After high school athletes across the state were finally able to complete a full three seasons of sports for the first time in two years, now feels like the perfect time to look back at 2020-21 and observe the best moments across all eight schools in Montgomery County.
In this four-week long series, we will reminisce on the seasons of two schools per week in alphabetical order.
This issue will be covering the Clarksville Academy Cougars.
As the lone Division II-A program in the county, the Cougars year in sports looked the most unique out of all the other schools -- but there was no shortage of great moments. If anything, it granted them more opportunities to create special times.
COVID alone would have provided plenty of adversity for the school, but they fought through much more than just that. They were outnumbered, had several coaching changes and more -- yet they still remained one of the premier schools in the division.
Boys best moment
While there weren’t any boys teams that advanced a long way, there was one moment in particular that stood out as a special one: DJ Merriweather’s three-run home run to put the Cougars over Henry County, eventually winning the game.
Even though it was a non-district game in early April, the sophomore’s home run -- his first of the season -- was enough to beat an established Patriots program, and it gave his squad a jolt of life that lasted them nearly the rest of the campaign.
Best girls moment
One-thousand point scorers don’t come along often in basketball. So when they do, they deserve to be recognized.
Diamond Bryant scored her 1,000th career point for the Lady Cougars this season early against Jo Byrns, and she eventually got to see her name hang on a banner among the other Academy greats in their gymnasium before she wrapped up her prestigious career.
Best boys athlete
Truthfully, there isn’t one player that jumps off the page and screams “obvious winner” on this one. There are so many that deserve a mention.
There are multi-sport studs like Keith Richburg (football and basketball), Cooper Wallace, DJ Merriweather, Paris Pridgen and Jac Wyatt (basketball and baseball). There are studs on the court like Eddie Ricks and diamond dazzlers like Sam Walker.
Each one of those guys is deserving of a mention.
Best girls athlete
Ayden Kujawa, man. Now that’s a superstar.
The tennis player took Division II-A by storm, even recording a golden match this year, before eventually falling in the TSSAA state semifinal to the eventual champion. Kujawa was the Middle Region’s overall top player. She finished the regular season 10-0 and outscored opponents 80-3.
I mean, come on. That’s pretty dang impressive.
Boys team of the year
The CA baseball team finished the season 22-13 this year, and it took a walk-off by Webb to eventually put them away just before the state qualifier game. They even met up with the eventual state champion CPA Lions twice, going the full seven innings with them both times.
What’s more, the team was composed largely of juniors and seniors, so it’s not hard to assume the group led by Dustin Smith could be even better in 2022.
Girls team of the year
Despite losing their head coach and best player from the year before, the Lady Cougars basketball squad hardly missed a beat this season. They stayed in stride with Charles Clark at the helm and Diamond Bryant as the primary scorer while also getting major contributions from several other outlets.
While they couldn’t make a run to the state tournament, they came one game away from running the regular season table in district. They won the regular season and postseason championships, too, before falling in the region.