Four teams in all from Region 4-AAA placed in the top 20, including Eastside-Covington in sixth with 802 points, Eagle’s landing in 10th with 602 points, Sandy Creek in 13th with 576 points and Spalding in 16th with 485 1/2 points.
“This is four or five years in a row we’ve been in the top 16,” SHS Principal Derrell Jeffcoat said of the honor. “I’m very proud of that and want that to continue.”
Teams are awarded points for where they finish at the end of the season.
Leading the way for Spalding with region championships were the girsl cross country team, girls soccer team, boys golf team, girls track and field team and baseball team. The baseball team also posted a state runner-up finish on the way to its best season ever.
“That’s one of our goals at Spalding High School — to be diversified and not just emphasis one sport,” said SHS athletic director Jeff Hyland. “That’s true not just in sports but in other areas like academics, drama, chorus and band.”
“We try to be well balanced,” he added. “Of course, probably all the schools in our region who placed in the top 20 can probably say the same thing.”
Hyland said it’s a lot more than just having gifted athletes.
“Having good coaching is a part of it as well as having support from parents and from Mr. Jeffcoat and the administration,” said Hyland.
Spalding has about 500 athletes — about a third of the student body — Hyland estimated.
“All of the coaches support each other and try not to hog athletes,” he said. “A lot of the coaches like for their players to play other sports out of season to stay sharp.”
The blend has led to Spalding placing in the top 16 for the fifth year in a row on a list led this year by St. Pius X (1243 points), followed by Woodward Academy (1185), Columbus (909), Carrollton (901 1/2) and Allatoona (854.5).
Rounding out the top 20 were: Dalton (683) in seventh, North Hall (649.5) in eighth, Westover (612 1/2) in ninth, Oconee County (595 1/2) in 11th, West Laurens (589) in 12th, Cartersville 539 1/2) in 15th, Riverwood (458) in 17th, Crisp County (451) in 18th, Cairo (448) in 19th and Washington County (447) in 20th.