STARKVILLE -- When Starkville High assistant baseball coach Ronald Campbell had an opportunity to return to his alma mater as a coach, he did not have to think twice about the invite. Campbell, a baseball standout at the school from 1982 through 1984, is in his sixth season as an assistant coach on head coach Danny Carlisle's staff.
For Starkville High soccer player Kase Kingery, winning a state championship was simply a matter of time.
New Hope High School soccer player Sarah Hern did her best this season to help motivate her teammates.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School sophomore Noa Hardin takes great delight when her teammates look to her for leadership and guidance on the soccer field.
STARKVILLE -- Even though he admits he is a "Starkville transfer," Jamie Mitchell knows the tradition behind Starkville High School football.
CALEDONIA -- Physical maturation only partially explains Cara Hopper's improvement in the circle. In eighth grade, Hopper was a "tiny" 85 pounds, but she already had dreams of playing softball in college, so she knew she needed to work hard to get better. Now a junior, Hopper has benefited from working with a pitching coach and her father, Tony, and now has five pitches in her arsenal.
The Caledonia High School baseball team took revenge on East Webster on Monday afternoon with a 15-1 victory at Columbus High's Falcon Field.
REFORM, Ala. -- The Pickens County High School boys basketball team lost its best player to graduation. The Tornadoes also had to replace a coach who led them to back-to-back state titles. But change didn't scare Patrick Plott, De'Marko Hall, and the rest of the Pickens County High program. Expectations didn't faze the Tornadoes, either, so when thoughts turned to winning a third consecutive state championship in 2011-12, they accepted the challenge and didn't let anything stop them.
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- Corey Dawkins holds out her hand to illustrate just how tall she was when she started playing ball. It might have been T-Ball, and she might have only been a few feet tall, but the small beginnings created a big love.
New Hope High School senior outfielder Austin Oglesby never sweats his name being in the lineup. A mainstay in the outfield, Oglesby knows his defensive abilities could loom large in another potential victory.
Kayla Taylor didn't know what to expect from her senior season. After watching eight seniors come up short in their quest to win an Alabama Christian Education Athletic Association Division I state title in 2011, Taylor hoped the Victory Christian Academy girls basketball team could return to the championship glory of 2010, when the Lady Eagles won a championship some thought was a year ahead of schedule.
One person's TEAM is more than just another cliché when it comes to the Starkville Academy girls basketball team. If you have been around coaches long enough, you probably have heard plenty of phrases and sayings they have used in an attempt to bring their squads together.
Tyler Blevins needs a new nickname. After losing more than 20 pounds, a slimmed down Blevins no longer resembles the "Bubble" moniker that fans shouted out at him Saturday night. Blevins' effort in the eighth inning showed he might have a headstart on a new nickname of choice: Clutch.
CLINTON -- Nora Kathryn Carroll saved her best for last. In her first two games at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools overall state tournament, the Starkville Academy junior guard had nine points and six rebounds.
Dr. Stan Miller has just completed his second year as Starkville High School's athletic director. A Jersey City, N.J., native, Miller returned to Starkville in 2009 after serving a 14-year stint as the school's principal.
Tiffany Huddleston couldn't help but hold back a smile.
CLINTON -- As you wish. Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt hoped her team would get off to a fast start Friday afternoon against Jackson Prep for two reasons. Not only did Schmidt not want to twist and turn as the Lady Volunteers rallied in the second half from another double-digit deficit, but she also wanted to erase the memory of the last first quarter her team played against the Lady Patriots. Anna Lea Little and her teammates were only too happy to oblige.
CLINTON -- Anna Prestridge has been a part of a lot of fond memories as a member of the Starkville Academy girls basketball team. There are also some things she would like to forget. Leave it to coach Glenn Schmidt to remember one of those forgettable incidents and to bring it up one day before the team played in the semifinals of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools overall state tournament.
CALEDONIA -- Zia Saraiva doesn't think she is a loud mouth. It's just that when she gets on the soccer field she usually doesn't stop talking. In some sports, Saraiva's gift for gab could take away from her play and distract her team. But the Caledonia High School girls soccer team has gotten used to Saraiva's penchant for constant communication as a defender. In fact, her talkativeness helped anchor the Lady Confederates' defense the past three seasons.
Inexperience never was an excuse for Katie Proctor. When she first joined the Columbus High School girls soccer team as a freshman, Proctor didn't know any way else to play but to go all out. The score or the time remaining in the match didn't matter because Proctor realized even as a ninth-grader it was up to her to set a pace she hoped others were going to follow.