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Right on track
Vols' Champion, Addy lead locals at SEC meet

Tennessee had a nice showing at last weekend's SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships, and two of its biggest stars were Gwinnett grads Jangy Addy and Courtney Champion.

Addy won the heptathlon title with a personal-best score of 5,836 points, the third-highest total in Volunteer history, but the highlight of his meet was tying the heptathlon world record in the 60-meter hurdles.

The senior's record time was 7.74 seconds.

"This was the culmination of all the hard work Tennessee's coaches, staff and I put in," said Addy, also the reigning heptathlon champ at the SEC outdoor championships. "We accomplished our goal of qualifying for nationals."

Champion, also a senior, won her first SEC title at the meet. She was first in the 200 with a time of 23.23, which she ran in the first heat. After nobody in the second heat topped her time, she was a champion.

A 10-time All-American, she entered the meet ranked seventh in the SEC in the 200 and was fourth-fastest in qualifying. She also was fourth in the 60 (7.29) at the meet.

"When I crossed the line, I was happy with my time," Champion said. "Then someone said, "Stay here, you have to wait for the second heat to go.' I was like, "Why, there are No. 1 and 2 (ranked) people in the world running in the second heat.'

"I was thinking, "I ran a good time, it's going to get me to nationals and I can do better there.' When I saw that my time had beaten the second heat's times, I was ecstatic. Words can't describe the feeling, because I've always been runner-up, third place, always right there but never winning."

Other standout performances from locals at the SEC meet:

· Providence Christian grad Daniel Averso was SEC runner-up in the high jump at 6 feet, 111â "2 inches

· South Gwinnett grad Ryley Miller was fifth in the one-mile at 4:04.88 and joined UGA teammate Kris Ward, a Providence grad, on a school-record distance medley relay team that placed second

· LSU freshman Brittany Hall, a Meadowcreek grad, was eighth in the 800 at 2:10.78

· Georgia's Israel Machovec, a Dacula grad, was 15th in the shot put with a toss of 53-21â "4

· Collins Hill grad Erin Guglielmo, a freshman at Vanderbilt, was 16th in the 800 but didn't qualify for the finals

SWIMMING

Hupman rules Big 10 meet

Brookwood grad Andrea Hupman, a senior at Northwestern, was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Championship after dominating at last weekend's Big Ten Championships.

Hupman set three Big Ten records and won two conference titles, finishing second in another event, at the meet.

She won the 100 freestyle in 48.65 seconds, setting school, pool and Big Ten records in the process. She followed that with a 100 free leg of 48.53 in the 400 free relay, which also established a conference record.

Hupman's time of 1:44.89 in the 200 free also broke school, pool and conference marks. She was second in the 50 free finals (22.40), but her 22.26 time in the preliminaries set a Big 10 record.

Wesleyan swimmers excel

Wesleyan grads Caitlin Reynolds and Jenna Worsham fared well at their recent conference meets.

Reynolds, a sophomore at Stanford, scored points in multiple distance freestyle events as the Cardinal placed second in the Pac-10 Championships. Worsham, a sophomore at Washington and Lee, was third in the 100 free and anchored a first-place 400 free relay as her team won conference for the 18th straight year.

BASEBALL

Rider, Georgia State rolling

Georgia State is off to a sizzling 9-1 start in baseball behind a huge lift from freshman Mitch Rider.

The North Gwinnett grad is hitting .423 with four home runs, 11 RBIs, four doubles and a whopping 1.038 slugging percentage.

In his first college series against Jackson State, Rider was 6-for-11 with two homers and six RBIs.

Gwinnett grads power Piedmont

Piedmont College's baseball team, fresh off a sweep of 10th-ranked Marietta (Ohio), has moved up to 22nd nationally with the help of some Gwinnett grads.

Shiloh grad Justin Oates, a four-year starter at shortstop, is hitting .319, Grayson grad Corey Lindsey is hitting .484 and Shiloh grad Justin Vorherr is hitting .283 with a home run and five doubles. Piedmont's roster also features Gwinnett grads Jared Moon (Central Gwinnett) and Chris Haggard (Shiloh).

SOFTBALL

Taylor gets Big 12 award

Peachtree Ridge grad Rhea Taylor, a freshman at Missouri, was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday.

The center fielder was 14-for-25 (a .560 batting average) in seven games last week, scoring 11 runs with a .640 slugging percentage and a .540 on-base percentage.

She was 12-for-12 in stolen bases last week, pushing her season totals to 23-for-24. She leads the conference in steals.

Taylor also is eighth in the Big 12 with a .394 batting average and second in hits with 28.

Hesson on fire in UGA tourney

Georgia freshman Brianna Hesson, a North Gwinnett grad, powered the 17th-ranked Bulldogs to first place in the Georgia Softball Classic last weekend. Hesson hit .462 (6-for-13) in the tourney and also walked three times.

BASKETBALL

Johnson, Coast Guard make NCAAs

Parkview grad Grant Johnson and his Coast Guard academy teammates are reaching new heights this season, winning the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament and advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Coast Guard, which has a school-record 22 wins, won its first-ever NCAA tourney game this week and moved on to play UMass-Dartmouth today.

Johnson had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the NEWMAC finals, an 82-66 win over WPI. The senior guard ranks third in assists, 10th in points and second in career 3-pointers in Coast Guard history, while holding records for 3-pointers in a season and in a game.

Clark, Morgan gets Peach Belt honors

Collins Hill grad Aaron Clark and Buford grad Andre Morgan each made the All-Peach Belt Conference basketball team.

Clark, a senior at Georgia College and State University, made the team for the second straight season. He averaged 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds, and also led his team with 76 assists and 23 blocks.

Morgan, a junior at North Georgia, averaged 15.7 points and 5.5 rebounds this season.

Clarke on SoCon freshman team

Western Carolina's Emily Clarke, South Gwinnett grad, was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team earlier this week. Clarke has led the Catamounts in scoring four times and has eight double-figure scoring games.

Green makes all-state team

Piedmont guard Jake Green, a North Gwinnett grad, was named to the Georgia Basketball Coaches Association's NCAA Division III All-State team.

Green, a four-year starter, led the Lions and the Great South Athletic Conference in assists with 154 as a senior. He had 624 career assists (in just 103 games) and ranked in the top 20 nationally in assists for three of his four seasons.

He also had 64 steals and finished his career with an average of 2.1 steals, second-best in school history.

Locals lead GPC to region title

Three Gwinnett players helped the Georgia Perimeter College women to the Region XVII title, including second-team All-Region selection Brittany Cade.

Cade, a Collins Hill grad, had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the region finals, a 59-52 win over South Georgia Tech. The sophomore also made the all-tournament team.

GPC's roster also includes sophomore Lauri Coward, a Shiloh grad, and freshman Michelle Smith, a Snellville resident who went to Faith Academy.

Lane shines at Fort Valley

Fort Valley freshman Jeremy Sledge, who played at North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge, is one of the top 3-point shooters in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Sledge averages 7.5 points, among the SIAC's top freshman scorers, with a season high of 20 vs. Lane. He has made a team-best 38 of 104 shots from 3-point range (36.5 percent).

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.