WRITTEN BY: ENA HUMPHRIES
COVER PHOTO BY: MIRA WEATHERWAX
The fourth quarter is coming to an end. The score is neck and neck. Our team is in possession of the ball. They inch closer and closer to the end zone as the clock ticks down. The crowd is on the edge of their seats; suddenly - TOUCHDOWN. Explosions of celebration burst from the crowd. With certain aspects varying from sport to sport, this is a common scene in modern day America’s favorite past time - high school sports.
With the turn of the 2018-19 school year, the athletic department made a change to all Jackson High School sports teams by switching conferences from the Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) to the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The change was a long time coming.
“We’d been in the same conference for 20 years,” athletic director Jack Fairly said. “We were sort of the outsider of that league because it was so Lansing oriented, and then we were way down here in Jackson.”
Although the fall sports season is just beginning to get into the swing of things, positive effects can already be observed from the switch.
“Swimming has improved immensely because now we have almost 40 girls swimming; last year, we only had 17 girls,” Fairly said. “Football, we’re obviously off to a great start. Soccer, we’re off to a great start.”
With the new season, the girls swim team has started anew.
“This year, we have almost double the amount of people on our team and a stronger diving program as well,” senior captain Abigail White said. “We have a new coach, Coach Sean McCully. (He) makes practice a lot more enjoyable; it’s less difficult and painful and more fun and enjoyable.”
The team is looking forward to a season full of wins.
“At the Mason Invite, which we’d never been to before, we won by over 200 points … We got first in every event except three,” White said. “We’re a lot stronger than we were last year.”
While the swim team is making waves, the football team is looking to make history early in the season.
“We’re 3-0, and it’s looking good,” senior football center Paul Fairchild said. “It’s a pretty big deal because we haven’t been 3-0 since 2003.”
As of September 14th, the boys have extended their record to 4-0 after a win against the Dexter Dreadnaughts; The last 4-0 season for the football program was in 1970. Fairchild attributes the team’s winning streak to their friendship off the field and their willingness to play for each other.
“It’s a fun team to be a part of,” Fairchild said.
Meanwhile, the soccer team is itching to leave their mark once again this season. Being the CAAC Blue Division champs last season, the need to prove themselves in the new conference is immense.
“With the conference shift, there’s just a lot of new things brought on this year that definitely made it challenging to get into the season,” four-year varsity senior Will Esser said. “But I think we’ve done a good job at adapting to what we’ve been given.” Like the swim program, the soccer team also acquired a new coach: Coach Damon Havlicek.
Even though it’s not in the limelight compared to other sports, the girl’s cross country team is optimistic for their season to unfold.
“We did better last (season) than we have in all the other years I’ve been running,” senior captain Lily Miller said. With the team as a whole getting faster, they’re looking towards the opportunity of going to states at the end of the season.
“Right now, we’re fifth in the conference, and top three go to states,” Miller said. “I really hope we go.”
Overall, the common theme is the Jackson High Vikings are stepping up to the challenge of the conference switch and taking it by storm. With the momentum from the successes of the fall sports season, the Vikings are aiming to make dubs a commonality for the entire 2018-19 school year.