It's tough to say goodbye|Commentary on Williamston, Jamesville, Bear Grass and Roanoke

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sports Editor

A simple word. But it can be a tough word to say.
Especially when you have to say it to friends.
In my ten years here at the Washington Daily News, I’ve gained some great friendships with coaches and players at Williamston High School, Jamesville High School, Bear Grass High School and Roanoke High School.
I’ve watched some incredible games, had the opportunity to cover some outstanding athletes and always felt at “home” whenever I was at any of those schools.
At first thought, I covered some unbelievable baseball teams at Skewarkee Park, which rivals even Clark-LeClair Stadium for watching a baseball game at a great venue. The Williamston Tigers seemed to be a baseball factory.
Patrick Swift, Seth Barnes, Dee Eubanks, Anthony Williams, Trey Warren and Taylor Goodrich are some of the names that quickly pop into my head when I think about great Williamston baseball.
Williamston volleyball, with the likes of Joanna Rogerson, Emily Best, Nancy Brandon, Susan Griffin and Mika Gurganus, was a blast to cover.
Of course I’ll never forget my favorite basketball player of all time, Elton “EC” Coffield, and football stars Kevin Roach and Brad Roach of the Tigers.
Just down the road is Bear Grass, a school that opened its arms for me whenever I appeared. David Eubanks and Hal Davis were beyond nice. They are two of the classiest guys I’ve ever met.
The gym would always be rocking. I had the privilege of watching such stars as Mandy Coltrain, an amazing basketball talent, Kamal Pearsall, Lindsay Shaw, Jason Shaw and Summer Rahn compete for the blue and white.
Roanoke had some great talent as well. Deborah Cherry will go down as the best female basketball player I ever covered.
And Trimane Goddard… wow. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe Trimane. He was the best high school football player I ever covered. Whenever I drew that assignment to cover the Redskins, I was more than excited to watch Trimane do something amazing. He never disappointed.
Jamesville is simply amazing. I was always impressed with the fans. They packed the house at the state softball championships last year.
Coach Richie Ange will always be one of my favorites. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. Richie was a superb athlete for the Bullets, leading them to a state title in football. His dream was to return to Jamesville and coach the Bullets, and he did just that. And more.
He was a fantastic coach in football and softball. I know he’ll coach again. But I wonder how strange it will feel for him when he puts on a shirt that isn’t red, or a hat that doesn’t have a “J” on it.
Elizabeth Ange, Blair Ange, Nicole Jordan, Jessica Hardison and Holly Knott are just a handful of great Bullets that I’ll never forget.
Four great schools with four great athletic programs.
The fans made me feel welcome. It’s easy to tell that they are crazy about their beloved teams.
Sadly, they won’t have those teams to root on any longer.
This marks the final year for those four schools. Consolidation will merge Williamston with Jamesville and Bear Grass with Roanoke. No longer will there be the Tigers, the Bullets, the Bears or the Redskins.
Instead, we will have the Riverside Knights (Williamston and Jamesville) and the South Creek Cougars (Bear Grass and Roanoke).
Say so long to the yellow and green of the Tigers. There will be no more red among Jamesville (though I have a strong feeling proud Bullet supporters won’t be throwing away those shirts and hats just yet).
The Knights will be navy blue and silver.
The Cougars will be black and silver.
As of now, the Williamston softball team is the lone athletic team still alive in the playoffs. The Tigers will look to continue their season, and hold on to that nickname, for all its worth.
I’m grateful for the memories I have of the Tigers, the Bullets, the Bears and the Redskins. And I’m thankful for the friends I made with the coaches and players at each school.
That’s why it’s so hard to say goodbye.
Kevin Travis is the Sports Editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217 or by e-mail at