The best of 2002
Lady Tigers' state championship top story of 2002
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
The Hartselle Lady Tigers' 5A Softball State Championship proved to be the top sports story of 2002. Hartselle played through the loser's bracket of the championship tourney for the crown and it was the team's second state championship in four years.
The Hartselle football team's run to the semi-finals also makes the top 10 list, as does William Booth's 500th win as a baseball coach.
No. 1: Hartselle wins softball state championship
The Lady Tigers won six consecutive games through the loser's bracket for the championship.
Hartselle fell to Robertsdale in the first round of the tournament but earned a rematch in the finals. The Lady Tigers defeated Robertsdale twice, 6-1 and 1-0, for the championship.
Lindsey McClanahan was named 5A Most Valuable Player, as she set a school pitching record with 57 wins in her career.
The Lady Tigers finished 50-7 in 2002.
No. 2: Tigers improbable run at championship ends in semifinals
The Hartselle Tigers began the 2002 season with a 1-2 record. The team finished the season in the semifinals of the Class 5A playoffs with an 11-3 record.
With perhaps one of the toughest defenses in the state, Hartselle often stuffed opposing offenses and held teams to minimal yardage – except Russellville.
Russellville proved to be a thorn in Hartselle's side. Hartselle fell to the Golden Tigers 35-21 in week 3 and 34-14 in the semifinals of the playoffs. By midseason, the 7-0 loss to Austin in the team's opening game of the season was a distant memory.
Hartselle reached the semifinals by beating Butler 35-8 in the first round, Etowah 13-6 in the second and Albertville 34-7 in quarterfinals.
No. 3: William Booth wins 500th game
Hartselle High baseball coach William Booth was just a normal math teacher 14 years ago. More than 500 wins later, he's a legend.
Booth won his 500th game as a head coach in 2002, beating Hueytown 5-1 in the Hoover HealthSouth Classic in April.
Booth has collected six state championships in his career. In 2002, his Tigers were upset by Mortimer Jordan in the playoffs.
No. 4: Tigers take third at state championship
The Hartselle wrestling team won the Class 5A Sectional Championship en route to third at the state competition.
The Hartselle Tigers edged Brookwood at the state level due in part to Matt Owens. Owens pinned Brookwood wrestler Kevin Hyche for an individual state championship, vaulting Hartselle to third place. Josh Driggers also won an individual state championship at the 160-pound level.
Hartselle has won the Sectional Championship two of the last three years.
No. 5: Pressley fired after winning championship
In most cases, a coach's job is secure after winning a state championship.
In Garry Pressley's case, his job security lasted three days.
Pressley was fired just three days after his Hartselle softball team won the Class 5A state championship. The only reason he was fired, according to Pressley, was "an accumulation of things from the past."
Pressley held a 270-92 record in his seven seasons at Hartselle.
Many speculated the reason for his dismissal was his coaching style. Pressley was known for his intense style, with many unidentified parents claiming his coaching style was too aggressive.
Pressley took the Lady Tigers to the state tournament every year during his tenure, finishing no worse than fourth.
No. 6: Brewer wins! Brewer wins!
The Brewer Patriots snapped a 16-game losing streak with a 29-23 win over Muscle Shoals.
Head coach Robert Peppers shocked every fan in the stadium by calling for a fake field goal with his team down two points. Travis Boyd took the snap, faked the hold and rolled to the outside. He hit Larkin Morris in the endzone as time expired.
Samuel Mason led the Patriots, running the option and gaining 114 yards on 15 carries. He completed 9 of 15 passes for 108 yards.
It was Brewer's only win of the 2002 season.
No. 7: Belles win state championship
The Hartselle Belles claimed the Dixie Youth All-Stars Alabama State Championship during the summer. The Belles dominated the tournament, with a pitching staff boasting a .079 ERA.
Mary Curtis, Elizabeth Stejskal and Amanda Drane was the core of the pitching staff.
The Belles outscored their opponents 49-18 during the tourney, and lost just one game en route to the championship.
Hartselle traveled to the World Series held in Eufala following the championship.
No. 8: Meayres defies odds, wins gold
Sarah Meayres laid on an operating table, near death, in 1995. A risky operation was her only hope.
Now, with a big smile and curly hair, Meayres, of Hartselle, is a walking miracle.
She was born with Biliarey Artesia, a disease that gradually destroys the liver. She was running out of time when doctors located a suitable liver in Puerto Rico and performed a transplant.
In 2002, Meayres competed in the U.S. Transplant Games held at Walt Disney World. She returned home with a gold medal in bowling and also participated in 3 on 3 basketball and volleyball.
The U.S. Transplant Games are an Olympic-style competition for life-saving transplant patients.
No. 9: Holt goes to Army, back to Falkville
While most high-school aged kids are passing away the summer swimming and partying, Holt was running and yelling "yes, sir" all day.
Holt joined the Army during this past summer and completed boot camp in Fort Benning, Georgia. He claimed joining the military was something he had planned on since he was 12.
Holt returned to Falkville where he played a key role for the Falkville Blue Devil football team.
He will be stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, when he graduates in May. There, he will be in Advanced Individual Training for three to six months.
No. 10: Chris Crumpton signs with So. Miss
Hartselle quarterback in 2001, Chris Crumpton, signed to play for Southern Mississippi in February of 2002.
Crumpton led Hartselle to an 8-3 record in 2001 and drew attention from scouts because of his arm strength and accuracy.
Crumpton was redshirted this year at Southern Miss and, in February, said he planned to prepare for a career in medicine.