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Athletes Beyond Bartow: Henson wins ACC title, Smith third in Big Ten

Former Woodland Wildcats, Caleb Henson (left) and Jaxon Smith finished first and third, respectively, at the ACC and Big Ten Championships this weekend in their weight divisions.

Former Woodland High School standout wrestlers Caleb Henson and Jaxon Smith had strong performances at the ACC Championship and the Big Ten Championship this past weekend to earn spots in the NCAA National Championship.

Henson, ranked eighth nationally, helped lead the Virginia Tech Hokies to a team runner-up finish at the ACC Championship. Smith, ranked 14th nationally, placed third at the Big Ten Championship.

In basketball, at least five former local standouts are on teams continuing to advance in collegiate post-season action.

In outdoor action, former Cartersville High tennis standout, Emily Bush, was 3-0 in her singles matches and 2-1 in her doubles sets last week playing Line 2 singles and Line 3 doubles at Young Harris College while former Canes baseball star Anthony Seigler made two more MBL Spring Training appearances with the New York Yankees.


ASHTON HAGANS — Greensboro Swarm (NBA G-League; 3rd-year pro; Cartersville native; Kentucky; Newton HS) … in a pair of losses at the College Park Skyhawks last Thursday and Saturday, Hagans totaled 10 rebounds, eight points, eight assists, and six steals. The Swarm (8-16) are 13th of 15 teams in the G-League’s Eastern Conference. Greensboro travels to Texas for games Wednesday at the Rio Grande Vipers and Friday at the Austin Spurs.

A.J. MOSBY — Sudbury Five (6th-year pro; NBL-Canada; Alcorn State; Cartersville HS) … scored 13 points and had three assists and one steal last Thursday in a 105-89 home loss to the London Lightning. Sudbury (10-4) hosts Flint United Thursday and Saturday.


VIC BEASLEY — Vegas Vipers (9th yr. pro; Clemson; Adairsville HS) … had one tackle assist in the Vipers’ 30-26 home loss to the Seattle Sea Dragons Saturday night. Vegas (0-3) plays Sunday at the D.C. Defenders.


ANTHONY SEIGLER — New York Yankees (6th yr. pro; MLB non-roster invitee; Cartersville HS) … was utilized off the bench twice last week appearing at catcher and DH in games against the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves. He had a hit in his lone plate appearance last Wednesday against the Tigers and walked twice scoring one run in two plate appearances against the Braves. The Yankees lost to Detroit and beat Atlanta. Seigler is now 1-for-5 with three walks and one run scored in five Spring Training appearances with the MLB club. The Yankees, 6-4 in the Grapefruit League, play the Pirates twice, Red Sox twice, Cardinals, Tigers, and Phillies this week.


EMILY BUSH — Young Harris College (Fr., Cartersville HS) … won her Line 2 singles match 6-3, 6-0 and won at Line 3 doubles with partner Catarina Marcko Ferreira, 6-3 as the Mountain Lions defeated Reinhardt University last Tuesday. On Wednesday in a 6-1 loss at Erskine College, Bush had the only win at Line 2 singles 7-6, 6-4. She and her doubles partner lost 6-0 at Line 3. On Saturday during a 4-3 home win over Belmont Abbey, she was a 7-5 winner at Line 3 doubles and won her Line 2 singles match, 6-2, 6-0. YHC (5-6) hosts Oglethorpe University this Saturday afternoon.


BUCK BRUMLOW — University of Georgia (So., Cartersville HS) … tied for 54th of 84 players as the Bulldogs finished ninth of 15 teams at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas February 26-28. Brumlow carded rounds of 72-74-76. 7th-ranked Illinois won the tournament with a 21-under-par total finishing ahead of Texas (-19) and Pepperdine (-18). Georgia finished 1-over-par as a team. The next tournament for UGA is the Linger Longer Invitational on March 19-21 in Eatonton, Georgia.


ANGEL BANDA — Reinhardt University (Jr., Adairsville HS) … went 2-2 in bouts at the NAIA National Championship Tournament competing in the 125-pound weight class.

KYLE GOLLHOFER — University of Northern Iowa (R-So., Woodland HS) … went 0-2 at the Big 12 Conference Championship Tournament in the 125-pound weight class falling 6-2 to Oklahoma State’s Reece Wincraft and 10-5 to Jore Volk of Wyoming. Gollhofer finished the 2023 campaign with an 8-13 record.

CALEB HENSON — Virginia Tech (Fr., Woodland HS) … won the 149-pound weight class at the ACC Championship Sunday in Raleigh as the Hokies finished team runner-up to North Carolina State. Henson, ranked eighth nationally as an individual, improved to 21-3 on the season. He defeated Jackson Arrington of NC State in the finals with a 10-3 decision. The NCAA Championships are March 16-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

BRYCE KRESHO — Franklin & Marshall College (Fr., Cass HS) … EIWA Championship

lost first round bout 5-1 to his opponent from Bucknell and dropped his consolation bout to an opponent from Binghampton 10-6. Finished his freshman season at 149 pounds with a 14-16 mark.

JAXON SMITH — University of Maryland (R-Fr., Woodland HS) … ranked 14th nationally, Smith went 5-1 at the Big Ten Conference Championship in Ann Arbor, Michigan over the weekend and placed third in the 197-pound weight division. He improved to 21-6 on the season. The NCAA Championships are March 16-18 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


ZAYLAN CHANEY — Lincoln Memorial University (Fr., Cartersville resident; Legacy Early College Prep) … played just two minutes in a quarterfinal round game with no stat line as the Railsplitters won 100-73 over Coker College at the South Atlantic Conference Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. LMU then lost to the University of Virginia-Wise 86-78 in the semifinals but Sunday night received an at-large bid to the NCAA D-II National Tournament. The Railsplitters (27-4) were awarded a 3-seed and will face Lander University in the first round of the Southeast Regional in Augusta on Saturday.

DiANTHONY HEATHCOCK — Columbia International University (Jr., Woodland HS) …. leading the Rams in scoring at 15.4 points per game, Heathcock helps lead CIU to its first-ever NAIA National Tournament appearance Tuesday night at No. 1-seed Grace College (Indiana) in the Duer Quadrant. The 6-7 forward started all 30 games this season and has also led the Rams in rebounding (8.5 rpg), blocked shots (26), and free throws attempted (103). Columbia International (18-13) is a 16-seed.

T.J. Horton

T.J. HORTON — Georgia Highlands CC (So., Cartersville HS) … scored five points with four rebounds, two assists, and one steal last Wednesday in a 98-74 win at Gordon State. He followed Saturday with 10 points, eight rebounds, six steals, and two assists in a 74-64 home win over Albany Tech. The Chargers (21-9) host a quarterfinal round game of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament Tuesday night against Gordon State.

KEARA McDANIEL — Toccoa Falls College (So., Cass HS) … joins her teammates starting Thursday in the Screaming Eagles’ first National Christian College Athletic Association national championship tournament in Joplin, Missouri. It will be the first appearance in the Christian College Division II tournament for Toccoa Falls since 1995. The Screaming Eagles (20-7) are the No. 7-seed in the eight-team tournament and will play 2nd-seeded Arlington Baptist University (16-6) in the first round.

Jaylon Pugh

JAYLON PUGH — Lander University (Grad Student, Cartersville HS) … helped lead the Bearcats to the Peach Belt Conference title game last week in Augusta including an upset win over No. 1-seed USC-Aiken. Pugh scored 11 points in an 80-67 quarterfinal win over Young Harris last Thursday; scored 12 points in last Friday’s 93-81 win over USC-Aiken; and finished with 21 points in Sunday’s 86-72 championship game loss to host Augusta University. He also totaled seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the three-game tournament run. Lander (22-9) received an at-large bid as a 6-seed and will square off with Lincoln Memorial University Saturday in Augusta to open the NCAA D-II Southeast Regional.


LAINEY BAKER — Samford University (Fr., Woodland HS) … made a two-inning appearance and was tagged with the pitching loss last Friday in a 3-0 loss to Ball State at the University of Georgia Tournament. Baker (2-3) gave up three earned runs on four hits and hit one batter. Samford went 1-5 for the week. The Bulldogs (6-14) play Saturday and Sunday at the Jacksonville State Tournament.

COLBI BALLARD — Shorter University (Sr., Cartersville HS) … made a start in the outfield and was 0-for-2 at the plate in a Hawks’ 7-5 home loss to Valdosta State University. Shorter was 0-5 for the week with two losses at the University of North Georgia and three against Valdosta State. The Hawks (4-18, 1-8) play a three-game Gulf South Conference series at the University of Montevallo Saturday and Sunday.

SKYLAR CHAPPELL — Cottey College (Sr., Woodland HS) … appeared in three games last weekend for the Comets going 0-for-3 at the plate. Cottey had losses to Northeastern Oklahoma State, Evangel (Missouri), and Nebraska-Kearney but picked up a win over the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Cottey (8-9) faces Valley City State University (North Dakota), St. Clair College (Canada), Friends University (Kansas), Viterbo University (Wisconsin), Embry-Riddle University (Florida), and Doane University (Nebraska) this week at the Tucson, Arizona Invitational Games.

Ansley Evans

ANSLEY EVANS — Reinhardt University (So., Woodland HS) … the Eagles’ third baseman was 3-for-4 with a pair of walks as Reinhardt took a pair of 2-0 decisions last Tuesday over visiting Bryan College (Tennessee). The Eagles (6-2, 2-0 Appalachian Athletic Conference) visit Point University Monday, visit USC-Beaufort Tuesday, travel to Coastal Georgia College Wednesday, and host Kentucky Christian and Montreat College Friday and Saturday.

SADYE JOHNSON — University of North Georgia (So., Adairsville HS) … had a hit and one RBI in her only plate appearance last week. It came in a Nighthawks’ 17-5 home win over Shorter last Wednesday. UNG was 5-0 for the week with a pair of wins over Shorter and three over USC-Aiken. The NCAA D-II 2nd-ranked Nighthawks (20-1, 6-0 Peach Belt Conference) host Barry University Monday, Christian Brothers University Tuesday, and travel to Augusta University for a three-game PBC series Saturday and Sunday.

Eryn Lee

ERYN LEE — Reinhardt University (Fr., Cass HS) … finished two wins over Bryan College last week 1-for-4 with a walk at the plate. The Eagles (6-2, 2-0 Appalachian Athletic Conference) visit Point University Monday, visit USC-Beaufort Tuesday, travel to Coastal Georgia College Wednesday, and host Kentucky Christian and Montreat College Friday and Saturday.

RACHAEL LEE — Gulf Coast State CC (Fr., Cass HS) … the Commodores’ outfielder started four of five games and was 1-for-12 with a walk and two runs scored as Gulf Coast finished the week with two wins in five games at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia. The Commodores (14-9) host Lurleen B. Wallace CC Monday and entertain Coastal Alabama-Brewton CC Thursday.

LAUREN McELHANEY — University of West Georgia (Jr., Cartersville HS) … the Wolves’ catcher started in a 9-7 loss to visiting Union University (Tennessee) Saturday going 0-for-3 at the plate. West Georgia dropped two of three games to the visiting Bulldogs. The Wolves (3-15, 2-7 Gulf South Conference) host Auburn Montgomery Wednesday and travel to Valdosta State for a three-game GSC series Saturday and Sunday.

HOPE SHORT — Shorter University (Jr., Cartersville HS) … made a start as her team’s designated hitter and was 0-for-3 at the plate last Wednesday in a 17-5 loss at 2nd-ranked University of North Georgia. The Hawks were 0-5 for the week with two losses at UNG and three at home to Valdosta State. Shorter (4-18, 1-8 Gulf South Conference) plays a three-game GSC series Saturday and Sunday at the University of Montevallo.

ALEXA VARNER — Shorter University (Jr., Adairsville HS) … was 1-for-5 with one RBI in a pair of starts last week. She started at shortstop at North Georgia and in left field in a home game against Valdosta State. The Hawks (4-18, 1-8 Gulf South Conference) had an 0-5 week with upcoming conference games this weekend at the University of Montevallo.


Curt Bonner

CURT BONNER — LaGrange College (Fr., Cartersville HS) … came off the bench and had his second walk-off hit of the season last Saturday as 4th-ranked LaGrange beat North Carolina Wesleyan 4-3. Bonner was 2-for-2 in the win including the game-winning RBI. Sunday, he was 3-for-3 with three walks, two RBIs, and two runs scored in a start at catcher as the Panthers topped the Battlin’ Bishops 15-9. LaGrange (8-3) hosts Wittenberg University Monday before playing three games this weekend in Milligan, Tennessee against Centenary (Louisiana), Westfield State (Massachusetts), and the University of Chicago.

LOGAN MARTIN — University of Kentucky (Sr., Cartersville HS) … made a four-inning start last Saturday and received no decision in a Wildcats’ 4-2 home win over Indiana State. Martin allowed two runs on four hits and three walks and exited with his team ahead 4-2. Kentucky was 5-0 for the week sweeping Morehead State and the Sycamores. The Wildcats (9-2) host Murray State Tuesday, Ohio University Wednesday, and a three-game series with Southern Illinois Friday through Sunday.

COLT McKIBBEN — Lee University (Fr., Cartersville HS) … retired four outs last Wednesday in the first and second innings as the Flames beat visiting Lane College, 13-3. The southpaw allowed one earned run on two hits receiving no decision. Lee was 2-2 for the week winning just one of three games at home with Auburn-Montgomery. The Flames (10-9, 5-4 Gulf South Conference) visit Lincoln Memorial University Wednesday and host a three-game, non-conference series with Frostburg State Friday through Sunday.

SAM MELTON — Rockingham CC (Fr., Cartersville HS) … in a doubleheader at Barton College JV last Wednesday, Melton made a pitching relief appearance allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk. He also struck out one in a 10-7 loss. In the second game, he started at third base and was 1-for-1 with two walks, a sacrifice, and one run scored in a 10-3 win. In a three-game series Saturday and Sunday at Virginia Peninsula CC, Melton was 3-for-10 with three walks, two RBIs, and four runs scored as the Eagles won twice. Rockingham (5-13, 2-1 Div. III Region 10) hosts Ferrum JV Tuesday and Caldwell Tech Saturday in doubleheaders before visiting Caldwell Tech on Sunday.

DREW ROTHSCHILD — Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (Fr., Cartersville HS) … in a home loss last Wednesday to Santa Fe CC (Fla.) and a home doubleheader split Saturday with Tallahassee CC, Rothschild was 5-for-10 at the plate with three walks, three RBIs, and stole a pair of bases. ABAC (6-15) has home-and-home games with Florida State-Jacksonville CC Tuesday and Wednesday and a home doubleheader Thursday with Jackson CC (Michigan).

SCOTTY SMITH — Covenant College (So., Woodland HS) … started as his team’s designated hitter and was 0-for-3 in a 4-2 home win Saturday over Emory University. The Scots (3-2) play at Emory Monday, at Birmingham-Southern College Tuesday night, and host Calvin University (Michigan) for three games Friday and Saturday.

Steven Spell

STEVEN SPELL — Young Harris College (Sr., Cass HS) … during a three-game home series with Georgia College Saturday and Sunday, the Mountain Lions’ third baseman was 4-for-9 including a home run, two doubles, two walks, and two RBIs. Young Harris (13-6, 6-3 Peach Belt Conference) plays at Alabama-Huntsville Tuesday before hosting a three-game conference series with Georgia Southwestern State Friday through Sunday.

Devin Warner

DEVIN WARNER — Georgia Gwinnett College (Jr., Cartersville HS) … in four starts against Clarke University (Iowa) and Lourdes University (Ohio), the Grizzlies’ third baseman was 6-for-14 at the plate with two homers, two doubles, one walk, one sacrifice fly, five runs scored and nine RBIs. GGC was 4-0 for the week and improved to 17-2 on the season — pushing their current winning streak to 11 games. The NAIA 7th-ranked Grizzlies host Madonna University (Michigan) Tuesday and Wednesday and will play Iowa Wesleyan University and Fisher University (Massachusetts) while hosting the Continental Athletic Conference Invitational.

PRESTON WELCHEL — Tennessee Wesleyan University (So., Cartersville HS) … as the 3rd-ranked Bulldogs swept a three-game series at Milligan University last weekend, Welchel was 1-for-12 at the plate with one walk and one RBI. TWU (16-1, 9-0 Appalachian Athletic Conference) plays Texas A&M-Texarkana in a single game Tuesday and 4th-ranked LSU-Shreveport in single games Tuesday and Wednesday in Shreveport. The Bulldogs then host Kentucky Christian University Friday and Saturday in a three-game conference series.

COHEN WILBANKS — Georgia Gwinett College (Jr., Cartersville HS) … appeared in two home games against Clarke University (Iowa) making one start, and also appeared in a home game against Lourdes University (Ohio) this past weekend. The Grizzlies’ catcher was 5-for-7 at the plate including four doubles, one hit by pitch, and four RBIs. GGC, currently ranked No. 7, swept their four home games last Friday through Sunday. Georgia Gwinnett hosts Madonna University (Michigan) Tuesday and Wednesday and will play Iowa Wesleyan University and Fisher University (Massachusetts) while hosting the Continental Athletic Conference Invitational.

DAVIS WILLIAMS — Birmingham-Southern College (So., Cartersville) … made a five-inning start and earned a pitching win this past Saturday as the Panthers won at Sewanee-University of the South, 7-2. Williams allowed two earned runs on eight hits, two walks, and one hit batsman. He fanned five. 4th-ranked BSC (13-1, 3-0 Southern Athletic Association) hosts Covenant College Tuesday night, Huntingdon College Wednesday night, and Emory University Friday night before visiting Emory Sunday afternoon.

Jordan Wilkie

JORDAN WILKIE — Augusta University (Sr., Cartersville HS) … while the Jaguars defeated visiting North Greenville last Wednesday and won one of three games in a home series with North Georgia over the weekend, the first baseman was 3-for-18 at the plate, scored two runs, and added one RBI. Augusta (5-10, 3-6 Peach Belt Conference) hosts The College of Saint Rose Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and travels to Claflin University for a three-game series Friday and Saturday.


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