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Page 8C MARY PERSONS 2018 9TH GRADE VOLLEYBALL TE : Pictured from left to right on the front row: Madison Whitehead, Emma Wimberly, Banks McCoy, Sadie Icenhour and Cadynce Chason. Pictured from left to right on the back row: Carlie Allen, Caitlyn Van Tone, Tierra Russell, Savana Sand- ers and Cassey Phillips. Not pictured: coach Sabrina Dor- rity. (Photo/Richard Dumas) al orter f August 22; 2018 I X COUNTRY Continued from 5C graduated from last year's outstanding squad, the core of MP'S talent was made up of freshmen a year ago. Sophomore Ava McKallip placed fifth in her first-ever region meet and will be expected to improve upon that finish in 2018. Also, sophomores Sarah Boyer and Stormie Martin placed 13th and 15th, respectively, at last year's region meet while another sophomore Christina Medlin finished in 22nd place. Those four sophomores will be joined by seniors Hope Brooks and Chloe Ken as well as a pair of promising freshmen, Caroline Hampton and Maradeth Leverett, who helped lead MP to a IV girls championship as eighth graders. McElhaney said of her freshmen: "Caroline and Maradeth were both eighth graders who ran region unattached to the team, and they actually did ver very well. So I'm looking forward to them being part of that top.five crew. We lost three runners of my top five last year, so I'm looking for them to fill the gaps and the spaces. Ava and Sarah look like they're going to continue to be our lead rdn- ners on the team. They have been training hard, so I'm expecting great things from them throughout the entire season." McElhaney said she ex- peas West Laurens, which swept the boys and girls Region 2-AAAA rifles in 2017, will once again field a top team, but she said she's confident that MP will be right there with them. She said, "They (MP runners) did really well this summer for the most part, and we did meet up quite a few times during the sum- mer for summer workouts to go on runs together just building that base andthat foundation for the season. So I'm looking for great things out of the team." MP will get one of its first big tests on Sept. 8 when the Bulldogs host a total of 25 schools for the Bulldog Distance Classic meet at the Monroe County Recrearion Department. McElhaney said programs from all over Central Georgia as well as in the metro-Atlanta area are expected to attend. "We are looking for a number of sponsors to help fund the meet" McElhaney said. "It is going to be a huge event, a huge meet to bring people in the com- munity and attention to the sport:' McElhaney said the Monroe County Recreation Department will also host the Central Georgia Middle School championship meet on Thursda Oct. 4 but will likely not host the Region 2-AAAA meet this year. She said the region meet location has not yet been finalized but will likely take place in Macon. McElhaney starred in cross country and track at Lovejoy High School before moving on to Albany State University, where she cap- tured the Southem Intercol- legiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) rifle in cross country on three separate occasions. She also was a three-time SIAC champion on the track in both the 800 and 1,600 meters. McElhaney, who is in her sixth year at MP, said she's much more comfortable going into Year 2 as head coach. "Year I was really just a learning experience and learning all the behind-the- scenes stuffthat goes into running a program;' McEI- haney said. "Year I I wanted to be injury-free, which I think I was pretty success- ful at that, and I wanted to grow the team from Year I to Year 2, and I think I'm pretty successful at that so far. And I want to continue to help the program grow because these kids are part of our community. They're great kids. They are great academically. This is a posi- rive environment, a positive sport, for them to partici- pate in, so of course I still want it to continue to grow as well. The thing I learned from last year is you can't make everyone happy. So you have to do what is best for your runners. They're the ones that matter. They're the ones that give their heart and soul into a race. So I want to do the best by them. I'm really looking forward to this season with " this group of kids. I didn't lose a lot last year. I lost some value, but I didn't lose a lot. So this year should be a very successful season" Assisting McElhaney in ' 2018 is staff newcomer Katelyn Chance) who ran , cross country at Georgia Southern. McElhaney said of Chancey: "She's going to be a pretty good asset to what the team needs, what the middle school needs. We're pretty much coaching the , whole team together be- cause I value her quality of J "" experience and her input:' - The MP cross country squads will next compete at the Saucony Battle of Atlanta meet at Nash Farms Battlefield in Hampton at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Continued from 5C straight-sets road win at Lee County on Tuesday, Aug. 14, MP bounced back from a two sets to one road defeat at Colquitt County one night later on Wednesda Aug. 15 with a two sets to one victory over Baldwin in its home opener on Thursday. Huff said she anticipates that Upson-Lee and perenni- al power West Laurens, who ousted MP from last year's Area tourney, will provide MP'S toughest tests in Area 2-AAAA. "We'll see how it is;' Huff said of her area competition. "Each game we play we'll learn from our mistakes and make changes. And hope- fully by the next game we'll be better." Huff said all three coaches will work with each of MP's three squads, which include a JV team and a Ninth Grade squad although Hightower will serve as the IV head coach while Dorrity will be the Ninth Grade head coach. "They bring a lot of new ideas, ways to solve different problems, paperwork, stuff like that as well as support;' Huff said of her assistants. 'We're all a team. Even though we have a 9th Grade, IV, we're all one big team. It's not separated at all:' The Volley Dogs were next Saturday, August 25, 2018 12:00PM LIBRARIES ROCK.' End of Summer Celebration Carnival To mark the end of Summer Reading and all the hard work you put in reading this year, Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 12:00pro we will be celebrating with a carnival! There will be food, fun, inflatables and activities all over the place! Come celebrate your ROCKING READING summer! Monroe County Library 62 W. Main St Forsyth, Ga 31029 478.994.7025 MARY PERSONS BULLDOGS scheduled to play at FPD in a three-team showdown at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. MP will take on Strong Rock at 6:30 p.m. before facing the home Vikings at 7:30 p.m. The Volley Dogs will then host Lee County at 6 p.m. on Thursday in their second home match of the young season. MP will then begin Area 2-AAAA play at Spald- ing on Tuesday; Aug. 28 when the Bulldogs face West Laurens at 6 p.m. before squaring offwith the home Jaguars at 7 p.m. The IV Volley Dogs were also scheduled to take on Strong Rock at FPD at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday before facing offwith home FPD at 7:30 p.m. The MP JV will then host Lee County at 6 p.m. on Thursda The IV Volley Dogs will then face West Laurens at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Spalding before taking on the home Jaguars at 7 p.m. The 9th Grade Volley Dogs will next face Lee County at 7 p.m. on Thursday in their home opener. I