Recognize Greater Atlanta

Updated: January 14, 2009, 12:52 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Softball - Marist



Prior to the start of the playoffs, the Marist girls' softball team earned a decisive win over last year's Class AAAAA runner-up Peachtree Ridge. At the time, it went down as the War Eagles' 17th win, but head coach Mike Trapani identified the game as the turning point of the season. "To go over there in that atmosphere and win, it really set the tone for the next couple of weeks,"Trapani says. "I felt we were playing well and could make a deep run into the playoffs."The War Eagles went on to win 14 of the next 16 games and captured the school's first state crown with a sweep of Whitewater in the finals. Marist dropped a 3- 2 game to the Wildcats in sectionals to snap an eightgame streak, but defeated Alexander, Evans and Northgate to set up a rematch in the finals. "No mystery we were going to be highly ranked,"Trapani says. "We had nine starters returning." Marist finished the season 31-8 and 12-0 in Region 6-AAAA. On the mound, junior Lori Spingola, a UNC commit, finished 25-4 with a 0.26 ERA and an eye-popping 384 strikeouts. "She's a dominant pitcher and averaged 2.5 K's per inning," Trapani says. "She has great control and only walked one girl every nine innings." Senior second baseman Dana Middletown was the catalyst on offense, scoring a team-high 25 runs. Senior catcher Mary Trapani led the team with 24 RBIs and hit at a .333 clip. Seniors Kelly Miller and Tesia Davis also made solid contributions at the plate and in the field.



Wrestling - Milton



The Eagles had their best showing in recent years at the state meet last winter. Milton placed three wrestlers and took 17th overall a year after finishing 44th. Junior Matt Schneider was 41-8 and took fourth in the 135-pound weight class in 2007-08. In two years of competition, senior Mike Castanaro has recorded 31 wins wrestling in the 119-pound weight class. Schneider and Castanaro will be counted on to replace Max Ade, who graduated after setting the school record for wins last year.



Girls' Cross Country - Lovett



With three Top 10 finishers, the Lions successfully defended their Class AA title in the fall and extended their state title streak to four years. Junior Elizabeth Rucker placed first for Lovett and fifth overall, finishing with a time of 20:11.93. Classmate Meredith Thornhill came in less than a second later, taking sixth at 20:12.85. The Lions nabbed first with 49 points, seven better than second-place Westminster. Junior Alexandra Horst was eighth for Lovett, which also got a 14th place finish from Maddie Martin.



Boys' Soccer - Cross Keys



Last season, the Indians were an offensive juggernaut, scoring more than 106 goals en route to a 16- 3 record before losing a tightly contested playoff game to Walker. Cross Keys return seven players from last year's squad and has international flavor, with players hailing from 10 different countries. Senior Mamadou Sanon was last year's leading scorer and the trio of seniors Abu Bangura and twins Brian and Christian Valdez anchors a strong defense in front of junior goalie Fernando Godinez.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



GIRLS' BASKETBALL  TRION
Led by senior guard Brittany White, the Bulldogs were runners-up in Region 6A last year.

WRESTLING  WHITEWATER
The Wildcats return four placers, led by 160-pound champion senior Chase Penland.

GIRLS' SWIMMING  BROOKWOOD
The Broncos bring back four All-State swimmers from their 2007-08 squad.

BOYS' BASKETBALL  CHEROKEE
Senior center Shawn Kemp Jr. can dominate in the paint with his 6-foot-9 frame.