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HAMMOCK: History of success for Ness family

From left to right, siblings Jack, Lauren and Chip Ness of Buford have won national titles in three different sports.

From left to right, siblings Jack, Lauren and Chip Ness of Buford have won national titles in three different sports.

Leanne and Richard Ness have gone to great lengths for their children's athletic endeavors, no matter the cost or travel time involved.

In return, they ask that Lauren, Chip and Jack follow a simple philosophy, both in athletics and in daily life.

"Give everything 110 percent effort and leave it all on the mat, field or floor," Leanne said. "That way, win or lose, you will have no regrets."

As it has turned out, their children have no regrets as well as something just as sweet.

After Jack Ness' Team North Georgia won the Football University National Championship for youth football this month, all three Ness children have won club sports national titles. They've also won them in three different sports --Chip won the 2011 NHSCA freshman national title in wrestling and Lauren won a pair of national titles in cheerleading in 2005 and 2006 with the Atlanta Jayhawks and Atlanta All-Stars.

The older siblings continued their winning ways in high school as Lauren won state as a Peachtree Ridge cheerleader and Chip has won two state titles already as a Buford wrestler. With his involvement in the powerhouse Buford program, Jack may see a state high school football title in his future.

All in all, it's a bunch of winning for one family.

"You don't get out of bed thinking of how I can win a national title," Richard Ness said. "It just kind of happens. Gwinnett County has a lot to do with it. You've got all the competition, all the coaching, all the training right here. It's there for the taking. If you've got some athletic ability and the toughness to do it, it's there. We gave (our children) the chance and they took advantage of it."

Richard admits some of his children's winning has come from luck, too. The family moved from Woodstock to the Peachtree Ridge district in 2001, which eventually put Lauren in a school district with the Lions' powerhouse cheerleading teams. Their younger children Chip and Jack are in just as nice a situation now in the Buford system.

But reaching this point of success also has plenty to do with hard work and sacrifice. Over the years, Richard and Leanne have spent hours in the late afternoon and evening driving their children to various activities. One parent goes to one sport, the other goes to another. Then there are the regular out-of-state trips involved with youth sports these days.

But all of that is worth it. The Nesses love watching their children reap the rewards of athletics, whether they win or lose.

"We've been (running around) in the afternoons for 10 years and we're going to miss it one day," Richard said. "They say the loneliest day is when your kids graduate. Then everybody you saw at practices, competitions and tournaments, you don't see them anymore. I might have more time for my hobbies, but my hobbies are more boring.

"My friends tell me, 'Man, I don't see you on the golf course anymore.' But I'm doing what I want to do. I'm going to my kids' events. That's what I enjoy the most."

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com.