Seconds after Spencer Hughes exited his No. 11 car following his Street Stocks feature win Saturday, he was greeted by the first of many admirers in the pits. Hughes, 15, probably should still be driving go-karts. That is what most of his counterparts were doing when they were his age, which might explain the adulation expressed toward Hughes at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Columbus Christian Academy classmates Chris Webber and Glenn Misiak made sure they knew what they were getting into Saturday. Prior to the Columbus Pilgrimage 5-K race, the two surveyed the downtown course Friday on wheels to see what they would need to do to finish it first.
Meggan Franks ran the 13 miles in the Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon on Saturday morning. She then had to run some more. Franks finished ninth overall in the third-annual Columbus Pilgrimage Half Marathon and 5-Kilometer Road Race, and was the first area female to cross the finish line. Franks made the hilly downtown trek in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 45 seconds. She then ran back down hill to her vehicle to lead some 1,000 Mississippi State students in The Big Event service day.
There's a good chance a blue Chevrolet Malibu wagon will finish in the top three if it is competing in a Street Stock race. At driver Jay Burchfield's current pace, his odds of landing in victory lane are even better.
Running is still fun for Meggan Franks. From 5-Kilometer races to half marathons to marathons, Franks enjoys the high she gets from pushing herself and competing. Even after completing a career as a cross country runner and a track and field athlete at Mississippi State in 2006, Franks has found a way to keep running as an integral part of her life. It doesn't matter that work, teaching, family life, and motherhood sometimes make finding time to run challenging because Franks' competitive fire still drives her to find time to run.
Each time Ronald Dunn climbs into his No. 17 Street Stock car, he slides his racing boot into a flip-flop that's strapped to the brake pedal.
David Breazeale hadn't had his race car for more than a week when he took the track Saturday night at Magnolia Motor Speedway. But if qualifying was any indication of how he'd fare in the season's first race, the veteran Super Late Model driver knew he wouldn't be tested by the end of the night.
Everything that could have gone wrong for Shay Knight in the first race of his full-time return to Super Late Model competition did, but the payoff was sweet. A spark-plug wire came loose during qualifying and the front bumper was digging into the dirt for Knight, who started seventh on Feb. 27 at Magnolia Motor Speedway. Knight and his team changed springs before the start of the feature. "New car bugs," Knight said.
STARKVILLE -- Jae McIntosh has always been intrigued by martial arts.
It didn't take long for the tears to start flowing. Racers, their families, and supporters of Columbus Speedway nearly made it through the opening prayer Saturday for the banquet to celebrate the track's 2015 season before the man delivering the blessing had to pause and fight back tears. Then, Joe Ables, who managed the track the last two seasons, became emotional when he delivered the opening address. The blend of somber tones and celebration create
Danny Crawford had high expectations when he took over both West Lowndes High School programs last August.
INDIANAPOLIS -- A school-record six members of the 2015 Mississippi State football team are in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. All six played pivotal roles in the most successful two-year stretch in MSU history. The invites include: linebacker Beniquez Brown, cornerback Taveze Calhoun, defensive tackle Chris Jones, quarterback Dak Prescott, cornerback Will Redmond and wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson.
When heavy rains battered the Golden Triangle this week, race fans likely were left shaking their heads. After all, rain and wet weather last season forced more than a dozen races to be canceled or postponed. Magnolia Motor Speedway's announcement Wednesday that tonight's races in the eighth-annual Frostbuster 250 presented by Carl Hogan Toyota started the 2016 campaign much like 2015 began.
STARKVILLE -- Hunter Renfroe has one goal this spring. The former Mississippi State Bulldog will attend spring training with the San Diego Padres, the team that drafted him 13th overall in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft.
Drivers will be "hopping holes" or driving faster than ever this season at Magnolia Motor Speedway. Track manager Johnny Stokes announced Saturday he resurfaced the track in the offseason, a decision that had been in the works for more than two years. "We never could get the weather to cooperate," Stokes said. "The Rickman clan (Brian and Rick Rickman, who also race at the track) have dumped more than 300 loads of dirt at the track."
Kyle Shaw was in a rut. A string of up-and-down performances had wrecked his confidence in NeSmith Late Model points races at Magnolia Motor Speedway. But on a Friday night during the Southern All-Star race early in 2015, Shaw found himself leading the race. His friend, Shay Knight, was running second before both were passed by Jason Cliburn on the final lap. Victory escaped Shaw that night, but he'd recaptured his mojo. He'd race at a high level for the rest of the 2015 season. Shaw was awarded the 2015 Magnolia Motor Speedway NeSmith Late Model points championship trophy and $1,150 in prize money Saturday during the track's annual championship banquet at the Trotter Convention Center.
NEW YORK -- American Pharoah's sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes for horse racing's first Triple Crown since 1978 was selected the sports story of the year Thursday in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press.
Serena Williams had done all the heavy lifting, or so it seemed.
New Hope High School senior baseball player Will Godfrey doesn't need a lot of time to recall the biggest hit of his baseball career. "The home run against Oxford will always be the highlight of my baseball career," Godfrey said. "To have that hit against one of our main rivals -- to do that at home and have it win the game -- that is exciting."
The Dispatch's Top 10 Sports Events of 2015
1. Columbus Speedway reopens Nov. 12 LOCAL SPORTS
2. West Alabama Roundup: Aliceville wins eighth straight HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Mississippi Roundup: West Point, West Lowndes post critical region wins HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Noxubee County beats Caledonia to extend region win streak HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. New Hope gets lift with home win over Lewisburg HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS