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Last week was a huge week for Tupelo golfer Michaela Bryan. Not many people win their school’s first Mississippi High School Sports Association girls’ golf state championship and make a college decision a few days later. When it was all said and done, Wallace State Community College was the perfect fit for the senior.
On Friday, Michaela Bryan made it official with Wallace State CC women’s golf.
During her high school campaign, Bryan racked up a plethora of accomplishments. As a freshman, she placed 3rd individually overall; as a sophomore and junior, her team placed 3rd in Class III; and as a senior, she was 2nd Team All-State, 2nd individual in Regionals, 3rd individual in Class III, and helped her program capture their first Class III state title.
Wallace State is located in Hanceville, Alabama, and participates in Division I of the Alabama Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Tupelo High School continued its long-standing collegiate athletic tradition on Wednesday. Lady Wave soccer’s Lexi Pund and Golden Wave boys’ bowling’s Josh Turberville became the 14th and 15th senior student-athletes to continue their sports career on the college level.
Lexi Pund signed with the University of West Alabama women’s soccer program. The 5’6 center-forward/center-defender finished her senior year with a team-leading 22 goals. She was also chosen Defensive MVP, Offensive MVP, and Daily Journal All-Area Girls 1st Team in 2017 and 2nd Team in 2016. The West Alabama Lady Tigers, located in Livingston, finished last season 11-7-1 overall and 8-3-1 in the Division II Gulf South Conference.
Josh Turberville chose to bowl with the Martin Methodist men’s team. Turberville, a 3-time Mississippi High School Athletic Association Class II champion, is a 5-year letterman for THS and was named to the Clarion-Ledger All-State team three-straight seasons. In 2015, Turberville recorded the only perfect 300 score in MHSAA (boy or girl) history in the Class II Regionals at Depot Lanes in Philadeplia, Mississippi. The Division I Martin Methodist RedHawks compete in the Southern States Athletic Conference in Pulaski, Tennessee.
Tate Clayton and Jaylon Copeland made it official with their college of choice Friday morning. Clayton will be a preferred walk-on under Ben Howland at Mississippi State University in Starkville while Copeland will follow teammate Kylan Hamilton to Meridian Community College.
During his senior season, Clayton notched 7.2 PPG, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 43% from the three point line. Copeland saw action in every game as a junior and senior, and averaged almost ten PPG and five rebounds as a senior. He also made the Daily Journal All-Area 3rd Team in 2017.
As starters, both helped head coach Jeff Norwood and the Golden Wave basketball reach back-to-back trips to Jackson for the first time since the late 1990s.
Stephen Matthews and Ray Sandroni have been playing baseball since they could pick up a bat and ball. For the first time in 13 years this fall, they will be playing on different teams.
On Thursday, both signed with baseball programs on the college level. Matthews inked with Jones County Junior College while Sandroni decided to be a preferred walk-on at Itawamba Community College.
Matthews, a 5’9 175 lb shortstop, is currently batting .296 for the Tupelo Golden Wave. He has 14 RBIs, 16 hits, and one homerun in 19 games this season. Sandroni, a 5’8 180 lb catcher, is hitting .324 with 15 RBIs, 23 hits, and one homer. Both starters have helped Tupelo to a fifth-straight Division 2-6A title and the 24th crown in 27 years.
Both JCJC (Southern Division) and ICC (Northern Division) compete in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College conference.
The small city of Blue Mountain will know the name “Nick Ratliff” very, very soon.
The two-sport Tupelo Golden Wave athlete made it official with Blue Mountain College men’s basketball Wednesday morning.
Ratliff, a 6’2″ 180 lb forward, finished the 2016-2017 season averaging nine points, seven rebounds, and 2.4 assists a game. As a junior, he averaged a similar 5.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. He and the Golden Wave made back-to-back trips to Jackson in 2016 (6A semifinals) and 2017 (6A quarterfinals). Tupelo (26-5) went undefeated in Division 2-6A during the regular season and was crowned tournament champions in February. Ratliff also plays baseball for head coach Justin Reed.
Blue Mountain Toppers, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member, is in the Southern State Athletic Conference. Last season, they finished 13-14 overall and 9-11 in the SSAC.
Kylan Hamilton saw valuable minutes for Golden Wave basketball as a junior last season. Some of those best minutes were in the MHSAA 6A Quarterfinals and Semifinals at Memorial Coliseum in Jackson. It was those crucial 30+ minutes of playoff basketball when he decided he wanted to play on the next level.
On Wednesday, Hamilton, a 6’3″ 185 lb. shooting guard, made it official with Meridian Community College men’s basketball.
During his junior season, Hamilton played in all 33 games, had double-digit points in seven contests, and averaged 5.2 PPG and 1.8 RPG. This year, he’s almost tripled his PPG, APG, RPG, and SPG averages, and has guided this year’s Golden Wave team to a Division 2-6A championship. For the second-straight season, Tupelo (26-4) will face Meridian (27-2) in Satuday’s 6A Quarterfinals at Jackson State University at noon.
On Friday, two Tupelo High School student-athletes decided to make it official by continuing their education and taking their athletic talents at Itawamba Community College next Fall.
Merrie Kate Grayson and LaBryant Siddell signed on the dotted line with ICC women’s soccer and men’s baseball.
Grayson, a back-up goalkeeper for Coach Hannah Kimbrough at THS, received the Golden Wave Spirit Award for 2016-2017. She also helped guide Lady Wave soccer to a 12-2-1 overall record during her senior campaign.
Siddell, a right-handed outfielder for Tupelo baseball, finished his junior season with fantastic numbers. In 108 plate-appearances, Siddell had 33 hits, one home run, 24 RBIs, and a batting average of .384. As a left-fielder, he had only one error and a staggering fielding percentage of .933. Tupelo baseball finished 2016 with a record of 20-11 and a division title under Coach Justin Reed. Siddell also saw extensive action at running back on the football gridiron under Coach Trent Hammond his junior and senior seasons.
Head coach Trent Hammond continued tradition as Golden Wave Football sends four athletes on to the next level.
Tuesday morning the four seniors made it official on National Signing Day at THS. RB/WR Donte Freeman (Itawamba Community College), DB Chris Shannon (Northwest Community College), WR Austin Watkins (Itawamba Community College), and LB Greg Williams (Northwest Community College) signed papers to their respective colleges
Donte Freeman, a 5’6″, 160 lb. running back/wide receiver, finished 2016 with 44 carries, 217 rushing yards, and five rushing TDs. He also had 33 receptions, 369 receiving yards, and four TDs.
Chris Shannon, a 6’1″, 180 lb. defensive back, capped his senior season with 24 solo tackles, assisted on eight, pass-defended ten balls, grabbed three interceptions, and blocked two FGs. In 2015, he saw action at wide receiver, and had 14 catches for 297 yards and three TDs. He also rushed 25 times for 210 yards his junior year. Shannon runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.
Austin Watkins, a 5’9″, 164 lb. wide receiver, had 17 carries, 95 rushing yards, and two TDs in 2016. Watkins also caught 31 balls, totaled 419 receiving yards, and had three TDs.
Greg Williams, a 6’1″, 190 lb. linebacker, racked up 53 solo tackles, 79 total tackles, five tackles for loss, picked up one interception, broke up five passes, recovered one fumble, and forced one fumble on the defensive line during his senior campaign.
With today’s signings, Hammond has had 25 football players sign to play on the next level since arriving at THS in 2013.
Tupelo guard Alayjah Sherer has had a pretty good week. She was named to the 2016-2017 Clarion-Ledger Girls Dandy Dozen last Friday, notched a game-high 37 points in a home win over 6A rival DeSoto Central Tuesday night, and officially signed with a D-I basketball program this morning.
The 5′ 10″, 174 lb. guard inked with East Tennessee State women’s basketball Wednesday. As a junior, she saw action in all 30 games for the Lady Wave and averaged 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.8 steals a game
“Alayjah has the ability to take over games,” says Tupelo head coach Matt Justice. “She’s one of the toughest players to guard because of her size, and I still believe we have yet to see her best work.”
East Tennessee State University Buccaneers compete in the Southern Conference and finished the 2015-2016 with 16 wins and 14 losses. ETSU is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and is the fourth largest college in the state.