Look out Title Town, another trophy is coming to town.
Valdosta State’s athletic department was awarded a seventh Gulf South Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy Tuesday, sharing the honor with West Florida.
The tie between VSU and West Florida marked the first time in the GSC’s 42-year history that a pair of schools shared the honor. Both schools finished the athletic season with 29.5 points, based on the conference’s point system that gauges athletic success.
“If you play near or at the top of the Gulf South Conference, in any sport, then you are having a good year in that sport because that is how difficult the conference is,” Valdosta State athletic director Herb Reinhard said. “So for our men’s programs to share the trophy with West Florida, and they have a very fine athletic program at West Florida, I am OK with that. That is a great honor. I think West Florida has won it the last two years, so it is good to get back to the top. I don’t mind sharing it.”
While the Blazer football won the Division II national championship in 2012, it was the Blazer baseball and basketball teams that earned the most points for Valdosta State. The Blazer baseball team earned the maximum eight points for winning the GSC championship last week.
Valdosta State had trailed West Florida by 4.5 points entering the baseball tournament before the Blazers reeled off four wins, including two over Delta State.
“That is exciting. I’m excited about that,” Reinhard said. “Baseball got us over the hump. Kudos to baseball for getting us there.”
The Blazer basketball team was the second largest earner of points on the season with seven, finishing second in the GSC men’s basketball tournament in March.
Valdosta State’s football team earned four points, finishing second to West Alabama in the GSC race, while cross country and golf each earned three points. Men’s tennis earned 4.5 points.
“That is awesome,” Reinhard continued. “I am very excited for this athletic program.”
West Florida claimed the Women’s All-Sports Trophy, winning five of the seven GSC championships and earning 41.5 points. Valdosta State was fourth with 27 points, eight of which came from softball’s GSC title win earlier this month.
The Blazer baseball team faces Delta State in the South Region Tournament Thursday at 3 p.m. in Tampa, Fla., while the softball team hosts rival Alabama-Huntsville in the South Super Regional Friday night at 6 p.m.
“I think this is probably one of the largest single weekends we’ve had in a while at Valdosta State,” Reinhard said. “We have two major sports that are playing for significant national honors. Softball is working their way to a possible defense of their national championship....And I really think the Valdosta community will have a lot to say on who wins the Super Regional because these teams are very evenly matched. Heck, I’m not even the softball coach and I know Alabama-Huntsville like the back of my hand.
“And then baseball goes down to Tampa and we get to play Delta State for the sixth time in a few weeks, and if you make the regional in the South Region that says something, because there is no doubt that the South is the hardest baseball region in the country,” Reinhard continued. “That is a tremendous honor. And with how well this baseball team is playing, I don’t think anyone wants to line up against them right now.”
Look out Title Town, another trophy is coming to town.
- Local Sports
Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon
The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.
South Georgia special for high school coaches
Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.
Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach
Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.
Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth
More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.
Braves trio all business at inductions
The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success
Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.
During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.
Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate
Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.
Hall of Braves
The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
"Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
"The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."
Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches
Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.
Area teams hoping to get over the hump
Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon