Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AJC high school athletes of the year for 2013-14

Standout performances by these athletes led to individual and team success during the 2013-2014 school year:



Seth Beer, Lambert: The sophomore outfielder/pitcher batted .589 with 10 home runs and 31 extra-base hits in 107 at-bats in leading the Longhorns to their first state championship and a No. 1 national ranking by USA Today. Beer was 7-0 with an ERA of 0.53 as a pitcher. His team finished 36-2. Beer is projected as a likely first-round pick in the 2016 Major League Draft.


Basketball (boys)

Tadric Jackson, Tift County: The 6-foot-2 senior guard averaged 18.8 points and nearly six rebounds and five assists in leading Tift County to the Class AAAAAA championship, the school’s first state title since 1996. Tift County’s four-year record with Jackson as a starter was 101-23. A member of the ESPN 100, Jackson has signed to play basketball at Georgia Tech.


Basketball (girls)

Kahlia Lawrence, Kendrick: The 5-foot-8 senior guard averaged 26.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and six steals in leading Kendrick to a 29-0 record and the Class AA championship. She set school records for points in a game (45), season (759) and career (2,086). Lawrence had 25 points and seven rebounds against Wesleyan in the state final. She has signed to play basketball at Mercer University.



Maddie Laymac, Lambert: The senior was a four-year member of the varsity competition squad who helped lead the Longhorns to the past two state championships in Class AAAAAA. She battled back injuries throughout the season but displayed what coach Brent Paige called electric energy on the floor. Laymac will be a member of the all-girl cheerleading team at the University of Georgia.


Cross country (boys)

Kevin Mills, Peachtree Ridge: The senior had the fastest time of the day at the state meet, running the course in 16:03.82 to win the Class AAAAAA individual championship and help the Lions to a second-place finish in the team standings. Mills also finished third in the 3,200-meter run and 10th in the 1,600 at the state track meet this spring. He has signed to run at Winthrop University.


Cross country (girls)

Kathryn Foreman, Landmark Christian: The sophomore had the fastest time of the day at the state meet, finishing in 18:42.18 to win her second consecutive Class A private-school individual title. As a freshman, her winning time of 18:18.07 also was the best in any classification and helped Landmark win its second consecutive team title. She finished second in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the state track meet this spring.



Jaquez Parks, Griffin: The senior quarterback passed for 3,640 yards, rushed for 1,329 yards and had a hand in 45 touchdowns in leading Griffin to the Class AAAA championship, the school’s first title in 35 years. Parks set a state record with 554 yards from scrimmage – 338 passing and 216 rushing – in the state final against Carrollton. Parks has signed to play football at Kennesaw State University.


Golf (boys)

Jack Larkin Jr., Marist: The senior capped off a remarkable high school career by leading Marist to its third consecutive Class AAAA championship. Larkin shot a 3-under 69 at Westlake Country Club to take medalist honors by two strokes. Larkin has signed to play at the University of Georgia, where he will follow in the footsteps of his father. He currently has a handicap index of 2.1.


Golf (girls)

Kayley Marschke, Lambert: The sophomore won the Class AAAAAA individual title at the state championships at Gordon Lakes, where she prevailed in a playoff, and led the Longhorns to their second consecutive team title. She shot a 67 at Achasta Golf Club to set a school record and win the Region 6-AAAAAA title. Marschke works with PGA professional Tim Weinhart at The Standard Club and carries a handicap index of 0.8.



Katie Stuart, Lambert: The junior scored a 37.525 to win the all-around title at the state meet and led the Longhorns to a third-place finish in the team standings. She won individual titles on the vault and uneven bars and finished second in the floor exercises. Stuart, who also was the Level 10 Georgia state champion in her age division, has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky.


Lacrosse (boys)

Zach Hemans, Roswell: The senior provided leadership and stellar defense (45 ground balls, 18 takeaways) as the Hornets won their first state championship in program history. He pitched in offensively in the playoffs, scoring two pivotal goals in the semifinals, then helped hold a potent Lambert offense in check in a 6-5 victory in the final. Hemans will continue his career at Young Harris College.


Lacrosse (girls)

Mackenzie Lech, Milton: The senior was the leader on a Milton team that won its fifth consecutive state title and ninth in 10 years. She finished with 48 goals, 25 assists, 43 ground balls, 14 forced turnovers, eight interceptions and 52 draw controls to guide the Eagles to a No. 5 national ranking in the Nike/U.S. Lacrosse poll. Lech will play lacrosse at San Diego State next season.



Alana Kelly, Allatoona: The sophomore set a qualifying-round record with 296 points and posted an overall score of 396.9 to win the individual all-classification championship at the state meet. She also helped the Buccaneers win the team title with a state-championship record of 1,162 points. The state titles were the first by an individual or a team in the history of the Allatoona program.


Soccer (boys)

Adam Sheikali, McIntosh: The senior midfielder scored 20 goals, including two in the state final, and had 16 assists in leading the Chiefs to their second consecutive Class AAAAA title. McIntosh finished 22-0 to increase its winning streak to 45 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Sheikali has signed to play soccer at Boston University.


Soccer (girls)

Jennifer Westendorf, Grayson: The sophomore forward made an immediate impact in her first season at Grayson after transferring from Montgomery, Ala. She scored 46 goals and had six assists in leading the Rams (21-1-1) to a runner-up finish in Class AAAAAA. Westendorf, ranked as the nation’s No. 6 prospect in the Class of 2016 by, has verbally committed to play soccer at Notre Dame.



Savannah McHellon, Ola: The senior pitcher/outfielder hit .442 with 15 home runs in 129 at-bats for the Class AAAAA championship team. She was 17-5 as a pitcher with a 1.05 ERA. In the state title game, she hit a grand slam and pitched a nine-inning complete game. McHellon is rated the No. 18 prospect nationally by Student Sports. She has signed to play at the University of Georgia.


Swimming (boys)

Gunnar Bentz, St. Pius: The senior led St. Pius to a state championship while setting Georgia records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:45.55) and 100-yard butterfly (47.26) at the Class AAAAA-A meet. He also anchored St. Pius’ winning 400-yard freestyle relay team. ranks Bentz as the No. 4 recruit nationally. He has signed to swim at the University of Georgia.


Swimming (girls)

Caitlin Cooper, Woodward Academy: The senior broke Olympic medalist Amanda Weir’s 11-year-old Georgia record in the 50-yard freestyle (22.75 seconds) and set the state record in the 100 free (49.78). She was part of Woodward Academy’s state-record 4x50 freestyle team. She is rated the No. 46 women’s swimming prospect nationally by Cooper has signed to swim at the University of Virginia.


Tennis (boys)

Chris Eubanks, Westlake: The senior completed his high school career at Westlake without a loss. A well-rounded right-hander, Eubanks is ranked No. 3 in the Southeast and No. 14 nationally among seniors by His non-high school accomplishments include victories at the One Love Junior Super Championship and the Georgia State Closed Junior Challenge. He has signed with Georgia Tech.


Tennis (girls)

Laura Patterson, Roswell: The senior finished her high school career with only two losses. One of those occurred this year when it was discovered that she had torn ligaments in her right hand, which put a premature end to her season. The right-hander is ranked No. 9 in the Southeast and No. 27 in the nation by She has signed with the University of Georgia.


Track and field (boys)

Christian Coleman, Our Lady of Mercy: The senior sprinter set Class A records at the state meet in the 100 meters (10.38 seconds) and 200 meters (21.1) and as a member of the 400-meter relay team (41.88). Coleman also won the long jump (23-08.25). His personal best in the 100 meters ranks fifth nationally. Coleman has signed to compete in track and field at the University of Tennessee.


Track and field (girls)

Tiffany Flynn, Miller Grove: The senior won the High Point Athlete Award by scoring 31.25 points at the state meet and led the Class AAAAA Wolverines to their first state championship. She won all three of her individual events – the long jump (18 feet, 8.75 inches), the 100-meter hurdles (13.96 seconds) and the triple jump (41-11), in which she was the all-classification leader. Flynn has signed to run at Mississippi State University.



Haley Templeton, Chattahoochee: The 6-foot-1 senior setter had 1,271 assists, 541 digs, 436 kills, 93 service aces and 59 blocks in leading the Cougars (50-10) to a runner-up finish in Class AAAAAA. Templeton, who had a .435 hitting percentage and .528 kill percentage, was named a first-team Under Armour All-American and the AAAAAA co-player of the year. She has signed to play volleyball at the University of Miami.



Chip Ness, Buford: The senior in the 195-pound class won his fourth individual state championship in four years and completed a 31-0 season. His four-year record was 168-1. He led Buford to the Class AAA dual and traditional state championships. Ness is rated the No. 4 wrestler nationally in the 195-pound division by InterMat. He has signed to wrestle at the University of North Carolina.

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