Lady Paladins to Kick off Season with Scrimmage on Aug. 6
The Fellowship Christian School varsity volleyball team enters the 2021 season with a pretty impressive streak.
The FCS varsity volleyball teams have qualified for the state playoffs seven straight seasons.
Under head coach Samantha Thom, who joined the program in 2019, the Lady Paladins have reached the 2020 GHSA Class A Private School Championships, and advanced to the second round of the 2019 GHSA Class A-AA Championships.
Thom, who's posted a 14-3 Area record and 32-41 overall mark at FCS, guided the Lady Paladins to the 2019 Area Championships. The school has earned five Area or Region championships in girls' volleyball all-time at FCS.
The Lady Paladins kick off this season with a scrimmage against Holy Innocents' Episcopal School at Paladin Gym on Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. The club's regular-season opener is a home match against Cherokee Christian School on Aug. 17 at 6 p.m.
"We won't set official goals until after the scrimmage," Thom said. "But we always have the goal of winning Area. We want to bring that back to Fellowship this year, and of course make it to state again."
The Lady Paladins face some tough opponents early in the season before its Area schedule. From Aug. 19-26, four of the team's first six opponents are 6A schools (John's Creek, East Paulding, Kell and Wheeler) and one is a 7A school (Duluth). In addition, many of the teams in the field for the Lakepoint Station tournament on Aug 28 will be from 7A and 6A.
"I think we've scheduled some pretty tough opponents," Thom said. "I think starting off with tough non-Area teams will help prepare us for our tough Area opponents like Mount Pisgah, Saint Francis and Mt. Bethel. I don't know yet who'll be the best in Area, but Mount Pisgah is always tough. Saint Francis graduated a very good player who's now at Michigan, but they have been very good. We expect some tough Area opponents."
Team dynamics are expected to be a little different in 2021 as FCS graduated five seniors from the 2020 squad.
"Three of those five had played varsity at Fellowship for four years," Thom said. "It's a lot younger team this year, but they're looking very good in practice."
Thom and assistant coach Brittany Betten have watched the team grow in recent practices.
"The chemistry is really good," Thom said. "They have seemed to have jelled together."
Thom talked about the factors that have helped the Lady Paladins build the current state playoff streak.
"The hard work the girls put in is a major factor," Thom said. "Coaches can only do so much. These girls love the sport and have the will to get it done."
New-Look Paladins Open Season with Scrimmage on Aug. 13; Team Kicks Off Regular Season at Christian Heritage Aug. 20
The varsity football team from Fellowship Christian School has had the challenge of learning new offensive and defensive schemes this summer.
Under the direction of veteran head coach Tim McFarlin, defensive coordinator John Thompson and the team's coaching staff, the Paladins have been hard at work getting a grasp of the new systems under the direction of several new coaches.
McFarlin, who led Roswell High School to a state championship and Blessed Trinity to three state crowns, joined FCS on Feb 10 to take over for the retired Al Morrell. McFarlin has 40 years of coaching experience, and he brought in Thompson, a veteran of 30 years coaching, as his defensive coordinator. Thompson, a former college coach, also serves as the school's recruiting coordinator.
"We are pleased with the progress," McFarlin said. "As a coach you are never completely satisfied, but we are in a good place. The kids have been working hard."
The Paladins, coming off a 1a-1 season and a trip to the GHSA Class A Private Elite 8, have spent hours working on the new systems on both sides of the ball over the past few weeks. The team kicks off the 2021 season with a scrimmage against Holy Innocents' Episcopal School on Aug. 13 at Bob Lord Field at 7:30 p.m. The season opener is the next Friday night at Christian Heritage in Dalton, Ga. at 7:30 p.m.
"The boys have bought in," McFarlin said. "They have learned the system and continue to get better. But we won't know how well they've learned it until we play games. We are in the middle of a process to get ready for the season."
The defensive scheme is probably a little tougher to learn, according to the veteran head coach.
"It's extremely tough to learn, but coach Thompson is a master at teaching it," McFarlin said. "On offense, we want to do a few things very well. But honestly the kids are growing on both sides. Our special teams should be very good too. Jim Broadwell has done a great job with them. We are very happy with their progress too."
It's too early to tell which players will lead the Paladins this fall, or what the team's strengths will be.
"We have to continue to let them develop," McFarlin said. "That'll be game to game to see who [leads the team] and how we do as a team."
Following last season, a group of 18 Paladins received post-season Region 6A honors. That group led the Paladins to the state Elite 8, which ended with a tough 41-27 loss to Trinity Christian School. The schools will meet again in Sharpsburg, Ga., on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Among the honorees from last fall were senior-to-be Josh Cole (defensive back) and incoming juniors Kyle Elphick (defensive back), Sean Sargent (defensive line), Calen Nichols (offensive line) and Clay Shepler (wide receiver).
Nichols helped the offensive line open holes for the Fellowship offense to gain 3,689 of its 4,805 total yards on the ground this season. It's the third highest single-season team run total in school history for FCS. Shepler led the Paladins with 16 catches and 314 reception yards in 2020. He also grabbed one TD pass.
Cole ranked fourth on the team with 53 tackles and shared second with 23 solo stops. He was fourth on the team with 30 assisted tackles. Elphick shared the team lead with three interceptions. He also recorded 31 tackles (12 solo). Sargent shared first on the FCS team with three sacks, and was fourth with seven tackles for loss. He also recorded 27 tackles, including 16 assisted stops.
McFarlin's friendship with Morrell helped his adjustment to FCS.
"Al and I have been friends for 30 years, so I knew a lot of Fellowship and this program," McFarlin said.
FCS is the third Roswell high school program that the long-time Roswell resident has coached led.
"I love this community," McFarlin said. "I grew up here and went to Roswell North down the street. My mom worked there. I love Roswell. The families in Roswell have so many good choices for schools. I am very blessed to be here at Fellowship. I look forward to the season."
(File picture by Chip Cookston)
Alumni Update: Herrmann Ready for Second Collegiate Volleyball Season
Taylor Herrmann hopes for a little more normal of a volleyball season this time around.
The 2020 Fellowship Christian School graduate is getting ready for her second collegiate volleyball season at Piedmont University. This time it should be in the fall.
"It was easier than I planned on, and it was good," Herrmann said about her first collegiate volleyball season. "Because of Covid we did have a shortened season. The school moved all fall sports to the spring too. We usually play in the fall, and had about half the games we normally have. We are glad to get back to the fall."
Herrmann's club volleyball experience with A5 helped her better prepare for her first collegiate season.
"I played club, so that helped," she said. "The college game is tougher than high school, but club play helped me get ready for that kind of competition at Piedmont."
Herrmann, a 5-foot-8 Libero and defensive specialist, played in all 15 matches for Piedmont. The Lady Lions finished 4-11 overall, including a 2-6 mark in USA South Athletic Conference matches.
Last season, Herrmann collected 25 sets played, 33 digs, 60 total attempts and a digs percentage per set of 1.32.
"I played in three out five sets overall," Herrmann said. "With a lot of new players coming in this year, so I really want to keep my playing time."
This summer Herrmann has been busy with her job and also managed to improve her conditioning via weight training. She heads back to college Aug. 9.
"Practices should start the first day of classes," she said. "I am excited about the season, and meeting the new people."
Herrmann helped build a strong program at FCS.
She's the school's all-time single-season (2019) and career leader for digs. Herrmann also was named to the All-Area team in 2019, and helped the Lady Paladins win the Area Championship in 2018 and 2019.
"I do miss it a lot," Herrmann said about FCS volleyball. "Playing with my best friend [Meredith Rush] was a lot of fun. We had some good teams there."
Herrmann has now found a home at Piedmont, which located in Demorest, Ga. She's a forensic science major, and Piedmont is one of very few Georgia colleges and universities with that major.
"I really, really like it there," she said.
Herrmann has some advice for those 2021 FCS graduates headed for collegiate sports this fall, which actually fits for all incoming freshman athletes at Piedmont.
"Make sure you enjoy it," Herrmann said. "Don't stress yourself out, like I did a couple of times last year. Make sure you build relationships with your teammates, and work hard to quickly adjust to classes, practices, weight training and games. It's a pretty busy schedule. And also make sure your grades are good. The coaches really, really watch that in college. If your grades slip than you do not play."
(Photos courtesy of Piedmont University)
Alumni Update: Moore Completes Successful First Season at Young Harris; Awaits New Coach
As Suzanne Moore prepares for her second collegiate women's lacrosse season at Young Harris College, she waits patiently to find out her team's new coach will be.
Head coach Samantha Hurley left the Lady Mountain Lion program earlier this month to take the head coach position at NCAA Division I Radford College in Virginia. In four seasons at Young Harris, Hurley finished with a 33-25 record and guided the Lady Mountain Lions to a pair of regular-season conference titles and one tournament championship.
"She was a great coach, and it was an incredible opportunity for her," Moore said. "But it's been a strange summer as we currently don't have a coach."
Due to the pandemic, Moore's freshman season at the NCAA Division II school in north Georgia was impacted.
"Well it was a lot different than I expected," the defender said. "We did not have fall ball. The first time we played a game [or scrimmage] was in February."
Moore, who played in 11 games and had two starts, recorded five ground balls and finished with six turnovers for Young Harris, 5-8 overall in 2021. The team went 1-3 in conference games.
Young Harris also faced a pair of top 20 schools in non-conference games last season (Queens University and the University of Mt. Olive).
"We only played four conference games," Moore said. "We lost two games by one goal. We made the league championship game as the fourth seed, but lost. Overall, the year was OK. I was very happy with the year personally."
Moore has set some goals for the 2022 season.
"I want to contribute more this year than last year," she said. "I played in a quarter to about a half of the games I played in. I want to play more."
The college game was a little different than high school for Moore, a biology major at Young Harris.
"It was a lot faster," she said. "We had a sixth-year player, who was 24. So we had a wide range of ages on the team too. That was different than high school."
The 2020 graduate of FCS helped build the Lady Paladin lacrosse program.
"It was super fun to be part of the first of everything," Moore said. "I was on the first middle school and the first varsity team. I don't think I realized the significance of it back then, but it's super cool to think about now.
Moore, whose sister Meredith will enter her senior season at NCAA Division I Presbyterian College this fall, has learned a lot from her older sister.
"She helped me prepare [for college lacrosse], the pace of the game and the people," Moore said.
In turn, Moore would like to help others get adjusted to college athletics like her sister did for her. She has some helpful advice.
"It's a completely different game," she said. "I would tell them to stay true to who you are and work hard. And also lean into your faith. Young Harris isn't a Christian school, so I got plugged into my church and my small group. Have fun and enjoy college, but give it your all as an athlete."
A little quieter than the north Atlanta suburbs, Moore has found a home in the north Georgia mountains and the city of Young Harris.
"I love it there," Moore said. "It's not just the school, but the people in town. Everyone is great. It's a great place to be. The school has kids from north Georgia and south Georgia, other states and we also have a lot of International students."
(Photo courtesy of Young Harris College)
Alumni Update: Joye Completes Freshman Baseball Season at Georgia State, Moves to New School
Fellowship Christian School graduate Preston Joye has decided to transfer to NCAA Division II Valdosta State and continue his collegiate baseball career in south Georgia.
Joye, who graduated from FCS in 2020, completed his first college baseball season for Georgia State University in Atlanta in the spring of 2021. While he enjoyed his time there, he decided to make a change.
"There were a few reasons, but that's where I am from," said Joye, who attended Fellowship from eighth to 12th grades. "I have friends on the team, and the coaches have been great and have made me feel welcome. I am excited to be there."
Valdosta State competes in the Gulf South, and Joye has set his sights on helping grow the program there like he did at FCS.
"I would like to help the team there reach Regionals and hopefully advance to the [Division II] World Series," Joye said. "I want to be a big impact player and contribute to the team's success."
To help him prepare for his sophomore season, Joye is spending this summer in Wyoming as an infielder for the Casper Horeseheads of the Expedition League. The summer league team for college players has a 55-game schedule in June and July.
"For me, I wanted to get some more at-bats," Joye said. "My defense has always been good, but I want to work on my swing here. My coaches knew someone [with the Horeseheads], and they needed an infielder, so I decided to come here for the summer."
Joye helped Georgia State post an 18-37 record in 2021. He played in 30 games, started 15 contests and hit .161 in 56 at-bats with nine hits, nine runs and five RBIs. In Sun Belt Conference games, Joye played in 17 games with 11 starts and batted .176 with six hits, six runs and four RBIs for the Panthers. He set season highs with two hits on May 22 against Little Rock, and two runs versus ULM on May 25.
"It was really good," Joye said about his freshman year. "I sat around a little bit in the early part of the season, but got my chances to play and started to have an impact. I started to contribute."
Among his highlights were an opportunity to play in televised games and compete in Panthers' conference games.
What was Joye's toughest adjustment to college baseball?
"The schedule," he said. "It was pretty busy. Playing sports in college takes a lot of work and time. The pressure is there too. I found out I had to slow the game down to calm my nerves. When I slowed down my heart rate I found I could compete better."
As a freshman in the classroom, Joye had some strong success. He was named to the Dean's List, Fall 2020, and to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll, Spring 2021.
Joye remains close friends with former FCS teammates Cameron Gill and Isaac Bouton, both current college baseball players.
The friendships he built at Fellowship as a student athlete and helping to build a strong baseball program at FCS are among his favorite memories from high school.
"Some of my friends [from FCS] will be life-long friends," Joye said. "I also will never forget that second playoff game against Wesleyan that we won on a walk-off homerun. That's also a favorite memory."
His advice for incoming freshman athletes is pretty simple.
"The college locker room can be a tough place," Joye said. "The game can become all that you do, but you need to stand strong in your faith. You also need to listen to your coaches, overcome challenges and adapt, and work on the mental aspect of the game. It will pay off."
(Photos courtesy of Georgia State University/Dale Zanine)
Alumni Update: Thompson Enjoys First Beach Volleyball Season at USC
While it isn't always easy for a freshman athlete to wait their turn for playing time, Lizzie Thompson has taken it in stride.
Thompson did not see any game-day action as a freshman member of the University of South Carolina's beach volleyball team last season, but the 2020 graduate of Fellowship Christian School really enjoyed her first collegiate season.
"My first season was really good," Thompson said. "We all practice together in the fall and also the spring, so I spent a lot of time with my teammates. I love my teammates and the coaches. That is by far my favorite part [of competing in college beach volleyball]. The actual games and matches are so much fun, especially the home ones. Our home court is on campus, so everyone gets excited for the home matches."
For beach volleyball, there are five matches and an additional exhibition match that feature pairs in best-of-three matches. South Carolina, a Southeast Conference school, competes in the CCAA for Beach Volleyball. The beach volleyball season is played in the spring, but teams also practice in the fall.
The Lady Gamecocks posted a 23-9 overall record last season, including a 12-5 mark in CCSA matches. Thompson earned a red shirt in 2020-21 and will have four seasons left of athletic eligibility.
A sports and entertainment management major at USC, Thompson adjusted well to college life in 2020-21 despite the pandemic. She did well in the classroom, and was selected for the 2020-21 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.
"Academics are a lot different in college," she said. "You have to hold yourself accountable. As an athlete at USC, you have a standard. Our coaches expect that we will do well academically."
Thompson came to Columbia, S.C., with plenty of experience in both indoor and beach volleyball. During her FCS career, Thompson also played beach and club volleyball. She played for the A5 club program in 2020, and competed for Southern Sand Select (2017-19) beach volleyball clubs from 2017-19. During her career, the 6-foot tall Thompson has helped her teams post four first-place finishes in 2018 and three in 2019, and led her club to the BVCA Club vs. Club championship last April.
At Fellowship, she earned the 2018 GHSA Area Player of the Year Award and was honorable mention All-State.
In addition to training this summer, Thompson has helped coach a beach volleyball team for 575 that includes player age ranges of 10-16.
"I personally love coaching," Thompson said. "It's actually something I can see myself doing for a career. It's helpful for my own game [to coach others]. These girls are more like beginners, so you get to really teach. You learn how to coach and what girls need from their coach."
The experience has helped prepare Thompson for her redshirt freshman season in the spring of 2021-22.
"My goal is to work my butt off and earn playing time," she said. "Either in exhibition games or regular games. I want to get into games."
Thompson has some advice for all the former FCS athletes headed for their first season of college sports in 2021-22.
"Honestly, be patient with yourself, and give yourself a break," she said. "Athletes at Fellowship are big fish in a small pool. At college you become a small fish in a very big pool with plenty of talent. You have to allow yourself time to work on and improve your skills and your game. Take the time to find other hobbies, make friends outside of sports and really make your circle of friends bigger."
(Photos courtesy of the University of South Carolina)
Alumni Update: Gill Spends Summer Playing Baseball in Coastal Plain League; Completes Sophomore Season at Wofford
Cameron Gill's summer has been pretty busy.
The junior to be at Wofford College is among three catchers on the roster for the Spartanburgers of the Coastal Plain League, a wood bat league for college baseball players. The team plays a 56-game schedule over June and July.
Gill joined the CPL team for an opportunity to work on his hitting.
"That's what it's mainly for," he said. "Last year I split time at Wofford, so I wanted to get about 100 at-bats [with the Spartanburgers] this summer. It's a bunch of games. We have three catchers, so basically I catch every other day."
This spring for the Terriers, Gill played in 28 games and started 23 contests. He batted .282 with 20 hits, two doubles, 10 RBIs, 13 runs and 14 walks with 71 at-bats for Wofford. The team finished 36-21 overall and was 21-9 in the Southern Conference.
"It went really well," Gill said about his second collegiate season. "We won the regular-season championship, but got eliminated in the tournament. But first place in the regular season was nice. I had a good season. I split the games [behind the plate] with a senior. I felt like I did well. I think I handled my role well. I did what the coaches asked."
Gill's goal is to improve on his hitting in 2022.
"My defense was solid," he said. "I feel like my defense is respected in the league. But I need to get there hitting wise."
Due to Covid-19, Gill heads into the 2021-22 school year with two academic years left and three for athletics. As a freshman, Gill played in six games and made two starts before the season was cancelled. The team went 14-3 and Gill collected two hits and two runs in 11 at-bats.
"This year was a lot of fun," Gill said. "I loved it. Freshman year was tough. We had to follow the protocols and be careful. We did not want anyone to get it and take 3-4 guys out of action [due to contact tracing]. This fall started out different too with Covid, but the spring was a blast. Everyone was so happy to be out there. We enjoyed the long bus rides and hanging out with each other. I loved it. This team is super close, and we have a great coaching staff. They are really, really good and push us in personal development."
Due to the pandemic, Wofford did not schedule any scrimmages in the fall of 2020 like it typically does. Instead the team held a series of intrasquad games.
"We played about 30 innings a week and worked on our individual games," Gill said.
After two seasons at Wofford, Gill has become more confident in his game and has overcome the challenges of the adjustment to the college game.
"I think it's just the metal aspect of the game that's the hardest adjustment," Gill said. "You care and want to succeed, but it's not who you are. You can't just identify yourself with baseball since there are so many highs and lows. You have to remember it's a game. You have to compete hard, play the game for each other and wear the jersey well."
Fellowship helped Gill be prepared for the world of collegiate baseball.
"Coach O [Shawn Oliver] does an incredible job," Gill said. "He was a blast to play for. He does his job well and lets the guys be themselves. He does not have a cookie cutter approach to coaching as he sees the strengths and weaknesses for each player and coaches each guy differently. He helps guys showcase their strengths. He pushes each player shrink the gaps in their game and improve with hard work."
Gill's good friends and former FCS teammates Isaac Bouton and Preston Joye are also playing college baseball.
"Isaac, Preston and I all knew we had the tools to successful," Gill said. "We got it rolling there at Fellowship, and Coach O helped us all."
At Fellowship, Gill started for four years in baseball and several years in football on offense and defense.
During his senior year he batted .321 at the plate for the Paladins and was named to the All-Region team. He hit .371 with 39 hits and 26 RBIs during his junior year, and batted .434 as a sophomore. He was also an All-Region football player for the Paladins.
(Photos courtesy of Wofford College)
Alumni Update: Kierpa Posts Solid Junior Season for Covenant College Softball Team
Lauren Kierpa is coming off the best season of her collegiate softball career.
The Fellowship Christian School graduate went 16-11, led the USA South with 155.2 innings pitched, struck out 108 batters and posted a 3.73 earned-run average as the Covenant College softball team's No. 1 starter. Kierpa helped the team post an 18-18 overall record, and a 7-7 conference mark.
"My sophomore year got cut short due to Covid," she said. "So I had a lot of time to work out and get ready for my junior season. I really worked on my endurance and strength."
Kierpa made 24 starts, pitched in 32 games overall and registered 20 complete games and four shutouts. Nationally, she was fourth among NCAA Division III pitchers in complete games and also 20th in wins.
Kierpa, who led the league in complete games, was named to the USA South All-West Division second team and was USA South Pitcher of the Week (March 29, 2021). In addition, she was named to the USA South All-Academic team for 2020-21.
The Covenant senior to be set the school record for starts, tied the mark for shutouts, and was second all-time in single-season wins, fourth in complete games and fifth in innings pitched.
Kierpa's confidence has grown coming off her junior campaign.
"This was a breakout year for us," Kierpa said. "It was a very good year for us. It was quite an improvement over my first two years. We had a new coach, which helped out outlook. The team's defense is so much better behind me. I pitched with so much more confidence."
As a sophomore, she was limited to just seven games due to the pandemic. She shared the team lead with 21 appearances as a freshman closer for the Lady Scots.
Kierpa, who has started the last two seasons, is excited about her senior season that will begin in the spring of 2022.
"We want to make the [league] tournament, but also go far," she said. "We want to build on that [in 2022] and maybe even make the NCAA Division III tournament. We have 16 new girls coming in, so we are already working on team bonding. We have some great talent coming back too. We are a completely different team than two years ago."
Despite some coaching changes in her three years at Covenant, Kierpa is so glad she's at Lookout Mountain, Ga., school.
"It has been great," the English major said. "I am so glad I have stayed there. I enjoy the school, my spiritual growth I have made there and the academics."
In addition to beating Emory, a sweep of Agnes Scott was among the highlights of 2021 for Kierpa
"Last year we beat Maryville and Emory, which were huge wins," Kierpa said. "We had not beaten Emory in years. It was really the turning point of the season. Beating Emory and those two games against Agnes Scott [were highlights]. We won both [against Agnes Scott] and I pitched both games. The team really got behind me and played great defense that day."
Prior to joining the Lady Scots, Kierpa had a strong career with plenty of positive memories at FCS.
"I remember coach [Brad] Pager really motivated me," she said. "He really got me thinking about college softball. He helped my work ethic and pushed me to get to that level. Fellowship prepared me for college."
Her advice for the Class of 2021 FCS graduates headed to college sports?
"You have to figure out how to manage your time," Kierpa said. "It's a big difference between high school and college academics. You have to balance classes, home work and study time with practices, workouts and games."
(Photos courtesy of Covenant College)
Alumni Update: Murphy Posts 3 Top-20 Finishes During Oglethorpe's 2021 Golf Season
Tripp Murphy not only has found another way to help him improve his golf game, but it is helping him land some practical advice about life too.
The Oglethorpe University golfer is working as a caddy at Peachtree Golf Course near the Oglethorpe campus.
"Honestly it's a very good experience," he said. "It's an exclusive course and I am able to caddy for some successful business men and meet some famous people. The other day I caddied for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Larry Fitzgerald [a NFL wide receiver]. You get to talk to them all about how they achieved their success in the business world and on the football field."
Murphy enters the 2021-22 school year as a second semester junior for the NCAA Division III Stormy Petrels golf team.
"I have two more full years to play golf at Oglethorpe," he said. "I didn't finish the way I wanted last year. But overall it was a good year. I played in every tournament except one. I have worked hard to keep my grades up, which has built my coaches' confidence in me."
In 2021, Murphy finished in the top 20 in three of the five tournaments he played in.
At the Tiger Invitational held in Pinehurst, N.C., March 13-14, Murphy fired rounds of 77 and 69 to finish tied for 16th overall.
"It was the biggest tournament I have played in," he said. "Almost every top 25 team and all top 10 teams competed there. I was ranked 21st in the country [among Division III golfers] following that tournament."
He wrapped up the tournament schedule with a 17th place finish at the SAA Golf Championships hosted by Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Ga., April 23-25. His rounds were 76, 77 and 79.
From April 12-13, Murphy played in the Wynlakes Intercollegiate in Montgomery, Ala. He finished tied for 19th with rounds of 74 and 72.
"I actually hit 30 pars at that tournament to lead all golfers," he said. "I hit 30 or 31 greens in regulation. It was a good tournament for me."
Murphy shot rounds of 74 and 72 to place 22nd overall at the Savannah Invitational to open the season March 8-10.
From March 19-21, Murphy shots rounds on 77, 80 and 82 to finish 102nd overall at the three-day Jekyll Island (Ga.) Collegiate Invitational.
"It humbles you," Murphy said about the game of golf. "I did not play well there."
Murphy has set some lofty goals for his next season at Oglethorpe.
"After last year I think I showed myself that I can shoot scores and finish tournaments well," the Fellowship Christian School graduate said. "I want to develop better consistency, finish in the top 10 at least twice and the top 25 in each tournament play in."
This summer Murphy plans to play in at least two tournaments, including the 2021 Georgia Open.
(Photos courtesy of Oglethorpe University)
Alumni Update: Bouton Named Peachbelt Conference Freshman of Year, Competes in Sun Belt Summer League
Isaac Bouton continues to be a student of the game he loves. In fact, he's a pretty good one.
Bouton, a 2019 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, was named Freshman of the Year for NCAA Division II's Peachbelt Conference at Columbus State University this spring but isn't resting on his success.
The 5-foot-10 shortstop is spending his summer honing his game as a member of the Gwinnett Astros in the Sun Belt Summer League for college players. The team is playing a 28-game schedule at Peachtree Ridge High School in Gwinnett County.
"It's a good league to keep developing my skills," he said. "I am coming off a good college season, but still have a lot to learn. Their coach was in a need of a shortstop, and I needed a place to play so it was a great fit. They use wooden bats so you need to be more precise with your bat placement. I am also working on my defense. I want to increase my range and get to more baseballs."
This spring, Bouton helped Columbus State finish 31-16 overall and 19-13 in the conference. He started all 47 games for the Cougars and ranked third on the club with a .347 batting average, led the squad with 20 doubles and 60 runs, shared first with two triples, was second with 70 hits and ranked fourth with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Those numbers were all career highs.
"It was really fun to be around the team this year," he said. "We started kind of slow but we kept getting better and better. It was a very fun group."
He set career single-game highs with six hits, three doubles, five RBIs and four runs at North Georgia on May 15, 2021. He belted a career-best three homers versus Georgia Southwestern State University on April 11, 2021.
Due to Covid-19, Columbus State was limited to 21 games (team finished 18-3) in 2019-20. Bouton played in 20 of those contests, but still qualified as a freshman for the Peach Belt Conference award he won this spring.
"Those 20 games really helped me get adjusted to college baseball," he said. "I felt like I started slow, but started to round the corner late in the year and get better."
Last season, Bouton hit .235 with 20 hits, five doubles, 18 runs, a home run and 18 RBIs. He led all Cougars freshmen in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs. He also led freshmen on the club with 85 at-bats, 10 walks, 20 games played and 20 starts.
College baseball was an adjustment for the FCS star.
"The velocity of the pitching is so much better in college," Bouton said. "The pitchers have so much better command. They will throw a breaking ball on an 2-0 count, whereas in high school you knew it would be a fastball in that situation."
A business management major at Columbus State, Bouton has grown to truly enjoy being a collegiate baseball player.
"My first year was different, but I am really starting to love it," he said. "Moving from a Christian school to a large public university was an adjustment too. But it's a good school and baseball program to be part of."
Bouton had a successful career on the diamond at Fellowship filled with many memories. As a senior he hit .535 and was named Region Player of the Year, and in the classroom was a member of the National Honor Society.
"I will never forget that walk-off home run Cody Tapley hit to beat Wesleyan in the playoffs," Bouton said. "Coach O's support was terrific. [Head coach Shawn Oliver] was so fun to play for. All the guys were great teammates too. "
Bouton, who led FCS to consecutive trips to the state playoffs in 2018 and 2019, has some advice for other freshmen athletes from Fellowship headed to college sports.
"Stay close to God," he said. "He will always be there for you. It's so much easier to go through tough situations with Him. And be yourself too."
(Photos courtesy of Columbus State University)
Alumni Update: Hardin Finishes Football Career, Begins New Journey in Finance
Jack Hardin has traded one interest for another.
Hardin, who recently wrapped up his four-year collegiate football career, graduated from Furman University in May with a degree in business administration. He recently moved to Little Rock, Ark., to take a job he accepted in October 2020.
"It was an awesome experience [playing football at Furman]," Hardin said. "I built so many friendships that I hope will last a lifetime, and had the opportunity to play for some great coaches. Reed [Kroeber] and I were lucky to be involved in such a great program. But I was ready to work. I have always wanted to work in finance. I applied for jobs in the fall, they offered it to me and I decided to take it."
When Hardin accepted his position as an equity research associate with Stephens, a privately held financial services firm focused on building long-term relationships and long-term results, his senior season was in the balance. He knew he would give up a fifth year of eligibility to play the game he loves to transition to the finance world after he graduated.
"It's going really well [at Stephens]," said Hardin. "I have a lot to learn, but I am getting into the swing of things. It's been an adjustment to a new city where I did not know anyone. But I am getting adjusted."
Hardin did get the chance to play another college football season after all. Furman moved its fall season to the spring of 2021 due to Covid-19. A spring football season in Greenville, S.C., was different for Hardin, who served as a back-up quarterback and holder for field goals and extra points for his second straight season for the Paladins.
"The spring season was different and a little weird," Hardin said. "But [the seniors] had the opportunity to finish what we started. Even through it did not go as well as planned, it was a good finish. It's bittersweet that it's over. Covid made senior year a little longer. It is weird because I have been playing football since I was 5 years old. I played from the time I was 5 and now I am 22. So it's a bit sad to see that chapter end."
Hardin and Kroeber, also a former FCS teammate, helped the Furman finish 3-4 overall this spring and attain back-to-back 8-5 seasons in both 2018 and 2019. The Paladins posted a 6-2 mark in the SoCon in 2019. The team wound up second in the conference, but lost in the first round of the playoffs in the fall of 2019.
In the spring of 2021, Hardin was the holder for all extra points and field goals, and "got into the first game and the last game" as a quarterback. He completed one pass.
During his career with the Paladins, Hardin was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll four times.
In 2019, Hardin served as the holder for all placements. He helped Furman placekicker Grayson Atkins earn All-America honors. Atkins made 13-of-15 field-goal attempts that season as he extended his SoCon record of 18 straight field goals. That season Hardin also completed his first collegiate pass (20 yards versus VMI) and first college touchdown (a 30-yard run on an option play against Point to end the regular season).
Hardin did not see any action in 2018 or 2017 at Furman.
The 2017 FCS graduate played four years of football for the Fellowship Paladins. He led FCS to the state title game in December 2016 as a senior quarterback.
What was your greatest memory at FCS?
"Overall, it was great experience at FCS," Hardin said about his days on the field at Fellowship. "It would have to be senior football season. After not making the state playoffs as a sophomore and junior, and then go 13-1 and reach the championship was great. Beating Prince Avenue [Christian School] to reach the state championship game and get a chance to play in the [Georgia] Dome was really unbelievable. Going on that journey with a bunch of great teammates and coaches was special. I will always remember a lot about that year and the people involved."
(Photos courtesy of Furman University)
Alumni Update: Swartz Among Scoring Leaders at Boston College This Season
It was not a typical season for Cameron Swartz this past winter.
"It was pretty rough," the Fellowship Christian School graduate said about her 2020-21 season with the Boston College women's basketball team. "We had a few quarantines, cancelled games and trips to hotels to wait out our time before we could practice and play again. We'd finally be cleared to play, and then it seemed like we'd always play a tough team without any practices. It was hard to stay in shape and practice."
The Lady Eagles basketball team finished 7-12 overall and 2-11 in ACC games in 2020-21, which was Swartz' redshirt sophomore season.
Swartz started all 19 games at guard, and ranked second on the team with 254 points and averaged a career-high 13.4 points per game. She was fourth on the squad with 577 minutes played, ranked second with 92 rebounds and was fifth with 27 assists. She went 30-for-106 from behind the three-point line.
"I think I played well," Swartz said. "The start and stop [of the season] was hard on everyone. It hurt our chemistry on the court. Towards the end of the season we played better and really finished stronger. Overall, we played well as a team."
Swartz put in long hours in the gym to work on her defense and hone her offense last offseason and as much as she could during the Covid-19 impacted 2020-21 campaign.
"When you don't practice as much, it's hard on muscle memory," she said. "It's harder on shooters like me. I tried to drive more this year and create opportunities to score. But it was tough to stay consistent."
Swartz, who is currently in Boston, Mass., through Aug. 6 for BC's seven-week off-season workout and practice program, expects the Lady Eagles to improve in 2021-22.
"I think we are looking good this summer," Swartz said, noting that BC will have five seniors, one junior and two sophomores and six newcomers on the roster this season. "We are older, but we also have young players coming in. The newcomers are great and are a special group. They fit in well."
Teamwork is a theme for the Lady Eagles.
"Overall, we have a very good group," Swartz said. "We have each other's backs. As a team we look stronger, and we are all vaccinated!"
Swartz enters the season with two years of eligibility left. She is an applied phycology major with a minor in communications.
In her first year at BC, Swartz played in 30 games for the Lady Eagles in 2019-20. She made 19 starts and averaged of 23.6 minutes, nine points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest. Swartz ranked fifth on the team in scoring, ranked third with 35 three-point field goals and was third with 56 assists.
She transferred to Boston College from the University of Colorado during the middle of her freshman season. Before moving to BC, Swartz played seven games for the Lady Buffalos in 2018-19.
FCS' all-time leading scorer with more than 1,000 points, Swartz has plenty of fond memories at Fellowship. She graduated from FCS in 2018.
"I will always remember being on the court [at Paladin Gym]," she said. "The game that I scored my 1,000th point was very big. I always wanted to reach 1,000 points in high school. It was a big goal. I will also always remember the season we made it past the first round in the state tournament. That was a pretty big deal."
(Photos courtesy of Boston College)
Alumni Update: Gibbs Named to All-Sun Belt First Team in Final College Soccer Season at Coastal Carolina
Mackenzie Gibbs wrapped up her collegiate soccer career in style.
Gibbs, a 2017 graduate of Fellowship Christian School, was named a First Team member of the All-Sun Belt Women's Soccer Team following the 2020-21 season. She helped her team finish 7-8 overall over the fall and spring schedules, ranked second on the team with four goals, shared second with eight points and was tied for first on the squad with two game-winning goals.
"Last year was pretty good," she said. "It was different with Covid. Our preseason was shorter and we did not play as many games as normal. But I was grateful for the season. We did well, but I feel like Covid played a role in our consistency as we finished under .500.
"For me personally it was a good season too. I had a couple of game-winning goals and scored a couple of other big goals. That was exciting. Looking back I focused on having fun my last year."
As a senior, Gibbs led the team with 12 shots on goal to match her career best set as a freshman, tied for first with 20 overall shots and also set career highs in goals, game-winning tallies and points. As a junior, she set a career high with three assists and recorded seven points. Gibbs registered one goal as a sophomore in 2018, and notched three goals and six points as a freshman.
Gibbs has plenty of highlights during her time with the Lady Chanticleers. Making the ESPN Top 10 as a freshman "was crazy, and so much fun" and "I'll always remember that time during the hurricane in 2018 when we were gone from campus for like 18 days during the middle of the season."
A May 2021 graduate from Coastal Carolina (bachelor's in biology), Gibbs has plans to attend medical school next year following a yearlong scribe role at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"It will help me prepare for medical school," she said. "In high school I started thinking about a career in the medical field, and maybe becoming a doctor."
While Gibbs is excited about her career plans, the end to her collegiate soccer career was bittersweet.
"It definitely is," she said. "It's weird. I was not ready to be done."
Since joining the Lady Chanticleers four years ago, the 5-foot-8 midfielder has helped the team post a 33-33-4 record, including a 22-16-5 mark in the Sun Belt Conference games.
The team, 6-4 in conference matches last season, posted a 7-9-2 overall record and a 5-4-1 mark in conference play in 2019.
Gibbs excelled in the classroom at Coastal Carolina. She was named to the Conway, S.C. school's Dean's List (3.5 GPA or higher) for the spring 2021, fall 2020 and fall 2019 semesters, and earned a spot on the President's List (4.0 GPA) for the spring 2020 semester. Gibbs was also a member of Coast Carolina's Dean's List (3.5 GPA or higher) for the 2018 fall semester, and was a member of the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List for 2018-19. As a freshman, Gibbs earned placement on the school's Dean's List (3.25 GPA and higher) for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.
At Fellowship, Gibbs was a three-time MVP (sophomore, junior, and senior seasons), and was selected as Max Prep Player of the Year her senior year. She led the Lady Paladins to the 2016 GHSA Class A State Championship, the 2015 state title game, the 2014 state semifinals and the Elite 8 in 2017.
"I would say that state [title game] was my career highlight at Fellowship," Gibbs said about her FCS career. "I still remember being with the team that day. I remember vividly the game. It was an amazing day."
The team captain her senior year, Gibbs tallied 172 points (62 goals, 48 assists) during her FCS career.
"Playing a sport in college is hard," she said. "It has its ups and downs, but you are playing a sport because you love it. Fellowship prepared me well."
She has some advice for the FCS Class of 2021 members headed to college athletics.
"You need to stick with it no matter what happens," Gibbs said. "Try to enjoy it. Everyone says that, but you need to have fun."
(Photos courtesy of Coastal Carolina University)
Alumni Update: Mansell Finishes Track & Field Career, Graduates from The Citadel
While his final track & field season at the Citadel might have been disappointing, Fellowship Christian School graduate Harrison Mansell truly enjoyed his four-year experience at The Citadel.
"It was tough," he said about his senior track & field season. "I struggled with injuries. I only got into one meet. But I can't speak highly enough about my experience at The Citadel. That place did so many great things for me. I have made life long friends there, got to spend four years in a great city [Charleston, S.C.], and learned the skills that will make me successful. The professors were great, and always willing to help."
Mansell, who recently graduated with his bachelor's degree in business administration, has joined Oracle in the sales department. He has worked virtually for the company since June 14 but will ultimately be based in Durham, N.C.
A military school adds an extra component for the typical student athlete.
"Out of a scale of 10, I'd rate my experience at The Citadel an eight," Mansell said. "At times it was a lot to handle, athletics, academics and military instruction. It taught me a lot of lessons, and definitely prepared me for life after college. I would say a military degree makes you stand out. They'll see you went to a military institution and take notice. The Citadel taught me to balance multiple things at one time. I became more organized and determined there. The degree [from The Citadel] matters."
Due to injuries and Covid-19, Mansell did not see a lot of meets his last two indoor and outdoor seasons with the Bulldogs.
As a junior, Mansell competed in two indoor meets. He posted a season-best high jump mark of 1.88m (6 feet, two inches) at the Gamecock Opener Jan. 17-18, 2020, and reached a height of 1.85m (6-0.75) at the VMI Team Challenge on Jan. 25, 2020.
His best season came during his sophomore year, including a personal-record jump of 1.93m (6-4) at the 2018 SoCon Outdoor Championships held May 10-11, 2018 in the high jump "that was probably my career highlight."
He competed in six indoor meets as a sophomore, including a third-place jump of 1.88m (6-2) at the Gamecock Inaugural held Jan. 18-19, 2018. He placed sixth with a leap of 1.83m (6-0) at the USC Open on Feb. 16, 2019. Later that school year, Mansell competed in four outdoor meets. That included a ninth-place finish at East Carolina University's Bill Carson Invitational held April 5-6, 2019 at 1.80m (5-10.75).
As a freshman, Mansell participated in four indoor meets, including his collegiate debut at the Wake Forest Invitational Jan. 20-21, 2018. At the Virginia Military Institute Team Challenge held on Jan. 27, 2018, he placed ninth at 1.80m (5-10.75). He matched that 1.80m mark to place fifth at the JDL College Team Challenge on Feb. 8, 2018, and was fifth at the USC Invitational held on Feb. 16-17, 2018 at 1.82m (5-11.5).
Mansell followed up the indoor season with five outdoor meets that included a third-place finish at the Terrier Relays from March 30-31, 2018 with a height of 1.85m (6-0.75).
Academically, Mansell reached The Citadel's Dean's List (Fall 2018), and the Southern Conference Honor Roll (2018-19).
Mansell credits the part FCS has played in his success in the classroom and track & field.
"Fellowship was a small knit community," he said. "It really provided me with an opportunity to play sports. It allowed me the opportunity to perform well. I had a chance to unlock my skills there. On the academics side, it gave me great study habits. All the coaches and teachers there help prepare me for academics and sports in college."
(Photos courtesy of The Citadel)
Versatile Lineman Kroeber Ends Collegiate Football Career
Versatility was a recurring theme during Reed Kroeber's collegiate football career.
Kroeber, who graduated from Furman University this spring, recently wrapped up his football career for the Paladins.
"I got to start at all five positions [on the offensive line] during my career at Furman," he said. "That was actually pretty cool. The coaches switched me to left tackle after the first game this year. I was always ready to play no matter [the position]. I was able to pick up the offensive plan across the board despite where I played. Knowing what to do is more than half the battle."
Due to Covid-19, Furman moved its 2020 season to this past spring. Kroeber started one game at left guard and five games at right tackle during the school's spring football season.
"It felt like a normal season," Kroeber said. "It was an OK year on the field. We finished 3-4 and played just conference games. It was not exactly the season we wanted [record wise], but I still got to finish out my fifth season at Furman."
Kroeber has already had time to reflect on his collegiate career.
"While I was playing it felt like I was there a long time," he said. "But now it doesn't seem like I was there that long. I had a great time at Furman. It's a great school."
Overall, the school finished 28-26 in Kroeber's five years with the program. He did not play as a true freshman but went on to become a four-year starter on the offensive line. The previous two seasons Kroeber was the team's starter at left guard.
Furman finished 8-5, including a 6-2 conference mark, in both 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Kroeber, who graduated in May with degrees in both business administration and health sciences, has been accepted in the master's program in accounting at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He'll begin a year-long program in August that includes nearly 10 months of classes and more than two months taking a series of four exams to become a CPA. His goal is to work in audits for a Big Four firm.
While he may have hung up the shoulder pads, Kroeber is not planning to leave the game completely.
"I would like to stay involved in football, and maybe help a high school team near where I am," he said. "I spent 10 years playing the game, so I'd like to be involved in other ways. That was my mindset this year too. I really tried to pass on things to the younger guys and help them. That was a great positive for me this year."
Fellow FCS graduate Jack Hardin also wrapped up his collegiate career at Furman this spring.
"That was huge for me to have a teammate from Fellowship at Furman," Kroeber said. "Having a guy to work out with in the off season was huge. We could push each other and hold each other accountable."
Speaking of FCS, Kroeber fondly recalls his career at Bob Lord Field.
"I am so thankful for my time at Fellowship," he said. "I appreciate the opportunities at FCS to grow as a player and a student. It helped me develop as a player there so I could play college football."
Kroeber earned several academic and football awards at Furman and Fellowship.
During his five years at Furman, Kroeber was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017. Kroeber was also selected for the 2017 Hero Sports Freshman All-America and 2017 Phil Steele Freshman All-America teams.
While at FCS, Kroeber was included on the Atlanta-Journal Constitution's all-state team in 2014, and also earned recognition as Region Lineman of the Year and also included on the AJC All-Metro North Fulton (all classifications) team.
As a Paladin senior in 2015, Kroeber was named honorable mention all-state. Also a basketball player and track & field competitor at Fellowship, Kroeber placed third in the state in the shot put and was fourth in the discus in May of 2015.
(Photos courtesy of Furman University)
Post-Season Lax Honors: Five Lady Paladins Earn All-State Team Accolades
Five members of the Fellowship Christian School varsity girls lacrosse team received All-State Girls Lacrosse Team honors.
Senior Brooke Beard, who topped 200 goals in her FCS career, was named to the First Team. Sophomore Ava Menna was selected for the second team, while junior Graylyn Waggoner and seniors Avery Scherer and Rachel Schuetze earned honorable mention status.
This group led FCS to a 14-4 record and a trip to the GHSA Class A-5A Girls Lacrosse Championships. The Lady Paladins advanced to their second consecutive Sweet 16 match in the GHSA Class A-5A playoffs this May.
In 2019, Fellowship advanced to the GHSA Class A-5A Girls Lacrosse Championships Final 4 and set a school-record with a 17-2 mark. This year was the team's third straight trip to the GHSA playoffs, which includes 2018. The FCS varsity girls program competed for the first time in 2017.
Beard led the Lady Paladins with 97 shots, 62 goals, 37 assists and 99 points. She also won 58% of her faceoffs (34-for-59).
Menna ranked second on the team with 96 shots, 61 goals and 81 points. She was also third with 20 assists. Menna won 59% of her faceoffs (87-147) to place second on the team among players with more than 100 draws.
Scherer took 50 shots to rank fourth on the squad, and was third with 40 goals and 57 points. She also placed fifth among Lady Paladins with 17 assists. She topped the team in faceoff winning percentage (65%) for players with more than 100 draws and was also first with 97 total faceoff wins.
Schuetze ranked third on the team with 19 takeaways, and was seventh with 32 ground balls. She and Scherer tied for second on the team with a plus-four rating.
Waggoner ranked third on the Fellowship team with 68 shots, was fourth with 19 assists and 50 points and fifth with 31 goals. She took 33 total face-offs and won 28 of her draws for a winning percentage of 85%.
(Photo following Brooke Beard's 200th career goal)
Dannemiller Helps Kentucky Win 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships
Fellowship Christian School graduate Caroline Dannemiller recently helped the University of Kentucky Wildcats team capture the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships.
The event was held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-30) at the Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, Va. The Wildcats won their first USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship. Kentucky brought 30 riders to the event.
Dannemiller, who will be a senior this fall at Kentucky, was pleased with the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Dreaming's weekend performance in the Modified B division after the pair placed third overall.
"He had a really great run-up to the event, so I was hoping to put in a solid three phases together," Dannemiller said. "He came out and tried his best, and it was super fun. I was really happy with him. It was an awesome experience [winning the championship]. It was my first time going to the USEA championships. Everyone was cheering each other on. It was the most teams we brought to the competition, and our first time winning it."
Dannemiller and her teammates Cosby Green, Ivie Cullen Dean and Abbey O'Day won the event. They were among eight Wildcat teams at the event that included 105 entries, 29 teams and 15 schools.
A 2019 graduate of FCS, Dannemiller has a long history with horses.
"I have been riding since I was 5," she said. "I bought my first horse when I was 14. I think I always knew I wanted to ride competitively.
Dannemiller, a marketing major, plans to graduate early in May 2022.
"I am excited that next year we'll get normal classes [after a year online]," she said. "I love UK."
(Photos courtesy of USEA/Kim Beaudoin)
Senior Josh McLaughlin has earned honorable mention for the All-State Lacrosse Team.
He led the Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team with 71 goals and 200 shots this season. McLaughlin also ranked second on the team with 17 assists.
McLaughlin and senior Michael Schenken were also selected as Academic All State players.
On the field, Schenken tallied 41 goals and took 112 shots to rank second on the team in both categories this season and led the squad with 19 assists.
Bishop, Oliver Honored by Region; 13 Other Paladins Named to All-Region Baseball Team
Senior David Bishop and head coach Shawn Oliver received some impressive accolades, it was announced May 19.
In addition, Bishop and 13 other members of Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team received All-Region honors, which was announced earlier this month.
On May 19, the senior infielder was named Region 6A Player of the Year. Bishop led the Paladins with eight home runs, four triples, 34 RBIs, 42 runs and 35 hits. Bishop also batted .337. He will continue his baseball career at Texas Christian University.
Oliver was named Region 6A Coach of the Year. He guided the Paladins to a 25-8 record and led the team to the varsity baseball team's first-ever trip to the GHSA Class A Private Baseball Championships Final 4 in FCS history. Since joining Fellowship in 2017, Oliver has posted a 95-43 record.
The Paladins named to the first team of the All-Region squad include Bishop, seniors Andrew Davidson (infield) and Luke Schmidt (utility), junior Jason Gilley (starting pitcher) and sophomores Daniel Powell (relief pitcher) and Cooper Davidson (outfield).
The Fellowship players named to the second team included seniors Garrett Hauenstein (outfield), Noah Goss (designated hitter), Matson Grose (catcher) and juniors Wilson Long (starting pitcher/outfield) and Grant Hudson (starting pitcher), and sophomore Jack Rickheim (infield).
Senior Carson Phillips (infield) and sophomore Will Phipps (catcher) both earned honorable mention status.
Andrew Davidson collected one home run, six doubles, 28 hits, 27 RBIs, 23 runs and a .341 batting average. He ranked second on the team in RBIs and was fourth in hits. Cooper Davidson registered 33 hits, five homers, eight doubles and 18 RBIs. He led the team in doubles, and was second on the team in home runs, hits and runs, and ranked fourth in RBIs. He led the club with a .351 batting average. Schmidt recorded 14 hits and nine RBIs, scored 17 runs and hit .304.
Gilley went 10-1 with 51 strikeouts and a 1.05 earned run average in a team-best 59 2/3 innings pitched. He topped the team with 12 appearances, 10 starts, wins, strikeouts and ERA among starters. Powell led the team with two saves. He went 2-0 and threw 14 innings in nine games, which included eight relief appearances.
Hudson pitched in 10 games, started nine and went 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings pitched. He finished second on the team in wins, strikeouts and innings. Long went 4-1 in seven games, which includes six starts. He collected 19 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. He was third on the team in starts, innings and strikeouts. At the plate, he finished with 11 hits, two triples, one homer, 11 RBIs and 10 runs.
Hauenstein collected 21 hits, one home run, five doubles, 17 RBIs, 29 runs and hit .273. He was third on the team in runs and ranked fifth in RBIs. Grose notched 22 hits, four doubles, 14 RBIs and a .234 batting average, while Rickheim registered 31 hits, seven doubles, one triple, 16 RBIs and a .310 batting average. Rickheim finished third on the team in hits and was sixth in RBIs. Goss finished with eight hits, two home runs, 10 RBIs, 10 runs and hit .222.
Phillips recorded 22 hits, four doubles, 21 RBIs and 20 runs. He batted .328 and was third on the team in RBIs.
In addition, eight Paladins were placed on the Georgia Dugout Club All-State Baseball team in June, including Bishop and Gilley (first team), Cooper Davidson and Hudson (second team), and Andrew Davidson, Grose, Phillips and Rickheim.
Hardin Named Class A Girls Student-Athlete of Year; 6 Lady Paladins Selected for All-Region Team
Fellowship Christian School junior Cate Hardin has been selected as the 2021 DiVarsity Class A Student-Athlete of the Year.
Hardin was also selected to participate in the 2021 All-Star Girls Soccer Game (Class A-7A). She scored 22 goals to lead the Lady Paladins and was third with eight assists.
In addition, Hardin has been named to the second team of the Georgia High School Soccer Super 11, and has been picked for the United Coaches All-State Soccer Team.
Hardin and freshman Rachel Williamson were both selected for the All-Region First Team, while freshman Avery Paulson was chosen for the second team.
Senior Maddie Creekmore, sophomore Ginny Thompson and freshman Alden Hayes received honorable mention status. Creekmore scored two goals.
Paulson ranked second on the Fellowship squad with 21 goals and 10 assists. Williamson ranked first with 11 assists and was third with seven goals.
This group of players helped the Paladins finish the season with a 10-3 record and advance to the Sweet 16 of the GHSA Class A Private Girls Soccer Championships. During the regular season, FCS went 4-1 in Region games.
Six Paladins Receive All-Region Honors
Six members of the Fellowship Christian School varsity boys soccer team have been selected for the All-Region Boys Soccer Team.
Senior Matt Rodgers and sophomore Clay Shepler were named to the first team, while senior Brad Rodgers and sophomore Bradley Hungerbuhler earned second-team status.
Freshman Josh Milhollin and junior Jacob Welty were awarded honorable mention status.
This group of players helped the Paladins finish the season with an 8-5 record and advance to the Sweet 16 of the GHSA Class A Private Boys Soccer Championships.
During the regular season, FCS went 5-1 in Region games.
Sad Finish: Paladins Storybook Baseball Season Concludes on Walk-Off HR in State Semifinals
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team battled like it had all season long.
The team gave all it had before finally falling on walk-off home run by Cam Collier in the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the best-of-three GHSA Class A Private Baseball Championship Final 4 series with Mount Paran Christian School. The Eagles, who won game one by a 17-2 count, took the second game played at Winchester Field of Paladin Park, 3-2 in nine innings.
Seniors Andrew Davidson and Carson Phillips both knocked in a run as FCS took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning. That lead stood until Mount Paran scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Junior Grant Hudson started and pitched a strong five innings. He did not allow a hit or a run and left with a 2-0 lead. He fanned three and walked five. Sophomore Cooper Davidson threw the final 3 1/3 innings in relief and took the loss.
Andrew Davidson finished with a team-leading two hits, including a double, and an RBI. Cooper Davidson belted a double, while Phillips finished with a hit and an RBI.
Sophomore Jack Rickheim, and seniors David Bishop and Luke Schmidt all had one hit for FCS, which reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history this season.
The club finished the 2021 campaign with a 25-8 mark.
The Paladins fell to Mount Paran, 17-2, in game one. The Paladins are the No. 1 seed for Region 6 and the Eagles are the top seed for Region 7.
Bishop slugged a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth for the Paladins. Senior Garrett Hauenstein recorded the other hit in the game for Fellowship.
Mount Paran scored twice in the top half of the fourth inning to open the scoring. The Eagles added four more runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and eight in the seventh.
Fellowship used five pitchers in the game. Junior starter Jason Gilley was tagged with the loss. Mount Paran's Luke Dotson threw a two-hit complete-game victory.
The season marks the fifth time in school history the Fellowship varsity baseball team has advanced to the state playoffs, but the first to reach the Final 4. The Paladins also reached the Elite 8 in 2019, made it to the second round in 2018 and reached the playoffs during a season-record 28-8 campaign in 2012.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Rickheim Claims Third in 3,200 Meters at GHSA Class A Private Track & Field Championships
Sami Rickheim wrapped up her meet with a pretty impressive medal.
The Fellowship Christian School senior claimed third place in the finals of the 3,200 meters on the second evening (May 14) of the three-day GHSA Track & Field Championships hosted by McEachern High School in Powder Springs.
Rickeim closed out her FCS career with a time of 11:45.22 to earn the medal. The winner of the race was Ellie Brewer of Hebron Christian Academy with a time of 11:18.72. Jordan Walter of Paideia placed second at 11:35.00.
"It was a great race for Sami," FCS head coach Greg Mayhue said. "She ran two very good races at this meet really. Sami closed out her career in style with a terrific performance in the 3,200 against some outstanding competition."
On May 13, Rickheim ran the 1,600-meter race in 5:28.61 to claim 11th place overall in that event.
She qualified for both state races based on her performance at the Area 4, 5 and 6 meet held on April 30 at Providence Christian Academy.
"Sami has been an important part of our track & field and cross country programs for many years," Mayhue said. "I am very proud of her accomplishments."
(Photo and graphic courtesy of Greg Mayhue)
Cochran Helps Reinhardt Capture 4th Straight National Lacrosse Title
(This is the first in a series of summer updates on Fellowship Christian School graduates who have continued their athletic career at the collegiate level.)
It was a pretty memorable season for Cam Cochran to say the least.
The sophomore helped Reinhardt University capture its fourth consecutive NAIA National Championship and complete at 17-0 season. The Eagles defeated Indiana Tech in the NAIA Men's Lacrosse National Invitational Final played in Savannah on May 8.
Cochran became the first FCS graduate to earn a national collegiate lacrosse title. FCS graduates Elizabeth Johnson, Emma Sonnett and Emily Sonnett all helped their NASA club soccer team capture a national championship several years ago.
How did it feel to hoist the trophy?
"It was great," Cochran said. "I've played in big games before at Fellowship, but nothing compares to a national championship. This title was really two years of hard work for our team. This win [in the title game] was very, very satisfying. This was the first time in the four years we were undefeated. Not losing a game all season was outstanding."
Cochran excelled in his sophomore campaign at Reinhardt after COVID-19 limited his team to four games in 2020. In 2021, he ranked sixth on the team with 17 goals, 30 points, 47 shots and 28 shots on goal, while he finished fifth with 13 assists.
"It was pretty successful," Cochran said about his season on the field. "I was kind of like the sixth man in basketball. I came in off the bench first, and was ready to step in when guys needed a break. Personally I felt like I made the most of my playing time. My goal is to help us keep winning."
Cochran, who starred at both football and lacrosse at FCS, has already learned valuable life lessons at Reinhardt.
"I have learned patience and perseverance," he said. "It's a long season, so have to help you team win. Our team persevered through games this season when we struggled to come back and win. Sometimes you need to slow down and patient, and the wins will come. Everyone on this team is a great competitor."
Cochran attributes the Eagles success to the philosophies of head coach John Snow.
"The way he pushed us," he said. "He loves us, but he'll push you the hardest he can. He'll drain you, but our guys will give it all."
Next semester, Cochran hopes to be able to attend classes in person instead of online as he continues his third year at the Waleska school. He's a sports studies major with a business minor.
This summer Cochran will to give lacrosse lessons and teach kids about the sport he loves, and work on his own game.
"I'll put in the hard work to be ready for next season, so we can be ready to repeat again," he said.
(Photos courtesy of Reinhardt University)
Making School History: Paladins Sweep Elite 8 GHSA Baseball Series to Reach New Heights for Program
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team has reached the Final 4 for the first time in school history.
Fellowship battled back to beat Calvary Day School, 4-3, in eight innings and sweep the best-of-three GHSA Class A Private Baseball Championships Elite 8 round played May 10 at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson. FCS owns the No. 1 seed for Region 6, while Calvary Day School of Savannah is seeded third for Region 3. The Paladins blanked Calvary Day, 7-0, in the first game.
The Paladins (25-6 overall) will host the winner of the Elite 8 series between Mount Paran Christian School and Tattnall Square Academy of Macon on May 15 to begin a best-of-three series to mark FCS' first trip to the baseball's Final 4.
On May 10, senior Garrett Hauenstein smacked a double to drive in the eventual winning run in the top of the eighth inning that snapped a 3-3 tie.
Sophomore Cooper Davidson threw two innings of scoreless relief in the seventh and the eighth to pick up the victory. He allowed just one hit and fanned two.
"Each year we've taken another step as a program and each year these boys make me look so good," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "Our pitchers had another awesome performance and defensively we just smothered everything hit and made some special plays along the way. Our bats were loud today and the guys just kept throwing barrel after barrel on the ball. We found a way to extend our time together one more week."
With Calvary Day leading 3-2 in the second game, senior Carson Phillips drove in the tying run with a hit in the sixth inning.
Sophomore Jack Rickheim's RBI double gave FCS a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Fellowship took a 2-0 lead on Hauenstein's RBI hit in the third.
Calvary Day pulled to within 3-2 with a run in the bottom of the third, and went ahead with two in the fourth.
Fellowship finished with eight hits that included two apiece from Davidson, Hauenstein, Phillips and Rickheim. Phillips stole two bases, and Davidson had one.
Junior Grant Hudson started and threw five innings. He allowed six hits and three earned runs and struck out four. He left trailing 4-3, and senior Luke Schmidt allowed just one walk in an inning of relief.
This season marks the fifth time in school history the Fellowship varsity baseball team has advanced to the state playoffs. The Paladins also reached the Elite 8 in 2019, made it to the second round in 2018 and reached the playoffs during a season-record 28-8 campaign in 2012.
In the first game, the Paladins won 7-0.
Junior starter Jason Gilley scattered two hits and three walks, and struck out two in six innings of shutout baseball. Sophomore Will Phipps closed out the game with one inning of scoreless relief.
At the plate, the Paladins collected eight hits and scored once in the third inning, four times in the fourth and twice in the fifth.
Senior David Bishop collected two hits and two RBIs for FCS, including one double. Junior Wilson Long registered two hits and had one RBI. Phillips knocked in two runs.
Davidson earned one hit and one RBI, while seniors Matson Grose, Hauenstein and Schmidt had one hit apiece. Hauenstein stole a pair of bases.
Casting their Lines: Brewer and Grose Team up for Top 10 Finish at State Fishing Meet
The Fellowship Christian School duo of seniors Jordan Brewer and Matson Grose, members of the school's varsity bass fishing team, had a memorable day on Lake Lanier.
In the first-ever GHSA Bass Fishing State Championships held on May 8 on Lake Lanier, Brewer and Jordan captured a Top 10 finish (ninth place overall).
There were a total of 62 teams of two who competed from many schools across Georgia.
"What an incredible finish to this awesome fishing season," head coach Curt Morrell said. "Jordan Brewer and Mattson Grose qualified early in the season for Fellowship and have been looking forward to this state tournament at Lake Lanier for a while now. These guys spent a lot of time pre-fishing and learning the intricate details of what was needed to compete against some of the best anglers in the state. Their results were an extraordinary accomplishment and I am extremely proud of them. It is great to see their perseverance and patience rewarded after putting in the time over the past few years.
"Some people say fishing is just luck, but when you see the same anglers competing in the top 20 each tournament, it's clearly not. Fishing is an art that takes a lot of time, patience, knowledge, skill and perseverance to be great at it. I am thankful for our anglers here at Fellowship, and for being able to coach them."
(Pictures from PaladinsFCS)
State Meet Bound: Rickheim Runs Way to GHSA Class A Private School Track & Field Championships
Senior Sami Rickheim has qualified for the GHSA Class A Private School Track & Field Championships this week.
Rickheim finished third in the 3,200 meters and eighth in the 1,600 meters at the Area 4, 5 and 6 Sectional Meet hosted by Providence Christian Academy on May 8 to qualify for state in both events.
The boys four by 400 relay team from Fellowship Christian School (Sawyer Stock, Garrett Lengenfeld, Tyler Wagner and Garrett Wagner) set a new school record in that event, but did not qualify for states. They set the previous mark at the Area meet held April 27 and 29.
McEachern High School in Powder Springs will host the three-day state meet for Class A private schools from May 13-15.
In Lilburn on May 8, junior Brooke Buckner competed in the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles, while sophomore Addy Costoulas participated in the discus and shot put.
Fellowship's four by 100-meter team of Sabrina Smith, Lilli Mahlke, Brooke Buckner and Elizabeth Bishop, and the girls four by 400 team of Elizabeth Bishop, Elsa Loechl, Lilli Mahlke and Sami Rickheim also competed at Sectionals.
Junior Colin Darby competed in the shot put, while junior Garrett Wagner ran the 100 and 200 meters, senior Tyler Wagner competed in the 100 meters.
Tough Finish: Paladins Battle Westminster Hard in A-5A Boys Lacrosse Elite 8 Loss
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team did not go down without a fight.
The Paladins dropped a 15-5 decision on the road to Westminster Schools in the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships on May 7. It was the second time in school history that the boys lacrosse squad from FCS reached the Elite 8 (2019 was the other season).
This season, FCS is seeded fourth in Area 5, while the Wildcats – a 3A school – are seeded No. 1 in Area 2.
On May 7, the Paladins attacked the Westminster net strong and freshman goalkeeper Evan Hildenbrandt held his ground with several strong stops but the Wildcats prevailed in a very physical match-up.
Senior Joey Archer tallied two goals on the night for Fellowship. Freshman Billy Jackson and seniors Josh McLaughlin and Michael Schenken all scored one goal apiece.
"We played a tough opponent last night who is the second best team in the state 5A and below, and at least the fifth best team overall," said Lou Corsetti, director of boys lacrosse at FCS. "All of that does not matter at the end of the day, but I am so thankful for our teams resilience throughout the season. Like many teams we faced adversity, but each and every player contributed to what was a very memorable season. I am heartbroken right now, but I will strive on just like every one of our players needs to do. We gave a gutsy performance last night we just did not have enough horses."
Jackson scored in the first period that ended with the Wildcats leading 7-1. It was 11-2 at halftime. Archer tallied his first goal with 1:07 to go to the half. Schenken scored in the third period, while Archer and McLaughlin found the back of the net in the fourth.
Fellowship ended the season 8-11. The loss to Westminster snapped a three-game win streak, including a two-match state playoff win streak.
Corsetti praised the seniors.
"I do want to thank our Seniors – Josh, Michael, Lawson, Joey, Caleb, Reid, Ace and Eli," Corsetti said. "Each one of you will hold a special place in my heart."
In 2019, Fellowship advanced to the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships and notched a school-record 16-4 record. The 2019 and 2021 Paladins are the only Class A teams to reach the Elite 8 in state boys A-5A playoff history.
(Photos by Milo Falcon)
Area Meet: Paladin Team Places 9th in Area; Ramsey Cards 80
The varsity golf team from Fellowship Christian School wrapped up the 2021 season at the area meet held on May 6th at Hamilton Mill Golf Club in Dacula.
The Paladins finished ninth among 14 teams at the 18 hole tournament.
Junior Luke Ramsey carded an eight-over par 80 to lead the Paladin golfers. He placed 7th as an individual out of 73 golfers in our Area
"He played well overall and I am really excited to see what he is capable of next year. He is on the cusp of consistently shooting mid to upper 30's and I believe he will be there soon." head coach Curt Morrell said about Ramsey's effort that included a two-over par 38 on the backside. "He started slow on the front but recovered well."
Freshmen Niko Ceto and Colin Walsh, and Senior Jordan Brewer contributed greatly for Fellowship as well.
The team's Nos. 2 and 3 players – juniors Harrison Maney and Jonah Pritchett – were not able to play.
"We made progress this season," Morrell said. "I was pleased with the hard work the team put in. They improved their scores as individuals and as a team all year. I'm already excited about next year, we will keep improving and getting stronger as a team as we learn how to compete to the best of our ability."
The Paladins closed the regular season on a four-match win streak, and earned a 6-3 record.
Paladins Capture GHSA Playoff Game at Trinity, Advance in Tourney to Face Westminster Schools
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team has advanced to the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships for the second time in school history.
The Paladins, seeded fourth in Area 4, downed Trinity Christian School in Sharpsburg, 19-8, on May 5. Trinity is the No. 3 seed for Area 7.
In 2019, Fellowship advanced to the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships and posted a school-record 16-4 record.
The 2019 and 2021 Paladins are the only Class A teams to reach the Elite 8 in state boys A-5A playoff history.
The Paladins will face Westminster Schools in the Elite 8.The Wildcats, seeded first from Area 2, defeated Wesleyan School, 18-1, in the Sweet 16. Wesleyan owns the No. 1 seed for Area 1.
Seniors Michael Schenken, and Josh McLaughlin and junior Cole Keim were the top scorers in the match for Fellowship.
Freshmen Patrick Fischer, Dylan Hines and Billy Jackson, sophomore Ryan Marsh and senior Eli Hildebrandt all scored at least one goal for the Paladins.
Senior Caleb McClung led the defense and freshman goaltender Evan Hildenbrandt did a great job in goal.
(Photos by Milo Falcon)
Paladins Sweep Two Games from Prince Ave. in Sweet 16 Round to Advance in State Tournament
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team has qualified for the Elite 8 of the GHSA Class A Private School Baseball Championships for the second time in school history.
On May 5 at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, the Paladins swept the first two games of the best-of-three Sweet 16 series with Prince Avenue Christian School to advance to the Elite 8.
The Paladins (23-6 overall) took game one, 4-0, and also blanked the Wolverines, 3-0, in the second game. FCS owns the No. 1 see for Region 6, while Prince Ave. is the No. 2 for Region 8.
Fellowship will face Calvary Day School of Savannah, the No. 3 seed in Region 3, in the Elite 8 round. Calvary Day beat Brookstone School of Columbus (No. 1 Seed in Region 4), 7-3 and 2-0 in the series between those schools.
This season marks the fifth time in school history the Fellowship varsity baseball team has advanced to the state playoffs. The Paladins also reached the Elite 8 in 2019, made it to the second round in 2018 and reached the playoffs during a season-record 28-8 campaign in 2012.
"Our pitchers were so good today," said head coach Shawn Oliver, who is 93-41 at Fellowship. "Jason and Grant attacked guys and forced weak contact all day! I mean when you only throw 120 pitches between two games, that's a pretty good day. Offensively we did enough, but left a lot of meat on the bone and some small stuff to clean up before we get the next round on our turf."
In the second game, FCS (visiting team for the second game) scored twice in the top half of the first inning and added an insurance run in the sixth.
Fellowship pounded out eight hits, including two from senior Luke Schmidt. He also knocked in one run. Senior David Bishop had one hit (a triple) and one RBI, and senior Andrew Davidson also collected one hit and one RBI.
Junior Grant Hudson scattered three hits over seven innings and fanned one batter in a complete-game victory.
Freshman Cooper Davidson, sophomore Jack Rickheim and seniors Garrett Hauenstein and Matson Grose all had one hit.
The Paladins won the first contest, 4-0.
Junior Jason Gilley earned a complete-game win. He threw a two-hitter and struck out four over seven innings.
Freshman Cooper Davidson led FCS with two hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore Jack Rickheim collected one hit, which was a double. Seniors David Bishop, Luke Schmidt and Carson Phillips all registered one hit for Fellowship.
The Paladins plated two runs in each of fifth and sixth innings. Fellowship was the home team for the game played at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Comeback Kids: Fellowship Rallies to Beat Darlington, Advance to Sweet 16
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team scored a pair of runs on a walk-off error to advance to the Sweet 16.
On April 30 at Winchester Field of Paladin Park, the Paladins scored four times in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 6-5 victory over The Darlington School of Rome in game three of the best-of-three opening-round series of the GHSA Class A Private Baseball Championships.
"It was just an incredible high school baseball series," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "I knew going in it was going to be tough sledding cause Matt does such a good job as a coach. Baseball is just different than other sports. You have the ball, but you can't just hold it and run out the clock. Jack getting that barrel on the first pitch set the tone for the whole inning [to start the seventh-inning rally] and we finally got the ball to bounce our direction. It was a great job by our team to stay in it and never quit. We've bought [at least] one more week together and I can't wait to hit the field again."
The Paladins, seeded one from Region 6, are now 21-6 this season. The Tigers are seeded fourth from Region 7. FCS defeated Darlington, 10-7, in game one played at Winchester Field at Paladin Park on April 29. The Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the second game, 5-4, that day.
Fellowship will face Prince Avenue Christian in the next round. Prince Avenue, 24-8 overall and seeded second from Region 8, defeated Holy Innocents' Episcopal School two games to none in their first-round series.On April 30, the Paladins trailed 5-2 following the Tigers' run in the top of the seventh. Darlington took a 4-2 lead with fourth runs in its half of the fifth. FCS scored a run in each of the second and third innings to lead 2-0 in the back-and-forth contest.
Fellowship collected six hits in the game, led by sophomore Jack Rickheim with two.
Senior Garrett Hauenstein had one hit and two RBIs. Rickheim drove in one run. Sophomore Charlie Chandler had a hit and an RBI in the second inning.
Seniors David Bishop and Luke Schmidt each had one hit.
Reliever Wilson Long picked up the victory for FCS. The junior threw 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, one unearned run and three walks with four strikeouts. Sophomore Cooper Davidson started and went 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits, four runs (two earned) and two walks. He fanned two batters.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Metro 10 Championship: Lady Paladins Blank Mt. Bethel in Title Game
The Fellowship Christian School middle school girls soccer team capped an incredible undefeated season with a championship.
On April 29, the Lady Paladins posted a 4-0 victory over Mt. Bethel Christian Academy in the championship game of the Metro 10 League season in a contest played at Bob Lord Field.
Fellowship finished 12-0 for the season.
The team did not allow a goal all season. It scored 86 goals to notch a plus-86 goal differential on the 2021 campaign.
It's the third girls middle school soccer championship for the Fellowship program, including 2013 and 2007.
Even Steven: Paladins and Darlington Split Pair of GHSA Private A Playoff Games
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team split the first two games of the best-of-three opening round series of the GHSA Class A Private Baseball Championships.
FCS defeated The Darlington School, 10-7, in game one played at Winchester Field at Paladin Park. The Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit to win the second game, 5-4. The Paladins will host deciding game three on April 30 at 4:30 p.m.
In the second game, the Paladins took a 3-0 lead on single runs in the first, second and third innings. Darlington tied it with a three-run bottom of the third rally, and added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Fellowship pulled to within 5-4 with a run in the top of the seventh.
FCS pounded out even hits, including three from senior Andrew Davidson. Sophomores Cooper Davidson and Jack Rickheim, junior Wilson Long and senior David Bishop all notched one hit. Both Rickheim and Bishop belted doubles, while Long smacked a triple.
Andrew Davidson knocked in three runs, while senior Luke Schmidt had one RBI. Bishop scored two runs.
Junior Grant Hudson threw a complete game. He allowed five runs, including three earned runs, and fanned nine.
The Paladins, seeded one from Region 6, are now 20-6 this season. The Tigers are seeded fourth from Region 7.
Shawn Oliver has posted a 90-41 career record as head coach at FCS.
In the first game, the Paladins won 10-7.
The Paladins scored twice in the second inning and plated seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 9-1 lead. Both teams added one run in the sixth, and the Tigers pulled to within three runs (10-7) with a five-run seventh.
Sophomore Will Phipps struck out both batters he faced to snuff out the seventh-inning rally and earn the save. Junior Jason Gilley pitched six innings to earn the win. He struck out seven batters, scattered four hits and allowed two runs (only one earned). Junior Kyle Carey allowed five hits and five runs.
At the plate, the Paladins earned six hits. Sophomore Cooper Davidson collected two hits and drove home one run. Rickheim and seniors Andrew Davidson and Garrett Hauenstein each recorded one hit and one RBI.
Schmidt notched a sacrifice fly, and Bishop notched one hit. Both Andrew Davidson and Rickheim smacked doubles.
On to the Sweet 16: Lady Paladin Lax Team Posts Victory over South Effingham
The Fellowship Christian School varsity girls lacrosse team has advance to its second consecutive Sweet 16 in the GHSA Class A-5A.
The Lady Paladins defeated South Effingham, 20-0, at Bob Lord Field on April 28. The Sweet 16 contest will be announced later.
With the victory, the Lady Paladins improved to 14-3 overall.
In 2019, Fellowship advanced to the GHSA Class A-5A Girls Lacrosse Championships Final Four and set a school-record 17-2 record. This year is the team's third straight trip to the GHSA playoffs, which includes 2018. The FCS varsity girls program competed for the first time in 2017.
State Victory: Paladins Beat Benedictine, Advance to Sweet 16.
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team has advanced to the Sweet 16.
The Fellowship squad downed Benedictine Military School, 18-5, in the opening round of the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships in Savannah on April 28. The Sweet 16 contest will be announced later.
The Paladins won for the second straight game and are now 7-10 overall.
In Savannah, junior Cole Keim and seniors Michael Schenken and Josh McLaughlin all tallied four goals for the Paladins.
Freshman Billy Jackson tallied two goals, while sophomores Graham Ferraro and Will Jaroszewski and seniors Joey Archer and Reid Robinson all scored one goal.
"Evan had a great game in goal," director of boys lacrosse Lou Corsetti said. "We had nice assists by Hickman, Schenken and Keim. The defense, led by seniors Caleb McClung and Lawson Haigler, held them to five goals. Falcon and Hickman also played great defense."
This is Fellowship's second-ever trip to the state playoffs and the Sweet 16. In 2019, the team posted a school-record 16-4 record and advanced to the Elite 8.
Day One Success: Buckner and Boys 4 by 800 Relay Team Set School Records at Area Meet
The varsity track & field squad from Fellowship Christian School competed in day one of the Area Track & Field Meet hosted by Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners and had plenty of highlights.
Senior Sami Rickheim won the 1,600-meter run, while the FCS boys four by 800-meter relay team finished fourth with a new school record time in that event.
Addy Costoulas finished third in the discus and placed fifth in the shot put, while junior Brooke Buckner was fourth in the triple jump, sixth in the long jump and set a new school record in the 100-meter hurdles.
Junior Colin Darby finished second in the shot put.
The finals will take place April 29 at Wesleyan. All the FCS competitors mentioned above qualified.
Varsity Paladin Golfers Beat Pinecrest; Extend Win Streak to Three Matches
The varsity golf team from Fellowship Christian School carded its lowest round of the season on a regulation course on April 27.
At Horseshoe Bend Country Club, the Paladins posted a 171-214 win over Pinecrest Academy. It was Fellowship's third straight victory.
The Paladins from Fellowship posted a 135-184 win over Pinecrest at the par-3 River Pines Golf Course on April 19.
On April 27, junior Luke Ramsey led FCS with a 38. Junior Harrison Maney carded a 43, while freshmen Niko Ceto and Colin Walsh both shot a 45.
On to the Championship Game: Lady Paladins Down Whitefield in Semifinals
The undefeated Fellowship Christian School middle school girls soccer team has advanced to the Metro 10 League Championship game.
With a 4-0 semifinal victory over Whitefield Academy at Bob Lord Field, the 11-0 Lady Paladins have qualified for the title game against Mt. Bethel Christian Academy at home on April 29.
The Lady Paladins are 11-0 and have shut out all 11 of its opponents this season and own an incredible plus-82 goal differential.
The middle school girls team from Fellowship has earned league championships in 2013 and 2007. This is the program's 10th the trip to the Final 4, including 2021, 2019, 2018, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2007 and 2006.
Against Whitefield, Ally Hardin led FCS with two goals. Lily Kate Elphick collected one goal and one assist, while Maddie Miller netted one goal. Lillian Quinn and
Paige Connolly notched one assist apiece.
Keeper Catie Gasque made three saves.
In the first half, Hardin scored at 27:19, and Miller tallied a goal at 24:56. Elphick scored at 29:45 of the second half, and Hardin scored at 25:49.
League Champions: FCS Girls MS Lax Team Beats HIES, Captures AML Championship
The middle school girls lacrosse club from Fellowship Christian School has earned the regular season championship for the Atlanta Middle School League.
The Lady Paladins posted a 16-2 victory over Holy Innocents' Episcopal School at Bob Lord Field on April 24to finish the regular season unbeaten in league matches.
Fellowship (9-3 overall) went 8-0 in league play to capture the regular season championship under the director of head coach Chip Brackley.
The AMSL did not have playoffs this season.
In non-league games, the team posted a 1-4 record. The Lady Paladins split two non-league contests with Cambridge, and also lost to Roswell and Milton.
Against HIES, Reese Phipps led FCS with six points and four goals. She also collected two assists.
Olivia Brackley posted three goals and one assist, while Ella Upchurch tallied one goal and notched four assists. Madison Costanzo earned two goals and one assist.
"It was great team defense [against HIES], and great goalie play by Rebecca Wade," coach Brackley said.
Ella Upchurch, Lexi Cline and Olivia Brackley led the team on ground balls.
FCS Baseball Team Wraps Up Regular Season with Sweep of ELCA
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team swept a home-and-home series with Eagle's Landing Christian Academy April 22-23 to end the regular season.
On April 23, the Paladins posted a 12-2 victory over the Chargers in a five-inning game played at Winchester Field at Paladin Park. The previous day, FCS won 14-4 at ELCA.
The Paladins improved to 19-5 on the season with their third straight win. Overall, the club has won seven out of its last eight contests.
Since joining Fellowship in 2017, head coach Shawn Oliver has earned an 89-40 record in five seasons. He's won 20 games twice with the Paladins.
Against the Chargers, the Paladins pounded out eight hits and scored a run in all five innings. The team plated two runs in the first inning, five in the second, three in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth.
"What a great way to end the season," Oliver said. "Our boys have scored runs in 14 consecutive innings and all three of those [wins] ended in double digits. The biggest thing is being able to maintain this pace and the confidence that comes with knowing I'm going to get this hit when I step in the box. Throw the records out the window though because it all starts over with everyone at 0-0 and the opportunity to go 1-0 so we can extend our seniors high school career one more week at a time."
Senior Noah Goss had two hits (a home run and a double) and drove home four runs for FCS. Senior David Bishop also belted a home run, collected two hits, scored four runs and drove in three, while sophomore Jack Rickheim collected three hits, three runs and two RBIs.
Sophomore Cooper Davidson scored three runs, while his brother, senior Andrew Davidson, earned one hit.
On the mound, starter Wilson Long, a junior, went three innings to pick up the win. He fanned one batter and allowed one run. Junior Thomas Bourne threw 1 2/3 innings in relief, allowing one run with four strikeouts. Rickheim faced one batter and recorded the last out.
The playoffs begin next week for the Paladins.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Varsity Boys Lacrosse Team Beats Mount Vernon on Road, Qualifies for Postseason
It was a huge win for Fellowship Christian School varsity boys lacrosse team on April 23.
The Paladins defeated Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, 17-2, in Sandy Springs. The team earned a trip to the GHSA Class A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championships to join the girls program in the postseason.
There are eight teams in FCS' Region with the top four going to the playoffs. After Friday's games, the last night of regular-season play, there was a three-way tie for fourth place between FCS, Mount Pisgah Christian School and Northview High School. It came down to goal differentials and the Paladins advanced.
Overall, Fellowship is 6-10 this season.
Paladin Varsity Baseball Team Wins at ELCA; Improves to 18-5
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team cruised to its second straight win on April 22.
The Paladins (18-5 overall) posted a 14-4 victory over Eagle's Landing Christian Academy in McDonough in a non-Region contest. The team has now notched wins in sixth out of its last seven games.
Fellowship pounded out 15 hits and scored in all five at-bats during the five-inning victory. FCS plated two runs in the first inning, four in the second, one in the third, five in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Senior Matson Grose collected two hits, both doubles, and drove in four runs for FCS. Seniors Andrew Davidson and David Bishop both had two hits, two RBIs and three runs scored. Bishop belted a triple and a double.
Senior Luke Schmidt registered three hits and drove home one run. Wilson Long belted a home run and had two RBIs, while senior Noah Goss hit a solo home run in his lone at-bat. Sophomore Will Phipps recorded a base hit.
On the mound, starter Grant Hudson went four innings to earn the win. The junior hurler scattered three hits, allowed just one run and fanned four. Sophomore Daniel Powell closed out the game and threw one inning.
(Photo by JennyH912)
Playoff Win: Lady Paladins Post Victory over Walker
Following a quick goal by The Walker School, the varsity girls soccer team from Fellowship Christian School flexed its offensive muscle.
The No. 2 Lady Paladins responded with seven unanswered goals to post a 6-1 victory over the third-seeded Lady Wolverines at Bob Lord Field on April 21 in the first round of the GHSA Class A Private School Soccer Championships.
With the victory, Fellowship advanced to the Sweet 16 to face No. 1 Athens Academy in a re-match of a 2017 Sweet 16 matchup. It's the Lady Paladins' seventh trip to the Sweet 16 in school history, all since 2011. The club has advance to the GHSA girls playoffs eight times.
Junior Cate Hardin led FCS with a hat trick, freshman Avery Paulson added two goals and two assists, and junior Maggie Lee scored once.
The Lady Paladins improved to 10-2 overall.
Walker's Sarah McMurray scored just 33 seconds into the game, but Hardin scored twice in a span of 2:38 to give Fellowship the lead for good. She booted in a free kick at 25:59, and Paulson set up her goal on a long drive to the box with a nifty pass in the open field.
FCS went ahead 3-1 on Paulson's goal with 32 seconds left in the half on a drive to the goal.
Hardin completed the hat trick 10:06 into the second half on pretty goal in a crowd in front of the net. Paulson's pass set up Lee's goal that made it 5-1 with 21:50 left. Freshman Rachel Williamson set up Paulson's second goal with 18:17 to play.
Fellowship out shot the Lady Wolverines, 17-7 in the first half and 30-10 for the contest.
FCS freshman keeper Alden Hays recorded nine saves, while Walker's goalie Amelia Wetherington registered 23 saves.
This is Fellowship's first trip to the state girls playoffs since 2017, when it lost to Athens Academy in the second round.
The team won the state championship in 2016, was state runner-up in 2015, 2013 and 2012, and also went to the Final Four in 2014 and 2011.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Playoff Win: Paladins Beat Darlington, Reach Sweet 16 of Boys Soccer Playoffs
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys soccer team has advanced to the Sweet 16 of the GHSA Class A Private School Boys Soccer Championships.
Sophomore Ethan Durham scored two goals and assisted the deciding tally by senior Brad Rodgers to help lift the Paladins to a 3-2 win over The Darlington School in the opening round GHSA Private A Boys Soccer Championships at Bob Lord Field on April 21.
This is FCS' eighth trip to the state boys soccer playoffs, and the program's seventh time going to the Sweet 16. The Paladins will play No. 1 Athens Academy, which defeated No. 4 Holy Innocents' Episcopal April 21, in the next round.
At Bob Lord Field, Rodgers converted a pass from Durham with 13 minutes left to give FCS a 3-2 lead. It proved to be the game-winner.
Durham gave FCS a 1-0 lead in the first half. Durham's second score early in the second half snapped a 1-1 halftime tie.
The boys followed suit of the girls team, which also advanced to the Sweet 16 on the girls side with a home win over The Walker School earlier in the evening.
The boys improved to 8-4 overall.
(Photos by Larry Moore)
Metro 10 League Golf: Boys Squad Ties for Second, Girls Third at League Tournament
The middle school golf team from Fellowship Christian School closed out the season on a very positive note.
At Legacy Golf Links in Smyrna, the Fellowship boys and the girls both brought home third-place finishes in the team competition in the Metro 10 League Championships. The boys team was tied for second place, but came in third place off the tie breaker by just one stroke, but were just three strokes out of first.
The boys tied Mount Vernon Presbyterian School with a team score of 105. Mount Pisgah Christian School won the tourney with a 102. The top three girls teams were Mount Pisgah, 71; Mount Vernon, 81, and FCS, 86
Josh Holman shot a 31 and was named MVP of the tournament and led all players at the event. Stephanie Burke led the FCS girls with a 42.
Bouncing Back: Paladins end 3-Match Skid with Victory over Pinecrest
The varsity golf team from Fellowship Christian School has notched its third win of the season.
FCS carded its team low of the season to beat Pincrest Academy, 135-184, at the par-3 River Pines Golf Course in Alpharetta on April 19. Junior Jonah Pritchett shot five-over par to lead the Paladins.
With the victory, Fellowship ended a three-match losing streak.
The team is now 3-3 overall this season.
Hames Medals Three Times, Dean Twice in Meet at Hebron Middle School
The Fellowship Christian School middle school track & field team competed in a meet hosted by Hebron Middle School in Dacula on April 17.
Eighth grader Jesse Hames medaled three times, including second place in the long jump and third overall in both the 100- and 200-meter races. He set new personal record in the long jump and 100 meters.
Seventh grader Cady Dean also medaled twice as she took home third in both the 400 meters and 800 meters. She set a new personal record in the 400.
"Perseverance and dedication often pay dividends on race day," head coach Tom Harrison said.
(Photo by Tom Harrison)
Lady Paladin Middle School Soccer Team Extends Win and Shutout Streaks
The Fellowship Christian School middle school girls soccer team posted their seven straight victory, all shutouts, on April 16.
The Lady Paladins posted a 5-0 victory over Mount Bethel Christian Academy at Bob Lord Field in a Metro 10 League game. The team has out scored its opponents 51-0 this season.
Fellowship is now 7-0 overall this season.
Paladins Belt 3 HRs in Loss at Lakeside; Varsity Baseball Team now 16-5 Overall
The Fellowship Christian School varsity boys baseball team swung some red-hot bats, but it wasn't enough.
The Paladins smacked three home runs and notched 10 hits, but Lakeside High School of DeKalb County scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to post a home win over FCS, 9-8, on April 16.
Fellowship rallied from an 8-2 deficit through three innings to tie the game at 8-8 with a three-run sixth inning rally. The Paladins plated two runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth, one in the first and one in the second. Lakeside had a pair of four-run innings in the first and third.
"Loved the fight our boys showed to get back into the baseball game tonight, but just not enough to over come our mistakes," head coach Shawn Oliver said. "It was good to see Wilson and Thomas rebound from some tough first innings and Daniel wiggled out of a jam as well but just too many freebies tonight. That's why you play these quality teams though because we got better learning from our mistakes tonight."
Sophomore Cooper Davdison belted two of FCS' three home runs and finished with four hits, four RBIs and two runs. Senior David Bishop and sophomore Will Phipps each smacked a home run. Phipps finished with two RBIs and Bishop had one.
Sophomore Jack Rickheim drove home one run, and senior Garrett Hauenstein smacked two hits, including one double. Seniors Matson Grose and Luke Schmidt each registered one hit.
Junior Wilson Long started and went two innings, allowing four runs. Junior Thomas Bourne gave up four runs in three innings, sophomore Daniel Powell threw one inning and Davidson allowed the winning run in 2/3 of an inning. Long, Bourne and Davidson all struck out two batters.
Despite the loss, the Paladins are 16-5 overall. The team, which wrapped up its first-ever Region title earlier in the week, has won four out of its last five contests.
(Photo by Larry Moore)