Since the inception of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association Directors Cup in 1999-2000, only two Cobb County schools — Walton and Harrison — have claimed the Cup, with the Raiders taking home five overall.
Harrison won the initial Class AAAAA crown in 2000-01, and Walton won the inaugural Class AAAA title in 1999-2000. The Raiders added a Class AAAAA title in 2001-02 and three consecutive honors from 2006-09.
As region tennis tournaments begin in earnest next week, three local schools — Allatoona, Pope and Harrison — all have a chance at finishing No. 1 in their respective classifications, and their athletic directors are well aware of their current position.
Buoyed by strong performances in football, cross country, basketball, softball, volleyball and cheerleading, Allatoona is currently No. 1 in Class AAA with 661 points through the conclusion of the winter sports. The Buccaneers, who finished fifth last year, are ahead of defending Directors Cup winner St. Pius X (622) and Carrollton (556).
The Directors Cup standings are determined by a team’s performance in the postseason. The scale ranges from 25 points (10 in a non-bracketed sport, such as golf or track and field) to 100 for a state championship.
Though St. Pius X has won the last three Class AAA Directors Cups, Allatoona athletic director Benji Morrell is excited about his school’s prospects in the spring sports, which are performing well.
“We talked about (the Directors Cup) after last year and felt like we had a real shot this season,” he said. “We felt like we had a chance to win the whole thing when we started, and it’s worked out well so far.
“We had a good fall and winter season, with teams making deep postseason runs, and now we just need a good showing in the spring. It’s different for us though when you’re dealing with private schools like St. Pius and city schools like Carrollton — they’re usually very good in the spring sports.”
Pope (577.5) has the daunting task of dethroning 12-time Cup winner Marist, which is currently second in Class AAAA with 540 points. The Greyhounds nearly did it last year, finishing as runner-up to the War Eagles.
Pope, which has already won state championships in wrestling and volleyball, is looking to add to its point total in the spring, with sports such as girls soccer and boys and girls tennis performing well.
“It’s definitely something we’re shooting for after the bitter taste we had finishing second last year,” Pope athletic director Steven Craft said. “For a second, we thought we’d won, but the way the points were scored in some sports was disappointing.
“(The Directors Cup) is something we stress at our school. We want to be the best program in the state, and this is how it’s measured. It’s a way the entire school can compete, and something we all can be proud of. It will all come down to how we do in the postseason.”
Three local Class AAAAA schools — Walton, Harrison and Lassiter — placed in the top five last year, behind winner Brookwood.
Currently, the same three are once again in the top five and chasing down Brookwood (658). Harrison (652) is close behind in second, positioned well thanks to its boys and girls basketball, volleyball and girls cross country teams.
“We’re always looking at (the rankings),” said Harrison athletic director Jerry Meuschke, who is retiring at the end of the school year after 43 years of teaching. “We’ve been in the top 10 every year since these rankings came out, and we’re always paying attention to it. Our fall and winter sports came through for us. We’ll see what we can do with the spring sports.
“We’ve had a slow start to some of our spring teams. There are a lot of young teams without a lot of seniors. I feel like the teams played strong early schedules and, hopefully, that will help them in region and in the playoffs because I want us to win one more (Cup) before I retire.”