By PATRICK CASEY
Cross country season opened last week for area schools as Walton hosted the first meet of the season. Paxton captured first place in the boys competition with Freeport doing so on the girls’ side. Freeport’s Michael Graziani took first place individually as he posted a time of 17:48. Walton’s Lindsey Phillips took first place in the girls individual competition with a time of 25:21. Paxton hosted the second meet on Monday with Paxton winning the boys competition and Freeport again taking the girls’ side.
The Walton volleyball team improved to 8-2 with a three set sweep of Northview last week. Walton followed that performance up by posting a 3-1 record at the Gulf Coast Community College Invitational. Walton defeated Panama City Bozeman, Sneads and Chipley while losing to Wakulla. The Braves are now 11-3 overall and 2-0 in the district. The Braves are set for a showdown at Pensacola Catholic on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Freeport lost a district match to Baker last week in five sets as the Gators rallied after losing the first two sets for the victory. Key to the Baker comeback was an injury to Freeport’s Heather Moore, who left the game with an injury to her right leg in the third game. Freeport had defeated Baker to start the season, so the season series is split at one match apiece, and almost assuredly will see the two teams face each other in Jay in the district tournament final in late October. Freeport is 8-3 on the season and will host Crestview on Thursday at 6 p.m.
South Walton’s volleyball team continues to struggle as the Seahawks fell at Pensacola Catholic last week. The Seahawks, who have no seniors on the team, are 0-8 this year. South Walton will host Northview on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Walton Middle School football team won a 7th-grade contest over Rocky Bayou last week 20-6.
The Walton golf team continues a strong start to the 2008 season as the Braves garnered a second place finish out of four teams in Crestviewin a 9-hole match held at Adara Golf Club. Walton finished five strokes behind Choctaw as Paul McClure led the way with a 38 while Heath Morgan posted a 39. Hunter Kirby delivered a 41 with Devin Partridge adding a 44. Walton took home a sixth-place finish out of 25 teams in the Miracle Strip Invitational on Thursday as the Braves shot a 310 in the 18-hole match. Fort Walton Beach took first place by shooting a 292 as a team. Paul McClure posted the third best score of the tourney with a 70. Devin Partridge shot a 78 with Heath Morgan carding an 80 and Clay Cawthon an 82.
The South Walton golf team also had a busy week as they defeated Freeport 179-221. Blake Ruden led the 9-hole match with a 38 while Dylan Smith shot a 43. Billy Davis carded a 44 with Jake Vermillion posting a 54. South Walton defeated Panama City Arnold at the Santa Rosa Country Club 185-198. Ruden led the way with a 39 while Dylan Smith added a 40 and Billy Davis a 43. Brandon Barrett added a 63. The Seahawks placed 21st out of 25 at the Miracle Strip Invitational as Billy Davis led the way with a 76. Blake Ruden posted an 82 with Dylan Smith carding an 88 and Jake Vermillion a 109.
The Walton junior varsity football team fell to 0-2 as they lost a defensive battle at home to Marianna 10-0 last week.
The Freeport junior varsity football team is also off to an 0-2 start after losing to Graceville and Holmes County at home to start the season.
The South Walton junior varsity lost their first game of the year to Panama City Bozeman 26-6 at home.
The Walton Middle School girls basketball teams both were swept at home by Baker last week to leave both squads with a 1-1 record.
Contact Patrick Casey at the DeFuniak Herald with your local sports notes at: firstname.lastname@example.org.