Fore­cast ideal for big week­end

Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show, ten­nis are bring­ing crowds to town

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Doug Walker

While Hur­ri­cane Michael was dev­as­tat­ing to the pan­han­dle of Florida and much of South Ge­or­gia, the storm left barely an inch and a half of rain cross Rome and Floyd County. That was good news for or­ga­niz­ers of sev­eral big events in the area this week­end.

The storm, cou­pled with a pass­ing frontal sys­tem, is fi­nally bring­ing fall-like weather to Rome, cooler tem­per­a­tures and a fore­cast for mostly sunny skies for a busy week­end that fea­tures the Wings Over North Ge­or­gia Air Show and In­ter­col­le­giate Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion Or­a­cle Cup cham­pi­onships in Rome.

The Or­a­cle Cup event ac­tu­ally started Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. Play­ers from small col­leges all over the United States are in Rome for the event which cul­mi­nates the fall ten­nis sea­son for many of the teams and in­di­vid­u­als. The teams and in­di­vid­u­als rep­re­sent top play­ers at the NCAA Divi­sion Two and Three lev­els, along with top NAIA and Ju­nior Col­lege ath­letes.

Evan Isaacs, the men’s coach at Colum­bus State Univer­sity in Colum­bus, said the tour­na­ment is a re­ward for all of the hard work the kids have put in dur­ing the fall sea­son.

“It’s a good ex­pe­ri­ence for them,” Isaacs said. “This is one of the best fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try. It’s a nice re­laxed at­mos­phere.”

Shaun Keenan, the head coach of the John Car­roll Univer­sity women’s team from Cleve­land, Ohio, said his team com­petes pretty well in its re­gion but that it was a chal­lenge to re­cruit some of the top young play­ers.

“This is the first time in school his­tory we’ve had some­one com­pete at this level, so it’s a huge deal for us,” Keenan said. “It’s a great fa­cil­ity, very well or­ga­nized and we’re hav­ing a good time.”

It was made bet­ter Thurs­day af­ter­noon when Lauren O’Mal­ley of John Car­roll won her match over Danna Tay­lor of Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity.

Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show or­ga­nizer John Cow­man is al­most giddy about the fore­cast for the week­end.

“It’s so sunny out here right now I’m go­ing to have to go back to the of­fice and get my sun­glasses,” Cow­man said Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The stars of the show this year are the U.S. Air Force F-22 Rap­tor fighter jets, the U.S. Air Force A-10 Thun­der­bolt known com­monly as the Warthog and the Tora! Tora! Tora! demon­stra­tion team that will do a re-en­act­ment of the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bor com­plete with py­rotech­nics.

The USSOCOMM ParaCom­man­dos jump team will also per­form, along with the Smoke-n-Thun­der Jet Car and Jet Truck show in ad­di­tion to many other per­form­ers.

Off-site park­ing and shut­tle ser­vice will be avail­able from Ar­muchee High School, 4203 Martha Berry High­way, and the North Floyd Recre­ation Cen­ter, 102 North Floyd Park Road.

Gates to the air­port open at 9 a.m. Satur­day and Sun­day with the open­ing cer­e­monies set for noon each day. Park­ing may be avail­able at the air­port for $20.

Tick­ets will be avail­able at the gate. Ad­mis­sion is $30 for adults, $25 for youth 6-17 and $20 for mil­i­tary and emer­gency re­sponse per­son­nel.

/ Kelly J. Huff-MDJ One of the F-22 Rap­tor Demo Team’s F-22s crosses over South Cobb Park­way on Thurs­day into Dob­bins Air Re­serve Base in Ma­ri­etta, where they will stage for Rome’s Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show this week­end.

Lauren O’Mal­ley, a se­nior at John Car­roll Univer­sity, rips a fore­hand win­ner in her Thurs­day match at the ITA Or­a­cle Cup cham­pi­onships at the Rome Ten­nis Cen­ter at Berry Col­lege. / Doug Walker

One of the TigerF­light air­craft sits on the tar­mac at Richard B. Rus­sell Re­gional Air­port on Thurs­day as tents are be­ing set up in the back­ground for the Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show this Satur­day and Sun­day. / Doug Walker

F-22 Rap­tor Demo Team leader Ma­jor Paul “Loco” Lopez, ad­dresses mem­bers of the me­dia af­ter other pilots flew two F-22s into Dob­bins Air Re­serve Base, where they will stage for the Wings Over North Ge­or­gia air show this week­end. / Kelly J. Huff-MDJ

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