Chattanooga-area state championship teams
(Since the Spring Fling began)
Baylor -- 2003, 2006 (Division II)
Bradley Central -- 1994 (Class AAA)
South Pittsburg -- 1996 (Class A)
Baylor -- 1997, 2000, 2007, 2012 (Division II)
Boyd-Buchanan -- 2010 (Class A/AA)
Chattanooga Christian -- 2001, 2011 (Class A/AA)
McCallie -- 1999 (Division II)
Notre Dame -- 1996, 1997 (Class A/AA)
Baylor -- 1994 (Class AAA); 2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012 (Division II)
East Ridge -- 1996, 1998 (Class AAA)
GPS -- 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (Division II)
Grace Academy -- 2012 (Class A)
Notre Dame -- 1995 (Class AA)
Ooltewah -- 2008 (Class AAA)
Red Bank -- 2003 (Class AAA)
Soddy-Daisy -- 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012
Baylor -- 1996, 1997 (Class AAA)
Chattanooga Christian -- 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 (Class A/AA)
McCallie -- 1994 (Class AAA); 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 (Division II)
Baylor -- 1996 (Class AAA); 1999, 2000, 2011, 2012 (Division II)
Chattanooga Christian -- 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 (Class A/AA)
GPS -- 1998, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 (Division II-AA)
Notre Dame -- 2012 (Class A/AA)
St. Andrew's-Sewanee -- 2008 (Division II-A)
Baylor -- 2000, 2002 (Division II)
Brainerd -- 1999, 2000, 2007 (Class A/AA)
Baylor -- 1998, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 (Division II)
Brainerd -- 1999 (Class A/AA)
GPS -- 2005, 2006, 2007 (Division II)
Howard -- 2009 (Class A/AA)
Tyner -- 1997 (Class A/AA)
Memorable TSSAA Spring Fling performances by area athletes and teams
1994: In the inaugural year, Baylor softball pitcher Amy Robertson was the first genuine star of the Fling. In a semifinal win, Robertson outdueled Brentwood High's Amanda Fine in a game that lasted four hours and 33 minutes and ended in 16 innings at 2 a.m. They combined for what was a tournament record 35 strikeouts. Robertson led Baylor to the title by pitching 48 innings in 36 hours, allowing just three total hits and striking out 63. After beating Ooltewah in the first game of the championship series, Robertson came back Saturday afternoon, hours after graduating, to pitch 12 innings in a 2-1 championship win.
"What in the world were we doing playing softball at 2 a.m.?" joked former TSSAA executive director Ronnie Carter. "There is such a uniqueness about softball that instead of the crowd getting smaller as it got later, more people would show up from other events as word spread, and it was still packed at the end of that game. That may be the greatest accomplishment in the history of the Spring Fling. It was the first year of the event, and it pretty much set the standard."
1996: Known more for its football program, South Pittsburg claimed the Class A baseball title thanks to a tournament MVP performance by Bradley "Macho" Green that included a tournament-record five doubles and two pitching wins. He drove in three and earned the save in the championship game at Engel Stadium.
1997: Despite having only five competitors, the Tyner girls won the Class A/AA track championship. The Lady Rams were led by Kelley Smith, who scored 49 of the team's 63 points.
1998: Going into the final event of the pentathlon, Brainerd junior Chantel Yates was tied with Anderson County's Josie Hahn when Lady Panthers coach Eddie Lambert told her she would need a personal best time to win. Yates set a state record with a time of 2:14 in the 800, breaking her personal best by 14 seconds.
1998: GPS became the first and still only softball team to sweep to a championship without allowing a run. Lindsay Edmondson struck out 39 batters and Jackie McClain went 7-for-12 with seven RBIs.
1999: Brainerd's Chantel Yates became the state's first and still only four-time pentathlon state champion. She also won the 100-meter hurdles and 400 meters to finish her career with an amazing nine individual state titles.
2000: Baylor's Willie Idlette turned in one of the greatest track and field performances ever by winning Division II invididual titles in the long jump, triple jump and 400-meter dash and finishing second in the decathlon and fourth in the 100 meters. He scored 42 points by himself, helping the Red Raiders to their first boys' track title. Idlette came back the following season to win the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints and place second in the long jump, triple jump and decathlon. He claimed the decathlon title in 2002, winning six of the 10 events and giving him seven individual state titles for his career, to go with eight runner-up state finishes.
2002: Notre Dame's Adarius Bowman wrapped up his second straight high jump state championship by clearing 6 feet, 10 inches.
2003: After 29 years of coaching and numerous trips to the Final Four, Baylor's Gene Etter finally was able to take part in a state championship celebration after the Red Raiders' 6-3 win over Knoxville Webb at the University of Memphis. The Red Raiders opened the state tournament with a 2-1 loss to Brentwood Academy, then won five consecutive games for the program's first title. They had been runners-up the season before and would add a second title in 2006.
2003: Notre Dame's Nichel Eubanks won the last of her six individual state track championships, sweeping the 100 and 200 meters for a second straight year and winning her first long jump title. Eubanks also had won the 200 as a sophomore.
2004: McCallie's Michael Bingham became the first boys' competitor in the state to score more than 7,000 points in the decathlon, winning six of the 10 events. He then added to his amazing list of accomplishments by claiming Division II crowns in the triple jump, 100, 200 and 400 meters three days later. He became the first athlete to record the fastest times in the three sprint events for all classifications, and he also finished second in the long jump and third in the high jump. The TSSAA since has invoked a rule that doesn't allow any athlete to compete in more than four events in a single day. The year before he had won the 110 and 300 hurdles state titles but was not allowed to run in those events because the TSSAA allowed a competitor only three running events.
2005: Chattanooga Christian's Heather Trimiew capped a versatile track career by winning her second pentathlon state title, to go with two championships each in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
2007: Led by sprinter Adrian "Buck" Bentley, who won the 100 and 400 meters and helped the 4x100 relay win first place, Brainerd athletes won five events and scored in the top five in eight for a resounding Class A/AA state championship. Bentley finished second in the 200.
2008: Although Brainerd couldn't repeat as boys' state track champion, Orlandus Harris staked claim as one of the greatest individual performers. As the Panthers' only state qualifier, Harris was a team all by himself, scoring 46 points by winning the decathlon state title, the 110 hurdles and triple jump and finishing second in the 300 hurdles and long jump. Harris' point total alone was good enough to give the Panthers a second-place finish.
2008: GPS's Claire Bartlett became the first area tennis player to win three consecutive state championships at the Spring Fling. She is also tied with GPS's Stephanie Harris and Chattanooga Christian's Ellen Rogers for most individual tennis titles.
Also this year, CCS won its fourth straight girls' team title and the program's eighth overall.
2009: Howard freshman sprinter LaQuisha Jackson announced her arrival as a star by running the fastest times in the 100 and 200 meters for all classifications, then helping the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams to first-place finishes.
2010: Jackson ran both the 100 and 200 meters faster than any female in state history, setting records in both events. She ran the 100 in 11.46 and the 200 in 23.86, breaking a 32-year old record. She also rallied the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams from middle of the pack when she took the baton to first-place finishes, causing the packed stands to give her a standing ovation. Jackson's performance also led Howard to its first girls' state championship in more than 25 years.
2010: Soddy-Daisy's softball program has been no stranger to success at the state tournament, but the team rose to national acclaim on its way to the Class AAA title during this season. The Lady Trojans finished 52-2 overall and were ranked No. 4 in the nation according to ESPN's Fab 50 poll. It's the highest ranking ever for a Chattanooga-area team. The Lady Trojans were ranked No. 5 nationally by USA Today.
2012: GPS's Tori Kemp became the first female athlete to earn five individual track championships in one season. It began with the pentathlon, and Kemp followed by winning the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and triple jump.
Memorable Spring Fling controversies
1994: Two schools, Brentwood Academy and Montgomery Bell Academy, complained that McCallie's tennis team had no Chattanoogans among its five singles players and two doubles pairs who won the state title. "When you start pulling kids from other states, that makes a difference. It's not sour grapes, it's just fact," said MBA coach Jim Postees.
1996: Memphis University School lost its tennis match to Baylor after eighth-grader Zack Dailey was issued a default for saying "This sucks" in front of court umpire Bill Johnson. The TSSAA considers "sucks" an obscenity. "He's a good kid; he just got caught up in the heat of the moment," MUS coach Bill Taylor said afterward.
1998: University School of Nashville tennis coach Lisa Preston walked down from her room to the front lobby of the Hampton Inn on Williams Street. Two masked gunmen were robbing the hotel clerk and took Preston's purse and then forced her and the desk clerk into the school van and drove several blocks before parking and running away from the vehicle. Preston drove the clerk back to the hotel and showed up at the Baylor tennis courts later that morning to coach her team.
1999: Despite leading 3-0 in the opening set in their first appearance in the Class A/AA state tennis tournament, Brainerd twins Nathan and Nicholas Jackson had to default their quarterfinal match because their team uniforms were not school-issued. According to TSSAA rules, only shirts with school names or nicknames or plain shirts issued by the respective schools are permitted. The twins were not allowed to change into plain white T-shirts.
2000: It wasn't their impressive record coming in or the four SEC signees that had people talking about the Germantown baseball team. The Red Devils were met with a huge backlash from fans and opponents because of six players who had transferred to the school over the summer, including three Mississippi State and one University of Tennessee signee. The parents of all six filed for divorce, with the mothers changing residency, which allowed the players to become eligible at Germantown. By sidestepping the TSSAA's transfer rule, Germantown had thrown together what was thought to be an unbeatable state championship machine. Instead, the "Suitcase Six," as they were later labeled, lost the championship to Oakland, which became the first AAA repeat champion in state history. Incidentally, all six sets of parents "reconciled" after the Spring Fling. The next season, without those six players, Germantown won the AAA state title.
2001: For the second time in Spring Fling history, a tennis player was disqualified for inappropriate language, in this case a profanity of taking the Lord's name in vain. Knoxville Bearden's Cameron Boyd shouted "Jesus Christ!" in the presence of court official Meg Bandy and TSSAA official Jan Genosi. Boyd and teammate Brandon Allan had just lost serve to go down 5-3 in the third and deciding set of their Class AAA doubles championship match, prompting Boyd's outburst. Genosi entered the court and told Allan and Boyd, "Shouting 'Jesus Christ' is an automatic disqualification."
Genosi explained to Boyd that TSSAA rules allow "Jesus" and "Christ" but not "Jesus Christ" to be said.
"You allow 'Jesus' and you allow 'Christ' but you won't allow them together? That's ridiculous," Boyd said.
Genosi walked off the Baylor School court after defaulting Bearden, and Allan and Boyd responded by throwing their rackets at their bench.
2003: Despite promising to make the Fling "better than ever," Memphis failed to live up to the hype. Several of the promised venues were not ready, including for softball, which had to be moved across the state line and played in Mississippi. The venues were so spread out that it was very inconvenient, if not impossible, to get from one to the other in time to watch multiple local teams or athletes compete. Travel costs for schools east of Nashville skyrocketed, ticket sales plummeted and eventually it was agreed upon that moving any state tournament that far west was a mistake.
2008: With two out and Marion County trailing by one run in baseball, home plate umpire George White held up two fingers on each hand to signal a 2-2 count. Marion pitcher Joe Muir snapped a curveball over the plate for a called strike and what would have been the final out, but Goodpasture coaches protested that it should have been only the second strike. After a lengthy discussion with the rest of the umpiring crew, White ruled Turner Cripp would continue batting and ordered the Marion players out of the dugout and back onto the field. On the following pitch, a called ball, White again lost track of the count and awarded Cripp a walk. The Cougars then blew open what was a 3-2 lead to eliminate Marion 7-5.
"None of the umpires had a pitch counter, which would have made the difference," Marion coach Steven Roberts said. "I guess the umps didn't come to the game properly equipped."
2009: For 10 innings Cleveland and Bartlett played a tension-filled Class AAA baseball game. But with two outs and runners on third and first in the bottom of the inning, on an 0-2 pitch, Cleveland senior pitcher Brandon Rader was called for a balk, allowing Bartlett's Sean Mellinger to trot home with the winning run. The plate umpire refused to give Blue Raiders coach Ted Carson the courtesy of explaining the call. Even Bartlett fans were confused and several admitted they didn't see a balk in Rader's pitching motion.
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