The “Best of the Best” tab came out Friday, detailing the best and brightest businesses, people and restaurants in Warren County.
Over the last two years, I’ve piggy-backed that idea by selecting the “Best of the Best” male and female athletes in Warren County. Those are coming, but this year I wanted to add a couple more honors.
With the help of some dedicated followers of the Southern Standard sports Twitter page (follow @SStandardSports), I’d like to honor this year’s best team and the best game of the 2012-13 school year.
Best Team -WCHS Lady Pioneer soccer
When the question “who is the best of the best team at WCHS this year,” was proposed on Twitter, senior Lady Pioneer soccer captain Kimberly Warden didn’t waste time responding.
Warden said, “The girls soccer team! [We were] Part of the final 16, won our season and tournament, and went to regionals and sectionals!”
If that wasn’t enough, junior star Ansley Mullican added, “we have all-district, all-region and all-state players.”
It’s hard to argue with either of those points. The Lady Pioneers advanced further than any team to date, with the baseball, softball and boys soccer team still yet to start their district tournaments.
The Lady Pioneers claimed the regular-season District 6-AAA title for the second year in a row, then followed it up by winning the district tournament.
In the previous two years, the Lady Pioneers saw their season end in the regional tournament, but this year was different. Warren County upended Ooltewah in the regional semifinals, winning 5-1.
The Lady Pioneers would go on to lose a 6-5 heartbreaker in the regional tournament finals and saw their season end on the doorstep of the state tournament at the hands of the Siegel Lady Stars.
Still, the team deserves top honors and most of the players got them. Every starter for Warren County was honored as All-District 6-AAA in some fashion. Warden, Ansley Mullican, Taylor Mullican and Lyndi Dodd were named all-region and Ansley Mullican and Morgan McCormick were named all-state.
It was definitely a great run for the Lady Pioneers, a true team blessed with talent, toughness and a will to win.
Second place - WCHS volleyball
As Kayla Brown put it, “volleyball winning 40!!” is pretty impressive. They’ll be heard from soon.
Honorable mention - WCHS girls tennis, Boyd girls basketball, WCHS girls golf, Pioneerette dance team
Best game - WCHS volleyball beating Cookeville
Imagine carrying the weight of a 26-year losing streak on your back, along with knowing that 122 victories in your career wouldn’t mean as much if you never beat your main rivals.
That was the thought process running through six seniors’ heads when Warren County played host to the Lady Cavaliers Sept. 27. The District 6-AAA title was at stake, the losing streak was weighing on the Lady Pioneers and adding fuel to the fire was a loss three weeks prior when the Lady Pioneers won the first two sets, only to be swept in the final three by Cookeville.
Cookeville won the first two sets, adding more doubt Warren County could win despite its senior class featuring soon-to-be District 6-AAA player of the year Caroline McKinley and all-district performers Megan Dishman, Blair Fisher, Kaitlin Lawrence and Karoline Deaton.
Warren County turned the tides in the third set, winning 25-14 as McKinley took control at the net. Deaton’s diving save in the fourth set led to a 25-23 victory and the team’s sixth senior, Emily Newman, served the team to victory in the fifth and final set.
Tears were shed, the celebration spilled into the stands and the Lady Pioneers finally got the monkey off their backs - in dramatic comeback fashion no less. It was a win for the ages.
Second place - WCHS baseball upsetting Tullahoma
Sophomore 1B Chayse Frye had a short response when giving his take on the “Best of the Best” game. Frye said, “It’s gotta be the upset.” The Pioneers beating Tullahoma, ranked No. 23 in the nation, 14-13 has been the highlight of the spring sports season.
Honorable mention -
WCHS girls basketball beating Cannon County, WCHS football snapping a 15-game losing streak and WCHS boys basketball beating Coffee County at the buzzer
Next week, the “Best of the Best” girls will be featured. The boys will be named Sunday, May 12.