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Spring sports winding down as temperature soars

As the spring sports season winds down, the cream is rising tothe top. Wannabes and also-rans are quickly falling by the wayside.Add a few unlucky teams to that number, too.

In track, a much-neglected sport in Lincoln County, the BrookhavenPanthers and Lady Panthers are still making their presence felt inthe playoffs. The Lady Panthers finished a strong third behindPicayune and McComb in last weekend’s South 5A Regional atPicayune. The BHS girls were fresh from winning the districtchampionship at McComb but the competition level obviously roseseveral notches.

This Saturday’s South State 5A track action moves to Long Beach.BHS will feature several strong entries. Starting with the girls,distance runner Desiree Benson leads the high expectations afterwinning the 800 and 1600-meter runs in the regional. OrionnaBrumfield captured the 3200-meter run for BHS.

It’s unusual to have two talented and durable distance runnersavailable the same year. Most people will pass out if they have towalk 100 feet to their air-conditioned vehicle in 90-degreeheat.

During Tuesday afternoon’s workout on King Field, Ole Brook coachKelby Bowman closely watched his track team’s runners, jumpers andthrowers sweat through their regimens. Track surface temperatureshovered in the 90s as the sun frowned through a cloudlesssky.

After several laps around the track, Benson took a break. Sweatsoaked her head and streaked her face as she tried to cool off. Thesalt-filled perspiration burned her eyes. She squinted to see hercoach clearly and searched for a towel.

Bowman smiled and encouraged Benson to wear a headband to absorbthe droplets of sweat. “I can’t wear a headband in a race so I’mnot going to bother with it,” she answered.

Certainly, running track is an exhausting experience in the latespring. Every team needs some type of tent to shield the runnersfrom the sun and allow them to cool off between events.

McComb’s Brittany Harrell, another gifted area athlete, already hasa college future in track with LSU. In the regional meet, Harrellwon the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, plus the high jump. She alsohelped anchor McComb’s relay teams that won the 400, 800 and 1600meter events.

Brookhaven’s boys are led by speedster Isaiah White. He was adouble winner last week, taking the 110 and 300-meter relays.

Also winning first place for the Panthers were Sherrod Gray in the3200-meter run and Trent Powell in the high jump.

The state track meets will be held at Pearl High School’s facilityMay 14-15.

Baseball competition intensifies as each round of the stateplayoffs arrives. Brookhaven Academy was ambushed at CentrevilleTuesday night, losing 11-1 in the opening game of the MAIS Class AASouth State championship finals. The Cougars, coached by CaseyEdwards, will host the Centreville Tigers today, starting at 5p.m.

If BA wins today’s opener and ties the series, a third game willfollow 30 minutes after the first game is completed.

Loyd Star, fresh from a big comeback win at Enterprise-Clarke,tackles a Class 2A powerhouse in the Richton Rebels. Richtonfeatures two players who are expected to go in next month’s MajorLeague Baseball Draft. Game 1 is Friday night at Richton.

Coach Johnathan Breakfield’s Hornets entertain Richton Saturdaynight on Smith Field, also at 7 p.m.

Tennis action continues today with Brookhaven traveling to WestJones for the South State 5A team championship. The matches will beheld at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville.

The Panthers, coached by Terri Hall, were Class 4A state runners-upto Oxford last year.

Loyd Star’s tennis team faces archrival Wesson Friday on theBrookhaven County Club courts in the South 2A playoffs. The Hornetsare coached by Heather Watts.

The Brookhaven Academy boys team, coached by David Misner, wontheir sixth straight AA team title Wednesday at the RidgelandTennis Center.

Defending state 2A fastpitch softball champion Loyd Star waseliminated 1-0 Tuesday by Stringer’s Lady Red Devils. In Class 1A,Bogue Chitto’s Lady Cats are riding a wave of momentum as theyvisit Natchez Cathedral today for a 5 p.m. game in the opener of abest-of-three series.

The Lady Cats, coached by Scott Leggett, entertain Cathedral Fridayat 5 p.m.

Congratulations to the Brookhaven Academy golf team on theirrunner-up finish in the AA State Tournament at Meridian. TheCougars lost to Lamar School in a sudden-death playoff.

BA freshman Jacob Ross was match medalist with a par-72 on thechallenging Briarwood Country Club. Teammate Jennings Mills placedfifth in the medalist race.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. BOX551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com