Dear seniors,

Years from now when you think back to the year 2020 and the way your final year of high school played out, it’ll be a unique time in history you’ll reminisce on.

For the 32 spring sports athletes at both Cosby and Cocke County high schools, it may not be a year you’ll look back fondly on. None of us would blame you.

Many of you had waited, even dreamt about what you would accomplish in your final season with your high school sports programs. All of us were looking forward to it, too.

However, for whatever reason, this season just wasn’t meant to be. Most of you at least got a few events into your seasons before everything was called off, but that certainly doesn’t atone for the year full of final memories you had ahead of you.

The circumstances the coronavirus put in place this spring won’t be the end of your journeys, though. Each of you are destined for great things in the future, and I’m sure you’ll be a shining light for the Cocke County community in the years to come.

With that said, it has truly been an honor to cover your events and tell your stories for the last four years. Thank you for allowing us at the Newport Plain Talk to give everyone a glimpse of all you’ve been able to accomplish in local athletics over the years.

While it’s been a privilege to capture your lives in athletics, our staff wasn’t alone in witnessing the work you put in every day. We weren’t there for those early morning workouts or the after school practices. And we weren’t with you while you put in the countless hours to perfect your craft.

That’s why we reached out to those that were there the entire way. Because while the 2020 season didn’t give you the sendoff you all had hoped for, hopefully the thoughts and well wishes of the coaches that were stripped of one last year to mentor you can offer some consolation.

Just know that everyone in this community is proud of everything you’ve accomplished, and we wish you all the best in your upcoming endeavors.

CALLIE ATKINS — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Callie, when you joined the track team you brought a quiet demeanor but super strong work ethic with you. While I know last season wasn’t as good as you hoped it would be, you were poised for this to be your best one yet with a PR in your event in the first meet! The sky was the limit then it all ended….I know that if nothing else track has helped lay lifelong health and fitness as a priority. I can’t wait to see and help you experience all the great things life will bring to you. I am so glad I got to know you as an athlete and a person.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

JEREMIAH BENJAMIN — CCHS SOCCER

Jeremiah, I’m hoping for nothing but the best for you in your future endeavors. The future is bright for you young sir.

- Darius Collins and the CCHS soccer staff.

TIMOTHY BRANNON — COSBY BASEBALL

Timothy, it’s been an absolute pleasure coaching you these past two years. You have bought in from day one, and been a tremendous leader. Your work ethic, and your drive to be the very best will take you very far in the future. Know that you will always have an advocate in me... and once an Eagle always an Eagle. I can’t imagine what you guys are feeling losing your senior season, but it will ultimately make you stronger. Thank you for giving me your very best these last two years. I’ll love you until the day I die and you’ll always be one of “my guys.”

- Justin Hite and the Cosby baseball staff.

CAROLINE BRAWLEY — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Caroline, I am so glad you joined the track team freshman year! While I know it may not have been a top priority for you initially I have been impressed the way it has become a priority for you. Becoming sectional qualifier last year, and no doubt this year as well, was a definite highlight! You have been a great team leader and I hope those skills as well as your athletic prowess will help you as you begin the next leg of your life’s journey. I know I will keep up with all the great things you do but thank you for giving your all the last 4 years as a member of the track team.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

MADISON DOCKERY — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Madison, it is hard to imagine that four years ago you had never really run before, and now look at all the great things you have accomplished in this field. I know how disappointed you are not getting to run this season, especially after your injury last year, but I know the next level of your running career at Carson-Newman will be amazing. I will miss your even, steady pace in every race you run but use that as you move forward through life. Although you already have, keep making me proud!!

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

DEREK DRISKILL — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Derek, it is hard to believe you just showed up for a cross-country practice over summer almost four years ago and now it is time to think about graduation. You are such a hard working, dedicated, and driven student and athlete. I have enjoyed watching you grow as an athlete. You have dealt with adversity before and I know it made you stronger. Like all of your teammates I look forward to what great things you do in life and some day you becoming one of my colleagues!!

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

COLE FRESHOUR — — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Cole. Wow! Like Derek you came fresh out of 8th grade and joined the team. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you grow and mature over the past four years in both cross-country and track. I hate that your senior season got cut short but I am sure not as much as you do!!! Continue to work hard in all things that you do. I can not wait to see what great things the rest of your life brings to you. Keep working hard and chasing your dreams.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

ADRIANNA GENTRY — CCHS SOFTBALL

Adri, thank you for your hard work and dedication to your team and your academics. We have had our differences in the past but we have grown from them and become stronger. You have been our workhorse behind the plate. You have taken a number of beatings but continue to push through and keep playing. Your hard work shows on and off the field. I know we have had a number of conversations about your studies. Keep up that work ethic throughout life. That drive will take you as far as you want it to. Keep being the best you can be!

- Nicole Chrisman and the CCHS softball staff.

EDUARDO GONZALEZ — COSBY SOCCER

Ed, it seems as though you have been a part of our soccer program for many years now. I’ve never coached a soccer team that you or one of your brothers weren’t a part of. You have set the bar extremely high for future players at Cosby. I will miss your intensity, hard work, and skill on the soccer pitch but as a coach your leadership , honesty, and coachable attitude will be missed most. You have everything you need to play either sport at the next level should you choose to. You also have everything you need to be the best at anything you choose to do. Proud of ya. Love ya. EAGLE PRIDE!

- Kevin Hall and the Cosby soccer staff.

MAX HAMMONDS — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Max, it is so nice to watch athletes grow and mature over the course of their four years in high school. While I feel your senior season had the potential to be your best COVID-19 had other plans. I know you will become whatever you want in life because I know how your determination will ensure that it happens. I look forward to seeing what great things you are able to accomplish. Thank you for being a part of the team for the last four years.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

MAGGIE HUMPHREY — COSBY SOFTBALL

Maggie, you came into the program four years ago a talented freshman that only needed some experience and confidence. You worked hard and became so dedicated to being the best that you could be. I asked a lot of you throughout your time on the Hill, from playing multiple positions to almost constantly being thrust into the leadoff batting position. In your junior year it all came together. You played nearly flawless in the field and led the team in several offensive categories. Then in the semifinals of the regional tournament you came through again for your team. You hit that inside the park home run after asking to hit from the right side of the plate instead of the left! That was your confidence in your abilities coming out and this helped lift last year’s group of seniors to the sub state round of the tournament. It also got us the shot to play for the region championship, where two different times you were called out at the plate when you were clearly safe (from my perspective anyhow)! Not only have you grown into a great softball player, but an even better teammate, again you are more than those things, you are an intelligent, compassionate, young lady that brings smiles to those around you. I know that you will be successful in life and will make everyone on The Hill proud of the things you will accomplish.

- Mike Bryant and the Cosby softball staff.

MATTHEW JIMINEZ — COSBY SOCCER

Matthew, I’ve enjoyed having you as a student and an athlete these last four years. I’ve watched you grow as a young man and an athlete. I’m very proud of the work you put into this soccer program. You have been a part of building a special team and strengthening our soccer program for future teams to come. I will miss your, what seemed to be constant good mood and positive attitude. Even though your senior soccer season didn’t go as planned you can always say you didn’t lose a game your senior season. Proud of ya. Love ya. EAGLE PRIDE.

- Kevin Hall and the Cosby soccer staff.

BRADYN LONG — CCHS BASEBALL

Bradyn, thank you for trusting us enough to transfer to play here. We’ve always had that bond as a couple Jefferson County boys who love Newport and this community. I am so proud of the young man you have grown into. Your work ethic will serve you well at the next level. The work doesn’t stop now that you have reached your goal of playing in college. Now is the time to work harder than ever. I know you will. Thank you for the way you lead the younger players in our program and your positive attitude everyday. Georgetown is getting a great one. We will miss you at CCHS.

- Andy Chrisman and the CCHS baseball staff.

DYLAN LOPEZ — CCHS SOCCER

Dylan, during your four years at CCHS I was fortunate enough to be able to coach you in both football and soccer. On more than one occasion you have taught me different soccer skills and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Best of luck in whatever you choose to do in the future young sir.

- Darius Collins and the CCHS soccer staff.

CALEB MCCARTER — CCHS SOCCER

Caleb, during my time at CCHS I can truly say that few student athletes I have worked with understood what it really meant to have a shark type mentality, and I must say that you are one. I recall when you would attend our games your junior year and be taking photos for the annual staff and after one of my pregame speeches you came to me and asked what you needed to do to join our team because you were inspired by what I had said to the team. Ever since that moment you gave maximum effort, had a competitive attitude, were physically and mentally tough, and each time you took the field you did so with tenacity. The true definition of Shark Mentality and coming to E.A.T.T. Best of luck to you in the future young sir.

- Darius Collins and the CCHS soccer staff.

A.J. MILLS — CCHS BASEBALL

A.J., it has been a pleasure to have you in baseball and watch you compete in football and basketball too. I have always been hard on you and pushed you because I know what you are capable of. Thank you for being you. We wish you the best of luck in the Army. I know you can handle anything that comes your way. Go and be a leader. I will not miss your short jokes but I will miss you.

- Andy Chrisman and the CCHS baseball staff.

HAILEY MOORE — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Hailey, I have really enjoyed getting to know you as student and athlete over the past two years. I was especially looking forward to seeing how many more PR’s and things you could accomplish this year. It’s hard not getting to have that last season of track for you but you were an important senior member of the team. I am so proud of all things you have done both athletically and otherwise. Keep working hard and chasing your dreams. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you!

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

MANNEY MOORE — COSBY BASEBALL

Manney, it has been an absolute pleasure coaching you these past two seasons. You played such an integral role in changing a culture. I enjoyed watching you mature as a baseball player, and how you improved dramatically from day to day. It’s not easy what you did joining baseball late in your career... and you managed to thrive into a starting role. I can’t imagine what you seniors went through this year, but I know you will use it as a learning experience to springboard yourself into a great college experience and a great career. Your drive and attention to detail will make you successful. I love you and know I’ll always be here in whatever you need in life and you’ll always be one of “my guys.”

- Justin Hite and the Cosby baseball staff.

EMMA MULLEN — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Emma, thinking of you as freshman that was so excited and ready to do and try whatever to now, which is still an athlete that is excited and ready to do whatever. Especially over the past two years you have really put in the extra work and that paid off with a sectional berth last year. I was looking forward to another trip to sectionals and maybe even state this year but alas COVID-19 had other plans. The maturity and growth you have displayed since joining the team freshman year is astounding. Keep working hard in all you do and I can’t wait to see what great things will follow!

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

ANTONIO NUNEZ — COSBY BASEBALL

Antonio, it has been a pleasure coaching you in not only baseball this season, but in football as well. You’ve managed to do one of the hardest things in life in coming to a new school, and instantly fitting in and being an asset. Your work ethic and drive will take you places in life. Although our time was short, know that I’ll forever be in your corner in whatever you need in life and will be rooting you on. I love you and thanks for giving me your very best and you’ll forever be one of “my guys.”

- Justin Hite and the Cosby baseball staff.

ALEC PHILLIPS — CCHS TENNIS

Alec has played tennis at CCHS for three seasons. Alec displayed phenomenal potential and I was excited to see his accomplishments this senior year. Alec is one of those players and students you truly enjoy having around and has such an easy-going personality. Alec was involved with the Key Club, Student Council, and Young Democrats at CCHS, and although his senior season in tennis was cut short, he made friends and mastered a sport that will remain with him forever.

- Wade Wester and the CCHS tennis staff.

RYAN SITTON — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Ryan, you have such a willingness to do whatever I asked of you that I will miss coaching more athletes like yourself. I was so excited to see the improvement you had made over the off-season. Whether it was shot, disc, or a mile you always tried your best and I appreciate it. Good luck at school next fall. I am sure you will do great things.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

KYLIE STOKES — CCHS SOFTBALL

Kylie, thank you for coming in your senior year and playing in spots(short stop and leadoff hitter) that are tough for anyone but extremely tough not playing the year before. I was so excited to see what your full potential was on the field this season. At the beginning of the season, I was trying to find someone to fill in holes left by graduating seniors. You came in and put a smile on my face. You are the sweetest young lady and the sweetest soul. Even though our time together was extremely short, it has been a pleasure to be your coach. Good luck next at Bryan College!

- Nicole Chrisman and the CCHS softball staff

CHLOE SUTTON — COSBY SOFTBALL

Chloe, I do not really know where to begin. This whole situation is truly heartbreaking. I want you to know that for four years you have been supportive in every way that you could have to be a solid teammate to all. I have always told you that you can be as good as you want to be. Sometimes I thought that you did not believe that! Then this last summer I think it finally clicked and you went to work. I went home after workouts this summer thinking, “She is getting it!” Leaving each time knowing you were going to help us win games. Then you got your set back when you got hurt. That is when I saw your character. You were continually telling me that you were going to play! When things got tough you didn’t crawl in a hole and sulk, but you came out swinging! You insisted that you were going to push through the pain! The thing that I hope you learn from that is work through the tough times, keep up the fight for what you want to accomplish. It will serve you well. I fully expect you to go out into this great big world and make Cosby proud of you!

- Mike Bryant and the Cosby softball staff.

SPENSER STUART — COSBY BASEBALL

Spenser, brother, it has been an absolute joy in coaching you in baseball and football these last two years. You were often times the whipping boy, and took it in stride. You grew as a baseball player as much as any I’ve ever seen in all my years in this game. Your work ethic and ability to take life in stride are tremendous assets that will undoubtedly make you successful in whatever path you choose in life. Although this year was cut short, this isn’t the end. Know that I’ll be here in whatever capacity you ever need, and that you’ll always be one of “my guys.” I’ll love you until the day I die, kid.

- Justin Hite and the Cosby baseball staff.

KYLEN THOMPSON — COSBY SOFTBALL

Kylen, I am going to begin by letting you know that I know that it took a lot of courage to decide that in your junior year to go out for a sport that you had never played. The softball team at that time had won 5 straight district tournament championships. So, you knew the competition would be stiff, but you just stepped right out and said, “I am gonna give this my best,” and that is exactly what you did! You listened to the coaches and did exactly what was asked of you, learned from your teammates and tried to emulate the things that you saw on the field. You really improved due to your efforts to be your best. I know that you didn’t get to see the field as often as others, but you were always a great teammate cheering them on. You were always happy for the success of the team! You came to work day after day. That takes commitment. Commitment to a game and teammates that you fell in love with. What I have seen is that once you set a course then you are committed to it and will see it through. As with your class and teammates that alone will take you far. Carry that desire into everything you do going forward, and you will be successful more times than you fail! Go make us proud!

- Mike Bryant and the Cosby softball staff.

AMBER VAN METER — CCHS TENNIS

Amber has been a multiple-sport star at CCHS. She excels in tennis, soccer, maintains stellar grades and also works a part time job; juggling all with ease. Although her senior season of tennis was cut short, Amber was able to go undefeated up until the end. Amber leads by example on the tennis team. She has a great attitude, she is easy to coach, and works hard. I have no doubt that Amber Van Meter’s future looks bright and she will be able to accomplish any goal that she sets and works towards achieving.

- Wade Wester and the CCHS tennis staff.

TYLER VENERABLE — CCHS TRACK & FIELD

Tyler, I was so glad when you joined the track team last year. Your work ethic, calming demeanor, and consistency really helped the boy’s team. Things were looking very promising for this season after the first meet but unfortunately, as in life, things didn’t go according to plan. Thank you so much for you willingness to give what you could to the team. I wish you all the luck as you move toward the next stage of your life.

- Clay Blazer and the CCHS track & field staff.

ADDISON WEBB — CCHS SOFTBALL

Addison, thank you for allowing me to come in three years ago and be your coach. You are a great athlete but even more a wonderful young lady. I have asked you to move positions on the field(who would have thought pitcher?!) and you never complained once. You have always done what was best for your team and I admire that. I’m going to miss that spunky personality and that fire on the field. I know whatever path you choose in life, you will succeed greatly. Keep pushing and keep fighting!

- Nicole Chrisman and the CCHS softball staff.

LAYTON WERTHER — COSBY BASEBALL

Layton, it has been a great joy coaching you the last two years in baseball and football. What you did in picking up this game late, and working your way into playing time is not an easy task. In fact, it’s dang near impossible. I could always count on you being the last one to leave to make sure things were tidy. Or to be the first to volunteer when things needed done. Those traits will take you far in life. Know that I’ll be in your corner and I’m always a phone call away. I’ll love you until the day I die, and you’ll forever be one of “my guys.”

- Justin Hite and the Cosby baseball staff.

HUNTER WHITE — CCHS BASEBALL

Hunter, it seems like yesterday you were a little kid in pitching lessons. Then you threw a no hitter as a freshman and quickly established yourself as one of the best pitchers in Class AAA baseball. I know you would have knocked down several places in the record book this season on the mound. You are one of the most competitive players I’ve ever coached. It may have been a constant battle on getting you to channel that correctly but I am very proud of how hard you play the game. As you continue to grow and mature I know you have a bright future in the game of baseball and in life. I will definitely miss having you on our side.

- Andy Chrisman and the CCHS baseball staff.

DAUNTE ZISER — CCHS SOCCER

Daunte, it was an honor to be able to coach you for the two seasons that you played soccer at CCHS. I wish you the very best in all that you do young sir.

- Darius Collins and the CCHS soccer staff.

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