I probably spent way too long looking through the book of the Gazette from 1986.
Not only did I discover that I was born on a Friday and that the sports writer was a female (oh, the irony), but I saw a lot of fun stuff about the county tournament.
I highlighted 1987 last week, just because I was enthralled with the story of how New Albany and Myrtle were disqualified from the tournament. That was interesting, but what I love even more was seeing the success of each school during this decade.
Obviously, New Albany boys stuck out the most, winning five straight county tournament titles from ‘82 to ‘86 and two state tournament titles, but I read about Myrtle’s run in ‘88 that ended with a heartbreaking loss in the state championship as well as East Union boys winning state in 1981 and falling short of their repeat in 1982. With the exception of the Urchins in 1981, the decade on the boys side was dominated by the Bulldogs and Falcons, but the girls were pretty wide open, and it appeared that the title could have gone to anyone, any year.
What made the research even more fun (and extremely easy) were the tournament preview sections. I’ll be interested in seeing what year the Gazette stopped printing that, just because it was so informative and contained a year-by-year account of the best county tournament in the area.
So much has changed in the over the years, beginning with when the tournament was played. I saw how it was spread out over four days, and maybe was played all week at one point, whereas we have our Thursday-Saturday format now,
Another thing I noticed outside of the county tournament was Hickory Flat’s dominance during this time. The Rebels and Lady Rebels do not make it in here as often as they may have at that time, but seeing their dominance in the sport was pretty cool.
I opted to go by my own, looking at this decade, but I’m looking for a few people to talk to as I get into the ‘90s next week. My record of year-by-year winners ended at 1987, so I started really flipping through books again with 1988 and will be doing so for the remainder of my research. Hit me up with some stories from the ‘90s.