No more Bullets, Redskins, Tigers and Bears? Oh my!

Published 5:02 am Friday, February 8, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Mandy Coltrain would grab a rebound, dribble to the other end of the floor, pull up and swish home a sweet 12-foot jumper that would touch nothing but nylon. That would set off a chorus of cheers inside Bear Grass High School gymnasium.
Kamal Pearsall would stand at home plate and then crank a home run near the cows in the field beyond Bear Grass High School. The fans at the park would stand and cheer boisterously.
Pretty soon, the gym and ball fields at Bear Grass High School could be silenced because of a merger.
Brittany Ange would stand near the net and smack down a kill, prompting the red-and-white clad Jamesville High School volleyball fans to go nuts.
Dale (Mobley) Clifton would spring out of her catching position and throw to Nicole Jordan at second base, who would tag out a runner and save another inning for the Bullets. The Bullet fans would applaud the effort as the players returned to the dugout.
Pretty soon, the gym and ball fields at Jamesville High School could be silenced because of a merger.
Though small in size, Bear Grass High School and Jamesville High School have some big-time sports history.
And some big-time supporters.
And some big-time former athletes who have mixed feeling about the mergers proposed by the Martin County Board of Education. The board voted to merge Bear Grass High School with Roanoke High School, and Jamesville High School with Williamston High School.
In doing so, the schools’ mascots — Bear Grass Bears, Jamesville Bullets, Williamston Tigers and Roanoke Redskins — and school colors would be done away with as part of the consolidation.
Not every former athlete is strictly opposed to the merger.
Jason Shaw was a star on the baseball field and on the basketball court with the Bear Grass Bears. While he loved being a Bear, he said a merger may prove beneficial.
Emily Best, a former volleyball and softball star at Williamston, sees positives coming out of a merger.
Elton Coffield, a former basketball and football star at Williamston, said the stronger competition will help the Martin County schools.
While their playing days are done at their respective high schools, several said merging the schools will cause current students to give up on their dreams of playing for their high school teams.
Brittany Ange, a former standout at Jamesville, is passionate about the proposed merger.
Some of the most intense games played were between the rivals. Now that could all be over by year’s end.
Mika Gurganus, a former standout at Williamston High School, said it will be sad to see the rivalries die.
Justin Green, a former standout at Roanoke High School, was stunned after hearing the board’s decision.
Besides losing colors and mascots, several coaches could be out of jobs. For one, Richie Ange graduated from Jamesville and returned to his former high school after college to become a teacher and coach.
Nicole Jordan said some of her best days growing up were being coached by the likes of Ange.
Ange isn’t alone.
Pearsall wonders what will happen to all the coaches after a merger?
Many former athletes said they were sad to hear the nicknames will be lost with a merger.
Coltrain said that she’ll always take pride in being a “Bear” no matter what happens.
Best said she’ll never forget her playing days with the Tigers.
Clifton feels the same about being a “Bullet.”
Gurganus said driving past the Williamston ball field won’t be the same if there is a merger.