STARKVILLE -- Freshman starters are rare in the Southeastern Conference. Interior defensive linemen have the worst odds of holding up to the physical quantum leap players must make to adapt.
DENVER -- Seth Smith is like any major leaguer that wants to play every game. But relegated to a reserve role with an occasional start, the objective of the Colorado Rockies' outfielder is to contribute whenever he's called upon The 27-year old Smith, who played at Ole Miss from 2002-04, has produced when given the chance to play as he's tied for the team lead in homers (10) and tied for second in RBIs (31).
Lee Boyd has had a heck of year. The New Hope native took over his alma mater's baseball team, reclaimed the district title, made it to the second round of the playoffs, and with his wife, Allison, welcomed his first child into the world. He's still relishing everything that happened to him one month after capping another solid year in Trojans baseball.
STARKVILLE -- R.J. Johnson's remarkable senior season started with a commitment to make up for his junior year. The Starkville High graduate had the size, athleticism, and arm strength to be one of the state's top players. He knew it, and his coaches saw that potential years before the Milwaukee Brewers selected him earlier this month in the 36th round of Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
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.
1. Starkville Academy names Parks its new baseball coach HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Starkville High's Carter gets offer from Mississippi State HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Howland leads strong group of new coaches in SEC COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Daily grind has purpose for New Hope's Thomas HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS