Athletes from West Point and Aberdeen Friday were recognized as players of the year, during a Dispatch party to celebrate the launch of a new sports magazine, Sports Review.
STARKVILLE -- Change is something Starkville Academy athletics became used to in 2009-10. Win-loss records, experience, head coaches, confidence, spirit -- all were affected greatly by a down year in boys athletics. The football and basketball programs managed one win between both seasons.
PEARL -- The approach is the same regardless of how many are out. It just so happens that two was the magic number Wednesday for the Richton High School baseball team. As a result, the Rebels will have to clear another space in their trophy case.
PEARL -- Pitchers don't always take the adage "you can't break a plane of glass" as a source of pride. Kameron Mills didn't mind Wednesday that the radar gun at Trustmark Park might have had difficulty measuring the speed of some of pitches.
HAMILTON -- Dylan Earnest and Chase Reeves want to write a different ending. For the past three seasons, Earnest and Reeves have seen their Hamilton High School baseball seasons end on the wrong note. In 2007, Hamilton lost to Gulfport St. John in two games in the Class 1A State title series. In 2008, Richton defeated Hamilton 6-5 in game three to take the Class 2A crown.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen resembled a relaxed man Tuesday, displaying a relieved yet jovial demeanor that's usually noticeable when the Bulldogs are winning games. Cohen is officially working toward next season and hopes trainers can heal the injured players he bewailed not having at his disposal while in the midst of his second-straight losing season since taking over as head coach.
STARKVILLE -- Sitting on the fence can sometimes be a lonely place, but Louis Cant has company. The Mississippi State singles tennis player is one of eight alternates hoping to make it into the 64-player NCAA tournament field for today's NCAA Singles Championships at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Cant, the third alternate, is hopeful for a replay of 2008 when seven alternates made the field instead of last season when two made the field.
PEARL -- For three and a half innings Tuesday, the Hamilton High School baseball team looked like a squad that was going to defy the odds. Not only did the Lions put the controversy with Bruce High School behind them, but they also used a strong start by Dylan Earnest to quiet the Richton High School bats and take an early two-run lead. But one of the most unusual sequences in recent state title series history helped the Rebels tie the game and changed the momentum to put the Lions' season in jeopardy.
After playing for Curt Fowler last summer, Brent Hallmark wanted to play for him again this summer. Hallmark will get his wish as he will play for the Tippah County Tribe in the Cotton States Baseball League. The only difference is Hallmark won't play for the same team he played for last summer in the wood bat league for college players.
STARKVILLE -- With track and field season completed, Shay Bonner can look back on a prep career filled with multiple state meet memories. The Starkville High senior earned second- and third place laurels a year ago in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, respectively, and followed that with duplicate results in both events this year. Bonner felt her chances to win the 100 would be greater this year because she'd significantly improved her speed. She also ran a leg on the Lady Jackets' 4x400 and 4x200 relay teams.
You have to admire the tenacity of the fans, parents and supporters of the Bruce High School baseball team. If the coaching staff or athletic administrators had exhibited similar diligence in pursuing a clarification of a rule neither the Bruce nor the Hamilton High School baseball teams would be in this quagmire. The situation involving the Mississippi High School Activities Association's ruling to withdraw Bruce from the Class 2A state championship series due to a violation of a pitching restriction took another turn Friday when a motion was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court to get the team reinstated.
STARKVILLE -- Scott Stricklin hasn't had time to catch his breath since becoming Mississippi State's athletic director and the whirlwind figures to keep him busy with football season roughly three months away. Since taking over the department two weeks ago, Stricklin's days have consisted of meetings with coaches and key members of the university's hierarchy along with day-to-day responsibilities. His predecessor and close friend, Greg Byrne, left him with tremendous growth to continue. Part of that includes a solid staff Stricklin says he's "fortunate" to have in place.
It's all in the attitude for Demetrius Malone. The West Lowndes High School senior didn't like the prospect of having to settle for his team's first loss of the season, especially in a game he thought it should have won. Instead of accepting defeat, Malone went to West Lowndes coach Herman Peters and told his coach he was going to do something about it.
STARKVILLE -- Jameika Hoskins admits she doesn't talk much. While other players slap teammates on the back and create a lot of noise on the court, Hoskins takes a stealthier approach. The Aberdeen High School senior guard/forward always has preferred to let her playing do the talking. This season, Hoskins continued to become more of a vocal presence and a leader on the court. Those qualities helped her lead the team in scoring (21.7 points per game) and to a 24-3 record.
New starts happen all of the time in college athletics. Jamie Gunter knew after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee and having to sit out her freshman season at the University of Louisiana Lafayette that change might be the best thing for her. But the former Heritage Academy and Columbus High School standout listened to the advice of her father and decided to give ULL another chance.
SCOOBA -- It seemed like a no-brainer for Brad Henderson. With one season left at East Mississippi Community College, he'd finally get the chance to pilot an offense that averaged 37.7 points per game last season. No filling in when leads mounted. No subbing for JUCO All-American Randall Mackey. Finally, he'd get a chance to drive the sports car that's ripped through the state the past two years. Surprisingly, the Starkville High School graduate was close to leaving the enviable opportunity behind to walk on at Mississippi State.
STARKVILLE -- Edward Townsel's recruitment came to a close Thursday when the Starkville High School point guard signed with Arkansas State. Townsel led Starkville to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A and Grand Slam championships this season, averaging 18.8 points, 7.9 assists and 4.5 steals per game. He had scholarship offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, Troy and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
STARKVILLE -- The rain held off long enough for Starkville Academy to have its intra-squad scrimmage Thursday, capping the team's first spring practice period under head coach Jeff Terrill. For roughly four hours, thunderstorms blanketed the area and threatened to postpone the scrimmage. Even Terrill said it was "doubtful" the Volunteers would scrimmage two hours before the 6 p.m. start. Quarterback Kyle Henson said he sent Terrill a text message inquiring about the scrimmage as he and his teammates were anxious to play.
STARKVILLE -- Coaching two soccer programs, owning a business and having five children is quite a challenge. One end is going to get the short end of attention and Artie Cosby experienced that during his first season leading Starkville Academy's soccer teams. After one season, Cosby confirmed Thursday he's relinquished his post at Starkville Academy to spend more time with his wife and children.
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