Local athletes have big week

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, April 7, 2016

There are always reasons to celebrate the young people of Dallas County, whether it be for work inside the classroom or some of their talent outside of it. This week three local student athletes were recognized for their accomplishments in sports.

Morgan Academy’s Jones Free was one of 80 players nationwide that participated in the Drive, Chip and Putt finals at Augusta National, which is host of The Masters tournament this week. Although Free didn’t win, he did get the chance to take part in what was surely a once in a lifetime experience.

The Masters is one of the most exclusive fields in golf, so even the number of professional golfers that make it to Augusta are low. At 13, Free got to putt on Augusta’s famous 18th green, which has played host to some of the most famous finishes in golf’s history.

On Wednesday, Keith senior Harriet Winchester was named the 1A Girls Player of the Year at the Alabama Sports Writers Association banquet in Montgomery. Winchester, who played six years of high school ball for the Bears, had a tremendous career and will now head to Troy University to play college basketball. She scored more than 2,000 points in her career and helped lead Keith to three trips to Birmingham in four years.

John Pettway was also a finalist for 1A Boys Player of the Year. Although he didn’t win, Pettway made it clear he was excited to be there so he could see his cousin, Winchester, win her honor.

Congratulations to Free on making it to Augusta National and to Winchester and Pettway for being recognized as two of the best high school basketball players in the state.