Southland Academy winter sports athletes honored for their accomplishments at winter sports assembly

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

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AMERICUS – Wednesday at Southland Academy was a time to “give honor to whom honor us due.” At approximately 1:30 p.m., all of the high school students and family members gathered inside the Melvin Kinslow Gymnasium for the school’s winter sports assembly.
This was a time to honor the Raiders and Lady Raiders who performed with excellence throughout the winter months.

The Southland Academy Cheerleading Squad is honored at the school’s winter sports assembly. L-R: Macie Deriso, Lily Haugabook, Holladay Miles,Eva Grace Studdard,Tate Young, Camie Cochran,Kylee Ann Crawford, Ansley Goolsby, Adaline Miles, Mia Mixon, Kate Pritchett, Wimberly Hines, McGraw Minor, Medley Walker
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Southland Cheerleaders, the wrestling team and both the boys and girls basketball teams were all honored collectively, as were individuals from those teams who won individual state championships and who were named to the All-Region and All-State teams.

The Southland boys’ wrestling team finished in ninth place overall in the GIAA State Tournament, but headlining several great individual performances was sophomore Ethan Beck’s individual state championship in the 144 lb. weight class. Freshman Allen Styck finished in fifth place in the 150 lb. weight class. Senior James Wall finished in sixth place in the 175 lb. weight class, while freshman Brock Schrable finished in fourth place in the 190 lb. weight class. All of the afore mentioned wrestlers, as well as others on the team, were honored at the assembly for their performances throughout the season. In addition to the individual performances, the Raiders as a team posted a record of 5-1 in duals.

The Southland Academy Lady Raiders shown here with their awards at the school’s winter sports assembly. L-R: Landry Hart, Sophia Blankenship, Mary Beth Easterlin, Adler Rae Owens, Gracie Burrell, Mary Ramsey Collins, Ila Johnson, Morgan Weaver, Lauren Duke, Riley Mitchell, Julia Caroline Bailey, Annslee Rooks
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The 2022-23 Southland Academy Lady Raider basketball team was honored as well. The Lady Raiders finished with a record of 23-5, which was one win shy of the school record, and they made it to the GIAA Class AAA state semifinals before losing to Region 3-AAA foe Tiftarea Academy 41-37. Individually, the Lady Raiders had several players make All-Region and All-State, but headlining this star-studded group of girls was senior guard Riley Mitchell, who was named the GIAA Class AAA Player of the Year for the state, as well as the Region 3-AAA Player of the Year. Mitchell was also named to the GIAA All-State team and the All-Region team and scored the 1,000th point of her career during the regular season.

In addition to Mitchell’s performance, senior point guard Morgan Weaver made both the All-Region and All-State teams and she also broke the school record for number of three-pointers made in a season (68), which shattered the old record of 51 set by former SAR standout Cassie Bass during the 2017-18 season. Senior guard Julia Caroline Bailey also had an outstanding year for the Lady Raiders. Bailey made the All-Region Team and she set a new school record for free throw percentage (83 percent). One other Lady Raider, junior small forward Mary Beth Easterlin, made the All-Region Team as well.

The Southland Academy wrestling team was honored for its accomplishments during the 2022-23 season at Southland’s winter sports assembly.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

As far as the Southland boys were concerned, they too had an outstanding season with a record of 21-5 and placed several players on the All-Region and All-State teams. Senior guard Cedric Smith made both the All-Region and All-State teams, while junior Perry Usher and seniors Carlos Tyson and Luke Exley each made the All-Region squad. In addition to those aforementioned players, junior Banks Simmons made All-Region Honorable Mention for the Raiders. All of these players mentioned, along with their teammates, were honored for their accomplishments at Southland Academy’s winter sports assembly on Wednesday, March 22.