Danny Christian hasn't raced for a points title in more than 10 years. He didn't plan to this year, either, but a commitment to run a Street Stock slate at Magnolia Motor Speedway quickly turned into a "can't miss" schedule when he found himself in the points lead earlier this season.
It's clear who the top drivers are if you look at the NeSmith Late Model standings at Magnolia Motor Speedway in each of the last four years. Evan Ellis, Jeremy Shaw, Shay Knight, and Kyle Shaw have traded the top four positions this season -- much like the last few -- and at the halfway point of the slate at Magnolia, the fight for the points championship this year has narrowed to Knight and Kyle Shaw.
It looked like a two-man show for the $2,500 purse for the first half of the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Super Late Model race Saturday night. Series points leader Bub McCool, winner of five series races this year, was trading paint for first place with Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, who set the track record during qualifying with a 13.02-second lap. Chad Thrash, who entered the night trailing only McCool in points, was still searching for his first series win of the season. He held down third place for the first 25 laps, waiting for an opening against McCool and Hollingsworth.
STARKVILLE -- Nick Griffin has experienced almost everything a player can on a football field. The running back played four seasons in the Southeastern Conference, arguably the nation's best college football league. This past season, Griffin helped Mississippi State rise to No. 1 for five weeks and earn an invitation to the Orange Bowl last December. Last week, Griffin did something not many football players can say they did: He helped the United States win a gold medal at the International Federation of American Football World Championship in Canton, Ohio.
Jimmy Anderson Jr. might be the most consistent race car driver in the Golden Triangle this season. He leads the 602 Late Model points race at Columbus Speedway. He has finished fourth or better in four of the seven races at the track this season. He has done it without a feature win or a runner-up finish.
Bub McCool was patient Saturday night. For nearly 50 laps, the Vicksburg native was mired in a slugfest for second place in the Southern All-Stars Super Late Model Race at the 12-annual Governor's Cup at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
WEST POINT - There's no doubt that Taylor Funk knows what it takes to win on the golf course.
When the Southern All-Stars Racing Series began in 1983, founder and Birmingham, Ala. race promotor BJ Parker wanted to give regional racers a chance to travel and race for larger prize money.
Some of the nation's brightest young golfers have converged on the Golden Triangle area for this week.
Columbus was one strike away from collecting its third win in as many days.
Evan Ellis had a lighter, less powerful motor in a division in which he'd never competed.
STARKVILLE -- Growing up, Nick Griffin only dreamed of playing in the National Football League. But Griffin is putting that dream on hold. Earlier this year, the former Mississippi State football player was hired by new Madison Central High School football coach Brad Peterson to coach the running backs. Peterson wanted a coach who fit his personality and the personality of his staff. That's what he found when he interviewed Griffin, who had 3.0 grade-point average and was a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Fall Honor Roll.
It's easy to detect the passion in Taylor Chisolm's voice. A few years ago, soccer would have been the topic of conversation. After all, Chisolm set a school record for goals in a season as a senior at Caledonia High School in 2009. His exploits helped lead the Confederates to a school-best 14-5 record and the Class 4A North Half title game. Since then, though, Chisolm has found a new hobby, or passion, to occupy some of his spare time. Don't think for one second that just because you might not have heard of the sport -- disc golf -- Chisolm isn't as passionate about it as he was about soccer. In fact, if you know Chisolm, he might be even more consumed with disc golf than he ever was about soccer.
Jeremy Shaw didn't sound like a driver willing to chalk up a 15th-place finish to bad luck. Midway through a Limited Late Model race at Columbus Speedway on June 6, Shaw's No. 1s car slowed after its battery died. After the race, Shaw, who'd won a race at Columbus earlier this season and finished second twice at Magnolia Motor Speedway, knew he had more unnerving issues.
Robert Woodard II has seen a lot of sights and learned plenty of valuable lessons in the past month. Between traveling to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, to represent the United States in the FIBA Americas Championship, many of those lessons involved basketball. Each time, the Columbus High School rising sophomore passed his test and played an integral role in helping the USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team win its fourth championship in the biennial tournament that was launched in 2009. Team USA's 77-60 victory against Canada on Sunday night presented Woodard II and his teammates with a new challenge: Getting their gold medals through airport security.
BAHIA BLANCA, Argentina -- Fighting back from a 20-point second quarter deficit, the USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team defeated Canada 77-60 to earn the FIBA Americas Championship gold medal on Sunday night. The gold medal marked the fourth gold in as many editions of the U16 tournament. The USA is 20-0 in U16 play since the biennial tournament launched in 2009. Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley High School/Apple Valley, Minnesota) scored all 19 points of his points in the second half and earned tournament MVP honors. Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep School/Houston, Texas) added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Georgia) had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tre Jones (Apple Valley High /Apple Valley, Minnesota) had five steals and finished the tournament with a USA U16 competition record 19 steals, breaking Malik Newman's record of 14 set in 2013. Columbus High rising sophomore Robert Woodard II had two points and one rebound in four minutes in the title game. He averaged 5.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game in the five-game tournament. He was 10-for-22 from the field (45.5 percent).
The re-starts were the only openings for the field to pass Jonathan Davenport at The Clash at The MAG. And even those opportunities were narrow. After each re-start Saturday night, Davenport, who passed Scott Bloomquist for the lead on lap 16, would open a three-second gap on the field within the first few laps. Davenport, who entered the race on a six-race winning streak, easily navigated each re-start to win the 100-lap, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Don Rowe always knew Leatrice "Lee" Holliday had the "gift for gab." Whether it was in a 30-second timeout during a basketball game or in a break in the football or baseball action at Aberdeen High School, Rowe witnessed Holliday's ability to take control of a situation with his knack for selling himself.
One look at the No. 77 Limited Late Model car driven by Chad McCool and it's clear he's a part of a budget race team. The car doesn't have fancy graphics on its bright yellow body -- just hand-painted numbers and a graphic of a $100 bill on the hood. It didn't matter Saturday night at Columbus Speedway, where McCool held off perennial Limited Late Model contenders like Chase Washington, Jeremy Shaw, and Johnny Stokes to win the $2,000, 40-lap feature race.
Tim Crawley had raced the Mike Ward-owned No. 88 sprint car just three times this season heading into "Fast Friday," presented by Carol Hogan Toyota at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
1. Lessons learned helped Coggin earn promotion COLLEGE SPORTS