$2M UCS Field House Under Reevaluation

News, Panthers Corner

Blairsville, Ga – New field house being reassessed after bids come in $1M over the initial budget.

Board of Education elected to reevaluate the scope of the field house project after bids for came back around $2M.

“I had anticipated a million. This is way more than I anticipated,” stated Chair Cynthia Odom.

Board asked for options on the new field house.

“When we started out the architects the number was a lot lower, but it seems like it has grown and grown with its costs and we actually value engineered practically everything,” explained Assistant Superintendent David Murphy.

Superintendent John Hill offered to go back and reevaluate the specifications, including the architectural drawings and RFP to find a reasonable solution.

Odom suggested looking at the current fieldhouse and trying to modify it before proceeding with this project.

“We’re a pay as we go,” said Odom, “It’s going to delay other items.”

Board Member Keith Potts added another approach to the field house project, “Maybe the footprint of it can be what you’re looking at, but downsize the building so you can expand maybe in five years to get that number down.”

These bids for the project came in last week, and due to architecture fees, the school system’s already paid over $50,000 into it. The bidding was very tight among the lowest three within $50,000.

“It’s a terrible time to build,” stated Hill.

“It’s hard to justify the costs of double, $2M on a non-academic building, used by a finite number of students,” said Board Member Janna Akins.

“We need to provide a facility, but we can reevaluate exactly what that is,” stated Hill.

Odom the discussion closed with, “We appreciate all the time, effort, and energy. I know this is not an easy thing to do.”

Safety access doors for all the schools are proceeding and should be installed by the new school year. All teacher IDs have been updated, and the switch should begin soon.

Paving for the primary and elementary pick-up line, two parking lots, as well as primary and elementary bus drop-off/pick-up areas. The paving project will cost the school system $511,775.88.

Privacy fencing for the primary school also received approval to move forward with a bid of $76,867.20. It will include a six-foot chain link fence with privacy slating around the pick-up lane. This fence will allow traffic to start earlier in the day and hopefully speed up the process.

“Those were the areas we identified with the most potholes and issues for parents, but also they drop off the most children there. It will really benefit a lot of our students,” said Hill.

“We never let them back before 2:30 because we still have children on the playground,” explained Murphy, “The privacy slating will allow us to have them out.”

Union County Primary School Principal Millie Owenby agreed that the fencing should improve the pick-up process in the next school year.

UCHS Receives STEM Certification

News, Panthers Corner

Blairsville, Ga – Union County High School (UCHS) named the fourth STEM certified public school in the state.

State Superintendent Richard Woods visited UCHS a few weeks ago and recognized the school as the 14th STEM certified program in the state and fourth public school to earn the honor.

STEM teaches students computational thinking and using scientific methods to solve real-world problems. It helps children to develop technological skills that they can use to one day find highly-sought after jobs.

At the May Board of Education, Superintendent John Hill presented the STEM certification award to Ms. Alecia Frizzell.

“Ms. Frizzell was extremely dedicated and instrumental in the high school receiving the certification, and it’s going to have a lasting impact on students of our county,” said Hill.

Ms. Frizzell also received the Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher of the Year 2019.

“I have not met a teacher more dedicated to her students and her profession,” said Hill, “we’re very proud of her.”

“I had no idea I was getting the award. I think I was nominated by Mr. Hussion,” explained Frizzell, “I had a student write a recommendation letter that is framed and on a wall in my house.”

Three Partners in Education were recognized for their significant efforts to improve the schools’ facilities and life of the students.

Woody Gap

Gene Sprayberry donated his greenhouse to Woody Gap in memory of his wife, Louise.

Gene Sprayberry donated a large greenhouse to Woody Gap Schools in memory of his wife, Louise.

“I’m thankful that the school system accepted the schoolhouse in memory of Louise,” said Sprayberry, “She would be so thrilled to see that it was doing some good, and students might take up her passion. She loved it.”

This year the Chamber of Commerce had an entire night dedicated to recognizing Union County Schools’(UCS) students and set up two committees devoted to finding ways to help students.

“Our local chamber has always supported our school system, but this past year they have truly been a partner in education,” said Assistant Superintendent David Murphy.

“We appreciate the opportunity for the chamber to participate in the program,” said Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rowe, “These students are the future of Union County.”

RC&D Council sponsored a number of learning opportunities for the students of UCS and Woody Gap, including sponsoring a steer for middle school agriculture day, a pig for the cafeterias, fire-wise programs, a high-wind tunnel, drone software, wick-whacking device, and a number of the members.

Jason Moore’s recognized for his outstanding service on the middle school governance team.

UCMS, Board of Education

UCMS Principal Gwen Stafford recognized student Jason Moore for his commitment to the School Governance Team.

“Jason Moore has been our representative at the middle school for the past two years, and he has done an outstanding job, said Principal Gwen Stafford, “If he doesn’t know what the students would like, he goes out and sees them. He gets there opinion and comes back and reports to us.”

UCHS FFA Students also received recognition for winning first place in state competitions.

Isaac Hunter placed first at the state level for the ocular estimation event at the junior foresters’ field day.

“Ocular estimation is where I have to stand five feet away from the tree and guess the diameter of it,” said Hunter.  He can’t use any tools to assist with the process, just his best sight guestimation.

UCHS, Board of Education, FFA Awards

Isaac Hunter and Timothy Dye both won first place in the state FFA competition.

Next, Timothy Dye won first place at the state competition for timber cruising for board volume.

“You have to stand 66 feet away from the tree using logger tape, diameter tape, and clinometer. The diameter get the actual diameter of it, and with the clinometer, you get the height of it,” explained Dye.

The Union County Primary School recognized two teachers who achieved perfect attendance for the 2018-2019 school year. Kelsey Miller teaches Pre-K, and Tina Payne is an RTI specialist who teaches Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade students.

UCPS, Board of Education

UCPS Principal Millie Owenby recognized the two primary school teachers Kelsey Miller and Tina Payne for their perfect attendance.

“We all know that as teachers that the more we are there, the better the students perform,” said Principal Millie Owenby, “Sometimes at the primary school that is quite an accomplishment.”

The board also presented Superintendent with an award to commemorate his 15 years of service.

Ruff leads Panthers over Bobcats

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Gilmer County Bobcats in a non-conference matchup. The Panthers entered the contest with a 1-1 record.

Davis took the mound for the Panthers for the second time this season. Davis pitched well as he allowed one earned run during 4 innings of work.

Davis got info some trouble to start the game allowing a hit and a walk as the Bobcats pounced onto an early lead 1-0.

UCHS senior RJ Banton warms up on the mound during Tuesday night’s game against Gilmer High. Photo by Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports.

Banton stepped in to relive Davis after 4 innings of work. Davis finished with 1 K and 2 BB’s over the course of 4 innings. Davis allowed one earned run.

Can Colwell helped the Panthers grab a lead in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out, 2-run, single.

The Panthers got into some trouble early in the 6th inning after an error at 3rd base let the Bobcats gain some momentum as they went on to score 3 runs. The Panthers trailed 4-2.

After allowing 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, Banton returned to pitch in the 7th. Banton struck out a batter to start the 7th and finished with 2 groundouts.

Trialing by 2 the Panthers looked to regain the lead and a win. Allison and Ruff walked. Banton got on base with a single. Junior Kelley hit a 2-out, bases clearing, double in walkoff fashion to win the game.

The Panthers were led by, Ruff with 3 HBP BB’s 1RBI and Can. Colwell 1-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improve to 2-1. The Panthers will host the Rabun County Wildcats Monday, Feb. 26th in a non-conference matchup.

Panthers looking ahead after opening double-header

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Commerce Tigers in a double header. This would be the Panthers first test of the season. Commerce is considered one of the better teams in the 1A-Private region.

The first pitch was at 4:05. Baggett was UC’s first baserunner of the season and Dyer was the first base hit of the year.

Ruff was the first to pitch for the Panthers in a game that would dig into the bullpen. Ruff pitched 2 innings. Ruff struck 2 batters out, walked 1, allowed 4 hits, Ruff was allotted for 3 earned runs.

Rich took over in inning 3 as the Panthers trailed 3-0. Rich pitched 2 shut out innings as Baggett tied the game up in top of the 4th with a 3 run 2 our single.

Rich got into some trouble early in the 5th as 3 hits and 2 walks as he gave up 3 earned runs. Rich finished with 4 K’s, 4 BB’s, and 3 ER.

Banton stepped in to finish the inning as the Panthers trailed 3-7 at the end of the 5th.

The Panthers put the comeback in force as they scored 2 runs in the 6th which was started by a Baggettt walk.

Colwell stepped in to pitch the 6th as he allowed 2 runs  Colwell allowed 4 hits with 1 K.

Baggett finished 2-2 with 4 RBI’s and 2 BB’s and 2 steals.

The second game of the double header got underway at 7:20.

Harkins started the second game of the evening as he pitched 2 innings.

Baggett was the first run of the second game as he scored off of a walk, a stolen base, and an error.

The Panthers used a huge second inning to separate from the Tigers as Schafer hit his first home run of his career. The Panthers led 6-2 after the 2nd.

J. Colwell took over in the top of the 3rd as he gathered 4 K’s over the course of 4 innings. Colwell allowed 3 runs and walked 4.

Davis stepped in to close the game as he finished with 2 K’s and 1 BB.

Schafer led the Panthers going 2-2 with a homerun and a INF single. Dyer followed with going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improved to 1-1 as they split the series. The Panthers next game will be against Rabun county in a non-region matchup Tues. Feb 20th. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:00.

Wright signs with Army

UCHS Football

Union County High School is losing a great athlete, but Army-West Point is welcoming him with open arms.  Senior quarterback Cole Wright signed with Army last week in a ceremony held with friends, family, coaches and faculty.  The four-year letterman threw for 1,938 yards last year, completing 136-of-247 passing attempts with 19 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions.

After signing his letter of intent, TeamFYNSports sat down with Wright to discuss his career at UC and his future as a D1 commit.

 

TeamFYNSports:  What are some of your accomplishments?

“I have maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and I was named 7-AAA Offensive POY in 2016 and 1st team All-Region in 2017. I was All-State honorable mention in 2016 and 2017. I reached 7000 total yards and 70+ TD’s in two years at QB

TeamFYNSports:  How long have you played football?

“ I have played since I was five years old.”

TeamFYNSports:  Who have you tried to model your game after?

“I have always loved Tom Brady and his winning mentality and competitiveness. Obviously I’m a different style QB, but I try to imitate his leadership ability and drive.”

TeamFYNSports:  What’s your biggest highlight of playing football so far?

“Senior Night would definitely be the highlight of my career. After the game I looked across at my best friends who I’ve grown up playing football with and realized these guys were my brothers for life. It’s a great feeling knowing you’ve created bonds that could never be broken.”

TeamFYNSports:  What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how has that made you the person you are today?

“My biggest problem was worrying about negativity from outside of my circle. There will always be people saying, “You’ll never make it” and to that I say we’ll see. Once I focused on the game I loved and blocked all of the negativity I started to play better. This helped me grow not only as a football player but a person as well.”

TeamFYNSports:  What’s a typical day for you training wise?

“I’ve been on a new West Point workout schedule for the last month and it’s intense. I’m also running track for speed and stamina. I’m working on gaining some weight before I leave, so I’m consuming a large amount of calories per day.”

TeamFYNSports:  How have you trained? What have you done differently that has separated you from other quarterbacks?

“I started Speed and Agility freshman year and didn’t miss a day in two years. Joe Mancuso and I would go and throw and I’d learn as much as I could from him. I’m a very coachable guy so I would take little tips and advice from every camp and then try to execute them when I got back home.”

TeamFYNSports:  How big of a influence did your parents or coach have on you to continue your playing career at West Point versus any other school?

“My dad was probably my biggest influence. No one in my family has ever had this opportunity to attend an Academy. My dad and I are all about leadership and history; when we toured the campus we both fell in love with the place. West Point offers the combination of a high level education, a chance to play D1 football, and leadership training that can’t be matched at any other school.”

TeamFYNSports:  What other schools have offered you?

“No other schools have offered. Kennesaw State, Furman, GA Tech, and Georgia Southern were interested but after I committed they went cold.”

TeamFYNSports:  What are your plans once you get to college? What are you going to major in? What position(s) do you plan on playing?

“Once I get to West Point I will begin my tough journey to become the greatest version of myself. I know it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I will stay mentality strong and prove the doubters wrong. I plan on majoring in aerospace engineering but I am not completely locked on that specific one. I am on the board as a Wide Receiver right now, but I will remain open for whatever position I am needed.”

TeamFYNSports would like to wish Wright the best of luck as he closes one chapter and opens another, with a bright future ahead of him.

After 10-0 start, Panthers season comes to disappointing end

Union County High School

The Panthers tipped off against North Hall @ 4:30 in the region tournament. The Panthers were looking to secure a playoff spot which a win would do. A loss would be the Panthers would not make the playoffs.

Both teams got off to a slow Q1 as the Panthers led 8-7 after Q1. Baggett led UC scorers with 3 in the first quarter.

The first half was one of the lowest scoring half’s UC had seen all season as they trailed 17-13. The Panthers were led by Drake with 4.

The Panthers grabbed a lead late in Q3 but couldn’t keep it as they trailed 31-30 at the end of the quarter. The Panthers were led by Baggett with 10.

Can. Colwell fouled out with a little over 4:00 left to play in Q4. The Panthers fell to the Trojans 50-42. UC was led by Baggett and Drake whom both had 15.

The Panthers fall to 16-9. The Panthers season is now over. This is only the second team in school history to ever start 10-0. Both teams that started 10-0 lost to Murphy in the 11th game and neither made the playoffs.

Sophomores Drake and Allison were both selected to the 7-AAA all region team which is voted on by the coaches. Cra. Colwell and Baggett were honorable mentions.

Drake led the Panthers with 13.0 points per game followed by Allison with 12.1. Drake did this despite missing 4 games with a knee injury.

Craw. Colwell and Drake both averaged 6 rebounds a game. Followed by Allison with 4.5.

Can. Colwell led the Panthers with assists per game averaging 2.8, followed by Allison with 2.4.

Drake also led the Panthers in steals per game with 2.9 followed by Allison with 2.4

Drake averaged 1.0 block per game followed by Waller with .5.

Panthers celebrate senior night, fall to Tigers/Lady Tigers

Union County High School

The Lady Panthers tipped off at 7 following senior night at 6. The Lady Panthers had 2 seniors, Bailey Daniel and Grace Wischmeyer. Wischmeyer was limited to playing time this season due to a knee injury.

The Lady Panthers faced off against the Lady Tigers from Dawson County. The Lady Panthers fell to the Lady Tigers earlier in the season 54-42. The Lady Panthers looked to secure a spot in the playoffs with a win.

Mccarter led UC with 4 of the 9 points scored in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers trailed 11-9 after Q1.

The Lady Tigers used a 12-4 run to open Q2 to extend the halftime lead 32-21. Ade. Dockrey led the Lady Panthers with 4 points. The Lady Tigers also used a 9-1 run the close Q2.

The Lady Panthers fell behind majorly in the first half due to poor free throw shooting. The Lady Panthers shot only 35% from the line 6-17.

The Lady Tigers separates themselves over the course of Q3 with a score of 54-31. Hill led Lady Panthers scorers with 4.

The Lady Panthers fell 70-38 to the Lady Tigers. Sticker led the Lady Tigers with 25. Mccarter led the Lady Panthers with 8.

The Lady Panthers finish the 15-9 in the regular season. The Lady Panthers next game will be Wednesday Feb 7th, at East Hall facing off against Dawson in the first game of the region tournament.

The Panthers followed tipping off at 8:30.

The Panthers had several seniors, twins, Candler and Crawford Colwell, RJ Banton, Cole Davis, Timothy Patrick, and Patrick Baggett.

Cra. Colwell was only 6 points away from hitting his 1000th point. The Panthers trailed early 13-9 at the end of Q1 as they were led by Baggett who had 4.

The Panthers trailed 31-34 at the half. UC was led by Allison who has 3. Cra. Colwell with 1:38 left to play in Q2.

The Tigers used a 8-0 run to open Q3 as they led 45-34. DC was led by Reed with 5 and The Panthers were led by Davis with 4.

The Panthers would fall to the Tigers for the second time this season 59-47. The Panthers fall to 16-8. UC wad led by Baggett with 17. The Panthers will play @ East Hall Feb. 6th, I. The opening round of the region tournament. The Panthers will play North Hall.

Panthers Wrestling: Tritt making history

Union County High School

Isaac Tritt made history last week.  With his 4th-place finish at the AAA Sectional wrestling tournament last weekend, Tritt became first person in Union County history to ever advance beyond Area competition.  He now has an opportunity to be the first Union County High School student to place at the state tournament.

Tritt started playing soccer when he was only four years old.  In the 7th grade, he began wrestling.  By his freshman year, he decided to dedicate 100% of his attention to the mat; and as a junior, his commitment is paying off.

 

Tritt wrestled in the 138-lb class his freshman year, before moving up to the 145-lb class last year.  The 7-lb weight gain has given him more strength in the clinch without sacrificing speed in scrambles or shots from outside.

TeamFYNSports asked Tritt how he’s handling the reality that he’s making history, and he said, “It feels great knowing I was able to pave the road to state. The hard work was definitely worth it.”

Tritt said the sport of wrestling has taught him more than just how to throw or pin someone – it’s built character.

“When life gets hard you just have to keep pushing forward, this is something the coaches have instilled in this program,”  Tritt told TeamFYNSports in a recent interview.

He said that he’s looking to push the pace of each match at the state tournament, and he is looking to dominate his opponents.  Recognizing that the Panthers wrestle in one of the toughest regions/areas in the state of Georgia, Tritt may see some familiar faces as he advances through the tournament this weekend.

TeamFYNSports would like to congratulate the Union County wrestling program and we wish Isaac Tritt all the best this weekend.

 

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