Just after the curtain fell on the school year in sports last week, underclassmen athletes immediately began to set their sights on goals for next year.
The ones that won championships will start training for a repeat, or a curtain call, if you will. Some, who fell short of a crown, hope the promise of next year will bring them one.
Such is the case of the Montgomery Bell Academy “Mutt and Jeff” tandem of Brad Bars and Bryan Oslin, who were competing in the state Division II decathlon last week at Spring Fling at Middle Tennessee Statue University. Both are relatively new to the event but both are learning fast.
And both hope to finish considerably higher than their seventh (Oslin) and eight-place (Bars) finishes in the meet, won by Memphis University School's Barret Folk.
The muscular 6-4, 225-pound Bars, a rising senior, is one of the top all-around athletes at MBA, having played football (LB/TE), basketball (power forward) and baseball (centerfield) for the Big Red, as well as track.
Bars is setting his bar high.
“The decathlon is something I’ve really gotten interested in. At the start of the school year I would have never have thought that,’’ he said.
”The pole vault was very challenging for me. In region, I didn’t even clear a height and I got zero points. But in state, I managed to clear 8-0. I’m setting my sights high,’’ added Bars, who scored 4,945 points.
Unlike Bars, who got strong totals in the disc and shot, the 5-9, 150-pound Oslin, a rising sophomore, racked up points in the sprints, hurdles and 1500. He had a personal best as he broke 5:00 (4:56) in the 1500 and finished with 5,292 points.
Asked about their difference in stature but similarities in their decathlon goals, Oslin said, “I think it works well. He (Bars) gives me advice in certain events, and I give him advice in others. He pushes me and I push him, and I think that makes us both better.’’
“Brad is just a natural athlete,’’ said MBA Coach Robert Pruitt. “He’s extremely competitive, one of his really strong suits. He is dedicated in whatever sport he’s in.
“Bryan works really hard and makes the most of the talents he has. Since he started (in decathlon), he’s improved each match.’’
The school’s football coach agrees.
“Brad and Bryan are both super kids in football, the classroom and as people,’’ said Daniel McGugin, who coaches both in football pads. “I would describe them as ‘full speed,’ because that’s the way they approach everything."
With hard work and improvement, one of them may give MBA its first state decathlon champ since Michael Eskind in 1998.
Overton’s Hartzell to WKU
Multiple sports award winner Brian Hartzell of Overton High has decided to attend Western Kentucky University. During the past school year, Hartzell has won the prestigious Hume Award, then the Coutras Award in football.
In March, he was one of the scholar-athlete recipients of the Middle Tennessee chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.
Hartzell said he chose Western because the school had the best program locally for his intended major — meteorology. He said he was considering walking on to play football for the Toppers.
Marchetti to West Point
Father Ryan two-time state individual champion Patrick Marchetti, one of the greatest wrestlers in Irish history and winner of numerous awards, has been awarded an appointment to West Point where he will continue his wrestling career.
He will join classmate and swimmer William Varley, who was also awarded an appointment there recently.
Whittemore lands FRA post
Former Brentwood High and Kansas quarterback Bill Whittemore has been named Franklin Road Academy Middle School coach and will be working under varsity head coach David Pack.
Whittemore, 28, was named Mr. Football in 1998 for BHS when he led the Bruins to a 12-1 record and the state 5A quarterfinals.
Davidson’s Brennan to Trevecca
Davidson Academy second baseman Brooke Brennan, one of the key players on the Bears’ march to their second straight state softball championship, signed last Friday with Trevecca Nazarene. She made all-region three straight years. Her father, Kevin, is a former Trevecca baseball player.
Jones, Hockaday have strong bloodlines
Davidson Academy senior shortstop Holly Beth Jones and freshman pitcher Holly Hockaday have more in common besides their first names. Both have fathers who were outstanding football players for Brentwood Academy in the 1980s.
Jones’ father is Tim Jones, who quarterbacked the Eagles in the mid-1980s and went on to play for Kentucky. Hockaday’s father is Jimmy Hockaday, an outstanding end for BA during state title years in the early 1980s and who went on to play for Georgia.
There’s lots of hardware in the two families. The daughters helped lead Davidson to their second straight state DII-A softball championship last Friday in Murfreesboro. Jones has signed with UT-Martin.
Hillsboro’s Noe to MTSU
Hillsboro place-kicker Jacob Noe, who kicked the winning field goal in Hillsboro’s stunning 10-7 state finals win over top-ranked Maryville, will attend MTSU where he plans to walk on for the Raiders.
Redmond leads CPA
Christ Presbyterian senior Will Redmond, who scored two goals in the Class A/AA Sectional soccer win at Columbia Academy, added one more in the Lions 3-1 state tournament loss to Station Camp.
He finished with 24 for the season, one of the highest totals in the Nashville area. The Lions lost in the quarterfinals.
Four titles for Irish
Father Ryan has won four state championships this school year — most notably their staple sport of excellence — wrestling — which the Irish have captured 17 times. Ryan also won state crowns in ice hockey, lacrosse and rugby.
Jezierny named at Independence
Clint Jezierny, the interim coach the past season, has been named head softball coach at Independence High. He was an assistant coach at Coffee County when the school reached the state tourney twice. Jezierny announced tryouts for the team will be held July 27-29 at the school.
One of the hardest luck scenarios of the season occurred when Centennial High tennis ace Ian Chadwell broke his ankle in two places when he planted awkwardly in a match during recent district tournament.
The three-time Class AAA state singles winner was a prohibitive favorite to become one of the rare four-time champions in Tennessee history before the injury.
Brentwood High freshman Drake Hernandez, one of Chadwell’s best friends, dedicated his entire tournament to Chadwell and rolled all the way to the AAA state finals before he lost to Science Hill ace Chris Smith.
This column is the final Dean's List of the school year.