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The 2012 Alabama All-Stars Sports Week moved to Montgomery this year after being hosted in Huntsville for many years, and this year, athletes from Bob Jones High are well represented in the week-long sports extravaganza, which features action for the senior-to-be athletes in six sports and numerous seminars for coaches to attend and learn the latest in high school sports.
The All-Star Week will be held July 9-13.
Jeff Bell, Bob Jones head baseball coach, was selected as head coach of the North team of athletes that will tangle with a team comprised of superb athletes representing the South. This is the second appearance for Bell in the annual All-Star Week and he said, “It’s exciting to be with the best players in the state and always makes for a great week. The event is lots of fun and is a big honor for me to be chosen as a coach.”
In baseball, the Patriots are represented by shortstop Matt Bolger, who has already committed to South Alabama upon his graduation from Bob Jones in 2013.
“I’m playing travel baseball this summer for the Excel Baseball Academy and have traveled all over the Southeast and I will be traveling straight to the All-Star event from East Cobb, Ga.,” said Bolger, who batted .326 for the Patriots, is regarded as a team leader and grew offensively in 2012. “My brother, Jeff, played in the All-Star Week in 2005. I’m looking forward to the competition with other great players.”
In soccer, Ellen Bruno will carry the Patriots pride as the defender continues to do battle, especially one-on-one, to perfection. Although Bruno was ill for almost half of her junior soccer season, she never gave up or let her teammates down and played through her physically weak days to help lead the Lady Patriots.
“Yeah, I’m ready to play again as I’ve been working out during the off-season and will attend camps to help me,” said Bruno, who has great quickness and is one of the best at one-on-one situations on the soccer field. “I’ve had worked hard to be better and it’s really exciting to know all of my hard work has paid off by being selected to participate in the All-Star Week.”
The Patriots’ softball program will again be represented by head coach Kent Chambers, who will act as sports administrator for the North squad. On the field, the Patriots have Amy Carden on the squad roster. The 16-year old outfielder, who is being courted by both UAH and UNA for college play, is one Chambers called the most consistent hitter on the team this past school season. She led the team in contact percentage and always seemed to put the ball in play.
“I practice hitting a lot and since I have played softball through the WESTCO program since age five, I feel I know when I’m doing something wrong and quickly correct that bad habit,” said Carden, who carries an impressive 4.02 GPA in the classroom and hopes to further her education to possibly work in the field of education. “I workout on a daily basis by running a mile and taking batting practice. I’m also playing for the Huntsville Sparks travel team this summer. It’s exciting to know I’ll be among the best players in the state.”
The girl’s basketball program at Bob Jones, which is regarded as one of the tops in the state, will be going through a major change this summer as head coach Tim Miller resigned his position at Bob Jones and is now an assistant coach for the University of Alabama women’s team. The Patriots continue to hone their skills during the summer months and two of the senior-to-be Patriots will among the All-Star Week. Both China Leary and Lindsey Jennings will play for the North squad next month.
“When coach Miller told me I was being selected for the All-Star event, I felt honored because I know how many other players want to be a part of this big event,” said Jennings, who Miller said has the potential to be the premier point guard in the state during her senior year. “I feel I have the potential to be the best and have to push myself and have the confidence to do so.”
Jennings, who carries a 3.5 GPA, looks to be a child psychologist upon graduating from college. At 5-foot-8, she’s currently being looked at by South Alabama, Southern Mississippi and Alabama.
“I’m practicing each day at Bob Jones and going through strength training three days a week,” added Jennings.
Leary is a 5-foot-6 guard for Bob Jones is among the 15 players on the North squad roster.
In volleyball, Patriots head coach April Marsh will lead the North squad along with one of her school players, Jazmin Wright. At 5-foot-1, Wright will be the shortest player in the volleyball competition.
Travon Landry will suit up for the North squad in the All-Stare event in boys basketball. The 6-foot-1 guard has committed to play college basketball with the Tennessee Volunteers, and will be the leader for the Bob Jones program in his senior year for the Patriots.
In football, the Patriots will have linebacker Darius Tibbs among the elite players. Tibbs is 5-foot-10 and weighs 190-pounds. He’s being scouted by numerous college programs
Madison Academy is also represented in the All-Star Week with McKenna Wilfong (Girls Soccer) and Brandi Freeman (Softball) representing the Class 3A Mustangs.
The All-Star Week competition schedule includes: Baseball- July 9, Soccer and Softball- July 10, basketball- July 11 and volleyball and football- July 12. All activities will be held in Montgomery.
By Bob Labbe
For the Madison Weekly News