PEARL –– Starkville High School boys track coach Cleveland Hudson never lost faith in his team’s chances to defend its Class 5A state championship despite consecutive second-place finishes in the division, region and North State meets. That’s because Hudson had Tavaris Tate on his side. Tate accomplished something that had never been done before in Class 5A by winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, and then pulling the 4x400 relay team through to victory as Starkville scored 66 points to overcome second-place Meridian’s 60.
Christian Dale will get an opportunity this summer to watch some of Major League Baseball’s future stars. In the process, Dale also will get a chance to develop his skills so he might one day reach that level. Last month, the Lee Middle School eighth-grader attended an Under Armour Tryout Event at Zephyr Field in New Orleans. Dale did so well at the tryout that he earned an invitation to an Under Armour Baseball Factory Specialty Training Camp in Cape Cod, Mass.
Bob McCrory had reason to be both pleased and disappointed Tuesday as he made his season debut with the Baltimore Orioles. McCrory pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, but the team didn’t fare as well by suffering a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla. “The way I look at it, you have a job to do and that’s go out there and try to get outs,” McCrory said. “It’s disappointing we didn’t win, but I had a job to do to go out there and try to get outs. I’m happy I pitched well, but I was disappointed we didn’t win.”
Bob McCrory got an unexpected birthday present this weekend when he learned he will get another opportunity to pitch in the major leagues. The Baltimore Orioles recalled McCrory, 27, on Sunday, and he rejoined the team in Toronto on his birthday.
Even the most talented teams sometimes need a break. The Columbus Severstal Under-12 girls soccer team used two days of championship play and a little bit of good fortune this weekend to win a state title. Columbus defeated the Greenwood Revolution 2-0 in the semifinals and then beat a team from Hattiesburg 2-1 to take the Kohl’s Cup championship in Jackson. The U-12 age division featured 16 of the state’s top recreation soccer teams in an eight-on-eight tournament.
Mallory Byrd likes to move. To satisfy her daughter, Val Byrd signed Mallory up to participate in dance classes so she could learn ballet, tap, and jazz steps. She quickly discovered Mallory needed a certain kind of movement. “It wasn’t her thing,” Val Byrd said of the dance classes. It wasn’t difficult for the Byrds to find an alternative. Mallory’s love for watching Olympic gymnastics turned out to be the motivation to get involved in the high-speed, high-flying sport.
Jason Williams’ professional mixed martial arts career is off to a rousing start. The Columbus native knocked out Roy Davis 10 seconds into round one of their fight Thursday at the Gladiator Challenge at the Pauma Casino in Pauma Valley, Calif. Williams saw an opening for the knockout after Davis threw a left-handed punch. He said he was surprised Davis was going to try to stand with him and punch, and he countered with a left hand.
Throughout the year, the Special Olympics organizes events that motivate and provide hope to people with intellectual disabilities. The events give those athletes an opportunity to compete and to showcase their physical skills. Deanie Forbes, the director of Area 6 (Chickasaw, Monroe, Clay, Oktibbeha, Lowndes, and Webster counties) in Mississippi helps make all of these things possible. Forbes, who is a special education teacher, first got involved with the Special Olympics 20 years ago. She has been the Area 6 director for six years.
DeShuni Sanders is ready. Some would argue the New Hope High School senior could play for the East Mississippi Community College softball team today. New Hope High coach Tabitha Beard would have something to say about that, especially with the state fast-pitch playoffs expected to start Monday. Sanders took the final step toward beginning a career at EMCC on Friday when she signed a national letter of intent to join the school’s softball program.
STARKVILLE — Players don’t have problems transferring from one program to another. So while Colby Moore might have changed states moving from Pickens Academy (Ala.) to Starkville Academy, his baseball skills weren’t affected. It didn’t take long for the infielder/pitcher to make his impact on the Volunteers’ program.
SCOOBA — Junior Noel is looking for some immediate assistance to help him bring the East Mississippi Community College men’s soccer program out of the “doldrums.” The EMCC coach found two players Friday who will help him accomplish that goal. Caledonia High School’s Taylor Chisolm and Starkville High’s Eduardo Fumo signed national letter of intents to join a program that went 1-12-1 last season in Noel’s second year as coach.
Sometimes teams just want to play. Tom Velek and others involved in soccer in Columbus decided last year to do something about it. Their decision has grown into a full-fledged event this year. Velek and Columbus United Soccer will welcome more than 20 soccer teams and more than 200 players to town Friday and Saturday for the second annual Columbus Friends and Family Days at the Cook Fields.
At 8 a.m. April 4, the streets of Columbus will be filled with runners on a 6-mile course that will take them past the many faces of the city. To promote tourism in the city, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau decided to sponsor a race in the middle of Pilgrimage, the annual tour of the antebellum homes in Columbus. The race is used to promote tourism in Columbus. The event, which starts and ends at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, shows off the Mississippi University for Women, the city’s antebellum homes, and the river walk.
Seth Wood didn’t want to make the wrong choice. As much as he was interested in accepting a scholarship to play soccer at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Ark., Wood realized the school really didn’t have a field of study that suited him. Wood didn’t eliminate Williams Baptist, but he decided to finish his high school soccer season and what other offers came his way. When Wood received a call from East Mississippi Community College men’s soccer coach Junior Noel, he had a feeling he had found his destination.
For years, Jeff Smith worked for the parks and recreation department and helped children discover and realize opportunities in sports. Now a county supervisor, Smith hopes to do similar things, starting this weekend. Smith has helped organize the Mississippi Madness basketball tournament, a 16-team event for men and women 18 years and older, which will tip off a 6 p.m. Friday at West Lowndes Middle School.
Reed Long used to be like a lot of fans who sit in the stands at Columbus Speedway and Magnolia Motor Speedway. Long would sit and watch the races with friends and would think to himself, “I can do that. How difficult can it be to race a car?” That question is part of the reason Long, 31, of Columbus, finally left the stands and climbed into a race car.
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