Top Ten Stories of 2010

AMS loses spring NASCAR Race

Fifty years ago, Atlanta Motor Speedway sprang up in the little village of Hampton. For the last four decades, the 1.54-mile track has been known as one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. It also was the site for two races a year, but last August the stockcar governing body pulled the plug on the spring race starting in 2011, ending years of tradition and taking a major economic hit on the Southern Crescent. Atlanta Motor Speedway now will host just one race, the Sunday before Labor Day under the lights. AMS President Ed Clark hopes fans now flock to the holiday weekend tradition for years to come.

D-town, FP reach Class AAAA Final Four

Dutchtown won its first region championship and went on a three-game run to reach the Class AAAA semifinals. Forest Park finally made its way back to the semifinals since winning a state title during the 1970 season. The two Region 4-AAAA teams lost in their semifinals games, but earned state-wide respect in the process. Forest Park's playoff run was amazing since the Lady Panthers only had two seniors in the lineup. Dutchtown was led by a pair of 1,000-point career scorers and coached by a former Army officer. They both finished ranked in the Top 5 in the state in the last Associated Press poll of the season.

ELCA, Dutchtown made football history

Dutchtown made the most of its first-ever playoff appearance while Eagle's Landing Christian Academy lived up to its preseason hype. The two Henry County schools won a pair of playoff games to reach the quarterfinals. Dutchtown, the No. 3 seed from Region 3-AAAA, upset Thomas County Central on Ryan Kay's record-tying five field goals before defeating Glynn Academy (3-0) on a Kay field goal. ELCA won its first Georgia High School Association region championship and had home playoff wins against Washington-Wilkes and George Walton Academy. The Chargers lost to top-ranked Clinch County 34-27 to end its season. ELCA finished ranked No. 3 in the final Class A Coaches' Poll with Dutchtown finishing at No. 9 in the Class AAAA poll.

Mount Zion forfeits five games

On target to make a school-record three straight playoff appearances, Mount Zion's season came unraveled at it self-reported to the Georgia High School Association that it used an ineligible player. The Bulldogs had to forfeit its first five wins and dropped out of the playoff hunt. Mount Zion would finish the season with a 1-9 record, the least amount of wins in a season since going 1-9 in 1996. Before forfeiting the wins, the Bulldogs were in third place in the region standings. Its only win was 40-12 at Tara Stadium, the day it filed the report with the GHSA.

Ryan Kay hits five field goals

The odds seemed stacked against Dutchtown going into its first-ever state playoff game. The Bulldogs were on the road, at Thomas County Central, a program with five state titles and an imposing venue. But no opponent could account for Kay, who made field goals of 42, 30, 56, 24 and 51 yards, accounting for all of Dutchtown's points in the 15-0 upset win. The five field goals tied the state record by Jeremy Hayes of Cedartown in 1991 and put the senior kicker in the conscious of Georgia high school football.

Avery Walls finds home at ELCA

Eagle's Landing Christian Academy senior Avery Walls played just one season for the Chargers football team and he helped lead them to a 12-1 finish, the best record in school history. Walls played on both sides of the ball and was recruited by more than 30 major colleges. He has decided to play at the Univesity of California and will enroll in January after graduating from high school early. Walls will also play in the U.S. Army All-American High School All-Star game before reporting to college the next week.

Luella baseball makes quarterfinals

Many assumed Ola would be the Henry County team to make a statement in the state tournament. It turned out the Lions had the loudest performance. After disposing of Bradwell Institute in the first round, the Lions went on the road and beat East Coweta senior ace Cam Bedrosian, the son of former Cy Young winner Steve Bedrosian. Luella advanced to play Cobb County-powerhouse Lassiter in the quarterfinals, where it was swept, but not before a group of scrappy seniors and talented sophomores made a name for themselves, setting the stage for a promising 2011 season.

No contract leaves FP without coach

A few days into spring practice, new Forest Park coach Nick Mrvos was told that he would not be offered a teaching contract after moving over from Rockdale County High. He had spent the past season as the offensive line coach, but resigned to take the job at Forest Park. A system-wide budget crunch left the Mrvos, who taught Advance Placement social studies classes, without a contract and the school without a football coach. Jajuan Wright, who was already on the teaching staff at the school, served as the coach during the season.

ELCA's softball team ends state title run

The record was impressive. Led by pitcher Hope Rush, who was later named ACC Freshman of the Year at Georgia Tech and incoming Georgia freshman Julia Echols, the Lady Chargers started a Class A run of state titles. Freshman pitcher Megan Betsa picked up where Rush left off and EClA and dominated teams with a 135-19-2 record and four titles. But all good things come to an end, and this year, ELCA's state championship run ended when it didn't even make it to the state tournament, losing a play-in game and finishing with an 11-12 record its first losing season ever.

CSU men's soccer advances to NCAA Elite 8

It was a historic year for the Clayton State men's soccer team. Pete Petersen's Lakers went 19-4 oveall and 7-1 in the conferece. The team's amazing record included winning six games in a row late in the season. The Lakers beat Lees-McRae, Flagler and Anderson in the NCAA Tournament. The season c ame to an end after falling to Rollins College in overtime. The Lakers were paced by Ryan Pugh's 16 goals. Leighton Fredericks added 8. Former Jonesboro High School goalkeeper Brian Garcia had a 0.74 goals against average and 11 shutouts.

The Lakers finished fifth in the final Top-25 rankings. It was the highest final ranking ever for the team.