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Determination is the fuel of a champ

Barrow MVP

POSTED: June 27, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

Bethlehem Christian Academy athlete Kevin Green won two state titles in track and field over the last two seasons.

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Three sport stand-out Kevin Green had a banner career in athletics at Bethlehem Christian Academy. He was part of the first football team at Bethlehem. Green also helped lead the Knights’ basketball team to the second round of the GISA Class-A state tournament.

Perhaps most impressively, Green won two separate state championships in track and field in two different events over two years.

“Determination and believing in God is everything. Without Him, I never would have met everybody, including my brother, Mitchell [Kamm]. It’s amazing how He just ties into everything,” Bethlehem Christian Academy track champion Kevin Green said while espousing his faith and his work ethic.

Green took home the state title in the 300-meter hurdles in his junior year, but he waited until his senior outing to win the long jump. His state best long jump performance (1, 20’ 3.5”) was more than a foot better than the runner-up, Jake Smith of Crisp Academy (2, 19’ .5”) and just shy of a state record of exactly 21’.

Green finished second in the 300-meter hurdles in 2014 with a time of 42.92, falling a single second back of Curtis Baptist’s Rickel Lynn (1, 41.92) but still more than two seconds ahead of third place. 

He also took part in the men’s 4x100-meter relay, which saw BCA finish barely four tenths of a second behind Robert Toombs (1, 45.34) as the runner-up. 

For his efforts, and his achievements on the state level, Green was named to All-Region and All-State lists while helping to compile 20 of Bethlehem’s 62 points at the state meet.

“It was a good feeling because hard work pays off and determination actually helped a lot. I had a lot of people behind me pushing me on saying, ‘You can do it, you can do it,’ and that helped me get to first place,” Green acknowledged.

Green also received a state championship ring for his troubles, which BCA presented to him during the year before a crucial basketball game against Nathanael Greene. Green scored 13 points that night and was part of an incredible 57-56 overtime victory for the team’s first region win of the season, but not even that thrill could compete with the exhilaration of receiving a ring.

“Just getting that ring, there was just so much adrenaline in my body. I just had to win that game. We wanted to,” Green stated.

“I don’t even know how to describe that feeling. All I can remember was smiling and smiling and smiling,” Green gushed about receiving his ring. “My mom was there, my teammates were there and even the other team was out there. It just shows you that the other team even respects what hard work and determination gets you.”

With two rather successful years as a state contender under his belt, Bethlehem’s track star admitted that competing against GISA’s best was a fun and unique experience that doubled as being somewhat intimidating.

“Honestly, it was kind of overwhelming because there are so many great athletes out there, and it felt great that our little school was competing with them and we were all growing together,” Green said. “It made me feel like I was one of the good athletes out there besides our little region.

“It made us feel like we can compete with the higher level.”

For Green and for the body of athletes at Bethlehem Christian, one of the key tasks is representing the school and the program well. According to Green, it feels a lot like representing a family.

“When you come out of your house…you’re representing your family. When I go out there, I have to give it 100% because people are saying, ‘You know, that kid is from Bethlehem. He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s pretty good,’” Green added.

The track and field athlete got his start early, putting in time with middle school track and catching plenty of eyes along the way. With his young success, Green decided to keep the game going by running well into high school.

“I did it as a way to keep focused with sports and I know my mom wanted me to do it,” Green mentioned. “After I won one of my first titles, I decided to keep doing it because it was pretty fun being with Coach Fendley and the team, and it was a great family bonding.”

That family bond was not just significant to Green’s running career, but also to his schooling in general. As a student at Bethlehem Christian Academy, he was just one of a small group in his class making each decision and each day’s work even more crucial.

“You get to know everyone,” Green said. “You get pretty close to people, and it kind of helps out a lot in sports. You know you can count on that other person in sports and that you have to work hard. You can’t leave it up to one person, you have to take charge and work hard to do it together.”

While track and field was easily Green’s most individually accomplished sport, the all-around athlete excelled at both basketball and football for the Knights. 

As a three sport achiever, though, Green always had somewhere to be and something to do.

“You didn’t really have a lot of time to go out and chill with your other friends. It was really just go to school, weight train for the better opponent so you could prove yourself, spend time with coaches and learn in the classroom to prove to the opponent that you were the better athlete,” Green listed.

Although he participated in football and track and field in the fall and spring, Green admits that basketball is his favorite sport of the three he plays.

“Over the years, it just kind of spread out a bit,” Green stated.

Although Green is a talented basketball player who averaged more than 10 points per game for the Knights in the 2013-14 season and was a four-year letter winner with All-Region distinctions, he says that people’s doubts over the years fueled his ability and passion for the game even more.

“Since I was younger, I used to have been told that since I was short I shouldn’t be able to play the sport. I focused on basketball so I got better and better to prove people wrong,” Green admitted. “It was determination to get good, and it actually paid off this year.”

For the first time in school history, the Knights advanced into the second round of the state playoffs and finally saw one of their preseason goals come to fruition.

Basketball means more to Green than just a sport, though, as it is largely the reason he knows BCA athletic director and men’s basketball coach Mark Barth, a man Green says has shaped his life extensively.

Barth met the future Knight while coaching against him in a middle school game. From there, the two developed what would come to be a vital relationship in both of their lives.

“If it wasn’t for him, I probably would not have gotten to that school,” Green explained. “He was very nice, sort of like a father figure to me. We got really close and ever since I’ve known him, he pushes me to be the great leader I’ve become right now. Without him, I wouldn’t be such a good person, I’d say.”

As a graduate of Bethlehem Christian Academy, Green plans on attending Toccoa Falls College in the north Georgia city of the same name. Academics will take the forefront for Green in his first year, but he admits that basketball might remain a distant possibility come year two.

After procuring a two-year degree and maybe playing some college basketball, Green hopes to join the US Army as a lieutenant and lead infantrymen into battle.

While he could conceivably forego a college athletic career for the military, Green believes that his lessons on the court and on the field will serve him well in the future as both the armed forces and the football team require everyone to work as a team.

“You have to count on your brothers every day knowing that you’re giving your life up for the person next to you in order to survive. Fighting for my country and what I believe in so that other people can live in it for free, I find that is the ultimate service,” Green acknowledged.

For a too-short basketball player, Bethlehem’s two-time state champion and three sport star sure has accomplished a lot, now with the potential for a bright military career on the horizon. In his mind, it all came from two particular sources.

“No matter what anyone says, as long as you have a good head and determination, you can do anything you think you want to do,” Green stated, with one last addendum. “Always have God on your side. You can’t do anything without Him. It’s that simple.”

 

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