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North Sports Report – Communities come together for sports

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Can you Dig It? Yes, I Can
The North Sports Report attended the Middle School Volleyball Play Day at Overton last weekend and was blown away by the quality of play. The pre-season jamboree-type event is sponsored by the Bellevue Women’s Club and allows teams to work out the jitters before the season opener. From what the North Sports Report saw, the MNPS coaches have these teams in mid-season form already. It’s going to be a great season.

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Alumni Watch
The North Sports Report will be checking box scores and highlights for top performances from MNPS alumni. Just a few to watch include:

  • Overton’s Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox who is hitting .274 with 13 home runs this season;
  • Maplewood/Tennessee Tech’s Ladarius Vanlier has been named preseason All-American;
  • Hillsboro’s Joseph Occhipinti started his junior season for Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt last night;
  • Hillboro’s Kyle Phillips and Overton’s Justin Martin will see plenty of playing time in Tennessee’s opener at Nissan Stadium Saturday;
  • and one of Oregon’s football coaches called Overton’s Ugo Amadi a “blessing from God” and “one of the best mentally, as a freshmen, I’ve ever been around.”
  • …and many more.

Come Together for the Game
Friday night at Stratford High School features a huge community tailgate party, and everyone is there. The North Sports Report saw several Stratford alumni enjoying the game, including MNPS Sports Hall of Famers and former NFL players Joe Campbell and Cory Fleming. Nothing compares to the sense of community that surrounds Buster Boguskie Field each home game.

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Football Friday September 4
The Backyard Burger Bowl is back as the Maplewood Panthers will play Springfield at Vanderbilt Stadium in the 2nd Annual event hosted by the Backyard Burger restaurant chain. The football will be exciting and the concession stand will serve fresh Backyard Burgers. Yes sir, I will be there.

In other games:

  • Stratford Spartans host East Nashville Eagles for eastside bragging rights;
  • Hillsboro Burros welcome Station Camp;
  • Hunters Lane Warriors play at home against Gallatin;
  • McGavock Raiders host Lebanon;
  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds welcome Macon County;
  • Antioch Bears travel to Wilson Central;
  • Cane Ridge Ravens look to stay unbeaten as the visit Hendersonville;
  • Glencliff Colts head to Sumner County to face Beech;
  • Hillwood Hilltoppers visit Kenwood;
  • Overton Bobcats travel to Franklin; and
  • Whites Creek has the night off.

The MNPS home games are at Stratford; at Hillsboro; at Hunters Lane; at McGavock; at Pearl-Cohn; and Maplewood plays at Vanderbilt. Go to a game!

MNPS: The First Choice for Cohesive Communities

North Sports Report – State champions all over the place

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

A Victory Lap… or Four

With only two events remaining and a 42 point lead, the Pearl-Cohn Boys track team gathered behind the stands with Principal Sonia Stewart, Assistant Principal Brian Mells, several teachers, coaches and supporters. The penultimate event, the 3200m run, included no Firebird, so the only thing between the Firebirds and the state championship was the 4 x 400m Relay, basically a victory lap for the team state champion… well, more like four victory laps – four very fast victory laps.

To pass the time during the 3200m races, Mr. Mells began introducing the North Sports Report to members of the team: Darryl Harris, Jr. is the Valedictorian of the Class of 2015; Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Cameron Watkins donned their Fighting Illini hats; and Rontavius Groves will be one of the state’s top football players this fall. A member of Pearl-Cohn’s track team told me a few weeks ago that the Regional Meet is the time to set personal records, but the State Meet is all about the team. Visiting with these young gentlemen on the verge of a state championship, I understood. They were all about the team.

We took our place in the stands for the final race. It had been a year since the team had fallen a point and a half short of a state championship, and for a full year, everything pointed to this race. The Relay team did not disappoint, pulling away for the icing on the state championship cake and 96 total points, 44 more than second place.

It was thrilling!

That Championship Feeling

Earlier this month, the North Sports Report made its bold Spring Fling prediction for Metro schools – one team championship and six individual or relay championships. Did you snicker when you read that, knowing how much I underestimated the MNPS springability and flingability?

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Actual results:

Team
One team champion; one team runner-up; and six top-ten teams.

Relays
Four state champions; three runners-up; and one third place.

Individuals
Nine state championships (that’s right, nine individual state championships); nine runners-up; and four third place finishers.

Teams
Pearl-Cohn’s Boys Track team was phenomenal in winning the state title. Stratford’s Boys Track team finished 7th and Maplewood’s Boys Track team finished 8th.

East Nashville’s Girls Track team finished 2nd in the state, while Hume-Fogg and MLK’s Girls teams tied for 9th.

Relays
East Nashville’s Girls won the 4 x 400m Relay, and Hume-Fogg’s Girls finished 2nd in the 4 x 200m and the 4 x 400m relays. Pearl-Cohn’s Boys swept the sprint relays, winning state championships in the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m, and 4 x400m relays. Stratford’s Boys finished 2nd in the 4 x 400m relay.

Individuals
Hillsboro’s Janel Pate won the 100m and 400m and finished 2nd in the Long Jump. Cane Ridge’s Maya Perry-Grimes won the state championship in the Triple Jump. East Nashville’s Grenetria Shell won the 100m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles and Pentathlon. McGavock’s Mikayla Thompson finished 2nd in the Discus. Hume-Fogg’s Stephanie Brown and MLK’s Denia Hill-Tate tied for 2nd in the High Jump. Stratford’s Jermesia Haynes finished 3rd in the 100m and 200m.

Pearl-Cohn’s Darryl Harris Jr. won state championships in the 400m and Long Jump and finished 2nd in the Decathlon. Pearl-Cohn’s Rontavius Groves won the 200m Dash. Pearl-Cohn’s Cameron Watkins finished 2nd in the 100m and Long Jump. Maplewood’s Ross Bagley finished 2nd in the 110m Hurdles. Maplewood’s T.J. Turner finished 2nd in the Triple Jump. Stratford’s Corey Simmons finished 3rd in the 100m and 200m.

Great performances!

A Bobcat among the Titans

Overton alumnus Dezmond Johnson earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters Degree in Christian Ministries from Duke University. He was named Academic All ACC three times during his college career. Now, he is a member of the Tennessee Titans. Visit Overton’s online student newspaper to read an interview with the new Titan. Congratulations, and go Titans!

MNPS: The First Choice for Champions of Education

Meet the 2015 inductees into the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Hall of Fame – Honoring the Greats

Awestruck: that’s the best way to describe the North Sports Report as the superstars of the past entered the West Club at LP Field to celebrate five new inductees to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame. This luncheon is like Disneyland for the North Sports Report! “There’s the great…” or “Look, there’s the legendary…”, or “Here comes the incomparable…” each time another hall of famer arrived.

Those in attendance included the incomparable Barbara Frazier (Pearl High, Class of 1981), Larry Schmittou (Cohn High, Class of 1958), and Bob Dudley Smith (West High, Class of 1948); the legendary Coach Charlie Anderson (Cohn High, Class of 1952); Walter Overton (Pearl High, Class of 1970), and Joe Casey (North High, Class of 1946); and the great Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch High, Class of 1978), Porter Williams (Pearl High, Class of 1969), and Jinx Cockerham (Hillsboro High, Class of 1966).

MNPS Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Inductees

MNPS Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Inductees

This year’s class adds five extraordinary athletes to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame:

    • Coach Joe Allen led Donelson High and McGavock High to basketball state championships; his teams won more than 500 games; he coached nine All-State players, including NBA champion Charles Davis; and he was named Coach of the Year in 1964, 1972, and 1974. The McGavock High School gym floor is named in his honor.
    • Preston Brown (Maplewood, Class of 1976) is considered by many to be the best running back in Nashville prep football history. When his high school career ended, he held the single season and career rushing records, was named All-State and All-America in football and was named the NIL Athlete of the Year. In track, he led Maplewood to the state championship, winning the 100 yard dash and 220 yard dash and anchoring the state champion 440 yard relay team. He went on to star at Vanderbilt (led the SEC in receiving) and still holds the school record for longest kickoff return. He was drafted by the New England Patriots and played four seasons in the NFL.
    • John Henderson (Pearl-Cohn, Class of 1997) is included in any discussion of the greatest football players in Nashville history. He played defensive tackle and tight end on two state championship teams. A consensus All-America in high school, Henderson was ranked the top player in the state and 7th best player in the country. He played at the University of Tennessee and again was a consensus All-America, played on the National Championship team, and won the Outland Trophy for being the best lineman in college football. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1st round and played 11 seasons in the NFL including two Pro Bowl appearances.
    • Mike Jackson (Stratford, Class of 1973) was All-State, Metro Player of the Year, honorable mention All-America, and MVP of the Tennessee All-Star game during his stellar high school basketball career. At the University of Tennessee, Jackson started and served as captain on one of the most storied basketball teams in SEC history, teaming with Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld on Coach Ray Mears’ “Ernie and Bernie” teams of the 1970’s. His sweet, smooth jump shot and 14.3 per game scoring average convinced the NBA’s Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clipper) to draft him, and he later played professionally in Europe.
    • Frank Pillow, Jr. (Whites Creek, Class of 1983) was a two sport star for the Cobras in the 1980’s, winning the state championship in the long jump and anchoring the mile relay team to a state record time and a team state championship. He was named All-American in the long jump and earned a scholarship to play football at TSU. As a receiver, he led the team in receptions and broke the school record for most receptions and receiving yards in a game with a 12 reception, 242 yard performance during a game his senior year. Pillow was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had 22 receptions for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns his rookie season. His professional football career included playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Detroit Lions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, and the Indianapolis Colts.

The program from the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a treasure trove of information about some of Nashville’s most influential people and greatest student-athletes. The North Sports Report suggests that a copy be available at every high school library.

MNPS: The First Choice for Great, Legendary and Incomparable Students

North Sports Report – October 31, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

When the End Comes…Taking it to the Next Level

The end of a student-athlete’s high school career arrives like a thief in the night. Whether the end comes with a sudden injury, the end of the regular season, a playoff loss, or a championship, the finality hangs over the field like a fog.

The North Sports Report attended Hume-Fogg’s state tournament soccer game yesterday, will attend a football finale tonight, will attend the state cross-country championship on Saturday, and heard news of East Nashville star quarterback Isiah Upton’s season ending injury and pondered that the end should never overshadow the journey. If you follow the old coach’s cliché and play every play like it is your last, the mark you leave is indelible no matter the ending. In life, the alternative cliché might be “treat everyone like it’s the last time you will see them before they give a reference at your job interview or speak at your funeral.”

Today, I attended the memorial service for Ronald Webb, the longtime teacher, coach and Principal who passed away this week at the age of 87. Mr. Webb started his career at Litton High School and became the first football coach for Stratford High when it opened. He later served as Principal of Wright Middle School and spent nearly thirty years as the Principal of McMurray Middle. The message was delivered eloquently by one of Mr. Webb’s former students at Stratford who also served on his faculty at McMurray. Brenda Haywood arrived at Stratford during a turbulent time. On the first day, as the first African-American student at Stratford, she was pelted with insults and rocks as she made her way to school. Upon entering the school, she encountered Mr. Webb for the first time standing like a guardian angel as if to say, “Be not afraid.” His care, concern and love for her, like that for all his students, lasted the rest of his life.

Thoughts and prayers to Mr. Webb’s family and gratitude to Mr. Webb for the love and support he showed his students and Nashville’s public schools.

Alumni Alert: NFL Veteran Picked up by Dallas Cowboys

Glencliff Colts alumnus Tim Dobbins is a 10 year NFL veteran and recently joined the Dallas Cowboys. Congratulations!

Cross-Country State Championship on Saturday

The state championship cross-country meet begins at 10:00am on Saturday November 1 at the Steeplechase Course. MNPS student-athletes and teams will be in the running for multiple championships.

Another State Tourney Run

Congratulations to Coach Tracey McClain and the Hume-Fogg girls soccer team for a great season and appearance in the state tournament. Hume-Fogg fell 1-0 in a tight, hard-fought quarterfinal match.

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Football Time

Last week…

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Trick or Treat! Games this week are played Thursday and Friday including some big games with playoff implications.

Thursday:

  • Hillsboro Burros extended their unbeaten streak as they beat Hunters Lane Warriors (33-0) on the road Thursday
  • Maplewood Panthers lost to the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds (20-35) on the road Thursday in a huge district game where both teams were looking to improve their playoff positions
  • McGavock Raiders hosted the Cane Ridge Ravens Thursday in a huge showdown of married Principals (and 70-14 rout by the Raiders) #WallBowl
  • Hillwood Hilltoppers hosted Glencliff Colts in a 20-6 loss Thursday

Friday:

  • Overton Bobcats travel to Antioch Bears in a throwback rivalry renewal.
  • A big community celebration is planned on Friday at Stratford as the Spartans host Whites Creek Cobras;
  • East Nashville Eagles play at Lipscomb for the district championship on Friday.

The MNPS home games Thursday are at Hunters Lane; at Pearl-Cohn; at Antioch; at McGavock and at Hillwood. On Friday the MNPS home game is at Stratford. Go to a game!

MNPS: The First Choice for Inspirational Leaders

North Sports Report – September 4, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Maplewood Football Going Big Time at Vanderbilt Stadium

Friday night is a perfect opportunity for you to see high school football in Nashville. The comfortable confines of Vanderbilt Stadium (aka the Big Stage) will be the scene as the Maplewood Panthers host Lipscomb Academy. Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.

The North Sports Report joined coaches and administrators from Maplewood and Lipscomb along with Vanderbilt officials for a walk-through at the stadium, and everyone is fired up! If you think you have something better to do than be at Vanderbilt Stadium Friday night (something that does not involve one of the games listed below), you would be wrong. Tickets will be available at the ticket booth at the stadium, and fans will enter through Gate 2. Parking is free. Please remember, just like all big arenas, backpacks and umbrellas are not allowed. See you at the game!

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In other action:

  • Stratford Spartans travel to face Pearl-Cohn Firebirds. Running back Keshawn Vaughn who is averaging over 250 yards per game, ranking him in the top ten in the nation.
  • Antioch Bears take a short jaunt to Smyrna;
  • Whites Creek Cobras host the undefeated East Nashville Eagles;
  • Glencliff Colts and McGavock Raiders open District 12AAA competition at McGavock;
  • Hillsboro Burros play at Hillwood Hilltoppers; and
  • Cane Ridge Ravens have this week off.

MNPS home games are at Vanderbilt (Maplewood’s game); at Hillwood; at McGavock; at Overton; at Pearl-Cohn; and at Whites Creek. Go to a game!

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Middle Prep Soccer

The North Sports Report enjoyed another thrilling afternoon of soccer this week as the Rose Park Middle Prep Lady Titans faced the Lady Royals of MLK on the historic field of old Pearl High. Fantastic!

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Alumni Alert – Big Red Punter

Hillsboro alumnus Joseph Occhipinti is the starting punter for Western Kentucky. During the Hilltoppers’ season opening victory, Occhipinti averaged 53 yards per punt. Keep up the good work!

Alumni Alert – Making the Cut

Check out the roster for the Atlanta Falcons. Maplewood alum James Stone earned his degree from the University of Tennessee last spring and earned a roster spot for the Atlanta Falcons this week. Congratulations!

Alumni Alert – It’s Time

Brad Gaines, a member of the last class at DuPont High School (Class of 1986) who led the SEC in receptions for Vanderbilt, will be featured in a touching special on the SEC Network produced by ESPN. The show will highlight Gaines’ relationship with Chucky Mullins, an Ole Miss player who was severely injured while tackling Gaines. Check your listings and don’t miss “It’s Time.”

MNPS: The First Choice for Performing on the Big Stage

North Sports Report – August 21, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

A Community of Fans

After a football jamboree last week, as a team gathered on the high jump area of the track beyond the end zone for the post-game coach talk, the North Sports Report noticed a group gathering just outside the fence and around the track. It happens every game and in every sport. The group consists of the players’ families, friends, classmates, and well-wishers, waiting to congratulate or console, to take pictures and debrief about the game. The coaches’ families and friends are there too. The “waiting for the team” ritual displays one of the beautiful things about high school sports – the creation of a community. Sure, high school athletics help a school connect with the community at large and become a source of pride within each community. But the community of fans is more intimate – a combination of cheering section and support group, not just for the kids on the field but also for each other. It is a bond created out of a common interest and love for the players, the coaches, the team and the school. Everyone is welcome, and everyone can contribute and benefit from being a part of the community that wins and loses as a team and still holds true in their support for each other and for the school.

As the sun goes down, the teams warm up for football season.

As the sun goes down, the teams warm up for football season.

Volleyball: A Bumpin’, Settin’, High-fly Spikin’ Good Time

The North Sports report arrived for a volleyball match at Carlton Collier Gymnasium on the campus of Hunters Lane High School just in time to see the visiting Overton Lady Bobcats warm up. And, they put on a show! It was like watching the NBA dunk contest with graceful, gravity defying leaps and the crashing sound of the ball spiked to the floor. It was awesome! Once the match began, the teamwork, precision, and athleticism created an exciting, spectator-friendly sporting event. The North Sports report even got in on the action as the ball careened onto the balcony and right to me. I slowly and deliberately side-stepped the ball, waited for it to stop, and using my non-existent vertical leap, picked it up and gently tossed it back to the court. Seriously though, pick your favorite team and go to a volleyball match soon. You will not be disappointed. Oh, and get there in time to watch the warm-ups.

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Alumni Alert: Titans Face Two MNPS Alumni Saturday Night

Historically, the third preseason game is the most important for NFL teams, and they tend to treat it as a dress-rehearsal for the regular season. This Saturday night, the Tennessee Titans will travel to Atlanta and face the Falcons in a game televised locally on WKRN Channel 2 at 6:00pm. If you turn on the game, look for number 62 and number 52 for the Falcons. #62 is Maplewood superstar James Stone in his rookie year with the Falcons, and #52 is longtime NFL linebacker Tim Dobbins of Glencliff.

Friday Night Game of the Week August 22, 2014

The TSSAA calls the first week of the season “Week Zero” and Week Zero is made for rivalries. You can throw out the records when these teams meet. Since it’s the first game of the season, their identical 0-0 records can easily be tossed. Anyway, fierce rivals meet this week.

The North Sports Report will head to southeast Davidson County as the Antioch Bears host the Cane Ridge Ravens in a clash of next-door neighbors. There is always more on the line than just wins and losses when these two meet.

The Overton Bobcats travel to face archrival Father Ryan and continue one of Nashville’s longest running rivalries; and, the Dickerson Road Buffalo Bowl features familiar foes as the Maplewood Panthers take the short jaunt to face the Hunters Lane Warriors.

In other action:

  • East Nashville Eagles host Hillwood Hilltoppers at TPS;
  • Glencliff Colts welcome Pearl-Cohn Firebirds;
  • Hillsboro Burros start their season at home against Rossview;
  • McGavock Raiders trek to Tullahoma;
  • Stratford Spartans head to Sumner County to face John Paul II; and
  • Whites Creek Cobras travel to Sycamore.

The MNPS home games are at Antioch; at Hunters Lane; at East Nashville (at TPS on Foster Avenue); at Glencliff; and at Hillsboro. Go to a game. You will love it!

MNPS: The First Choice for Community

Hunters Lane High School grad opens the 2014 CMA Music Festival with our national anthem

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D’Anthony Jennings got a once in a lifetime opportunity this week when he sang the Star Spangled Banner before the official opening of the 2014 CMA Music Festival.

D’Anthony graduated from Hunters Lane High School in May and was chosen by his choir teacher, Mr. Brown, to sing the anthem. Mr. Brown chose D’Anthony based not only on his singing ability, but his good work ethic, dependability and humility.

A part of JROTC at Hunters Lane, D’Anthony joined the Marines and leaves for basic training on Monday. We are very proud of him and can’t wait to see what great things he will accomplish. Good luck, D’Anthony!

North Sports Report – May 9, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Hall of Fame Athlete and a Teacher of the Year

Coach Tribue - Teacher of the Year

Coach Tribue – Teacher of the Year

Coach Joanne Tribue was named Cane Ridge High School’s 2014 Teacher of the Year for her outstanding work throughout the school year and throughout her teaching career, but did you know she is one of the all-time greatest student-athletes in MNPS history? Or that she completed high school with 12 years of perfect attendance? Or that she held a national record in track? Or that she won the first ever state championship in the Pentathlon? Or that she held the Austin Peay State University school record for most blocked shots? Or that she was a collegiate all-American in Track?

Coach Tribue was inducted into the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and her Hall of Fame bio describes her astounding accomplishments.

Joanne Tribue graduated from Antioch High School in 1978 in the Top 10% of her class and with 12 years of perfect attendance. She served as class president every year in high school, was selected the “Optimist Award” winner, and won the “E.R. Harris Award” presented to the most outstanding senior. She participated in volleyball, basketball and track. In track, she was the state champion in 1977 in the 80-yard low hurdles and set a national record. She also won the first State Pentathlon Championship, was selected “Track woman of the Year” her senior year by The Tennessean and “Track Woman of the Year” her senior year by the Nashville Banner. She finished in the top five in the state in 10 different events. In basketball, Joanne was selected All-District, All-Region and All-NIL during her junior and senior years. After high school, Joanne attended Austin Peay State University, where she held the school record for most blocked shots in basketball. In track, she was selected “OVC Track Woman of the Year” twice and selected “All-American” in the hurdles. After college, she became a teacher and has won numerous awards as a high school coach.

Congratulations Coach Tribue!

Does “Love” Mean Nothing to You? District 12-AAA Tennis

Congratulations to District 12-AAA Tennis Players of the Year, Nicole Webb of Cane Ridge and Ben Demonbreun of Overton and Coaches of the Year, Adam Lightman of McGavock and Terry Strickland of Overton. For a full story, see the Overton online student newspaper.

MNPS Sweeps the Middle Tennessee Middle School Track Invitational

The North Sports Report enjoyed two days of the best Middle School track event in the State last week as Antioch High School’s new track surface hosted 22 schools (public and private) from across Middle Tennessee. Congratulations to the Haynes Middle Design Center’s Girls Team and Apollo Middle School Boys Team for taking home the Championship trophy. East Nashville Middle’s girls and Oliver Middle’s boys finished runner-up – confirming once again that MNPS has the best Middle School student-athletes around. If you missed them this year, check out Middle School sports next Fall. You will be impressed!

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Post-Season Underway

The Spring Sports Regional tournaments, matches and meets are the next step toward State Championships. The North Sports Report will keep you up to date as MNPS student-athletes and teams progress through the brackets.

Post-Season Baseball and Softball.

MNPS: The First Choice for Teachers of the Year

North Sports Report – April 24, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Middle School Track Extravaganza – April 24 & 26

IMAG1323The future is now as Middle School student-athletes from across Middle Tennessee converge on Antioch High School’s new track surface for the inaugural Middle Tennessee Middle School Track Invitational. The meet will introduce middle school athletes to a broader range of competition and prepare them for the big high school meets in their future. More than 22 schools will be represented including Antioch Middle; Apollo Middle; East Nashville Middle; Gra-Mar Middle; Haynes Middle; Jere Baxter Middle; John F. Kennedy Middle; KIPP Middle; Isaac Litton Middle; Meigs Middle; MLK Middle; Oliver Middle; public schools from Rutherford County, Sumner County, Williamson County, and Wilson County; and area private schools.

This is a great opportunity to support middle school student-athletes and coaches, so come to Antioch High School on Thursday and Saturday to enjoy the fun. The running events start at 6:00pm on Thursday evening April 24 (the shot put competition starts at 5:30pm) and 9:30am on Saturday morning. Admission is $5 each day.

Awards Season

Callee Brooks with her Moss-Oliver Award.

Callee Brooks with her Moss-Oliver Award.

Hume-Fogg’s Callee Brooks took home the prestigious Moss-Oliver Award after starring in the classroom and on the soccer, basketball, and softball teams.

The Tennessean named its All-Midstate teams for the winter sports:

  • Aaron Ruiz of Cane Ridge – First Team All-Midstate Bowling;
  • Terry Holt of East Nashville – First Team All-Midstate Basketball
  • Jordan Majors of MLK – 2nd Team All-Midstate Basketball
  • Clarence Mathis of Antioch – 2nd Team All-Midstate Wrestling
  • Chelsea Nelson of Overton – 3rd Team All-Midstate Basketball

Congratulations!

The Decision … “I’ll Be Taking My Talents to ____”

Life is a continuous series of future-altering choices. The path chosen at a fork in the road leads to another fork in the road which leads to another fork … and so on, et cetera, ad infinitum. Around this time each year, high school seniors reach a major intersection and decide where to continue their education. Yep, where to go to college is a biggie.

Last week, several MNPS student-athletes decided to continue their athletic pursuits and take their education to the next level.

  • At Hillsboro, four student-athletes signed to play Basketball in college: Ian Harrison at Rhodes College; Antorian Moore at Garden City CC; Juanya Smith at Vol State CC; and Kindravious Webster at Walters State CC.
  • At Overton, two student-athletes signed to play Volleyball and two signed to play Soccer: Gohdar Mohammed (Soccer) at Trevecca; Victor Tsado (Soccer) at Trevecca; Domynique Kloss (Volleyball) at Martin Methodist; and Arei Logoleo (Volleyball) at Alabama-Birmingham.
  • At Hume-Fogg, the signings cover schools from coast to coast: Kiersten Bell (Track) at Duke; Kyle Kmech (Soccer) at Otterbein; and Claudia Rodriguez (Track) at Pepperdine.

Congratulations to all the Seniors!

A Fitting Tribute: The MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014

The North Sports Report loves attending the induction luncheon for the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame each year. Seeing the all-time great athletes and childhood heroes and hearing the stories of amazing feats… well, it’s like Disneyland for the public school sports fan. The influence for good on the Nashville community by this year’s inductees cannot be overstated.

Dr. L. Dale Beck (Howard, Class of 1949) was a two-time Hume Award winner, played football at Vanderbilt and baseball in the Yankees organization, and served as chief of the medical staff at two hospitals.

Joe Campbell (Stratford, Class of 1988) ended his high school career as the all-time leading rusher in MNPS history, was a two-time All-American in college, and played in the NFL before returning to Nashville to raise his six children.

Larry Cantrell (Goodlettsville, Class of 1985) won 10 individual state track championships and single-handedly won the team state track championship, was a two-time SEC champion and All-American in college at Alabama and now serves as a minister at the Nashville Inner City Ministry.

Coach Nick Coutras (Hillsboro, Class of 1953) turned down job offers from the Washington Redskins to stay at Overton and win a state championship in 1981, compile a record of 144-36-1, coach six Hume Award winners and influence countless young men.

Kenneth Duke (Litton, Class of 1949) is considered one of the greatest running backs in Nashville history, and went on to play at SMU before serving valiantly in the Marine Corps in Korea. When word that he had been killed in action reached Litton, his number 33 jersey was immediately retired.

Julie Brown Rollins (Madison, Class of 1962) was a four-time all-city basketball selection in high school, scoring 44 points in one game, coached high school basketball and compiled more than 650 wins, and has taught hundreds of children to swim.

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Congratulations!

MNPS: The First Choice for Heroes

North Sports Report – April 10, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Inspiration – The Historical Role of Athletics

Did you follow The Tennessean’s series on women’s basketball and great local athletes during the Women’s Final Four? Journalists Mike Organ (DuPont High grad) and Jessica Bliss captured the amazing history of women’s sports in Middle Tennessee. The articles list some of the most influential athletes in history, including MNPS legends Marynell Meadors (Hillsboro); Carolyn Aldridge (Glencliff); Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch); Pam Chambers (Madison); and Ann Hutcheson Price (Hillsboro).

Tuesday’s front page article explained how athletic competition inspires ambition and creates better leaders. Sports columnist Christine Brennan is quoted, noting that it is more than a game: “It’s about creating better people.” The host committee for the Final Four organized a session to utilize the lessons of athletics to help girls “develop a vision and voice, become an ethical leader, promote wellness and health and turn their vision into action.” The lessons translate from the basketball court to real life and help inspire a generation of girls who will make a difference.

Walter Fisher Sr. helped coach Hillsboro to a victory in this year's Retro Classic in his first trip to the historic Litton Gym since scoring 35 points as a star for the Pearl High Tigers.

Walter Fisher Sr. helped coach Hillsboro to a victory in this year’s Retro Classic in his first trip to the historic Litton Gym since scoring 35 points as a star for the Pearl High Tigers.

And, there’s no need to wait for a seminar or big event to see inspiration in action. This basketball season, the North Sports Report had the good fortune to visit briefly with Walter Fisher Sr., an assistant coach for the Hillsboro boys basketball team. Mr. Fisher started for the 1966 Pearl High School team that is generally considered the best in Nashville’s history.

Playing during the first year of integrated competition and making their first trip into gyms of all-white schools, Mr. Fisher and his Pearl High teammates were not always treated with courtesy and respect. “Before the game, the crowd would call us all sorts of names, and then we would start dunking and everything got real quiet. By the end of the game, they were patting us on the back and telling us how good we were.” Sometimes, playing the game makes a statement and teaches a lesson beyond what any classroom can convey.

In January of this year, the Pearl-Cohn basketball team donned throwback Pearl High uniforms, and Mr. Fisher met with the players prior to the game. “He told them what it means to wear a Pearl uniform,” Pearl-Cohn Coach Raymond Pratcher succinctly explained. That’s a lesson we all should learn.

Alumni Alert – Hunters Lane Alum: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

The Masters at Augusta National is the most prestigious and tradition-filled golf tournament in the world. For the fifth year, sportscaster Grant Boone, a member of the very first class at Hunters Lane, will be a part of the CBS coverage and will anchor the 11th through 13th holes, famously dubbed “Amen Corner.”

That’s right, Hunters Lane Warrior Grant Boone will provide TV commentary at the Masters. You can watch each group navigate Amen Corner live on the CBS Sports website.

Next time you see Grant, ask him to tell the story of how his golf coach at Madison High School, the legendary Bill Brimm, helped him get started in broadcasting.

April Showers Bring …Rain Delays

Occasionally, the weather will interrupt an otherwise splendid plan to enjoy high school spring sports, leaving the North Sports Report at the ball field just hanging around, nothing to do but frown … cue The Carpenter’s.

(Editor’s note: omit link to the Carpenter’s classic hit “Rainy Days and Mondays” – it’s too sad.)

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No worries, I’ll make it back for the make-up.

(Editor’s note: omit link to the hilarious HR Pufnstuf scene where every time someone says “make-up,” Pufnstuf hits Witchiepoo with a giant powder puff – it’s too weird.)

Alumni Alert – NFL Draft Day Coming for 2010 Maplewood Grad

So, the NFL Draft is less than a month away, and 2010 Maplewood scholar-athlete James Stone will be ready for the call. NFL.com says that one of his strengths is “intelligence.” In perusing the various analysts’ predictions and mock drafts, the North Sports Report noticed one that had him going to Jacksonville and another to Cincinnati. Are you listening, Tennessee Titans?

MNPS: The First Choice for Inspirational Leaders

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