By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
North Forsyth's '98 softball team, 9 others inducted into HOF
Jeremy Hamilton
North Forsyth alum Jeremy Hamilton hugs wrestling coach Travis Jarrard during Thursday's hall of fame induction ceremony. - photo by David Roberts

Nathan Turner thought it might be a record. 

He recalls watching North Forsyth's kicker knock a 45-yard field goal through the uprights one season, a long enough distance to spark a debate in his mind.

But when he wanted to be certain it was a school record, he knew who to call.

Sure enough, he enlisted the investigative skills of Pam McBride, North's football statistician since 1998 and basketball statistician since the school opened in 1994.

"The next day she calls me and says, 'That's not a school record,'" Turner remembered. "She said, 'The very first year of the school we played at Towns County, and we had a kicker, and I'm pretty sure he kicked a 46-yard field goal. Do you have a copy of that tape?'

"She knows all the records, she knows all the stats. If you need anything, you call Pam. She makes it happen."

McBride, in addition to eight individuals and the 1998 state champion softball team, is part of the second class ever inducted into the North Forsyth's Hall of Fame. In all, 36 former players, coaches and administrators were recognized Thursday night during a ceremony at North Forsyth High School.

McBride recalled spending much of her childhood playing sports. Her mother took notice and sent her to dance, piano lessons and charm school.

"But it made me a better shortstop," McBride said. "So, thank her for that."

North Forsyth's softball team capped its dominant season in 1998 by steamrolling Appling 4-3 and 12-4 to clinch the Class 2A state championship. The Raiders finished 28-5 that year and were a combined 56-7 through 1997-98.

"Any coach will tell you you've got to have good players. And we had some good players," head coach Byron Orr said Thursday. "Real good players."

Shortstop Stephanie Pass Woody carried a .464 batting average, six home runs and 39 RBIs into the state tournament in Columbus, while Jessica Bagley Sills (.500), Crystal Carlyle (.535) and Lauren Honea Jackson (.519) hit .500 or better.

Thursday's hall of fame ceremony honored those who were born and raised in Forsyth County and those whose families relocated to the county all the same.

Blake Mahoney, for example, spent just one year at North Forsyth, yet he recognized the impact that year had on his life.

"I unfortunately only had one year at North Forsyth, but it has shaped me and molded me into the man I am today," Mahoney said. "I've got an incredible wife and three amazing daughters. I've got two parents that would do anything for me. That one year at North Forsyth really did shape my life."

Mahoney was a dual state champion his senior year in 2001, winning a state title in cross country and the 1-mile run in track & field.

Mahoney became the first county champion in cross country despite breaking his back while water skiing the summer before his senior year.

Jeremy Hamilton, a 2001 state champion wrestler, also moved to the area as a teenager, though that might have been one of his selling points.

Hamilton had already lived in Missouri and Minnesota — the heart of wrestling country — by the time his family arrived in Georgia.

So, Hamilton's father, Todd Hamilton, remembers calling wrestling coaches before moving to the area to tell them about his son and get a feel for the programs in Forsyth County. 

He left a message with North Forsyth wrestling coach Jim Bishop before stepping into a meeting.

"When I got out of the meeting I had six voicemails from Jim Bishop," Todd Hamilton said.

Jason Carroll graduated a year after Hamilton and was also inducted into North Forsyth's hall of fame Thursday.

Carroll placed at the state meet all four years — from 1999-2002 — and won a state championship his senior season.

North Forsyth wrestling coach Travis Jarrard remembers how Carroll finishing as a runner-up his junior year motivated him as a senior.

"To say he was dominant would be an understatement," Jarrard said. "He literally went out there and destroyed everything."

Bo Counts destroyed many of North Forsyth's baseball records, including batting average (.495), home runs (9), walks (36), total bases (88), slugging percentage (.907) and on-base percentage (.688) — and those are just single-season records.

Counts also holds career records for batting average (.438), home runs (14), RBIs (98), slugging percentage (.683) and on-base percentage (.644).

Counts, who graduated in 1998, credited his parents for his success.

"She traveled during summers," Counts said of his mother. "I played on travel ball teams, and we drove all over the United States. She would travel to watch me play and to make sure I was acting right. She held many titles back then — mostly was just being there for me. Just having a face in the stands did more for me and my confidence than anything ever could. She listened when I was frustrated and usually hugged me and told me it was going to be OK."

Kayla Martin, who graduated in 2006, also set a plethora records at North Forsyth. 

Martin set single-season records for triples (8) and total bases (81), and she finished tied for the lead in hits (47) and games played (43).

She is also the school's career leader in each of those categories, in addition to at-bats.

Jarrard called Martin the perfect example of a North Forsyth Raider. Jarrard said she was a fierce competitor on the field and wore an infectious smile when she stepped off the field.

Dusty Benefield starred at The Citadel, but before then he was a record-breaking football player among North Forsyth's defense.

Benefield was selected to the All-State team in 2001, his senior year, and holds school records for consecutive starts (47), QB hurries (9), tackles for loss (17) and sacks.

"When Coach (Scott) Tilden called me, I was thrilled to find out, and I was excited to just be in this room with all these great coaches, teachers and parents," Benefield said.

Lindsey Farr, a 2007 graduate of North Forsyth, has a state record of her own, an 11-foot, 6-inch ascent in the pole vault. Farr was something of a latecomer to pole vaulting after spending much of her younger years in competition cheerleading and gymnastics.

Farr was a two-time state champion in the event and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Georgia.

Farr's father, Kerry Farr, remembers precisely when that scholarship offer came.

"We're trying to get recruited, mostly by small universities, and the coaching staff from the University of Georgia was there (at the meet)," Kerry Farr said. "When she won that state championship and she set that state mark, the pole vault coach came down ... and pretty much offered her a spot on the team."

Laura Mayo Hamby left a legacy at North Forsyth as a cross country runner, winning a state championship in 2003 and going undefeated her entire senior season.

Hamby's father, Loy Mayo, remembered when she was in fifth grade and he was preparing to go on a run with her brother, Mark.

She looked at her father and told him she wanted to come along.

"Next thing you know, she was off running and I looked over and she was not winded and kept running a little faster," Loy Mayo said. "She got up some speed and I looked over, and she still was not winded and she ran with us the entire time."

North Forsyth High School Hall of Fame Class of 2019:

Dusty Benefield, '02, Football
Jason Carroll, '02, Wrestling
Bo Counts, '98, Baseball
Lindsay Farr, '07, Track & Field
Laura Mayo Hamby, '06, Cross Country
Jeremy Hamilton, '01, Wrestling
Blake Mahoney, '01, Cross Country and Track & Field
Kayla Martin, '07, Softball
Pam Hanberry McBride, Athletic Contributor
Crystal Carlyle*
Valorie Bennett Carnes*
Teeka Pass Curtis*
Cassi Bennett Dillon*
Kristen Peek Dudley*
Megan Thacker Fusco*
Lauren Gaines*
Jessi Martin Gravitt*
Lori Gravitt*
Heather Thomas Horne*
Lauren Honea Jackson*
Sara Riley Miller*
Courtney Moore Parks*
Amanda Pruitt Posey*
Dana Martin Pratt*

Tosha Roper Pratt*

Jessica Hanberry Rhodes*

Jessica Bagley Sills*
Jennifer Stewart*
Alicia Turner*
Cortney Edwards Utech*
Stephanie Pass Woody*
Byron Orr, Head Coach*
Brandi Helms, Assistant Coach*
Mark Hubbard, Assistant Coach*
Mike Martin, Assistant Coach*
Pam Hanberry McBride, Assistant Coach*
Keith Shoemake, Assistant Coach*

*Member of 1998 state champion softball team