Winter Sports Preview – Titans seasons under way

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Winter sports features girls and boys basketball, indoor track, wrestling, swim and dive, and cheerleading at T.C. Williams High School. Athletic Director Kerry Donley said that a good number of students tried out for winter sports and all of the teams are looking forward to success in their sports and in the classroom.

We had pretty much the usual number of kids try out for sports this season and are particularly pleased with the numbers of athletes participating in wrestling and in track, Donley said. We have about 100 athletes on both track teams and there are some stand-outs in a number of areas.

Track
The girls, in particular, are strong. The runners are led by senior Eva Baker and junior, Ericka Weidman, both with experience and talent. Baker also looks to do well in pole vaulting.

Senior Amanda Hopson is strong in the shot put and is expected to do well in Patriot District competition. The girls finished first in their first meet, but Donley said this is not necessarily indicative of the year to come.

There were only four schools at the meet, and we havent begun District competition yet. Its too early to tell, he said.

Girls basketball
New T.C. head coach Jim Lewis has eight seniors and three juniors on this experienced squad, including all of his starters from last years Patriot District championship team. He also, of course, has junior guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who is being recruited by virtually every major college and university in the country.

Tierra is a special player, theres no doubt about that, Lewis said. Shes a legitimate high school All-American and you dont see kids of that caliber very often. However, that having been said, we have a lot of kids around Tierra who are talented in their own right.

Four of the eight seniors Brittany Burts, Rachel James, Ashley Burns and Ida Guy are being recruited.

Im not going to mention any specific schools that have contacted these girls, but there have been Division 1 schools among them, Lewis said.

While Division 1 schools get the most attention, Division 2 and 3 schools are just as competitive and, in some cases, better choices for certain young people. Thats the key: choosing the right school for each student athlete.

His juniors are led by Ruffin-Pratt, who scored 24 points in each of the Titans first three games. Our strengths are our team chemistry and our experience, Lewis said. Also, our team speed, especially on defense.

We dont have any weaknesses, but we need to be consistent with our offensive production. This team is certainly capable of winning a District and a Regional title and maybe even something bigger. Well have to play one game at a time and see how things go, Lewis said.

Last year, there were equally high expectations for the team and they faltered when Ruffin-Pratt went down with an injury.

I dont know what happened last year, Lewis said. This is a different team and a different year. Of course, we depend on Tierra but we depend on every other member of the team as well, he said.

Wrestling
Coach Jason Perkins is now a teacher at T.C. Williams and is pleased with the number of wrestlers who came out this year.

Our team isnt going to be as strong as we were last year but only because of inexperience, Perkins said. Last year, we had four wrestlers compete at the regional level and one finish second in the state. We wont do as well this year, but I am optimistic about the future.

The Titans will be led by senior Quintas McCorkle, who finished second in the State last year. We continue to expect good things from Q, who plans to wrestle in college and is being recruited by some good programs, Perkins said.

Perkins strength is his sophomore class. We had a good recruiting class last year and these kids have only gotten stronger, Perkins said. Watch Conor Boyle, Adam Pierce, Randy Hart and Alex Gomez in this group. All of them have a lot of potential.

Wrestling is not a big sport locally, but Perkins is pleased at the support he is receiving. I have a group of parents who are going to help build a booster program that will free me to get out and talk to kids in the junior highs, he said. I think the future is very bright for Titan wrestling.

Swim and dive
The swim and dive team has never been strong but won more meets last year than ever before.

We have some young swimmers who are going to do well in their events and we can build on those kids, Donley said. Over all, though, its going to be a difficult year.

Cheerleading
The cheerleading program is stronger than ever. In the fall, the girls finished fifth in the District and thats better than they have done in a very long time, Donley said. They are getting stronger every season.

For schedules and results, visit the athletic Web site at www.tcwilliamsathletics.org.

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