Zion Christian Academy officials announced Sunday night that middle school and high school athletic activities will be suspended for the next two weeks for COVID-related reasons.
The high school boys and girls basketball teams were scheduled to open their seasons Tuesday with a doubleheader at Mt. Pleasant, followed by a twinbill Friday at Hampshire. Both games have been postponed indefinitely, as has the Nov. 24 home opener against Culleoka.
“Our board meets with our head of school (Rick Jarvis), and our medical board meets with him as well,” Zion Christian athletics director and high school boys basketball coach Derek Boyd said. “We’re being a little precautionary. We’ve had some teachers out, we’ve had some kids out with contact tracing, which has taken some of our basketball players out.
“We felt this was best for us at this time. I’m in full support of what our board has decided.”
Classes will continue to be conducted in person for Zion Christian high school students.
Boyd said both high school basketball teams would have gone into this week with limited numbers had activities not been suspended.
“We were down to five girls (players) and nine boys going into the upcoming week,” he said. “I love basketball as much as anybody, and we were looking forward to going Tuesday night to Mt. Pleasant, to opening up the season. But now just wasn’t the time.”
Mt. Pleasant girls coach Amy Odom expressed mixed emotions on learning of the decision.
“I understand the reason. I just hate it for our teams,” she said. “My girls were excited for Tuesday, but now it gives us an extra day to prepare for Cornersville (on Thursday).”
Boyd pointed to the pivot by Maury County Public Schools to remote learning for most of its high schools as a factor in Zion Christian’s decision.
“Most of the schools we’d be playing are (MCPS) schools, and cases have risen within the county,” he said. “We can only control what goes on in our gym. Athletically, with the travel to other places, it may not be the best thing.
“This is new territory for everybody. We’re just trying to keep our kids safe.”
Boyd said school officials will re-evaluate the situation after Thanksgiving, with hopes of resuming athletic activities on Nov. 30.
Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: email@example.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.
Columbia Central at Smyrna Cornersville at Culleoka Fairview at Santa Fe Lewis Co. at Hampshire Summertown at Eagleville Summit girls at Harpeth
Columbia Acad. at Riverside Chr. Cornersville at Mt. Pleasant Lawrence Co. boys at Culleoka Livingston Acad. at Independence Moore Co. girls at Culleoka Richland at Eagleville
Columbia Central at Forrest Jackson Co. at Columbia Acad.
McCallie boys at Independence, 1 p.m. Huntingdon at Summertown, 2 p.m. Summit girls vs. Northwest at Gallatin, 3 p.m. Summit girls at Gallatin, 6 p.m.
Richland Play Day
Spring Hill girls at Richland, 10:30 a.m. Harriman boys at Richland, 12 noon Giles Co. girls vs. Spring Hill, 1:30 p.m. Fayetteville boys vs. Harriman, 3 p.m. Giles Co. girls at Richland, 4:30 p.m. Fayetteville boys at Richland, 6 p.m.
After winning the TSSAA Division II-A boys cross country state championship, Connor Henson didn’t go to Disney World.
But it was close.
“We’re going to Dollywood for a weekend getaway. Then it’s back to work,” said the Columbia Academy junior, who was dominant in Friday’s title race – running a 16-minute, 8.33-second time over the 5K Sanders Ferry Park course at Hendersonville to finish 39 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Harding Academy’s Andy Henton (16:47.41).
“I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous for this one. I knew I’d have a lot of supporters come out and I had a big target on my back. There were multiple guys that it could have gone either way if I’d had a bad day. But I knew I was going to have a good day.”
Henson finished 10th in the Division I Class A state meet as a freshman, then placed sixth in last year’s DII-A competition.
“Last year we learned a lot,” Henson’s father, CA coach Brady Henson, said. “We felt like he was really strong, and we just felt like it unraveled at the last meet. This year, watching his poise and sticking to a game plan was just an unbelievable thing, to see it all come together.
“He executed the game plan we had for him and it was to win the last half of the race – hold steady with whoever was leading the first half take over and apply pressure for the rest of the race.”
The younger Henson said it played out just that way.
“After the first half, I dropped the hammer,” he said. “I said to myself, if they’re going to win, they have to go with me. I really wanted to put the race away. When I crossed the line, I didn’t know how close he was because I didn’t look back like I usually do.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more. I’m going to celebrate and enjoy this one and then get back to work. I’m not going to get cocky or complacent. Hopefully I can continue this into track and it’ll be the first of many. It’s a really addictive feeling.”
Zion Christian senior William Craig placed 18th with an 17:45.29.
Led by junior Annabelle Cothran’s eighth-place individual finish, Columbia Academy’s girls finished fifth in the DII-A team competition.
“I had hoped for a top five (team) finish,” Henson said. “I felt like our team was strong enough to get there and finish fifth. I didn’t think we ran one of our better races at regionals, but I didn’t think we ran one of our better races (Friday).”
St. George’s won the team championship, with Knoxville Webb taking runner-up honors followed by University School of Nashville, Christ Presbyterian Academy and CA.
Cothran’s 20:48.13 – two minutes off the pace of Webb-Bell Buckle’s Anna Faith Cheeseman (18:45.90), who won the race – was followed by CA eighth-grader Presley Miller (17th place, 21:49.67) and sophomore Jaelyn Hickerson (27th, 22:43.73). Lila Pulley (47th, 24:35.09), Kaitlyn Oakley (57th, 25:42.85), Caroline Graham (63rd, 27:14.83) and Sadie Gray (64th, 27:19.10) rounded out the Lady Bulldog lineup.
“I think Annabelle was exactly where we thought she’d be,” Henson said. “Her field scattered out early on; the top three went out, and then she hung back with the next four and they got each other through the race. We were very pleased with the effort she gave us.
“Presley has really solidified this team for the next couple of years. She did an amazing job in middle school, we felt she was strong enough to compete at the high school level and she truly did.”
Southern Middle Tennessee Sports
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