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At this time four years ago, Oldham County High School girls' basketball assistant coach Jeff Walton hadn't recovered after being the victim of a roadside bomb as a member of the U.S. National Guard in Iraq.
Walton completed boot camp with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Persian Gulf War, but the war ended days after the completion. So Walton enlisted in the National Guard and served tours of duty in Iraq in 2003 and 2007. The latter left him wounded after the bomb, in which he earned the Purple Heart medal.
A part of the Lady Colonels' staff since September, Walton has brought a new outlook to OCHS. Though the season has been a struggle thus far, the Lady Colonels turn to Walton for motivation, which includes a number of team slogans, crafted by coach Stephen Mullins.
But Walton's added a few new wrinkles to the team himself, like a unique post-game award.
In Friday's clash of basketball rivals, South Oldham High School's boys' and girls' basketball teams each got the best of their OCHS counterparts with wins that launch the victors into prime position for the district tournament.
In the first half of the doubleheader, the Lady Dragons picked up a 76-29 win, while the Dragons held off the Colonels late for a 50-45 win in the nightcap.
But this game had a few characteristics that reach farther than just the rivalry games. They could have big affects as the post-season draws closer next month.
And check out a photo page from the game, with action and crowd photos.
SOHS junior quarterback Jack Sherry competed in the inaugural Proving Ground National Combine Jan. 2 in Phoenix, giving him a chance to show off his game at a national level.
The combine, a part of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, features 300 of the nation's top junior football players and is broadcast on national television. It's similar to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armour All-American Bowl, which concluded Saturday.
Sherry even drew praise from national scout Tom Lemming before and after the combine for a few attributes he possesses as a quarterback.
This week's Top Notch Performer is South Oldham Middle School's Mohamed Alitari, who practices tae kwon do at Kentucky Tae Kwon Do and also plays soccer and basketball.
Each week, the Top Notch Performer is presented by GJ Kohler Investment Advisors in Prospect.
Don't forget, on Friday I'll have the sixth installment of Grand Stamm—LIVE! which is an interactive chat with a special guest where the guest and I will be available to take your questions about anything sports related.
Last week, Kentucky Tae Kwon Do master instructor Sean Ramey (also of The Bachelorette fame) provided some great insight.
This week's guest is yet to be announced, though I'll be posting it on The Oldham Era Sports Guy's Facebook page. Do you have a suggestion for a future guest? Email me and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last four chats were a great success and I expect this one to be no different. Chime in and give us your feedback. You can also email me any questions for the chat and I'll get to those first. I'm shooting for 2 p.m. but I'll have a confirmation via my Facebook page.