By Zach Womble for The Gallatin News
The 2019-20 school year certainly did not go as planned. After several weeks of uncertainty, leaders made the decision earlier this month to end the school year and cancel the remaining spring sports seasons.
With the abrupt end comes the realization that many student-athletes will never play the game they grew up loving with their friends ever again.
Despite the premature end to sports this year, 2019-20 left us with many remarkable moments on the field.
Below are the best moments of the school year.
October 24, 2019
The Beech Buccaneers and Gallatin Green Wave football teams gave us the most memorable sports moment from this school year.
An estimated 7,500 people attended the game of the year on Shackle Island and saw the Bucs wrap up the Region 6-5A championship with a 14-10 win.
“Regular season this is probably the biggest game (in Sumner County) since 2012 when Beech played Station Camp on TV,” Beech Head Coach Anthony Crabtree told Main Street Preps after the win. “The players were treated to an amazing atmosphere by both fan bases.”
Beech completed their perfect 10-0 regular season the next week with a win over Hillwood while the Green Wave capped the 2019 regular season 9-1.
2. Commandos trounce Mt. Juliet en route to Region 5-6A title
November 1, 2019
The Hendersonville Commandos may have been overlooked by the Golden Bears in November when the two teams squared off for the Region 5-6A Championship on Paul Decker Field.
On paper, the Commandos were an average team at 5-4, but what the stats did not tell you about the Commandos were that three of their losses came by one possession, including back-to-back losses to Beech and Lebanon by one point each.
However, that Friday night Hendersonville showed the defending region champions who the better team was as they ran over Mt. Juliet en route to a 41-14 thrashing.
The win secured the Commandos their first region championship since 2015.
3. Station Camp Lady Bison win back-to-back golf championships
October 16, 2019
Station Camp High School secured their second consecutive TSSAA State Golf Championship this past October, finishing with a 10-over 298 for the 36-hole tournament. The Lady Bison defeated Farragut by two strokes.
In 2018, the Lady Bison won their first title when the second day of the tournament was canceled due to rain.
Led by Lynn Lim and Lily Bloodworth, the team will go for a three-peat beginning this fall.
4. Hendersonville soccer continues to dominate, Russ Plummer announces retirement
The dominance on the pitch the last 30 years for the Black and Gold under Russ Plummer was remarkable.
In October, the Lady Commandos capped their first region championship in eight seasons and their eighth district championship in the last nine seasons while making it to the sub-state round for the ninth year in-a-row, and 25th appearance in the last 26 seasons.
Hendersonville’s quest for Murfreesboro ultimately fell short against Ravenwood 0-1 on October 26, 2019 in the Class AAA sub-state round.
In September, Plummer told Main Street Preps that the 2019-20 school season would be his last as Commando Head Coach. Unfortunately for the players, the school, the community, and Russ Plummer, the fall season turned out to be his last full season with the Black and Gold.
COVID-19 not only took away the season for the Class of 2020 but also robbed us of watching one of the legendary coaches in the state’s soccer history not get his victory lap.
5. Lady Panthers finish runner-up in state volleyball championships
Playing for a state championship in volleyball is nothing new for the Portland Lady Panthers. Head coach Rob Lesemann has guided the last two teams to the state title and was looking for the all elusive three-peat this last October.
However, Nolensville High School had other plans after the two teams battled the first two days with relatively easy victories before setting up their four-game clash for the state title.
The Lady Panthers ultimately dropped three straight sets and the loss, but a second-place finish was nothing for the Class of 2020 to hang their heads about.
6. Lady Wave enjoy the best season in school history
For the first time since 1999, the Gallatin Lady Wave soccer team played in the region tournament. They secured the accomplishment after beating city-rival Station Camp 3-1 in the District 10-AAA semifinals.
After falling to Hendersonville in the district title game, Gallatin went on the road and secured a 3-2 win over Mt. Juliet in the Region 5-AAA tournament and earned a trip to the Class AAA sub-state round for the first time in school history.
7. Mesecher wins individual state bowling championship; Lady Knights finish in state semis
Matthew Mesecher of Pope John Paul II pumped his fist when he converted his 6-7-10 split in Smyrna this past January. The knocking of the pins gave him the individual state bowling championship in Division II over Notre Dame’s CJ Petrin, 177-174.
The Lady Knights enjoyed great team success after downing GPS in the opening to advance to the Division II semifinals. In the process, individuals Katie Dorr and Madeline Hartlage faced off in the quarterfinals before seeing Hartlage advance to the semifinals where she lost to eventual state champion Jenna Hedgepath.
8. Bates and Smith bring home wrestling titles
Juniors Trey Bates and Mason Smith of Beech High School secured the program’s ninth state title in the last five years and was Bates’ second title in three years.
Bates ended his campaign 44-2 after downing Jackson Bradford of Cleveland 6-1 in the finals while Smith ended his season 31-1. His state championship victory came against Wilson Central’s Levi Stone, 5-3.
9. Westmoreland Lady Eagles advance to sub-state
The Lady Eagle basketball program enjoyed their best season since 2014-15 this past season going 29-5.
Westmoreland ended their season prematurely, losing to Nolensville 35-31 in the Class AA sub-sate, but they accomplished many great things along the way.
At 12-0 in District 9-AA, Westmoreland won both the regular season and tournament championship. They lost the Region 5-AAA championship to Maplewood, ensuring they would e on the road for the sub-state. Throughout the season, Westmoreland enjoyed an 11 and 16 game win streak. They held their opponents to 26 points per game during their 11 game winning streak, and 28 points per game during their 16 games winning streak.
10. Breathing, Merrol Hyde headline state cross country runners
Merrol Hyde placed fifth in the 2019 State Cross Country Championships, the best in Sumner County. Hawks’ eighth-grader Parker Breitling finished in eighth place, tied for the best individual finish in the county with Pope John Paul II’s Cordelia Burks.
Other top 20 finishers in the county included Hendersonville’s Clayton Kirkus (17) and Westmoreland’s Leah Kendall (14).
11. Six student-athletes sign Division I athletic scholarships
August 2019 – March 2020
Signing a scholarship to continue your athletic career is nothing to look over. No matter if you signed Division III, NAIA, or Division I, your accomplishment has not gone unnoticed. However, we do want to recognize six student-athletes who signed to play at the highest level. Spencer Briggs of Gallatin signed to play football at UNLV while fellow gridiron star Rory White (JPII) inked to play at the Air Force Academy. Hoop star Ashley Malone (JPII) inked with Jacksonville University, and swimmer Ella Platek (JPII) will continue her aquatic career at Vanderbilt University. Gracelyn Carvacho (SCHS) will attend Ole Miss for the next four years on a volleyball scholarship. Dylan Mott (HHS) will attend the University of Tennessee at Martin on a volleyball scholarship. Congratulations to these student-athletes on signing Division I.
12. White House boys basketball rights the ship
December 2019 – February 2020
The White House boys basketball team was in a bad place after 14 games. Sitting at 1-13, the Blue Devils came together to win 13 out of the next 15 games to end the season. The winning streak culminated with a heroic buzzer-beater victory over rival Portland.
Ultimately the Blue Devils’ season came to a close the next week with a loss to Westmoreland in the opening round of the district tournament, but the turn-a-round for White House was simply something you cannot ignore.
13. Lady Bucs advance to sub-state; Utley announces departure
Playing late into the season was nothing new for Kristi Utley and the Beech Lady Buccaneers. Over four years, the Lady Bucs had won big games in the district and region tournaments but had never gotten over the hump of playing for a trip to Murfreesboro.
After finishing first in the regular season, Beech earned a trip to the sub-state round for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
Following the loss to Brentwood on March 7, Utley announced to her team that she would be stepping down as head coach immediately.
14. Merrol Hyde Lady Hawks book third consecutive trip to Murfreesboro
The Merrol Hyde Lady Hawks soared to new heights in 2019 after booking their third consecutive trip to Murfreesboro with a 5-0 win over Cascade in the sub-state round. The Lady Hawks would eventually lose in the first round to Alcoa, but the season was anything short of a disappointment.
15. Station Camp captures District 9-AAA/Region 5-AAA volleyball three-peat
Station Camp volleyball captured their quest for a District 9-AAA and Region 5-AAA volleyball three-peat in October. The Bison downed Hendersonville (3-0) for the District 9-AAA crown then took down Wilson Central (3-0) for the Region 5-AAA championship.
The Bison fell, 3-2, to Ravenwood in the substate round ending their season 35-7.