost to Science Hill 2-1 in Friday’s nightcap.

In Science Hill’s case, the game against Letcher Central served two purposes. Besides giving the Lady ’Toppers no time to sulk after the Greeneville loss, it allowed them to get playing time for their younger players.

Such was the case with freshman pitcher Cheyenne Smith, who gave up just four hits in six innings to pick up the win.

“Our young players did really well,” Science Hill coach Jerry Higgins said after his team improved to 15-9 on the season. “Cheyenne threw strikes and she walked just one. We volunteered to play that game so we could get some of those younger players out there. We had seven freshman out there and “V” (Vanessa Elliott) is just a sophomore.”

Elliott led the way for Science Hill, going 3-for-3 with a RBI and three runs scored. She also was the leading hitter in the opener, going 2-for-3 against the Greene Devils’ ace Jordan Fortel, who allowed just six hits overall.

“When it comes to facing differences in pitchers, Vanessa is probably the best we’ve got,” Higgins said. “Some others didn’t adjust well at all in the Greeneville game. We didn’t have many good at-bats until the final inning. A pitcher shouldn’t dominate us. The girls have been around long enough.”

Megan Devotie also ended 2-for-3 against Greeneville, but for the Lady ’Toppers, it was a case of too little, too late.

The Lady ’Toppers fell behind 5-0 before getting three hits and getting on the scoreboard in the sixth and final inning.

There was no such delay, however, in game two against the Lady Cougars.

Science Hill took advantage of a couple of errors in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Hannah Devotie scored the first run off an error and Elliott followed by scoring off a wild pitch.

Emma Martindale’s sacrifice fly to left field in the third inning scored Elliott to account for the team’s third run.

Abby Higgins led off the fourth inning with a hard-hit ball to center field. Courtney Morelock followed with a RBI double to score her and a 4-0 Science Hill lead.

The Lady ’Toppers, who defeated Unicoi County to win the NFS Tournament in Erwin a week ago, added their final pair of runs in the fifth inning.

Elliott led off with a double, followed by a RBI single by Smith. She made her way to third before a RBI ground out by Jordan Rush. It was 6-0 before Letcher pushed a pair of runs across in the top of the sixth.

Higgins was glad to see such a team effort, especially with the mix of veteran players and youngsters.

“Emma is a junior and Jordan was the only senior out there at the end,” Higgins said. “It was a good opportunity for our girls to get in there and get a little experience because they’re going to have to play more next year. They put in play well and I was proud of them.”

University High coach Keith Jeffers said his team was embarassed on Friday after giving up 14 runs against William Blount. The Jr. Bucs came back to take Science Hill to the wire, losing 2-1 with bases loaded at the end. Vanessa Elliott struck out nine for the Lady ’Toppers to win a pitcher’s duel with UH’s Haley Faulkner.

It looked like the Jr. Bucs were still suffering from the hangover of that loss against Richlands early on. They were down 5-0 until Ari Ramsaran belted a two-run home run to get them going.

From there, University High rallied to take the 8-7 victory.

“We told them they could either give up or start getting base hits,” Jeffers said. “That’s what they did after that.”

Although the Jr. Bucs were eliminated from the championship round of the tournament by that point, the game showed their grit and determination.

“It was a little frustrating, but they held in there and started getting the base hits,” Jeffers said. “They didn’t give up and as long as people don’t give up, everything is fine. We still have a lot of work to do, but all these games are going to make us better.”



iconSeasoned Jr. Bucs have high hopes

Updated March 29, 2013 7:08 PM By - Press Sports Writer

Victor Chirica has been a soccer coach who always shoots straight about the abilities of his team.

So when he gave this year’s team a stamp of approval, it’s worth taking notice.

“This is the year when they have the best chance to get to the state tournament,” said Chirica. “They have the experience, the technique and the tactical form. They have everything.

“They just need to believe in themselves. They can do it. They just need to come to practice and make sure they are fit.”

The Junior Bucs are expected to battle Greeneville and Elizabethton for the Class A-AA Three Rivers/Blue Ridge Conference title.

As for Class AAA teams, Daniel Boone appears to be on the upswing while David Crockett is rebuilding.

Here’s a look at UH, Elizabethton, Boone and Crockett’s teams for 2013:

University High

The Junior Bucs are seasoned in the back with senior defender Nick Fabus and Benjamin Page, who is the team’s goalkeeper. Junior Jonathan Burke is another key defender.

In the midfield, Chirica said he will rely on seniors Connor Williams and Kevin Mast. Also helping stabilize the middle is junior Noah Jones.

Up front, Chirica should get plenty of offense from Lowell Williams, Dominic Avento and Westley Ongtengco. All of those players are juniors.

UH graduated just one player, and the Junior Bucs rolled through the preseason without a loss. After a forfeit victory, UH opened the regular season with a 13-1 pounding of David Crockett.

“Our whole team is back, plus we’ve got a new guy who just came on the team and he’s pretty good,” said Chirica, who will be assisted again this season by former David Crockett coach Tony Snapp. “It’s basically the same team, so we do have a lot of experience. They have grown up together for about three years now.”



iconUniversity High expects to challenge

Published March 28, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer

University High's baseball team is off to a really fast start, but the Watauga Valley Conference figures to be an interesting race to the finish.

The Junior Bucs won their first five games of the season, and have a senior-dominated team. They will certainly be a factor in the title chase.

However, North Greene is coming off a state tournament appearance and returns its ace pitcher.

Unaka has tradition, Hampton has more experience than usual, and Cloudland should be competitive when Roan Mountain thaws.

Here's a look at each team:


University High

Head coach Josh Petty said he doesn't have to rely on just one pitcher for a big game because of depth on the mound.

The four-seniors staff is led by Connor Bartow and Justin Wiseman while Marshall Hurley and Zak Vicars are also in the mix.

“I feel real comfortable running any of them out there in most situations,” said Petty. “And Connor and Justin have been a good one-two punch.”

At the plate, the Junior Bucs have a lineup that fits neatly into slots.

“We have a prototypical top five in our lineup,” said Petty.

Leading off is Bartow, who plays shortstop when he's not pitching. He gets on base, and knows how to run the bases, said Petty.

Bartow is followed by catcher Andy Hardin while Vicars (3b) hits in the No. 3 spot. Wiseman (1b) is the cleanup hitter while Hurley (cf) bats fifth.

Rounding out the lineup are Nick Sewell (2b, ss, So.), Logan Metcalf (of, So.), Ben Jackson (u, Jr.) and Jackson Colvett (of, Sr.).

Overall, Petty said he likes what he sees from his team.

“We are very senior-laden with a lot of experience,” he said. “The kids are enthusiastic, and they've set the bar pretty high for themselves."


iconPetty returns to coaching for Jr. Bucs

Published March 16, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer

Josh Petty made three major adjustments this spring, and there’s nothing like a 3-0 start to help ease the transition.

After a six-year absence, Petty returned to being a coach at University High. He also switched sports from softball to baseball. Also, he changed from coaching girls to coaching boys.

Petty said when he was first approached about taking over the Junior Bucs’ baseball program, he was a little hesitant.

“It wasn’t because of coaching baseball instead of softball, but because of the time it takes,” said Petty, who is 37 years old. “I was a little bit nervous in terms of time. But I’ve gotten support from home, support from my parents, and also support from ETSU.

“The new athletic director and (Buccaneers’ baseball coach) Tony Skole allowed us to schedule seven home games at Thomas Stadium. That added to the excitement of it.”

Petty took over the duties from Joe Borden, who led the Junior Bucs’ program for 15 years.

“He did a good job, and he’s a man of high character and morals,” said Petty. “He elected to retire from coaching.”

University High’s softball program soared under Petty, winning 20 games or more six times in his seven seasons. They consistently reached the sectional round, and made it to the Class A state tournament in 2005 and 2007.

But Petty had baseball experience, too. He started coaching Little League when he was at Ooltewah High School. And while he was at ETSU, he was an assistant baseball coach with Borden at University High.

One thing that helped Petty’s return was inheriting a really nice situation with the Junior Bucs.

“It’s a great group of kids,” said Petty. “They have senior leadership, and I’ve been more like a manager instead of a coach. They’ve responded to it.”

UH defeated three Class AA schools: Happy Valley, Sullivan North and Johnson County. And in the course of one of those games, Petty said he learned a big difference between softball and baseball.

“We were playing Sullivan North and we got down 5-0,” said Petty. “We were like the Bad News Bears. We were kicking it around, and the pitchers were walking people. In softball if that happens the game is over if the other team has a dominant pitcher.”

However, Petty’s team settled in, made a comeback, and eventually earned an 8-5 victory.

Another thing Petty said he likes about baseball are the managing aspects.

“You can’t ride one horse, and throw him for 20 games,” said Petty. “You’re counting pitches, and there’s more accountability in the dugout. You have to decide when to warm up a kid in the bullpen.”

Petty said the 2-1 win over Johnson County was especially important for his team.

“They made it to the (Class AA sectional) last year,” said Petty. “I told the kids in the dugout, ‘Even though they didn’t throw their No. 1, we only gave up one run. If it had been 10-8, people might have said it would have been different if they were throwing their No. 1. But they can’t say that if we only give up one run.’ ”

Petty said he will approach the baseball season with the same type of goal he had for his softball teams.

“We have eight or nine seniors, and anything less than a berth in the (sectional), with a chance to go to the state — not putting pressure on, and I wouldn’t say disappointment if we don’t — but I think the expectations are to get to that point,” said Petty. “The first goal is to win the district, and that will be tough. North Greene made the state last year, and Unaka has everybody back, and Hampton has everybody back.”

Overall, Petty said he’s simply having fun.

“I’m having a blast,” he said. “And it’s all because of the kids on the team.

“I also want to say I appreciate my coaches: Ryne Heaton, Chris Walley and Rayne Price. Those guys have made the transition much more comfortable.”


  • pictureSenior Night:  Congratulations to our High School Boys and Girls Basketball and Cheerleading Seniors!



  • Congratulations Devon Wade, who scored 2nd place in the Pole Vault Competition in Winston, Salem, qualifying him for Indoor Nationals in Baltimore, Maryland, in March.  Way to go, Devon!

  • picture8th Grade Night: Congratulations to our 8th Grade Girls and Boys Basketball players for 2012-2013!  Great year, Bucs!

  • pictureCross Country Senior Night:  Congratulations to our Cross Country athletes!



iconJunior Bucs ride Taylor, Hilbert to OT win at Cosby

Published February 23, 2013 By staff reports


COSBY — University High made it an all District 1 semifinal round with a 69-66 overtime win Saturday night against Cosby in the Region 1-A quarterfinals.


Marcus Taylor scored 24 points and Seth Hilbert had 17 points, seven assists and committed just one turnover to lead the Junior Bucs. UH sealed the win at the foul line.


“I’m really proud of our guys gutting out a win in a hostile environment,” UH head coach Justin Penley said. “We got down on the scoreboard late but kept fighting. Marcus hit some huge shots and Seth played great, just like you would like to see from a senior point guard.”


Calen Archer had 10 points and 10 rebounds for UH, and Marshall Hurley netted 12 points.


Cosby hit a pair of free throws to force overtime. Tate Parton scored 30 points for the Eagles, who finished the year at 17-10.


University High improved to 18-10 and plays Cloudland in the region semifinals on Tuesday at Chuckey-Doak Middle School








District Tournament

Unaka, Cloudland make 1-A final

Published February 16, 2013 By Jeff Birchfield - Press Sports Writer

Cloudland 63 University High 55

The Highlanders (22-9) used their depth to overcome an early lead by the Junior Bucs (17-11).

Cloudland had six players score at least six points with Taylor Whitehead leading the way with a 13-point effort. Zac Potter with 12 and Mason Carnett with 11 also hit double figures for the Highlanders.

"Our guys made the plays when they needed to make them at the end," Cloudland coach Brandon Carpenter said. "A lot of that comes from experience. A lot of our guys have been there before and that's a big factor."

The Junior Bucs opened the game on a 10-2 run, but the Highlanders quickly fought back and led 17-14 at the end of one quarter.

The teams battled evenly throughout the second quarter with Cloudland holding a 32-29 lead at the half.

Cloudland maintained a lead ranging from three to 10 points throughout the second half.

UH guards Seth Hilbert and Marcus Taylor, whom Carpenter called as good as anybody around, each scored 21 points to lead the Junior Bucs. Jordan Evans added a game-high nine rebounds.

"I thought our guys played with great effort tonight," UH head coach Justin Penley said. "Down the stretch when it was nip-and-tuck, they just made more shots than we did. That's disappointing because you want to make them all, but the kids battled and gave themselves a chance at the end."


iconBulldogs oust Huskies; Unaka girls eliminate UH

Published February 15, 2013 By - Press Sports Writer

Unaka (girls) 51

University High 42

Kassie Winters scored a game-high 17 points as the Lady Rangers (13-16) held off a determined University High team (11-14) in the girls’ opener.

Unaka appeared ready to put the Lady Bucs away with a 12-point lead in the third quarter, only to see University High cut the margin to five 34-29 by the end of the period.

The rally included a rare four-point play by Lexi Crouthers.

After UH sliced the lead to just two points in the final quarter, Winters responded with her own four-point play to make it a six-point game.

University High kept fighting, but the Lady Rangers had too much firepower in the end.

“Kassie is best when she gets to play in space, when she doesn’t have to anticipate, but just catch it and play,” Unaka head coach Wes Wright said. “That’s her strength. She caught it and made the big shot in transition. It was a big shot for a senior who wanted to push our season several more games.”

Megan Blair finished off a stellar career with 15 points and five blocks to lead the Lady Bucs. University High head coach Rayne Price talked about how she’s helped elevate the program over her four years as have fellow seniors Jurnee Carr and Courtney Woolwine.

“I know Megan is extremely disappointed, but I couldn’t have asked for a better game from her,” Price said. “She wanted this real bad and played with some urgency. She’s brought some girls along and has set an example.

“Our other seniors, Jurnee and Courtney, have set an example with their work ethic, something the other girls can feed off of.”

Savannah Wexler tallied 12 points for University High, which also had seven points from Crouthers.

“I’m not surprised by any of that,” Price said. “Lexi has been playing really good lately. That’s a good thing about freshmen, there’s not a lot to know to be afraid of. She’s kind of jumped in from day one.”

Brandi Ensor and Alicia Colbaugh each ended with 10 points for Unaka, which felt UH did a good job of pushing the Lady Rangers.

“I thought coach Price and them had a good game plan against us,” Wright said. “They did some stuff that hurt us. It was two teams desperate for a win, desperate to continue their season, two teams which fought like that.”



Congratulations to the High School Boys Basketball team - 1st Runner-up in Hardee's Classic !


iconUH dumps Unicoi at Hardee's

Published November 22, 2012 By - Press Sports Writer

University High basketball coach Justin Penley didn’t feel his team played its best on Tuesday night.

Still, it was plenty good enough for the Junior Bucs to get a marquee win over Unicoi County in the late game of the 23rd annual Hardee’s Classic at David Crockett High School.

With outstanding guard play by Marcus Taylor and Seth Hilbert combined with Joseph Phillips knocking down some key shots from the outside, the Junior Bucs won 60-47 in the opening-round matchup.

“It’s good to get a win over Unicoi, and it’s good to get a win the first night of the Hardee’s,” Penley said. “If you don’t win the first one, you can’t win the tournament. I told our kids we got a win when I didn’t think we played extremely well.

“It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t smooth by any stretch, but often that’s the case in the early season. Our timing was off a little bit, but we got after it and fortunately we made enough plays to stretch out our lead a little bit.”

Taylor, who was feeling under the weather after the game, ended with a game-high 22 points. Phillips added 10 points, including a pair of crucial 3-point shots.

“Three games in and Joseph is shooting it really well for us,” Penley said. “Marcus, he’s a playmaker. He’s a scorer, just somebody who knows how to put the ball in the bucket. Seth is more of a steadying influence. Each of those guys led us at different points in the game.”

If the play in the backcourt wasn’t enough, Calen Archer, Marshall Hurley and Nate Berning neutralized the Blue Devils’ play in the post.

Led by Archer’s 10 points, the trio accounted for 20 points overall.

Executing their offensive gameplan, Junior Bucs were particularly effective moving without the basketball and making cuts to the basket.

Most of all, they didn’t fold when the Blue Devils turned up the heat.

“They were pressuring us in the second half and we handled it pretty well,” said Hilbert. “It’s a good win for us. I know last year we got a (first-round) win over Crockett, and that got us going. It’s great to do that again. Hopefully, we’ll get to the championship of this tournament.”

The Blue Devils (2-1) struggled to knock down shots, particularly from the outside, where they hit just 3 of 15 behind the 3-point arc.

“As I said at our media day, we’ve got to win games on the defensive end,” Unicoi County head coach Michael Smith said. “We’re not good enough offensively, especially right now, to beat people on the offensive end.

“We have to win on the defensive side of the ball and we gave up 30 (points) in the first half and 30 more in the second half.”

Nic Chambers led the Blue Devils with a dozen points. Ethan Rice tallied 11, while Keith Arrowood also finished in double digits with 10 points.

Still, the offensive execution was lacking, evident by Unicoi County trailing 30-20 at the half and 43-28 at the end of three quarters.

“University High did a good job moving without the basketball, passing, screening and all those things, and we didn’t do a good job of that,” Smith said. “Take nothing away from them at all. They did what they needed to do to beat us.

“Still, I think we can use this game to our advantage. We can watch film and see the mistakes we are making. We can work on those areas in practice and get better.”

University High moved on to face host David Crockett in a semifinal game on Friday. Unicoi County is pitted against rival Happy Valley in a losers’ bracket game.

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iconView Photos of Crockett Game

UH, Greeneville make Hardee’s final

Published November 23, 2012 By - Press Sports Writer

University High scored the final seven points of its semifinal against host David Crockett to win 71-63 on Friday, and advance to the Hardee’s Classic championship for the first time.

The Junior Bucs (3-0) will face Greeneville for the championship of the 23rd annual boys’ basketball tournament. The Greene Devils held on to beat Unaka 73-67 in the second semifinal.

Happy Valley defeated rival Unicoi County 66-49 and Sullivan East routed Sullivan South 69-38 in earlier consolation bracket games.

“It’s neat to think back and this is the first University High team to make it to the championship of the Hardee’s,” Junior Bucs head coach Justin Penley said. “It’s a testament to our guys. I’m proud of the way they battled through some adversity in the first half.

“We told them to keep playing with high intensity and high effort and things would hopefully even out in the long run. We kept contesting shots and boxed out so when they did miss, we didn’t give them second and third opportunities. It’s good to see their hard work pay off.”

Guard Marcus Taylor scored 22 points to lead the Junior Bucs to their historic win. Taylor also had 22 points in UH’s opening-round win over Unicoi County. Against the Pioneers, Taylor displayed his versatility on the defensive end. He moved down to the post on a pair of possessions in the fourth quarter and forced a couple of crucial turnovers.

“I do whatever I can to try to get a win,” Taylor said. “We have some good guys down there so I didn’t have to help out too much. We’re pretty good defensively as a whole.”

Penley explained it was Taylor took it upon himself to help out his teammates. As a coach, Penley said he gives Taylor and others a certain amount of free reign.

“At one point we were in a scramble mode, but Marcus is one of those guys with great natural instincts,” Penley said. “That was just an instinctual move on his part to get that. I give those guys a lot of freedom on the court, at least at certain points of the game. I don’t want to overcoach them and let them use their natural abilities.”

Joseph Phillips was another major contributor on the offensive side, scoring 17 points including a trio of 3-point goals. Calen Archer battled inside to score 12 points, while Seth Hilbert added 10 points and controlled the action in the final stages from his point-guard position.

Josh Saults countered with 16 points for the Pioneers (2-3). Dustin Day also hit double-digits with 10 points, followed by Noah Leonard with nine points.

Crockett head coach Richard Tarlton felt the combination of UH’s talented backcourt and the his own team’s lack of experience hurt them in the end.

“They have as good a set of guards as is in our area as far as being able to handle the ball and knock down shots,” Tarlton said. “Our game plan going in was to keep the ball out of No. 3’s (Taylor’s) and No. 11’s (Phillips’) hands. We wanted to double them up and make them give it up, but we lost sight of our men a time or two and gave them some easy looks.”

Down by 11, the Junior Bucs rallied with the last seven points of the second quarter to trail 35-31 at the half.

University High still trailed by four, 52-48, heading into the final quarter. However in the final 1:10, UH stretched a 64-63 lead into an eight-point victory.

“It just comes down to what coach tells us to do and finishing games,” Taylor said. “We’re a good team and we can compete with anybody. It just came down to the final stretch and getting it done in the second half.”

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iconView Photos of Greeneville Game


Greeneville beats U-High to claim title
Published November 23, 2012 By - Press Sports Writer    
Greeneville used a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter to pull away from ‍UniversityHigh and then held on for a 73-64 win in Saturday’s championship game of the 23rd annual Hardee’s Classic at David Crockett ‍High School.

It was the second Hardee’s title for the Greeneville program, coming two decades after their first championship in 1992.

In earlier games, Unaka romped past host David Crockett 76-49 for third place, Sullivan East defeated Happy Valley 70-47 for fifth place, and Sullivan South beat Unicoi County 65-51 for seventh place.

They were preliminaries for a emotion filled championship in which four players in double figures spurred the Greene Devils (4-1) to victory.

“I know they had runs, we had runs and it was a battle all night long,” Greeneville coach Brad Woosley said. “‍UniversityHigh got after us. They put up 40 on us in the first half.   That wasn’t something we wanted to happen, but they played hard.”

UniversityHigh head coach Justin Penley couldn’t agree more. He wasn’t pleased with some of the turnovers and his team’s shot selection in the second half, but there was no fault with how hard they played.

“Those runs were hard for us to overcome, but our kids gave great effort for 32 minutes,” Penley said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more with the energy they brought and   the intensity they brought to the court tonight.

“We just didn’t play well at times tonight. We took some ill-advised shots to help their runs out. It’s one thing to take an ill-advised shot if it goes in, but if you miss it, you put yourself in a precarious situation. You have to give them credit though, they made some tough shots.”     One example of the Greene Devils’ shot making was Trevor Wright’s four-point play that put his team up 62-53 with 5:30 to go. Wright ended as his team’s leading scorer with 18 points.

“Trevor is a kid who has great athleticism, but shooting the basketball hasn’t always been there for him,” Woosley said. “Over the spring, summer and the last few weeks, he’s really improved his shooting and that’s great for us to see.”

Tournament MVP Landon Duncan tallied 17, while Cory Waddell added16 and Jacob Cobble added 12 in the victory.

For ‍UniversityHigh, Joseph Phillips was the ‍high scorer with 18 points, followed by Marcus Taylor with 17 points and Calen Archer with 10.

Using a balanced attack, Seth Hilbert and Marshall Hurley ended with eight points apiece.

  The Bucs trailed 18-15 at the end of one quarter, but rallied late in the second quarter to take a 40-35 lead into halftime. Greeneville parlayed their 10-0 run in third quarter into a 55-53 lead heading into the final eight minutes.




  • icon Treadway propels UH girls to victory
    FROM STAFF REPORTS, © 2012 Johnson City Press - All Rights Reserved Published November 14, 2012
        Taylor ‍Treadway scored 19 points and Megan Blair had a double-double as University High’s girls basketball team defeated Hancock County 46-45 in overtime on Tuesday night.

      Treadway hit a crucial   3-pointer in the fourth quarter and tipped-in the shot   that forced overtime with less than a second left on the clock. With seconds remaining in OT, Barrett Wherry put UH up by four points on a lay-up. Hancock answered a 3-pointer, but UH held on for the win.

    Blair had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five steals, while Wherry grabbed 10 boards and three steals and chipped in six points



    Phillips, Taylor lift Junior Bucs
    FROM STAFF REPORTS, © 2012 Johnson City Press - All Rights Reserved November 14, 2012
        Joseph ‍Phillips and Marcus ‍Taylor combined for 38 points as University High’s boys basketball team opened its season with a 69-32 win over Hancock   County on Tuesday night at Brooks Gym. ‍Phillips netted a   game-high 22 points and ‍Taylor had 16. The Junior Bucs led by 23 points at halftime.
      Phillips made four of UH’s seven 3-pointers. ‍Taylor hit three from long

  • Congratulations to the High School Cross Country teams!  They participated in the State Cross Country championships in Nashville, Tennessee this past Saturday.  The Boys Team placed 7th.  Gabe Perry was our first finisher.  The Girls Team placed 10th.  Kirah Elliott was our first finisher.  There were 24 teams and over 200 runners entered in each race.  Great Job!

  • Congratulations to Middle School and Elementary Cross Country runners at the State Meet.  They did a great job!  Coach Bragg is soooooo proud!  You all did a great job this year!  All runners need to wash and return your uniforms.  You may turn this into the office or give directly to Ms. Bragg.  All uniforms must be turned in by Friday, October 26th
  • pictureCongratulations to Connor Bartow, who qualified and competed in State Golf Tournament!  Proud of our Swinging Bucs!

  • MS Cross Country Victory!  On October 18th, at the Warrior's Path Cross Country Meet, our Middle School Boy's team placed 3rd overall and received a trophy!  Congratulations to our Girl's team with Bekah Own finishing 1st for our team!  Way to Keep on Running, Bucs!!!

  • Cross Country:  Congratulations to the Middle School Cross Country Team! Anne Fagerburg finished top for our girls' team.  Our Middle School Boys Cross Country team finished FIRST, winning the Run Fer Da Hills meet at South Holston Dam last Saturday, with Jeb Jones finishing 4th overall!  Also, the High School Boys finished 4th out of 37 teams at the Eyeopener cross country meet in Spartanburg, SC. Gabe Perry was 9th overall. Kirah Elliott was first female finisher.  The next middle school race is this weekend in Knoxville. High School will be Sept. 15th at the VA.



  • Congratulations to the Lady Bucs Soccer team for their win over Crockett, 7-2!  Belle scored 2, Savannah scored 4, and McKayla scored 1!  Way to go, Kickin' Bucs!  Come support the Lady Bucs Soccer team on Tuesday, August 21st, at Civitan, as they face Boone!  They play at 6:30.  Good luck!

  • pictureCongratulations to our state champion pole vaulter, Devon Wade, who placed 4th in Pole Vault at the AAU National Meet.  He qualified for the National Championship in Houston, Texas in August.  Way to go, Devon!!!










© 2013 Johnson City Press - All Rights Reserved