Freshmen are lucky to have an impact in a game, much less a season. But not every freshman is built the same way. Some surprise and become the team's best player. Meet Lauren Holifield.
Armed with two dominant pitchers, Tabitha Beard entered her fourth season in charge of New Hope High School fast-pitch softball looking to add a state title to the slow-pitch hardware the Lady Trojans have added since 2006.
STARKVILLE -- Everyone remembers the story of Robert Elliott's last-minute commitment to Mississippi State. The Okolona native and consensus top-10 running back in the 2007 recruiting class had pledged to attend the University of Mississippi before former MSU coach Sylvester Croom pulled off a late signing coup and encouraged Elliott to choose the Bulldogs over the Rebels, Florida State, Alabama, and Arkansas.
Brent Younger remained focused. While longtime teammates were deciding on schools nearly every month, Younger believed that years of training and work on the baseball field would pay off.
STARKVILLE -- Thursday's softball game between Starkville High and Starkville Academy featured teams in similar situations. Both are trying to break in a new starting pitcher and to replace starters who graduated in the spring.
Craig Shannon didn't have an idea Bubba Davis was retiring until a week ago. That's why Shannon wasn't taken aback Monday when Davis announced his retirement after two seasons as head football coach at Columbus High School.
Bubba Davis always said if he could get up every day and go to a job he enjoyed he would coach for as long as possible. That was no longer the case for Davis at Columbus High School. As a result, the Falcons are looking for a new football coach. On Monday, Davis officially announced his retirement as Columbus High's football coach. He met with his players and assistant coaches and told them his decision didn't have anything thing to do with them.
STARKVILLE -- If Monday was any indication of things to come for the Starkville Academy girls' basketball team, count on seeing plenty of front-court action. Freshman forward Sallie Kate Richardson scored 22 points and transfer forward Anna Lea Little scored 14 in the Lady Volunteers' 56-30 win against West Lowndes. With Starkville Academy losing forwards Anne Claire Craig and Maggie Gladney to graduation, having a pair of 5-foot-10 players to step in certainly doesn't hurt the rebuilding process, no matter their age.
STARKVILLE -- For the past three years, the Carl Maddox Track facility at Mississippi State has been dormant. Aside from practice, the Bulldogs haven't hosted the Jace Lacoste Invitational and Bulldog Invitational. Their facility needed a facelift to attract teams, and with Mississippi State's $3.2 million renovation the Bulldogs will host three spring meets in 2011. Home meets were anticipated once ground broke two months ago, and Monday the program announced the start of the SEC/Big Ten Track and Field Challenge, which will be held at MSU on March 26.
STARKVILLE -- John Harris and Rodricko "CoCo" Ware went to East Mississippi Community College hoping rebuild the men's basketball program and move on to the next level. Mission accomplished on both accounts. After helping EMCC make it to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament this past March, Harris and Ware signed scholarships with four-year colleges this past week.
Summer in Mississippi typically brings people together. For one week every year, kids make new friends and reconnect with others at Camp Rising Sun next to the Tombigbee River.
William Beckwith is close to realizing a dream. The former West Lowndes High School baseball standout is leaning toward signing with his favorite team after the Atlanta Braves selected him Tuesday in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
R.J. Johnson has a big decision to make. Will the hard-throwing right hander turn professional after being drafted Tuesday by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 36th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft? Or will he head to college?
STARKVILLE -- Anthony Alford has heard the talk. The rising junior at Petal High School is a standout quarterback who is considered a college prospect. But Alford is attracting even more attention for his exploits on the diamond.
Two sources Tuesday confirmed that former Nettleton and Hamilton High School head football coach Ricky Kendrick will be the head football coach at Caledonia High School. Kendrick and the sources declined to comment before Friday, when the hiring is expected to be approved by the Lowndes County School Board. Kendrick coached Hamilton to records of 3-7 in 2003 and 7-3 in 2002.
STARKVILLE -- Line up the fastest collegiate runners in the country and Mississippi State would be well represented. Line up the best 400-meter runners in the world and the Bulldogs would grace the top 16. Championship swagger comes from results and Mississippi State sprinters have left a trail of success from the Texas Relays to the Penn Relays to the Southeastern Conference meet.
STARKVILLE -- Though each relay race goes through the same three handoffs and covers the same distance, there's plenty of strategy involved. Many variables, including a runner's current form or performance in individual events and opponents' strengths can factor into how a coach shifts the lineup. The Mississippi State men's track team has made the right calls in its 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay events this year, setting up high expectations for this week's NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore.
High School football players from the Golden Triangle and surrounding area packed Columbus High School's practice fields Tuesday to take advantage of a camp opportunity they hope paves the road to a college scholarship. More than 100 athletes participated in the University of Southern Mississippi football camp, utilizing an opportunity to a certified football Football Bowl Subdivision camp.
Wanika Owsley has been a part of success at every level. Now Owsley hopes she can help the Mississippi State women's basketball team build on its best season. Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis announced Tuesday the hiring of Owsley as an assistant coach. Owsley replaces Sharrona Reaves, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Lady Bulldogs.
1. MSU women will face biggest test at South Carolina COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Columbus boys advance in Class 6A tournament HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Defense has been strong suit for MSU men COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope boys win home finale HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS