Building processes are nothing new to Liz Fields. After all, Fields and Liz Byrne led the initial construction efforts that helped Heritage Academy create a volleyball program in 2011. Their hard work paid off early in the initial season with a 3-1 victory against Columbus High that gave the program its first brick in the foundation.
Don't let the clothing Tae-kion Reed wears cloud your judgment. It doesn't matter if the New Hope High School football standout wears an Ole Miss shirt, like he did Monday prior to getting his team picture taken, or if he decides to show off a Mississippi State shirt today or an Alabama shirt on Wednesday for the first day of school because he plans to keep people guessing about which school he will commit to.
STARKVILLE -- Willie Gay has been recruited by some of the best programs in the country. During that process, he had a chance to see how those schools treated their student-athletes. The things he saw helped him make a verbal commitment to the Ole Miss football program in June, months before National Signing Day in February.
STARKVILLE -- Ricky Woods hasn't thought about last season's success since Christmas. In his first year as head coach at the school, Woods guided the Starkville High School football team past Petal High for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A State championship. It was his eighth state title.
CALEDONIA -- Imagine stepping out of your comfort zone and into a current of volleyball players more than 2,300 teams strong. Bailie Cross and Ansley Brown had a chance to do that last month as part of the Level Elite Sports 18s and 14s travel teams that competed at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Volleyball Championship on June 19-22 in Orlando, Florida.
WEST POINT -- The Oak Hill Academy and Hebron Christian baseball teams combined to put seven players on the All-Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) teams, which were released earlier this month.
STARKVILLE -- Nelson Jordan is no stranger to the recruiting process. Although fairly unknown and with very little interest so far, the Starkville High School senior defensive lineman watched A.J. Brown, Kobe Jones, and Lorenzo Dantzler sign with Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi, respectively, in February after long recruiting battles.
When the going was tough at Southern Mississippi Elite Camp, Columbus High School senior defensive end Tahj Sykes needed a push. "I was ready to tap out because my thighs had given out," Sykes said. "My dad (Timothy) told me I couldn't quit then. He told me I had come too far to quit halfway through (the camp). He really pushed me to finish the day. I am glad he did."
Gracie Plant, Kat Sykes, and Haley Marie Fisackerly can't help but smile when asked about the changes Tom Velek has brought to the Heritage Academy girls soccer program. Whether it's the amount of running, the skill work, or the changing practice plans, there have been plenty of adjustments the players have had to make for their new coach.
Cass Tapley never really was "away" from the Hebron Christian fast-pitch softball team. As the father of two girls who played softball at the school and with a son who was a multi-sport standout completing his high school career in 2016, Tapley always seemed to be at an event supporting the Eagles, whether it was as a parent, as a fan, as a photographer, or as an assistant coach.
WEST POINT -- Mitch Bohon appears to be in an ideal situation entering his second season as the Oak Hill Academy fast-pitch softball coach.
MACON -- The T-shirts have a two-part message: "DON'T QUIT. DO IT."
STARKVILLE -- Music is a great way to bring people together.
McKenzie Bumgarner has grown up with the Heritage Academy fast-pitch softball program.
STARKVILLE -- Willie Gay walked off the football field slowly after a intense conditioning session Monday night. It wasn't the first time he had worked out or ran this summer. He has been hitting the weight room with enthusiasm and running to prepare himself for the grind of his final high school football season in the state of Mississippi.
When the Noxubee County High School football team played in the 2014 New Hope Jamboree, coach Tyrone Shorter challenged his team to make sure its preseason game and last game were played in the same venue. For the sixth time in seven seasons, Mississippi State will play host to the event, which showcases several area teams in their first live action of the season. In 2014, Noxubee County played in the jamboree. Four months later, it returned to MSU to win the first of back-to-back Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A State championships.
Thomas Stevens has a new appreciation of the word "busy." Following a standout junior season for the New Hope High School baseball team, Stevens set out to raise his profile in hopes of attracting an offer to play baseball in college. Despite hitting a team-best .381 and smacking seven home runs, Stevens entered the offseason without any college offers.
The Dispatch's 2016 Prep Baseball All-Area Team
STARKVILLE - For Starkville Academy's Caleb Griffin, the high point and low point of his senior baseball season came against the same opponent on the same field.
Todd Griffin doesn't recall how he came to be the baseball coach at Hebron Christian.
1. Injuries hit MSU's secondary hard COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Columbus will try to beat Noxubee County to go 2-0 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Clayburn will be at center of MSU's line COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Top teams face off in Week 2 LOCAL COLUMNS
5. New Hope's Crosson has successful summer on links HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS