Volleyball season is on the horizon in Putnam By Jake McMillian

Football season is not the only sport approaching as July gives way to August, for volleyball players across the county have been spending quality time on the court participating in one of the most rapidly growing sports in the nation. As the Gatewood and Putnam County volleyball programs enter their fifth seasons, they have become excellent competition for more established schools in the state. The Gatewood Gators, led by head coach Gregory Keck and assistant coach Kenny Hyatt, have experienced unparalleled success in the program’s history during its offseason competition. Gatewood’s volleyball squad began preparation in the final week of June as Keck held summer camp. The Gators continued with weekly practices before competing in exhibition tournaments at both Apalachee High School and Winder-Barrow High School, performing in six contests over the span of two days. According to Keck, the Gators emerged victorious in each contest and finished undefeated for the invitational. He added that the final score of each match was 2-0 in favor of Gatewood. The squad is led by two seniors who have been integral members of the young program: Miranda Rossee and Breanna Price. Mallory Fitzgerald and Jacquelyn Dixon, a newcomer to the school, are experienced juniors who will take the reins of the program next season. The Gators are also composed of a young, talented core that will provide a bright future for the program, including sophomores Claire Morris, Isabella Stickley, Abby Kay Moore and Mckay Hyatt, as well as freshman Sydney Belle Eubanks. “[The volleyball players] have been improving with every practice,” said Keck, whose favorite sport is volleyball despite his extensive range of coaching prowess. “I’m really looking forward to the season.” The Putnam County Lady War Eagles have also begun preparations for the 2017 season. According to head coach Karen Sinclair, the team has not participated in any summer competitions because the school held tryouts Aug. 1. The War Eagles will begin practice Monday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. with practices occurring each day through Thursday of every week. However, Sinclair has already initiated her summer conditioning regimen, which began June 19. In their fourth season as a varsity program, the Lady War Eagles finished sixth in their region out of 12 members. The PCHS squad looks to progress even further in hopes of standing at the top of their region. The Lady War Eagles will host Westside and Butler on Aug. 15, beginning at 4:30 p.m., to open regular season play. PCHS will compete in Area 2-AA along with Dublin High School, Toombs County, Harlem County, Laney High School, Josey High School, TCM, Glenn Hills, Oconee County, Johnson County, Eastside High School, Westside and Butler.

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