Local students honored
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Positive Athlete Georgia announced its award winners earlier this month, and a pair of Troup County student-athletes were recognized.
LaGrange High’s Logan Wegienka and Callaway High’s Ashley Bowden were among the 29 West Georgia regional award winners.
There was one winner in each of the different Georgia High School Association sports.
Wegienka was the winner in adapted sports, while Bowden was the award recipient in girls’ soccer.
Wegienka has been a competitive wheelchair athlete for nearly a decade since he was involved in a car accident, and he has enjoyed plenty of success in a variety of sports.
During the 2019-2020 season, Wegienka and his Henry County Hurricanes’ teammates lost in the state-championship basketball game in Macon.
Wegienka has played basketball, football and handball over the years, mostly for the West Georgia Wolverines, and he’s been grateful for the opportunity to participate in sports following his accident that left him wheelchair-bound.
“It’s meant a lot to me,” Wegienka said. “I told my mom I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t been playing sports. It’s made it to where I don’t just sit around thinking about it. It’s made it where I’m active.”
Earlier this year before the state-championship game, Wegienka talked about helping to develop an adaptive sports team that’ll be based at LaGrange High.
“Here recently we’ve started to develop a Troup County adapted sports team that’s getting started down here,” Wegienka said. “I’m pretty excited about that.”
Wegienka talked to athletics director Mike Pauley about making LaGrange High the home base for a new organization.
“I came in here and approached coach Pauley,” Wegienka said. “The (Wolverines) just disbanded, and I thought what can I do, who do I need to talk to about getting a taem started down here so that these kids can still play. It’s taken off from there. Right now we’re trying to get a budget worked up about what all we need. It looks like it’s headed in the right region.”
Something else Wegienka is involved in is a charity wheelchair basketball game that has been held in the LaGrange High gym the past two years.
The game, which has pitted the Wolverines against members of the LaGrange High faculty, has raised money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
This year’s game, which was supposed be held in March, had to be canceled because of the coronavirus.
“That just started out as a fun activity and took off from there,” Wegienka said.
Ashley Bowden, a four-year starter on the Callaway girls’ soccer team, signed a letter of intent to join the Point University soccer program this fall.
Shonna Yawn, Callaway’s soccer coach, said Bowden is someone she could always rely on.
“She’s always been there, has always been one I could go to and say this is what I want, this is what I want to do,” Yawn said. “She was a captain last year, she’s a captain this year, and she always excels in everything.”
Jeff McGuffin, an assistant on the Callaway staff, called Bowden “a coach’s dream.”
“She has been a rock on this team, and when she leaves, she’ll leave as one of the winningest players to come through Callaway,” McGuffin said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without (her).”
Bowden started for four seasons on the soccer team, and she helped the team win state-tournament games as a freshman and a sophomore.
Bowden, who also ran cross country as a senior, signed with Point University during a ceremony in January.
“I’ve always wanted to play in college,” Bowden said. “Soccer’s the only thing I’ve known. Even in the offseason, I don’t know what to do with myself because I’m always doing soccer.”
Callaway High is a special place for Bowden.
She’s attended the school for four years, and her mother was a teacher at Callaway when it first opened in 1996.
“I’ve been at Callaway since the beginning, because my mom was one of the first teachers to teach here,” Bowden said. “It’s definitely a part of me.”