JCHS Volleyball coach optimistic after UTC volleyball camp

The JCHS volleyball team with UTC head coach Travis Filar pose for a photo at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga volleyball camp. Submitted photo

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The JCHS volleyball team traveled to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Friday for a weekend volleyball camp. The girls were able to work with UTC head coach Travis Filar as well as other volleyball coaches along with the UTC volleyball players.
Filar has led the UTC volleyball team to back-to-back conference finals and in 2015 won the Southern Conference Championship.
The JCHS volleyball team was instructed in-service drills, positional training, and transitioning. Members of the team also received training on how to control the ball, as well as other offensive and defensive skills while received group and individual instructional time throughout the course of the weekend.
The girls also got to compete with other teams that attended the UTC camp. On Sunday, the JV and Varsity squads competed in a pool play in the morning session.
The JCHS varsity team had two wins and one loss, which qualified the girls to play in the gold bracket Sunday afternoon.
The freshmen qualified for the silver bracket but played with both varsity and JV throughout the tournament.
Coach Cooke felt the UTC camp was the best fit for the Lady Longhorns and thought Coach Filar could provide some important drills and instructional time that would benefit the squad.
Pleased with the progress she saw in her team throughout the weekend.
“The camp provided our team with an awesome opportunity for growth and development as individuals and as a team,” Cooke said. “It has been good for team chemistry.” She added, “They have worked well together and worked super hard and will reap the rewards in the upcoming season. I am very grateful to the parents, players, and community for the support that helped fund this tremendous experience.”
Under Cooke’s leadership, the volleyball team has a chance to go far this year. The JCHS volleyball team lost three seniors last year, but the veteran coach was hit with a double whammy when two pivotal players, Natalie Winters and Taylor Parsons decided not to return to volleyball. Cooke will have to make some adjustments for the absence of Winters and Parsons, but she still has some returning players that have what it takes to help fill those essential volleyball spots. This year’s seniors
have plenty of talent and experience. They can also
provide strong leadership for the team. Cooke also has some strong players coming up from JV who will contribute to the team’s success as well.

Longhorns beat the heat for camp experience

Members of the JCHS football team enjoy a break between games at UVA Wise lineman camp last week. The tourney allowed players to measure up their strength ahead of the 2019-2020 fall football season. Submitted photo

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The JCHS football team participated in two camps this week. The players and coaches traveled to the University of Virginia at Wise on Thursday followed by Hampton High School on Saturday and Sunday.
The lineman camp at UVA Wise provided a seven on seven tournament for players.
The boys played in four games as a pre-tournament warm-up on a twenty-minute continuous clock. The all-passing tournament played on a 40-yard field plus end zone.
After the pre-tourney warm-up, the Longhorns were the third seed in the round-robin tournament but unfortunately lost first round in tournament play.
The players benefitted greatly from the very popular and one of the most effective football camps in the region and, for a good reason.
The UVA Wise lineman camp helps the quarterback, receivers, and running
backs with passing and catching.
“The UVA Wise was an amazing opportunity for our team,” said Longhorn Offensive Line Coach, Craig Cox. “They worked hard for Coach Compton and learned a lot about what it is like in a collegiate environment. The players also were able to be seen by a college for recruitment.”
Recent JCHS graduate, Christian Krupsky has signed to play football with UVA Wise for the 2019-2020 school year.
The players got to learn from one of the best under the direction of the offensive Coach, Mike Compton, who was a professional football player for twelve years before becoming a full-time football coach.
Compton has played for the Detroit Lions and retired with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coach Compton also played with the New England Patriots when they won the 2001 and 2003
Super Bowl championship. He joined UVA Wise in
The Longhorns also participated in a two-day passing league at Hampton High School. The players got to be a part of tournament action against other teams in the region.
The boys started strong and beat North Greene in the first-round action, but lost to Hampton in the second round of the tournament on Sunday.
Coach Kerley liked what he saw in his team. He knows there is a lot of work to be done, but feels his team has a solid foundation to build upon for the upcoming football season.
The football camps are not about winning or losing, but to provide the players with opportunities for development and growth. The coaches can evaluate the strengths of the football team and assess areas that need more attention and incorporate these critical components into football practices that will begin next week.

Atwood to play for King University

JCHS Longhorn 2019 stand-out Blake Atwood, right, with his father JCHS basketball coach Austin Atwood, has signed with King University for the 2019-2020 season. Submitted photo.

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Johnson County’s All-Northeast boys’ basketball player of the year, Blake Atwood officially signed with King University for the 2019-2020, basketball season.
Several colleges were knocking at Atwood’s door for the chance to have the 6’2 point guard play for their schools, but after careful consideration, the young athlete chose King University.
The Mr. Basketball finalist says that his main reason for choosing King was the respect he has for head coach, George Pitts.
“Coach Pitts has been around a long time and is a great coach, the last half of the season he was at almost every one of my games,” Atwood said.
Atwood emphasized that Coach Pitts likes his team to shoot a lot of threes and play high-pressure defense adding “this playstyle fits me perfectly.” The respect is mutual with Pitts as well. The head basketball coach emphasized his choice for Atwood when he said, “I recruited Blake all season. I watched him play six to eight times, but when he got 34 points against Fulton at sub-state, I had no doubt I wanted him.”
Pitts explained how valuable Atwood will be for King basketball. “Blake is an excellent student, so I don’t have to worry about class issues, he knows basketball, he’s been well-coached, but the main thing is; he works hard and is committed to getting stronger.”
Pitts also feels that Atwood is the kind of student and athlete that King University looks for in a future enrollee.
“Blake has a good chance to play this year if he continues to learn and get better as he goes along,” he said.
Johnson County Coach and Blake’s dad, Austin Atwood couldn’t be happier with his son’s choice. “I like Coach Pitts, he’s a great coach and will be good for Blake.”
The JCHS coach has a lot of admiration for his All-Conference son as well, “Blake can score from all three levels, rebounds extremely well, and can defend; he’s just a tough, gritty, hard-nosed player that simply knows how to play; I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Blake averaged 27 points, seven rebounds, four assists per game and was around 92 percent at the free-throw line. He also dominated the weekly ranks among Northeast Tennessee Players in basketball and demonstrated there are talented athletes east of Knoxville.
The gifted player could have had his choices of
colleges, but his decision to play for a local university
will allow the Johnson
County community to watch him fulfill his lifelong
dream of playing college basketball.

All-Stars season ends with loss to Johnson City

The Johnson County 10-12-year-old Baseball All-Stars pose for photo during last weeks tournament play.
Photo by Joey Icenhour

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The 10-12-year-old All-Star boys started tournament action on Monday, July 1 against Jonesborough in Bristol.
The boys lost 9-1 against their counterparts, but Coach Billy Stout did not hesitate to give commendation where it was due when he highlighted Chris Reece’s hard work of pitching a good game.
“The team just had too many errors and could not get any momentum going against Jonesborough,” Recce said.
The boys played the following day against Blountville.
Stout was very pleased with his all-stars and said, “We did not have any errors. The boys played like an all-star team. I was really proud of them.” According to Stout, the team hit the ball well, and “Derek Baird did a good job pitching for that night.”
Unfortunately, on Wednesday, July 3, Johnson County struggled against Johnson City. The game was called for a rain delay, so it had to be finished the following day, which did not help the team.
Stout mentioned that Johnson County all-stars did not have enough good pitchers after Eli Dickens was forced to stop due to exceeding the ånumber of pitches he could throw in a tournament game without the mandatory rest period.
The team seemed to have run out of pitchers to take his place, resulting in Johnson City’s 15-1 win.
In the end, however, Stout was very complimentary of his team when he said that it was an honor to coach the boys. “They are a great bunch of kids. I’m very proud of them. I want to thank all the pitchers including, Nate Dorman, John Jennings, Grayson Holt, Derek Baird, Nathanael Walker, Chris Recee, and Eli Dickens for the great job they did this year.”
Stout also mentioned that this was the first time since the nineties that this age group has won a tournament game, “They will do great things next year,” he said.

JCHS athletic field poised for football season

Johnson County Longhorns fans give their best helping their team to earn a Homecoming game victory against West Green inside packed out Paul McEwen Stadium. Tomahawk file photo

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

After several weeks of hard work, a lot of rain, and many late nights, the JCHS football field is finally completed. Coach Don Kerley is proud of how it looks and is very grateful to so many who helped contribute to the field renovations.
The Longhorn coach states everything is done but putting up the goal posts. The players, however, won’t be on the newly constructed field until early August, but in the meantime, the Longhorns will be busy with camps, weightlifting and summer practices.
“We will be going to UVA Wise for a seven-on-seven camp, and then we head to Hampton for a two-day lineman camp. Regular practice begins July 22.”
Kerley added that the program must get these boys ready, and said, “These are good camps. The players will learn a lot and will be warmed up and set to go when regular practice starts.”
Funding for the football field did not come from the school’s budget; it was all done through gate sales, the Touchdown Club, monetary donations and the sale of banners.
The Touchdown Club is an excellent resource for anyone interested in keeping up with Longhorn football.
According to officials, the club has a Facebook page where information is available about meeting times, football schedules, and other necessary information.
Banners are still on sale and can be purchased by contacting Kerley at 423-444-9724.

2019 Little League Roundup; End of Season Results

Watauga Electric. First place season and tournament winner. Photo Submitted

JCLL 10 and 11 All Star Team. Photo Submitted

The Johnson County Little League regular season play has ended, and many all-star teams have been eliminated.
Of course, that is by no means the last inning for the year as the 10-12 All-Stars have launched some exciting baseball action on July 1 in Bristol.

Highlights of the regular season are as follows:

Eastridge Construction Dodgers-First Place
H&R Block Athletics-Second Place
10,11, 12 All-Stars were eliminated in district tournament play

Coach Pitch/Minor League
Rafter H Construction Pirates-First Place
Mullins Real Estate Diamondbacks-Second Place

Major League
Watauga Electric Diamondbacks-First Place
Danny Herman Trucking White Sox-Second Place

All-Stars Toury Results
Minor League/Coach Pitch finished runner-up in zone tournament but was eliminated in district tournament-4th place
The 8, 9, 10 All-Stars were eliminated in zone tournament, while the 9,10, 11 All-Stars made it to the district tournament but was soon eliminated.
Coach Charlie Jennings was proud of his all-stars stating they fought hard from the regular to tournament play.
“The team represented Johnson County well, the last game was a true nail biter, but lost it in the sixth inning, 8-7,” Jennings said.
Coach Jennings is grateful to Mike’s BBQ, KFC, Butler Trading Post, Farmers BBQ, Monsoons Thai and exotic food and Pleasants Store for being this year’s sponsors.
The 10,11, 12 All-Stars play began all-star action in Bristol on Monday.

36th Annual Appalachia Railroad Days 5K Road Race set for next month

Staff Report

All area runners and walkers are now encouraged to get in shape and participate in the annual Appalachia Railroad Days 5K Road Race.
The fast-paced, flat-course event is scheduled for Saturday, August 3, in Appalachia, VA.
The race is an SFTC King & Queen sanctioned race. High school and middle school cross country and track teams are especially invited to participate.
The race/walk also features a 3-Mile Power Walk for serious walkers who have yet to transition to running.
The walks and races will start at the Appalachia Fire Hall in downtown Appalachia. The course is rated flat with only a few moderate hills and traverses several residential neighborhoods, downtown streets and a scenic stretch of Callahan Avenue to and from Andover.
The 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m. The 5K Road Race starts at 8:15 a.m., and the 3-Mile Power Walk follows at approximately 8:20 a.m. Top female and top male finishers each receive an award in the walking events. Each finisher will receive a ribbon.
Awards will be presented to the female and male Top Overall, Top Masters, Top Grand Masters and to the top three finishers age groups: 0-9,10-14,15-19,20-24,25-29,30-34,35-39,40-44,45-49,50-54,55-59,60-64,65-69,70-74, and 75 and over.
Pre-registration fees are $14 for the 5K race and $10 each for the 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk and 3-Mile Power Walk. Entry fees on the day of the events are $15 and $11 respectively. All pre-registrants will be guaranteed a commemorative t-shirt. Five registration fees will be refunded as Door Prizes.
To pre-register, send entry form and fee to Appalachia Railroad Days 5K Road Race, P.O. Box 302, Appalachia, VA 24216. Make checks payable to Appalachia Railroad Days 5K Road Race.
The registration form may be obtained by visiting www.runtricities.net. Pre-registrations are due no later than July 31. Participants may also register online at www.athlinks.com/event/36th-annual-appalachia-railroad-days-5k-29714.
Headphones and strollers are permitted on the course.
Contact Randy Blair at (276) 393-9577 or assistant race directors Pam Hutchinson at (276) 565-0821 and Kimberly Teglas at (276) 393-6163.

Brooks finds success as a first-year coach

Brittney Brooks and the Lady Dodgers celebrate their first place win for the regular season for ages 9,10, 11 group division. Photo Submitted

Brittney Brooks was a versatile player in high school. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball throughout her high school career, but after a year out of high school, Brooks found her new role as a coach just as rewarding.
The new coach doesn’t shy away from sharing that she was very nervous in her new role as team manager, but found the opportunity very rewarding.
“I am majoring in Elementary Education, so I think that coaching little league is a good experience for me,” she said.
Brooks felt having a good group of girls along with supportive team parents also contributed to the success of the team. The Lady Dodgers had six girls who had never played softball before but loved the sport and worked hard to improve in each game. The other teammates who
had more experience and became positive leaders for the rookie players.
The girls became a close team from the very beginning, which contributed to the success of the Lady Dodgers. Brooks’ team won first place in the regular season.
Brooks along with assistant coaches, Brett Epperly, and Craig McElyea led the all-stars to Gray for tournament play.
Brooks felt the team had a good field game in the first game against Unicoi, but struggled with batting, “we were swinging way too early and could not generate enough offense.”
The second game was a “mercy rule” against Bristol. Brooks felt her team played both a great offensive and defensive game, so Bristol was only able to get two runs against the all-stars.
Johnson County found themselves playing against Unicoi in the last game.
The first-year coach felt her team could have
beaten Unicoi, but just played slow and some players were
playing new positions, “so it hurt us” Brooks adds.
The overall experience for the softball coach was positive and a great learning experience. Brooks is looking forward to doing it all over again next year.
“Coaching is in my blood; my parents coached for years and helped me a lot this year.”

Breakfast fundraiser sends volleyball team to camp

The girls’ volleyball team is resting after serving over 200 people for their breakfast fundraiser Saturday at the Crewette building. Pictured: Emily Garr, Sydney Souder, Taylor Cox, Cassidy Lakotos, Rhiannon Icenhour, and Izzy Furches

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

JCHS volleyball team had to do something last Saturday morning that they may not have done in a while, get up early.
Several members of the Lady Longhorn volleyball team served up breakfast at the Crewette building to help raise money for volleyball camp.
A sizable number of parents, teachers, fans, and area residents came out and supported the team by making donations to help the Lady Longhorns reach their goal.
At final count, the fundraising effort proved successful, but the coaches would like to have a couple of more of such events held to help with the overall cost of camp. The money will also be used to help buy new equipment and uniforms for the team.
The volleyball camp is now scheduled for Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The camp is said to be important to the girls as they can work closely with college students to improve their volleyball techniques, as well as learn to work together as a team.
“It is great preparation as they begin the new volleyball season,” said coach Michele Cooke.
Many of the players from last year will be returning. Cooke and assistant coach Sarah Jennings are excited about the upcoming season.
“As long as we can stay positive and play together, we will be successful,” Cooke said.
Cooke is returning to volleyball after being away for several years. Jennings was the assistant volleyball coach three years ago and is now returning as the assistant to Cooke. She is also the JCMS basketball coach.

TWRA Big Game Quota Hunt

Staff reports

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced the application period for the 2019 Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Big Game Quota hunts, the Cherokee Party Dog hunts, the regular and youth elk hunts, and WMA youth hunts will run from June 19 through July 24.
Applications must be submitted before midnight (CDT) July 24.
The WMA hunting instruction sheet lists locations and dates for each of the quota hunts along with drawing rules and regulations. The current instruction sheet is available at www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/quota-hunts.
Applications may be submitted online at www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com, at any TWRA license agent, or TWRA regional office. Mailed applications will not be processed into the drawing system.
There is no fee for current Annual Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders, or seniors possessing a Type 167 Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman License. For all other applicants, there is a non-refundable $12 application fee for each drawing entered. There is a $1 agent fee for applications submitted at a license agent. When applying at a license agent, hunters must remain at the location while the application is processed to verify the information is correct on the receipt. For applications made on the Internet, there is a $2 internet usage fee.
If entering multiple quota hunts, a person must pay the agent fee for each application and application fee for each drawing submitted. There are a maximum of 2 drawings for the WMA Big Game hunts. Transaction ID numbers are issued for all transactions and are the customer’s assurance that their application has been accepted into the system.
The WMA (elk hunts excluded) priority point system gives a priority point for each year a hunter participates (this year a maximum of 13 points) without being successfully drawn for a hunt. Applicants drawn for a hunt last year will start over with a priority of zero.
After the drawings are conducted, leftover permits will be sold on-line, on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning August 21, 2019 at 8 a.m. (CDT).
The state’s 11th annual gun elk hunts will be held Oct. 12-18 with seven individuals selected to participate. Six of the participants will be selected through a computer drawing conducted by the TWRA. The seventh participant will be the recipient of a permit that is donated to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), this year the chosen NGO is the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. That permit will be issued
in a raffle for the second year.
Additionally, this will be the third year for archery only hunts with seven permits issued. Archery hunt dates are Sept. 28-Oct. 4. The regular elk permits are for a specific Elk Hunting Zone (EHZ) or specified combination of zones on North Cumberland WMA and for private lands in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan and Scott counties. Applicants select which zone they would prefer during the application. More information about the elk hunt zones as well as an interactive map can be found at: www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/big-game/elk.html
Youth ages 13-16 may apply for the regular or youth elk hunt, but may not apply for both. The youth hunt permit is valid for any zone.

Baseball, the National Pass Time

By Jack Swift

With Baseball in full swing, I decided this week to put together a column on that great sport. While I’m not an expert on that subject, I like to kick back and enjoy a game on the tube occasionally. As a youngster, I enjoyed tossing around the ole’ “hoss hide” with other kids in the neighborhood. It was a delight for me when my family would travel to Shady Valley to visit my mother’s two sisters. I would get to play a little baseball with my several cousins there. I enjoy following the exploits of the high school and middle school baseball and softball programs.
Believe it or not, I actually played first base for Dewey on occasion when Dewey was part of that league. I own two very old gloves that I acquired during that time. One is a fielder’s glove that is about 65 years old. The other is a first basement’s mitt that I bought from player for all of a dime. It was old then and I guess it would be about eighty years old now.
It is not widely known, but Johnson County had a league of its own in the “50s and ‘60s and perhaps even later. I don’t remember what it was called, but perhaps it was the Johnson County League. If my memory is correct, some teams that participated were: Mountain City, Laurel Bloomery, Taylor’s Valley, Dewey, Dry Run, Neva, Shady Valley, Doe Valley, Butler, and a team in North Carolina named Mable. Perhaps there were others, or perhaps some I named were not in the league at all.
The only Major League player to hale from Johnson County was Clyde “Hardrock” Shoun. A few Johnson County folks played some Minor League baseball but they never ascended to the Majors. “Hardrock played” during the era of radio and you could bet that the good folks of Johnson County had their ears glued to that machine listening to the heroics of their hometown hero.
Shoun was born in Mountain City, Tennessee on March 20, 1912. He died March 20, 1968 at the age of 56. He threw and batted left handed. He debuted with the Chicago Cubs on August 7, 1935. His last appearance as a major leaguer was July 19, 1949. He distinguished himself by pitching a no-hitter playing for the Cincinnati Reds against the Boston Braves on May 15, 1944.

Tolley inducted into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame

J.R. Campbell presents JCHS Girls’ Basketball Coach Leon Tolley a plaque for being one of the newest members of the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame at TCAT in Elizabethton Saturday evening. Submitted photo

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

JCHS girls’ basketball coach Leon Tolley was inducted into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday at TCAT in Elizabethton. Tolley was recognized for his outstanding basketball career as both player and coach.
In 1983, Tolley led the Hampton Bulldogs all the way to state playoff finals. The team faced off with East Robertson in the finals and lost 73-67, but Tolley still won the Most Valuable Player award in class A division.
The MVP award is usually an honor that is given to an individual from the winning team; however, due to his talent and work ethic, the honor was given to Tolley.
The basketball honoree later returned to Hampton High School as the girls’ basketball coach where he took his team to state playoffs on more than one occasion.
When asked about the Hall of Fame, honor Tolley humbly gave credit to others. “As a player, I was fortunate to have good teammates and good coaches, and as a coach, I was surrounded by good players and assistant coaches.
“It’s special because it means you’ve done something well over a long period of time,” he said, ending by acknowledging the importance of family for both his playing and coaching career.
The newest inductee was presented the award by his longtime colleague and friend, J.R. Campbell.
As a the JCHS girls’ basketball coach, Tolley encourages a hard work ethic in his young team.
The coach emphasized, “one of the most important assets a player has to have is the will to work hard, get better, and improve.”
Tolley said that distractions and the inability of players to be self-motivated are the struggles coaches today are faced with when working with their teams, stating, “ after practice, players won’t get back in the gym until the next practice, or kids are playing multiple sports making it difficult to focus on one sport long enough to reach their maximum potential.”
As the new school year begins, Tolley is ready to get back in the gym and start working with his team. He has high expectations for the girls and knows if they are dedicated and work hard, it will be a successful season.

“Bicycle Pump Track” opens at Ralph Stout Park

By Tamas Mondovics

The recently announced installation of a bicycle pump track is now complete, and open for use within Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City.
The track is just one of the improvements that Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons had on his to-do list.
“Our plan is tailored not just for our young people but for our senior citizens and everyone in between,” he said.
The effort resulted in the announcement earlier this spring to add one of the newest phenomena, a bicycle pump track to the town’s list of outdoor activities.
As soon as it opened, the track, which is a small, looping trail system that one can ride continuously without pedaling was filled with young people riding their bikes and scooters.
The speed along the pump track is dependent on a person’s ability to gain momentum by “pumping” the tight terrain transitions of the track.
The Town of Mountain City along with the county received a grant to install the new addition to the park.

Children can ride bicycles and scooters to take advantage of the recently installed bicycle pump track at
Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City. The small, looping trail system allows a person to ride continuously without pedaling, welcomes young and old alike for a fun outdoor activity.

City Council approved moving forward with the project several months ago and promised to open the pump track in early summer.
“What makes this project even sweeter is the fact it is paid for entirely with grant money,” Parsons said in an earlier interview. “A lot of my focus as mayor has been and will continue to be working on issues to help our youth. I am really excited about this project because it can be used by both young and old.”
Children, beginners, amateurs, pros, and senior citizens on bikes, skateboards, inline skates and scooters are all allowed to take advantage of the track.

Local teen’s invention approved for high school softball use

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

It is said; the best ideas come from the most mundane moments.
Such is the case with Johnson County High School sophomore and softball player, Hailey Cox, who after a day of practice was sitting in the living room with her dad, Tim Cox Jr., discussing how softball practice was going.
It was a simple conversation that led to the idea appropriately named Align Eight, a new product designed to help keep the batter’s knuckles properly aligned allowing the batter a much better, and more natural grip resulting in more consistency in swinging the bat.
Hailey explained that the product could also help protect the batter’s hands by absorbing some of the shocks from the bat.
“It does not guarantee better hitting, but it is a tool to help with proper batting techniques,” she said.
After sketching out different models using only Crayola Modeling Material and going through many sketches and 3D models, Tim hired a product designer from Microsoft.
Hailey experimented with various prototypes before choosing the product that is now Align Eight.
But how was the dad and daughter team going to get the new invention approved for baseball and softball play?
JCHS softball coach, Greg Reece was instrumental in giving Hailey and Tim information and contacts they needed to take their product to the next level, which was the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS).
The two innovators went to Indianapolis, Indiana and presented their product to a seventeen-member team, eleven of who were voting members.
Hailey had the daunting task of fielding multiple questions from the members for several minutes.
While very nervous, Haley said, “Having dinner with Elliot Hopkins (Director of NFHS) the night before really helped calm my nerves.”
Tim and Hailey’s hard work and dedication to this project paid off; on Monday, June 10, the pair received the confirmation from the NFHS that Align Eight was indeed approved for high school use.
The rest is history as the two developers hope to launch Align Eight in the fall of 2019.
Align Eight will be available under Hailey and Tim’s company, Firsty Athletic Company, where Hailey is not only Vice President but also a shareholder in the company. “Firsty” is derived from Hailey’s approach to softball; “work every day, sweat every day, improve every day, thirst for your first.”
Firsty is a combination of the words first and thirst.
Align Eight is just the beginning for the young entrepreneur. The goal for Firsty is to release more products, including apparel that will be approved by Hailey.
Hailey and her dad are very grateful to Coach Reece, Cory Wilson, who printed the prototypes and the Mountain City community for the help and support they have received throughout the whole journey.
A remarkable athlete, a great student, and a marvelous creator, Haley is passionate about helping others
and doing the work of the Lord.
Through her company and the sales of Align Eight, she will donate a portion of the profit to an organization close to her heart, ToMoveMountains.org; the organization’s mission is to help the children of the Nuba Mountains of Sudan Africa.
Johnson County High School sophomore softball player, Haley Cox, proudly presents a new product she and her dad invented to keep the batter’s knuckles properly aligned with the softball or baseball bat for a more natural grip and consistent swing. The National Federation of High School Sport recently approved Haley’s product softball use.

“Bicycle Pump Track” opens at Ralph Stout Park

Children can ride bicycles and scooters to take advantage of the recently installed bicycle pump track at
Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City. The small, looping trail system allows a person to ride continuously without pedaling, welcomes young and old alike for a fun outdoor activity.

Weather holds for the Kingsport Speedway Food City 175

By Robert Walden

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 15, 2019) – Mother Nature finally delivered a beautiful sunny day Friday in Northeast Tennessee to welcome everyone to Kingsport Speedway for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Food City 175 Night at the Races.
Ronnie McCarty of Kingsport has stepped back somewhat this season with his racing and is only competing occasionally. But fans can rest assured when the two-time “Highlands Sign Shop” Late Model Stock Car track champion shows up he’ll be a strong contender to win. McCarty passed his teammate Lance Gatlin for the lead prior to halfway in the 60-lap main event and once out front he never looked back en route to capturing his second victory on the season.
McCarty was fastest in qualifying at 14.982 seconds to narrowly edge out Hayden Woods who toured “The Concrete Jungle” at 14.993. The roll of the dice inverted the top four from time trials, putting Gatlin on the pole with Nik Williams on the outside of the front row.
Gatlin grabbed the lead on the start over Williams, McCarty, Woods and Bryson Dennis. McCarty immediately went to work trying to overtake Williams for the second spot, and it didn’t take long before he pulled the trigger to complete the pass. Setting his sights ahead on leader Gatlin, he quickly closed to his back bumper.
There’s something to be said for having good chemistry between driver and crew chief. McCarty showed up on race day at Kingsport Speedway with a smile on his face, because he was happy to be reunited once again with his cousin, Mark Ketron. Ketron led McCarty to the two track championships before stepping away from racing to take a break last year. When you put McCarty behind the wheel with Ketron calling the shots as crew chief – just call them the “dynamic duo.”
McCarty got up on the wheel to pass Gatlin for the lead and once out front he never looked back. He was on a mission and was bound and determined to settle for nothing but parking in victory lane. McCarty captured his second win of the season over Woods, Williams, defending Late Model Stock Car track champion Zeke Shell and Gatlin.
Completing the top 10 finishers were Dennis, Joey Trent, Derek Lane, Wayne Hale and Keith Helton.
Nothing tastes sweeter than your first kiss or in motorsports with your first-ever win. Alex Miller of Erwin definitely likes the feeling of getting his first victory. Miller outran Rusty Clendenin, two-time defending “Super Transmission” Modified Street champion Royce Peters, Austin Peters and Kevin Canter for the crowd-pleasing win.
Keith Helton maneuvered his way past Brandon Sutherland late in the Pure 4 feature to capture his sixth feature win on the season. Helton was chased to the checkered flag by Sutherlan, Bruce Crumbley, Josh Detwiler and Bucky Smith.
Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Dennis Arnold of Meadowview, Va., turned in a strong run to knock three-time defending Mod 4 champion Kevin Canter from the unbeaten ranks. Canter had started the season by recording eight straight victories. Arnold captured his first win of the season over Canter, Billy Duty, Hershell Robinette and Chris Amburgey.
Doug Austin of Castlewood, Va., sped to his division-leading seventh Pure Street win over Tony Dockery, Kevin Darnell, Skylar Schmalzried and Mike Mays.

(First 3 finishers)

1. Ronnie McCarty #5-Kingsport, TN
2. Hayden Woods #6-Piney Flats, TN
3. Nik Williams #32-Chuckey, TN

1. Alex Miller #37
2. Rusty Clendenin #27
3. Royce Peters #48

PURE 4 (30 laps)
1. Keith Helton #9
2. Brandon Sutherland #48
3. Bruce Crumbley #33

MOD 4 (30 laps)
1. Dennis Arnold #71
2. Kevin Canter #3
3. Billy Duty #2

Nerf War gets momentum at Ralph Stout Park

Kiera Webb, 8, of Mountain City, is ready for Nerf War at Ralph Stout Park. Under the supervision of John Goodman, children enjoy playing outdoors as they run around with their foam firing toy blasters. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Mountain City resident, John Goodman has started a war at Ralph Stout Park; Nerf War that is, and the kids love it.
Goodman has been following a pattern across the country by having Nerf wars here in Mountain City.
Goodman explained that each child receives a Nerf blaster or other foam firing toy weapon and goggles; then he lets the “war” begin.
While eight-year-old Kiera Webb, likes “foam flinging,” Mason Sluder likes “getting hit.
“I just enjoy coming out and making new friends,” Sluder said.
“Blasters are available for various ages and sizes, so no one is left out of the fun,” Goodman said.
The Nerf Commander added that he might start with just four participants, but by the end of the day, he could easily have up to 12-15 young people running around.
“The most I had participating was around twenty ‘warriors,” he said.
Goodman has been organizing the games for the past two years and hopes to continue throughout the summer. He explains how much fun it is for the kids and gets them active.
“I supply the blasters, the kids show up and then all you need is an open space to begin the games,” he said. “The park makes it an
ideal place to have the Nerf Wars.”
Goodman follows the Nerf Internet Community (NIC) rules. The kids are divided into two teams, they receive their blaster of choice, and the action begins.
The next Nerf War is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, from 12-4 p.m.





NASHVILLE — With Chronic Wasting Disease occurring in Tennessee, the TWRA has established the goal of keeping CWD from spreading, keeping the number of diseased deer in the affected area to a minimum, and reducing disease rates where possible. To achieve that goal, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established a CWD (chronic wasting disease) Unit with specific regulations to achieve our goals that are science-based and data-driven.

The aim of Unit CWD hunting regulations is to increase the deer harvest by empowering hunters to harvest more while targeting high-risk deer and allowing the agency to sample more deer to better understand the disease. Data collected to date indicates that bucks are twice as likely as does to have CWD. Older bucks are three times more likely to have CWD than younger bucks. Other research proves that bucks have a much larger home range so the likelihood of bucks transporting CWD to new areas is higher. For all these reasons, the harvest of bucks will help the most with accomplishing these goals; however the harvest of does is also very important since they can spread the disease as well.

The following hunting regulation changes were made to Unit CWD counties to accomplish the above-stated objectives:

  • Earn-A-Buck
    • Tennessee’s antlered deer bag limit (2) did not change; therefore it still applies to hunters hunting Unit CWD as well as the rest of the state.
    • Only hunters hunting in Unit CWD counties may earn additional bucks.
    • Unit CWD hunters may earn up to two bucks for harvest, in addition to the statewide antler deer bag limit of two.
    • Earned bucks are received by harvesting two Unit CWD antlerless deer, checking them in, submitting them for CWD testing, and being notified by TWRA.
    • Earn-A-Buck will increase the number of deer (does and bucks) harvested and the numbers of deer tested for CWD.
  • Replacement Bucks
    • Unit CWD hunters will receive a replacement buck if they harvest a CWD-positive buck and the lab result is confirmed by TWRA.
    • There is no limit on the number of replacement bucks.
    • Replacement bucks will encourage hunters to continue hunting and harvesting and be an added incentive for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.
  • The August 3-day hunt now allows the use of muzzleloaders, in addition to archery, and applies to most public lands (Presidents Island in Shelby County is excluded).
  • Muzzleloader season will begin on October 28th in Unit CWD
  • Gun season will begin November 9th in Unit CWD
  • Antlered harvest allowed during the January 5-day private lands hunt (traditionally antlerless only)
  • Mandatory physical check stations on 2-3 and Nov. 9-10 for Unit CWD counties except Hardeman and Fayette.

The CWD hunting regulations only apply to CWD positive counties of Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison and CWD high-risk counties of Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton. Carcass export and wildlife feeding restrictions remain in place for Unit CWD.

Boat registration fees to see first increase in 12 years

Photo By Tamas Mondovics

TWRA Press Release

Tennessee boaters have the month of June to renew their boat registration before the first fee increase in 12 years goes into effect on July 1, pending approval by the Government Operations Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports there are about 264,000 vessels registered.
Any boating vessel operated by a gas engine, electric motor or sail is required to be registered. The increase is in line with the rise of the
consumer price index since the last fee increase was made.
The current fee for a 16-foot boat and under is $13 for one year, $24 for two, and $35 for three. The new fees will be $15, $28, and $41, respectively. Vessels with a length over 16-feet to 26-feet will increase from $25 to $29 for a year. Those over 26 feet to 40 increases from $38 to $44 and vessels more than 40 feet moves from $51 to $59 for a year.
Boat owners have the option to have their vessels
registered for one, two, or three years. The registration term may not exceed three years and 30 days. Boat owners will not see the increase until their current registration expires.
Those vessels that are powered only by paddle such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and rafts are not required to be registered.
Boat registration can be made online at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com, or on Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at any TWRA regional office located in Jackson (Region I), Nashville (Region II), Crossville (Region III), and Morristown (Region IV), or by mail.

JC Hikers cover local trails

The Johnson County Hikers enjoy beautiful weather while exploring Linville Falls State Park in NC. Photo by Joe Ray

By Tamas Mondovics

Members of the Johnson County Hikers have enjoyed four scheduled hikes so far
this season posting positive results.
The hikes included the Virginia Creeper Trail, Appalachian Trail at Watauga Dam, Linville Falls and Grayson Highlands State Park.
“We had beautiful weather for the hike to Linville falls along the Blue Ridge,” Angie Stout said. “The hiking group that day included three new hikers, and we got to hike to three different locations to see the falls, one of which went right down to the waters’ edge and the highest one gave us a stunning view from a distance.”
Stout emphasized that the sight was beautiful and certainly worth the effort to see the water spill over the rocks and plunge to the deep gorge below.
The trails were reportedly well kept, and the route easy to follow. After the hike, the group enjoyed some ice cream at a local eatery on the way back to Mountain City. “A great way to spend a summer Saturday,” Stout added.
Johnson County Hikers is open to everyone. One does not have to be highly experienced, though the ability to complete the length of the hike of the day is essential. Beginners and supervised children are welcome.
Stout mentioned that the group typically schedule a hike for every other Saturday as they meet in the parking lot of the Food Lion on Hwy 42 at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 9 a.m. sharp unless otherwise stated.
“We carpool to hike sites when possible. A walking stick, lunch, plenty of water and sunscreen or a hat are all encouraged to be brought along each hike.
All hikes are on Saturday unless otherwise stated. Unexpected weather or events may necessitate a destination substitution for something more fitting to the conditions.
The next hike is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 in the Irwin area. The group is promising to do parts of a pair of trails that are pretty close together by hiking up to High Rock Vista and then move on to the Lower Higgins Falls, totaling about five miles.
For questions, please call Carol at 727-5947.
Photos: Hikers pose for a photo during a recent hike at Linville Falls. The members of the Johnson County Hikers encourage all to join their hikes at nearby trails. Please see the calendar in this edition of The Tomahawk for the group’s next scheduled hike.