There were plenty of worthy candidates for the honor of Walker County Boys’ Athlete of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.
But the resume of one Braden Jarvis topped them all.
The recent Gordon Lee graduate excelled in three different sports over three different seasons during his senior year and will head on to Berry College in Rome with one final high school honor in tow.
“It feels awesome,” Jarvis said of winning the honor. “There’s a ton of great athletes (in Walker County), so to be picked as the one is pretty special.”
He begin his final prep year in Chickamauga as a standout, two-way football player for the Trojans, rushing 169 times for 1,109 yards and 14 touchdowns, while also doubling as one of the team leaders in tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
He was a first team All-6-A North sub-region selection, while the Georgia Sports Writers Association named him honorable mention All-State in Class 1A (Public).
“We had a great time,” Jarvis said. “We didn’t have a very successful year, but we had a lot of fun doing it. We had a good group of guys that had really good attitudes about it, so it was a lot of fun. I loved every second of it.”
From the gridiron, Jarvis quickly moved to the wrestling mat where he ignored a bit of a nagging shoulder problem and put to rest two seasons of heartbreak in the state finals.
After losing in heartbreaking fashion in the finals as a sophomore and again as a junior, Jarvis won the Class 1A 170-pound championship with an 8-4 victory over Braxton Legg of Commerce to complete a perfect 43-0 season.
He finished his Gordon Lee wrestling career with four area titles, three sectional titles, three state finals appearances and the one state championship. His career record was 181-25, with 17 of those losses coming in his freshman season.
“I knew I would have success in wrestling if I just did what I had to do,” he explained.
But Jarvis said his best memory came in the spring.
He turned in another outstanding season on the track team, winning Area 3-A titles in the long jump and the pole vault, while taking third in the triple jump to help the Trojans win another area team title.
He ended up second in the pole vault in the state sectional meet, but once he arrived at Albany for the state finals, there was no stopping him as he cleared 13-feet to win his first individual state title in the event.
“I went out there and set a new personal record by a foot,” he explained. “That was a really good day. It just feels good to be a champion. I had a couple years of being upset by not winning it, so to win feels fantastic. It’s just an unspeakable feeling being a champion.”
Berry College will be the next stop for the multi-sport star and his days of playing more than one sport will continue. Jarvis recently signed a letter of intent to play football for the Vikings, while he says he also plans to compete on the college track team.
However, while he will only be about an hour from home, Jarvis said he will miss playing in front of the hometown folks in Chickamauga.
“I’ll miss the community and the people around here,” he added. “It’s been fantastic to represent them and it’s been fantastic just being a part of everything that they’ve been trying to build this school to be.”