CSU athletics alive and well

There are a lot of things that puzzle me.

I leave all the second-guessing about the bad economy and the stock market plunge to my friends with business degrees.

I never try to dwell on the gas shortage, I just hope I have enough fuel to get to work each day.

I don't understand how some people can nearly come to blows when talking about presidential politics just a few weeks before the election.

I also don't understand how people can think Clayton State University lost its accreditation.

Clayton State University is in no way, shape or form related to the out-of-control Clayton County School system. That would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Clayton State is a thriving four-year college in the University of Georgia system. It might be the southside's best kept secret with its new dormitory, student center, lakes, tree-lined campus and degrees that didn't exist 20 years ago when I graduated from college.

One thing I do know, Clayton State has turned into one of the most successful NCAA Division II athletic programs around.

Tuesday afternoon, the school's golf team just completed hosting the first ever State Farm Laker- Collegiate Classic at Crystal Lake Country Club.

It was a rousing success

The golf team is just one example of how Clayton State's athletic program is headed in the right direction.

Just a few short years ago, Clayton State was considered to be a joke on the links.

Head coach Barry Harwell has changed that around. Now, instead of looking past Clayton State, teams fear them. The Lakers have gone from a little after thought to a team ranked in the NCAA Division II golf poll. Last spring, the Laker golf team actually led after the first-round of the national championship tournament.

Clayton State golfer Will Wilcox won the Alabama amateur during the summer and is prepared for a huge senior year for Clayton State this season.

The Clayton State men's soccer team is making great strides. Head coach Pete Petersen had to reload this year, signing 20 new players, but he hit the recruiting trail hard and did a fabulous sales job convincing players to sign on the dotted line with the Lakers.

There have been some growing pains for the program, but the future is bright as freshman Leighton Fredericks has turned into a scoring machine, leaving plenty of optimism for the future.

The women's soccer team is struggling this year, but there is enough history to think coach T.O. Totty will have the Lady Lakers back in business.

Track and cross country coach Mike Mead has a collection of runners capable doing big things.

Just this week, Fidelis Mutiso and Allison Kreutzer were selected as the Peach Belt Conference Runners of the Week.

Both the men's and women's basketball teams are set to make a run at the NCAA Division II tournament.

Just two years ago, the Lady Lakers made it all the way to the NCAA Division II Final Four.

With seniors Dominque Jennings, Lisa Jackson, Tierra Yates, Maria St. Fort, Shanrika Hardeman and Nikkisha Pritchett all back foir their final year, things could be very exciting this winter as the Lady Lakers again try to make it back to the NCAA Division II version of March Madness.

The men's team should make a run too. A year ago, the Lakers got hot late, won the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and advanced all the way to the Elite 8 after a slow start.

Head coach Gordon Gibbons club is loaded with senior leadership in Freddie Williams, Trey Goss, Brian Kelly, Ricky Garrett, Josh Fullerton, Bernard Fields and Ejikeme Ndefo as basketball practice starts in about two weeks.

Tennis coach Tamas Szabados has built a strong program too. Just last year, two of his players, Julia Chergova and Anna Redecsi, were All-Americans.

The names might sound the same, but it's the Clayton County school system that has problems, and let's pray they work things out.

As for Clayton State, its alive and well, with a thriving athletic program that should make its faculity, students and alumni proud.

(Doug Gorman is the the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-aily.com)