A week of firsts

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By Dennis Clayton
We have just experienced a week of firsts with our local fall sports and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize these accomplishments. Let’s start with football and we will work our way through, finishing with cross country.
I actually need to back up just a bit with our football since East Union began the season in their first year of division play in Class 1-2A football when we kicked off the season. They won their first game of the year against Houlka, then proceeded to notch more wins until they stood at 6-0 in early October. They won their first division game against New Site along the way.
The Urchins found themselves needing to win their final game of the year against Hatley to make the playoffs and the Urchins responded with the 33-21 win. In the first year of division play, the Urchins made the playoffs as a four seed and would to travel to H.W. Byers to face the undefeated Lions in round one of 2A playoffs.
The Urchins were not fazed by the seemingly daunting task of being a four seed facing a one seed, plus having to play against a team that was undefeated. East Union took care of business in their first playoff game in history as they picked up their first playoff win in history 35-34. The Urchins now advance to the second round of playoffs and host Eupora on Friday night.
Here’s a capsule of the East Union season: 1. East Union played their first year in a football division in 2013; 2. They won their first game of the year, plus five more in a row; 3. They won their first division game they ever played in; 4. They went to the playoffs in their first year of division play; 5. They won their first football playoff game in history in their first game they ever played in the playoffs. If this sounds confusing, give me a call and I will walk you through it. The bottom line is this: the East Union Urchins and Coach Scott Duley and staff have had a great year and congratulations plus wishes for continued success are in order. Great work by all!
I want to next move to the MHSAA State Cross Country Championships for our next recognition of firsts. Myrtle had a great weekend at the course in Clinton as they came home with the following: first place individual girls, first place individual boys and first place team girls.
Here is the breakdown of the Myrtle firsts and I will start with girls. My mother always said ladies first, so we will do as I was told. Kitana High won the 1A Girls state individual title with a time of 16:16.70. High and her Lady Hawk teammates took first place in the overall team competition with point total of 28. I also need to mention that Myrtle had five of the top 13 finishers as High took first, Geniesha Montgomery placed third, Megan Lowery finished fourth. Stephanie Floyd (11th) and Ellie Fitts (13th) rounded out the top finishers for the Lady Hawks. Congratulations Kitana and the Lady Hawks!
Another item that bears mentioning is the fact that this was the third year in a row that a 1A runner from Union County has won the state championship in that class. Kitana High won this year and 2012, Savannah Shirley won in 2011. This may be another first, the order of finish in 2012 and 2013 had High finishing first and Shirley finishing second. If that’s not a first, it was well worth mentioning. Don’t tell me if I am wrong there. I want to congratulate Kitana and Savannah for keeping the title in Union County these three years.
Finally we want to recognize Marquez Howell of Myrtle for capturing first in the 1A boys state cross country. Howell ran the 5,000 meters in a time of 17:05.00. I believe this was the first time for Howell to compete in 1A state. So if I am correct there, that’s another noteworthy first. Congratulations Marquez!
Well that’s a wrap on our week of firsts and as my salute to our prep players/performers of the week, I wanted to recognize everyone mentioned above for the honor, especially since they made this week of firsts possible. Congratulations to all and thanks for your hard work! Union County is proud of you and your accomplishments.
Follow Dennis Clayton on Twitter: @denclayton

About Dennis Clayton

I cover high school sports in Union County and occasionally contribute sports articles to sister community newspapers of Journal Inc. Follow me on Twitter: @denclayton for scores and updates on our local high school teams.