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Off the Field – Encourage athletes to multitask

By Curtis Carden

Unicoi County Middle School track and field athletes showcased last week why multi-sport competitors can be vital in and out of the classroom.

The UCMS Jr. Blue Devil and Jr. Lady Devil teams competed in the Middle Eight Conference competition on Friday, April 29, with a handful of top competitors, including first place finishes from Kody Lewis and Kaitlin Bailey.

Coaches Jason Hensley, Alexa Renfro and Brody Grindstaff have implemented a new standard at the program. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing fall or winter sports, don’t risk missing what is available at the school in the spring.

Lewis thrived on the gridiron, while Bailey showcased her grit for the girls’ basketball team. Those two are just some of the top competitors for the track and field team that multitask by playing different sports.

Having the ability to play various sports while going through school is something kids need to take advantage of and it only makes schools stronger as a whole.

Take the Unicoi County High School track and field team, as another example. Coaches Megan Davis, Thad Higgins and Janie Alton are rebuilding a program on the right note, and various team members compete in other sports during track season

That comradery is what puts a program back on the forefront of success.

Now this isn’t a knock to athletes who prefer specialization in one sport. Teenagers willing to put their time and effort in to better themselves deserve to be admired. But taking advantage of the opportunities available is something student athletes need to do. Juggling various athletics can help build a teamwork mentality and allows a good outlook on what hard work can accomplish.

Earning a conference championship is a feeling that can’t be beat. So why not try it with different teams? School officials have taken time to implement new teams at the high school and upcoming ideas are being tossed around for youth fall sports, including football.

Blue Nation prides itself in building up its athletic community and that always thrives in a small town atmosphere.

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Walters State earned top honors in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) baseball and softball over the weekend.

The Senator baseball team features former UCHS standouts Austin Green and Ethan Rice and head coach Dave Shelton. For softball, Brooke Strother is in her sophomore year with the program. The teams will open East Central tournament action in the coming weeks.

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Postseason time gets underway for UCHS teams this week. Baseball, softball and tennis receive the green light, while the track and field and soccer teams get the green light next week.

Updates on the district play will be available throughout the weeks online on The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page and Twitter at: @CurtisCarden.