The 12th annual Regions Bank Directors Cup competition may have produced winners that almost anyone could have guessed, but it once again provided for great excitement throughout the Georgia high school sports year.
From the first glimpse of spring football practice to the last crack of the baseball bat more than 12 months later, schools as a whole—and not merely the individual teams—vie for overall glory with the cup honoring the best programs over the course of an entire athletic year. It has been that away ever since the Georgia Athletic Directors Association established the Directors Cup in 1999. With more and more enthusiasm being generated every season, what has become a revered GHSA tradition is not going away anytime soon.
GADA president Bob Stinchcomb, also the athletic director at Darlington, stressed the importance of and passion for the Regions Directors Cup.
“The number of hits this year on the GADA website has been outrageous,” Stinchcomb noted, “with parents and kids keeping track of the cup standings. I think that in itself shows just how meaningful the competition is.
“It’s been wonderful,” he continued. “It’s good for schools and individual players. Everybody strives for a common goal, whether that goal is to win the overall cup or—for schools that know they are a long-shot to win for the entire state—to win individual regions. Recognizing the champions is so important.”
MARIST TRIUMPHS AGAIN …
For Marist, championships are nothing new; neither is the Regions Directors Cup crown. In fact, the War Eagles have come out on top of the overall standings every single year since the cup’s inception. They won it in 1999-2000 as a member of Class 3A and they have now captured it 11 times in a row Class 4A.
This time, though, Marist dealt with plenty of competition. The school finished with 1148.5 points in the overall competition, fewer than 100 points clear of Pope (1066.5), while Chattahoochee was not far behind with 928.0.
The standings looked the exact same on the boys’ side, as Marist edged Pope and Chattahoochee. In fact, the War Eagles and Greyhounds finished in an absolute deadlock with 572.0 points. Marist, however, took top honors over an impressive Pope haul by collecting one third-place finish to none by the Greyhounds.
Not surprisingly, such a hotly-contested contest came down to the final week on the athletic calendar. On the baseball diamond, the Greyhounds had succumbed to Whitewater during quarterfinal action. Two rounds later, they needed Whitewater to take out Marist in the championship series in order to preserve their lead atop the boys’ cup standings. But it was not to be, as the War Eagles prevailed 11-5 and 8-1 for a two-game sweep.
DYNASTIES REIGN SUPREME …
“Some of it stays fairly consistent,” Stinchcomb said of the year-to-year standings. “You have the traditional winners, but people try to close that gap. Pope did a great job even though Marist won, and Lovett always has fun battles with Westminster.”
Lagging behind only Marist in overall cups won, Westminster prevailed for the 11th time in 12 years. As Stinchcomb noted, Lovett—and Greater Atlanta Christian—kept pace in the standings before the Wildcats pulled away with a late spring flurry. Westminster earned 1299.5 points, Lovett tallied 1058.0, and GAC was not far behind with 1053.0.
Westminster chalked up six state titles during the 2010-11 campaign, including four in the spring. The boys triumphed in golf, soccer and tennis while the girls brought home the lacrosse championship. A runner-up finish for the girls tennis team and semifinal showings in boys lacrosse and girls soccer added to the Wildcats’ overwhelming final stretch. Having already raced to fall titles in both boys and girls cross country, Westminster had enough to hold off the Lions and Spartans.
While no school comes close to Marist and Westminster in historical Regions Directors Cup dominance, three-peats were the story in both Class A and Class 3A.
Wesleyan won its fourth straight cup (third consecutive in Class A) and fifth in school history. The Wolves got another state championship from the girls basketball team, a perennial powerhouse, but also came up big in other departments. First-ever titles were delivered by the boys tennis and swimming squads while the boys cross country team successfully defended its 2009 trophy.
“We had a pretty good year and I’ve very proud of our teams that won state championships that haven’t won it before,” athletic director Marc Khedouri told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It’s confirmation we are doing a lot of things correctly.”
Class 3A featured the most intense head-to-head showdown from start to finish, with Region 5 rivals St. Pius X and Woodward going toe-to-toe the entire way. They simply dominated all three categories. On the boys side, the War Eagles finished first and the Golden Lions took second. Roles were reversed in the girls competition, as Pius came out on top ahead of second-place Woodward. Overall, Pius just barely battled its way to a third consecutive cup with 1243.0 points to Woodward’s 1185.0.
BUCKING BRONCOS …
Parity has been the name of the game among the biggest schools in Georgia, as six different Class 5A schools have won the Regions Directors Cup since the GHSA expanded to five classifications in 2000.
This time the title went to Brookwood, which triumphed for the second time in its history and first since 2003-04. The Broncos got off to a strong start by winning fall championships in football and boys cross country while the girls cross country team ran to second place. After the girls swam to a runner-up state finish in the winter, the boys tennis team led the way in the spring by capturing the school’s third state championship of the year.
And Stinchcomb was not kidding when he emphasized how much a Regions Directors Cup means to victorious schools and the enjoyment that it brings.
“It’s great and fun to watch where you are in the rankings,” Brookwood athletic director Mark Kimbro told the GDP. “It’s huge for the school. Brookwood has been in the running forever. We’ve been second or third every year for a while. It’s hard to win the thing. It’s a great tribute to our coaches and our kids.”