Justin Verner had “it” last year. The only problem was he didn’t know how to use his talents in the high school powerlifting world of dead lifts, bench presses, and squats. But the Columbus High School sophomore certainly gets it now, and his reward Saturday was a state title.
Work already has started to build on the best season in Mississippi State women’s basketball history. But the Lady Bulldogs took Monday to celebrate as a group for perhaps one final time at their season-ending banquet at the Hunter Henry Center.
Local swimmers, for the first time ever, will have the opportunity to join the Shockwave Aquatics summer league program and the seventh-annual strokes clinic. The program serves as a transitional step from traditional swim lessons to the year-round Shockwave program with the goal to develop the stroke, skills and confidence of all participants. Swimmers in these programs will have the opportunity to work with Shockwave and Mississippi All-Star coach Robert P. Gonzalez and age-group coach and former Division-1 All-American swimmer Mark Garrigues over the course of the program.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen called Saturday’s Maroon-White Game a “celebration” of the hard work his team put in during spring practice. Basically, the Maroon team won 26-13 and the announced crowd of 34,127 got to see the team’s redshirt players from last season. Most notably, it was quarterback Tyler Russell in his first “big atmosphere” performance. With the team split in half, Russell had just one of Mississippi State’s starting linemen and struggled early on.
STARKVILLE — Two home runs by Ryan Duffy and a complete game by Chris Stratton on Saturday lifted the Mississippi State baseball team past Tennessee 11-7 at Dudy Noble Field. Mississippi State tied the Super Bulldog Weekend series at one game each heading into today’s rubber match. For Duffy and Stratton, who received a shaving cream pie-to-the-face celebration, the win provided a major boost after Mississippi State coach John Cohen was ejected from Friday’s game.
CALEDONIA — Fielding, hitting, and pitching are staples of any team’s success. But a fourth ingredient — the ability to mold individual talents for the greater good — often is the determining factor when it comes time to win championships. The New Hope High School baseball team showed again Saturday why it just might have all four elements to make a title run. Blake Roberts, Jake Smith, and Gabe Franks combined on a one-hitter, and Davis Lee went 3-for-4 to lead New Hope to a 7-2 victory against Caledonia.
Tabitha Beard wants to see more of a yes-yes-yes attitude. If the New Hope High School fast-pitch softball coach gets her wish, there’s no reason why the Lady Trojans can’t challenge for a state title. But New Hope is going to have to hit more like it did Saturday to realize that goal. Coming off a one-run loss to Kosciusko on Friday in which it had only five hits, New Hope more than doubled that number in a 9-2 victory against Cleveland and nearly did in a 10-1 victory against Columbus Saturday in the final two varsity games of the New Hope Tournament at Lady Trojan Field.
MACON –– The Central Academy Vikings scored the first three runs of the game and held on to beat Hebron Christian 3-2 in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A, District 3 game Friday. Central Academy (8-5, 8-2 district) scored two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Ferris McGuire and one run in the second on a single by Trevor Eaves. With the win, Central Academy forced a three-way tie for first place in the district and earned the No. 2 seed in the MAIS Class A state playoffs as a result of a tie-breaker. The Vikings will host Humphreys Academy in the opening round of the playoffs Tuesday and play at Humphreys in Belzoni on Friday.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury’s lengthy diatribe about John Wall’s rebound in the waning seconds of Mississippi State’s loss to Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game will cost him $30,000. The SEC announced Thursday, per league bylaw SEC Bylaw 10.5.4, which prohibits coaches, players and support personal from publicly criticizing officials, that Stansbury would be hit with the league’s first fine for a hoops coach for such an offense. Stansbury’s critical comments came a day after Mississippi State lost 75-74 in overtime to Kentucky, costing the Bulldogs an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
STARKVILLE — Depth, experience and leadership have topped Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen’s checklist for offensive improvements this spring. Prior to Mississippi State’s Maroon-White game on Saturday, his list hasn’t changed much. Mississippi State’s receiving corps, offensive line and running back stable have had mixed rotations this spring and with that Mullen has seen performances fluctuate.
STARKVILLE — Nearing the halfway point of the season, Mississippi State coach John Cohen isn’t surprised about where his team is so far. At 17-16 overall and 3-9 in the Southeastern Conference, the Bulldogs are in last place in the SEC Western Division. Mississippi State will meet the last-place team from the SEC East this weekend when it hosts Tennessee at Dudy Noble Field. Game times are 6:30 p.m. today, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
STARKVILLE — For Jenny Hazelwood and the Mississippi State volleyball team, Saturday’s alumni match will be a chance to relax. The Lady Bulldogs have spent the offseason working on ball control, improving strength and building off their 2009 finish, which saw them win three of their last four matches. Hazelwood and assistants Lindi Bankowski and Branden Higa have spent a significant portion of the offseason recruiting for the 2011 class, using the strong finish last season to increase the talent pool.
MACON — Alex Dawkins and Lillian Lindsey have been together this long, so they figured it was only natural to want to extend their careers together for another two years. From Tee Ball to fast-pitch softball to slow-pitch softball, the Central Academy seniors have spent nearly their entire careers together on the same teams. On Thursday, Dawkins and Lindsey finalized the next step of their journeys when they signed scholarships to play softball at East Mississippi Community College.
The West Point High School baseball team has shown in the last week it knows how to respond from a loss. Thanks to some steady pitching and more consistent play on defense, the Green Wave have rebounded from a disappointing loss to East Webster to win their last four games in a row. West Point will try to make it five straight at 7 tonight when it plays host to New Hope in a Class 5A, Division 2, District 1 game.
Rick Stansbury's lengthy diatribe about John Wall's rebound in the waning seconds of Mississippi State's loss to Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference title game will cost the Bulldogs coach $30,000.
STARKVILLE — The Mississippi State baseball team received a shot of positive energy heading into Super Bulldog Weekend, topping South Alabama 9-5 on Wednesday night.
Seeing is believing. Six hundred or 700 pounds in an individual event and 1,500 pounds combined in three disciplines can be pretty imposing when you have never lifted that much weight. But Rickey Knox said confidence has helped the Columbus High School powerlifting team soar past weights some never imagined the Falcons could reach.
CALEDONIA — The lesson was devastating. Like any other senior, Rickey McCollum Jr. wanted to make a mark in his final year in high school.
Jason Clark set a goal to make the state playoffs in his first season as baseball coach at Lamar County High School. Clark has realized that goal, leading the Bulldogs to the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
There was a feeling Tuesday at Sammy Fletcher Field that was similiar to three weeks earlier. A feeling that maybe the Columbus High School baseball team could overcome a two-run deficit to beat rival Starkville. Much like the two team’s March 23 meeting, when Columbus’ Nick Durrah and Starkville’s R.J. Johnson dueled on the mound, the Yellow Jackets’ narrow advantage widened without an answer from the Falcons.
2. Summers helps Rebels rally past Bulldogs COLLEGE SPORTS
3. MSU women move to 22-2 by routing Vanderbilt COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Bulldogs fight for results COLLEGE SPORTS
5. New Hope girls soccer hosts second-round playoff match Saturday HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS