1. Patterson’s U.S. Open appearance year’s top story
Brett Patterson became only the second resident from Warren County to ever play in the U.S. Open in June 2011.
Patterson, a star at Warren County High School before moving on to Middle Tennessee State University, qualified and competed in the 111th U.S. Open held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
Patterson was able to make the field by winning a 36-hole qualifier in Ball Ground, Ga., two weeks before the Open.
Upon qualifying for the Open, something Patterson called a “dream come true,” the McMinnville native spent weeks preparing to play against the best golfers in the world.
On Thursday, June 16, the dream was realized when Patterson teed off at hole No. 10. A double bogey on the first hole wasn’t how Patterson envisioned his start would be and the 19-year-old golfer finished the day at five-over.
Patterson played his second round the following day, but failed to make the weekend as he missed the cut.
Still, the experience was enough for Patterson as the young golfer was able to vault his name into the conversation as one of the top amateur golfers in the United States.
Patterson competed in several major tournaments throughout the summer, including playing the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island and finishing 41st and traveling to Oregon to compete in the Public Links tournament.
Patterson will be competing for the Blue Raiders this spring.
2. Montgomery leads walkout, WCHS forfeits, fined $500
Warren County High School was fined $500 after Pioneer basketball coach Malcolm Montgomery led a walkout during an overtime game against Van Buren County on Friday, Dec. 2.
The Pioneers were trailing by five in overtime when two separate technical fouls were whistled against Warren County.
The first was accessed to the Pioneer bench, then senior Mitchell McCorkle was called for another when a Van Buren County player flopped after small contact between the two players.
Coach Montgomery decided it was time to go when the second technical was called and the Pioneer head man left the bench waving for his team to follow him.
The bizarre situation led to fans storming the court from both sides and the situation escalated when coach Montgomery had to be restrained by his assistant coaches after an argument with a Van Buren County fan.
After the game, Montgomery was suspended indefinitely by the school prior to a meeting with the TSSAA. After Montgomery, athletic director Todd Willmore and WCHS principal Anthony Cassel met with the TSSAA, the suspension was lifted and the school was fined for forfeiting a sanctioned game.
3. Lady Pioneers win title
The Warren County High School girls soccer team took District 6-AAA by storm this season. The Lady Pioneers won the district title with a 7-1 record and finished the season 16-5 overall.
No win seemed to be sweeter during the season than when Warren County opened district play at home against the Cookeville Lady Cavaliers.
Facing a team which had defeated Warren County in every other meeting since the formation of the district in 2009, the Lady Pioneers destroyed Cookeville 5-2 to start the season.
Warren County would go on to win 15 games in the regular season and have 10 players named All-District 6-AAA.
The biggest honors for the Lady Pioneers were given to sophomores Morgan McCormick and Ansley Mullican.
McCormick was named District 6-AAA MVP after scoring 26 goals and dishing out nine assists during the season.
Mullican was honored as the district’s top forward as she finished with 11 goals and 12 assists.
Warren County finished second in the district tournament, losing to the Lady Cavaliers at home in the finals.
The Lady Pioneers earned their second straight bid to the regionals. Warren County was beaten by Soddy Daisy in the regional semifinals, the same opponent which ended the Lady Pioneer season a year prior.
4. WCHS football goes winless
In coach Tommy Johnson’s second season, the Warren County High School football team reverted back to its old ways as the Pioneers went winless in 2011.
After going six seasons with wins, Warren County finished a season 0-10 for the first time since 2004. It was the seventh time the Pioneers hadn’t won a game in a season in the history of the program.
Warren County had a few close calls. The Pioneers lost 31-27 against Moore County and were tied with District 6-AAA rival Cookeville before falling 38-16.
Although the season left the Pioneers with a goose egg in the win column, two Warren County players finished the season with record-setting numbers.
Sophomore quarterback Hunter Mullican rewrote the record books with a splendid season. Mullican finished the year with single-season highs in completions (124), attempts (256) and second in yards (1,444).
Mullican currently sits in second all-time in completions, third in attempts and third in yards for career numbers.
Junior receiver Mitchell Ashford also moved up in the all-time rankings. Ashford, who has 48 catches, sits in sixth all-time and needs only 12 catches next season to set the career record.
Warren County will start next season trying to snap a 13-game losing streak as the Pioneers finished the 2010 season with three straight losses.
5. WCHS tennis team takes district title
No Warren County High School team over the past two years has been more dominant than the boys tennis team.
For the second straight season, the Pioneers swept the District 6-AAA regular season and tournament titles on their way to advancing to the regionals.
Led by sophomore Shunsuke Nakashima and juniors Thomas Locke and Seth Grissom, the Pioneers went 15-1 in the regular season.
The Pioneers went 8-0 in the regular season against Coffee County, Cumberland County, Cookeville and White County. The team followed it up by dominating the district tournament.
Grissom won the individual singles tournament while Nakashima and Locke paired to take the doubles title.
Warren County had its season end in McMinn County for the second straight year though. Facing its regional foe at Lee University, the Pioneers were eliminated in the team and individual portions.
The optimism around the program is still high as the majority of the team should return for the 2012 season. The Pioneers did suffer one major setback though when Nakashima and his family moved prior to the 2011-12 school year.
Warren County will go into the upcoming season with their sights set on a three-peat in District 6-AAA.
6. Volleyball team wins 32 games
The task wasn’t easy for the Warren County High School volleyball team. Losing three seniors and facing the expectations of outdoing a 29-win season in 2010, the Lady Pioneer squad rose to the challenge.
For only the second time in program history, the Lady Pioneers advanced to the regional tournament after winning 32 games.
The win total was the second-most in program history, falling two short of the record. Warren County finished second in District 6-AAA in the regular season and advanced to the tournament finals for the second straight year.
Coach Franklin Fisher and his team faced a familiar foe in the regionals as the Lady Pioneers were defeated in Soddy Daisy for the second straight year. Although it was a tough loss, Warren County played toe-to-toe with the Lady Trojans and Blair Fisher and Caroline McKinley were named to the all-regional tournament team.
Fisher, McKinley and Megan Dishman were also named to the All-District 6-AAA first team for their outstanding junior seasons.
7. Local all-star team wins state tourney
A 10-year-old National League All-Star team from Warren County won the state tournament last summer.
The team, selected from members of the junior league division of Warren County Youth Baseball, claimed the county’s first state title in nearly a decade.
Warren County won a district tournament at home, then traveled to Elizabethton to take on the best teams from Tennessee.
The youth team defeated Grassland 4-0 in the championship game and moved on to the Southeast regionals held in North Carolina.
Warren County went 3-2 at regionals, but was not able to advance to the nationals.
Members of the National League All-Star team were, Brant Young, Blane Elkins, Crockett Walker, Lucas Scruggs, Jacob Johnston, Brooks Helton, Hunter Adams, Benjamin Clark, Brandon Hennessee, Lane Jones, Jaeden Pyburn, Ethan Smith and Gavin Myers. The team was coached by Neil Helton, Stacey Young and Brad Hennessee.
8. WCMS wins 7 games, Cotten sets record
The Warren County Middle School football team had a banner year in 2011 as the Pioneers won seven games and coach Greg Cotten set a school record for victories.
The Pioneers, who were the reigning Central Tennessee Conference champions, finished the regular season with a 5-3 record.
Though Warren County was unable to repeat as CTC champions, the Pioneers did finish off the season by winning two bowl games.
Warren County defeated Whitwell in overtime and took down Smith County in two separate bowl games to finish the season.
While the Pioneers piled on victories, the school record for wins transferred from Jeff Watson to Cotten.
Cotten, in his fourth season, went from winning no games his first year to nearly setting the school record for wins in a season. Cotten’s 17th win, which occurred against Sparta, topped Watson’s previous mark of 16. Cotten finished the season with 19 total wins in four years.
9. Lady Pioneers end long regional drought
The Warren County High School girls basketball team returned to the regionals for the first time since 1999 during the 2010-11 basketball season.
The Lady Pioneers won 16 games, including making it all the way to the District 6-AAA tournament title game.
The berth in the tournament title game led to Warren County playing host to Walker Valley in the regionals.
The Lady Pioneers were defeated by Walker Valley, a team which was ranked in the top five in most state rankings.
During the regional tournament game, junior forward Lauren Wilkinson joined the school’s 1,000-point scoring club.
Wilkinson sank the opening shot in the game and coach Erick Baird called a time-out to present his star junior with a trophy honoring the achievement.
Warren County has come back in the 2011-12 season with similar success. Currently, the Lady Pioneers sport a 9-6 record as District 6-AAA play approaches in January.
10. Amiel Emerson runs in state tournament
It wouldn’t be hard to argue Amiel Emerson may be the fastest person at Warren County High School.
Emerson, a school-record holder in the 800 meters, ran his way into the state finals last year during the 2011 track season.
Emerson, a rising senior, qualified for the state tournament after breaking his own school record he set as a sophomore at Warren County and finishing in the top four in both the subsectionals and sectionals.
Emerson’s current school record in the 800 is two minutes and two seconds.
Emerson ran 2:05 at the state tournament in a field of 15 runners.
The time was nine seconds slower than the eventual winner.
Emerson began his senior season by competing on the school’s cross country team and should be a fixture on the team’s track team when competitions start this spring.