The 2023-2024 fall sports season winds down this week with the Football State Champions being crowned in Oxford beginning on Thursday. While the Southern Six will have to wait until next season to seek a football championship, other fall sports have brought gold back to the area. OLA got things going with another volleyball championship as their dynasty continues and St. Patrick’s boys’ cross-country team took home top honors as well. The Irish Jack Hewes brought home individual honors as the 3A boys’ champion leading the team, which finished with 6 runners in the top 10. Joseph Ross, Tristen Davis, and Fischer Winters finished 2, 3, and 4 while teammates Luke Meyers and Andrew Williams finished 8th and 9th respectively. In 5A, Gracie Brewer finished 3rd for the East Central Lady Hornets while Aaron Villa finished 4th representing Gautier on the boys’ side. In 1A, Luciano Rodriguez had a top-5 finish for Resurrection.
Several teams had top 5 finishes in each of the 7 classifications. In 7A, Ocean Springs boys and girls had top 5 finishes while both teams from Pascagoula did the same in 6A. In 5A, Gautier’s boys and girls finished in the top 5 as well as the Vancleave girls. St. Patrick’s girls just missed joining their boy’s squad atop the podium and finished runner-up in 3A, while Resurrection’s boys team came home with the team silver medals as well.
For the first time, the Mississippi High School Activities Association moved golf to the fall and several girls’ teams in the Southern Six took full advantage by bringing home gold. Hancock(6A), East Central(5A), and OLA (Class 1) all brought home team titles. Ocean Springs finished runner-up in 7A, while West Harrison finished just behind Hancock in 6A. St. Patrick’s girls team finished 3rd in the Class 1 division. On the boys’ side, 7th grader Rowdy Foster of Hancock became the youngest male golfer to win individual medalist honors claiming the 6A crown while he and his teammates finished runner-up in the 6A class. Gautier, looking for another state title came up just short in 5A claiming the runner-up spot as did the St. Patrick boys’ team in 3A.
The sports calendar has shifted its focus to basketball and soccer and the Mississippi Association of Coaches announced their all-stars last week. The Southern Six is well represented on both the boys’ and girls’ South Squads. The South boys’ squad will be led by Coach Cooper Kimbrell and his Assistant Coach Steven Datsis of Gautier. Over half the team, 10 of the 16 selected, are from South Mississippi. Tripp Alexander and Drew Corbin will represent Gulfport while Will Berglind and Zach Howard will represent Ocean Springs. Dorian Robinson of Biloxi and Darius Pyron of D’Iberville round out the 7A representation. Alexander Mink (Long Beach), Bryton Dupuy (Bay), Mateen Kellum (St. Stanislaus), and Iain Cumbest (Resurrection) round out the coast contingent.
On the girls’ side, 9 ladies representing 8 different schools, will be a part of the South Squad. Ocean Springs will have 2 Lady Greyhounds suiting up as Laurel Cooley and Parker St. Amant were selected along with Biloxi’s Halley Moore, and Gulfport’s Kate Ackerman from 7A. George County’s AnnaMarie Edwards, West Harrison’s Abbie Hancock, and Hancock’s Josie Smith represent 6A schools. Jennifer Lopez (Gautier) and Lind Mustered (St. Patrick) round out Head Coach Carli Little’s squad.