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Taylor a rare All-American for Mizzou

With her speed and bat, Peachtree Ridge grad Rhea Taylor brought plenty to the Missouri fastpitch softball program.

She closed the season by giving the Tigers a rare All-American selection.

After a huge freshman season, the outfielder was named to the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association second team and earned Missouri's first selection to the team in five years.

Taylor, just the second Missouri player to be an All-American as a freshman, was also the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and the only rookie on the All-Big 12 first team. Her speed on the basepaths was matched by few outside of Alabama star and Dacula grad Brittany Rogers, a first-team All-American.

In addition to a team-high .402 batting average - Missouri's highest individual average in six years - she set school and Big 12 records for stolen bases in a season with 57, which also put her first nationally.

She also set school marks for at-bats (219), runs (64) and hits (88), helping the Tigers to a 47-17 record and their first NCAA Regional title in 14 years.

BASEBALL

Tice racks up honors

College of Charleston standout Jeremie Tice, already the Southern Conference player of the year, was recently named a Louisville Slugger first-team All-American as well as the SoCon athlete of the month.

The Dacula grad hit .393 this season and ranked second nationally with 25 home runs and first nationally with 83 RBIs.

He also had 21 doubles and scored 80 runs.

He got the conference's monthly honor after hitting .418 with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs in May.

Two locals on All-American team

North Georgia's Rob Flanigan and Augusta State's Shannon Wilkerson, both Gwinnett grads, were named to the Rawlings/ABCA All-American Team for Division II baseball.

Flanigan, a South Gwinnett grad, was a first-team selection. He hit .403 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs this season.

Wilkerson, a Dacula grad, made the third team. He led Augusta State in batting average (.380), slugging percentage (.718), hits (81), doubles (18), home runs (16), RBIs (57) and stolen bases (14).

Buford grads honored for grades

Buford grads Steven Henry and Eric Tatum were honored recently for academics after finishing four-year baseball careers at Presbyterian College.

Henry was a Big South All-Academic Team selection and he joined Tatum on the All-Independent Schools Academic Team. Henry graduated this spring with a 3.328 GPA in business management and Tatum graduated with a 3.459 GPA in business administration.

Henry hit .250 with three homers and 23 RBIs as a senior in addition to going 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA as a relief pitcher. Tatum led the team in wins as a pitcher.

TRACK AND FIELD

Locals named all-region

Dacula grad Israel Machovec and South Gwinnett grad Ryley Miller, members of Georgia's track and field team, were named to the All-East Region Team by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Machovec was fourth in the discus at the NCAA East Regional with a toss of 177 feet. Miller was sixth in the 1,500-meter run in 3 minutes, 52.25 seconds.

BASKETBALL

Clark closes career with honors

After a two-time All-Peach Belt Conference basketball career, Collins Hill grad Aaron Clark also added some significant academic awards at the end of the school year.

The 6-foot-9 Georgia College and State University post was selected as the Peach Belt Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an all-sports award that factors in academics, athletics and leadership. Clark graduated with a 3.71 GPA in marketing.

He also was named to the conference's all-sportsmanship team and as a gold scholar for the 2007-08 school year.

Gold scholars have GPAs between 3.75 and 4.0, silver scholars have 3.5 to 3.74, bronze scholars have 3.25 to 3.49 and presidential scholars have 3.0 to 3.24.

Other local Georgia College athletes on the presidential honor roll were: South Gwinnett's Chandler Snell (presidential), Brookwood's Ryan Bode (bronze), Parkview's Ty Rowland (presidential), South's Mandi Dudish (bronze), Peachtree Ridge's Billy Shida (silver), Shiloh's Daria Owen (bronze), Collins Hill's Jessica McGinnis (bronze), Brookwood's Kelli McLane (silver), Collins Hill's Mary Byrne (gold), Central Gwinnett's Emily Norris (gold) and Mill Creek's Maggie Davis (presidential).

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 will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.