Columbus State's baseball coaches have made Gwinnett a regular recruiting stop, and it shows in the team's lineup.
Seven local players are on the Cougars' roster, including four in starting roles in the field. Included in that group is the speedy combo of Jonnie Geiger and Kurt McKee, graduates of Shiloh and Parkview, respectively.
The two have combined to steal 50 of 60 bases this season for Columbus State, a perennial Division II power that is 37-17 entering next week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
Geiger, an Armstrong Atlantic transfer, is the team's top base-stealing threat with 32 swipes in 38 attempts. He's also hitting .294 with 19 RBIs. McKee is 18-for-22 on stolen bases and is hitting .276 with three home runs and 31 RBIs.
The other two local starters are Parkview grads David Brown and Billy Howard. Brown is hitting .325, best among the Gwinnett players, with four home runs and 27 RBIs, and Howard is batting .295 with 33 RBIs.
Another former Parkview standout, pitcher Jarrett Coker, also is a key player. Coker is 4-0 with a 2.96 ERA in 11 appearances, including three starts.
South Gwinnett grad Stephen McNelly is hitting .257 in a reserve role while Norcross grad and pitcher Daniel Iduate also is on the roster.
Auburn soccer honors Gwinnett grads
Four Gwinnett grads, including Offensive MVP Kristin Stewart, were honored at Auburn soccer's postseason banquet.
Stewart, a Parkview grad, led the Tigers in goals (including three game-winners) and was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. Twin sister Jada Stewart was Auburn's Academic Captain and younger sister Lauren Stewart was picked as the Most Improved Player, an award voted on by her teammates.
Greater Atlanta Christian grad Jennifer Johnson was selected as Rookie of the Year after starting all 21 games as a freshman and earning SEC All-Freshman honors.
Brown, Chase win Southern Conference titles
Gwinnett grads Nicole Brown and Brittany Chase each won an event title at last week's Southern Conference Track and Field Championships, helping Georgia Southern to second place.
Brown won the conference title in the long jump at 6.28 meters and was second in two other events - the 100-meter dash in 11.83 seconds and the javelin throw at 37.66 meters. She also anchored a winning 400 relay (46.17), was third in the 200 (24.73) and was fifth in the triple jump (11.78 meters).
Chase was first in the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.95, and also took fourth in the triple jump at 11.82 meters. Georgia Southern's Serenity Thompson, a Collins Hill grad, was second in the heptathlon (3,983 points) and teammate Monique Pitts of Brookwood was sixth in the discus (41.45 meters).
Parkview's Wells Trompeter, running for College of Charleston, was seventh in the 3,000 steeplechase (11:31.31) and Georgia Southern's Abby Bloom, a Brookwood grad, was ninth in the same race (11:50.29). Trompeter also was honored last week as the recipient of the Alexandra Dengate Scholarship as the top political science student at the College of Charleston.
Fellow Brookwood grad Dan Fassinger of Western Carolina was eighth in the 800 (2:11.89) and seventh in the 1,500 (4:01.96) in the men's competition.
But the top Gwinnett grad in the meet was Greater Atlanta Christian grad Will Funderburg. The Davidson freshman was second in both the shot put (14.63 meters) and discus (42.92 meters).
White named region's top player
Brookwood grad Kelly White, a fastpitch softball player at Georgia Perimeter College, was named the Region XVII Player of the Year, All-Region and All-GJCAA Tournament after an outstanding season.
White hit .404 with 29 RBIs, 30 runs, 13 doubles, six triples and three home runs as her team won the regular-season region title and finished as tournament runner-up.
Teammate Beth Tullis, also a Brookwood grad, also made the all-tournament team after hitting .366 in the tourney.
Bennett a key
reliever for GCSU
Grayson grad Jayson Bennett is a key reliever for the Georgia College and State University baseball team, which won the regular season Peach Belt Conference title
Bennett has a 2.13 ERA with seven saves in 20 appearances, and has held opponents to a .223 batting average.
Teammate Ryan Tabor, a Collins Hill grad, has a 3.21 ERA in 10 appearances.
Hupman gets prestigious UGA awards
The University of Georgia honored six athletes, including Brookwood grad Christie Hupman, at its annual Student Leadership Dinner.
Hupman won the Hornsby Howell Community Service Award in recognition of the significant amount of time she has given to campus and community volunteer work. She also was Georgia's winner of the SEC Community Service Award, which comes with a $2,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Bloomfield gets academic honor
Parkview grad Jeremy Bloomfield, now playing basketball at Valdosta State, was named to the Gulf South Conference East Division All-Academic Team. Bloomfield played in all 28 games last season for the Blazers and averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax to 770-339-8081.