Wishing a happy fourth to my readers!


By D. Mark Mitchell

I hope that each of you have a safe and happy 4th of July! The Opelika Parks and Recreation Department will host the “Freedom Celebration” presented by the Orthopaedic Clinic on July 3 at 6 p.m. inside the Sam Mason Track on Opelika High School’s campus.
During an appearance on the “On the Mark” radio show, Opelika Park and Recreation’s Public Relations Director Laura Leigh Chesser talked about this year’s celebration.
“The sponsorship from the Orthopaedic Clinic allows us to purchase a larger fireworks show than in the past. The time of the fireworks show will remain the same,” Chesser said. “The difference will be continuous fireworks without stoppage and a spectacular finale. The Freedom Celebration will have inflatables in the children area, sky divers, Route 66 will provide music while O-Town and other vendors will be on hand. OHS
The 2019-20 OHS varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders attended UCS Cheer camp at University of Mississippi in Oxford. Each night, the junior varsity and varsity squads earned superior ribbons and a spirit stick. Varsity cheerleader Danielle Nichols and junior varsity cheerleader Susannah Couey won the “Pin It Forward” award for demonstrating character and leadership. She also earned the Jump Off in the junior varsity division.
The team took home the “Traditional Award” for its leadership, which is voted on by staff. Opelika varsity earned first in the sideline and superior squad trophies, earning a visit to cheer in the Citrus Bowl.
Five varsity seniors received All-American honors: Induia Brooks, Jailyn Dixon, Lily Kucik, Danielle Nichols and Hannah Wilson. The junior varsity quad won first in cheer, second place in sideline and overall game-day trophy. Three junior varsity cheerleaders made the All-American team: Emma Childs, Leah Bales and McKay Yountz. Congrats, Coach Lane Landers and cheerleaders!
The Opelika 12U softball All-Stars won the ARPA District V Softball tournament in Talladega over the weekend with a 3-0 record. The 12U all-stars beat Sylacauga 3-2, Talladega 10-5 and Sylacauga 7-2.
In the first game against Sylacauga, Katie Harrelson earned the win with eight strikeouts and only allowing two runs. The offense was able to score the tying and winning run after RBI singles by Jordyn Cobb and Katie Harrelson. Game 2 v. Talladega Jade Jones struck out eight batters and Journee McKee earned the save striking out the final two batters. Offensively, Cailyn Morgan and Jayden Freeman added two hits apiece.
Opelika 12U team beat Sylacauga 7-2 in the finals to win the district. The offense was led by Kennedy Soltau, Elizabeth Bullard, Katie Harrelson and Emily Birmingham. The Opelika 12U softball team advances to the State Tournament at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park July 12 through 17.
The Alabama High School Athletic Department released the 2018-19 Sportsmanship Schools and those schools that received fines and or ejections. A total of 99 AHSAA member schools were identified for not having an ejection or receiving no more than one non-sportsmanship school fine for the just completed school year. Overall, 376 of the AHSAA’s 416 high schools (90.4%) have combined to earn the Sportsmanship Award recognition 1,195 times since 2008. Total fines were down 4.1% in 2018-19 during the previous year.
The report showed 258 high schools had a total of 548 student athlete and 70 coach ejections during ’18-’19 school year. Middle and junior high schools only had 16 ejections and four coach ejections, a grand total of 638 ejections for the year. This represents 0.003% of the more than 156,000 student-athletes who participate in AHSAA Sports and 74 coaches with ejections are just 0.006% of the more than 11,000 certified coaches.
Locally, Loachapoka was the only school in Lee County to make the 2018-19 Sportsmanship Schools. Congratulations to Coach LC Cole, staff and the student-athletes.
Following is a list of fines by school, with all fines costing $100 except one for Smiths Station which cost $500:

  • Beauregard High School, basketball player ejected Jan. 22
  • Beulah High School, football player ejected during football contest in October
    Opelika High School, student-athlete ejected during April 18 soccer game
    Smiths Station High School, Feb. 20, April 9 and April 22 for student-athlete ejections, with the last totaling $500.
    To see a complete list of the Sportsmanship Schools and Fines, visit www.ahsaa.com.
    D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.


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