Ariail, Ard great leaders of youth

Published 5:51 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Congratulations to Coach Jamie Ard, Coach Chip Ariail and their Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats soccer teams.

Coach Ard’s Bearcats, led by such outstanding performers as senior midfielders Hal Clement, Bryan Ordonez and Miguel Barron, senior forward Alex Benjarano, and freshman midfielders Louis Mejia and Daniel Provence, have clinched two first-time goals for the program.

They clinched the number one seeding in the Region 1AAAA South Sub-Region Tournament and swept both games against annual strong Region 1AAAA South Sub-Region foes, the Thomas County Central High School Yellow Jackets and Lee County High School Trojans.

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Ariail’s Lady Cats have had a winning season despite the loss of three top seniors, Whitney Thomas, Aubrie Provence and Leanna Flowers, to graduation in 2010.

The Lady Cats are led by senior midfielder Robbi Howard, junior midfielder Charlton Reynolds, senior goal keeper Jessica Dunlap, junior midfielders Savannah Cook, McKenzie Conder and Anye Miller and senior forward Bailey Wells.

Coach Ariail and Coach Ard, who played for Ariail as a student athlete when he coached both the boys and girls soccer teams, built the soccer programs to the strong level they are today.

Coach Ariail and Coach Ard have a real passion for the game of soccer, and the players on their teams reflect that passion with hard, hustling play on the field.

Whether you are a fan of the game or not, you can’t be around Coach Ariail or Coach Ard for long without sensing their love for the game.

My philosophy in covering high school sports has always been that the most important sports are the ones that are in season.

While I have my favorite sports, which are baseball and football, I try to give all of them equal coverage when they are in season.

The athletes that I cover are not on full college athletic scholarships or making six-figure salaries at the professional sports level. They are just outstanding young kids playing their hearts out for their school, their city, and their county.

I commend Coach Ariail, Coach Ard and all the other Bainbridge High School athletic team coaches for working hard every day to help young student athletes become the best that they can be.

In addition to being outstanding coaches, they are outstanding role models for the young men and young ladies they lead.

In sports, young people learn a lot of valuable lessons, like the importance of teamwork, character and striving for positive goals, that they can use the rest of their lives and that is really a great thing.