TJCA athletes excel in Wednesday's contests


AVONDALE — The Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) track and field team had a successful outing at the Bessemer City FCA Invitational on Wednesday afternoon. The boys team finished first overall, while the girls team finished second. 

The Gryphons had multiple athletes qualify for regionals. The girls 4X400 (Kaitlyn Rowe, Maylan Maxwell, Audrey Friedman, and Sophia Smart) and 4X800-meter (Kaitlyn Rowe, Audrey Friedman, Emma Deviney, and Sophia Smart) relay teams, along with the boys 4X800-meter relay team (Carson Gilliam, Michael Ledbetter, Ian Richards, and Parker Marshall) all qualified. Kaitlyn Rowe qualified for regionals in the 800-meter run. 

The following athletes finished first in the following events: 

Kaden Fenner (high jump, 300-meter hurdles), David Hargro (shot put), Carson Gilliam (1600-meter and 3200-meter run), Owen Pierce (400-meter dash), Keren Hargro (discus throw), Emma Deviney (3200-meter run) and Kaitlyn Rowe (800-meter run, 1600-meter run). The girls 4X400 and 4X800-meter relay team, along with the 4X400 and 4X800-meter relay team finished first as well. 

The second-place finishers included: 

Owen Pierce (200-meter dash), Nathan Halliday (400-meter dash), Emily Short (discus throw), Maddie Connor (high jump), Keren Hargro (shot put), Hattie Hamrick (3200-meter run), Sophia Smart (800-meter run) and Audrey Friedman (400-meter dash). The boys 4X200-meter relay team and the girls 4X200-meter relay team both finished second as well. 

Third-place finishers included: 

Michael Ledbetter (1600-meter run), Kaden Fenner (110-meter hurdles), and Sophia Smart (1600-meter run). The boys 4X100-meter relay team placed third as well.

The TJCA middle school tennis team improved to 5-0 on the season with a 7-2 win over Crest Middle on Wednesday. 

Abby Crawford (8-0), August Cook (8-0), Max Sutton (9-7), and Emma Hamrick (8-0) were all victorious in their singles matches. In doubles play, Cook and Crawford combined for an 8-0 win, as did Hamrick and Sutton. The team of Charlie Sutton and Jasmine Martin won by an 8-5 score. 

With the win, the Gryphons clinched a spot in the Tri-County Conference Championship match. The Gryphons next match will be Monday at Crestview Park against R-S Middle.

The varsity men’s tennis team defeated Burns on Wednesday by a 6-3 score. Charlie Schweppe (6-1, 6-2), Lukas Hobbs (6-4, 6-4), James Hamrick (6-3, 2-6, 10-4) and Connor O’Reilly (Ret.) picked up victories in singles play. In doubles play, Aidan O’Reilly and Hobbs won 8-3, while Hamrick and Turner Cook won 8-5.

The team’s next match is Tuesday at East Gaston.

The varsity softball team suffered a defeat on Wednesday but showed some quality pitching in the circle. The Lady Gryphons will return to action at home on Friday against Shelby.

The middle school track and field team also competed on Wednesday, but results are still pending from the meet.