STARKVILLE — Jenny Hazelwood’s excitement is contagious. It took only one hour in the team’s first meeting Thursday for the new Mississippi State volleyball coach to get her players fired up. That energy carried over to the court Friday when the team opened its preseason with a pair of practices. “She is 100 percent invested in our program,” senior setter Dorey Gray said Friday. “She is so good at inspiring us and knowing when to say the right things to us.”
STARKVILLE — The Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State is going through some changes. In the past few weeks, new lighting has been installed and upgraded in the arena and a new arrangement of banners has been put in place. Renovations to the women’s basketball locker room recently were completed, and the men’s locker room is being refurbished. The installation of a new basketball court with new MSU marks and logos is another piece of the athletic department’s $2.1 million investment to enhance all of the facilities on campus.
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State opened two-a-day football practices on Saturday with a two-hour session in the morning and a shorter workout in the afternoon. The Bulldogs have changed locations from the football practice fields to the intramural field where they could be alone. Well, almost. “We’re in training camp now and it’s a work-oriented location,” Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. “We’re away from the fans and the media. When we got out there, it was just us and the cows. The cows were up on a hill in the next field over. They were out early. We might have to get up and go earlier (today) so we can beat the cows out to work.”
STARKVILLE -- Derek Sherrod has always had a family member available to encourage him at Mississippi State. He just didn’t always realize it. One of the reasons Sherrod chose to play at Mississippi State was because his older brother, Dezmond, was already there as a tight end in Sylvester Croom’s West Coast offense. After Dezmond graduated and signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Derek missed having a family member around. That’s until Sherrod found out he had a cousin also with the Bulldogs in Tobias Smith.
WEST POINT –– The Heritage Academy Lady Patriots had a run taken off the scoreboard Thursday afternoon, but didn’t need it to claim a 5-3 victory against Oak Hill Academy. The Lady Patriots (2-1) scored three runs in the second inning and would have scored four if one hadn’t been taken away. The Lady Patriots thought they tied the score 2-2 in the second when Logan Waggoner crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice and the home plate umpire extended his arms to signal safe.
STARKVILLE –– The girls who make up the Starkville Academy soccer team weren’t born when Artie Cosby was a record-breaking kicker at Mississippi State. All they know is he one day he could lead them to a championship. Cosby takes over the reins as soccer coach at Starkville Academy, and he’s enjoyed preparing for the season.
The championship feeling still lingers in Krisi Boren’s mind. A year ago, the Heritage Academy girls soccer team had a season to remember, falling to River Oaks (Monroe, La.) in its first appearance in a Mississippi Private School Association (now MAIS) state title match. The landscape will be different this season for the Lady Patriots. Heritage Academy, which finished 11-4 last season, will move from Division II to Division I this season. The transition means tougher divisional games against the likes of Starkville Academy, Pillow Academy,Washington School, and Magnolia Heights.
STARKVILLE — The intensity seemed to rise with the temperatures Thursday morning at the Mississippi State football practice fields. The Bulldogs seemed to take things a little more seriously in their second day in pads. “They came out better than (Wednesday),” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “They weren’t really used to being in pads, but this was what we expect our normal practices to look like.”
Josh Carothers and Kendall Jackson have learned to trust Sammy Smith. The Columbus High School boys basketball players believed their coach when he said he would do his best to find them a college where they could continue their careers. The only thing Smith asked his players to do was to stay patient and to believe. The wait ended Wednesday afternoon.
STARKVILLE — Jenny Hazelwood knows how to surprise people. In coaching stops at Centenary College (La.) and at Austin Peay, the former Mississippi State volleyball player has exceeded expectations and helped her programs reach new levels of success. Hazelwood believes she can follow that same formula at MSU.
STARKVILLE –– Starkville Academy’s Lyndsey Haynes mixed her pitches to mix up the Central Academy Lady Vikings at the plate. Haynes scattered four hits Tuesday afternoon to lead Starkville Academy to a 9-1 victory at home. “I didn’t throw one pitch in the same place the whole time,” said Haynes, who allowed three bunt singles. “If I threw outside and she’d foul it off, I’d go inside and high. Every pitch changed completely. It messed them up. The game (against Kemper Academy on Monday) I threw too much in the same place and I messed up and they would hit it.”
There’s something to be said for sure-handedness. For Heritage Academy’s Kristyn Atkins, all it took Tuesday was a rosin bag to help her feel more comfortable. The senior pitcher used rosin to keep her right hand dry en route to a complete-game three-hitter in an 8-1 victory against Hebron Christian. Atkins (1-1) struck out four, walked one, and never was in any serious trouble.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen’s face lit up when he heard the news. Mississippi State announced Tuesday it has set a school record in season-ticket sales, and finished the day at 38,469. That total includes 10,000 student tickets that will go on sale when classes begin on Aug. 17. Although Mullen is pleased about the new record, he won’t be satisfied until his goal of 40,000 season tickets sold has been met. He plans to keep promoting until it happens.
STARKVILLE — It’s too early to tell about Tyler Russell. That’s the impression most people had about the Mississippi State freshman quarterback after his first practice Tuesday with the full squad. The freshmen and varsity held separate workouts to open preseason drills Monday. Russell seemed to hold his own with the other quarterbacks in the near three-hour session that lasted into the night.
STARKVILLE — It was in with the old and the new Monday at Mississippi State as the football team opened preseason practice with two sessions. The freshmen and newcomers worked out for an hour and a half in the morning, while the varsity team members spent nearly three hours in the afternoon brushing up on what they learned in the spring.
STARKVILLE —Randy Haynes likes robust boxscores. The Starkville Academy fast-pitch softball coach would prefer to have his players swing away and pile up the doubles, triples, or home runs. Sometimes, though, you need to switch gears.
The NCAA notified Donald Jackson, the attorney for Mississippi State basketball signee Renardo Sidney, by an e-mail Monday morning that he wouldn’t be permitted to participate in interviews of third parties unless he signed a statement of confidentiality.
SAN FRANCISCO — Former Mississippi State pitcher Brandon Medders of the San Francisco Giants enjoys it when an opposing team has a player from his alma mater and he gets a chance to reminisce about old times. Medders was afforded such an opportunity this past week when the Giants played host to the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park.
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen appears to have left the door open for a quarterback controversy. Although senior Tyson Lee, of Columbus, appears to be the front-runner Monday entering the start of preseason football practice, there are indications Mullen isn’t completely satisfied with the position.
CALEDONIA — Andi Franklin and Michael Eade hope their work as soccer ambassadors helps the United States produce World Cup caliber talent. Franklin and Eade joined Matthew Foster and Rachel Smythe in Caledonia last week as coaches with the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp.
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