Perry Central’s great sports year continues

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By Larry Goffinet

Last October I wrote that this could be the best school year ever for Perry Central sports, and that has proven to be the case.
The Commodores have won one regional, four sectionals, and eight of 10 possible conference titles so far.
Three sectional titles and one conference one (boys golf) remain to be decided.
The four sectional titles in one school year are the most for any school in Perry County history.
Among area schools, Tecumseh won five Class A sectionals in the 2003-04 school year (in volleyball, boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball).
But all their sectionals had four or five teams in them.
Perry Central has won an 11-team boys track sectional, an eight-team boys cross country sectional, a seven-team girls cross country sectional, and a seven-team boys basketball sectional.
Three of those titles came in sports that are not divided into classes. And Perry Central was the smallest school in the Class 2A Southridge boys basketball sectional.
Jason Barnett has coached three of the sectional champions (both cross country ones and boys track), also a county record. I don’t know of any other coach anywhere who has coached more in one school year. Even Gil Thorp hasn’t done that.
The Commodores’ string of successes has helped Abe Schwartz become the first athlete in school history—and only the second in Perry County history—to be on three sectional championship teams in one school year.
He was also on Perry Central’s boys track sectional championship team last spring, so the last four teams he has been on have won sectionals. That’s not a bad way to end one’s high school career.
Asked Thursday how it felt to be part of three sectional champions in one year, Schwartz said, “I can’t even explain it—it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
“Even if we’d lost (the track sectional), it was better than last year because we all performed so well.
“I’m just so proud of our team. I never do anything individually—I just try to help out my team however I can.”
Looking ahead, Perry Central’s girls softball team is 16-4 and might have a shot at the Forest Park sectional. But Mater Dei, ranked No. 2 in the state, stands in the way.
Maybe we should ask Barnett who will win that sectional, as his track athletes said Thursday night that he can predict the future.
He told them last year they would win the sectional by one point, which they did. And he told them this year they would win by four points and they won by 41⁄2.