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Loyd Star senior shines in sports and academics

Brendyn Brister knows how to concentrate on the subject in front of him, be it academics or athletics. The Loyd Star senior excels in the classroom and on the playing field. He also helps oversee four younger brothers and two younger sisters, including quadruplets.

Brister’s accomplishments were in the spotlight last week when he was honored as a Lindy Callahan Scholarship recipient by the Mississippi High School Activities Association. He was among 16 student/athletes from across the Magnolia State to receive the special honor.

The Callahan scholarship provides 8 boys and 8 girls with $24,000 in academic support. That’s $1,500 apiece. A minimum 3.3 GPA is required to be nominated. Around 275 nominations were received this year.

“My family is always doing something,” said Brister, the 18-year-old son of Dale and Gwen Brister. “They support me so I support them.”

His 14-year-old brothers are Blayne, Bryson and Brantley, and his 14-year-old sister is Madisyn. Add 11-year-old Morgan and 4-year-old Baylor to the mix and it’s one, big, happy family.

They are members of Solid Rock Pentecostal Church.

In fact, Brendyn coaches the quads in soccer and youth baseball when he isn’t playing those sports himself.

Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 145 pounds, Brendyn is a fierce competitor with a winning attitude. He has scored a 27 on the ACT and maintains a 3.70 GPA at Loyd Star. His favorite subject is math.

His whirlwind lifestyle of family, academics and athletics keeps him going non-stop. “We play about any sport you can.”

How does he balance sports and studies?

“Whenever I have the time, I study,” he answered. “Whenever I have free time.”

Brister plans to attend Co-Lin next fall and major in biology, preparing for pre-med. “I want to be a cancer doctor.”

He has taken four college classes and achieved a 4.0 GPA in English I-II, World Civilization and psychology. Any plans of playing soccer on the next level have been overshadowed by his academic goals.

He anticipates eight years of college. His parents are both in the medical field. Dale is a physical therapy assistant and Gwen is a radiation therapist.

Loyd Star athletic director Billy Vaughn said Brister is a versatile student who excels in many areas. “Brendyn is involved in a lot of activities here at school and in the community.”

Soccer has been a part of Brendyn’s life for 12 years. He owns a school-record for steals, collecting 200 as a mid defender. That includes 109 clearances, 82 takeaways and 9 blocked shots. He had 170 steals his junior season.

What’s his secret?

“I’ve gotten good at reading players and knowing when they go for the ball,” he answered. “I’ve been playing defense all my life.”

The Hornets made their first appearance in the state playoffs this year and scored a goal against Class 1A-2A-3A state champion Sacred Heart of Hattiesburg.

His father coaches the Loyd Star team.

Baseball is Brendyn’s primary focus right now as the Hornets prepare for a third-round, best-of-three playoff series against Ackerman. The Hornets, coached by Jared Britt, are 19-6 on the season.

“Brendyn is always going to be at practice and he works hard every day to improve,” said Coach Britt. “He’s a good kid, too. He makes the routine plays and he loves to win.”

Brister plays second base for the Hornets and prefers that position over third base. “You can play farther back (in the infield) than third base, so you get a better jump on the ball.”

He’s confident the Hornets can continue their winning ways in the playoffs.

“This is the best Loyd Star team I’ve ever been on,” said Brister. “We have a chance to win if we play our game.”

Brister has what it takes to be a success in academics and athletics. He looks and acts like a winner in the game of life.

Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tom.goetz@dailyleader.com