Rachel Dees, Cheng Ye, and Rick Deaton combined to win 21 first places May 23-24 to lead the Mississippi Shockwave Aquatics team to the overall title at the Tunica Summer Invitational in Tunica. Dees, who competed in the girls 13- to 14-year-old age group, won eight events, while Ye won seven events in the boys 11-12 division and Deaton took six first in the boys 13-14 bracket.
Jake Reeves, Bobby Merryman, and Sarah Pevey can’t wait until July 10. The confidence the three athletes gained Friday at the Chaos in Columbus Mixed Martial Arts event at the Trotter Convention Center should serve each competitor well next month when they take the next steps in their amateur careers. Fighting for Relentless MMA, Reeves (2-0) earned a first-round submission victory against Lee Franklin, of Jackson. He used a rear-naked choke hold to end the fight in 58 seconds.
STARKVILLE –– Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen is excited about the future of pitcher Devin Jones. Jones, who played at Eupora High School in Webster County, is spending his summer fine-tuning his skills in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in Danbury, Conn.. He is one of 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs that has been assigned to a college summer league by Cohen and his staff. A broken hand kept Jones off the mound during much of the past season, but he started in the last two Southeastern Conference series against Ole Miss and LSU.
STARKVILLE -- One of the main points of emphasis at the Southeastern Conference Meetings in Destin, Fla., this past week pertained to football recruiting and the desire for a more even playing field for all 12 schools. The SEC presidents took an action that will move toward that goal. Beginning with next year’s signing class, SEC programs can only sign a total of 28 players. The coaches wanted the cap at 30, but the presidents got their way at 28.
STARKVILLE -- Ben Thebaud, of the Starkville Academy Dizzy Dean baseball team, uses his speed and athletic ability to his advantage. As a wide receiver and defensive back in football at Starkville Academy, Thebaud has been known to make something positive happen for the Volunteers. It was his play on the baseball field that helped Starkville Academy come from behind and defeat Starkville High School 13-10 in a four-inning second game of a Dizzy Dean High School doubleheader Monday night. The Volunteers earned a sweep by also beating the Yellow Jackets 10-4 in the opener.
Jeff Hunter doesn’t aspire to be a professional baseball coach. The former New Hope High School and Mississippi State pitcher also is hesitant to become a high school baseball coach. But Hunter’s love for the game couldn’t keep him away from the Cotton States Baseball League. On Tuesday, Hunter will take the field as coach for the Golden Triangle Jets when the team plays its first two games of the Cotton States Baseball League - North Division’s inaugural season.
Greg Byrne is becoming more confident that Dan Mullen is the right man to be Mississippi State’s head football coach Each time Byrne, Mississippi State’s athletic director, sees Mullen in a public setting or at an official gathering, he’s impressed with the way the coach handles the situation. After spending time together last week at the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., Byrne felt the need to pin another rose on Mullen.
Players aren’t the only ones who are tested in the spring and summer months. While parents have to shuttle their children to and from games, coaches are the ones who are on site hours before games preparing the field and hours after games cleaning up and getting things ready for the next day. Columbus High School baseball coach Jeff Cook and New Hope High assistant baseball coach Chris Ball are two area coaches who will play a variety of roles in the next few months on the diamond.
DeShuni Sanders is old school. But the New Hope High School senior standout showed this season that even old schoolers can succeed in a faster environment. Sanders and Hamilton High senior standout Kelle West added honors to their resumes earlier this week when they were chosen second-team All-State by The Clarion Ledger in Jackson. Sanders didn’t learn of the honor until Wednesday when her father, Donnie, told her.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss don’t play Southern Miss in football each fall. The battles between those schools are waged in the offseason when it comes to recruiting the state’s best talent. That’s why any perceived advantage for one of the other football programs can be an issue. At the Southeastern Conference spring meetings in Destin, Fla., this week, discussion has included a proposal to change an SEC regulation that restricts assistant football coaches from attending coaching clinics in their home states unless the coach is a speaker.
STARKVILLE — Starkville High School’s summer team knew it was in trouble in the second game of a Dizzy Dean doubleheader Thursday when New Hope pitcher Jake Upton struck out four in the first inning. Upton accomplished the feat when he threw a wild pitch on the third strikeout and then retired Blake Dawkins swinging to end the frame. The Yellow Jackets could never adjust to Upton’s knuckleball and only got one hit in three innings.
The Columbus High School baseball team’s 2010 team started Thursday night. Josh Tentoni, Tyji Hawkins, and the rest of the Falcons intend to make that season a success. Tentoni had four hits and Hawkins added two and a strong pitching performance to help Columbus beat East Webster 4-3 and 11-3 in the Dizzy Dean opener for both teams at Sammy Fletcher Field. Nick Durrah also had three hits, including the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh to help Columbus turn the page.
The time is right for Brian Alexander. The 17-year coaching veteran didn’t know how Russell Brooks found his name, but he didn’t dismiss the opportunity that will keep him on the court through the summer. Alexander, a former assistant boys basketball coach for Sammy Smith at Columbus High, is the head coach of the World Basketball Association Exposure League’s Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State junior sprinter Dwight Mullings knows his coaches believe in him. Each time Mullings runs a race, associate track coach Steve Dudley tells him he can do a little bit better.
The roads between Starkville to Memphis are going to be a little more busier during the college basketball season thanks to Latavious Williams. The former Starkville High School player announced Tuesday his commitment to play basketball at the University of Memphis.
Chad Davis is excited about Columbus. As sales and marketing director for Ring Media Group, it’s Davis’ job to find new markets to showcase mixed martial arts, one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Davis believes he has found one in The Friendly City — and at just the right time.
Chris Sykes and Elmo Brown have plenty of basketball left. Now the 34-year-old former Aberdeen High School and Delta State standout has to convince someone he’s right. Sykes and Brown, 34, a former basketball player at Columbus High, are two of 10 players on the roster for the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers of the World Basketball Association Exposure League. They hope to use the league to showcase their talent and to land another job that will pay them to play professional basketball.
Jarvis Gunter was a teenager the first time he experienced Kids With Character. As a member of the Columbus High School boys basketball team, Gunter and his peers volunteered at the free camp and were charged with being a positive influence for the younger kids in the community.
Chris Herring and Kenny Tice never imagined they would have to be spokespeople. But the former New Hope High School baseball player and NHHS parent believe it is time to speak out. After remaining quiet throughout the season and watching momentum build against New Hope High baseball coach Stacy Hester, Herring and Tice said Saturday they believe people in the community are on a “personal vendetta” and “crusade” to remove Hester as the school’s coach.
Billy Ray Lee knows there is a fine line in coaching. In more than 30 years as a coach, Lee has learned some players respond to one style of coaching while others need to be motivated another way. Lee has seen that dynamic play out in his two years with the New Hope High School baseball program. In that time, Lee has seen New Hope High coach Stacy Hester is a lot like him.
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