Seniors, thanks for the memories

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It seems I could say this every year, but this senior class has been one of the most enjoyable to cover during my time at the Reporter.

While many have been named Player of the Year or had spectacular games to grace our front page of sports, there are others whose greatest feats have gone unnoticed. Many of our county’s student-athletes will graduate this week as valedictorians of their schools.

While many play a special part in my Shelby County sports memories over the past three years, here are a few that I did not get to know well, but always stood out at events.

– Nick Price: I first noticed Nick as a sophomore, standing around encouraging his teammates between events at track meets. Price helped lead the Pelham track team during his career and is one they will miss.

– J.B. Ripley: With blurred vision from flu medication, Ripley carried his Coosa Valley boys’ basketball team to a region tournament championship as a junior — an exciting game to watch in AISA basketball. Ripley has been a three sport star for Coosa Valley who comes from an athletic background, as his father, Walter, was once a quarterback at Gallaudet University.

– Lauren Sprouse and Rebekah Raymond: This Thompson volleyball duo was vital to the Warriors’ success this year, and helped the Warriors upset an undefeated Briarwood team early in the season in an exciting match in Alabaster.

– Heather Matzke: Keeping with the Alabaster volleyball theme, Matzke’s game winning kill at Faulkner University on October 25 made Kingwood volleyball history. The point sealed the Lions’ first AISA volleyball state championship. Her pigtails and smiling face after that point will always go hand-and-hand with the thought of the win.

Other valedictorian athletes that will stand out in my mind are: Oak Mountain’s Chandler Hoffman and Andres Aristizabal, Pelham’s John Flaniken and Melanie Short, Cornerstone’s Josh Dunnaway and Shelby County’s Meagan Billingsley.

Outside the Lines is a weekly opinion column.