BOONEVILLE, Miss. - Six highly regarded student-athletes have garnered Northeast Mississippi Community College's most distinguished prize.
Northeast has selected the recipients for its Tiger Awards, which are given annually to one player from each sports program that portrays good sportsmanship and other admirable characteristics throughout the school year.
Jake Christa was dominant on the mound for the baseball team. He compiled an 11-5 record with six complete games plus a save in 22 total outings over two seasons as the right-handed ace of the Tigers' pitching staff.
The Madison (Ala.) Academy alumnus went 5-2 with a solid 3.07 earned run average (ERA) and 46 strikeouts compared to only eight walks this spring. He will play the next two years at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).
Christa excelled in the classroom as well. He was one of three Northeast athletes to receive National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Academic First-Team laurels for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA).
"He's a really high character individual," said Tigers head coach Richy Harrelson. "He's a great student. I don't know that he ever missed or was late for a class. He did everything that was asked of him."
Terrance Edgeston was a force at linebacker for Northeast's football program. He was the top tackler in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) with 10.4 stops per game.
The University of Houston (Texas) signee tallied 94 total takedowns during his sophomore campaign. He added 12.5 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks plus an interception against Jones College.
The Falkner High School graduate was a NJCAA All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State honoree this season. He accumulated double-digit stops four times and set a career-high with 15 tackles versus Mississippi Delta Community College.
"Terrance is going to scrape and make plays," Tigers headman Greg Davis said. "He's a phenomenal football player. He does a great job in pass coverage and stepping up for the run. We're obviously going to miss him."
There may have been five players on the men's basketball roster that were taller than Antares Gwyn, but his sensational leaping abilities allowed him to become Northeast's leading rebounder for the second straight campaign.
The Corinth native averaged 8.9 boards during his two-year tenure with the Tigers. He grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds in Northeast's triumph over Arkansas Baptist College last November inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
He was the individual state rebounding champion during the 2017-18 campaign with 9.4 boards per contest. Gwyn will continue his career on the hardwood at Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College.
"Antares did a tremendous job both on the floor and then off the floor just representing us in the right way," said Tigers head coach Cord Wright. "Academically, he did well in the classroom and he helped us win for two consecutive seasons."
Ripley's Dayzsha Rogan placed among the top three in every major statistical category with the exception of blocks during her final season with the Northeast women's basketball team.
Rogan posted 19.1 points per game, which ranked second in the MACJC and tied for 17th in the country. She also had team-best averages of 33.7 minutes, five assists and 4.1 steals with a stellar field goal percentage of 43.9.
She scored a career-high 31 points to lift the Lady Tigers to a marquee victory over then-No. 4 and previously unbeaten Shelton State (Ala.) Community College. Rogan has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with Jackson State University.
"Dayzsha has a passion for the game of basketball," Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes said. "She is driven to be the best she can be. Her work ethic and determination are the qualities that made her our selection."
Sophomore Shelby Smith is the Tiger Award winner for the cheerleading squad. She and her teammates appeared at approximately 30 events between football and basketball seasons.
The Tuscumbia, Ala., product was part of a school-record 20-member unit that provided support during pep rallies and game days in both the fall and spring semesters at Northeast.
"Shelby has an energy that's contagious," said Northeast head coach Chasity Moore. "She loves cheer and teaching others her sport. She was a huge asset to our team. She will be missed."
Lizzy Van Manen of Pella, Iowa, was the Diamond Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NJCAA Division II Catcher of the Year. She also secured first-team All-American accolades from the NFCA.
Van Manen, who is Northeast's 21st softball All-American, broke the program records for most hits in a career with 122 and in a single season at 79. She led the Magnolia State with a .462 batting average and tied for fourth with 13 home runs.
She was named to the NFCA All-South Region, NJCAA All-Region 23 and the MACJC All-State listings as well. Van Manen inked a scholarship to extend her playing days at Jacksonville State (Ala.) University.
"Lizzy's a leader in the locker room and on the field," Tigers headman Jody Long said. "She came in here with aspirations and she was able to work and obtain those goals. She put in countless hours improving her game on her own. Lizzy did not quit until the end."
The Tiger Award is sponsored each year by the Northeast Alumni Association. It has been a staple of the athletic department since the beginning of the institution in the late 1940s.