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BHS sports came together for a great year

It all came together for Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats sports teams during the 2008-2009 school year.

Following BHS Principal Tommie Howell’s announcement on Friday that the Bearcats and Lady Cats had won the Region 1AAAA All-Sports Award, I began thinking just what a great achievement that was.

The Bearcats were competing in a nine-team Region 1AAAA for the first time, making the challenge of advancing to the top even more difficult.

Going into the school year, certain things were known about some of the Region schools, but many things were unknown about some others.

For example, we knew certain things about the three other schools that were in our Region before last year’s expansion. We knew that Lee County High School would be strong in wrestling and baseball, we knew that Americus-Sumter County High School would be strong in boys and girls basketball, and we knew that Thomas County Central High School would be strong in football.

What we didn’t know is what sports the additional five schools added to the Region, Harris County, Jones County, Hardaway of Columbus, Westside Macon and Upson Lee were strong in.

To their credit, BHS coaches and athletes didn’t worry about the strengths of the other Region school’s teams. They just went out on the fields and courts, hustled, played hard, won several Region championships and finished runner-up in several more.

It started in the fall with coach Mandi O’Mara’s Bearcats and Lady Cats cross country teams winning Region championships, and coach Keith Midler’s Bearcats and Lady Cats swim teams capturing Region runner-up honors.

During the winter, coach Rickey McCullough’s Bearcats and coach Latreisha Moon’s Lady Cats brought a lot of excitement to Bainbridge and Decatur County basketball fans by winning Region 1AAAA championships at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum and advancing all the way to the state Class AAAA Final Four.

The spring was the most successful season of all for BHS sports teams.

Coach Nicki Shockley’s Lady Cats tennis team and coach Larry Cosby’s Bearcats track team won Region 1AAAA championships, and coach Tom Wheeler’s Bearcats and Lady Cats golf teams and coach Tandria Phillips’ Lady Cats track team captured Region runner-up honors.

You don’t win an award like the Region 1AAAA All-Sports Award without strong leadership at the top.

Decatur County School System athletic director and Bearcats head football coach Ed Pilcher provides that strong leadership.

Coaches of the various sports have told me how much he encouraged them and their athletes to work hard in practice and competition.

While talking with coach Pilcher the other day, he told me how much he believes in teamwork.

“Our coaches in all of our sports are a team,” he said. “Winning the All-Sports Award was definitely a team effort.”

It has been my privilege and pleasure to cover the exciting Bainbridge High School shorts action during the 2008-2009 school year, and I congratulate all the coaches and athletes on their outstanding efforts.