SIDEVIEW: Closing the book on 2017-18
The 2017-2018 athletic year is now in the history books. And, what a year it has been. The spring sports season ended this past weekend with the state track and field championships in Greensboro.
The Mountaineer boys and girls represented themselves very well and came away with one team member winning a gold medal. Brody Smith defended his championship from 2017 and repeated as the gold medal winner again in the 400-meter dash. In all, the track team had boys and girls competing in seven events.
Looking at other spring sports, the golf team had a very good year and participated in the state golf tournament. Looking ahead, the golf team is young and talented. Expect the golfers to improve and be a stronger force in the Western Highlands Conference, the western regional and state level next year. Their top performer is a junior followed by a sophomore and two freshmen. Again, the future looks bright for Mountaineer golf.
In many cases, the girls’ soccer team is under the radar. This year, they put together enough wins to qualify for the state tournament. In the first round, the team played a great game and had chances to win and advance. In the end, though, they came up short. On the bright side, the junior varsity team won the conference and should only improve going into next year.
Mountaineer baseball put together a good season this year and advanced to the state playoffs. Mitchell finished second in the WHC and head coach Trent Keller and his staff have now established themselves and are in place moving forward to build on the success of this year. They have a good nucleus returning and should be in the thick of the conference race.
Looking back at all three sports seasons this year, in each there were teams at the top or near the top in each individual season. In the fall, football was at the top of the conference race and advanced to the western regional championship game for the third time in three years.
In the winter sports season, the wrestling team finished in a first-place tie for the regular season conference race and finished second in the conference tournament a point or two out of first place.
Lady Mountaineer basketball returned to the top of the conference race in both the regular season and conference tournament. And the team advanced in the state playoffs for the second year in a row.
Success continued for Mountaineer athletics in the spring sports season, which has just concluded. So, it has been a great year all around. From my perspective, it has been fun to watch it unfold. Now it is time to begin the process of getting ready for the 2018-2019 sports and to build for the future.
This summer is going to be a busy time for all sports as they have summer camps and workouts scheduled. In fact, there are too many things to mention. Every coach and sport have lots of activities scheduled for the weeks ahead this summer. From my perspective, I am going to do some planning and see what lies ahead for “Side View” this summer. I have had a couple of thoughts, but I haven’t fully decided on what direction.
In the meantime: Go, Mountaineers!
Chris Pitman gains his views from nearly 40 years of involvement with Mitchell High School athletics.