It was a three-man race, but Cloudland’s Matt Birchfield came out on top in the Best of Carter County Sports Coach of the Year category. Birchfield edged Elizabethton’s Len Dugger and Cloudland’s Brock Pittman in the category.
Birchfield led his Cloudland girls basketball team to a 31-6 season including starting 16-2 to open the year. The Lady ‘Landers picked up wins over Volunteer, Gate City, Wise Central and Unicoi County before reeling off wins against Creek Wood, Sullivan South and Sevier County to claim the prestigious Johnson City Honda Trailblazer Classic at Daniel Boone.
The sailing, however, wasn’t all smooth as a pair of losses to North Greene and South Greene prevented Cloudland from claiming the District title, but they entered the postseason as the three seed in the District 1-A tournament.
In the District 1-A tournament, Birchfield’s Lady ‘Landers avenged the regular season losses as they rolled to the title, and then kept the momentum up as they won the Region 1-A title at Chucky-Doak.
A heartbreaking loss ended Cloudland’s season in overtime to Meigs County in the sectional round.
Cloudland graduated seven seniors, but returns a great group of underclassman. With that, Birchfield’s program looks to be a program to be reckon with.
Male Team of the Year: Cloudland Football
Female Team of the Year: Elizabethton Basketball
Coach of the Year: Matt Birchfield, Cloudland