Coach Hamrick recently shared this letter with his team, their families and his colleagues. We think it tells a great story about the challenges our students are willing and able to stretch themselves to meet. We thank him for letting us share it with a wider audience.
I would like to take a moment to share with everyone an extraordinary opportunity I was privileged to witness as Head Basketball Coach for both the 7th and 8th grade boys teams. What an incredible group of guys!
Prior to our season, both teams were invited to participate in the 6th Annual Ed Nulter Christmas Tournament, hosted by Chapman Middle School. Year in and year out, this is the most prestigious middle school tournament in the state with 60 top-tier teams invited from around the state to play here in Huntsville. Of course, I was excited about this awesome opportunity for our program, but was hesitant to accept the invitation after speaking with other local coaches. I heard things such as, "This would be a humbling experience," "Don't waste your time," "You guys can't compete."
I went to our 8th grade team to discuss the opportunity, but also the potential drawbacks. Without hesitation, these guys wanted the challenge. They knew the hard work they put into their 7th grade season was noticed in the community (16-4 overall record) and had been recognized rewarded with this invite. Challenge accepted.
Along with accepting the challenge to play in the Chapman Tournament for the very first time, they also wanted me to amp up the regular season schedule. They understood that in order to continue to grow as a program, they must challenge themselves with tougher and bigger competition. Again, all this was coming from the team, not the coaching staff.
Now to share how this weekend's Ed Nulter Invitational Tournament turned out for our Randolph 7th and 8th grade boys. In all my years of coaching, multiple levels and multiple sports, I have never been more proud of watching my teams bond together as one cohesive unit, overcome adversity, and compete against much larger competition. These guys have grown to understand the importance of a winning culture and a winning attitude. Although every game will not end with us scoring more points than our opponent, these two teams continue to convey a winning spirit and remain "hungry for greatness!"
The 8th grade finished 2-1, with wins over Williams (feeder to Columbia) and Kinterbish (a dominant middle school from West Alabama). Their only setback was a competitive loss to Huntsville Middle. What a fun, competitive environment for our guys!
The 7th grade team (who I was told should NOT play in this invitational) finished a perfect 3-0! They recorded dominant wins over Ed White (feeder to J.O. Johnson), East Limestone (6A), and Florence (another LARGE 6A).
So, yes, it was a humbling experience. You can only imagine how humbled I was to be a part of this incredible weekend with such a fine group of guys!
I woke up this morning feeling I should share this with everyone. Please, if you get a chance, tell the players how proud we are of their commitment to excellence on and off the basketball court. We are of proud of how they go out into a competitive environment and represent Randolph with the utmost honor and respect. They have risen to the high expectations we have set. It is a privilege to see and work with these guys each day. I get to tell them everyday how humbled I am to be a part of something so special with what they are doing and how proud I am of the way they represent their coaching staff, their teammates and Randolph.
Please join me in congratulating these guys. They deserve it. They will remain humble and "hungry for greatness," but they deserve to be recognized by others for the way they represent the Randolph community.
Cory Hamrick is the Upper School Assistant Athletic Director, Director of Fields, the Head Varsity Baseball coach and the Head 7/8 Boys Basketball Coach.
Photos by Waldrup and by Chad Kimel.