Finding Mudville: Saying goodbye

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It’s time to say goodbye to another graduating senior class.
I hate goodbyes.
Graduation ceremonies begin next week and once again another school year draws to an end.
This is my sixth senior class I’ll have to say farewell to, and every spring brings a slight pull of melancholy because I’m going to miss you.
The Class of 2013 did a good job of holding its own in the shadow of its predecessors. Just like in years past they made sure the area saw at least one state championship and produced its own crop of future collegiate stars.
The Cross Trojans brought home a Class A, Division II state championship to keep my string of covering some kind of state championship alive.
Individual state titles this year start with Timberland’s Bernard Harmon who won the state championship at the 170-pound weight class this spring, along with the Berkeley girls 4x100 relay team, so technically I’m off the hook for 2013. Harmon is just a junior and he’ll get to make his mark on the Class of 2014.  
This year’s outstanding seniors continue to amaze me at their abilities on the field, track, mat, and court.
Marissa Pinckney, a former state champion in Berkeley track, took a title as a senior as a member of the Lady Stags’ 4x100 relay team. She almost flies when she runs.
Teammates Donni Robinson and Ashlynn Smalls, also seniors, took home gold medals as members of the 4x100 relay team. Not to leave out Jonnay Anthony, the fourth member of the championship relay team, but she’s just a sophomore and a part of the coming Class of 2015.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Timberland’s Austin McKinney set a state record with a 109-yard interception return for a touchdown, which remains as effortless a return as I’d ever seen. I’m thinking McKinney could have returned that for 209 yards. He seemed to glide through everybody as if he and those trying to stop him were running on two different speeds.
McKinney was an integral part of the Wolves’ 2011 state title and will play for Newberry in the fall.
Branford Halls led his Cross Trojans to their state title and just recently signed to play his college football at Charleston Southern.
Berkeley’s Lady Stags softball team fielded a group of four seniors in Ashtin Kullnat, Savannah Crane, R.J. Reid and Katie Marsch that brought home the first of two Region 8AAA championships for the Stags this spring.
Topping it off are the four seniors from Berkeley’s Region 8AAA champion baseball team, Andrew Lockliear, Josh Clarke, Brandon Browder and Chris Wrenn. They accomplished a feat not seen around these parts in 50 years and took the first step in getting the 2014 Stags ready to compete for a state championship.
The thing I like best about my job is getting to cover and write about your kids.
In addition to being great athletes, they are great kids. They bring this old man into the fold, onto the bench and into the dugout and make me feel like I’m part of the team almost.
Having them wave as I drive by the field means a lot. Fist bumps, pats on the back and handshakes before a game is something they don’t have to do. But they take the time, and they do it.
Now it’s time to let go and say goodbye. Now, who hid the Kleenex?

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