Michalski’s Hawks state champs

Neely, HVA beat rival Farragut in title game as 9th inning collapse overshadows unsung Ads’ play

Senior Vinny Gambuzza, HVA baserunner, scores ahead of the throw home as Farragut senior catcher Nico Mascia reacts. MURFREESBORO — Friday morning Hardin Valley Academy baseball head coach Joe Michalski received a text message from his brother that turned out to be prophetic.

“My brother Mike sent me a text this morning and he said that we would win in extra innings,” Michalski said after the Hawks notched a 10-2 nine-inning victory over Farragut in the Class AAA state championship game at Middle Tennessee State University’s Reese L. Smith Jr. Field. “He said we would win in extra innings and we did.”

It was the third comeback win of the tournament for Hardin Valley (31-16), which rallied to beat Bartlett and Soddy-Daisy to reach the title game against a familiar foe.
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Admirals stun Houston with sweep to reach title game

Eric Lessig, FHS senior pitcher, fires plateward during a Class AAA state tourney elimination game versus Houston Thursday evening, May 21, at Siegel High School. Lessig and his Admirals won 7-2, forcing a second game also won by Farragut 4-3. MURFREESBORO — Throughout the 2015 season Farragut High School’s baseball team has responded when its had to. This was again the case on Thursday, May 21.

“These kids know how to win,” Admirals’ head coach Matt Buckner said after his team swept a pair of elimination games against Houston in the Class AAA State Tournament at Siegel High School. “They’ve been through the battles.”

Farragut opened an unseasonably cold day in the Midstate with a 7-2 victory over the Mustangs, who bounced the Ads from the winner’s bracket Wednesday, May 20, in a game that was far from dramatic.

The second game against Houston was a different story as Farragut had to score three sixth-inning runs with a berth in the State Championship hanging in the balance.
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Crockett state throw champ

Lady Ad Carey No. 2 in shot put

Tamia Crockett, HVA senior, left, receives her shot put Class AAA state title metal alongside runner-up Destiny Carey, Farragut junior, Thursday, May 21, in Murfreesboro. While Farragut junior Destiny Carey was queen of East Tennessee shot put as KIL and Section 1-AAA champ, Tamia Crockett is state queen in two throwing events.

Crockett, a Hardin Valley Academy Class of 2015 graduate, ended her Lady Hawks throwing career by recapturing what she accomplished as a sophomore: Class AAA state crowns in both shot put and discus.

“I’m really happy, 20 more points for the team,” said Crockett, a University of Missouri signee who set a personal record in discus “by nine feet” with a long throw of 143-11. That was accomplished despite wind and temperatures in the low 50s during girls state meet at Middle Tennessee State University Thursday, May 21. “To go out with any PR is great,” Crockett added.
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Rested Wright has faith, claims two state titles

McCay captures AAA pole vault state crown

Weldon Wright, Hawks senior, goes airborne for this triple jump attempt during Class AAA state meet in Murfreesboro Friday, May 22. Wright won this event plus the state long jump crown. MURFREESBORO — Winning Class AAA state titles in both the long jump and triple jump while setting personal records by roughly one foot in both events, Hardin Valley Academy’s Weldon Wright has a simple formula for success.

“Hard work, taking a rest and just praying,” Wright, a senior, said after reaching 23-07.00 in long jump and 47-05.50 in high jump at Middle Tennessee State University Friday afternoon, May 22.

“God’s everything in my household. … I wanted to do it with grace, dignity and with respect,” Wright added. “I’m so blessed, I came out here and had peace.”

Physically, “I felt really, really fresh,” Wright, also KIL and Sectional 1-AAA champ in both events, said. “We had to rest a lot, on coach [Bryan] Brown’s orders. He was like, ‘rest Weldon, ice bath’ and I did a lot of those things. My mom made me go to bed early.”
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Webb state soccer champs, CAK No. 2

Matt Zacyzk, CAK sophomore (23), goes up with Christ Presbyterian Academy defenders near the Lions’ goal looking to score during this Class A-AA title game Friday, May 22, in Murfreesboro. MURFREESBORO — Webb School of Knoxville boys soccer continued a fruitful season of Spartans sports success, edging Battle Ground Academy 2-1 to win the Division II-A state title at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex Thursday, May 21.

The Spartans, coached by Jordan Wormsley, defeated Sacred Heart in semifinal round play 1-0 Wednesday, May 20.

Meanwhile, Jon Day was saying a rematch of his Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors versus Christ Presbyterian Academy in the Class A-AA boys soccer state final “was probably what was on the cards for this day.”

Though stronger thanks to more intense off-season weightlifting after losing the 2014 Class A-AA state title game to CPA 1-0, Day’s Warriors still suffered the same fate in 2015.
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HVA soccer falls short in semis

Science Hill ruined Mike McLean’s going-away gift as Hardin Valley Academy soccer head coach last Wednes-day, May 20.

“I thought it was a fairly even game. I think the penalty kick call changed the game a bit,” McLean, who coached his final game at HVA last week after seven seasons and one state title (2011), said about the 2-0 Class AAA state semifinal loss in Murfressboro. It was HVA’s first setback of 2015 (19-1-2).

“We had to push forward a bit and they’re such a good possession team that they were able to get in behind us later in the game. And once the rain broke out and we’re 2-nill be-hind it was so hard to move the ball and go forward on them. … We didn’t really develop too much possession like we wanted to.
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Though winless at state, HVA, Bearden softball coaches proud

MURFREESBORO — Making their first trip as programs to the state softball tournament, Hardin Valley Academy and Bearden each went 0-2.

“I do think that we were probably a little nervous that first game,” Whitney Hickam-Cruze said about her HVA Lady Hawks, a 3-2 loser to Siegel Tuesday, May 19.

Scored with eight errors, “A lot of those errors were tough errors … I don’t necessarily think we had eight errors in that game to be honest with you,” Hickam-Cruze said. “We did have some plays there that cost us. Defensively we struggled a little bit.

“We most certainly played good defense before the state tournament,” the coach added.

Finishing fifth in District 4-AAA regular season, “We started out rough,” Hickam-Cruze said after being eliminated by Collierville 2-1 May 20. “I told the girls, ‘It’s not how you start it’s how you finish.’ They stuck with that and worked hard throughout the year. … They started coming together at the end of the season.
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Catholic repeats as state AA runner-up

MURFREESBORO — For the second consecutive year Knox-ville Catholic made an appearance in the Class AA state championship game and for the second straight time the Irish fell short.

Catholic came up on the losing end of a 2-1 decision against Christ Presbyterian Academy Friday afternoon, May 22, at Middle Tennessee State Univer-sity’s Reese L. Smith Jr. Field.

The loss came nearly one year after the Irish lost the 2014 championship tilt to rival Christian Academy of Knoxville 6-5.

The game against CPA was a pitcher’s duel and Lions’ hurler Devin McKnight stifled the Irish offense. McKnight, with help from his defense, allowed just a pair of second-inning singles. “He [McKnight] did a good job,” KCHS head coach Adam Sullivan said. “We hit the ball hard today but we hit it right at people and they made some great plays.
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Hawks sweep Bartlett en route to state title

MURFREESBORO — Hardin Valley Academy made its first trip to the Class AAA Baseball State Tournament in 2015 and at first glance, it looked as though the Hawks advanced to the championship game with relative ease.

HVA swept its portion of the tournament bracket and although the Hawks never faced elimination, they had to come from behind to beat Bartlett to earn a spot in the title game. The Hawks had to overcome an early 3-0 deficit to claim an 8-3 victory over the Panthers Thursday, May 21 at Oakland High School.

“We talked about there being a game with adversity; lots of it and we talked about the reason that we were going to win with the adversity is because we’re ready for it,” HVA coach Joe Michalski said. “They’ve been waiting for a game where the other team threw the first punch so they could throw the second punch and win it.
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Webb girls, boys state tennis champs; Irish No. 1, Bearden 2nd

Brittany Foust, left, and Julia Adams led Bearden girls tennis to a team Class AAA state runner-up finish in addition to a doubles No. 2 showing. Coaches are Tyler Lane, left, and Seth Nutter. MURFREESBORO — Lorenzo Rollhauser closed out his high school tennis career in grand style Friday afternoon, May 22. Rollhauser, who has starred at Webb School of Knoxville for five years, left Old Fort Park as Division II-A State Singles champion.

“It feels great winning again,” said Rollhauser, who defeated University School of Nashville’s Will Johnston 6-1, 6-2 to claim his third career singles title. “Every time you win a state championship, it’s a big deal.

Since he was an eighth grader, Rollhauser has been a part of four Webb state championship teams, won three singles titles and a doubles championship.

He helped lead the Spartans to the 2015 team title early last week (which was Webb’s third straight) but he’s never one to take things for granted. “Coach Jimmy [Pitkanen] has meant so much to me in my career and in my life,” Rollhauser said. “He’s taught us never to take anything for granted and he’s taught us that every state championship is special.”

Rollhauser’s singles title culminated another magical stay in Murfreesboro for the Spartans.
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