GWINNETT GRADS: Graham, Thompkins earn SEC community awards

Gwinnett grads Zach Graham of Ole Miss and Trey Thompkins of Georgia were named to the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team this week.

Graham, a junior from Peachtree Ridge, has participated in Reading with the Rebels (a program which helps promote reading to area students), has spent time with children at local day care centers and has joined teammates in visiting patients at the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital and Children's Cancer Clinic at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He also took time to visit with underprivileged children from the local Boys and Girls Club, while also delivering Christmas gifts to them.

Thompkins, a sophomore from Wesleyan, has participated in Habitat for Humanity home builds, reading and mentoring programs through the Athens/Clarke County and Oconee County school systems, volunteered with programs that collected food products for distribution through the Northeast Georgia Food Bank, volunteered at the Athens-Clarke County Council on Aging, visited patients at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens and participated in a mentoring program for the Boys & Girls Club of Athens. He also played Santa Claus at the basketball team's Christmas party for underprivileged children.


Witherspoon honored by Conference USA

Memphis sophomore Wesley Witherspoon was named a third team All-Conference USA selection this week. The 6-foot-9 Berkmar grad has averaged 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds this season with a season-best 29 points vs. UAB on Feb. 3.

David named all-freshman

Presbyterian's Dria David, a Central Gwinnett grad, was named to the Big South Conference All-Freshman Team this week. The guard averaged 7.8 points and led the Blue Hose in rebounds (162), steals (65), assists (127) and free throws (84).

Shokpeka, Rowland named to Peach Belt team

Gwinnett grads Patrick Shokpeka of Armstrong Atlantic and Ty Rowland of Georgia College were third-team selections this week to the All-Peach Belt Conference basketball team.

Shokpeka, a Berkmar grad, had a breakout senior season after averaging just 4.6 minutes per game as a junior. The 6-3 guard ranked fourth in the conference in scoring (15.8), sixth in rebounding (7.2) and seventh in steals (1.7). He played his first two seasons at Miles Community College (Mont.) and Atlanta Metropolitan College.

Rowland, a Parkview, grad, has been a key player for four seasons at Georgia College. The senior has averaged 11.5 points and 5.2 assists (fourth in the league) this season. He also is the NCAA-era career assists leader at the school.

GSAC awards Jennings, Isenhour

Piedmont senior Lisa Jennings, a North Gwinnett grad, was named to the All-Great South Athletic Conference team. She averaged 7.9 points and 2.8 assists.

LaGrange women's coach Mark Isenhour, a Brookwood grad, was voted the league's coach of the year.

Weathers, Benedict win SIAC

Freshman Monique Weathers helped Benedict College to the SIAC Tournament championship last weekend at Morehouse. The Mill Creek grad had eight points in a semifinal win over Kentucky State and three points and four rebounds in a first-round win over Clark Atlanta.

Locals, Middle Georgia make nationals

Middle Georgia College, featuring Collins Hill grads Derek Hood and T.J. Williams, won the GJCAA Tournament last Saturday to earn a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament next week in Hutchinson, Kan.

The team is coached by Scott Moe, a South Gwinnett grad.



Georgia State catcher Chris Metcalf, a sophomore from Peachtree Ridge, went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and three RBIs last weekend in a win over N.C. Central. He's batting .412 on the season. Teammate Nick Squeglia, a Collins Hill grad, was the winning pitcher in his first start, allowing two hits and one run in five innings. He had four strikeouts, improving his career record to 5-0. ... Brookwood grad Ronnie Freeman, a freshman at Kennesaw State, hit .526 with seven RBIs last weekend, including a 3-for-5 game with a home run, a double and three RBIs vs. Binghamton. He now leads KSU in batting at .319.

Parkview grads Craig Brisson and Kenny Bellavance are playing key roles as starting outfielders at North Georgia. Brisson, a senior, is batting .368 and Bellavance, a freshman, is hitting .324, with each getting at least one hit in 16 of the Saints' 19 games. In a recent three-game series with Georgia College, Brisson hit .600 and Bellavance hit .461. Teammates Jordan Erisman (Brookwood) and Brad Hall (Duluth) each had a three-RBI game in the series.


Burger wins Auburn Invitational

Mill Creek grad Emilie Burger, a freshman at Georgia, was the low medalist at last Sunday's one-day Auburn Invitational. Burger shot 1-under 71 at the Auburn University Club to lead the 12th-ranked Bulldogs to a third-place finish.

"Emilie has been very solid all year," Georgia coach Kelley Hester said. "Even in the rounds where she didn't score as well as she would've liked, she's played well. It was great to see her break through and win. She beat some really good people today and picked up a couple of solid head-to-head individual wins."


Norcross' Clarke in WPS camp

Norcross grad Melissa Clarke is competing this month for a roster spot with the Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer.

Clarke, who played college soccer at LSU, is a rookie third-round pick and one of 30 players in camp. The initial roster will be cut to 24 players on March 16 and the final roster of 18 players and four optional development players will be announced April 1.

Brookwood grad Samantha Diaz-Matosas, who just finished her career at South Carolina, was in camp with the WPS' Boston Breakers but she was waived Thursday.



North Georgia (19-0) is ranked No. 1 nationally in Division II for the first time in school history, thanks in part to regular starters Courtney McGuire of Central Gwinnett (.300, 16 RBIs) and Natasha Willemse (.250, seven RBIs) and Krysten Connelly of Peachtree Ridge (4-0, 2.51 ERA). Central Gwinnett's Jessica Skeels, Buford's Whitney Holman and Peachtree Ridge's Callie Fernandez also have contributed as part-time starters. ... North Gwinnett grad Brianna Hesson hit .417 (5-for-12) as Georgia improved to 18-1 by winning its Bulldog Invitational. Teammate Megan Wiggins of Shiloh stole five bases in the tourney. ... Collins Hill grad Carmen Fowler drove a walk-off double to score two runs Wednesday, lifting Southeast Missouri to a 4-3 win over IUPUFW in eight innings. She also made the defensive play of the game in the sixth inning, gunning out a runner at the plate from centerfield to save a run.


Winslow qualifies for nationals

Florida State freshman Amanda Winslow, a Collins Hill grad, qualified for the NCAA nationals last Saturday at Notre Dame. Winslow finished the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 41.08 seconds in indoor track and field.

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.