STARKVILLE -- Four boys and three girls from Starkville High School have powerlifting gold on their minds. At Saturday's Mississippi High School Activities Association State meet at the Mississippi Coliseum, two senior Lady Yellow Jackets will look to repeat first-place North State finishes, while Marcus Tate will try to capture his second straight gold medal after winning the 275-pound boys class at North State.
Defending state champion Justin Verner dips his hands in a bucket of chalk to combat perspiration.
Anna Holley and Brandi Brantley break into big grins when asked to relate their favorite "moments" with New Hope High School softball coach Tabitha Beard.
STARKVILLE -- Mark Alexander is back in Starkville, and he has no plans to leave. The Mississippi State graduate and former sports reporter transitioned from working in journalism to coaching basketball five years ago and found instant success in Tennessee and at Manchester Academy in Yazoo City. On Wednesday, Starkville Academy announced Alexander as its new boys basketball coach effective at the end of the current school year.
STARKVILLE -- The bats are alive and well. Throughout much of the Starkville High School baseball team's season, its offensive numbers have dipped and its effectiveness with runners in scoring position hasn't been up to a game-winning standard.
Senior Anna Holley made sure the New Hope High School fast-pitch softball team survived a slow offensive start Tuesday night. Holley had two hits and drove in three runs as New Hope sealed a Class 5A, Region 3 title with an 8-1 victory against West Point at Lady Trojan Field.
Taylor Stafford leads the New Hope High School baseball team this season with a .397 batting average. New Hope coach Lee Boyd said Stafford's work in center field is equally impressive. The freshman (4-2, four saves) also has excelled on the mound and shown an ability to protect leads. Good job, Taylor. Now go get the balls.
This time, New Hope High School senior Zac Nagy meant to swing. One day after his bloop single drove in two runs against Saltillo, Nagy helped seal a 17-7 non-district win against Columbus High on Saturday afternoon with his first home run of the season.
CALEDONIA -- Brandon Fikes is far from intimidating on the mound. His stature more closely resembles a pinch runner than a starting pitcher for one of the state's perennial baseball powers. Then he throws his fastball -- far from the fastest, but it gets where it needs to be.
STARKVILLE -- It's a good sign when a team has its best performance of the season in the heart of division play. Columbus High School fast-pitch softball coach Rusty Greene left Starkville a happy man after watching the Lady Falcons beat Starkville High 7-0 on Thursday.
STARKVILLE -- With the No. 4 University of Florida baseball team coming to town for Super Bulldog Weekend, it helps to have some momentum. Mississippi State overcame a two-run deficit to defeat No. 14 Southern Miss 5-4 on Tuesday in Pearl. The victory helped ease the sting of a lost weekend at Georgia in which MSU was swept in a three-game Southeastern Conference series for the first time this season.
STARKVILLE -- Alvaro Pichardo's college recruitment officially ended Wednesday when the Starkville High striker signed a scholarship with the University of Mobile. The decision put to rest any chance he'd sign with any of the schools that had hoped to secure his services.
STARKVILLE -- Garrett Batson had no idea he'd have an opportunity to play college soccer. The 6-foot-3 Starkville High School right back had yet to have a season in which he'd "put it all together."
Bruce Allsup didn't see it coming. When it did, seven years at Heritage Academy ended in an instant.
The grandeur of the Mississippi State Bulldog High School Invitational didn't get to Korey Wilson. With more than 40 squads competing in MSU's first prep meet at the refurbished Maddox Track Facility, there were plenty of distractions Saturday, so it was easy for someone to get lost. Wilson discovered he fit right in.
STARKVILLE -- Area high school track teams got a good feel Saturday for how their respective state meets will go after competing in the Mississippi State Bulldog High School Invitational Seven area schools competed in the meet, which featured the top teams from all classifications in Mississippi and powerhouses from surrounding states.
STARKVILLE -- After a string of disappointing division losses, the Starkville High School baseball team earned a much-needed 10-4 win against Calhoun City on Saturday. Nathan Pugh went 3-for-3 with three RBIs to help Starkville (5-8) rally from a 4-3 deficit and snap a two-game losing streak. The Yellow Jackets entered Saturday's game having lost five of their last six.
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy Athletics Director Glenn Schmidt said finding quality candidates to fill the school's two head coach vacancies has been the easy part of the process. The school hasn't done much searching to replace boys basketball coach Chris Lyle and softball coach Jessica Dickens because many of its leading candidates have come to them.
It was a grand old night at the ballpark Thursday night. The Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy baseball team took turns driving grand slams into the rain in a doubleheader at Trip Carson Field.
Shawn Gates is proud of what he helped accomplish at Immanuel Christian. Now that Gates is looking to play a part in building something else, the timing is right for Greg Watkins to move into a new opportunity. Gates' resignation last week after two seasons as football coach at Immanuel Christian created an opening the school filled today when it named Watkins, the athletic director, football coach, and basketball coach at Hebron Christian, as its new football coach.
1. New Hope turns to Olsen to return soccer program to prominence HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS