Well, the start of school is just a few days away and of this writing, the teachers have been back at their respective schools, diligently planning for this yearly event. Emanuel County students are eagerly anticipating seeing their friends, meeting new teachers, and wondering what after-school activities they can participate in this year. At Emanuel County Institute, high school students will arrive at school with four new extracurricular activities to chose from.
I spoke with Athletic Director Manzie Broxton at ECI to get a rundown of these new sports. His excitement was evident as he spoke about each sport.
We began with competition cheerleading. The sideline cheerleaders for football and basketball have always been excellent, but to know they now have the opportunity to showcase their talent in competition is going to take them to a different level. The coach for the cheer squad will be Tabitha Downer, who brings an element of intensity and desire for excellence from her years as a competitive dancer. They will definitely be a force in this first year. The sport is listed as a fall sport with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).
The next sport is girls flag football. This sport was added by GHSA in 2018 with the finals being held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Broxton said there has been quite a buzz already with the anticipation of this new sport with 16 girls showing up for the first tryout. Deidra Kearson will be the coach for the team and, again, she will bring a level of intensity and motivation that will definitely be a plus for the players. According to Broxton, flag football will be a fall sport.
The third new sport will be wrestling. If you are a wresting fan and have never attended a high school wrestling match, as a fan, you are in for an exciting experience. The coach for the team will be David Hodges, who has advocated for this sport for a few years now. To have his efforts come to fruition will be fantastic for ECI. The season will be at the end of football season and will run into January and February.
The final sport will be bass fishing. (Yes, I said bass fishing.) This sport has been going on in the colleges around the nation since 1992 with GHSA adding it in the 2020-2021 school year. GHSA has partnered with The Bass Federation (TBF), the nation’s largest grassroots fishing organization that conducts more than 2,000 events each year as well as with the Student Angler Federation (SAF) to bring this co-ed sport to students in Georgia high schools. There is no designated season, thus allowing students to compete year-round in both GHSA-sanctioned events and non-sanctioned tournaments. Details are still being worked out as to who will coach this sport. The Crossroads Chronicle will have a follow-up article article as this new sport unfolds.
ECI will also add middle school golf. I know as a high school golf coach for 12 years, if you have a middle school golf program, it will only make the high school team stronger. Christian Novak will be the middle and high school golf coach for 2021-2022.
Broxton says with all of the new sports that are being added, there is now a place literally for everybody who wants to participate something to do. He said they are looking to also add more literary events such as one-act play, which is listed as a winter activity. He knows that more events will take more work on the part of the staff, but at the end of the day, it is all about the students and making sure they have the opportunities to enhance their high school experience. He commended the Emanuel County School District, which has been very supportive as they add these new sports at ECI. There have also been donations as well as the ECI Booster Club taking care of uniforms and other things. As Athletic Director, Broxton is excited to work with each of the coaches and students and looks forward to each activity he oversees in that capacity being successful this year.
The Crossroads Chronicle would like to wish ECI lots of luck this year in all these new sports.