Blue Devils, Lady Devils earn awards

By Keeli Parkey

Several Unicoi County High School athletes were recently recognized for their performances during the 2017 spring sports season.

For the Blue Devil baseball team, senior Shaddon Peavyhouse was named the Three Rivers Conference player of the year. He was also named to the District 1-AA all-tournament team.

Seniors Nick Fender and Dylan Putman, as well as juniors Troy Podvin, Owen Nicholson and Clay Simpson were awarded all-conference honors.

Head coach Chad Gillis was named coach of the year.

The Blue Devil baseball team won the Three Rivers Conference regular season title and finished with an overall record of 18-15 and a conference record of 9-3. The season came to an end in the district tournament.

• • •

From the Lady Devil softball team, senior Neelee Griffith was chosen as the Three Rivers Conference player of the year. Junior pitcher Halie Padgett was chosen as the conference’s co-pitcher of the year.

Named to the all-conference team were seniors Keelie Hall and Savannah Lafever, juniors Rylie Stiltner and Tanya Chavez and sophomore Halie Hawkins.

Senior Hannah Bowen joined Hawkins, Griffith and Padgett on the District 1-AA all-tournament team.

The Lady Devils won the conference regular season championship, finished in second place in the district tournament and second in the Region 1-AA tournament. Their season came to an end with a loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) in the substate round.

The UCHS softball team finished the season with an overall record of 33-14 and a conference record of 12-1.

• • •

The Blue Devil soccer team was well-represented on the All-District 1-A/AA team.

Senior Jose Ortiz was named the league’s offensive player of the year and senior Christian Leon was the league’s defensive player of the year.

Joining Ortiz and Leon on the all-district team was senior Sam Murillo and juniors Daniel Meza and Chris Andrade.

The Blue Devils posted an overall record of 12-7-1 and a league record of 7-2-1. In just its second season in existence, the team won the District 1-A/AA championship and finished in second place in the Region 1-A/AA tournament. The season came to an end with a loss to CAK in the substate round.

• • •

For the UCHS track and field program, senior Stephanie Wisse earned the Three Rivers Conference most valuable runner award thanks to her first-place finishes in four events –  the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash.

Wisse competed at the TSSAA state meet and won four medals – second place in the pentathlon, third place in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Also representing UCHS at the state meet were senior pole vaulter Andrew Bowen and sophomore pole vaulter Halie Hawkins, who pulled double-duty this spring, competing with the track and softball programs.

Bowen won sixth and Hawkins finished in a tie for fourth place in the state pole vault.

TFWC sets 2017-18 hunting seasons

From Staff Reports

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) established the state’s 2017-18 hunting and trapping seasons at its May meeting which took place on the campus of Bryan College.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) staff had recommended few changes to the 2017-18 regulations during its season’s preview held at the April meeting.

The TFWC voted to increase the total number of elk hunt permits from 11 to 15 and increase the three hunt segments to seven days each. This will include seven archery permits, seven for gun (which includes the auctioned permit), and one youth permit.

The archery only elk hunt was increased from five to seven days and will be held beginning the last Saturday of September. The dates are Sept. 30 through Oct. 6.

The gun season hunt, with its increase of two days from previous years, will be held Oct. 14-20, 2017. Similar to last year, all hunt permits are valid on the North Cumberland WMA and can also be used on private lands (with landowner permission) within the Elk Restoration Zone in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan and Scott counties.

The Young Sportsman hunt was previously a two-day weekend hunt and increases to seven days. It begins Oct. 7 and continues through Oct. 13.

No changes were made to the deer and turkey hunting seasons, limits and regulations though there was considerable discussion on the definition of antlered deer and turkey daily bag limits.

There were also no changes to the bear hunting dates but standardized bear seasons language was adopted. There were no changes to the furbearer proclamation other than removing some antiquated language in the proclamation regarding fox hunting.

Some slight changes were made requiring hunters to check in their big game animals prior to gifting an animal to another person and prior to a big game animal leaving Tennessee.

Due to removal of some language in a state law, the commission will now have more authority in determining the type, placement and inspection of traps utilized in furbearer trapping. All traps approved implement accepted Best Management Practices.

Various minor changes to several WMAs were made across the state. They will be posted soon on TWRA’s website.

The commission also discussed a few fishing topics. Upper Chilhowee Reservoir has been closed to fishing during a dam maintenance project for about two years. The TFWC voted to amend the current sport fish proclamation opening Chilhowee Reservoir to fishing upon notification from Brookfield Renewable, which is the company that operates the dam. The TWRA will make a formal announcement on the date in the coming months.

The commission passed a rule in regard to commercial fishing and wholesale fish dealers. This rule addresses commercial fishing licenses, permits, and reporting requirements.  Passage of this rule will not change these licenses or requirements as currently found in the proclamation. This rule also creates a new process to sell available resident commercial roe fish permits. When available, TWRA will announce a live drawing for eligible commercial fishers.    

In another housekeeping item, the commission passed a rule in regard to commercial musseling. This rule addresses commercial mussel licenses, mussel fees, and importation and exportation procedures. Passage of this rule will not change licenses, fees or procedures as currently found in proclamation.

Former commissioner David Watson was recognized at the meeting. The Lookout Mountain resident had been elected as the TFWC vice chairman in February, but resigned from the commission due to health reasons.

Members of the Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council were recognized for their assistance. The TWRA and the council have worked together the past 26 years to host the annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.

TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Cpt. Matt Majors gave a report on the TWRA Honor Guard. The Honor Guard, formed in 2013, provides 3-tiered service to the fallen, ceremonial services, and assistance/support to other conservation law agencies. The TWRA Honor Guard recently participated in the National Police Week in Washington, D.C., which thousands of officers from around the world participate.

Brandt Information Services representatives presented details for a digital marketing proposal. Brandt became the agency’s new license vendor last Oct. 31. Sportsmen now have the opportunity to purchase a new collectible hard card with revenue being used to invest in the marketing program.

Jennifer Wisniewski, the Georgia Department of marketing and communications director, gave a presentation on her Email marketing experience in her state. She explained the benefits, which includes the license sales increases that Georgia has enjoyed.

Athletes compete at state meet

Pictured, from left, Stephanie Wisse, Andrew Bowen and Halie Hawkins with the medals they won during the TSSAA state track meet held in Murfreesboro last week. (Photo contributed by Daniela Martinez)

By Keeli Parkey

Only three Unicoi County athletes represented their high school at last week’s state tournament competitions – and they represented their school well.

Senior track and field athletes Stephanie Wisse and Andrew Bowen and sophomore Halie Hawkins competed at the TSSAA state track meet at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro last week and returned home with medals around their necks.

Wisse, a Milligan College-signee, competed in the pentathlon on May 22 and in individual events on May 25. This was Wisse’s first season competing in the pentathlon, a competition made up of five events – the 100-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put and 800-meter run – designed to test an athlete’s endurance, skill and will to compete.

“Coming out of the first event – the 100-meter hurdles – Stephanie was in second place,” head UCHS track coach Megan Davis told The Erwin Record. “She went into the field events after that. Following the long jump, high jump and shot put, Stephanie was in third place, but she had put herself in a good position going into the 800-meter race, which was the last event of the competition.”

Wisse rose to the challenge in the 800-meter, according to Davis.

“Before the race coach (Thad) Higgins and I talked to her about her running her individual best in the 800,” Davis said. “Competing in the pentathlon is a long, tiring day for the girls and Stephanie gave it her all.”

Thanks to her performance in the 800-meter race, Wisse jumped a spot and won second place in the pentathlon behind Lennox Walker from the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

A few days after the pentathlon, Wisse was back in Murfressboro to compete in three additional individual events – the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash.

“It was a long week for her,” Davis said. “Competing in that many events is hard to wrap your mind around.”

Again, Wisse rose to the challenge, finishing in the top-5 in all three events. She took third place in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.

“In every event Stephanie performed well,” Davis said.

The state meet isn’t the end for Wisse. She has more competition ahead of her.

“Milligan is going to be happy to get her,” Davis said. “I am excited for her future. The way she ended her career for Unicoi County sets a precedent for our track program. She put a lot of work in for four years.”

Bowen competed in the pole vault on May 26 and Hawkins competed in the pole vault on May 25.

“Both of them competed very well at sectionals before the state tournament,” Davis said, “and they represented UCHS track very well at state.”

Bowen ended his career on a high note, taking sixth place in the state pole vault competition with a vault of 11’-6”.

“Andrew really competed well,” Davis said. “He has been a very gifted vaulter for us during his career. He put a lot of work into pole vaulting, so to end his high school career with a state berth and medal is great.”

In just her first season as a vaulter, Hawkins finished in a tie for fourth place at the state meet.

“Halie finished with a vault of 8-feet,” Davis said. “It wasn’t her highest vault, but her mechanics and coachability mean she has a bright future ahead. This was a huge accomplishment for her.”

Wisse, Bowen and Hawkins represented UCHS well last week, according to their head coach.

“With their performances during the meet they showed what Unicoi County is made of,” Davis said. “I am proud of what they accomplished.”

Tennis teams end seasons, recognize players

The UCHS tennis program recently honored its players for their hard work this season. Pictured, from left, are Ben Hensley, Trey Hatcher, Trent Treadway, Noah Starnes, Brandolyn Thomas, Chase Erwin, Carson Moore, Katherine Altemose, Abbie Hensley, Natalia Hernandez, Winter Day-Honeycutt, Katlyn Higgins and Taylor Thomas; not pictured Aaron Manzanares and Daniel Campbell. (Contributed photo)

By Keeli Parkey

The 2017 season recently came to an end for the Unicoi County High School tennis teams. Blue Devils and Lady Devils played their final matches of the season in the District 1-A/AA tournament earlier this month.

For the Blue Devils, senior Trent Treadway advanced to the semifinals in the singles tournament, defeating South Greene’s Aiden Stills in the first round and Elizabethton’s Laken Barnett in the second round. A loss to Sullivan South’s Nate Barrett in the semifinals eliminated Treadway from the tournament.

Sophomore Ben Hensley also represented UCHS in the district tournament, losing to Jullian Hill of Sullivan North in the first round.

The UCHS doubles teams of juniors Chase Erwin/Daniel Campbell and juniors Trey Hatcher/Noah Starnes also competed in the district. Erwin and Campbell won their first round match, defeating Sullivan North’s Cox/McAmis team. Erwin and Campbell were eliminated from the tournament with a loss to the Sullivan South team of Manis/Carter in the second round.

Hatcher and Starnes also won their first round match, defeating Ferguson/Jones from North Greene, and lost their second round match. The team of Brown/Crum from South Greene defeated Hatcher and Starnes in the second round.

“I was really proud of the way the boys team performed this year,” head coach Karla Keesecker said. “They worked hard and improved their game all season long. Even though we came up a little short in a few matches, they all competed well.”

***

Representing the Lady Devils in the district singles tournament was sophomore Taylor Thomas and freshman Katlyn Higgins. Thomas was defeated by Sullivan South’s Heather Sanders, the tournament’s top seed. Higgins lost to South’s Courtney Gibson.

In the doubles tournament, the Lady Devil team made of juniors Winter Day-Honeycutt and Abby Hensley lost to Sullivan East’s Nelson/Murray, the top team in the tournament. Also in doubles, the Lady Devil team of junior Carson Moore and sophomore Katherine Altemose lost to Johnson County’s May/Henson.

“The girls had a tough season this year,” Keesecker said. “They are a great group of girls to work with and I’m sure they will continue to work hard and improve.”

***

Following the conclusion of the season, the Blue Devils and Lady Devils recognized players receiving awards from the conference and from their team.

For the Blue Devils, both Treadway and Erwin received all-conference awards. Treadway also received the team’s Blue Devil Award.

“Trent had a good season,” Keesecker said. “He played really well as the number one seed. He was a great role model for the team and I am proud of the way he performed this year, which is why he received our Blue Devil Award as well. Trent was our only senior this year.  He has been a great leader and role model for the boys’ team. He was always an encouragement and an excellent competitor. We will miss him.

“Chase had a great season this year,” Keesecker continued. “He played some long, tough singles matches and won some key matches for us during the season. I was really proud of his work ethic and  the way he competed.”

Hensley was named the boys’ Best Singles Player.

“This was Ben’s first year on the tennis team and he did an excellent job,” Keesecker said. “He finished the season with a 4-5 record. He won some great singles matches and lead the team to victory on several occasions. I was proud of how Ben improved and competed this season.”

Hatcher and Starnes were named the Blue Devils Best Doubles Team.

“This was Trey and Noah’s first year on the tennis team,” Keesecker said. “They did a wonderful job working on their game all season long and played some great doubles matches that went down to the wire and they had some great down from behind comebacks. They worked hard and competed well during the entire season.”

Sophomore Aaron Manzanares was recognized as the team’s Most Improved Player.

“I am so proud of Aaron this season,” Keesecker said. “He has worked so hard to improve and he has exceeded every expectation. He played some great matches this season in doubles with Ben Hensley and won a very important singles match at Sullivan East to help the team have a chance to win the overall match. He has worked hard and I look forward to his continued success.”

Keesecker also praised Campbell’s contributions to the team this season.

“I would also like mention Daniel Campbell who attends University High, but plays for UCHS,” she added. “Daniel had a great season as well. He was the key in our win against Sullivan Central and Sullivan North. He worked hard during the off season and was a great competitor during the season.”

Receiving all-conference honors for the Lady Devils were Day-Honeycutt and Thomas. Thomas was also chosen as the team’s Best Singles Player.

“Winter has worked extremely hard on her tennis game,” Keesecker said. “She continues to improve. I thought she did well especially since she went from the number 5 seed last year to the number 1 seed this year. She played some tough competition but was able to compete well.  I’m looking forward to her continued success.

“Taylor Thomas had an excellent season,” Keesecker added. “She competed well and worked hard. She did an excellent job in her matches and won a great match against Sullivan Central where she was down from behind and came back to win. I’m looking forward to her continued improvement.”

Moore and Altemose were named the girls’ Best Doubles Team. Altemose also received the Blue Devil Award.

“Carson and Katherine played some good doubles matches this year,” Keesecker said. “Including a great win against Sullivan North.

“Katherine went above and beyond this season,” she continued. “She has an excellent work ethic and attitude. She is a great role model for the team on and off the court. She always does her best in every match and has excellent sportsmanship. I’m looking forward to her continued success.”

Brandolyn Honeycutt was chosen as the Lady Devils’ Most Improved Player.

“Brandolyn played her first season of tennis this year,” Keesecker said. “I was very proud of Brandolyn’s work ethic and attitude. She did an amazing job this season. She worked so hard to improve. She won several of her matches and was an excellent competitor.”

Junia Gindlesperger served as an assistant coach for the UCHS tennis program this season.

Soccer team ends season with substate loss

Sam Murillo battles with two Greeneville players during the Region 1-A/AA championship game on May 18. Murillo scored two goals in the Blue Devils’ victory over Cumberland Gap played on May 16. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School soccer team’s history making season came to an end last week.

After winning the District 1-A/AA championship the week before, the Blue Devils (12-7-1), in only their second year as a program, defeated Cumberland Gap, 2-0, in the semifinals of the Region 1-A/AA tournament on Tuesday, May 16, in Erwin.

“That was a fun game for us to get to play,” head coach Justin Ciralsky told The Erwin Record.

The Blue Devils took control of the game in the first half, thanks to a first-half goal by senior Sam Murillo.

“We scored pretty early, so going into halftime we were pretty confident,” Ciralsky said. “We were able to shut down their better players, then the second goal helped seal the deal.”

Murillo scored the Blue Devils’ next goal during the second half.

Ciralsky praised the play of senior Christian Leon and sophomore Juan Ramirez in the game.

“Christian and Juan had been playing very well the previous three or four games,” he said. “We had heard they had a couple of really strong players and our guys were able to shut them down and keep them from hurting us. This opened up our forwards and midfielders to move up and try to get goals.”

• • •

The victory over Cumberland Gap sent the Blue Devils to the region championship game where they faced Greeneville on Thursday, May 18, in Erwin. The win also sent the Blue Devils to the substate round where they faced Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) – the reigning state champions – on Saturday, May 20, in Knoxville.

Against Greeneville the Blue Devils did not turn in the performance they needed to defeat the reigning region champs.

“You could tell our boys were a little timid,” Ciralsky said of the Greeneville game. “You could tell some of them were distracted by graduation. We didn’t play terrible, but we played scared, almost like we didn’t know what to expect.

“Greeneville is a good team and they move the ball very well. Obviously, we wanted to walk out of there with a win, but I think a lot of little distractions, mixed with playing a team of that level led to our defeat.”

Greeneville scored near the midpoint of the first half.

“We played pretty well after they scored the first goal,” Ciralsky said.

It was the Green Devils second goal, which came in the second half, that deflated the Blue Devils.

“The second goal is the one that was more morally defeating because we had been playing well. We had been moving the ball and had corrected things we hadn’t been doing in the first half.”

The loss to Greeneville sent UCHS to CAK for the do-or-die substate game on Saturday where the reigning state champions took control of the game in the first half and a 3-0 lead into halftime.

“We went in knowing that we were the underdog,” Ciralsky. “… We told the guys before they game that they needed to leave the field knowing that they did everything in their power to be successful and to play an excellent game. Honestly, the score doesn’t reflect how well we played. … The timidness we played with against Greeneville was not there.”

Despite trailing early in the game, UCHS kept fighting.

“They still attacked the goal and they still moved the ball,” Ciralsky said. “They did everything we asked them to do.”

Trailing 3-0 at the half, the Blue Devils didn’t quit.

“We came out and played well in the second half,” Ciralsky said. “I was very pleased with our effort.”

CAK added another goal late in the game to win 4-0 and advance to the state tournament.

The loss to CAK was the final game as a Blue Devil for the team’s eight seniors – RJ Phillips, Carlos Delgado, Christian Leon, Samuel Murillo, Jose Ortiz, Derek Andrade, Donnie Metcalf, and Gerardo Batrez.

“These guys are irreplaceable,” Ciralsky said. “Sam, Christian and Jose – their love and passion for the game really impacted other players.”

The future is bright for the Blue Devils, though.

“After the CAK game we talked about how this is just the foundation of what we want to build on,” Ciralsky said. “I let our leaders – Sam and Christian – talk to the boys. They were encouraging them and reminding them that this season wasn’t a fluke. We set the standards high for what we want to attain for the years to come. … We are excited to build on this season going forward.”

• • •

Ciralsky also expressed his appreciation to the fans who supported the Blue Devil soccer team this season.

“One of the things we focused on this season was the ‘Stand As One’ phrase we said before and after every game,” Ciralsky said. “I think the community is starting to see that we are not just playing for ourselves, or even the high school – we are playing for our community. That was something that was evident by all the people who came to our games last week.”

Following the win over Cumberland Gap, the Blue Devil players and coach urged fans to join them on the field – where a celebration ensued.

“Our boys enjoyed celebrating that win with the community,” Ciralsky said. “It was a great feeling.”

Throughout the 2017 season, the Blue Devils felt the support of the community, for which they are very appreciative, according to their head coach.

“Thank you so much to everyone who came out and supported,” Ciralsky said. “It was such an encouraging thing. To see the support the community had for those boys just reinforced what we were teaching them about life on the field and off. We just want to thank everyone who came out to the games and supported us – it was the heartbeat to what we are playing for.”

CAK defeat keeps ladies out of state – again

Ashley Edwards fields a ground ball during the Lady Devils’ loss to Elizabethton in the region championship game. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

A familiar foe ended the Unicoi County High School season for the third consecutive year.

Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) defeated the Lady Devils (33-14), 11-1, in substate action on Friday, May 19, in Knoxville. The victory sent CAK – the defending state champions – to the state tournament and ended the season for UCHS.

“It was a tough loss,” head coach Grady Lingerfelt told The Erwin Record.

Things didn’t go well for UCHS from the start of the CAK contest. Errors by the Lady Devils in the home half of the first inning led to four runs for the Lady Warriors.

“It’s no fun to go down there and play,” Lingerfelt said. “If any team has a home-field advantage, they have one – with the turf and the ball taking crazy bounces. Those errors in the first inning got us off to a real bad start.”

The Lady Devils responded in the second inning, adding 1 run after junior Halie Padgett reached on a single and Hope Bailey, in as a courtesy runner for Padgett, scored on Savannah Lafever’s RBI-single.

CAK squashed any hope of a comeback by UCHS in the bottom half of the second, third and fourth innings. The Lady Warriors scored 2, 3 and 2 runs, respectively to win the game and advance to the state tournament.

“They are a very good team,” Lingerfelt said of CAK. “They won the state last year and it’s the same bunch of girls. They lost their shortstop from last year, but everyone else is back. They have five girls who are going to play college softball. They are very good. That’s all you can say.”

Leading the Lady Devils at the plate were seniors Neelee Griffith and sophomore Halie Hawkins who had 2 hits each. Tanya Chavez, Lafever, Rylee Stiltner and Padgett each had 1 hit for UCHS. Lafever had the team’s only RBI.

The loss to CAK was the final game as a Lady Devil for the team’s six seniors – Neelee Griffith, Ashley Edwards, Keelie Hall, Savannah Lafever, Faith Bailey and Hannah Bowen.

“They are all good softball players who contributed a lot to the program,” Lingerfelt said. “We hate to lose them.”

• • •

UCHS had to go on the road to face CAK in the substate game due to a loss to Elizabethton in the Region 1-AA title game played on Wednesday, May 17, in Carter County.

It certainly didn’t appear that the Lady Cyclones had any chance of winning the region crown early in the game as the visiting Lady Devils jumped out to a 5-0 lead after their first two at-bats, including a 2-run home run by Chavez.

“We really hit the ball hard early in the game,”Lingerfelt said. “I thought we were in clear sailing after we went up 5-0. As it turns out, that didn’t last.”

Elizabethton’s offense came alive in the their half of the second inning, scoring 4 runs to cut the Lady Devils’ lead to 1, 5-4. After both teams went scoreless in the third inning, Elizabethton took the lead in the fourth, scoring 2 runs for a 6-5 advantage.

“We didn’t make any errors in the game,” Lingerfelt said. “Usually you start kicking the ground when people start coming back like that. But, they got base hit after base hit – hard base hits. And, they had some bloopers that landed just out of the reach of people.”

The Lady Devils tied the game, 6-6, in the top of the fifth when Bowen’s double scored Padgett from first base. Any momentum UCHS built in that inning disappeared in the bottom half of the inning when ‘Betsy added four more runs for a 10-6 lead.

“Our lead just didn’t hold up,” Lingerfelt said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Stiltner and Bowen had 2 hits and an RBI each in the loss. Chavez (1 HR, 2 RBIs), N. Griffith, Hall (1 RBI), Padgett, Allee Griffith and Hawkins (1 RBI) each contributed a hit.

Wisse, Bowen, Hawkins qualify for state meet

Andrew Bowen runs to a vault during last week’s sectional meet. Bowen won second place in the pole vault and qualified for the state meet. (Photo contributed by Daniela Martinez)

By Keeli Parkey

Thanks to their performances at the sectional meet held in Chattanooga on Wednesday, May 17, three Unicoi County High School track and field athletes – seniors Stephanie Wisse and Andrew Bowen and sophomore Halie Hawkins – will be representing their school at the TSSAA state track and field meet this week.

To qualify for state, athletes had to finish in the top four, or earn one of four at-large bids. The state meet is being held at Middle Tennessee State University.

Wisse, who had already qualified for the state pentathlon competition which will also be held this week, advanced to the state meet in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. She also competed in the high jump at the sectional meet, finishing in sixth place.

The highlight of Wisse’s day was a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash. Wisse was ranked ninth in the event at the sectional meet.

“We really didn’t anticipate Stephanie making it to state in the 100-meter dash,” Davis said. “It’s an event she loves, but during meets it unfortunately comes right after she runs the 100-meter hurdles so she runs it tired.”

Tired or not, Wisse blew away the competition last week with a career best 12.47 in the 100-meter dash. She will be ranked third at the state meet in the event.

Wisse also ran career bests in both the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, winning second place in each event.

“Stephanie rose to the challenge during the sectional meet,” Davis said.

Wisse will compete Thursday afternoon in the individual events. She competed in the pentathlon after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

Bowen qualified for the state pole vault competition with his second-place finish at sectionals.

“Early in the season, with what he was jumping, we knew Andrew would make it to sectionals,” Davis said. “It was about getting him to compete at a level that would get him to state. Two weeks prior to sectionals coach (Thad) Higgins started changing how Andrew jumps and vaults. There were a lot of changes we asked him to make. That’s not easy to do late in the season and in his career, but he took on the challenge and did everything we asked him to.”

Bowen’s hard work paid off at sectionals, in addition to taking second place he also increased his personal best by 2 feet with a vault of 12’-6”.

Davis said Bowen is ranked fourth in the state meet. He will compete on Friday, May 26, at MTSU.

Hawkins, who pulled double-duty this spring by competing in track and as a member of the Lady Devil softball team, also advanced to state in the pole vault. Hawkins won the event last week with a personal best vault of 8’-6”.

“Halie came into the event ranked second, increased her personal best by 6 inches and won the event,” Davis said. “She competed very well.”

Hawkins, who will be ranked third at state, will compete on Thursday morning at MTSU.

• • •

Six other UCHS athletes competed at the sectional, but did not advance to the state meet.

Senior Cameron Higgins, a Milligan College signee, threw in both the shot put and discus competitions.

“Cameron faced a lot of good competition at sectionals,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, he did not have one of his better days. He didn’t throw as well as he wanted to and didn’t go out the way he wanted to. But, it’s not the end of track for him. He’s in good hands going to Milligan.”

The Lady Devils’ 4×800-meter relay team, which is made up of Megan Todd, Jillian Taylor, Cheyenne Wilson and Kaitlyn Tilson, also competed last week.

“They ran a really good time and faced some very tough competition,” Davis said. “All of them will return next year and we are excited about what they can do with more experience.”

Todd also competed in the 800-meter and 1-mile events at the meet.

“We are pleased with how Megan competed at sectional and what she will bring to the team next season,” Davis said.

Alex Carter represented the Lady Devils in the pole vault last week, missing out on a state berth by one spot, according to her head coach.

“Alex competed well,” Davis added. “She has come on for us late in the season and is really figuring it out. She cleared 7 feet at sectional, which is a personal best for her. We are excited to see what she can do for us next year.”

Track athletes conclude regular season

Halie Hawkins runs to a vault during the TriCitiesSports.com Relays on Monday, May 8. Hawkins set a personal record during the event. (Photo contributed by Daniela Martinez)

By Keeli Parkey

The final two meets of the regular season for the Unicoi County High School track and field teams were all about preparation for the postseason.

Last week’s inclement weather led to the postponement of the TriCitiesSports.Com Relays – an invitation-only meet held at Science Hill High School in Johnson City – and the last scheduled regular season meet for UCHS. The meet was originally set for Friday, May 5, but rain and cold temperatures led event coordinators to move the meet to Monday, May 8.

Unfortunately for the UCHS athletes invited to the meet, the makeup date was the day before their important subsectional meet on Tuesday, May 9. This forced the UCHS coaching staff to make tough decisions regarding what events their athletes would participate in.

“The nature of our sport sometimes forces us to make difficult decisions regarding athlete participation in meets,” UCHS head coach Megan Davis said. “It is unfortunate for our athletes that the TriCitiesSports.com Relays had to be moved to the day before our subsectional meet. The subsectional meet is our first step in qualifying for the sectional meet, and ultimately, the state meet. We want our athletes to be as fresh as possible for the subsectional.”

Davis said approximately 75 percent of UCHS track athletes were invited to compete in the TriCitiesSports.Com Relays.

“It says a lot about our athletes that so many were going to be able to participate in this meet,” Davis said. “To be one of the best athletes in your event in the area is no joke.”

Only five UCHS athletes competed on Monday. Among them was Stephanie Wisse. Davis said Wisse was invited to compete in seven events, but in order to have her ready for Tuesday’s subsectional, Wisse, who excels at running events, only participated in the high jump. Davis said Wisse participated in this event as part of her preparation for the state pentathlon meet.

“This was a good meet for her to get prepared to compete at state,” Davis said. “It’s unfortunate that she couldn’t compete in all the events she was invited to. She had won the meet’s most valuable runner award the last two years. I think she would have won that again this year.”

Cameron Higgins participated in the discus throw on Monday. Also, pole vaulters Andrew Bowen, Alex Carter and Halie Hawkins competed at the TriCitiesSports.Com Relays.

“It says a lot about the job coach (Thad) Higgins is doing with our vaulters that they were invited to compete,” Davis said. “It was good for them to compete just before subsectionals.”

Hawkins set a personal best on Monday, turning in a personal best vault of 8 feet, Davis reported.

The UCHS pole vaulters showed their progress during a meet held at Science Hill on Tuesday, May 2.

“Alex cleared a vault for the first time,” Davis said. “This was a big step for her as a beginning vaulter. She was able to clear three different heights.”

Carter reached 6’-6” on May 2.

“That makes her competitive in the postseason,” Davis added.

Hawkins set a personal best of 7’-6”, which she improved on during the TriCitiesSports.Com Relays, on May 2.

“We are very excited about that,” Davis said. “It makes her very competitive at sectional and subsectional levels and it puts us at a point where we can start thinking about state competition.”

Bowen cleared 10’-6” last week.

“Andrew is becoming a more advanced vaulter,” Davis said. “We are excited to see what he can do in the postseason.”

• • •

Blue Devils and Lady Devils competed in the subsectionals in Greeneville on Tuesday, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. Those athletes who qualify will advance to the sectional meet set for Wednesday, May 17, at Chattanooga Christian School.

“We fully plan to see several of our athletes move on to sectionals,” Davis said.

Softball team advances in district tournament

Third baseman Savannah Lafever fields a ground ball during the Lady Devils victory over Sullivan South in the opening round of the District 1-AA tournament on Monday, May 8. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

Despite a slow start, the Unicoi County High School softball team survived to play another day thanks to a 10-4 victory over Sullivan South in the District-1AA tournament.

Playing in Erwin on Monday, May 8, the Lady Devils (30-10) found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first inning thanks to an RBI by South’s Laura Dade. UCHS then went quietly in the bottom half of the first inning, giving the Lady Rebels hope that they could pull a major upset.

This hope started to dwindle in the bottom half of the second inning when Lady Devil Keelie Hall hit an RBI-double scoring Neelee Griffith from second base. UCHS added another run in the inning when pitcher Halie Padgett helped her own cause with an RBI groundout that scored courtesy runner Greta Raby. The Lady Devils held a 2-1 run after two innings.

Griffith knocked in the first of 4 RBIs in the home half of the third inning, smacking a line drive to left field that scored Halie Hawkins. Griffith later scored, thanks to Hall’s second RBI of the day for a 4-1 UCHS lead.

The Lady Devils took total control of the game in the bottom of the fifth. They took a 5-1 lead on an RBI-single by Tanya Chavez that scored Hawkins. Griffith then tallied RBIs two, three and four on an inside-the-park home run for an 8-1 lead.

UCHS then added two more runs off the bat of Ashley Edwards, who had returned to the lineup following a leg injury. Edwards knocked an RBI-double to left field to score Jaime Edwards and Kate Hollenbeck, giving UCHS a 10-1 lead.

South scored three runs in the top of the seventh and final inning, but that was it as UCHS won the game 10-4 and advanced in the tournament.

Padgett earned the win in the circle, throwing just over 5 innings. Padgett threw 6 strikeouts, while giving up 1 hit and 1 earned run. Hannah Bowen threw just over 1 inning in relief.

Griffith was 3-for-4 at the plate with the inside-the-park home run and 4 RBIs. Hall was 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Bowen was 2-for-3. Chavez (1 RBI), Rylee Stiltner, Allee Griffith (2 RBIs) and Hawkins had 1 hit each in the victory.

• • •

The Lady Devils were scheduled to face Elizabethton on Tuesday, May 9, in the district semifinals following The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

With a win over the Lady Cyclones, UCHS advanced to the championship round, which is set for Thursday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. at Lady Devil Diamond. A win in this game will give the Lady Devils the District 1-AA crown. If they lose this game, they will play an if necessary game immediately after.

Soccer team finishes second in conference

Blue Devil Jose Ortiz, right, chases down possession of the ball during his team’s 2-2 draw with Elizabethton. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

In just its second year in existence, the Unicoi County High School men’s soccer program has shown itself to be one of the top teams in the Three Rivers Conference.

With a victory and a draw last week, the Blue Devils (9-5-1) won second place in the conference race and earned a first round bye as the second seed in this week’s District 1-A/AA tournament.

“We are thrilled with this seed,” head coach Justin Ciralsky said. “It is great recognition for the team and all their hard work. We are hoping to use this momentum to carry us through the district tournament and regional tournament.”

The Blue Devils played Elizabethton in the district semifinals on Tuesday, May 9, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue. A loss ended the Blue Devils’ season; a victory qualified them for the district championship scheduled for Thursday, May 11.

• • •

UCHS opened last week with an upset of Sullivan South – the conference’s top team. Playing in Kingsport, the Blue Devils got scores from Juan Ponce and Sam Murillo to earn the 2-1 victory.

“Our two goals were clutch,” Ciralsky said. “Jose worked hard throughout the whole game and the goalie was saving all of his shots. But, late in the game Jose was fouled in the box, and it allowed Sam Murillo to score a penalty kick for the go-ahead goal.”

The victory over the Rebels was a total team effort, the head coach said.

“Our whole team played well,” Ciralsky said. “Juan started out the scoring for us, and he played a phenomenal game. Also, Chris Andrade played very well in the midfield.”

• • •

Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Blue Devils couldn’t hold off Elizabethton to get a win; however, UCHS held on to get a 2-2 draw.

“Our team as a whole didn’t play very well,” Ciralsky said, “but, Christian Leon and Sam Murillo played well. Sam tied the game with about 20 minutes left and Christian made several great defensive stops to keep us in the game.”

Ortiz scored the other goal for UCHS.

The Blue Devils failed to capitalize on six chances inside the box.

“We really needed to put those in the back of the net,” Ciralsky said. “We learned the importance of doing the small things well.”

During halftime of the Elizabethton game, the senior members of the team were honored on the field.

“The seniors this year are irreplaceable,” Ciralsky said. “Their passion and love for this game is what prompted our team to start. I have known these boys for years and I will miss their leadership, their passion and their love for this game. The seniors have helped to build this program to what it is today, and our hope is to carry on their legacy by developing a winning program in the years to come. They have been a great blessing to me as a coach, and nothing would make me happier than to lead them into the state tournament.”

The Blue Devil seniors are  RJ Phillips, Carlos Delgado, Christian Leon, Samuel Murillo, Jose Ortiz, Derek Andrade, Donnie Metcalf, Tyler Whitson and Gerardo Batrez.

District loss sends baseball team to losers’ bracket

By Keeli Parkey

In order to win another District 1-AA championship the Blue Devils will have to do what they did last season – battle their way out of the loser’s bracket.

The Unicoi County High School baseball team (18-14) went into the tournament as the top seed, but found themselves on the losing end of a 7-0 contest against the fourth-seeded Sullivan South Rebels on Monday, May 8, at Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport.

“Having only three hits definitely didn’t give us a chance,” head coach Chad Gillis told The Erwin Record. “South’s pitcher, Trey Fields, deserves a lot of credit though. He had a dominating day on the mound. There were zero adjustments made at the plate for seven innings, it’s hard to win games against a great pitcher without making adjustments.”

Having won the district coming out of the loser’s bracket last season gives UCHS the experience they need to battle for another crown.

“We are not losing confidence,” Gillis said. “We were in the exact same position last year and won the whole thing. We have top guys going on the mound and we will figure some things out at the plate. We are looking forward to getting this loss behind us and earning a regional bid this week.”

Nick Fender, Shaddon Peavyhouse and Cameron Spires had 1 hit each for UCHS in Monday’s loss. Caleb Wilson took the loss on the mound.

The Blue Devils will play their next district game on Wednesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. Their opponent was decided by games played on Tuesday, May 9, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

A loss on Wednesday will end the season for UCHS. A win will set up a game at 5 p.m. on Thursday. In order to qualify for the region tournament and keep their season alive, the Blue Devils must win on Wednesday and win on Thursday. Winning both those games will put UCHS in the 7:30 p.m. championship game on Thursday. Because they came out of the loser’s bracket, they will have to win the 7:30 p.m. Thursday game and the if necessary 6 p.m. game on Friday, May 12, to win the district.

• • •

The Blue Devils wrapped up the regular season last week with wins over Pigeon Forge and David Crockett and a loss to Sullivan North in the conference finale.

UCHS went on the road and defeated Pigeon Forge 6-4 on Monday, May 1.

“This was a statement game for us,” Gillis said. “We needed to win this game to prove we can play with and be a great team. Caleb Wilson had a fantastic game. He found his groove and pitched like he is capable of. Dylan Putman and Nick Fender had big nights at the plate having five of our six RBIs between the two. Our defense stepped up and made plays the entire game and we executed our offense perfectly.”

Wilson earned the win on the mound for UCHS. Fender went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Putman was 2-for-3, including a home run, and 4 RBIs.

• • •

On Tuesday, May 2, Sullivan North bested the Blue Devils 6-5 in their final conference game of the 2017 season.

“This was a tough loss coming after a big win the previous day,” Gillis said. “We didn’t come to the field mentally prepared to play.  We hit the ball well, but made enough mistakes in the field to keep them in it. It was just their day.”

Troy Podvin was 2-for-4 at the plate, including a home run. Wilson was 3-for-3 with a home run. Laughren was 3-for-4.

• • •

The Blue Devils ended the regular season with a 5-2 victory over David Crockett on Wednesday, May 3.

“We ended the regular season with a win and it sends us into the tournament on a high note,” Gillis said. “The kids responded well with a win and focus was there. We executed some offensive plays we haven’t put in a game yet and they worked perfectly. This was a good win for us and another great game out of Clay Simpson. This was his first start in a week and a half.  He picked up right where he left off.”

Simpson gave up 2 hits, 2 runs and tossed 5 strikeouts in the win. He also went 1-for-3 at the plate.

Owen Nicholson was 2-for-4 at the plate. Fender went 1-for-2 and Podvin went 4-for-4.

Devils hold off Warriors to win title

Blue Devil first baseman Matthew Hatcher tags a Happy Valley Warrior. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Blue Devil first baseman Matthew Hatcher tags a Happy Valley Warrior. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The 2017 Unicoi County High School baseball team continued the program’s tradition of success by winning the Three Rivers Conference regular season title last week.

Needing to defeat either Happy Valley on Friday, April 28, or Sullivan North on Tuesday, May 2, to secure the crown, the Blue Devils (16-12, 9-2) managed to hold off a late rally by Happy Valley to earn a 3-1 win and the regular season championship last week.

“Beating Happy Valley sealed the top seed for us in the district tournament,” Blue Devil head coach Chad Gillis said. “This was a tough game because we hadn’t played in a week. I felt like we were a little rusty and the guys were trying to get comfortable again. We made some mistakes trying to be too aggressive on the bases, but the kids were thinking and that’s a good thing. Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome.”

The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead over the Warriors on Friday when Shaddon Peavyhouse’s hit scored Nick Fender during the top half of the first inning. They scored their last two runs of the game during the fourth inning when Troy Podvin and Cameron Spires scored.

Trailing in the bottom half of the seventh and final inning, the Warriors loaded the bases, but Peavyhouse, who was brought on in relief for Dylan Putman, ended the game with a strikeout to secure the win for UCHS.

Putman earned the win on the mound for the Blue Devils.

“It was good to see Putman and Peavyhouse get good work in,” Gillis said.

Podvin went 2-for-3 at the plate.

The conference championship gives the Blue Devils the number-one seed in this week’s District 1-AA tournament.

“I am excited for my guys in winning a conference championship,” Gillis said. “This was a goal they all had set in February and they accomplished that goal. I am looking forward to the tournament and, hopefully, the weeks beyond.”

UCHS will open the tournament, which will be played at Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport, on Saturday, May 6. The time of their opening game and opponent were yet to be determined at the press deadline for this issue.

District tournament play will continue into next week.

• • •

The Blue Devils traveled to Pigeon Forge for a game on Monday, May 1, and to Sullivan North on Tuesday, May 2, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

They are scheduled to end the regular season on Wednesday, May 3, with a game at David Crockett beginning at 6 p.m.

Softball team wins conference crown

Halie Padgett swings at a pitch during the Lady Devils’ loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville in the semifinals of the Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Halie Padgett swings at a pitch during the Lady Devils’ loss to Christian Academy of Knoxville in the semifinals of the Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

The Unicoi County High School softball team closed out the Three Rivers Conference portion of their schedule with a win and a regular season championship last week.

Playing at Sullivan South on Wednesday, April 26, the Lady Devils (29-10, 11-1) held off a late rally by the Lady Rebels to earn a 7-3 win and another conference crown.

South challenged the Lady Devils last week, taking a 1-0 lead in the home half of the second inning.

UCHS went scoreless in the third, but took control of the game in the fourth inning, scoring three runs. Halie Padgett reached third base on a one-out triple. Allee Griffith later reached on an error which scored Greta Raby, who was brought into the game to run for Padgett.

Halie Hawkins then hit an RBI-double, scoring Griffith. Hawkins later crossed home plate on an RBI-single by Rylee Stiltner. The Lady Devils held a 3-1 lead after four innings.

Both teams were held scoreless in the fifth inning. UCHS broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs. Neelee Griffith’s single scored her sister, Allee, and Stiltner for the first two runs of the innings. Keelie Hall’s single scored Tanya Chavez from second base, then N. Griffith scored from third base on a passed ball for a 7-1 UCHS lead.

South added two runs in the home half of the sixth inning, but never threatened in the seventh as UCHS earned the win and the conference title.

Stiltner was 4-for-4 with an RBI in the win. Padgett was 2-for-4 at the plate and threw 5 strikeouts for the Lady Devils. Chavez, Savannah Lafever, N. Griffith (2 RBIs), Hall (1 RBI), A. Griffith (1 RBI), Hannah Bowen and Hawkins (1 RBI) had one hit each.

The conference title has the Lady Devils going into the District 1-AA tournament, which will be played at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin, as the top seed. They will play on Friday, May 5, at 5:30 p.m. Their opponent had not been determined as of The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

District play continues until Wednesday, May 10.

***

The Lady Devils ended last week playing in the annual Tiny Day/Red Edmonds Invitational Softball Tournament played in Greene County.

After last week’s rainy weather forced the cancellation of games on Thursday, April 27, the Lady Devils were able to play two games on Friday, April 28. First, UCHS defeated Cocke County 5-0 and then defeated Greeneville 10-5.

Against Cocke County, Padgett (3 Ks) and A. Griffith (2 Ks) threw three innings each for the win. Stiltner went 2-for-3 (1 RBI), Hall went 2-for-2 (2 RBIs), Hawkins was 2-for-3 and Chavez had 2 RBIs.

Against Greeneville, Bowen threw four innings for the win. Hawkins, Lafever and Bowen had 2 RBIs each. Hall and Padgett both had an RBI.

Pool play results set up a semifinal matchup between the Lady Devils and Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) – the team that has eliminated UCHS from postseason play in the substate round the last two seasons – on Sunday, April 30.

UCHS got off to a solid start, scoring one run in the top of the first inning when Stiltner scored on an error.

The third and fourth innings belonged to CAK. The Lady Warriors scored two runs in each inning to take control of the game. The Lady Devils couldn’t mount a comeback as CAK held on for a 4-1 victory.

CAK held UCHS to only four hits on Sunday. Stiltner was 2-for-2 and scored the Lady Devils’ only run. Chavez and N. Griffith had one hit each.

Wisse signs with Milligan, qualifies for state pentathlon

Lady Devil senior Stephanie Wisse, seated center, signed with Milligan College last week. Pictured with Wisse are head UCHS track coach Megan Davis, assistant UCHS coach Thad Higgins, seated, and Milligan coach Jeremy Clonce. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Lady Devil senior Stephanie Wisse, seated center, signed with Milligan College last week. Pictured with Wisse are head UCHS track coach Megan Davis, assistant UCHS coach Thad Higgins, seated, and Milligan coach Jeremy Clonce. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

A Unicoi County High School track and field athlete had a very good week last week.

On Monday, April 24, Lady Devil Stephanie Wisse qualified for the state pentathlon meet thanks to her second-place performance at a meet held in Greeneville. Wisse followed this accomplishment with another a few days later when she officially became a member of the Milligan College track and field program with a signing ceremony on Thursday, April 27.

“I feel like I am part of the family when it comes to the Milligan track team, and I believe that all that I’m known for will help the program,” Wisse told The Erwin Record. “I will be a multi-event athlete for the Milligan Buffs.”

For Wisse, deciding where she would compete after high school came down to two schools – Milligan and East Tennessee State University.

“I had originally been verbally committed to ETSU, but when I went on my campus visit at Milligan I just knew it was the right place for me,” Wisse said. “The most that stood out to me about Milligan was the positive atmosphere and I felt very accepted from everyone.”

Wisse’s decision was met with approval by her high school coach.

“I am glad to see Stephanie sign with Milligan,” UCHS head coach Megan Davis said. “We have talked for three years about her competing at the collegiate level. For her to actually commit somewhere adds legitimacy to all the work she has put it and it adds legitimacy to our track program. It’s a good move for her, for us and for Milligan.”

Davis said she believes Wisse will be a welcome addition to the Lady Buffs program.

“Stephanie brings a raw talent to Milligan,” Davis said. “Yes, she brings speed to their program, but she also brings her ability to compete in many events. We have had her compete in 10 different events this season. She is not your typical track athlete because she can do so many things. She’s the whole package.”

Milligan coach Jeremy Clonce said Wisse is a “great fit” for the Lady Buffs.

“The biggest thing that appeals to me about Stephanie is her work ethic,” he said. “She is such a hard worker and is also a good student. We watched her last year and pursued her this year. I think she is going to be a great fit for our program.”

Clonce said that because Wisse “does so many things so well” what events she will compete in during her career at Milligan have yet to be determined.

“We will sit down and figure out what direction we will go in,” he added.

Wisse is the second UCHS senior to commit to Milligan’s track program. Blue Devil Cameron Higgins committed to Milligan in December as a thrower.

“Cameron is such a great kid, too,” Clonce said. “To have him and Stephanie come to us from Unicoi is unbelievable. Coach Davis and coach (Thad) Higgins have done a wonderful job here. We love to have local student athletes become part of our program.”

• • •

Wisse and the UCHS track athletes competed in a meet at Science Hill on Tuesday, May 2, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

Wisse has been invited to compete in the TriCitiesSports.com Relays on Friday, May 5, at Science Hill.

Qualifying UCHS athletes will also compete at the subsectional meet on May 9 in Greeneville and the sectional meet on May 17 at Chattanooga Christian School.

Soccer team ends regular season this week

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School men’s soccer team has their sights set on the postseason, but they have some business to take care of first.

That business, according to head coach Justin Ciralsky, is finishing the regular season strong – and the Blue Devils (8-5, 6-2) took a step toward that goal last week by defeating Hampton, 9-2, on Tuesday, April 25, in Erwin.

“All the players played well,” Ciralsky said of the win over the Bulldogs. “It was a great all around game for all of the team.”

Six Blue Devils scored in the victory. Daniel Meza, Jose Ortiz and Christian Leon scored two goals each. Leroy Valdez, Sam Murillo and Donnie Metcalf scored one goal each.

“They are continuing to learn to play hard all game,” Ciralsky said. “Every let down could hurt us as we move forward and finish the season. They are starting to see the importance of the little things we work on day in and day out.”

The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Sullivan South in conference play on Tuesday, May 2, after The Erwin Record’s print deadline for this issue.

They will close out the regular season on Thursday, May 4, against Elizabethton in Erwin. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will also honor the senior members of their team on Thursday.

“We have two big conference matches this week,” Ciralsky said. “Our outlook is to finish the season with two wins and end up being seeded second in conference behind south. Then our goal is to win conference and make it to the regional final. We would love to make it to the state tournament, and we are hoping to play well over the next couple weeks in order to give our team that opportunity.”

Track athletes win conference titles

By Keeli Parkey

Blue Devil John Campbell, center, races to a second-place finish in the 800-meter. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Blue Devil John Campbell, center, races to a second-place finish in the 800-meter. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Which female runner would win the Three Rivers Conference’s top award came down to a final race.

During the conference meet, held on Thursday, April 20, at Sullivan North High School, both Unicoi County’s Stephanie Wisse and Elizabethton’s Heather Feuchtenberger entered the 200-meter dash having won three earlier running events. Wisse had won the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Feuchtenberger had won the 400-, 800- and 1600-meter races.

“Stephanie doesn’t usually compete in four running events in one meet,” UCHS head track coach Megan Davis told The Erwin Record. “We wanted her to compete for the Most Valuable Runner award, so she ran in those events. We knew Elizabethton’s runner would be competing for the award against her.”

Wisse and Feuchtenberger raced head-to-head in one of the 200-meter heats on Thursday, with Wisse besting the Lady Cyclone by less than a second to win her fourth race of the day and the award. Wisse was also named the conference’s Most Valuable Runner during the 2016 season.

“This was a very good meet for Stephanie,” Davis said. “She ran personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash. She also ran well in the 300-meter hurdles. The award is another notch in her belt. She is ready to compete at the state level.”

Other notable finishes for UCHS included first-place finishes by Andrew Bowen and Halie Hawkins in the pole vault competition. Because the pole vault event was not held during the conference meet, this competition was based on results from previously held sanctioned meets.

The Lady Devils 4×800-meter relay team also took first place at the meet. The team consists of Megan Todd, Kaitlyn Tilson, Jillian Taylor and Cheyenne Wilson.

Todd took second place in the 2-mile run and third in both the 800-meter and 1-mile races.

“Megan had a lot of running to do during the conference meet,” Davis said. “She performed well for us.”

Blue Devil John Campbell took second place in the 800-meter, narrowly losing to Sullivan South’s Zach Thompson. Thompson was named the Most Valuable Runner in the boys competition. Campbell also won third place in the 1-mile.

“John ran well during the meet,” Davis said.

Blue Devil Cameron Higgins won second place in the discus and third in the shot put. His shot put performance set a personal best for him, Davis said.

Tilson took fourth in the 800-meter. Taylor won fifth place in the 400-meter run.

“Both ran well and took on their roles for the team to help us get points for the team competition,” Davis said.

With the regular season coming to an end, Davis also said she is pleased with how the Blue Devils and Lady Devils are performing.

“We are where we need to be going into sectionals,” she added. “Our kids are peaking when they need to. They are feeling the success of their hard work. They are staying focused and are ready to compete. I am very happy where we are right now.”

• • •

The last regular season meet for UCHS is set for Tuesday, May 2, at Science Hill.

Qualifying athletes will also compete at the subsectional meet on May 9 in Greeneville and the sectional meet on May 17 at Chattanooga Christian School.

Baseball team takes over top spot in conference

Pitcher Caleb Wilson tosses the ball to first base for an out against Sullivan East. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Pitcher Caleb Wilson tosses the ball to first base for an out against Sullivan East. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School baseball team currently sits atop the Three Rivers Conference thanks to a victory last week.

The Blue Devils (15-12, 8-2) defeated the Sullivan East Patriots 5-1 on Tuesday, April 18, in Erwin.

“This was a huge game for us,” head coach Chad Gillis said. “Going into the game we knew the winner would take first place in the conference.”

It was the Blue Devil defense that stepped up to get win.

“We play really well defensively,” Gillis said. “Shaddon (Peavyhouse) dominated on the mound.”

Peavyhouse allowed only 1 run and struck out 7 batters in almost 4 innings of work. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate, including the go-ahead home run, with 2 RBIs.

Nick Fender went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the win.

• • •

The Blue Devils lost all of their games in the Tribe Classic played last week. With rain playing havoc with the tournament schedule, UCHS was able to get in three games during the tournament.

On Thursday, April 20, the Blue Devils fell to Dobyns-Bennett, the host team, 12-2.

Peavyhouse was 2-for-3 at the plate and pitcher Gavin Casey took the loss for UCHS.

Dylan Putman took to the mound for the Blue Devils later on Thursday against Greeneville. Despite losing 3-1, Gillis said Putman performed well for his team.

“Dylan threw a great game,” Gillis added. “This was his first start in three weeks. He really kept their hitters off balance and competed for seven innings.”

UCHS ended the Tribe Classic with a 13-7 loss to Tennessee High on Friday, April 21.

“This was a tough game for us,” Gillis said. “We couldn’t get in a rhythm on the mound or really even at the plate. We turned it up in the seventh, but was a little too late. We still have to learn how to compete everyday.”

Wilson took the loss for the Blue Devils.

Fender and Putman were both 3-for-4 with 1 home run in the game. Troy Podvin was 2-for-4 with a home run.

• • •

The Blue Devils were scheduled to face conference foe Happy Valley on Tuesday, April 25, in Carter County after The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

They are also scheduled to travel to Knox Central on Thursday, April 27, for a game beginning at 6 p.m.

Their final Three Rivers Conference game of the season is set for Tuesday, May 2, at Sullivan North at 6 p.m. Their final regular season game is set for Wednesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. at David Crockett.

Soccer team bests University High

Leroy Valdez takes a shot on goal during a recent UCHS soccer game. (Erwin Record File Photo)

Leroy Valdez takes a shot on goal during a recent UCHS soccer game. (Erwin Record File Photo)

By Keeli Parkey

A second half goal by Jose Ortiz and a save by RJ Phillips late in the game lifted the Unicoi County High School men’s soccer team over University High last week.

The Blue Devils (7-5) defeated the Jr. Bucs 1-0 in Erwin on Tuesday, April 18.

“RJ made an incredible save at the end of the game to keep a clean sheet and help us win the game,” UCHS head coach Justin Ciralsky said. “He didn’t have a lot to do during the game because we maintained possession of the ball, but that save at the end of the game was huge. It was also a great confidence booster for him going into the end of the season.”

The Blue Devils’ three midfielders – Samuel Murillo, Chris Andrade and Daniel Meza – also performed well in the win.

“They played well,” Ciralsky said. “Daniel and Sam helped offensively, and Chris helped us out defensively.”

The usually effective UCHS offense was held in check last week by the defensive scheme of the Jr. Bucs.

“UH packed in the defense like the other teams have done playing against us, so we continue to work on drawing the defense out so that we can get behind their defense and score goals,” Ciralsky said. “So, we need to continue working on our passing and the runs we are making.”

• • •

The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Hampton on Tuesday, April 25, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline for this issue.

Their next match is set for Tuesday, May 2, at Sullivan South at 5:30 p.m. They are also scheduled to host Elizabethton on Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m.

Ladies move to 10-1 in league play

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School softball team stayed in control in the race for a the Three Rivers Conference crown with three wins last week.

The Lady Devils (26-9, 10-1) traveled to Johnson County on Friday, April 21, and returned to Erwin with a 3-0 victory over the Lady Longhorns.

Halie Padget had a solid game for UCHS in Mountain City. The junior pitcher threw 7 innings, allowed only 1 hit and struck out 8 batters. Padgett also had 2 hits in the win.

Senior Hannah Bowen was 2-for-3 in the game with 1 RBI. Neelee Griffith was 1-for-3 with 1 RBI. Savannah Lafever knocked in the other run for the Lady Devils. Tanya Chavez also had 1 hit in the game.

• • •

The Lady Devils wouldn’t let Happy Valley ruin their senior night festivities at Lady Devil Diamond on Thursday, April 20.

UCHS got on the scoreboard in the home half of the first inning when Chavez hit a solo home run, giving her team a 1-0 lead. The Lady Devils added another run the next inning on an RBI-groundout by Padgett that scored Hope Bailey.

Trailing 2-0, the Lady Warriors made the game interesting during the top half of their third inning. Taking advantage of a 2-out error by UCHS, Happy Valley scored 2 runs to tie the game.

The Lady Devils responded in their half of the fourth inning. Keelie Hall reached on a walk to start the inning. With Lafever at the plate, Bailey, who was brought in as a courtesy runner for Hall, stole second. Bailey then moved to third on a groundout by Lafever. Bailey later scored on an RBI by Padgett, putting UCHS in the lead for good.

Bowen then helped her own cause with a 2-run home run.

UCHS won the game 5-2.

Chavez was 3-for-3 at the plate with 1 home run and 1 RBI. Bowen was 1-for-3 with 1 home run and 2 RBIs. Padgett had 2 RBIs. Hall was 2-for-2 and Rylee Stiltner was 2-for-3.

Bowen threw 7 innings, allowed 4 hits and struck out 1 batter in the win.

Following the game, the Lady Devils recognized seniors Faith Bailey, Hannah Bowen, Ashley Edwards, Neelee Griffith, Keelie Hall and Savannah Lafever.

• • •

The Lady Devils earned an easy 12-2 win over Sullivan North on Tuesday, April 18, in Erwin.

UCHS scored 4 runs in the first inning and 8 in the second to get the victory.

They had 14 hits, including 4 home runs – by Chavez, N. Griffith, Padgett and Halie Hawkins – in the game. Stiltner had 3 hits and 2 RBIs. Lafever had 2 hits and 3 RBIs. N. Griffith had 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Hawkins had 2 hits and 1 RBI.

Allee Griffith (3 innings, 3 strikeouts) and Bailey (2 innings, 4 strikeouts) combined to get the win in five innings.

• • •

The Lady Devils are scheduled to travel to Sullivan South for their conference finale on Wednesday, April 26, at 4 p.m. A victory over South will secure a conference championship for Lingerfelt’s team.

The team will end the week in the Tiny Day Tournament being played in Greeneville. UCHS will open tournament pool play on Thursday, April 27, at 5:15 p.m. against Cherokee, then play North Greene at 6:30 p.m. later that evening. On Friday, April 28, the Lady Devils will play Cocke County at 5:15 p.m. and Greeneville at 6:30 p.m. Bracket play will take place during the weekend.

The District 1-AA tournament will be played at Lady Devil Diamond in Erwin beginning next week. Game dates and times had not been announced as of The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

Lady Devils move into top spot, Lingerfelt gets 500th win

Center fielder Tanya Chavez returns the ball to the infield at Happy Valley. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

Center fielder Tanya Chavez returns the ball to the infield at Happy Valley. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School softball team has a solid hold on first place in the Three Rivers Conference after recent victories over Elizabethton, Happy Valley and Sullivan East.

On Monday, April 17, the Lady Devils (23-9, 7-1), wasted no time taking control of their game at Sullivan East against the Lady Patriots. In the top of the first inning, UCHS took advantage of an error by the Lady Patriots, scoring Tanya Chavez and Neelee Griffith for a 2-0 lead.

The Lady Devils added another run in the top of the third on an RBI-flyout by Chavez that scored Allee Griffith; and another in the top of the fourth on an RBI-single by Hannah Bowen that scored Hope Bailey.

East rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a score of 4-2; however, the Lady Devils responded in the top half of the seventh on an RBI-single by Keelie Hall that scored Chavez.

Halie Padgett threw seven innings for UCHS with 6 strikeouts and 2 earned runs.

“We played well against Sullivan East,” head coach Grady Lingerfelt told The Erwin Record. “Halie pitched well. Overall, it was a good team effort. We hit the ball well. It’s always tough to go on the road and play.”

The Lady Devils had 11 hits in the game, including 2 each by Chavez (1 RBI), Hall (1 RBI) and Bowen (1 RBI).

•••

The team came from one run down to get a key Three Rivers Conference win last week.

Playing on Thursday, April 13, at Elizabethton against the only conference opponent to defeat them this season, the Lady Devils scored two runs in the fourth inning to take control of the game, earn the victory and move into first place in the race for a conference championship.

“Coming back from South Carolina, the girls were ready to play against Elizabethton,” Lingerfelt said. “

Elizabethton came-from-behind to defeat UCHS, 5-3, during the first week of the season. Johnson County defeated the Lady Cyclones earlier this month, giving Elizabethton a 5-2 record in the league.

The Lady Cyclones had momentum going their way after the first inning of last week’s game. In the home half of the first, Elizabethton’s Maci West singled to center off Halie Padgett to score Macie Herrmann from third base. The Lady Cyclones held a 1-0 lead until the top of the fourth inning.

Neelee Griffith hit a one-out single, then moved to second on a stolen base. With two outs, Savannah Lafever knocked the ball over left field, giving UCHS a 2-1 lead.

“Savannah has helped us a lot lately,” Lingerfelt said. “Her homerun was huge for us – it changed the tide of the game for us.”

The Lady Devil defense held the Lady Cyclones in check following Elizabethton’s one-run first inning.

“We made some good plays,” Lingerfelt said. “They got a hit or two here or there, but Halie kept them off stride and kept them from hitting the ball as hard as they usually do.”

UCHS added two more runs in the top half of the seventh inning. Lady Devil Grace Ann Clark went to first base after being hit by a pitch. Halie Hawkins then singled, moving Hope Bailey, who was brought in to run for Clark, to second base. Bailey was picked off, then Rylee Stiltner singled to right field, moving Hawkins to second.

With Chavez at bat, Hawkins stole third base and Stiltner stole second. Chavez then hit a ground-out RBI, scoring Hawkins and moving Stiltner to third. Stiltner later scored on an error for the final UCHS run of the game.

Elizabethton didn’t threaten to score in the bottom of the seventh and the Lady Devils won the game 4-1.

Padgett got the win for UCHS, throwing 7 innings with 6 strikeouts.

Lafever was 2-for-2 with 1 home run and 2 RBIs. Stiltner, Padgett and Hawkins had 2 hits each. Chavez had the other RBI for UCHS.

•••

The Lady Devils followed the victory over Elizabethton with a 12-0 win over Happy Valley in Carter County on Friday, April 14. Hannah Bowen and Allee Griffith threw three and two shutout innings, respectively, to lead UCHS to the win. Both Lady Devil pitchers also had 3 strikeouts in the game.

UCHS had 18 hits in the game, including 3 each by Lafever (2 RBIs), Stiltner, N. Griffith (3 RBIs) and Hawkins.

“The girls played pretty well,” Lingerfelt said. “It was a good win for us.”

•••

A trip to South Carolina resulted in a 2-3 record in the Azalea Tournament for UCHS last week.

On Monday, April 10, the Lady Devils dropped both games, losing 3-0 to Wando, 7-3 to Nation ord and 5-4 to May River.

“We didn’t play well on Monday,” Lingerfelt said. “All the teams there were pretty good, but there wasn’t a team we couldn’t beat.”

UCHS bounced back with two solid performances – and victories – the next day. The Lady Devils defeated May River 5-3 and Northwood Academy 6-0.

“By winning the last two games that got us up to play Elizabethton,” Lingerfelt said.

The win over May River was especially significant – it was Lingerfelt’s 500th victory as head coach of the Lady Devil softball program.

“A lot of kids have contributed to that,” Lingerfelt said. “This is my 13th season as head coach. I have had a lot of talented players and very good assistant coaches It’s a nice milestone.”

•••

The Lady Devils were scheduled to host Sullivan North on Tuesday, April 18, following The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

They are scheduled to host Happy Valley on Thursday, April 20, at 5 p.m. and travel to Johnson County on Friday, April 21, for a game at 5 p.m. The Lady Devils will also go on the road to Sullivan South on Wednesday, April 26, at 4 p.m.