For the next two weeks, The Genuine Article will honor some of the recent area graduated student/athletes with the 2014-15 Who’s Who…
Logan Stewart & Taylor Hobson
This category is my equivalent of my Most Attractive. Usually the winners here are attractive people. In the Class of 2015, Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s Logan Stewart and Munford’s Taylor Hobson add to the list. They are good looking people. The addition meaning to this superlative is looking good at what you play. Hobson was a key contributor to Lady Cougar Volleyball and Softball over the years. Her skills improved on the court but in softball she had a cannon all over the infield.
At first base, Hobson was a vacuum snagging all throws coming her way. She made a few plays at first base and third base that made my eyes pop.
Stewart made his sure of great plays at first base for the Rebels. And in basketball he made three-pointers, hit shots over 6’5 opponents and block shots from out of nowhere.
Stewart made several headlines on the gridiron. He scored 6 touchdowns this years from the defensive side. Stewart always did things on the field or court in a smooth matter. Hobson on the other hand is known to flash a smile if she spots the camera during a break.
Most School Spirit
Austin Chapman & Katie Dupree
I love an athlete who supports his or her fellow athletes in their sports. They could be home doing homework or navigating their phone’s apps. But Brighton’s Austin Chapman and Millington’s Katie Dupree would often pop up to more games than me. Always in school colors (sometimes body paint), this duo organized chants and got cheer sections together.
Chapman was a great place kicker for the football team and leader of the best team in Brighton Soccer history this past season. Dupree was the glue for the Lady Trojans’ infield in softball. And she took on multiple roles for the volleyball team at Millington.
Chapman and Dupree are great leaders in the field of play or on the sideline. Both would travel for their schools. I even spotted Dupree in the frozen temperatures of Paris, Tenn., for the Trojan Football game.
Julian Daughtry & Kierra Richardson
These two looked good on the court. Both Munford’s Kierra Richardson and Millington’s Julian Daughtry could have an outburst of points. But Richardson and Daughtry proved time and time again they make the best basketball play for their teams. While shooting, passing and playing defense, both looked stylish. Then when the games were over, both players had an unique appearance. Richardson looks like a hip-hop model with her jeans and coordinated shoes and shirt.
Richardson brought the Richardson Reign to a solid and stylish conclusion. Coming from a basketball family, the youngest of four children, Kierra seem to have the skill set of her sister and two big brothers. I guess those times they beat Kierra up on the court paid off with her development.
Julian followed in the footsteps of his big sister Alex wearing the black and gold. And like her, they both have a style that pops out in a crowd. What separated Julian were two things. He sported fresh shoes like Kd’s and his hairstyle. His signature cut took over the team, a tapped fade with an exploding afro. Also known as ‘The Daughtry.’
Most Likely to Succeed
Brytain Peddy & Avis Van Kampen
Signing a scholarship helps you get named Most Likely to Succeed. But as I interview our numerous signees each year, you can evaluate their support system, the child’s mindset to his or her sport and examine the situation he or she is heading to. Brighton’s Avis Van Kampen and Munford’s Brytain Peddy have bright futures ahead of them. Peddy is heading to Memphis Football with the size, strength and pedigree to make an impact over the next few years. Plus the Tigers winning 10 games last year, Peddy will only beef up the line. He’s a smart young man and has a real passion for the game.
Van Kampen has passion for soccer. She heading to Freed Hardeman University next year and will be an all-out player like she was for the Lady Cardinals. Van Kampen was not only the leading score for Brighton but was an emotion spark plug for the championship squad in 2014. Finishing in the top 10 of her class, Van Kampen will do special things on and off the field up the road.
Josh Taylor & Lindsey Harris
Some people’s name keeps popping up in my e-mail, Facebook account, phone and other forms of communication. They keep doing good things worthy of news print. Millington’s Josh Taylor and Lindsey Harris have a resume’ that will take up a few pages in The Millington Star. Both MCHS Hall of Famers are National Honor Society members, award winners from local businesses, young community leaders and much, much more.
Taylor spent falls playing football for the Trojans at linebacker, defensive line and offensive line. He is a strong jock bucking the stereotype of the dumb lineman. He finished in the top 12 of his class and was named the first MCHS Student of the Year by Trustmark Bank.
Harris has been recognized by the Optimist Club. He managed to finish No. 13 in the class while joggling a volleyball and basketball schedule.
Best Overall student-athletes could have easily been named in other category. Taylor and Harris are well-rounded athletes and people. I learned that the day Taylor was the DJ for Spring Fling at Millington and Harris was running errands left and right for various teachers, faculty members and administrators. What a trustworthy, intelligent and down-to-earth duo.
Artavius Thomas & Bethany Berger
Every year I ask myself one question for this category. ‘Thomas, who would you actually pay to watch play?’ The first girl’s name to come to mind was TRA’s Bethany ‘Cheese’ Berger. Before my mind could finish saying Cheessseee, Millington’s Artavius Thomas leaped into my brain for the boys. Thomas was like an erupting volcano this year. His talent and potential was bubbling underneath the mountain folks like coaches Chris Michael and Johnathan Edwards would see. Thomas finally exploded on the scene in football and track in 2014-15. He was named to the All-District team in two positions (returner and defensive back). Michaels had to also employ Thomas as running back, wide receiver and even quarterback helping Millington reach the playoffs.
Then in track, Thomas reached the State Tournament in the Long and Triple jumps bringing back a medal in the triple.
Berger knows all about success in Murfreesboro too. In 2014 she was a key member of the TRA Lady Rebel Softball State championship squad. She played great middle infield and batted toward the top of the lineup for coaches Joe Layton and Johnie Sanfratello.
Softball wasn’t Berger’s only sport. Oh did she ever stay busy once she walked onto the TRA campus back in 2012. Berger also played volleyball and basketball. Her gifts of intelligence, court awareness and pure ahtleticism made her a coach on the floor in both sports.
And you never knew when Bethany Berger was going to make a play that made you break the first rule of press row…no cheering. She’s made me cheer inside many times.
Most Likely to be a Comic
Gil Erwin & Lindsey Owen
We conclude the first half of the Who’s Who with a pair who have brought many smiles to my days and nights. TRA’s Gil Erwin and Munford’s Lindsey Owen are simply funny. They bring joy to any situation. Owen has a priceless smile and makes one heck of a goofy face. I have her Fathead in my office greeting me daily. Whenever I’m sick, stressed or simply down, Lindsey is right there reminding me I’m her No. 1 fan.
I knew Owen and I would be friends one day on the golf course a few years ago. She and her little sister informed me in front of their grandfather they saw me on Facebook with my shirt on. They gave me a few comment that had me blushing and laughing. Granddad simply said, ‘That’s what you get when you put up a picture that got my grandgirls looking.’ Over the years, Lindsey reminded me of that moment at the softball field or basketball court. Now she’s heading to Christian Brothers University for basketball. If I show up to a game, I’m sure she’ll remind me again.
Erwin is also heading to the CBU campus this fall. He’ll be playing baseball for the Bucs. During his time at TRA Erwin became one of the best pitchers ever, played some solid outfield defense and even spent a few moments on the hardwood.
But one of Erwin’s lasting impacts at TRA will be his sense of humor. He was willing to use his body for a good joke. He would even have a timely joke to break the tension in the dugout. And his love of life and sports spread to his teammates and even this reporter. But just know, no one is safe from a Gil Erwin joke. I’ve been the subject of a couple. Usually I’m referred to as the guy who is coming just to see Gil Erwin play.
Look in next week’s edition for the conclusion of the Class of 2015 Who’s Who.