The two-day tournament, which will be hosted by Sequoyah, Etowah, Cherokee, and Woodstock, will see 32 teams from around Georgia compete for the championship.
For many coaches in the county, the tournament provides them with a perfect opportunity to evaluate their teams against some of the top competition that Georgia has to offer before the regular season officially starts the next week.
“This weekend is always a great time to see how the girls are going to work together,” Woodstock coach Anita Dodd said. “It’s good as a team to see where the weak areas are so that we can approach them in practice and become more cohesive.”
“The (Sequoyah) Classic gives coaches a good, early look at where their team is,” Sequoyah coach John Edwards said. “The biggest thing we get from it is seeing how we react to playing various teams with different tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. After six days practicing against ourselves, we are excited to play somebody else.”
Powerhouses like Chattahoochee and last year’s Class AAAA state champion, Pope, attending the tournament, the Cherokee teams will find a good challenge in the opening rounds of pool play.
“The competition has gotten tougher as more teams in the state improve,” Edwards said. “Ten years ago, only a fraction of the schools (at the Sequoyah Classic) would be considered possibilities to win state. Of the 32 teams that are in it this weekend, more than half made the state playoffs last year.”
“The competition is always good,” Dodd added. “We have some really stellar teams come every year and new teams come out to surprise us all the time.”
With last year’s starting lineup led by seniors Sara Graf, Paige Trammell, Grace Townsend and Dodd — who began her county coaching career in 1992 at Sequoyah — hopes to challenge for the title.
“I have always managed to be one win short of making it into the finals,” Dodd said. “Hopefully, this year it won’t be that way.”
Dodd is quick to point out, however, that her primary focus is to use the tournament to better her team for the coming season.
“I wish I could say that I participate in the tournament to win, but that would only be a half-truth,” she said. “We also use it to help our team kick off the season with good competition and enlighten us as to where our weaknesses are and how to fix them at practice.”
“It’s a good pre-test to get ready for region play in September,” Etowah coach Kim Robertson said. “It’s good to see top competition early.”
Second-year Cherokee coach Kristen Weiss agreed.
“I believe that the (Sequoyah) Classic is important for getting us ready for our regular season matches,” Weiss said. “We are getting a lot of matches in a short amount of time, which give us the opportunity to see what we need to work on before the regular season. It also gives us the chance to scout other teams that we might be playing in later on.”
Etowah and Creekview will be the first two county teams to open their season on Aug. 14, as Etowah travels to Blessed Trinity to play Wesleyan while Creekview travels to West Forsyth.