A Directors Cup win for the Greyhounds wouldn’t be a bad way to end its two-year stay in AAAAA before moving to the state’s highest classification at AAAAAA.
Although Pope’s football team and girls basketball teams came up short in making the state playoffs this year, other sports have risen to the occasion.
Its wrestling team winning the state duals and taking third in the traditional state meet have been the highlights of Pope’s success. The Greyhounds came from behind to beat Woodland in the finals of the dual meet with Sean Hayden and Seth Gorman closing out the match by winning at 220 and 285 pounds, respectively.
“Those two kids had tremendous performances and brought us back from behind,” Pope athletic director Josh Mathews said. “That may be one of the more fun high school events I’ve been to by the way it turned out.”
Softball has been the highpoint of the girls teams, finishing in the final four a second straight year.
Pope’s boys swimming took 12th in state. The volleyball and boys basketball team each advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
The girls cross country team took 10th in state and the boys took 15th. Pope also scored points in girls swimming by taking 21st overall led by Emma Murray who won the 100-yard breaststroke.
Pope’s spring programs may be enough to keep the Greyhounds in front. Its baseball team has a shot at defending a state title or at least go deep in the playoffs. Both tennis teams and soccer teams are off to great starts and the lacrosse teams could also be in the mix off strong starts to the season.
“With football and girls basketball not making it, you think we’re out of the race but a lot of other sports have picked it up,” Mathews said. “We’re see what the spring brings. It’s a long time before it’s over.”
In Class AAAAAA, Walton is sitting in third overall behind Brookwood and North Gwinnett.
The Raiders could make a serious spring push behind both tennis teams – the girls have claimed nine of the last 10 state titles. Its baseball team is 8-2, boys soccer is 11-0 and the lacrosse programs could also make a dent.
So far, Walton has claimed titles in both volleyball and boys swimming. Volleyball has now won four straight and its boys swimming brought a championship to Cobb in the highest classification for the first time since 1999.
Other highlights were the cross country girls taking fourth and the boys ninth. Girls swimming ended up fourth, Walton boys basketball made the second round and both football and girls basketball made the playoffs.
If there was a pleasant surprise, it would be the boys swimming team pulling off a state championship, despite not winning an individual event or relay.
“It was a good senior group in particular and we knew there were in the running,” Walton athletic director Chris Williams said. “It was neat to see them all come together.”
While the remaining big schools in Cobb County are out of the top 10, Lassiter and Harrison girls are sitting at second and third overall. Lassiter softball made the final four, volleyball made the state quarterfinals and took fifth in swimming. The Harrison was a state runner-up in softball, and a quarterfinalist in volleyball.
Allatoona is currently seventh overall in AAAAA and Mount Paran Christian is eighth in Class A.
The Buccaneer wrestlers were state runner-ups in the traditional meet and the boys team made the state quarterfinals. Mount Paran’s football team and girls basketball both made the state quarterfinals, and its competitive cheerleading team won the state title.