Mt. Juliet High softball facility dedicated

National Pro Fastpitch vice president Gaye Lynn Wilson (white shirt on front row from left), Mt. Juliet High athletic director Mike Duncan, MJHS assistant coach Haley Knepp, Wilson County schools director Donna Wright, head coach Kevin Costley and assistant coach Desiree Kasper participate in the ribbon cutting for the Lady Bears’ new indoor facility Monday. They are backed by current and former MJ softball players and supporters.

Mt. Juliet overpowers Wilson Central 7-1

GLADEVILLE — Mt. Juliet used the long ball and a five-run third inning to overpower host Wilson Central 7-1 Thursday.

Gabby Faccadio blasted a first-inning home run. Kailey Brimm blasted a three-run shot in the third while Makayla Draper and Ryleigh Osborne (on a double) also had RBI.

Alyssa Costley coasted to victory with three hits allowed and six strikeouts in seven innings.

Sidney Link took the loss, surrendering 11 hits in seven innings for Central.

Draper had three hits while Costley and Osborne had two each for Mt. Juliet.

Kaylee Richetto had two of Wilson Central’s three hits.

Lady Wildcats outscore Lebanon 10-6

Wilson Central outscored host Lebanon 10-6 Tuesday evening.

The Lady Wildcats built a 3-0 lead midway through the second inning. Lebanon came back with four in the bottom half to go up 4-3. But Central tied the score in the fourth and used a six-run fifth to take a 10-4 lead. The Lady Devils got two back in the sixth before falling to 8-7 for the season, 1-3 in District 9-AAA.

Central outhit Lebanon 15-10, including four singles by Sydnee Richetto, who drove in a run. Mekayla Marshall knocked in two runs on three singles while Kaylee Richetto racked up two singles and an RBI. Freshman Alli Johnson hit a two-run double. Sidney Link doubled and singled while Kenzey Meador singled twice. Freshman Taelor Chang chipped in a double as the Lady Wildcats climbed to 3-1 in the district and 9-3-2 overall.

Madi Kimble doubled twice for the Lady Devils, one of which scored two runs in the second inning. She also picked up another RBI when she reached on an error. Anna Bennett tripled off the wall in right field and singled. Casey Fox collected an RBI double in the second inning while Aaryn Grace Lester supplied an RBI single and Bailey Lasater a sixth-inning sacrifice fly. Brizeida Chavez and Alaina Smith doubled while freshman Aly Dickerson and Addie Grace Porter singled.

Link pitched the full seven innings for Central, allowing three earned runs and four walks while striking out three to bring her record to 6-2.

New TWRA official spreads the word

New Mt. Juliet resident Jenifer Wisniewski has a complicated title, but a simple goal, as the new Communications & Outreach Chief with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Getting the positive messages, latest news, and other information distributed to the state’s hundreds of thousands of outdoors-persons.

The best story in the world is lost if nobody knows about it, and Wisniewski’s mission is to spread the word.

“Tennessee has so many great outdoors opportunities,” Wisniewski says, “and we want to make everyone aware of them and how to be able to enjoy them. Our effort is part of a nation-wide movement to recruit and retain hunters, fishermen, boaters, campers and others to the outdoors.”

Wisniewski, a native of Anniston, Ala., and graduate of the University Alabama, joined the TWRA after gaining widespread recognition for her work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

During her six years in the communications department, Georgia was one of only a few states in which the sale of hunting and fishing licenses increased. That success attracted the attention of the TWRA, which lured Wisniewski away from the Peach State.

“I was poached,” she says with a laugh.

The TWRA over the years has enjoyed excellent public relations, thanks to some of the best in the business, including recently-retired Doug Markham, Agency veteran Don King, Lee Wilmont, Barry Cross and Tennessee Wildlife Magazine editor Austin Bornheim. All are media-friendly, efficient and accommodating.

Therefore, Wisniewski doesn’t see her task as re-inventing the Agency’s various communications outlets, but more a matter of enhancing them and expanding them to serve a constantly-changing landscape.

She plans to emphasize up-to-date news and features on the TWRA’s website, pod-casts, e-mailings and TV programs, and utilize social media to its fullest.

While enhancing the various “new media” components, Wisniewski says she will not abandon the TWRA’s traditional print outlets, such as the popular Tennessee Wildlife Magazine and the Tennessee Fishing Guide and Hunting & Trapping Guide. Many Tennessean outdoorsmen – especially those of an advanced generation – are not internet-connected or social-media savvy.

Wisniewski promises they will not be left out.

“We don’t have to sacrifice one outlet for another,” she says. “We will utilize them all.”

Wisniewski grew up hunting and fishing in Alabama with her dad. As a little girl she went with him on dove shoots, and one of her duties was to collect the birds.

“I was the retriever,” she says, again with a laugh.

Wisniewski and husband Jason – who joined his wife on the TWRA staff as a fisheries biologist stationed in Gallatin – selected a home in Mt. Juliet because of its quality of life.

“It’s a great area, we love our new home, and we both have jobs we thoroughly enjoy,” she says. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Larry Woody is The Mt. Juliet News’ outdoors writer. Email him at  larrywoody@gmail.com.

Lady Bears beat Lebanon 7-1

Laney Tucker had four hits and Kaileigh Billington drove in four runs to lead Mt. Juliet past host Lebanon 7-1 Thursday.

Tucker turned in three singles and a double. Billington singled in a first-inning run and doubled to clear the bases in the sixth. Karah Ward singled in a run and Tucker and Gabby Faccadio each delivered an RBI double during a three-run second inning.

Alyssa Costley surrendered four Lebanon hits for the win, walking two and striking out eight.

Addison Fuller took the loss, surrendering six earned runs on 12 hits and four walks as the Lady Devils dropped to 8-6 for the season and 1-2 in District 9-AAA.

Tucker, Billington, Faccadio and Costley each collected multiple hits for Mt. Juliet.

Madi Kimble walked and scored Lebanon’s run on Aaryn Grace Lester’s triple in the fourth inning. Alaina Smith singled twice and Kyleigh Burton doubled.

Earnhardt’s tennis journey takes her from Mt. Juliet to Cumberland

It didn’t take Carly Earnhardt long to commit to her college of choice once she took her official visit to Cumberland last October.

It was an easy decision for her, and one the Mt. Juliet High senior wanted to make quickly.

“To have the opportunity to go to school on scholarship and play college tennis so close to home is awesome and a dream come true,” said Earnhardt.

Although Earnhardt only started playing competitive tennis just three years ago, she entered her final season at Mt. Juliet as one of the top senior players in Tennessee and one of the winningest girls in MJHS history with a combined overall 53-7 singles and doubles record. Much of Carly’s success comes from the instruction of high school coach Mike Hurley, who was just recently inducted to the Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame.

“I’m so thankful to have Coach Hurley as my coach. He constantly pushes me to be my best. I would not be where I am today without his guidance and support…..He is an awesome coach,” says Earnhardt.

Hurley has been with the Mt. Juliet program for 21 years and has had the opportunity to coach many great players including his sons Matt and Kevin.

“I’ve been fortunate that the faculty at MJHS starting with Linda McDearman, then Derek Elwell and now Mackenzie Underwood have allowed me to participate with the school tennis program for so many years,” Hurley said. “Mt. Juliet has been blessed with many fine tennis players but truly what draws one to work with these kids is how terrific they are as individuals on and especially off the court. Just great people – like Carly.

It’s no surprise Earnhardt has been so successful on the court in just three short years.

“I’m blessed to have such athletic parents and brothers,” says Earnhardt. “My mom & dad actually workout with me on a regular basis, and my oldest brother Collin is my personal trainer at our gym.” Collin and Brady were football and track standouts at Mt. Juliet, and like their dad, went on to play collegiately. Hurley pointed out several reasons for Carly’s success.

“The secret to Carly’s success is really no secret, it’s a supportive family, supportive coaches and personal passion,” Hurley said. “Without family (Jay, Cheri, and Carly’s brothers) these results just would not happen. As a player I have rarely seen her fatigue.  She is amazing at recovering and being refreshed and ready to go even after a tough three-set match in 90-plus-degree weather.  This is a true compliment to her dedication to off court training so necessary to be able to get to the next level. As a student of the game she is again at the top.  Very willing to put in the time to acquire new skills and more importantly not shy to ask questions when unsure of something. In competition you would be foolish to underestimate Carly by just her appearance.  Though she is just above the 5-foot line the competitive fire within her has taken down some very good players to date. “

Earnhardt was the first commitment to the 2019 Cumberland class and shut down her recruiting quite early in the process just after coach Karen Martinez offered.

“It was so important to me to remain close to my family,” Earnhardt said. “I knew after meeting Coach Martinez, her husband Thiago and most of the current players, Cumberland was the best place for me.”

Earnhardt will enter Cumberland in the summer after graduating with a 4.0 grade-point average and 18 dual enrollment hours to her credit.

This summer, she will be playing in several USTA and UTR tournaments, including the Tennessee and Georgia State Championships. In July, she will again play in the Adidas All-American tournament and combine in Orlando, Fla., where last year she was 2-1 in tournament play and placed 15th out of 64 in the collegiate combine event. She has been training with her mom, dad, Collin, and Curtis Grah (strength coach MJHS football) to win the 2019 event.

Mt. Juliet sweeps Central in 9-AAA series

Fitzgibbons pitches 1-0 gem

MT. JULIET — Jake Fitzgibbons pitched a complete-game three-hitter and Mt. Juliet scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday night as the Golden Bears completed the two-game District 9-AAA series sweep of Wilson Central.

The junior left-hander walked four and struck out 10 in seven innings to improve his record to 2-0 and Mt. Juliet’s to 9-4 for the season, 4-0 in the district.

Grayson Cole doubled in the sixth and scored on Matt Johnston’s double against Hayden Baker, who allowed four hits in two innings of relief of starter Nick Baker, who surrendered five hits and three walks while striking out four in four frames of work.

Johnston had two doubles for Mt. Juliet while Dylan Kasper and Corey Settle each singled twice.

Gabe Jennings doubled for the Wildcats, who fell to 7-5 for the season and 2-2 in the district.

Bears beat Wildcats 5-3

GLADEVILLE — Dylan Kasper drove in two runs to back Grayson Cole in Mt. Juliet’s 5-3 win at arch-rival Wilson Central on a chilly Tuesday night.

Kasper singled twice and doubled as Mt. Juliet scored three times in the top of the second inning after falling behind 1-0 in the first. The Golden Bears tacked on single scores in the third and fourth which proved to be the difference after Wilson Central scored twice in the sixth.

Cole pitched five innings, allowing a run on two hits and four walks while striking out 10 as he improved to 2-0 and Mt. Juliet to 8-4 for the season, 3-0 in District 9-AAA pending the teams’ rematch at Mt. Juliet at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Colton Regan gave up the Wildcat runs in the sixth before Warren Lee struck out four over the final two frames for his first save.

Thomas Fullerton singled twice and Steven Jarrell once as each drove in a Mt. Juliet run. Nelson Buckland blasted a triple to deep right field in the fourth.

Matthew Jenkinson gave up nine of Mt. Juliet’s 10 hits and all five runs in four innings of work to take the loss. Gary Denton tossed two innings and Blaine Mabry one.

Gabe Jennings doubled and singled to lead Central’s six-hit attack.

Wilson Central girls win inaugural home track meet

GLADEVILLE — Wilson Central played host to a track meet for the first time ever Saturday with Lebanon, Station Camp and Siegel providing competition.

The Lady Wildcats won with 79 points while Wilson Central’s boys were third with 61.

Here are Wilson Central’s results:

GIRLS

High jump—2. Olivia Lanius, 5-0

Long jump—1. Jaycie Hitt, 15-10

Triple jump—1. Jaycie Hitt, 30-8.25; 2. Morgan Bailey, 30-5

Discus—1. Zoe Vlk, 108-6.5; 5. Lex Atwood, 52-8.5

Shot put—1. Zoe Vlk, 40-11; 5. Lex Atwood, 21-1.5

4-by-800 relay—2. Wilson Central (Kaitlyn Randolph, Mia Jones, Bethany Farber, Makeena Merkley), 12:19.08

100 hurdles—1. Morgan Bailey, :16.67; 3. Olivia Lanius, :18.69

100 meters—7. Hannah Chandler, :14.71; 8. AlyssaTeigen, :15.17

4-by-400 relay—3. Wilson Central (Alyssa Tiegen, Ellie Scoby, Nia Jones, Hannah Chandler), 2:13.02

1,600 meters—5. Elina Malancea, 6:16.27; 9. Mia Jones, 6:42.4; 12. Bethany Farber, 6:51.18; 14. Alexis Garcia, 7:01.61

4-by-100 relay—3. Wilson Central (Alyssa Teigen, Hannah Chandler, Jaycie Hitt, Morgan Bailey), :56.87

400 meters—3. Madeline Bittle, 1:01.04; 5. Makeena Merkley, 1:14.61; 8. Kelley Adelsberger, 1:20.6; 9. Christine Evans, 1:20.94

300 hurdles—2. Mackenzie Abigt-Hansen, :56.91

800 meters—2. Kaitlyn Randolph, 2:58.59; 3. Isabelle Simon, 3:06.27

200 meters—4. Jaycie Hitt, :28.98; 5. Madeline Bittle, :29.86; 9. Alyssa Teigen, :32.95; 10. Nia Jones, :33.84

3,200 meters—2. Elina Malancea, 13:32.33

4-by-400 relay—2. Wilson Central (Jaycie Hitt, Mackenzie Abigt-Hansen, Makeena Merkley, Madeline Bittle), 5:06.24

BOYS

Long jump—1. Garrett Todd, 20-10; 9. Clayton Duke, 16-0; 10. Nolan Edwards, 15-11

Discus—5. Michael Bengston, 77-2; 7. Miguel Padilla, 65-4

Shot put—2. DeVante McBroom, 38-3; 7. Miguel Padilla, 26-5.5

4-by-800 relay—3. Wilson Central A (Andrew Farber, Austin Garcia, Elliott Hughes, Russell Riggan), 8:52.8; 5. Wilson Central B (Jason Block, Ian Richards, Palmer Baines, Nicholas Vongsamphahn), 9:42.51

100 meters—2. Garrett Todd, :11.62; 5. DeVante McBroom, :11.99; 7. Ben Vongsamphahn (:12.10); 12. Malachi Clemmons, :12.58

4-by-200 relay—1. Wilson Central A (Ben Vongsamphahn, DeVante McBroom, Malachi Clemmons, Sterling Melancon), 1:39.89; 5. Wilson Central B (Clayton Duke, Okewusi Ayomitide, Kellan Marshall, Nolan Edwards), 1:44.7

1,600 meters—2. Andrew Farber, 4:53.7; 3. Russell Riggan, 4:53.96; 4. Jason Block, 4:54.63; 5. Alex Galligan, 4:55.09; 6. Austin Garcia, 5:07.67; 7. Jacob Harzbecker, 5:09.88; 11. Tristan Lee, 5:16.53; 18. Will Stride, 5:28.56; 21. Austin Cupp, 5:43.32

4-by-100 relay—1. Wilson Central A (Garrett Todd, DeVante McBroom, Malachi Clemmons, Sterling Malancon), :45.667; 3. Wilson Central B (Ben Vongsamphahn, Clayton Duke, Okewusi Ayomitide, Nolan Edwards), :48.77

400 meters—2. Javon Weir, :55.91; 5. Kellan Marshall, 1:00.42; 6. Ian Richards, 1:01.05; 8. Ethan Dredge, 1:04.74

800 meters—5. Elliott Hughes, 2:13.13; 7. Jacob Harzbecker, 2:21.35; 8. Palmer Baines, 2:28.86

200 meters—1. Sterling Melancon, :22.38 (school record); 7. Malachi Clemmons, :25.02; 10. Nolan Edwards, :25.55; 12. Okewusi Ayomitide, :25.85

3,200 meters—4. Alex Galligan, 10:30.08; 5. Jason Block, 10:48.04; 6. Andrew Farber, 10:55.58; 9. Will Stride, 12:05.76; 10. Ethan Garcia, 12:28.1

4-by-400 relay—2. Wilson Central A (Sterling Melancon, Elliott Hughes, Russell Riggan, Javon Weir), 3:48.47; 4. Wilson Central B (Kellan Marshall, Ethan Dredge, Ian Dredge, Nolan Edwards), 4:11.26

Wilson Central will next compete in the Hardin Valley Invitational in Knoxville on March 30.

Central girls bounce back from Station Camp disappointment

Staff Reports

GLADEVILLE – The Wilson Central Lady Wildcat tennis team raced out to a 3-0 lead after doubles play last season in its match at Siegel.

The Lady Wildcats needed just two of the six singles matches to get the team win – they got one.

Last season, Savannah Westbrook held a 6-2 lead before dropping a heartbreaking 8-6 loss that clinched the match for Siegel.

Westbrook put that memory behind her pretty quickly as the senior paired with classmate Sydney Miller for an 8-3 doubles win followed by an 8-0 victory at one singles that led Wilson Central to a 7-2 win on Wednesday.

Wilson Central (4-0) once again claimed all the doubles courts, but this time grabbed four of the six singles matches.

Westbrook believes the team’s improvement in singles was a difference maker in Wednesday’s matchup.

“It means a lot, and I’m proud of our team for getting this win because I know how good we are in doubles, but it shows how we’ve improved in singles,” Westbrook said.

“They (Siegel) have a really strong singles team, and I felt like we handled them today.”

Westbrook and Miller handled Siegel’s Lauren Meyer and Lauren Murray 8-3 at No. 1 doubles.

Wilson Central seniors Makayla Posey and Kaylee Wilson followed suit with a swift 8-1 win over Molly Kate Merryman Catalina Kapamas at three doubles.

Lady Wildcat senior Abby Moser and junior Kiersten Moss overcame an early 3-0 deficit to topple Siegel’s Elizabeth Baum and Abi Watts 8-5 at No. 2 doubles.

Siegel battled back with wins at two and three singles before Westbrook’s victory put Wilson Central one point away from the win.

This set up Moss who for the second time this season clinched the win for the Lady Wildcats with an 8-4 win at No. 4 singles over Chandler Herring.

“I’m so proud of her (Kiersten) and how the entire team has grown so much, and it’s so amazing seeing where the team was freshman year to where we are now,” Westbrook said

“We are a completely different team now physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it’s amazing to see how everyone has improved.”

Posey dropped Watts for an 8-1 win at No. 5 singles, while Wilson picked up the final Wilson Central point with an 8-3 win over Merryman.

The Wildcats dropped its first match of the season with a 6-3 setback against the Stars.

Siegel claimed all three doubles points, but Wilson Central (3-1) managed to split the singles matches.

Siegel’s Hussain Alzubaidi and Drew Elliot broke open a 4-all match with an 8-4 win over sophomore AJ Hughes and senior Michael Mercante.

Kyle Chandler and Hasan Malik dropped Wilson Central freshmen Sean Brown and Blaine Smith 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.

Siegel polished off doubles with an 8-4 win over Caleb Brown and Charlie Ewing.

Mercante took on Alzubaidi at one singles, as the Siegel senior claimed the final two games in an 8-6 win.

Mercante was slated to play Alzubaidi during their sophomore years in the state tournament before Alzubaidi withdrew due to illness.

Three Wildcat freshmen managed to put Wilson Central on the board with singles wins.

Sean Brown ran out to a 5-0 lead before claiming an 8-3 win at No. 4 singles giving Wilson Central its first point.

Smith ripped off the final three games en route to claiming and 8-5 win over Siegel’s Lucas Moss at No. 5 singles.

Ewing controlled most of the action at No. 6 singles, leading 6-3 before Siegel’s Kyu Kim made a furious comeback.

Kim grabbed five of the next seven games to force a tiebreaker, and proceeded to quickly claim the first six points of the tiebreaker.

Facing five match points, Ewing battled back and took the last eight points for an 9-8(6) win.

“I thought the boys team did some very good things today, and really fought well even when our backs were against the wall,” Wilson Central coach Ryan Jent said.

“We have some work to do in terms of strokes, but the heart is absolutely there.”

Bears hand Purvis 500th coaching win

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet breezed to coach Mark Purvis’ 500th career Friday night 15-0 over Trousdale County in the Wilson County Invitational.

The Golden Bears took any suspense out of the game early with five runs in the first inning and tacked on six more in the third and seventh in the fourth of the five-inning game as Mt. Juliet improved to 7-2 for 2019.

Purvis was a Mt. Juliet second baseman for coach Jerry Flatt before graduating in 1989. He played the same position for Woody Hunt at Cumberland and broke into coaching under the CU legend. With the exception of two seasons, he has coached his alma mater since 2000, taking the Golden Bears to six state tournaments, including a state runner-up in 2009.

Jake Fitzgibbons pitched the first three innings for the win, followed by Warren Lee and Grayson Cole for an inning each. The trio allowed three hits.

Corey Settle drove in six runs on a 4-for-4 night, including a double. Ryan Godwin and Dylan Kasper also collected a pair of hits each as Mt. Juliet finished with 13 hits.

Bears Settle for 7-6 walk-off win over Page

MT. JULIET — Corey Settle’s two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday night enabled Mt. Juliet to walk off Page 7-6 in the opening game of the Wilson County Invitational.

The Golden Bears jumped to a 3-0 led in the bottom of the second. But Page scored twice in the third and three times in the fifth to go up 5-3. The teams traded single scores in the fifth and sixth before Mt. Juliet won in the seventh to improve to 6-2 for the season.

Parker Van Avery pitched the top of the seventh to win his first decision, striking out two.

Settle singled twice in addition to his double. Christian Stover also had three hits and drove in three runs while Michael Hardy doubled for the Bears, who outhit Page 10-7.

Wilson Central opens outdoor season at Brentwood Academy

Staff Reports

BRENTWOOD — Results from Wilson Central’s first outdoor meet of the season Wednesday at Brentwood Academy with Station Camp, Page, Sovereign Grace and the host Eagles:

GIRLS

Discus—1. Zoe Vlk, 118-9; 7. Lex Atwood, 67-10

Shot put—2. Zoe Vlk, 41-11

Triple jump—2. Morgan Bailey, 30-1.25

Long jump—6. Jaycie Hitt, 14-10

High jump—2. Olivia Lanius, 4-10

300 hurdles—5. Mackenzie Abigt-Hansen, :57.59

100 hurdles—1. Morgan Bailey, :16.95; 2. Olivia Lanius, :18.59

1,600 meters—13. Elina Malancea, 6:25.53; 20. Mia Jones, 6:40.61; 23. Kaitlyn Randolph, 6:43.73; 29. Bethany Farber, 6:55.72; 33. Haven Thompson, 7:12.42

800 meters—27. Kaitlyn Randolph, 2:56.99; 29. Elina Malancea, 2:59.26; 33. Mia Jones, 3:03.36; 40. Haven Thompson, 3:07.62

400 meters—2. Madeline Bittle, 1:07.83; 4. Makeena Merkley, 1:12.22; 8. Christine Evans, 1:22.2

100 meters—4. Morgan Bailey, :13.77; 9. Jaycie Hitt, :18.87; Alyssa Tiegen, camera malfunction; Nia Jones, camera malfunction; Hannah Chandler, camera malfunction; Ellie Scoby, camera malfunction

BOYS

Discus—11. Michael Bengston, 77-3; 15. Migual Padilla, 57-0

Shot put—8. DeVante McBroom 38-4; 12. Miguel Padilla, 33-7

Long jump—6. Nolan Edwards, 18-2.5; 9. Hunter Granstaff, 15-8.25; 10. Clayton Duke, 13-3

High jump—4. Javon Weir, 5-0; 5. Hunter Granstaff, 4-11

4-by-400 relay—1. Wilson Central A (Sterling Melancon, Nolan Edwards, Russell Riggan, Javon Weir), 3:44.8; 5. Wilson Central B (Kellen Marshall, Nash Argo, Fox Underwood, Elliot Hughes) 3:55.6

4-by-100 relay—2. Wilson Central A (Ben Vangsampahn, DeVante McBroom, Malachi Clemmons, Sterling Melancon) :45.4; 3. Wilson Central B (Clayton Duke, Okewusi Ayomitide, Dakota Tomlinson, Nolan Edwards), :48.11

3,200 meters—6. Alex Galligan, 10:27.2

1,600 meters—7. Jason Block, 4:55.12; 13. Tristan Lee, 5:15.02; 14. Lane Watson, 5:23.41; 17. Austin Cupp, 5:29.41; Palmer Baines, 5:43.4

800 meters—8. Jason Block, 2:13.85; 9. Andrew Farber, 2:14.29; 10. Elliot Hughes, 2:14.45; 14. Fox Underwood, 2:19.19; 15. Ian Richards, 2:19.66; 20. Lane Watson, 2:23.21; 22. Tristan Lee, 2:26.92; 23. Austin Cupp, 2:28.12

400 meters—2. Russell Riggan, :54.45; 6. Andrew Farber, :55.36; 7. Javon Weir, :55.47; 11. Nolan Edwards, :57.44; 14. Kellen Marshall, :59.01; 18. Ethan Dredge, 1:02.58

200 meters—6. Malachi Clemmons, :25:15; 7. Ben Vangsamphahn, :25.19; 8. Dakota Tomlinson, :25.26; 9. DeVante McBroom, :25.27; 18. Clayton Duke, :26.65; 22. Hunter Granstaff, :27.81

100 meters—3. Sterling Melancon, :11.62; 11. DeVante McBroom, :12.16; 13. Ben Vangsamphahn, :12.25; 14. Malachi Clemmons, :12.27; 15. Okewusi Ayomitide, :12.42; 21. Dakota Tomlinson, :12.63; 25. Clayton Duke, :12.91

Wilson Central played host to its Wildcat Quad last Saturday.

Wilson Central edges Kentucky power in tennis season opener

Staff Reports

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Wilson Central tennis teams kicked off its 2019 campaign in grand fashion with a pair of 4-3 wins over perennial Kentucky power Bowling Green High School at Kereiakes Park on Wednesday.

The Wildcats and Lady Wildcats clinched their victories in the final matches with both deciding matches ending in tiebreakers.

Wilson Central freshman Sean Brown faced two match points in the deciding 10-point tiebreaker before overcoming Curtis Lin 7-5, 6-7(5), 14-12. 

Lady Wildcat junior Kiersten Moss finished off the night by overcoming a 4-1 deficit in the tiebreaker for a 9-8(5) win over Bowling Green’s Alexandra Smith.

Both Wilson Central squads swept the two doubles points before holding on for the win in singles.

Brown, playing in his first regular season tennis match, paired with fellow freshman Blaine Smith at number two doubles for a 2-6, 6-2, (10-3) win that pushed Wilson Central (1-0) to a 2-0 advantage.

Though tensions were high for Brown in the deciding match, the freshman seemed to enjoy the experience as he managed to stay calm under pressure.

“It was very intense, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Brown said following his clinching win at three singles.

“I felt overwhelming excitement when I won so it’s pretty cool, and my teammates running on court to congratulate me was really cool as well.”

Moss helped kick start Wilson Central (1-0) to a 1-0 lead as she partnered with senior Abby Moser for a 6-1, 7-5 win at two doubles.

Bowling Green won matches at one and two singles to tie the match up at 3-all while Moss was on court in her match at four singles.

Unaware of how the other matches had finished, Moss did not know that it was up to her for the win – a fact that she is glad to have not known of.

“I didn’t really know, and if I did I would have gotten even more nervous for sure,” Moss said.

“When I got down in the set and tiebreaker, I just started working to get more balls in play, and not worry about the score.”

After the match, both Brown and Moss reflected on the team and the upcoming season.

“We just have to trust process and work hard,” Brown said.

Added Moss, “I’m very happy with the team. We all cheer each other on and encourage each other especially in times of need.”

At number one doubles, senior Michael Mercante and sophomore AJ Hughes carried a 6-3, 6-1 win over Bowling Green’s Curtis Line and Tate Sin.

Hughes gave the squad its third point with a 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 win at number two singles over Matthew Shivel.

On the girl’s side, seniors Sydney Miller and Savannah Westbrook battled back to secure a win at one doubles over Bowling Green’s Campbell Richey and Yunni Qu 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

Moser claimed the team’s third point with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Macy Miesel at three singles.

Wilson Central will be on the road for a pair of district matches on Monday and Tuesday, taking on Portland and Beech, respectively.

The home opener for Wilson Central will be on Wednesday as the Wildcats entertain Siegel. Match time is slated for 4 p.m.

Golden Bears and Wildcats tangle on the pitch

Mt. Juliet’s Vinnie Lounsbury (left) and Wilson Central’s Zach Hinchman battle for the ball during the closing seconds of the first half of their soccer season opener last week at WCHS. The host Wildcats won 2-1, with all the scoring coming in the second half.

Costley pitches Coach Dad, Lady Bears to opening win

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET — Alyssa Costley pitched a complete game Monday to send Mt. Juliet past Riverdale 8-2 in the season opener for both teams.

It was also a successful head coaching debut for Kevin Costley, the veteran Lady Bear assistant (and Alyssa’s father) who swapped positions with Hailey Knepp since last season.

Cam Cernuto went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Lady Bears, who carried an 8-0 lead into the late innings.

Wilson Central opens Commando Classic with win, tie

HENDERSONVILLE — Wilson Central outscored William Blount 7-6 last Friday in the first game of the Commando Classic at Drakes Creek Park.

Alaina Morris and Sydnee Richetto each racked up two hits for the Lady Wildcats.

Central followed with a 5-5 tie  against Oakland in a game called due to the time limit.

The Lady Wildcats led 2-0 before Oakland went up 5-2 in the second inning.

Richeeto tripled while her sister, Kaylee, and Mekayla Marshall doubled. Freshman Taelor Chang went 2-for-2.

Bears beat Science Hill 4-1

Staff Reports

MURFREESBORO — Mt. Juliet defeated Science Hill 4-1 Friday at Riverdale

The Golden Bears took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning and doubled it in the fifth as they finished with six hits.

Colton Regan pitched 4 1/3  innings to win his first decision, allowing an earned run on four hits and three walks. Parker Van Avery recorded four outs before Nelson Buckland got the final four outs for his first save as Mt. Juliet improved to 2-1.

Each team had six hits. Leadoff batter Thomas Fullerton and Grayson Cole each had two singles for the Golden Bears.

Mt. Juliet loses lead in seventh, suffers first loss

MT. JULIET — Magnolia Heights scored three times in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday night to spoil Mt. Juliet’s home opener 5-3 in the Grand Slam Tournament.

The Golden Bears had just taken a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single by Hayden Robbins and an RBI single by Steven Jarrell.

But Robbins, who relieved starter Sam Simonson to start the top of the sixth and was in line for the win, allowed two walks and both came around to score as Mt. Juliet fell to 1-1 for the three-day-old season.

Simonson allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk through five innings.

Baker, Jennings lead Central to first win

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Nick Baker threw six shutout innings and benefitted from Wilson Central’s five-run fifth inning in a 7-0 win over John Paul II (S.C.) on Tuesday.

Baker surrendered four hits with three strikeouts in six innings before Blaine Mabry worked a hitless seventh with two punchouts. Neither issued a walk.

Central scored single runs in the first and fourth innings before breaking the game open in the fifth as the Wildcats finished with five hits.

Gabe Jennings drove in four runs on a double and a single.

Wilson Central was coming off a 2-0 season-opening loss to Hernando (Miss.) on Monday in which Jackson Odette’s single was the only hit for the Wildcats, who drew three walks.

Matthew Jenkinson allowed both runs (both earned in the sixth) on three hits and a walk in six innings while striking out eight. One of the hits and runs was a homer. Gary Denton struck out two in the seventh.

Bears blank Smyrna 2-0 in opener

SMYRNA — Grayson Cole pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings and got two runs in the top of the sixth inning Monday night as Mt. Juliet won its season opener 2-0 over Warren County.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at McMinnville, but was moved to Smyrna High School with the Pioneers remaining the home team.

Cole allowed three hits and a walk while striking out four for the win. Hayden Robbins recorded the final two outs for the save.

Doubles by Nelson Buckland and Dylan Kasper produced Mt. Juliet’s first run. After stealing third, Cole came home on Corey Settle’s double.

Tyler Worden also doubled among his two hits from the No. 9 hole as the Bears banged out six hits.

Larry Woody’s outdoors notebook

Fishing regs: Tennessee’s new fishing regulations went into effect March 1, with no major changes from last year involving game fish species or regulations concerning Middle Tennessee waters.

There are some changes regarding the transportation of certain species of live bait, as part of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s continued efforts to check the spread of invasive Asian carp.

The fingerling carp resemble some species of bait fish and if accidentally mixed in a bait bucket could be introduced into other waters.

Identifications of the bait fish and small carp are illustrated in the 2019 Tennessee Fishing Guide, available at most outdoors outlets.

License exemption: Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1969 must complete a hunter education class in order to obtain a hunting license, but there is an exemption for someone who wants to go on a last-minute hunt. They get can a special exemption license that comes with certain restrictions.

Details about the various licenses and requirements are on the TWRA website and in the Tennessee Hunting & Trapping guide. There is also information about hunter education classes, including some on-line.

Cedar Roost banquet: The Cedar Roost Chapter of the NWTF will hold its annual banquet March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

For reservations or other information call Jody Jenkins at 615-761-4793.

Trapping class: A trapping class will be held March 15-17 in West Tennessee.

The classes are free and open to all ages. Registration can be done on-line at tnwildlife.org

Lebanon’s Clarence Dies is among the instructors who will teach various trapping skills and techniques.

Fur banquet: The Tennessee Fur Harvesters and Furbearers Unlimited will hold a fundraising banquet April 13 at the Crossville Community Complex. For information contact John Daniel at 423-595-0986.

OUTDOORS CALENDAR:

March 21: Cedar Roost banquet

March 30-May 12: turkey season

May 11-June 9: spring squirrel season

Larry Woody is The Mt. Juliet News’ outdoors writer. Email him at larrywoody@gmail.com. 

Mt. Juliet alumna honored as coach of the year

Butler named ACC Coach of the Year

Two years after being fired by Florida on her 45th birthday, Mt. Juliet native Amanda Butler was named Atlantic Coast Conference women’s basketball coach of the year – on her 47th birthday.

Butler guided Clemson to an 18-11 regular season, the Tigers’ first winning campaign following 14 straight losing seasons. At 9-7, Clemson is seeded No. 7 for the conference tournament, eight spots ahead of its preseason prediction and eight wins more than last year’s mark, the biggest turnaround in wins by a first-year coach in ACC history.

Butler, who brought in just two new players after being hired a year ago, is also one of 15 candidates for Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year.

Gardner repeats as SoCon’s top coach

Mt. Juliet native Susie Gardner has been named Southern Conference women’s basketball Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Her Mercer Bears have won four straight SoCon regular season championships and 34 straight conference regular-season games covering the past two seasons. Mercer was 22-7 going into conference tournament play.

Lady Bears go down swinging

By Andy Reed

areed@lebanondemocrat.com

MURFREESBORO — On more than one occasion, Houston appeared on the verge of blowing Mt. Juliet out of Murphy Center.

But the Lady Bears repeatedly battled back until time ran out in a 65-58 loss in the Class AAA state quarterfinals Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State.

Houston used a 10-0 run in each half to open double-digit leads before Mt. Juliet climbed back into the game. But the Lady Mustangs held on to return to Friday’s state semifinal against three-time champion Riverdale, which has ousted Houston the last two years, with a 30-2 record.

Mt. Juliet’s final record is 27-7.

“We were in an elimination game going to Henry County, we were in an elimination game going to Dickson, so these girls know when these games come about, the know how to stay in the game and find a way to compete,” Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer said. “You just can’t doubt them. You never know what they will bring to the table. When we got beat by Lebanon in the region final, I was thinking this season could be over. How would we respond to that? We came out and played one of our best games against Dickson.

“I’ve really enjoyed this year coaching them as much as any team we’ve had because they were so easy to come in and practice. They didn’t mind coming in to practice on Saturdays. They didn’t complain about practicing on Sundays. Their attitude was good throughout the year. They wanted to be in the gym. They wanted to play basketball… They like being around each other.”

Te Lady Bears led 2-0 and 4-2. But a 10-0 spurt opened an 18-7 Lady Mustang lead going into the second quarter.

But Mt. Juliet played its game in the second and twice drew to within a point as Tondriannha Davis tossed in 12 first-half points in her Lady Bear finale as Houston held a 29-27 halftime edge.

Houston is a team when one hole is plugged, another by zoning them, but their kids made some shots, and that’s what you got to do to win,” Fryer said. “This is their third year here and I know they’re hungry.”

But Mt. Juliet, playing in front of a surprisingly sparse crowd, wouldn’t go away as the Lady Bears worked the margin down to a final seven.

Mississippi State-bound Jayla Hemingway led the Lady Mustangs with 24 points, including three 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds. Madison Griggs fired in four triples on her way to 16 points and eight rebounds while Destinee Wells threw in 13, sinking all six of her shots, to go with five assists and three steals as Houston hit 24 of 45 from the floor and outrebounded Mt. Juliet 31-24.

“Our zone defense affected them some, but they still scored 29 points in the first half,” Fryer said. “Defensively, I thought for us to play man like we’ve done most of the year, was going to be hard because their point guard is good at getting the ball into the paint. We rolled the dice some, but I felt it gave us the best opportunity. The third quarter, they knocked some three-balls down. (Tatiana Gary) started it off, which was unexpected… That kind of opened the flood gates.”

Davis, who with Gentry Houston are Mt. Juliet’s only seniors, dropped in 19 points, including three triples, while Emma Palmer posted 16 points and nine rebounds and freshman Reghan Grimes 12 points and six caroms. Ryleigh Osborne sank a pair of threes for her six while junior Nevaeh Majors finished with five points and eight assists.

“When Tee (Davis) started as a freshman, that team was 16-13, the closest thing to a losing season we’ve had at Mt. Juliet,” said Fryer, who just concluded his 21st season as head coach. “And now, she’s ended her career by going to two state tournaments.

“I’ve had really good teams that never made it over here… There’s an expectation. Winning has become one of the more important things because we’ve built such a monster. It’s a disappointing season if you don’t win 25 games, and that’s hard to live up to. You have to work really hard to accomplish that. It takes a lot of work in the offseason. No one in our program right now has lived in the gym more than Tee. The amount of hours I’ve seen in four years probably beats any kid we’ve had in our program.”

Wildcat wrestlers win two tourneys as Kramer collects 600th coaching victory

Wilson Central enjoyed a busy holiday season which included two tournament championships and coach John Kramer’s 600th career dual win.

The Wildcats went 5-0 to win a dual tournament in Huntsville, Ala., defeating Coffee County, Sparkman, Huntsville, Bartlett and defending Alabama state champion Bob Jones in the finals.

Central went to Rossview and posted an 81-0 win over Kenwood, an 84-0 shutout of Montgomery Central (Kramer’s 600th), Northeast 71-12 and No. 7-ranked Rossview 52-18. The Wildcats also won their annual Bussey-Dickerson Invitational.

Central’s Hunter Borders won the 113-pound championship and was named outstanding wrestler for lightweights. Teammates joining Borders in the first-place column were Grant Fetters at 120 pounds, Steven Fisak at 126, T.H. Oakley at 132, Cullen Belcher at 145, Alex Pergande at 152, Levi Stone at 160 and Michael Kramer at 285.

Finishing second were Michael Mercante at 106, Cole Fort at 138 and Jesse Richardson at 220.

Avery Warnock, at 120, and Matthew Hills, at 182, were third.

Mt. Juliet native Caleb Cotham named Reds assistant pitching coach

Caleb Cotham, Mt. Juliet High Class of 2006, has been named assistant pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds where he will focus on analyical data under his former Vanderbilt pitching coach, Derek Johnson.

Cotham, 31, was named to the position Jan. 2. He pitched for the Reds in 2016 before a knee injury ended his career. He came to Cincinnati from the New York Yankees in a trade for closer Aroldis Chapman following the 2015 season. He posted a 7.15 earned-run average over 35 seasons in two seasons with the Reds and Yankees.

Lady Bears outscore Station Camp

MT. JULIET — Reghan Grimes, Tondriannha Davis and Emma Palmer combined to score 58 points Friday night to lead Mt. Juliet to a 70-58 win over Station Camp.

Grimes, a freshman forward, led the Lady Bears with 22 points while center Palmer put in 19 and Davis 17, including three 3-pointers, as Mt. Juliet improved to 15-3 for the season and 5-1 in District 9-AAA.

The Lady Bears led 20-10 following the first quarter, 40-24 at halftime and 54-38 through three periods.

Ryleigh Osborne sank a pair of triples as she and Nevaeh Majors each scored six for Mt. Juliet.

Olivia Delk drained a pair of threes as she and Faith Eubank threw in 13 points apiece for Station Camp.

Mt. Juliet will play host to Wilson Central at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.