Spring Sports Teams of the Year
It’s never an easy call, and always comes with debate and controversy, but we select our 2021 Spring Sports Teams of the Year. Here are the best of the best in 2021.
COACH: Steve Cotrell
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-A Championship, #5 State Ranking, Class 1A State Quarterfinals
The Tigers had a fantastic season that resulted in a second straight Elite 8 run (casting aside COVID 2020 season), and it’s now 7 straight seasons of making the state playoffs. The outright region championship is the first in well over a decade. Kane Goldman was the straw that stirred the drink, as the Tigers battled all the way into the Quarterfinals.
Honorable Mentions: Jefferson (Sweet 16), White County (Rnd 1), Banks County (Rnd 1), Tallulah Falls (Rnd 1), Rabun County (Rnd 1), Habersham Central (Rnd 1), Union County (Rnd 1), Stephens County (Rnd 1)
COMMERCE LADY TIGERS
The Lady Tigers were the most dominant team we’ve literally ever covered in over 12 years. If you were keeping score, the girls outscored opponents 195-8. That’s ridiculous. All-State players Ivy Tolbert and Chloe Diaz each had exactly 65 goals (tied for second across the nation with each other and Rabun’s Lauren Barnes), and the defense behind players like Abby Tolbert was just unreal. This is only a third-year program, and returns nearly everyone next season. The 18-0 start was derailed in the second round of state in a 2-1 loss to Atlanta Classical.
COACH: Scott Tolbert
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-A Championship, #1 State Ranking, Class 1A Sweet 16
TOWNS COUNTY LADY INDIANS
The Lady Indians also earn the distinction after advancing all the way to the Final Four. They got hot at the perfect time, and players like Jayden Taylor were instrumental in getting this team to uncharted territory.
COACH: Clay Livingston
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: #4 State Ranking, Class 1A Final Four
Honorable Mentions: Lumpkin County (Sweet 16), Stephens County (Sweet 16), Rabun County (Sweet 16), Jefferson (Sweet 16), White County (Sweet 16), Union County (Sweet 16), Banks County (Sweet 16), Habersham Central (Rnd 1), Tallulah Falls (Rnd 1)
TOWNS COUNTY INDIANS
COACH: Rollie Thomas
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-A Championship, #2 State Ranking, Class 1A Final Four
The team was incredibly talented, and it all started with Peyton Barrett and Jensen Brown, who were undisputed leaders and the best players in the region. The season ended in a loss to the eventual state champs in the semifinals at home in Hiawassee, and came with a #2 state ranking. For the Indians, it was only the second-ever playoff run, and far and away the greatest season in school history. This was a close call, as we could easily seeing going with Jefferson as well.
Honorable Mentions: Jefferson (Final 4), White County (Sweet 16), Habersham Central (Sweet 16), Union County (Sweet 16), Commerce (Sweet 16), Tallulah Falls (Rnd 1), Rabun County (Rnd 1)
STEPHENS COUNTY LADY INDIANS
COACH: Debby Williams
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-AAA Runner-Up, #3 State Ranking, 3A State Final Four
This program hit new heights with a Final Four run in which the Lady Indians fell to GAC. Overall, it was a 17-4 season, and 5-1 within region play. The deep playoff run is one that won’t quickly be forgotten, especially with the dominance of leader Madison Rogers.
Honorable Mentions: Commerce (Elite 8), Jefferson (Sweet 16), Lumpkin County (Sweet 16), Banks County (Sweet 16), Rabun County (Sweet 16), Tallulah Falls (Rnd 1), Dawson County (Rnd 1)
BANKS COUNTY LEOPARDS
COACH: Natasha Savage
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-AA Champions, 2A State Sweet 16
The Banks County boys tennis team has long been the envy of the locals. That trend continued with another Sweet 16 run that ended with a loss to the eventual state runner-up. The team won a region championship and churned out 12 wins, and were largely led by Pierce Martin, Ronnie Jones, and the doubles combo of Chase Hatcher/Sean Presley.
Honorable Mentions: Jefferson (Sweet 16), Rabun County (Sweet 16), Lumpkin County (Rnd 1), Dawson County (Rnd 1), Stephens County (Rnd 1)
WHITE COUNTY LADY WARRIORS
COACH: Darrell Dorsey
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3A State Champions!, Region 7-AAA Champions!, #1 State Ranking
The Lady Warriors were probably favored from the opening swing to claim the state championship. Incredibly gifted golfers Catie Craig (state runner-up) and Erin Dorsey & Rylee Adams (both top-10) paved the way to huge success for White County, as the girls grabbed their long-awaited state championship! It came in dominant fashion, winning by 30 strokes.
TALLULAH FALLS LADY INDIANS
COACH: Allen Campbell
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 1A State Runner-Up!, Area Champions!, #2 State Ranking
The Lady Indians grab a share of the honors after a truly dominating season in which Maggie Jackson (state 4th) and Brinson Hall (top-10) proved to be an electric 1-2 punch. Both are going Division-I, and even took one head-to-head win over White County, as the schools faced each other a few times throughout the season. Tallulah finished as state runner-up (school record) and earned the area title as well. Hannah Lundy, the team’s third member, improved dramatically throughout the course of the season.
Honorable Mentions: Commerce (State Runner-Up), Habersham Central (8th at State)
DAWSON COUNTY TIGERS
COACH: Will Anglin
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3A State 3rd, Region Runner-Up, #3 State Ranking
The Tigers had their best-ever state finish at third overall. Andrew and Alex Hughes and Will Howard all finished inside the top 20 to pace Dawson, who was the region runner-up as well.
Honorable Mentions: Rabun County (State 3rd), Commerce (State 6th), Jefferson (State 7th)
GIRLS TRACK & FIELD
JEFFERSON LADY DRAGONS
COACH: Brandon Vinson/Timothy Lees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 4A State Runner-Up, Region 8-AAAA Champions!, #2 State Ranking
The Lady Dragons capped off an incredible season with a Runner-Up finish at state behind the performances of Katherine Law, Jada Pittman, and Abbey Howard to name a few. The region championship was followed up with a state runner-up finish and #2 state ranking.
Honorable Mentions: Commerce (State 4th), White County (State 5th), Banks County (State 14th), Tallulah Falls (State 15th), Stephens County (State 15th), Rabun County (State 18th)
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
COACH: Chas Hardy/Kendall Love
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 1A State Champions!, Region Champions!, #1 State Ranking
The Tigers were just head and shoulders above the rest in 1A Public. Brandon Martin is a LARGE reason for all the success, but he had plenty of help with guys like Sammy Brown, Lambdin Hardy, Mason Gaddis, JJ Morris and many others having incredible performances at state. The state championship was the 4th for the program since 2013 (’13, ’16, ’19, ’21), and the boys have won 6 region championships in that timeframe as well.
TALLULAH FALLS INDIANS
COACH: Scott Neal
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 1A State 3rd place, Area 6-A Champions!, #2 State Ranking
The Indians deserve to be here after having the best team they’ve fielded in school history. Grey Bourlet (2x State Runner-Up), Evan Prince (multiple top-10 performances), and Simeon Respress (runner-up) truly carried this team to new heights. The team had a #2 state ranking throughout the season, and lived up to the hype with a 3rd place finish at state and an area championship.
Honorable Mentions: Jefferson (State 4th), Banks County (State 8th), Dawson County (State 11th), Union County (State 11th), Stephens County (State 16th), White County (State 18th)