By: Tim Lambert
The Alabama High School Athletic Association released their classifications and sports alignments for the next two school years. The only change to our Limestone County schools in classification was to Elkmont, who will be moving up to Class 4A. Region and area changes were more widespread, however. A new wrinkle was also introduced – the Competitive Balance factor affecting private schools. A listing of these changes can be found on the AHSAA website at www.ahsaa.com/Home/2018-20-Classification-and-Alignments.

Several local athletes have signed scholarships or letters of intent: James Clemens has had nine to make their decisions known: Samantha Burns (Montevallo, cross country/track), Zack Toth (Montevallo, baseball), Katie Sharp (UAH, volleyball), Eve Mallard (UAH, softball), Adrian Grant (UAH, basketball), Jordan McMeans (Wallace State, softball), Tommy Crider (Belmont, baseball), Laken Lansdell (UNA, baseball) and Genesis Taylor (Wallace State, volleyball). Athens High’s Alexis Woods signed to play basketball with UAH and Athens Bible School’s Kenneth Adams will go to Wallace State to play baseball.

Former Limestone County athletes have also been honored recently–Paxton Schrimsher, an Athens High alumnus (now a sophomore at Southern Miss) and Reed Blankenship, a 2017 graduate of West Limestone (now at Middle Tennessee State), were both honorable-mention defense on the 2017 Conference USA football team. Blankenship was also named to the all-freshman team. Tanner grad Oman Smothers, now at Lakeland University, was tapped as the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Athens High and James Clemens sent swimmers and divers to the Class 6A-7A state meet at Auburn. Top finishers included Athens’ Kobie Melton, who won the girls’ 200-yard freestyle and set a state record in the 100-yard backstroke. Connor Hill had a fourth-place finish in the boys’ 100-yard breaststroke. James Clemens’ Alec Benzek was fourth in the boys’ 1-meter diving, Eric Messer finished fourth in the boys’ 100-yard butterfly, Caleb Williams came in fifth in the boys’ 200-yard intermediate medley, the Lady Jets’ 200-yard medley relay team placed fourth while the boys were fifth. The girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay team also posted a fourth place. The James Clemens girls came in fifth as a team, while the boys finished up in eighth place. The Athens girls and boys were 13th and 17th respectively.

Basketball results by school (as of this writing):

The Ardmore boys’ only victories so far have come over Clements and Cornersville. The Lady Tigers have also split with Clements and St. John Paul II and posted wins against West Limestone, Lindsay Lane, Decatur Heritage and Huntland.

Athens Bible School’s varsity boys have two wins to their credit (St. Bernard and Shoals Christian); the young Lady Trojans are still in search of their first win.

Athens High School has posted winning varsity records so far — the Golden Eagles have defeated Decatur, Cullman, East Limestone and Austin. The Athens girls have split with Hartselle and posted additional victories over Midfield, Colbert County, Cullman, East Limestone and Decatur. The Lady Golden Eagles were also ranked #8 in Class 6A in the latest poll.

The Clements boys have notched wins against Danville, Fayetteville, West Morgan, Ardmore and Wilson; the Lady Colts thus far have gone 1-1 with Ardmore and defeated West Limestone and Brooks.

East Limestone’s boys are even on the season with five wins (Elkmont, Ardmore, West Limestone, Tanner and Clements) while the Lady Indians have seven (Elkmont, Bob Jones, Randolph, Ardmore, West Limestone, Tanner and Clements).

The Elkmont boys defeated Lexington, ABS and East Lawrence; the Lady Red Devils have come out on top against Lindsay Lane (twice) and ABS.

Both James Clemens teams were in the top 10 in the latest Class 7A rankings: the boys were ninth and the girls were at the fifth spot. The Lady Jets started the season at #6, the first time they had ever made an appearance in the poll. So far, the boys have claimed victories over Fairview, Arab, Laverne (TN), Decatur and Grissom. The girls have topped Fairview, Muscle Shoals, Columbia, Madison County and Bob Jones.

Lindsay Lane’s boys were ranked third in the Class 1A poll behind an undefeated record. The Lady Lions have victories over Paint Rock and ABS.

The Tanner boys have defeated Ardmore, Hatton and Elkmont while the third-ranked (2A) Lady Rattlers have beaten Red Bay, Ardmore, West Limestone, Hatton and Elkmont.

The #10 (4A) West Limestone boys have wins over Ardmore, Clements, Hatton, West Point, Tanner, Priceville and Lauderdale County; the Lady Wildcats are another team looking for their first victory.
By: Tim Lambert
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