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Athletes Beyond Bartow: Several local athletes enjoy quality performances

It was a busy period for 27 local college and pro athletes with several enjoying quality performances last week and through the early portion of this week.

Former Cass Colonel Braxton Benham helped Berry College win a second straight SAA championship and advance to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament this past week. The Vikings begin tournament play Friday in Atlanta. In track and field, former Woodland Wildcat Trevor Knowles took home the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s top field athlete honor at the conference championships.

On the baseball diamond, Auburn pitcher and former Cartersville Hurricane Mason Barnett picked up a win and was solid in three appearances for the Tigers.

L-R: Braxton Benham, Trevor Knowles, Mason Barnett


ASHTON HAGANS — Raptors 905 (NBA G League Toronto affiliate; Cartersville native, Newton HS) … came off the bench to help Raptors 905 earn a road sweep of the Greensboro Swarm and a home win over College Park. He recorded 11 points, along with five rebounds, five assists and a steal, in a 100-98 victory Feb. 23. Raptors 905 landed a 130-115 win two days later, with Hagans posting five points, five assists, two steals and a block. The former Newton High and University of Kentucky star narrowly missed out on a double-double in a 128-104 triumph March 2 over College Park, finishing with eight points and 11 boards. In his 28 minutes, Hagans added five rebounds, three steals and a block against the Atlanta Hawks affiliate.


BRAXTON BENHAM — Berry College (Fr., Cass HS) …helped the Vikings to a second straight Southern Athletic Association tournament title. He posted 11 points in 10 minutes during the semifinals. Benham chipped in two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block during the 77-58 win Feb. 26 over Birmingham-Southern. Despite only scoring two points in the finals, Benham's 11-minute contribution made a difference in a 63-62 victory Feb. 27 over Oglethorpe. The former Cass star added two rebounds, an assist and a steal. No. 21 Berry will open the D-III national championship tournament with a neutral-site meeting against 15th-ranked Wasbash at 4:40 p.m. Friday at Emory University in Atlanta.

JUSTICE HAYES — South Georgia Tech (So., Cass HS) … racked up 10 points, three rebounds and a steal in an 88-59 rout of Andrew College Feb. 23 at home. On Feb. 26, he posted two points in an 86-81 loss to East Georgia to end the regular season. In a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association quarterfinal matchup, Hayes recorded three points, as the Jets advanced with an 89-76 win against Southern Crescent Tech March 1 at home. South Georgia Tech will host South Georgia in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday.

DiANTHONY HEATHCOCK — Columbia International University (So, Woodland HS) … reached double-figures, including a pair of double-doubles, in each of the Rams' three Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament games. He totaled 41 points, 29 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks, as No. 6 seed CIU defeated Johnson (Tennessee) and Reinhardt before falling to Montreat in the semifinals. The Rams will compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association South Region tournament this weekend, opening with a semifinal date at 5 p.m. Friday against host Paine College in Augusta.

JORDAN THOMPSON — Motlow State CC (Fr., Woodland HS) … finished with nine points, to go with four assists, two rebounds and one steal, as Motlow State's season ended with a 59-57 loss to Dyersburg State Feb. 25 in the NJCAA Region VII tournament.

NAKIYAH WASHINGTON — Piedmont College (Jr., Adairsville HS) … contributed seven points and six rebounds in a quarterfinal win against LaGrange in the USA South tournament Feb 22 at home. She had a similar line of seven points and five boards in a 62-53 loss to Southern Virginia Feb. 25 in the semifinals.


BUCK BRUMLOW — University of Georgia (Fr., Cartersville HS) … posted a 1-under-par 215 to finish in a tie for 32nd overall, as Georgia placed sixth out of 15 teams at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas. The former state champion shot identical rounds of 1-under 71 on Feb. 27 and 28 before recording a 73 on March 1 to close out the event.


HOUSTON MEDLOCK — Piedmont College (Sr., Adairsville HS) … During a 5-0 spring break trip to Orlando, Florida, for the Lions, Medlock saw action in four matches. The former Tiger went 3-0 in singles play and 2-1 in doubles competition. Medlock picked up singles wins against Houghton (6-2, 6-2), Wartburg (6-2, 6-1) and Saint Mary's of Minnesota (6-4, 6-7, 10-8). Despite an 8-7 (7-5) loss to Wartburg, he landed doubles victories over Houghton (8-2) and Adrian (8-4).

ASHLEY POPHAM — Mercer University (So., Cartersville HS) … In a 7-0 win over Eastern Michigan, Popham and Lekha Varudandi fell by a 6-1 final margin on Line 3 doubles.

EMILY SURCEY — Arkansas State University (Fr., Cass HS) … finished 2-1 in singles action and doubles play over three matches last week. She helped tip the scales in a 4-3 win over Alcorn State. Despite falling 6-4 on Line 3 doubles, Surcey produced a 6-2, 1-6, 6-0 win on Line 3 singles. She dropped a 6-2, 6-4 singles decision but earned a 6-2 doubles victory in a 5-2 loss against Louisiana Tech. In a 5-0 victory over Grambling State, Surcey cruised to a 6-0 doubles victory and won both singles sets by 6-2 scores.

BRYCE VAN ORDER — Piedmont College (So., Woodland HS) … wound up 3-1 in four total matches in Piedmont's impressive showing in Orlando. He bounced back from a 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 loss to Regis to earn wins over Adrian (6-3, 6-4) and Wartburg (6-2, 6-0). The southpaw landed an 8-4 victory against Saint Mary's in his lone doubles match of the trip.


TREVOR KNOWLES — Albion College (Grad Student, Woodland HS) … became the first athlete to place inside the top three in each of the jumping events at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. He won the triple jump (13.76m), finished runner-up in the long jump (6.76m) and came in third in the high jump (1.89m). As a result, the former Wildcat took home the conference's top honor for a male field athlete from the event in Angola, Indiana.

STEPHEN SMITH — Kennesaw State University (So., Cass HS) … cleared 4.72 meters to finish in a tie for fourth during the men's pole vault at the ASUN Indoor Championships.


MASON BARNETT — Auburn University (Jr., Cartersville HS) … picked up his first win of the season Wednesday night with a five inning start. The Tigers routed UAB 16-1 with Barnett allowing just one earned run on two hits with no walks. The right-hander struck out eight. He made a relief appearance February 23 working a 1-2-3 sixth inning during a win over Troy and worked a scoreless seventh inning allowing a hit and a walk during a win over Yale last Saturday. Auburn (7-2) hosts Rhode Island in a four-game series Friday through Sunday.

MICAH EARWOOD — Georgia State University (Fr., Cartersville HS) … allowed an earned run on a hit, a walk, and a hit batsman February 23 in a 6-4 loss at Kennesaw State. He also retired two outs — one with a strikeout — in a 13-4 loss at Florida last Saturday. Georgia State (4-5) hosts Villanova in a three-game series this weekend at the GSU Baseball Complex.

JAKE GOOCH — Central Alabama CC (So., Cartersville HS) … went 1-for-10 with four walks and one run scored in a doubleheader last Saturday at Bishop State and a home doubleheader Tuesday against Lurleen B. Wallace CC. The Trojans went 3-1 in those games and are now 7-8 this season. CACC has a doubleheader at Lurleen B. Wallace Friday and hosts Coastal Alabama-Brewton Monday.

BLAINE INGRAM — Reinhardt University (So., Cass HS) … made a start at first base last Saturday going 0-for-3 with a walk in an Eagles’ 6-2 loss at Point University. Reinhardt went 1-3 over the weekend and last week with a loss to Talladega College February 22 at LakePoint and dropped two of three at Point last weekend. RU (8-9, 1-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference) hosts Columbia International University in a three-game series Friday and Saturday.

KENNY JINKS — Shorter University (So., Woodland HS) … the southpaw made his second appearance of the season last Saturday at West Florida in a 13-4 loss to the Argonauts. Jinks pitched the sixth inning in relief allowing three unearned runs on a hit and four walks. The Hawks (10-6, 4-2 Gulf South Conference) host West Alabama in a three-game conference series Friday and Saturday.

BRYCEN JONES — University of West Georgia (Jr., Cartersville HS) … the right-hand pitcher made a five-out appearance Tuesday in the seventh and eighth innings as the Wolves came from behind to defeat Georgia Southwestern 8-7. Jones allowed one earned run on two hits, a walk, and one hit batsman. He also recorded one strikeout. West Georgia (9-6, 2-4 Gulf South Conference) travels to Jackson, Tennessee for a three-game conference series at Union University Saturday and Sunday.

MASON McBEE — Coastal Alabama-Bay Minette (Fr., Cartersville HS) … made a pair of pitching appearances totaling three innings in a loss at Mississippi Gulf Coast February 23 and at home against Northwest Florida State this past Tuesday. McBee was tagged with the loss at MSGC although he did not allow an earned run. He did yield three hits and four unearned runs while fanning two. In Tuesday’s home win over Northwest Florida State he worked a scoreless second inning with one strikeout. The Sun Chiefs (6-6-1) have a four-game series at Wallace State-Hanceville this Friday and Saturday.

GARRETT MISHOE — University of West Georgia (So., Adairsville HS) … made a pair of pitching appearances totaling two-thirds of an inning in games at Augusta University February 23 and at Georgia Southwestern Tuesday. He allowed six earned runs on two hits, two hit batsmen, and three walks. The Wolves were able to win both games 12-9 and 8-7. West Georgia (9-6, 2-4) plays at Union University in a three-game conference series this weekend.

TREY SCOTT — Cleveland State CC (Fr., Cass HS) … gave up a pair of earned runs on a pair of walks Tuesday in a third inning appearance at Maryville College (Tennessee). The right-hander was lifted after retiring one out. Cleveland State went on to win the matchup 17-7 in five innings. The Cougars (11-4) plays a three-game conference series Friday and Saturday at Dyersburg State CC.

STEVEN SPELL — Young Harris College (Jr., Cass HS) … started three games at third base as the Mountain Lions won twice at West Alabama last weekend and defeated Alabama-Huntsville at home Tuesday. Spell was 4-for-12 at the plate with a double, a walk, a hit by pitch, five runs scored, and three RBIs. Young Harris (10-5) opens Peach Belt Conference play Saturday and Sunday in a three-game series at Georgia College.

PRESTON WELCHEL — Coastal Alabama - Bay Minette (So., Cartersville HS) … in the Sun Chiefs most recent five games, Welchel went 3-for-15 with a home run, a double, three walks, and four RBIs. Coastal went 2-3 in those games. Now 6-6-1 on the season, CABM is scheduled for four games Friday and Saturday at Wallace State-Hanceville CC.

DAVIS WILLIAMS — Birmingham-Southern College (Fr., Cartersville HS) … earned a three-inning save last Sunday closing out the seventh through ninth innings during a Panthers’ 6-2 win over Adrian College (Michigan). Birmingham-Southern also had wins over Wisconsin-Oshkosh and North Park University (Illinois) during the BSC Spring Classic. The Panthers (7-2) host University of the South Saturday and Sunday in a three-game series.

JORDAN WILKIE — Augusta University (Jr., Cartersville HS) … went 1-for-8 with one RBI in two recent starts as the Jaguars lost at home to West Georgia and won at Coker University. Augusta (6-7) opens Peach Belt Conference play Friday and Saturday with a three-game series at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

ZACH WILSON — Penn State Greater Allegheny (So., Woodland HS) … was entered in the fourth inning as a pinch hitter and played first base during a 20-4 home loss last Saturday to D’Youville College (New York). Penn State Greater Allegheny hosts CC of Allegheny County Saturday.


COLBI BALLARD — Shorter University (So., Cartersville HS) … went 4-for-8 in a pair of doubleheaders February 22 and 26 against Union University (Tennessee) and at West Florida. She drove in three runs in a win over Union with a triple and also had a double and two walks in the four games. Ballard added an at-bat as a pinch hitter this past Tuesday as a pinch hitter in a 5-3 Hawks’ loss at Georgia College. Shorter (4-14, 1-5 Gulf South Conference) hosts West Alabama in a three-game series Saturday and Sunday.

BELLA CARNES — Georgia College (So., Woodland HS) … saw action February 23 in both games of a doubleheader at South Carolina-Beaufort and in one game last Friday at 19th-ranked Anderson. She was 3-for-10 at the plate in those games. The Bobcats (8-10) begin Peach Belt Conference play with a three-game series at Lander University Friday and Saturday.

MORGAN COOPER — Columbus State University (Fr., Woodland HS) … made pinch-hit appearances last Friday and Saturday in home games against West Alabama. She drew a walk in Friday’s 12-8 win over the Tigers as the Cougars won two of three in the series. CSU (7-8) hosts a three-game series Saturday and Sunday against 9th-ranked University of North Georgia.

PRESLEY EDWARDS — Wesleyan College (Jr., Cartersville HS) … went 2-for-6 with one RBI as a starter in two games at catcher and with a pinch hitter appearance at the Grand Slam Triangle Classic in Raleigh, North Carolina last weekend. The Wolves lost to Meredith College (North Carolina) and Susquehanna University (Pennsylvania) before defeating McDaniel College (Maryland). Wesleyan (7-2) is off until Wednesday, March 16 for a doubleheader at LaGrange College.

ANSLEY EVANS — Reinhardt University (Fr., Woodland HS) … went 2-for-13 with two walks, a run scored, and one RBI on a sacrifice fly during a five-game tournament in Columbus, Georgia. The Eagles went 2-3 in the event and are now 8-7 this season. RU hosts Talladega College for a doubleheader Saturday.

SADYE JOHNSON — University of North Georgia (Fr., Adairsville HS) … went 3-for-8 in three starts recently for the 9th-ranked Nighthawks. The plate appearances included a walk with two runs scored. UNG lost twice at Eckerd College (Florida) February 23, split two games at 13th-ranked University of Tampa Feburary 24, and swept a home doubleheader last Sunday with Bluefield State (West Virginia). North Georgia (14-6) begins Peach Belt Conference play Saturday and Sunday in a three-game series at Columbus State.

HOPE SHORT — Shorter University (So., Cartersville HS) … made a pinch-hitting appearance and saw action defensively at second base last Saturday in a 10-0 loss at West Florida. The Hawks (4-14) host West Alabama Saturday and Sunday in a three-game Gulf South Conference series.

HANNAH TODD — University of Houston (Grad Student, Cartersville HS) … appeared in the circle in five games for the Cougars during the University of Houston Tournament last weekend. Todd picked up a pitching win with three innings of middle inning relief work Sunday as the Cougars defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She allowed a pair of unearned runs and gave up just two hits and a walk while fanning two. Her other four appearances totaled 4.2 innings yielding five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Those appearances came in a win over Northern Colorado and losses to Lamar, Texas A&M-CC, and Houston Baptist. The Cougars (6-9) will play 7th-ranked Washington, New Mexico State, and host UNLV this weekend at the Boyd Gaming Classic.

ALEXA VARNER — Shorter University (So., Adairsville HS) … had one pinch-hitting appearance at West Florida and saw action as a pinch-runner at Georgia College in games last Saturday and this past Tuesday.

-- Nicholas Sullivan of The Daily Tribune News contributed to this report.


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