The 2018 sports year has been a very special one for me as a sportswriter. It’s one that I’ll remember for years to come.
I have been blessed to watch what I feel like is two of the best athletes in East Tennessee.
Blake Atwood has been a joy to see for the past three seasons, but he’s elevated his play to another level so far during his senior campaign.
Atwood averaged more than 26 points per game and better than nine rebounds per contest. Atwood is turning some heads of college coaches and could play in college at the mid-major college level or possibly better if his game continues to improve. He’s become a better defender and can post up inside but must find a way to stay out of foul trouble if the Horns expect to make a run in the tournaments.
Schools such as Appalachian State, UNC Ashville or possible ETSU would be a nice fit for the hard working Atwood who ranks as one of the top students in his class.
Nathan Lane has been another highlight reel for me. The senior running back/defensive back racked up 31 touchdowns in addition to his 90 tackles on defense and five interceptions on a team that went 9-1 during the regular season.
The fact that he had over 2100 all-purpose yards proves that he can help a team in a variety of way. Lane would love to get a shot at playing for ETSU and hopefully they’ll come calling with an offer to make him part of their 2019 squad.
I’ve enjoyed watching Tyler Norris knock opposing players into next week with some bone-jarring tackles, 190 to be exact which led Northeast, Tennessee.
I’m proud of Coach Leon Tolley and his staff for making girls basketball fun to watch again. The team recently won games against Elizabethton and Unicoi County but have miles to go before becoming a very good basketball team.
They’ll attempt to earn a berth in the regional tournament for the first time in more than two decades in February. Time will tell.
Greg Reece was tabbed in late spring as our new head softball coach at the high school. They’ll be shooting to make the sub-state with a team that will mostly be made up of juniors and sophomores.
Reece returns eight starters off of the 2018 squad led by Hannah Brooks who will play at the next level when her playing days here have ended.
The season was good for tennis that saw sisters Taylor and Olivia Cox make the state tournament’s elite eight. They’ll be looking to do even better in 2019.
My favorite 2018 sports story was my one-game stint as assistant baseball coach for the high school team. I learned not to ask Coach Pete Pavusek if he needs anything unless you really mean it.
I was happy to assist our legendary coach at Sullivan Central who has gathered around 315 career wins.
The 2018 sports year has been special. It’s one that I’ll always remember.