May 11, 2014

The Path has run its course
Southern Sports & Travel
Sometimes we get too emotionally invested in certain areas of our lives and when we arrive at a point in which the investment stops showing the fruits of our labor we either invest more or redirect our energy in another direction.
My passion over the past six years has been covering MAIS athletics. While the financial investment over the first five years was at times hard to justify, the emotional investment was just too great to waste. The goal was clear from the beginning, to give recognition to the many that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
I’ve been blessed to cover some special athletic events and witness the work of some of the very best coaches in the region.
Covering Bill Hurst of Centreville and Dale Watts while at Brookhaven was always an event worth attending as those two masters of their craft did what they did best.
I was blessed to cover Coach Hurst’s 347th win this past September and was at the 2011 Class AA South State Tournament in Columbia when Dale Watts led his heavy underdogs to a stunning 29-25 upset win over top ranked Central Private in a go home game.
Interviewing an elated Marshall head football coach Keith Wicker following his team’s 21 point fourth quarter comeback win over Leake in the 2009 playoffs will always be etched in my mind and the watery eyes of a young Michael McAnally who had just guided his East Rankin girls team to the school’s first ever Overall Championship in 2010 is another of the many memories that stand out.
While the past six years have been filled with special memories and the pleasure of meeting and making so many friends there have also been times of frustration in not seeing my energy matched by the MAIS.
I recently made it clear my disappointment in the direction the MAIS has gone in the area of promoting the entire association and its athletes. There are so many great success stories each year that go ignored and it’s clear that a remedy is not being addressed.
A great opportunity to promote the association passed the MAIS by last season when Porter’s Chapel head coach E.J. Creel became the first woman to lead a varsity boys team to a state championship in the history of the state of Mississippi.
Had Southern Sports & Travel not published an article this past June featuring Silliman track coach Sharon Kline’s many accomplishments during her term heading up the Wildcat track and field teams would the MAIS have made an effort to get her amazing story out?
It was also discouraging to see that only last week did the MAIS put any photos of last season’s state and overall champions on their site. It went blank for nearly a year.
There is a huge break in the link between the Jackson area schools and the remaining schools throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.
My hope is that the new leadership at the MAIS will look for efficient methods to promote the entire association otherwise stagnation will continue to fester.
My time and energy has run its course. Despite this year being the highest in sponsorship ads it’s time to direct my energy towards something else.
My hope is that new, creative minds push through their ideas in elevating the image of MAIS athletics as there are so many avenues that technology affords us all.
Thank you to the many (and there were many) coaches, athletic directors, administrators, AAC Committee members, parents and athletes from all three classes who called, sent Facebook messages, texted and emailed since I announced the site would shut down. 
I also want to thank the many same individuals who provided important information that was newsworthy so that the thousands who frequently visited Southern Sports & Travel each week could stay informed about the MAIS despite being told it was not their business to know. Many asked that they remain anonymous and I honored their trust in me by doing just that.
Finally, a huge thank you to the many friends and sponsors who made the site possible. More schools than ever supported Southern Sports & Travel in 2013/14 but a special "shout out" to the handful of schools who supported the site each year since the beginning. You know who you are, thanks.
Southern Sports & Travel posted its final score on Saturday. Once again, many heartfelt thanks to the many who participated in helping to promote MAIS athletes.
God Bless,
Darron Thomas

Lady Cougars take tennis title
The Brookhaven Academy Lady Cougars won the AA girls tennis championship this past week.  Pictured L to R: Macy Lea and Lindsey Winborne - #2 doubles champs.  Madison Warren and Marlee Watts - #1 doubles champs.  Also pictured BA Tennis coach David Misner.
Waldrip inks with ICC
North Delta senior, Ethan Waldrip, has signed to play baseball at Itawamba Community College.
Pictured with Ethan is his mother and father, Elizabeth and Mike Waldrip (seated).  Standing from left to right is his brother, Bobby Waldrip, Coach Rick Collier (Head Coach of Itawamba CC), and Coach Duke McCrory (North Delta head baseball coach).
Smith signs with Wolves
Presbyterian senior pitcher Lee Smith signed a scholarship to play baseball with the Co-Lin Wolves this past Wednesday. Pictured are: (front row) Susan Smith, Lee Smith, and Phil Smith. (Back row) Joyce Smith and PCS Head Coach Kyle Maxie.

May 7, 2014

Two Delta Academy athletes sign
Delta Academy's Cody and Clay Harbour signed May 5th to play Baseball at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
From left to right: Cody Harbour, WBC Head Coach Frank Lee and Clay Harbour
Choate to play two sports at William Carey
Amite School Center senior Casen Choate has signed to play golf and basketball at William Carey University.
Shown above: Standing, Kellen Choate (Sister), Dell Choate (Mother), Eddie Miller (Coach), Ellen Jones (Guidance Counselor), Billy Jones (A.D.)
Tucker signs with MDCC
Canton Academy senior Kyle Tucker signed to play football next year with Mississippi Delta Community College. Pictured at the signing are Michelle Tucker, Kyle Tucker, and Randy Tucker. Standing - Coach Ron Jurney
Key inks with PRCC

Leake senior Mary Grace Key has signed to play softball at Pearl River Community College.
Her parents, David and Jenny Key are seated with her at the table.  Standing
behind her are Coaches Phil Shephard and Doug Jones.

May 1, 2014

Bobcat signs with Millsaps
Presbyterian senior Hayden Boutwell has signed a scholarship to play golf at Millsaps College.
Above:  John and Linda Griffith (mom & step-dad) are on his left and Wesley Boutwell (dad).  
Nathan Dancy (PCS golf coach) is behind him.  And his trainer is in the back on the right.
Three Newton Academy students sign
Natalie Lyles - Newton County Academy- Cheerleader
East Central Community College
Zach Skelton- Newton County Academy- Baseball
East Central Community College
John Samuel Dailey- Newton County Academy- Baseball
Loyola University- New Orleans

April 27, 2014


The MAIS narrowly approved the following re-alignment format for 2015:
Top 14 Schools - Class AAAA 
Next 24 Schools - Class AAA 
Next 32 Schools - Class AA 
Remainder - Class A
The following revision to the ACC handbook was unanimously approved: "No school may have more than one (1) foreign exchange student participate in any given sport."
The MAIS has voted to allow CM&I to play an independent athletic schedule on a probationary status for the upcoming school year.
The MAIS will have a trial Spring fast-pitch softball season in which schools will be allowed to play games on 10 playing dates. The season will run from March 1, 2015 to May 1, 2015. Seniors will not be allowed to play.
Canton duo takes mixed crown
Canton Academy mixed doubles partners, Dominic Sanderson and Betsy Pace, won the District 2AA Mixed Doubles championship.

April 17, 2014

Sanderson inks with Millsaps
Canton Academy senior Dominic Sanderson has signed with Millsaps College to play football. Canton Academy head football coach Ron Jurney had this to say, " We are so proud that Dominic will be attending Millsaps College and serving as a member of the football program as a kicker. He was an outstanding leader and kicker for us as I am sure he will be for the Majors."
Pictured at the signing are: 
Seated L to R: Ana Sanderson, Dominic Sanderson, Nanette Sanderson
Standing L to R: Ron Jurney and Kevin Sanderson