Editor's note: With social distancing guidelines firmly established, Sports Editor Daniel Mayes is conducting interviews with area athletes from the safety of a secluded corner of his home office. Quarantine Chronicles is a Q&A series with local sports standouts about their daily lives during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dalton High School 2020 graduate Rhett Hammontree had almost half of his senior year wiped out in athletics because of school building closures due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), but he's thankful his baseball career isn't over as it is for many of his high school competitors.
Hammontree played guard on the basketball team and shortstop and pitcher in baseball at Dalton High. He finished his senior basketball season, but had his final high school baseball campaign cut short.
"I'm just thankful I got to finish one of my senior seasons," Hammontree said. "I'm glad I get to play at the next level, but I wish I could have finished. My friends that don't have that opportunity, I just hate it for them."
Hammontree has signed to play baseball in college at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Hammontree spoke to the Daily Citizen-News about his life since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Question: What are you up to while staying home?
Answer: I had no idea that last day at Dalton High School would be my last day. Outside of learning from home, I just hung out, ate and worked out. That's really all there is to do, other than watch Netflix.
Q: How have you been preparing for your time at Lipscomb during quarantine?
A: I'm trying to gain weight and work out all summer and working on my craft. I want to show up as the best player I can be, and I'm going to work all summer to do that.
Q: Do you have a favorite moment during your high school career?
A: My freshman year, we were really good, but we had a lot of seniors that were starters. I got to start a game in the state Sweet 16 and Elite 8. That game in the Elite 8 against Pope was one of the most hyped-up games I've been a part of.
Q: What do you think you have gotten out of playing sports in high school?
A: Growing up, sports have been my entire life. The relationships have been the biggest part about it in high school. You make so many close friends.
Q: What does Dalton High mean to you?
A: I'm thankful for everything Dalton High gave to me and helped support me. It ended up getting me to the next level. All of my coaches from Dalton Middle all the way up. It's just been great.
Q: What are you like off the court/field?
A: I'm a big Netflix guy. I love hanging out with my friends and at the house with my family. I've thrown baseball with my dad since I was about 5.
Q: Who is someone you look up to?
A: My dad and my grandfather. My dad has taught me everything I know, and he always pushes me so hard. My grandfather has always been at every single game and every tournament, it didn't matter where it was or if he was sick, he'd be there. It will continue to be that way in Nashville.
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: That's a tough one. There are a lot of great athletes. Andrelton Simmons, he was the shortstop for the Braves a couple years ago, I think I try to model my game after him. As a person, I like (Los Angeles Angel) Mike Trout. I know he's one of the best players in the world, and he's a family guy and he can do it all. I wear his shoes, too. I like the Trouts.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: I would say the "Harry Potter" series. I need to read the books.