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Gwinnett grads: Locals get UGA softball off to hot start

Georgia's fastpitch softball team dominated its competition in last weekend's Red & Black Showcase, getting plenty of help from the former Gwinnett stars on the roster.

The Bulldogs (8-1) went 5-0 in the tournament, clinching the title with a Sunday victory over Winthrop. They also beat Virginia Tech, Bowling Green and Western Carolina in the event.

North Gwinnett grad Brianna Hesson hit a two-run, opposite-field home run in the tournament finale. Though she saw a 10-game hitting streak come to an end, the junior still hit .500 with two homers and seven RBIs in the five games.

Buford grad Ashley Razey, a sophomore, hit .462 with three home runs and six RBIs, while freshman teammate Amberlie Saxton (Mill Creek) hit .400 and had a homer. Saxton was 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Virginia Tech.

Shiloh grad Megan Wiggins went 2-for-4 in the Bowling Green game.

SOFTBALL

Hit-and-run

Greater Atlanta Christian grad Jessica Coan improved to 3-0 on the season with a victory Wednesday in Georgia Tech's home opener over Kennesaw State. The right-hander allowed six hits and three runs. ... Georgia State sophomore Erin Collins earned the win over Temple last weekend and fellow Collins Hill grad Rebecca Roles went 3-for-6.

SWIMMING/DIVING

Mangimelli named SEC's top freshman

Georgia's Jana Mangimelli, a Brookwood grad, was named the Southeastern Conference freshman swimmer of the year and a second-team All-SEC selection after last weekend's conference championships.

At the SEC meet, Mangimelli placed fifth in the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 56.76 seconds), second in the 400 IM (4:05.33, NCAA automatic qualifying time) and third in the 200 backstroke (1:54.85).

Evans sets Tech record

Georgia Tech sophomore Jordan Evans set a school record with an 11th-place finish in the 100 butterfly last weekend at the ACC Championships. the Mill Creek grad finished the race in 54.70 seconds.

Gwinnett swimmers shine in CCSA meet

Peachtree Ridge grad Bryan Droll and Grayson grad Emily Castle led a strong contingent of Gwinnett standouts at last weekend's Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Championships.

Droll, a junior at Davidson, won the 50 freestyle (20.49), was second in the 100 free (46.20) and was seventh in the 200 free. He also was on two first-place relays, including a 200 medley that set the CCSA record at 1:30.91.

Castle, also at Davidson, won the conference title in the 100 butterfly (54.87) for the second straight year. She also was fourth in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free.

Gardner-Webb's Elizabeth Charter also had a nice meet, finishing second in both the 100 free (51.16) and the 100 fly (54.96). The Parkview grad also was fourth in the 50 free and swam on two first-place relays, including a 200 medley relay that set a new CCSA record at 1:42.03.

Fellow GWU swimmer and Parkview grad Collin Burchins was fourth in the 200 breaststroke, fourth in the 100 breast and sixth in the 200 IM. Teammate George Partin, also from Parkview, was fifth in the 200 free and 11th in the 50 free.

GAC's Emma Eisler (Campbell) was seventh in 100 breast, putting a nice cap on a season that was highlighted by three wins, a runner-up finish and a 400 IM school record at the Highland Invitational.

Dacula grad Caitlin Shepherd of the College of Charleston was 15th in the 200 breast and 14th in the 100 breast.

BASKETBALL

Gay gets school honor

Washington University-St. Louis men's basketball player Spencer Gay, a Mill Creek grad, was named the University Athletic Association athlete of the week on Tuesday.

Gay led the Bears to two wins the previous week, while making 73.9 percent of his shots. He scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in a 65-62 win over Case Western and then had a career-high 22 points, six rebounds and two blocks in a 95-58 win over Carnegie Mellon.

Fast break

Collins Hill grad Jordan Jones scored 12 points, making two 3-pointers and hitting 6 of 7 free throws, last Sunday in Florida's upset of the No. 20 Georgia women. ... Peachtree Ridge grad Kevin Anderson had 24 points, including a 15-foot jumper with 1:22 left that gave No. 25 Richmond the lead, in a 74-70 victory over George Washington last Saturday. ... Georgia College's Ty Rowland, a Parkview grad, had 10 points and 10 assists last weekend in a 77-75 win over Columbus State.

SOCCER

Baker starting for England

Parkview grad Ashley Baker, who plays college soccer at Georgia, has earned a starting role with the England under-23 national team that is playing in the Four Nation Tournament in La Manga, Spain.

Baker got her first start Monday in a narrow 1-0 loss to Germany, though England bounced back with a 1-0 win over Norway on Wednesday. The goalie, though she grew up in Lilburn, was born in Grantham, England.

TRACK AND FIELD

GAC's Schneider wins Big East title

Greater Atlanta Christian grad Justin Schneider won his first Big East Conference championship with a first-place finish in the men's heptathlon at the indoor conference meet.

Schneider, who competes for Notre Dame, had a total of 5,339 points to beat runner-up Jacob Waruch (5,094) of Connecticut. He finished runner-up in the event as a freshman and placed third last year.

BASEBALL

Hit-and-run

Georgia Tech standout and Wesleyan grad Tony Plagman has been nominated as one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, given to NCAA Division I seniors who excel in their sport and in four other areas: classroom, character, community and competition. ... Providence Christian grad Casey Gray, a freshman at Berry College, earned his first career win last weekend in a win over Virginia-Wise. He struck out six batters in that game. He also has given up just three earned runs in his first 10 innings at Berry. ... Peachtree Ridge grad Dillon Waters pitched the final two innings of a 19-14 win over Millersville last Sunday, earning his first career save at Georgia College. Teammate Chandler Snell (South Gwinnett) was 3-for-5 in the game. Norcross grad Richard Pirkle also helped the attack and has 14 RBIs in eight games.

GYMNASTICS

Young named athlete of the week

Collins Hill grad Mary Kate Young was named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Arounder of the Week for her efforts with the Wisconsin-Whitewater gymnastics team.

Young won the all-around title on Feb. 19 in a meet at Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a score of 37.300. She won the floor exercise with a personal-best 9.600, was third on the uneven bars with a personal-best of 9.375, was fifth on the vault (9.300) and fifth on the beam (9.075).

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.