ALBANY -- Maybe they should just start calling Westover High the sports program of the century.
That's not a joke, but a clear and present reality in Region 1-AAA, where Westover's Patriots are
simply better at more sports than any school in the region.
Westover won the All-Sports Trophy, which was presented to the school's athletic director Harley Calhoun and principal William Chunn early last week for the fourth year in a row. But that's only part of the story.
Westover has now won the title of best sports program in the region nine of the past 10 years with a run of dynasty proportions during the first 10 years of this century.
"That's one of our biggest goals, to win it every year,'' Calhoun said. "It reflects the kind of kids and the kind of staff we have here. We take a lot of pride in it, and we're always excited when we win the All-Region championship. Our coaches have done a very good job having our sports program at the top.''
It's an overwhelming task to be competitive in every sport, but that's exactly what Westover has been able to accomplish.
The All-Region Sports Trophy is based on 19 sports, ranging from football and basketball to cheerleading.
Of course, the Patriots were paced by their outstanding basketball teams, which won region titles and advanced in the state tournament, including a Final Four appearance by the boys team.
But Westover also had powerhouses in both boys and girls soccer and was formidable in track & field.
But the secret to success is being good in several sports teams across the board, which is more difficult for smaller classification schools.
"Sometimes it's difficult in the rural areas,' Calhoun said.
Cairo was second in the region, Perry was third and Peach County was fourth. Region 1-AAA will change a bit this year because Peach County is leaving the region and Americus-Sumter is dropping down from Class AAAA to AAA and joining the region.
That won't change the attitude at Westover.
"At Westover we think we not only have the best program in the region, but one of the best in the state,'' Calhoun said.
Westover was ranked 10th in the state in Class AAA overall sports last year, and Calhoun said he expects to be ranked in the top 15 in the state when the state releases its rankings later this year.
The key to that kind of success is building a program that gives every sport significance.
"Traditionally, Westover has been good (across the board),'' Calhoun said. "I think it says two things: We have a good staff that takes a lot of pride in what they're doing, and we have such a variety of kids who participate in so many sports.
"Everyone gets along real well, and it doesn't matter if you are playing golf or you are on the football team, baseball team, basketball team -- whatever team you are on -- you feel like you are a part of something.''