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St. Pius X Golden Lions
2013 Fall Sports Preview
August 23rd, 2013
Classes began Friday, August 9 at St. Pius X ; and with that the beginning of the fall athletics campaign. The Golden Lions will field six fall sports, all of which advanced to the state playoffs last season. Two programs took region crowns in 2012, while two more were region or area runners-up. As the 2013-14 school year commences, St. Pius X will also look to win its second onsecutive Regions Director’s Cup, and fifth in the past six seasons. If successful, the Golden Lions will be only the fifth school in Georgia to take home the Cup five or more times since the honor began in 1999.
On the gridiron, Paul Standard (108-37) enters his 13th season as the second winningest coach in St. Pius X history behind the legendary George B. Maloof. The Golden Lions return six offensive and five defensive starters from the 2012 team which finished 12-3, were AAA state runners-up and concluded the year ranked second in the final polls. St. Pius X, ranked No. 5 in the pre-season AAA scoreatl.com poll, has advanced to the playoffs seven straight seasons, and will open the 2013 slate
hosting Westminster on August 30.
Key returnees for the team include seniors Daniel Crochet (Stone Mountain), Branden Mitchell (Norcross), Thomas O’Leary (Tucker), Nick Ruffin (Johns Creek) and Dalton Wilson (Norcross). Crochet led the team with four interceptions Wilson is the leading returning tackler for the Golden Lions with 126 stops. Mitchell is the top returning rusher and receiver, gaining 833
yards on the ground and scoring seven touchdowns. He also scored three TDs receiving. Ruffin is the second leading returning rusher with 487 yards and four TDs. O'Leary connected on eight-of-nine field goals with five makes over 43 yards.
Coach John Frederick (453-218-1) also begins his 13th campaign and is the winningest volleyball coach in school history. The Golden Lions finished last season as area and state runners-up, while posting a 43-18-1 record. The netters will open the regular season August 17 at Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in a team tournament.
The Golden Lions return the team leader in kills and two-time All-State selection, senior Leah Hardeman (Atlanta). Also returning is Kathryn Maloof (Atlanta), the team leader in blocks and setter Katrina Connolly (Duluth) who led the team in assists. St. Pius X returns nine players overall from last season.
Boys’ Cross Country will look to repeat as AAA State Champions for the fourth consecutive season, as the Golden Lion harriers return the top three runners from last year’s state title squad which also took the top spot in the gamileplit.com
all-classification poll and finished ranked No. 8 in the Southeast poll. Ryan McClay enters his fifth season with last year’s state champion Austin Sprague (Dunwoody) as well as the third and fifth-place finishers in Joey Ferrugia (Atlanta) and Andrew Anastasiades (Atlanta), respectively. The Golden Lions are the top ranked school in AAA in the pre-season rankings gamilesplit.com rankings and compete for the first time in 2013 in the Stage Races at the River Green Complex in Duluth on August 24.
Debbie Guilbeau enters her 19th season as head coach of the Girls’ Cross Country program. The 2012 edition of Golden Lions finished as the AAA state champions for the second time in three years and finished No. 4 in the gamilesplit.com all-classification poll. The Golden Lions lost its top three runners but do return senior Margaret Crawford who finished third at the state meet. She will be joined by two of the top sophomores in AAA, Emma Jayne Braxton (Atlanta) and Katie Glenn (Avondale Estates). The lady harriers will race at the Mercy Invitational at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Fayetteville to lift the lid on the 2013 campaign on August 24.
The Golden Lion softball team returns several student-athletes that started the majority of last season, including junior Jordyn Portis (Lilburn) who helped guide the squad to the state playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. Seniors Margaret Andros (Lawrenceville), Madison Eaglen (Hoschton) and Carson Travers (Atlanta) will look to lead St. Pius X back to the playoffs. Juniors Lindsay Leiner (Marietta) and Sabrina Thomas (Lawrenceville) will also compete for starting spots. The
Golden Lions opened action last week at the Georgia Dugout Classic at Wesleyan.
Competition Cheerleading advanced to the state meet for the 13th straight year. Seven seniors return for the squad. Making the overall accomplishments over their 14-year history even more impressive is the fact freshmen are allowed to compete at the varsity level, which is unusual for most competition cheer squads in Georgia. The first meet for the ladies is September 21 at the Back to the
Mat Challenge at Grayson High School.