2013-14 Athletic Year
Supporters of Northeast Mississippi Community College’s nine intercollegiate sports programs once again had plenty of reasons to cheer for the Lady Tigers and Tigers during the institution’s 65th year of athletic competition.
Northeast recorded yet another successful overall campaign that featured two Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division runner-up finishes, five teams seeing action in the postseason and a number of fantastic victories in a span of 10 months.
The Tiger baseball squad made history once again in 2014 by hosting the MACJC State Tournament for the first time in its current format. East Central Community College, Hinds Community College and then-top ranked Jones County Junior College ventured to the City of Hospitality for a great weekend of action on the diamond.
Approximately 1,250 fans packed Harold T. White Field over a three-day period that featured seven games. Three of the teams that qualified for the event either appeared in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) countrywide poll or were receiving votes.
Northeast, which rose as high as No. 19 in the NJCAA’s rankings during the regular season, finished with a 27-20 record. The Tigers also swept rival Itawamba Community College in its annual four-game series.
Six members of the 2014 baseball squad were selected for postseason honors. Trent Turner led the group with NJCAA All-Region 23 recognition while Luke Stanley, Heath Wood, Riley Alef, Easton Hall and Evan Hickman each earned a spot on the MACJC All-State team.
Turner, who hails from Brandon, placed himself among the best in the country and state in multiple offensive categories. He was tops in the NJCAA with nine sacrifice flies, 12th in slugging percentage (.701) and 23rd in batting average (.423).
Wood concluded his career at Northeast with 100 hits and 100 runs scored. The Kossuth High School product made perhaps the most memorable play of the year as well when he climbed the left field wall and robbed Itawamba of a two-run homer to propel the Tigers to a sweep of the Indians in Booneville.
New Albany’s Alef developed into one of the best catchers in the entire country as a sophomore. He caught 21 men attempting to steal, more than any other athlete in the Magnolia State and third most in the NJCAA, and held an even 50 percent success rate of nailing runners from behind the plate.
Hickman was the most reliable arm out of Northeast’s bullpen with a 1.74 earned run average (ERA) in 20.2 innings of work. The Marshall Academy graduate accumulated eight saves, which was ninth best in the nation, in nine opportunities and compiled a perfect 4-0 record.
Eighth-year head coach Kent Farris also etched his name into the Northeast record books after garnering his 200th victory in a Tiger uniform on May 2 in a 9-8 decision against Pearl River Community College in the MACJC State Playoffs.
Jody Long’s softball program made its fourth consecutive playoff appearance and the 12th trip in the 13-year history of the fast-pitch program during the 2014 campaign.
Under a new format that featured a two out of three series to start the postseason, the Tigers traveled to eventual national runner-up Jones County in the opening round and made their mark before falling to the Bobcats.
Yasmeen Cooper (Houston) blasted a solo home run just to the side of the scoreboard in left field while Bianca Chagolla (Riverside, Calif.) collected the 100th hit of her illustrious career with a RBI double in the second contest of the series.
Northeast also upset then nationally ranked Itawamba in Fulton on March 31 behind a brilliant performance in the circle from Alcorn Central High School alumnus Chelsea Buntin and a game winning RBI single by Houston’s Avery Springer in the seventh inning.
The Tigers earned weekly conference honors five times this year. Bre Agnew (Booneville) claimed MACJC Player of the Week designation after smashing three home runs in one game versus Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.) Community College on March 8 in the Cardinal Spring Fling.
Buntin and Chagolla both received MACJC Pitcher of the Week accolades twice throughout the season. The duo also tossed one no-hitter apiece during the campaign as well.
Buntin conceded only one base runner on a fielding error and struck out four in a run-rule triumph over MACJC North Division foe Coahoma Community College while Chagolla kept Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College out of rhythm with an even seven groundouts and seven flyouts to complete the no-hitter in her final pitching performance ever at David Carnell Memorial Field.
Six Tigers garnered postseason awards, topped by a pair of MACJC All-State selections in Buntin and Chagolla. Buntin was also named the MACJC North Division Most Valuable Player while Trenisha King, Whittney Gee, Agnew, Chagolla and Cooper each achieved MACJC All-North Division status.
Northeast improved on the tennis courts under the tutelage of Ben Shappley and advanced multiple men and women to the second round of the 2014 MACJC State Tournament at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
In singles action, No. 5 Wesley Tye downed Connor Wilson of Holmes Community College 6-1, 6-4 while No. 6 Noah Wright bested Hinds representative Melvin McNair 6-3, 6-1. The two Booneville natives earned a first round bye in No. 3 doubles competition as well.
Top seeded doubles players Micah Page and Wesley Brandon, both of Belmont, defeated Juan Miranda and Daniel Giles of East Central 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
On the women’s side, the No. 2 doubles team of Haley Brown (Iuka) and Erica Whitten (Booneville) edged past the Holmes pair of Jennifer Rule and Katherine Wood 6-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-4. Nikki Baird (Houston) and Lindsey Clark (Olive Branch) also narrowly triumphed over Lauren Peterson and Kristine Jenkins of East Central 3-6, 6-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Headman Nick Coln and the Northeast golf program came close to advancing to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament after a strong opening afternoon on the links at the 2014 MACJC State Tournament at Pine Burr Country Club in Wiggins.
The Tigers were in a tie with East Central for sixth place following day one of the event, but a strong push by Jones County on the second morning pushed Northeast to eighth place.
Chase Little carded a two-day total of 15-over-par 159 to tie for 26th place individually while another Corinth standout in Blake Farris followed close behind at 74-87-161.
Northeast’s football club claimed the runner-up position in the MACJC North Division for the seventh time in school history and the third occasion in four years during the 2013 campaign.
The Tigers carried a 4-5 overall record, but all five losses came to opponents ranked by the NJCAA at some point. Northeast was 4-2 in the MACJC North Division, which included back-to-back victories against Holmes and Northwest Mississippi Community College.
A pair of freshmen in Jamel Dennis (Oxford) and Marcus Robinson (Memphis, Tenn.) paced Ricky Smither’s Tigers on defense with a combined 160 tackles. Dennis tallied the seventh most tackles in the entire country at 96.
Nettleton’s Corbin White was the lone Northeast gridiron star to earn MACJC Player of the Week honors. He ran for 161 yards on 13 carries and cut down the sidelines for a 63-yard touchdown in a 30-9 victory by the Tigers against Mississippi Delta Community College in the season finale.
Eight men were named MACJC All-North Division for their part in the historical campaign. Kortilous Ellis (Charleston) and Mitchell Cunningham (Ecru) received first-team status while Chris Cooper (Madison), Dequinten Spraggins (West Point), Khalil Stinson (College Park, Ga.), Daniel Ross (Louisville, Ky.), Dennis and Robinson each grabbed second-team recognition.
Twelve Tigers signed scholarships to continue their careers at four-year schools. They include Martice Buckley (Missouri Southern State), Ellis (Arkansas Tech), Miguel Graham (Northwestern State), Parrish Huddleston (UAB), Nick Johnson (North Alabama), Gregdrecus Leland (West Alabama), Jeremy Liggins (Ole Miss), Razean Prather (Missouri Southern State), Jerrard Randall (Arizona), Spraggins (Murray State), Jaquille White (UT Martin) and Romia Wilson (Bethune-Cookman).
Northeast’s tradition-rich basketball programs compiled a number of thrilling wins and moments during the 2013-14 season.
The Lady Tigers with coach Brian Alexander at the helm snapped a 10-game winning streak by Wallace State (Ala.) Community College at Hanceville with a 61-56 triumph inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum on January 9.
The Tigers delivered first-year headman Cord Wright’s first MACJC North Division victory in exciting fashion. Northeast scored the final five points of overtime, four of them from center Al Azulphar (Norwalk, Conn.), to claim a 90-89 battle with Mississippi Delta.
Both squads had a positive ending to the campaign after sweeping Holmes on sophomore night. Hometown product Keldrick Lesley of Booneville scored a career-high 19 points to help the Tigers down the Bulldogs 68-67 while Antionette Riddle added 24 points to the Lady Tigers’ 83-77 victory.
Belmont’s Angelia Allen, who averaged a double-double from November 18-24, and Aushiana Ivy, who tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds against Columbia State (Tenn.) Community College on November 25, both earned MACJC Player of the Week on the women’s side while Azulphar blocked 12 shots in a two-game stretch from November 18-24 to pick up the league honor as well.
Riddle reached double figures in 18 matchups in a row to conclude the year and was named to the MACJC All-State team alongside fellow Tupelo native Ivy. Riddle, who signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Delta State University, compiled a total of 596 points in two seasons at Northeast.
Dimario Jackson (Brusly, La.), who topped the Tigers with 15.2 points per game and a field goal percentage of 41.5 as a freshman, also collected MACJC All-State prestige.
Karri Davis entered her second year as coach of the cheerleading squad, which continued to provide constant support for the Northeast football and basketball programs.
From pep rallies on Thursday afternoons in the fall to the final whistle inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum, Northeast’s cheerleaders were on duty to encourage the home crowds to cheer on the Lady Tigers and Tigers.
Seventeen student-athletes received academic honors from either the MACJC or NJCAA for their efforts in the classroom during the 2013-14 school year.
Booneville’s Allie Downs, who was one of only five women’s tennis players in the nation to hold a flawless 4.0 grade point average (GPA), led the group while nine others notched NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Awards as well.
In addition, six of Northeast’s eight sports that are sanctioned by the NJCAA garnered recognition as an All-Academic Team for maintaining a GPA above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
2012-13 Athletic Year
Whether it was on the gridiron, hardwood, diamond or courts, Northeast Mississippi Community College athletics continued to excel during the 2012-13 academic year.
Northeast athletics enjoyed a successful 2012-13 with athletic teams bringing back a state runner-up title, a North Division championship and scoring memorable victories for the college.
Leading the way for the Tigers and Lady Tigers during the 2012-13 year were Kent Farris’ baseball team and Brian Alexander’s women’s basketball team.
Farris led the Tigers to their first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division championship since 1992 and the Northeast baseball team advanced to the MACJC State Baseball Tournament in Poplarville after besting Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in a best-of-three opening round series at Harold T. White Field in Booneville.
Northeast’s baseball Tigers were led by Falkner’s Will Robertson, who led the nation for part of the 2013 season in runs batted in (RBI) and finished in the top ten in the nation in RBI and on-base percentage.
During the 2012-13 year, the Tigers pieced together an impressive streak of four straight weeks with a player being selected as the MACJC Player or Pitcher of the Week.
Robertson started the trend after receiving the honor for games played April 1-7 while Southaven’s Justin Neal was honored twice by the state organization – first for games played April 8-14 and then for games played April 22-28. Baldwyn’s Tanner Gaines, a Mississippi State University transfer, helped continue the streak when Gaines was selected as the MACJC Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 15-21.
After posting a 30-18 record and an 18-6 record in the North Division, five members of the Tiger baseball team went on to sign scholarships with four-year colleges and universities.
Booneville’s Kyle Stephenson signed with the University of North Alabama while Neal inked with Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Biggersville’s Ethan Estes headed to the University of West Alabama while the Tiger duo of Kyle Robbins and Robertson both became Statesmen at Delta State University.
On the hardwood, Alexander’s Lady Tigers (14-12) picked up momentum at the right time after finishing third in the North Division during the regular season.
Northeast women’s basketball team knocked off a pair of South Division foes en route to the MACJC State Championship game against power Copiah-Lincoln Community College on February 28.
Northeast dispatched Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 68-66 in overtime as freshman Kiki Gwyn (Kossuth) sank a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period and give the Lady Tigers a chance at the victory.
After knocking off Mississippi Gulf Coast, Northeast rolled through Jones County 68-49 before dropping the MACJC State Championship game to Copiah-Lincoln Community College 64-46.
With their run in the MACJC State Tournament in Poplarville, Northeast qualified for the National Junior Colleges Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII Tournament held on the campus of Mississippi College in Clinton and found a familiar opponent waiting – Mississippi Gulf Coast. Northeast would not be as lucky as it was in the first round of the MACJC State Tournament as the Lady Bulldogs ended the Lady Tigers season 68-60.
Under Jody Long, the Lady Tiger softball team returned to the MACJC State Tournament in Perkinston after finishing in fourth place in the North Division.
Long’s Lady Tigers posted a 23-15-1 record on the season, which included a few milestone moments.
Northeast recorded its first tie in softball since converting to the sport in 2000-01 as the Lady Tigers tied Copiah-Lincoln on February 15 at the Rush Invitational in Meridian and Long’s Lady Tigers opened up their home schedule by knocking off perianal power and former NJCAA champion Muskegon (Mich.) 7-2 on February 23.
Long reached a personal milestone late in the season as Northeast dispatched rival Itawamba Community College 8-2 on Tuesday, April 23 for his 200th collegiate coaching win.
During the 2012-13 season, three Lady Tigers were selected as MACJC Softball Players of the Week with the Erin Dixson receiving the honor for her work during games played February 18-24, Andrea Cutts picking it up March 11-17 and Haleigh Moffett turning in a three home-run game against Mississippi Delta on April 13 to secure the award for April 8-14.
Dixson was named the NJCAA Pitcher and Player of the Week for February 18-24 while Cutts picked up All-American status at the culmination of the season becoming the first Lady Tiger softball player to be named an All-American since Paige Wright was selected as an honorable mention selection in 2005.
Under the guidance of first-year head coach Ben Shappley, the Lady Tiger tennis team turned in one of its most successful seasons in recent history.
Shappley guided the Lady Tigers to a 3-6 record on the court and saw the only Lady Tiger sophomore – Elizabeth Mitchell – advance to the second round of the MACJC State Tournament in Tupelo.
Shappley’s Lady Tigers scored all three wins on the road with Northeast knocking off Holmes Community College in Goodman 7-2 on March 19 and Northwest Mississippi Community College 5-4 on April 11 in the final regular season match. Northeast’s first decision of the year came when the Lady Tigers upended Hinds Community College on March 4 at the New Albany SportsPlex after the Tiger and Lady Tigers moved their home matches to the SportsPlex due to resurfacing of the tennis courts on the Booneville campus.
After a rough start to the 2012-13 year, the Tiger tennis team ended the 2012-13 season on a positive note with the Tiger notching their initial victory of the season against Northwest Mississippi Community College 7-2 in Senatobia.
On the hardwood, David Robbins ended his coaching tenure and made the transition to Dean of Students/Athletic Director after leading the Tigers to a 9-13 record in the 2012-13 season.
Robbins’ Tigers picked up win in each month of the season with five of the Tigers’ wins coming during the middle months of the year – December and January.
Northeast knocked off Northwest Mississippi Community College in its home North Division opener 95-92 and then dispelled Gadsden State (Ala.) 91-84 before the holiday break.
Northeast picked up where it left off with a 75-65 win at Meridian on January 7 and knocked two more North Division wins during the month.
After beating Holmes Community College 78-68 on January 24, Northeast electrified the Tiger fanbase with a last-second win over rival Itawamba Community College 75-74 on January 31 in front of a packed Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
On the gridiron, Ricky Smither’s Tigers continued to be competitive and battled for a spot in the MACJC State Playoffs.
During the 2012-13 season, Smither’s troops posted a 3-6 record and picked up all thre victories on the road with wins over Jones County Junior College 30-21 in Ellisville, Coahoma Community College 21-17 in Clarksdale and Mississippi Delta Community College 24-3 in Moorhead.
At the end of the season, a pair of Tigers was named All-Americans by the NJCAA. Belmont’s Jonathan Harrison, the Tiger punter, was the first Tiger football player to receive first-team All-American status since running back Jerry King was selected as a first-team All-American in 1956 and defensive end Lavon Hooks of Atlanta, Georgia was named an honorable selection All-American at the culmination of the season as well.
Eight Tigers signed scholarship offers at the end of the season including Donnell Chapman of Batesville who signed with Missouri Southern State University, Jay Jones of Horn Lake who signed with the University of South Alabama, Nick Thomason of Muscle Shoals, Alabama who signed with Louisiana Technical University, Jonathan Braddock of Ripley who signed with Southeastern Louisiana, J.R. White of Muscle Shoals, Alabama who signed with the University of North Alabama and Harrison who inked with the University of Central Alabama.
Logan Stokes of Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Hooks both signed with schools in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as Stokes agreed to become a Louisiana State University Tiger and Hooks headed to the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
Under the direction of first-year head golf coach Nick Coln, the Tiger golf team wrapped up its 2012-13 season at the MACJC State Golf Tournament at Dixie Golf Course in Laurel.
Northeast finished the tournament in ninth place after posting a 321 on the first day and rallied for a 314 on the second day of competition.
Corinth’s Blake Farris came on strong for the Tigers during the second MACJC tour stop of the year as the first-year Tiger golfer carded a two-day 160 to finish in a tie for eleventh overall after the two day event.
Under the direction of first-year cheerleading coach Karri Davis, the Northeast cheerleading squad continued to provide positive support for the Tiger and Lady Tiger athletic teams whether it was on the gridiron or the hardwood, the Northeast cheerleaders continued to applaud the efforts of the Northeast athletic teams through the entire season.
During the 2012-13 academic year, Northeast’s athletics witnessed five student-athletes be given academic awards by the National Junior Colleges Athletic Association (NJCAA) with Kent Farris’ baseball team leading the way with three selections.
Booneville’s Kyle Stephenson, Oxford’s Hunt Halford and DeSoto County native Dalton Sims were each awarded for their academic prowess in addition to their work on the field. A pair of Lady Tigers also picked up academic awards from the NJCAA during the 2012-13 school year with New Albany’s Ellen Tarrant, an infielder on the Lady Tiger softball team and Kossuth’s Katie Garvin, a guard on the Lady Tiger basketball team each being honored for their work in the classroom.
2011-12 Athletic Year
Northeast Mississippi Community College athletics continued to prove that it was one of the best athletic programs in not just the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior College (MACJC) but in the nation as well. From the softball diamond, to the football gridiron to the basketball hardwood, Northeast's athletic programs were continually ranked by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as one of the best in the nation.
Leading the way during the 2011-12 season was the Lady Tiger softball team that brought back a MACJC state runner-up trophy to Booneville. Under the guidance of head coach Jody Long, Northeast finished the season with a 32-19 record and posted a school-record for North Division wins with 17. During the course of the 2011-12 season, Northeast finished as the third team from the North Division but parlayed that finish into a state runner-up finish against Jones County at the MACJC State Tournament in Fulton and then continued its postseason momentum as Northeast was one of the last three teams left standing at the NJCAA Region XXIII Tournament in Clinton.
Long's Lady Tigers not only did work on the field but were successful in the classroom as well with seven member of the Northeast softball team being selected for NJCAA Student-Athlete Academic Awards and the team as a whole was honored by the NJCAA for its academic work when the Lady Tigers were ranked as the thirteenth best team in the nation with a 3.42 overall grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.
Northeast's highlight of the year came during it annual StrikeOut Cancer doubleheader that saw redshirt freshman Jaisa Fox (Cincinnati, Ohio) throw a perfect game against Mississippi Delta and freshman pitcher Erin Dixson (Amherst, New York) followed up with a no-hitter in the nightcap. For her effort, Fox was named the NJCAA Pitcher of the Week and by the end of the season, Northeast was receiving votes in the NJCAA Top 20 Softball Poll.
On the heels of the softball team's success, Ricky Smither's football team turned in a 6-4 record while playing one of the toughest schedules in the MACJC. During the course of the 2011 season, Northeast faced off against three teams that were ranked during the season including the eventual NJCAA national and MACJC state champion East Mississippi, sixth-place Mississippi Gulf Coast and NorthwestMississippi. After starting the season strong, Smither and crew were ranked as high as twelfth in the country during the October 4, 2011 NJCAA Top 20 football poll and capitalized on that 5-0 start to a place in the MACJC State Football Playoffs. Northeast carried South Division winner Mississippi Gulf Coast too overtime before falling on the Bulldogs' home field 20-17. With the football team's success, Northeast athletes were also selected for individual honors by the NJCAA.
Deion Belue, a corner back from Tuscumbia, Ala., was named an NJCAA honorable mention All-American while Frankie Lee, a defensive back from Charleston, was picked as the NJCAA Player of the Week when the Tigers knocked off Northwest Mississippi in Senatobia behind Lee's three interceptions.
Under first-year head coach Brian Alexander, the Lady Tiger basketball team finished 9-15 overall but qualified for the MACJC State Basketball Tournament in Fulton with a dramatic 104-102 overtime win against Mississippi Delta on Sophomore Night at Bonner Arnold Coliseum in Booneville. Led by sophomore Anna Brooke Page of Belmont and Amber Jackson of Tupelo, the Northeast Lady Tiger basketball team adapted to Alexander's style of play and ended up giving Copiah-Lincoln a run during the first round of the MACJC State Tournament before falling 76-63 to the Lady Wolves. Under Page and Jackson's leadership, the Lady Tigers not only became a force on the hardwood but also became stewards in the classroom as well with Page and Bree Harris of New Site being selected for NJCAA Student-Athlete Academic Awards at the end of the season.
In addition the NJCAA Student-Athlete Academic Awards, a handful of Lady Tigers were also members of the Iota Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Page and Jackson signed to play on the four-year level at Blue Mountain College and William Carey University, respectively.
Under Kent Farris, Northeast's baseball team once again advanced to the MACJC State Baseball Playoffs after knocking off rival Itawamba during a Sophomore Day doubleheader at Harold T. White Field in Booneville.
After falling behind 8-0 to the Indians, Northeast responded with 18 unanswered runs over its next four at bats in run-ruling Itawamba 18-8 in six innings. The 10-run win on Wednesday, April 25 springboarded the Tigers into the MACJC State Baseball Playoffs where the Tigers played a marathon game one against Mississippi Gulf Coast that ended at 1 a.m. at Biloxi High School after the best-of-three series was moved to Biloxi due to inclement weather.
On the year, Northeast finished 18-28 but 13-10 in the North Division and was the fourth seed from the division while eight Tigers went on to sign four-year scholarships. Taylor Bonifacio (Hurley), Daymon Eriksen (Grand Prairie, Texas), Morgan McCarley (Vina, Ala.) and Eric Wilson (Southaven) each signed with the University of North Alabama while Beau Cummings (Myrtle), Corey Smith (New Albany) and Trae Allison (Hernando) all agreed to become Toppers at Blue Mountain College. Blake Littlejohn of Pontotoc signed to play for the Majors at Millsaps College in Jackson.
Under David Robbins, Northeast men's basketball team started the season strong and posted a 7-1 mark at the Christmas holiday break and carried a 10-2 overall record into the January 18, 2012 NJCAA Top 20 poll where the Tigers were ranked thirteenth in the nation. Northeast continued to build on its early success and finished the year with a 14-9 mark and tied for fourth in the North Division but lost out on a tiebreaker with Itawamba for a spot in the MACJC State Basketball Tournament. However, the Tigers did have three players selected to the MACJC All-State team with Acie Vance (Ripley), Lavon Hooks (Atlanta, Georgia) and Jermaine Hollimon (Memphis, Tenn.) all being selected for postseason accolades. Vance was the North Division's leading scorer with 16.9 points per game and finished second in the MACJC while Hooks led the North Division and the MACJC with 8.6 rebounds per game. Hollimon and Cedric Janes of Dyersburg, Tenn., were also selected to play in the MACJC North-South All-Star game inDecatur.
Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Lynn Smither; the Tiger and Lady Tiger tennis teams saw a variety of success. In just her second match as tennis coach, Smither helped both the Tigers and Lady Tigers sweep nationally-ranked Hinds in Raymond and set the tone for the rest of the season.
Northeast's Lady Tiger tennis team finished with a 5-8 overall mark but advanced deep in the MACJC State Tennis Championships in Tupelo thanks to momentum from the last three matches of the regular season. Northeast finished the regular season with a three-match winning streak dispatching Holmes twice and East Central in a10-day span.
On the men's side of the nets, Northeast's Tiger tennis team posted a 3-10 overall record but came within one point of winning three other matches on the year dropping 5-4 decisions to Holmes, Copiah-Lincoln and nationally-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast. During the season, the Tigers helped secure the sweep of nationally-ranked Hinds early in the year and completed the season sweep ofEast Central with 6-3, 8-1 decisions over the Warriors.
Under first year head coach Mike Anderson, Northeast's golf team recorded its highest finish of the year when it mattered the most. Northeast finished fifth at the NJCAA Region XXIII Tournament at Big Oaks in Tupelo -- an event the Tigers hosted.
During the 2012 season, the Tigers started and capped their seasons with fifth place finishes – their best finishes of the year.
In the opening Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) tour stop of the year hosted by Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Tigers finished in a tie for fifth and in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII Golf Championships Northeast also brought home a fifth place finish.
In between the two fifth place finishes, Northeast carded a seventh place finish at the second MACJC tour stop of the year hosted by Hinds Community College, a sixth place finish at the third tour stop of the year hosted by Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Northeast also came away with a seventh place finish at the fourth tour stop of the year hosted by East Mississippi Community College held at the Mississippi State University golf course and in their final regular season match, the Tigers rallied on the second day to finish sixth in the Northwest Invitational.
At Riverbirch in Amory, Northeast marked a seventh place finish in the MACJC State Golf Championships hosted by Itawamba Community College before moving on to region competition.
Under the direction of Jennifer Johnson, the 10-member Northeast cheerleading squad continued to show support for Tiger and Lady Tiger athletics and serve as an ambassador for the Northeast athletic program. From on the sidelines of a football game to the hardwood of a gymnasium, Northeast cheerleaders were on hand to cheer on the Tiger and Lady Tigers and actively engaged crowd support for the Northeast teams.
Correl Hoyle of Tiplersville was chosen as the Tiger mascot "Spirit" for the 2011-12 team and engaged the crowd. Northeast's cheerleading squad was not just limited to sporting events, Cheerleaders were a vital part of being an ambassador for Northeast athletics -- from Northeast Now, to the annual "Friends of the Tiger" golf tournament to the Booneville Christmas parade, Northeast cheerleaders were on the forefront of showing the community Northeast athletics.
2010-11 Athletic Year
Throughout the 2010-11 academic year, the Northeast athletic department continued to bring praise to the college. Whether it was on the gridiron, hardwood, diamond, tennis courts or the golf course, Northeast athletics continued to excel inside and outside of the classroom.
Ricky Smither’s Tiger football team posted the twelfth winning season in the college’s 51-year football history when Smither’s troops finished with a 5-4 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division in 2010. Northeast’s 4-2 mark in the North Division helped the Tigers finish in a tie for second place in the ultra competitive North Division.
Northeast garnered national attention during week six of the season after the Tigers were able to knock off defending MACJC State Champion East Mississippi 49-42 in a shootout in Scooba where Tiger running back Jaquise Cook (Ripley) Ran for 267 yards and four scores against the Lions. Cook was awarded the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Week honors following his week six performance.
In addition to posting the team’s first winning season since 2005, the Tiger football team also captured the attention of the national media when Northeast was included in the NJCAA National Top 20 Football Poll for the week of October 19, 2010 at No. 18 after the Tigers opened up the season 5-2.
Not to be outdone, five different Tigers were honored by the MACJC with All-State status with wide receiver Josh Jarboe (Atlanta, Ga.), defensive back Brynden Trawick (Atlanta, Ga.), linebacker Anthony Brown (Cairo, Ga.), defensive back Jeremy Spikner (Olive Branch) and offensive lineman Antonio Foster (Valdosta, Ga.) all being selected to the All-State squad. Foster continued to represent the Tigers on the NJCAA Region XXIII squad and became the first Tiger football player to garner All-American status in 30 years when the Valdosta, Georgia native was selected as an honorable mention All-American.
On the hardwood, David Robbins led the Tiger basketball team to appearances in the MACJC State Tournament and the NJCAA Region XXIII Tournament after finishing as the North Division runner-up with a 7-5 mark in the North Division and an 11-14 mark overall. The Tigers found the same opponent awaiting them in both the state and region tournaments – 19th-ranked Pearl River Community College – and the Tigers gave the Wildcats a run in the state tournament before falling in overtime 92-83.
Due to his effort on the court, sophomore point guard Tyler Pritchard (Iuka) was honored as a NJCAA Region XXIII selection after his 19-point effort against Pearl River in the Region XXIII Tournament and the Northeast sophomore was selected to play in the MACJC All-Star Basketball Game in Decatur following the season.
In women’s basketball, Ricky Ford’s longtime run as Lady Tiger head coach came to an end after 30 years when Ford stepped down following the Lady Tigers appearance in the post-season. Ford helped lead the Lady tigers to a fourth place finish in the North Division (6-6) and faced off with the MACJC 2010-11 state champion and state tournament host Copiah-Lincoln Community College in the first round of the state tournament.
After posting a 11-12 overall mark, the Lady Tigers had a pair of individuals selected for the MACJC All-North Division second team as Erin Strowder (Memphis, Tenn.) and Anna Brooke Page (Belmont) garnered individual honors.
Sophomore point guard Amber Johnson (Pine Grove) was selected to play in the MACJC All-Star Basketball Game in Decatur following the season.
Ford wrapped up his 30-year coaching career at Northeast with a 588-226 collegiate record and carries a 72.7 winning percentage overall with a 676-253 record.
On the tennis courts, Jeff Melson continued to transform the Tiger and Lady Tiger tennis teams into state and national contenders.
During the 2010 MACJC state tournament, Northeast saw its whirlwind season come to an end as the Tigers placed four matches into the semi-finals of the state tournaments and the Lady Tigers had two matches reach semi-final status with Chelsey Whitaker (Alcorn Central) reaching the finals of the state tournament.
Led by sophomores Ward Bynum, Colin Holley, Ben Ferrell, Ben Ford and Matt Murphy, the Tiger team had one of its most successful season in recent history and finished the year ranked in the top 30 by the International Tennis Association (ITA) at the end of the season.
On the links, Craig Lauderdale continued to keep the Northeast Tiger golf team in the national spotlight as Austin Holt (New Albany) continued Northeast’s streak of national tournament appearances when the Tiger sophomore qualified for the NJCAA National Golf Championships at Goosepond Colony Golf Course in Scottsboro, Ala., in May.
In 2010, a pair of Tiger linksters – Blake Hatfield (Booneville) and Brandon Robbins (Corinth) – qualified for the national event while Hatfield made a solo appearance in Northeast’s first year back in Division II competition in 2009.
During the 2007 and 2008 season, Northeast went undefeated through the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) Division III ranks and captured the Region XXIII crown and appeared in the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championship in Jamestown, NY.
Holt rallied back on the final day of the four-day national event to finish in a tie for 57th overall with a four-day 305.
On the softball diamond, Jody Long’s Lady Tigers returned to the 2010-11 MACJC State Tournament in Perkinston and gave host Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College a run in the first round of the tournament before seeing their season come to an end.
Northeast finished a 25-23 record on the softball diamond and the program sits just one win shy of the 300-win plateau since switching over to fast-pitch competition in 2011.
In 11seasons, Northeast is 299-232 and has a 137-56 record in the North Divisionheading into the 2012 campaign.
With its 25 wins during the 2010-11 season, Northeast recorded its most wins since the 2008 Lady Tiger softball team pieced together a 34-20 mark en route to a North Division championship.
On the baseball diamond, Kent Farris’ club finished the year with a 22-20 mark and was 12-12 in the North Division and came away with a season split against rival Itawamba Community College claiming a 4-2 victory in Fulton and 6-1 decision against the Indians in Booneville on April 13.
Corey Smith of New Albany and Jacob Long of Vardaman were named to the MACJC All-State first team while Trae Allison of Hernando and Will Wallis of Ripley were named to the All-State second team. Jordan Gurley of Corinth was awarded with a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region XXIII golden glove selection at third base.
Northeast’s cheerleaders made the successful transition from a co-ed squad in the 2009-10 season to a squad of 10 during the 2010-11 year under the leadership of cheerleading coach Jennifer Johnson.
2009-10 Athletic Year
Northeast’s athletic teams gave us all reasons to remember why we love and support Tiger athletes every year and the 2009-10 school year was no exception.
Head Golf Coach Craig Lauderdale’s team claimed the headlines for the college and leading the way for the Tigers were Blake Hatfield (Booneville), Daniel Singh (Haleyville, Ala.), and Brandon Robbins (Corinth). Both Hatfield and Singh were selected as Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State golf team selectees.
Hatfield, Robbins and Singh teamed up to help Lauderdale’s squad finish as state runners-up in the MACJC State Tournament as well as the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII Tournament.
Hatfield claimed the state’s overall individual title as the team was ranked as high as number 13 in both the NJCAA’s April 22 and 29 polls and had two players -- Robbins and Hatfield -- qualify for the National Tournament. Hatfield finished sixth in the national tournament earning All-American honors.
Northeast’s baseball team continued to make its mark as a premier sport for the Tigers by appearing in the MACJC State Playoffs for the third straight year. Head Coach Kent Farris’ club advanced as the third seed from the North Division and traveled to Hinds Community College to face the Eagles who was the south runner-up. Unfortunately, Northeast was unable to get by Hinds in the first-round, best-of-three series and finished the season with an overall record of 25-27.
However, Farris had a quintet of players selected to the 2010 MACJC All-State first and second teams. Sophomores Brandon Farley (Cookeville, Tenn.) and Michael Collie (Houston, Tenn.) made the first team while freshmen Ben Wallis (Ripley), Jordan Gurley (Corinth), and Blake Powell (Germantown, Tenn.) landed second team honors.
It was another successful year on the hardwood for the men’s basketball team as head coach David Robbins directed the Tigers to a third place finish in the north division. Robbins’ squad qualified for the MACJC State Tournament for the second year in a row but was knocked out in the first round by Jones County Junior College.
The season didn’t end at the state tournament however, as Northeast also qualified for the Region 23 Tournament which was held at Mississippi College in Clinton where the Tigers were matched up against the north division champs East Mississippi Community College -- a team Northeast beat in its final regular season game at Bonner Arnold Coliseum. Northeast was unable to get by the Lions and finished with an overall record of 12-11 and 7-5 in the north.
Chris Gamble (New Albany) and Terrance Allen (Ridgeland) represented the Tigers at the 2010 MACJC All-Star game while Tyler Pritchard (Iuka) and Tyrie Berry (Ripley) were MACJC All-Division selectees -- with Pritchard being first team and Berry receiving second team honors.
In its second year at Division I play, the Tiger tennis team continued to show improvement with commander-in-chief Jeff Melson at the helm. Melson continued to pave the way for the tennis program guiding his team to some key victories during the 2010 season. Those key wins included back-to-back-to-back wins verses Holmes (March 23), Pearl River (March 29) and East Central on April 1.
However, the biggest victory for Melson and company came against perennial power Pearl River Community College on March 29, where the Tigers brought out the brooms against the Wildcats.
The women’s tennis team clinched a winning record in the regular season for the first time since 1998 finishing 5-2 overall while the men completed the season at 5-3.
On the gridiron, Northeast got one step closer to its goal of returning to their winning ways under its second-year head man Ricky Smither.
Smither’s unit may have only garnered a pair of wins during the 2009 season but, one of those victories had more weight than perhaps the whole season, when the Tigers were able to defeat their archrivals Itawamba Community College on September 10 28-21.
Northeast picked up win number two at home on September 24 verses Holmes Community College 25-10. One of the key players for Smither in 2009 was sophomore running back Jeremy Cannon (New Albany) who joined rare company by breaking the 1,000-yard rushing mark on October 24 verses Northwest Mississippi Community College. Cannon finished the season with 1,002 yards.
Smither also had other notable players on his roster which included defensive tackle John Brown (Lakeland, Fla.), who signed with the University of Tennessee Volunteers, along with defensive back/wide receiver LaDarrius Madden (Leighton, Ala.) and offensive lineman Demarkus Underwood (Tuscumbia, Ala.), who both signed with Troy University, and defensive back John Ware (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) who inked with the University of North Alabama.
The Tigers had seven players selected to the MACJC All-State football team, three players as MACJC All-Region selectees and four players to play in the 2009 MACJC All-Star Classic.
Long time women’s basketball coach Ricky Ford’s Lady Tigers struggled during the 2009-10 season finishing with an overall record of 7-13 and 5-7 in the north division. The highlight of the season came on February 8 when the Lady Tigers snapped a five-game slide by beating rival Itawamba Community College at Bonner Arnold Coliseum as the Lady Tigers came back from a halftime deficit with a 50-point second half to pull off the upset 84-67.
Sophomore Alicia Hudson (Charleston) was selected to the MACJC All-State North Division team and also participated with teammate Rumae Butler (Belmont) in the 2010 MACJC All-Star basketball game.
Coach Jody Long’s softball team got off to a slow start this past season but was able to collect some wins in the second half of the season to close out the year on a positive note. The Lady Tigers just missed the post season by falling in to the fifth spot in the final MACJC North Division standings which was the first time that has happened since making the switch to fast-pitch in 2001.
During the 2009-10 season, Northeast’s cheerleading squad wrapped up its final year as a co-ed squad when officials announced that beginning in 2010-11 the squad would be comprised of eight female student-athletes.