STARKVILLE -- Growing up, Nick Griffin only dreamed of playing in the National Football League. But Griffin is putting that dream on hold. Earlier this year, the former Mississippi State football player was hired by new Madison Central High School football coach Brad Peterson to coach the running backs. Peterson wanted a coach who fit his personality and the personality of his staff. That's what he found when he interviewed Griffin, who had 3.0 grade-point average and was a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Fall Honor Roll.
It's easy to detect the passion in Taylor Chisolm's voice. A few years ago, soccer would have been the topic of conversation. After all, Chisolm set a school record for goals in a season as a senior at Caledonia High School in 2009. His exploits helped lead the Confederates to a school-best 14-5 record and the Class 4A North Half title game. Since then, though, Chisolm has found a new hobby, or passion, to occupy some of his spare time. Don't think for one second that just because you might not have heard of the sport -- disc golf -- Chisolm isn't as passionate about it as he was about soccer. In fact, if you know Chisolm, he might be even more consumed with disc golf than he ever was about soccer.
Jeremy Shaw didn't sound like a driver willing to chalk up a 15th-place finish to bad luck. Midway through a Limited Late Model race at Columbus Speedway on June 6, Shaw's No. 1s car slowed after its battery died. After the race, Shaw, who'd won a race at Columbus earlier this season and finished second twice at Magnolia Motor Speedway, knew he had more unnerving issues.
Robert Woodard II has seen a lot of sights and learned plenty of valuable lessons in the past month. Between traveling to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, to represent the United States in the FIBA Americas Championship, many of those lessons involved basketball. Each time, the Columbus High School rising sophomore passed his test and played an integral role in helping the USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team win its fourth championship in the biennial tournament that was launched in 2009. Team USA's 77-60 victory against Canada on Sunday night presented Woodard II and his teammates with a new challenge: Getting their gold medals through airport security.
BAHIA BLANCA, Argentina -- Fighting back from a 20-point second quarter deficit, the USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team defeated Canada 77-60 to earn the FIBA Americas Championship gold medal on Sunday night. The gold medal marked the fourth gold in as many editions of the U16 tournament. The USA is 20-0 in U16 play since the biennial tournament launched in 2009. Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley High School/Apple Valley, Minnesota) scored all 19 points of his points in the second half and earned tournament MVP honors. Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep School/Houston, Texas) added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Georgia) had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tre Jones (Apple Valley High /Apple Valley, Minnesota) had five steals and finished the tournament with a USA U16 competition record 19 steals, breaking Malik Newman's record of 14 set in 2013. Columbus High rising sophomore Robert Woodard II had two points and one rebound in four minutes in the title game. He averaged 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game in the five-game tournament. He was 10-for-22 from the field (45.5 percent).
The re-starts were the only openings for the field to pass Jonathan Davenport at The Clash at The MAG. And even those opportunities were narrow. After each re-start Saturday night, Davenport, who passed Scott Bloomquist for the lead on lap 16, would open a three-second gap on the field within the first few laps. Davenport, who entered the race on a six-race winning streak, easily navigated each re-start to win the 100-lap, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Don Rowe always knew Leatrice "Lee" Holliday had the "gift for gab." Whether it was in a 30-second timeout during a basketball game or in a break in the football or baseball action at Aberdeen High School, Rowe witnessed Holliday's ability to take control of a situation with his knack for selling himself.
One look at the No. 77 Limited Late Model car driven by Chad McCool and it's clear he's a part of a budget race team. The car doesn't have fancy graphics on its bright yellow body -- just hand-painted numbers and a graphic of a $100 bill on the hood. It didn't matter Saturday night at Columbus Speedway, where McCool held off perennial Limited Late Model contenders like Chase Washington, Jeremy Shaw, and Johnny Stokes to win the $2,000, 40-lap feature race.
Tim Crawley had raced the Mike Ward-owned No. 88 sprint car just three times this season heading into "Fast Friday," presented by Carol Hogan Toyota at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Morgan Turpen competed in six sprint car races before reaching what many would consider a crossroads. During a race at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 2009, Turpen wrecked and was hospitalized for 18 days after busting a carotid artery in her neck. She was only 16. She'd started racing go-karts when she was 11 years old after watching her brother, Colt, race them several years prior. Racing was in her blood. She didn't want to do anything else, so she returned to her car.
NEW YORK -- Former Mississippi State standout Jacob Lindgren made history Monday in his debut with the New York Yankees. When Lindgren relieved Nathan Eovaldi in the eighth inning of New York's 14-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals, the left-hander became one of only two Yankees to make their Major League Baseball debut within a year of being drafted. Hall of Fame football player Deion Sanders (1989) is the other.
MILLPORT, Ala. -- Like a high-level ball player, Limited Late Model driver Jeremy Shaw was getting by on ability.
In a two-hour span earlier this year, Tyler Castle won a Mini Stock heat race and was nestled behind Donny Andrews in the penultimate lap of the Winter Classic feature at Columbus Speedway. Blood pulsating through his veins and eyes wide open, the 16-year-old Sulligent, Alabama, native was no stranger to running well; the Sulligent High School junior won the track points title at Columbus in 2014. That night, though, he was still hunting for his first feature win. Though the race didn't attract as many Kajun Mini Stock Association drivers as the sanctioned KMSA events, top contenders Bo Minor and Donny Andrews were there. On the final lap, Castle saw the efforts of his first three years of racing culminate in his first career feature win.
In a span of just two hours, Tyler Castle won a Mini Stock heat race and was nestled behind Donny Andrews in the penultimate lap of the Winter Classic feature at Columbus Speedway earlier this year.
It's all going right for Bub McCool. The Vicksburg native had never driven for anyone but his family, aside from an occasional fill-in at major shows. But after last season, McCool teamed with car owner Randy Thompson, whose car was piloted by David Breazeale in 2014. One brand-new chassis and four races into the 2015 Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series, and McCool has three wins.
Competing in races on each side of the state on consecutive nights used to be commonplace for dirt track race car drivers, especially for Super Late Model racers.
Mike Vallentine has been fishing a long time. From Florida to Iowa, Vallentine probably knows where to find a fishery that will land a sizable haul. For the past three years, though, Vallentine has been focused on another search: locating new sites for Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tournament Trail. As president of the organization, Vallentine is excited that Illinois and Louisiana have joined the 2015 schedule for the first time. The addition of those states is another step in his effort to help bring more fishing opportunities to local and professional anglers.
Bub McCool finished where he began the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series Super Late Model race Saturday at Columbus Speedway: first place. McCool held off David Breazeale and Rick and Brian Rickman brothers, all of whom started in the top four, to claim the win and $2,500 in the 50-lap feature.
For Super Late Model racers in the Golden Triangle, the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series is about the only sure-fire slate of races they'll have in the state each year. While Columbus Speedway and Magnolia Motor Speedway have weekly races around their large-purse feature nights, those typically feature races in other divisions. So when inclement weather postpones MSCCS races, drivers have no chance but to stay home, or to race in other divisions, if they have the opportunity.
STARKVILLE - Luke Reynolds tried everything. That included long meetings with coaches, extra work in the batting cage and even film study of his swing from his days at Hinds Community College, but nothing seemed to work.
2. Chisolm driven to help disc golf grow in Columbus LOCAL SPORTS
3. Gordon hopes U.S. women can help MSU grow COLLEGE SPORTS