Local athletes, coaches compete at North/South All-Star Week


Photo: Southside High’s Mallory Brooks lines up a shot on the third hole during the North/South All-Star girls golf match last Monday (July 17) at Arrowhead Golf Club in Montgomery. (Submitted photo) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Several local student-athletes participated in the AHSAA North/South All-Star games this past week in Montgomery, which pits rising seniors from the North and South in a total of 13 contests. Players were selected from nominations received from AHSAA member school coaches.
Boys golf
Westbrook Christian’s Eli Edge helped the North boys golf team post a 55-35 match win last Monday (July 17) at Arrowhead Golf Club.
Edge and Athens Bible’s Luke Davis won the No. 1 match at 11.5 to 6.5 over UMS-Wright’s John Stubbs. The North boys now hold a 4-0 lead in its series with the South which was first played in 2019.
“It was a great experience and I was honored to be out there playing with some of the best golfers in Alabama,” said Edge. “I’d played some practice round before with Luke, and it was a lot of fun to have a someone out there with me as a team. I never even heard of [Arrowhead] before I was selected, and it’s a really nice course.”
As Westbrook’s team captain this past season, Edge shot a low medalist two-day score of 151 at the RTJ Grand National Golf Course in Opelika in May to lead the Warriors to the at the Class 3A state title. It was the program’s fourth state title in the past eight years and first since 2017. Edge also won the Gadsden Area Tournament in both 2022 and 2021.
“I thought that Eli had a decent day overall,” said Eli’s dad and Westbrook boys golf coach Greg Edge. “If he was playing at his own score, he probably shot two or three over [par]. There are some pretty good golfers at this level, and he really seemed to enjoy it.”
Girls golf
Southside’s Mallory Brooks helped the North girls edge the South, 48.4 to 41.5, last Monday (July 17) at Arrowhead Golf Club.
Brooks and White Plains’ Isabel Rogers won the third match for the North, 11-7, over Stanhope Elmore’s Kara Busbin and Andalusia’s Caroline Reeves.
Lindsay Lane’s Chloe Ruble took top point honors with a 12.5 – 5.5 over the duo of Foley’s Callie Henderson and Daphne’s Samiya Bodalia to spark the North girls’ win. Her seven-point victory proved to be the difference as the South and North split the final four matches. The North leads South girls are now even at 3-1.
Brooks enjoyed competing in the match format.
“From playing volleyball and basketball, it’s fun being out there with a teammate. I like having someone with me out there instead of being by myself. I’ve known Isabel for a few years, and it was nice to play with her instead of against her. I also liked playing at [Arrowhead]; the greens were nice and [the course] was very forgiving. It was a really good experience, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”
This past season, Brooks placed first in the Gadsden Area Tournament and Glencoe Invitational and finished runner-up in the Gadsden Kick Off Classic and Arab In-vitational. In the postseason, she finished first at the Class 5A Section 3 Tournament to become the school’s first girls player to qualify for the sub-state playoffs, where she took third place.
Boys cross country
Southside cross country coach Kim Nails’ North team posted a 77 to 113 victory last Tuesday (July 18) at Gateway Park.
Meet MVP Ethan Edgeworth of Cold Springs topped all runners with a time of 15:15.13. Five North runners placed in the top six to take a 4-2 lead in the all-time series.
Nails, who twice previously served as North girls basketball coach, appreciated the opportunity to coach several of the best long-distance runners in the state.
“They were just super kids,” she said. “So many were in the 15s, which was impressive because the humidity was really up there. Knowing how much hard work these kids put in, I’m just grateful that the state offers the opportunity to compete and be recognized.”
This past season, Nails was named the All-Messenger cross country team’s Boys Coach of the Year after guiding the Panthers to a 10th straight Etowah County championship, a runner-up showing at the Class 5A Section 3 Meet and a fourth place finish out of 16 teams at the state meet in November.
“We’ve had the least amount of kids back that we’ve seen in a long time, although we do have Evan Christopher coming back,” she said. “We have a lot of young kids in junior high but they’re just not there yet with their times. But I feel like our girls have a pretty good little core group that will develop during the season.”
Girls tennis
Sardis High tennis coach Amanda Johnson guided the North girls to an 8-1 victory last Tuesday (July 18) at Lagoon Park.
Mountain Brook’s Pippa Roy, who won the Class 6A No. 1 state tennis championships in 2023, 2022 and 2021, defeated St. Paul’s Episcopal’ s Grace Swain 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles finals. Roy then teamed with Spain Park’s Sage Sovic to beat Juliet Galla of McGill-Toolen Catholic and Carol Murray of UMS-Wright, 6-1, 6-0, in the No. 1 doubles competition.
This past season, Johnson guided the Lady Lions to their second straight section championship and second straight appearance in the Class 5A state tournament. Johnson had two players reach the finals and two make the semifinals. In 2002, the Lady Lions went 14-0 in the regular season and placed fourth in the state.
Boys basketball
Etowah High boys coach James Graves coached the North boys, which lost 79-78, last Tuesday (July 18) at the Multiplex at the Cramton Bowl. Jeff Davis’ Jamicah Adair buried a jump shot with two seconds left give the South the come-from-behind victory.
Although disappointed with the outcome, Graves appreciated the opportunity to coach some of the state’s best players.
“We really should have beat them, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and had a wonderful time. We had some great kids who played hard and competed, and [the multiplex] was a really nice venue. A lot of Etowah folks made the trip down, so we had a lot of support.”
This past season, the Blue Devils’ boys basketball team went 21-8 record and finished Class 4A runner-up at the Northeast Regional Tournament.
Glencoe catcher Abi Bunt and West End third baseman Josie Bunch participated in the North’s 3-3 tie and 6-5 loss last Wed-nesday (July 19) at Lagoon Park.
“The whole day was really fun,” said Bunt. “It was good to be with people that I played with or played against on travel ball. I was also cool to play with Josie since we’re from the same area.
Bunt had an RBI off bases-loaded fielder’s choice in Game 2.
“I was looking for a pitch that I could either hit deep or hit the right side of the field,” she said. “I took advantage of it and I’m glad that it worked out so that we could get closer.”
This past season, Bunt finished with a .490 batting average, a .534 on-base percentage and a 1.077 slugging percentage while belting 51 hits (including 13 home runs, 16 doubles and three triples), 58 runs scored and 44 RBI while striking out only twice. She was also a pest on the basepaths with 18 steals out of 21 attempts. Her production helped the Lady Yellow Jackets win the area tournament and finish a game shy out a state tournament berth. Bunt was the All-Messenger softball team’s Player of the Year and made the ASWA All-State Class 3A team at the utility position.
Bunt committed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga earlier this year.
“When I went up there on my visit, I really liked the campus and felt comfortable around the coaches,” she said. “I felt that they really valued me as a person, and [the campus] really felt like home.”
Bunch had a hit early in Game 1.
“It was a line drive to the left side, and I ended up getting a double out of it,” she said. “I was very nervous at first, but it was an amazing experience to get to and against play with and against some very good people.”
Bunch produced a .396 batting average, .487 on-base percentage, 38 hits (with eight doubles and seven home runs), 33 RBI and 28 runs scored this past season for a Lady Patriot team that won the area tournament and qualified for the East Regionals. She was selected to the All-Messenger softball first team and made the ASWA All-State Class 2A honorable mention team at the utility position.
Boys soccer
Glencoe’s Aiden Cornutt helped the North team to a 5-3 victory last Wednesday (July 19) at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex.
“It was fun to see all the different players from schools around to state and how good they all were,” he said. “I was definitely hot out, but the sun was going down when we started, and I don’t think that [the heat] slowed down the pace of the game too much. The girls (who played at 5 p.m.) definitely took the brunt of the heat.”
Cornutt was named co-MVP of the 2023 Greater Gadsden Area boys soccer team and selected to the Class 1A-3A All-State team after finishing the season with 30 goals (including five hat tricks) and nine assists. He scored his 100th career goal this year and is currently ranked 17th and 14th, respectively, in AHSAA history for career goals at 109 and career hat tricks with 14.
“The heat was pretty brutal, and I think all the boys’ jerseys were soaking wet before warm-ups were even over,” said Cornutt’s dad and Glencoe boys soccer coach Daniel Cornett. “Aiden is coming off an injury, so he wasn’t quite at 100 percent, but he played well and had some opportunities. Just to be selected to play in that game is an honor.”
Girls soccer
Gadsden City’s Anna Klaire Ashley was a part of the North’s 3-2 win last Wednesday (July 19) at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex.
Ashley helped the Lady Titans win the Class 6A Area 13 championship and make it to the second round of the state playoffs. With Ashley holding the back line, the GCHS defense posted two shutouts while holding opponents to a 1.7 goals per game average. Ashley made the All-Greater Gadsden Area first team and was a Class 6A All-State honorable mention pick.

Ashley saw approximately 80 minutes of game time despite the effects of a sprained ankle.
“I though it was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was great getting to meet new people . I knew about five girls from club ball, so it was fun to play with them. It was tough competition, but it was a lot of fun.”
Ashley said it was a challenge to play in the high temperatures.
“A lot of people were cramping up, but for me personally, I was okay. It was my ankle that kind of brought me down.”
Gadsden City girls and boys soccer coach Samantha Corker was the North girls coach. She was the North boys coach in 2021.
“I thought Anna Klaire did really well,” she said. “She had sprained her ankle the week before, so she was playing through some pain, but she definitely held her own. Just playing in that heat and humidity was a testament to all the players.”

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