Sports And Academics

Newnan's stats just as solid in classroom

by Staff Reports

Newnan’s baseball team has put up its share of impressive numbers on the diamond this year.

With a 22-5 record and a a No. 6 state ranking in the Georgia Dugout Club Class AAAAAA Coaches’ poll, the Cougars are brimming with confidence heading into today’s first-round, best-of-three playoff series against visiting Newton.

However, the Cougars are also proving they can get it done in the classroom too.

Nine of 15 seniors are about to graduate with honors led by first baseman and valedictorian Jonathan Swenson.

Newnan head coach Kenny Morris is proud, but not surprised so many members of his team are getting it done in the classroom.

“That’s the whole point of high school athletics,” he said. “Sometimes we lose that perspective. We forget there needs to be a balance between athletics and academics.”

Morris said the stereotype about athletes not taking academics seriously ended years ago.

“Now athletes are held to a higher standard,” he said. “They have to produce in the classroom and on the field.”

Swenson is grateful for the achievement, but admits he took an almost a business-like approach to earning the school’s highest honor.

“I took a lot of AP classes my junior year, and just felt like I had a good shot at it,” he said.

The balance between academics and baseball is something that has paid huge dividends for the Cougars’ first baseman.

Swenson has a 4.0 GPA and a .325 batting average.

The 2013 valedictorian admits staying disciplined in both areas has helped him achieve accolades in and out of the classroom.

“It hasn’t been really hard,” he said. “You just have make sure you find time time to study.”

Next year, Swenson will join the baseball program at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., currently attended by former Cougar lacrosse standout Jonathan Ballantyne, while pursuing a major in accounting.

The immediate future can wait for a couple more weeks with the Cougars having unfinished business heading into the final month of the 2013 season.

“We want to win a state championship,” he said. “That’s always the goal.”

The honor graduates include Bryson Shoemake, Derrick Nelson, Drew Morris, Corey Cox, Will Dreggors, Zach Crawford, Sam Buchanan, Thomas Sumner, and Grayson Stewart.

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