Led by third-year coach Gina Mitchell, back row, far left, the Crisp Academy Lady Wildcats — holding up three fingers — made it a perfect 3-for-3 under Mitchell’s tutelage after Crisp defeated Citizens Christian in the GISA Class A state championship game for the program’s third straight state crown. (Herald file photo)
A handful of GISA programs around Southwest Georgia went out on top in 2013 — including the Crisp Academy girls basketball team, which clinched its third straight Class A championship with a 59-34 rout of Citizens Christian in the title game.
The Lady Wildcats were joined by Westwood’s girls basketball team, Southland’s boys cross country team, Grace Christian’s volleyball team and the doubles team of Pete Langstaff and Will Calhoun from Deerfield as GISA champions this year.
At the center of Crisp’s three-peat is Mercer commit and Herald Super 6er Madi Mitchell, who scored 34 points in the title game — a routine day for the star center. And she’s just as dominant as a senior this winter as she and the Lady Wildcats are overwhelming favorites to win a fourth straight title in the spring.
“It was a mountain of pressure,’’ Crisp coach Gina Mitchell told The Herald after winning her third straight title in March. “It was on us and on me, and when we won, it just hit me and hit me hard. It was all gone then. It was such a big relief. It was such a great feeling. Winning one (state title) is hard. Winning two is a lot harder, and winning three … It’s hard to explain. It’s the hardest. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. I was so nervous. There was so much pressure.”
The Westwood Lady Wildcats moved up from Class A to Class AA in 2013 but still went 23-3 and pulled off two monster wins in the Final Four. Westwood had to beat Gatewood, the Class AA defending state champ, in the semifinals and then had to beat four-time defending Class AAA state champion Arlington Christian in the title game.
In late October, Grace Christian’s volleyball team won the Class AA championship for the first state title in any sport at Grace, while Southland’s boys cross country team shocked the field to win the Class AAA state meet.
In April, Deerfield’s Will Calhoun and Pete Langstaff beat teammates Robert Newsome and Reid Wright to win the Class AAA state doubles championship, 6-2, 6-4.
The lone state title in the GHSA from Southwest Georgia came from the Baconton Charter girls tennis team, which cruised in the Class A Public School championship for the school’s first state title in any sport.
There’s no better feeling than walking away as champions, which is what makes this The Herald’s No. 7 sports story of 2013.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Herald’s sports staff has chosen Southwest Georgia’s Top 10 sports stories from 2013. Today marks the fourth of the 10 we’ve picked as having a significant impact as we count down to No. 1, which will appear in the Jan. 1 edition. Look for No. 6 in Friday’s Herald.