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Archive for: July 2016

Piedmont volleyball with big expectations entering 2016 season

Blake Colston

After racking up the most wins in program history, hosting its first regional and winning its first postseason match, the Piedmont volleyball team is out for much more in 2016.

Blake Colston/Gazette Laureli Grothe goes up for a hit Tuesday night in Piedmont's sweep of Noble.

Blake Colston/Gazette
Laureli Grothe goes up for a hit Tuesday night in Piedmont’s sweep of Noble.

“I have high expectations for this season because we have a lot of returners and key players that play their positions really well,” head coach Lauren Bernhardt said.

Piedmont returns top outside hitter Brooke Spears, middle blocker Laureli Grothe and setter Hannah McGarraugh. All three have received interest from college recruiters.

That’s a big change from recent years for a startup program like Piedmont. Before last season, Piedmont was nothing more than a blip on opponent’s schedules. Fresh off a 22-win season, the Lady Wildcats have Class 5A’s attention.

“It helped put Piedmont on the board,” Bernhardt said of a record-setting 2015 season.

Now, Piedmont wants to take one more big step, said McGarraugh, the team’s senior setter. If the team achieves all it can, where can it go? A long ways, she says.

“I think it definitely takes us to the state bracket,” she said. “There’s a different atmosphere this year. It’s a lot more intense. Everyone has definitely picked up their game and is working in overdrive.”

Though McGarraugh plays setter on her club team, she didn’t set any of the previous three seasons for Piedmont while former setter Kasidi Hardy played. With Hardy graduated, it’s McGarraugh’s job now. She’ll play a big role in all that Piedmont does and she’s ready for the added responsibility.

“It’s been my home position since my freshman year,” she said. “I’m ready to seize the opportunity.”

Bernhardt scheduled tougher this year to challenge her team and prepare them for a possible run to the state tournament. That potential, which seemed hard to imagine four years ago, is a driving force for Piedmont this season.

“That would mean everything to us to set that legacy,” McGarraugh said. “It would show that our hard work has paid off and mean the world to all of us.”

Former Piedmont prep star was once top recruit

Blake Colston

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ronnie Osborne had it all.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound running back’s speed, power and finesse made him a highly sought after recruit from tiny Piedmont, America. He’s still the most high profile recruit in the school history.

“He’s a Marcus Dupree type,” former Piedmont head coach Steve Lykes told the Daily Oklahoman in 2001, recalling the University of Oklahoma tailback that once pulverized Big Eight defenders in the early 1980s. “In his (Osborne’s) running style and in his size, he really reminds me of him.”

At the peak of Osborne’s recruitment, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Notre Dame, among others, all offered scholarships to Osborne. He still has a box full of mail sent by schools from coast to coast. The nation’s top college coaches flocked to Piedmont with good reason.

In 1999 as a sophomore, Osborne rushed for 2,143 yards and 26 touchdowns. The next year, he rushed for 2,082 yards and 31 touchdowns. In the two seasons combined, he averaged 201 rushing yards per game.

During his junior season, Osborne helped lead Piedmont to a 10-2 record and the quarterfinal round of the playoffs — its best season in school history — while also averaging 23 points per game on the basketball court on his way to All-State honors.

He seemed destined for stardom, but it never happened.

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Piedmont Gazette Podcast, Episode 2

In this episode of the Piedmont Gazette Podcast, Piedmont boys head basketball coach Troy Lallemand joined sports editor Blake Colston and intern Daniel Smola to talk about Kevin Durant’s departure, where the Thunder go from here and about Piedmont summer basketball.

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