Pitcher Ashley Rogers from repeat high school softball champion Meigs County and Manker Patten tennis pro Wesley Cash are the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame athletes of the year for 2017.
They will be recognized Feb. 26 at the hall's annual induction banquet at the Chattanooga Convention Center along witih 17 previously announced new members and four other special award winners.
Those include Sis Daughtrey Davis with the Betty Probasco Award and John Farr with the Walt Lauter Award, both for lifetime service related to athletics, and Meigs County all-region running back Martin Smith with the Allan Morris/Jim Morgan Award for overcoming adversity.
Lewis Card Jr. will receive the hall’s most prestigious honor, the Fred Gregg Jr. Award. The co-founder of Card-Monroe Corp. is a longtime benefactor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and of area young people in general.
Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. banquet cost $40 and can include tables of eight for $320. They can be bought through Hall of Fame president Catherine Neely at 423-842-7274.
Card, former board chairman of the Urban League of Chattanooga and former vice chairman of the Chamber of Commerce — among many community involvements — has received service awards from UTC and the Southern Conference and was in the inaugural class of the Chattanooga High School Hall of Fame.
Farr is a former hall president and Gregg Award recipient (2010) who has made his greatest impact in wrestling. He went from Baylor School to UTC and was the team captain in 1956 after two seasons as “most improved.” He then coached 31 individual state champions in 12 years at Red Bank High School with a 99-45-4 record and three team state titles (1963-65).
Farr directed TSSAA state tournaments from 1961 to 1969 and went on to coach at Central High and Chattanooga State. He also started the local wrestling officials association, officiated at two NCAA Division I tourneys and served in National Federation of Secondary Schools capacities.
Davis had a 2,000-point basketball career at Soddy-Daisy High School, where she also starred in volleyball. She scored 60 points in one game, averaged 30 per game for her career, played in the first girls’ state tournament in 1958 and was chosen all-state. She played basketball and softball for employers Interstate Insurance and Kingsboro Mills and in the past 25 years has won numerous gold and silver medals in the Senior Games.
She also has coached youth basketball teams and was on the committee that started the Soddy-Daisy Kids Club in the early 1970s. She was the club’s first treasurer.
Smith excelled for Meigs County’s state-quarterfinal football team and in the classroom despite having lost his mother and brother a day apart last January. He already had a very difficult life — by his own description in a November newspaper story he “kind of just bounced around from place to place” — but their deaths left him feeling “like I was on my own” as a high school sophomore.
An aunt took in Smith and his younger sister, though, and provided some long-sought stability that he strengthened with his own hard work in school and sports, by coaches’ and teachers’ accounts.
Rogers is another Meigs County star, but she doesn’t attend the Decatur school. She’s been the captain and an all-state player for the TAACS basketball state champions at Fairview Christian in Athens, which does not field a softball team, so with the TSSAA’s co-op arrangement she has been able to pitch the Lady Tigers to the last two Class A state titles.
She holds the state-tournament strikeout record with 80 and has 1,003 career strikeouts with 441 in one season and 25 in one game. Also a good hitter, she was an All-American and the Tennessee Gatorade softball player of the year last spring, and she signed in November to play next year with the University of Tennessee.
Cash, a former Baylor and University of Georgia tennis standout, has been a doubles finalist in the last 15 USTA age-group nationals in which he’s participated since 2012, winning 11, and those victories included the Men’s 60s indoor and grass court events in 2017. Also last year he represented the United States in international competition for the fifth time, with two silver and two bronze medals, and he went undefeated in helping the four-man U.S. team finish third.
He followed that by reaching the World Individual 60s doubles final.