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Spring Sports Wrap-up

  • Athletics
  • Upper School
McCallie's 2022 Baseball state champion team



McCallie’s athletic teams continue to make a splash, hitting like a tidal wave in 2021–22. McCallie won five team state championships for the first time since 2006 and collected 14 team and individual state titles overall.

While the fall sports teams of cross country and football kicked off the school year with championships, the spring teams wrapped it up with a big blue bow as baseball, lacrosse, and tennis earned state titles.

The baseball team captivated many with a remarkable run in May. The Blue Tornado were the only Region team to knock off defending state champion Baylor, taking one of three games in the Region series in late April. That victory ignited the boys as they won 10 of their last 12 games from that point.

As the East Region’s third seed, McCallie hosted Pope John Paul Prep in a first-round playoff series. The Blue Tornado took two of the three games to advance to the state quarterfinals where they swept two games at Christ Presbyterian Academy, the Middle Region’s top seed, to propel them to the state’s final four.

In game one of the double-elimination bracket, McCallie scored a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Baylor. Sophomore J. Michael Pierce doubled home two runs to tie the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning, and junior Sebastian Leinberger singled in what proved to be the game winner two batters later.

The following day, junior pitcher Olin Johnson shut down Knoxville Catholic on three hits and 10 strikeouts in an 8-2 win to send Head Coach Tim Costo’s squad to the championship series. In a high-scoring affair with Lipscomb Academy, the Blue Tornado were down 13-9 in the bottom of the final inning. Senior Carter Hewitt slugged a three-run home run, and sophomore Zach Porter set off a wild celebration as his single scored Nolan Sergeant and Hudson Calhoun for the walk-off victory. It was McCallie’s third state title and first since 2014.

McCallie's 2022 state champion lacrosse team

The lacrosse team used a blend of a strong senior class with talented underclassmen to capture its ninth state championship and first since 2015. 

Head Coach Eamon Thornton, in just his third year directing the program, continued the success of the tradition-rich program. The Blue Tornado, 15-4 overall, went 2-0 on the Memphis swing, defeating Briarcrest 12-5 and Memphis University School 10-8. They were undefeated in Region play including a sweep of Baylor (20-3 and 10-6) and had statement wins over Montgomery Bell Academy, Hoover (Ala.), Woodward Academy (Ga.), and Ravenwood. Two of the losses were by one goal each.

On the road to the title game, McCallie dispatched Pope John Paul Prep 19-3 and eliminated MBA 19-9. In the state finals against MUS, McCallie scored early and often and held off an Owls’ charge for the 17-9 victory. 

All-America and All-State honorees for the Blue Tornado included seniors Hayden Downs, Weston Hammond, and Matthew Mathias, and sophomore Zach Chari. Also earning All-State accolades were senior Kane Smith and junior Jack Forrester. Thornton was voted Coach of the Year.

McCallie's 2022 state champion tennis team

The tennis team raised the bar in 2022. The Blue Tornado were ranked No. 1 nationally by Universal Tennis throughout the season. They lived up to the billing, going undefeated and losing only one team point on the year, which basically resulted in an 89-1 record in dual matches.

The squad shut out everyone on the schedule with the exception of Wesminster who managed the lone point on the season for an opponent in a 6-1 McCallie win. The streak included two 7-0 wins over Baylor, and victories over No. 10-ranked Sidwell Friends (Va.), St. Xavier (Ky.), Lambert (Ga.), and Montgomery Bell Academy. Along the way, Head Coach Jeff Clark’s team won three tournament titles (the Chattanooga Rotary, MBA’s Carter Invitational, the TSSAA East Region).

McCallie won its third straight state championship and 11th overall, beating MBA in the state semifinals and MUS in the finals.

Seniors Will Leathers and Colin Tuttle joined forces to win the state doubles title, besting teammates Charlie Griffin and Henry Imorde in the finals. Junior Andreas Sillaste advanced to the finals of the individual state singles championship and was the state runner up.

The rowing team hit its stride late in the season. At the MidSouth Championships, the Varsity 8 boat out powered those from Baylor and MBA to claim the state title. 

Crew varsity 8 gold medalists

Head Coach Sean McCourt’s crew qualified several boats for the annual Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s National Regatta. The highlight was the Junior Varsity 8 racing to the National Championship of its level, beating 24 other teams. In the Junior 8 boat for the Blue Tornado were juniors James Grauley, Beck Honebein, August Michels, Bo Miltenberger, and Jack Moran, sophomores Walker McClelland, Grey Richmond, and John Testerman, and freshman coxswain Whit Lifsey.

The Varsity 4+ advanced to the national semifinals and placed 11th, and the junior varsity 4 also competed.

While the track and field team only produced one individual state champion, it had enough depth and scorers to finish in second place at the state meet just 19 team points behind first-place Christian Brothers.

Hugh Carlson ran a fantastic 3200 meter race to win his first state title. Top-three finishers included Joseph Eldridge (tied for second in the pole vault), Aaron Crowder (second in discus), Carlson (second in the 1600), the second-place 4 x 800 relay team, and Kavan Reynolds (third in the 400).

The soccer team forged an overall mark of 6-5-2. Its most impressive outings were draws against eventual state champion Baylor (2-2) and state semifinalist Father Ryan (0-0). 

The Blue Tornado defeated Montgomery Bell Academy 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs and went on the road to shut out Christ Presbyterian Academy 3-0 in the quarterfinals. The win earned the boys a spot in the state tournament for the seventh consecutive year, although they fell short in the state semifinal match.