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
Ashley Newman had no chance of catching Robert Moore Jr. in the Limited Late Model feature of the Possum Town Grand Prix Saturday at Columbus Motor Speedway. Moore Jr., who was in his second race at Columbus, had the fastest car of the night, quickly passing pole-sitter Wesley Greene and opening a lead on Newman in the only significant green-flag run of the race.
Kyle Shaw has one win to his ledger this season: a points championship. Shaw edged friend Jeremy Shaw by 16 points to win the NeSmith Late Model track points title at Magnolia Motor Speedway, but Kyle Shaw didn't run regularly at Columbus Motor Speedway and finished 12th in points. He drove his No. 2S car and two other rides for other car owners at Columbus.
The season finale at Magnolia Motor Speedway happened much like the season opener. It didn't. Rain, as has been the theme for much of the 2015 race season, washed out what was supposed to be a big-money cap to the Magnolia schedule: the $50,000-purse, Carl Hogan USCS Fall Brawl.
DJ Sanders didn't have an ordinary summer.
Super Late Model drivers are in the middle of "Money Month." Three of the biggest money races in the state are this month. This weekend, the Magnolia State Cotton Pickin' 100 at Magnolia Motor Speedway is sandwiched in between last week's Gumbo Nationals at Greenville and next week's Fall Classic at Whynot Motorsports Park.
Five weeks ago, Calvin Cook parted ways with his car owner. On Saturday, the Pensacola, Florida, native pocketed $5,000 in his first win since partnering with Mike Williamson to form 151 Racing. Cook started fifth in the Fall 40 Street Stock race at Magnolia Motor Speedway and passed Jay Burchfield on lap 22 to clinch the highest purse for a Street Stock race in the Golden Triangle this season.
Before Lee Ray's first Street Stock race at Jackson this year, he faced a dilemma: He didn't know how to set up his car for the track. He was new to running the track as part of the Mississippi Street Stock Series, a series in which he'd never competed. Ray usually stuck close to the Golden Triangle, racing at Magnolia Motor Speedway and Columbus Speedway, so he leaned on the advice of Tony Bright, a close friend and fellow Street Stock driver, who advised him on what gears to run at the track. The two have relied on each other in one way or another this season, as both have competed on the 10-race state series and in the Golden Triangle. Bright is second in points, while Ray is third.
After each night Jason Williams spent watching dirt track racing at area tracks, he'd wake up the next day and search for cars on the Internet. Even if he found one he liked, he couldn't but it. Money wasn't an issue -- he'd raced previously, for roughly three years in open-wheeled modifieds in the early 2000s. He had to give up racing when his daughter, Hope, began to play travel softball and race horses in barrel racing. Saturdays were just too hectic.
Three weeks away from the race car didn't affect Evan Ellis. Nearly a month after winning Crate/NeSmith Late Model race during fan appreciation weekend at Magnolia Motor Speedway, Ellis returned to the track last weekend and won two $2,000-to-win NeSmith Late Model races, including a dominant performance Sunday, in which he turned a third-place start into a substantial lead (an average of six seconds or more) and an eventual win.
If you asked Nick Thrash how his season had been going Saturday prior to the NeSmith Late Model race at Magnolia Motor Speedway, he would have said, "Horribly." Coming off a 15th-place finish last week, the 20-year-old Meridian native entered the $2,000-to-win race with one top-five finish this season.
CARBON HILL, Ala. -- Jennifer Byrd could taste victory when she rounded turn four at Magnolia Motor Speedway on July 10. After three laps of battling back and forth with her husband, Jason Byrd, in the Factory Stock feature race, she thought she had enough of a run off the final turn to earn her first head-to-head win against him. But Jason, who'd been racing the high-line of the track, edged her at the line by 0.16 seconds.
1. New Hope baseball advances with second 1-0 win over Lewisburg HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Amory completes doubleheader sweep to oust Caledonia HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Starkville baseball drops series opener to Tupelo HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. Bulldogs take road baseball series from Crimson Tide COLLEGE SPORTS