“Ring By Spring” By Corey Rholdon

The Mississippi College Men’s soccer team started the year off with a bang, going 8-0-1 in their first 9 matches. Then the Choctaws hit a rough path going 2-2-2, but the team has turned back to their great play winning the last two matches.

MC defeated West Florida to open up the GSC tournament on Tuesday, and now onto the semi’s to play Alabama Huntsville. Head Coach Kevin Johns says the team got back to scoring goals, and as long as they keep scoring he likes their chances in the GSC tournament.

“To have a game like 6-0 (vs. Auburn Montgomery) hopefully it puts us right back in the frame of mind of scoring goals into the conference tournament. As long as we go out and perform well, do the small things correctly, and score goals we should be fine. I said this in preseason we will defend well, if we finish our chances that we get then I like our chances in the GSC Tournament” said Johns.

Senior Elliot Rimmer knows that the Choctaws have to do the little things to win in a tough conference like the GSC. “In this conference most games are decided by one or two goals and every game is made up of thousands of little moments and decisions. It comes down to which team makes the right decision and does the little things at the right moments” Rimmer’s said.

The Choctaws got rewarded for their good play this season, as 5 players got selected to the all-conference team. Jacob Farthing and Humberto Pelaez made first team all-GSC, which Victor Bazan, Horacio Gutierrez Jr. and Elliot Rimmer made second team honors.

Success like that is not only great for the players but the program as a whole. “It is a good mark for our whole program, not just those individual players because it takes good effort and we probably had a few other guys that could have got that award. It is good to see 5 guys get it, and it’s more of a mark of our whole team in our conference. We have a really competitive team and it says something for our program going forward” Johns stated.

Humberto Pelaez is honored by the recognition but he would like to see all of his teammates make it. “I would like to have all of my teammates on the list or in the first 11. It’s an honor for me, and it’s an honor for the program.”

Rimmer knows he could not receive this honor without his teammates. “It says a lot about the guys we play with, every day we come out and it’s a battle at practice. There is not a drop off in talent anywhere on the field. When we are having our squad games, the 1st 11 vs the 2nd 11 they beat us about half the time. So I do see why it shouldn’t be more than five, we have plenty of talent on the team” Rimmer said.

Now the team is ready to win the GSC, and Elliot Rimmer says this is what the program has been building towards. “This year is the culmination of for four years of building towards this. The women’s soccer team has a saying that we adopted call a ring by spring, and I would love to finish out as conference tournament champions and get that ring” said Rimmer.

Pelaez knows the team has the talent to win the GSC but it is all about attitude and mindset. “We know we are the best team, there is no doubt about it, our coach says it all the time, and coaches from other teams say it all the time. So if we have the right attitude and we perform we will win it easily” Pelaez said.

Coach Johns does not want to put the NCAA tournament chances in anyone else’s hands but the Choctaws. “We do not want to put anything in anyone hands outside of our own. Because the top four have a shot to go to the NCAA regionals, but we just want to win it. To us it is the championship game because if we win that we move forward if we don’t we are out” Johns said.

The Choctaws are currently ranked 4th in the South NCAA Regional. If the Choctaws win on Friday against Alabama Huntsville they would play the winner of the West Alabama vs. Montevallo game for the GSC Championship.

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Freshman vs. Senior Perspective on the Men’s Soccer Team! By Madison Brown!

With only the GSC Tournament left to play, the Choctaw soccer season is coming to a close. The men’s soccer team is made up of a select group of players from around the world that work together as a family toward one common goal: victory.

Grant Falla, a freshman from Hattiesburg, Miss., is one of the newest members of the Choctaw family. Previously a varsity player for the Sacred Heart Crusaders, Falla won two state championships during his high school career with his father as head coach. After being a part of the Rush Organization, Falla came to MC to play for head coach, Kevin Johns. “It’s definitely a unique situation playing for your father, but I’ve known Coach Kevin for a while now so it wasn’t a big transition.”

The biggest transition for Falla was when he moved from 1A high school soccer to becoming a part of a Division II college team. “I had to basically start over from the beginning and work to win a spot on the team,” stated Falla.  He now practices with the “top team” and looks up to older players on the field like Bastian Busch and Humberto Pelaez. As a freshman, Falla hasn’t seen much time on the field just yet, but he plans to have a bigger presence on the field in the coming years. “Right now, I’m just going to continue to work hard, continue to fight for a spot, and get ready for next year.”

One of 13 seniors on the team is Andrew Moore from Huntsville, Ala. Thinking back to his first year at MC, he remembers the nerves of freshman year. “I didn’t know anyone coming into a new environment and a new school. I was nervous, but I just wanted to prove myself.” After four years with the Choctaws, he’s much more relaxed around the team and on the field, and, as a senior, Moore takes on a leadership role. “The best way to lead is by example, so I make sure I’m working hard at practice and making sure no one takes a day off.” There are less than 40 players on the team, so Moore’s goal is to encourage the younger players by letting them know “you’re here for a reason.”

With only a couple of games left in his college career, Moore looks to see younger players step up to fill positions that will soon be empty. He says the team has a lot of candidates and strong leaders who can easily fill those spots. He expects to see the same high level of play from the Choctaw team over the next few years, but “the next step is to have a national presence and have a well-established MC program.”

Both Falla and Moore say that the best part about being on the Choctaw soccer team is their teammates. Falla says that even though “I’ve only been on the team for a few months, I feel like I’ve known them for so long. They’re a great group of guys on and off the field.” Looking back on his last four years at MC, Moore feels the same way. “My best friends are on the team. I’ll take those memories from practice and hanging out off the field with me for the rest of my life. They’re definitely my favorite part about being on the team.”

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The Perseverance of Kaitlyn Wilson! By Damon Wright!

Adversity is present everyday in our lives, from stressing over a big test to preparing for a big game, or even just deciding to go to class at 8 a.m. Challenges are presented in multiple ways, but it is how we respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

The Lady Choctaws have battled much adversity through the 2017 season, as the team has suffered multiple injuries throughout their first 24 games and have a new head coach. Former head coach Julie Redus stepped down on Oct. 6, and new interim head coach, Holly Tupper, took her place at the helm of the volleyball team.

It has been an adjustment, but Coach Tupper has enjoyed the new leadership. “There has definitely been some adjustment, just my role with the team … but it’s been something I have enjoyed and I get to learn as I go.” Tupper said. Senior defensive specialist Madison Kimes adds on to the switch at head coach, “A lot of changes have been happening so far, but it has been really good,” she said.

Throughout all the changes as the season goes on, players and coaches look to one player that drives them to be the best person they can be, and that person is redshirt freshmen Kaitlyn Wilson. Wilson is from Tupelo, Miss., and last year was diagnosed with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease which most commonly occurs in the end of the small intestine. Wilson could not play last year because of the disease and it was a difficult process during recovery and treatment. Wilson’s strong spirit and resiliency got her through the trials and tribulations. Wilson did not expect to be back so soon from Chron’s, “It was really hard last semester just thinking that I would not come back to school, much less touch a volleyball court, so it’s been a blessing, even though it hasn’t been my best expectation to how I would be, it’s still a blessing to be back at school,” she said.

Wilson’s attitude impacts the team morals as a whole, and also inspires others to live their lives the same exact way, “She’s the sweetest, most encouraging, and strongest girl you will ever meet … A lot of people are telling her she can’t play volleyball anymore because of her disease, but she still comes out, tries her hardest, and gets everything done. It’s just really inspiring and makes you want to work hard as well,” said Kimes.

Coach Tupper also gives her thoughts on Wilson, “It’s been really impressive seeing her battle on and off the court, overcoming adversity day in and day out showing up even when she does not feel well or it’s been a bad day for her. She shows up and is a great teammate and is committed to making the team better … I’ve been really impressed with her ability to persevere. She’s showed our team what it’s like to persevere and be mentally tough,” said Tupper.

Wilson has not only been an inspiration to her team and all of MC, but she is also hoping to spread awareness to those affected by Chron’s around the world. “It means so much to spread awareness because most people don’t know what Chron’s disease is. When I heard about it, I thought it was just for old people, like, ‘I’m 18, that shouldn’t happen,’ and it just means so much to spread awareness to try and find a cure since it’s not curable yet,” said Wilson. She also has some words for those currently fighting the Chron’s right now, “Stay strong, but also share your stories because most people don’t know about it, and the best thing for awareness and for people to stay strong is to have a support group. It’s definitely good to know people who have had it for quite some time now.”

Brave, strong, joy, and kindness are just a few words Wilson’s peers used to describe her, and she truly shows that by the way she lives and the way she acts. She truly leaves a lasting impact not only on her team, but anybody that sees her as an example of strength and perseverance.

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Men’s Basketball starts Preseason Camp! By Corey Rholdon

The Mississippi College Men’s basketball team opened preseason practice this week. The Choctaws have the four returning starters, which is the most of any school in the GSC, and Head Coach Don Lofton believes this is the team that will finally give MC respect in the GSC.

Lofton has been the head coach for the Choctaws the past 13 seasons and has been on the coaching staff for the past 33. Mississippi College struggled last season, going 7-19. Nevertheless, the team is returning three of the four leading scorers from last year.

Lofton believes that the experience his players gained over the past season will pay off this year. “We have four returning starters from last season. We have more depth than we had in previous years. We have a lot of experience, and that experience has not always been good. But that experience will pay off for us this year,” Lofton said.

Junior guard Antonio Johnson says the past two years have helped build chemistry with his teammates. “Experience is going to play a huge role; we know each other, we know what we like to do and how we like to play. We know where we like to catch the ball, and things like that,” said Johnson.

Johnson led the GSC in three-point percentage last year at 44 percent. But this year he wants to grow as a defender and as a leader. “Personally, I would like to fix my defense, and become more of a leader than I was last season.” Forward Stacy Mack wants to give the young Choctaws a road to success. “I want to give advice to the young guys, make a blueprint for them. This year, I now have a voice, being in my third year, it will be a real fun year,” Mack said.

The Choctaws will work hard on their defense this preseason, as they gave up 81 points per game last year. “We have been pretty good offensively but not nearly good enough defensively. We want to emphasize everything, especially defense. We really need to improve defensively. This Gulf South Conference is really tough, so we have to worry about getting better each and every day,” Lofton said.

MC had a really tough offseason, as they worked on their mindset, and always pushing each other. Mack believes that will help push the Choctaws to a new level this season. “It’s all about the mindset, Coach Quick really taught us that no matter how heavy the weight is, you just have to have that mindset to push through. I think that will do us good during the season when everybody is tired. Are you going to basically quit or are you going to keep playing when it gets tough?” he said..

Mississippi College wants to gain respect this season, and Coach Lofton knows it is not where you start but where you finish. “The next step is to gain some respect; there are 14 basketball teams in our league and we were picked to finished 12th. I’ve learned a long time ago, that it is not where you are picked but it where you finish. Hopefully we finish a whole lot higher than 12th. We expect to and want to. Hopefully this basketball team that we have can,” Lofton said.

Mack just wants to prove the Choctaws are a good basketball team. “We really have to prove ourselves. I know how much potential we have with this team. We’ve always had great talent; now we just need to put it together. I am looking to come out first — my expectations is to be first in the polls. I want to win everything. I just want to win, I will do anything it takes to win, and I honestly put my body on the line just to try to win,” Mack said.

The Choctaws start preseason play at Embry-Riddle on Nov. 10, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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Running for Love! By Andrew Vaughn

A Facebook data science study, released last week, found that about 28 percent of married graduates attended the same college as their spouse. This will prove true for Mississippi College students Will Young and Hannah Chamberlain. The couple got engaged on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Clinton Community Nature Center.

Young had the proposal planned since this summer when he bought the ring. He even had purchased a projector and screen so that he could play a slideshow with pictures of him and Chamberlain, highlighting their relationship. Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties, and the flash drive containing the slide show malfunctioned.

Young came prepared, but the back-up flash drive also would not work. Young’s mother, who was there to take pictures, saved the day, and she had the couple watch the slideshow on her phone. Even though some of the details did not work out exactly as planned, the happy couple is now engaged. They plan to get married in the Summer of 2019, after Young finishes his undergrad degree in Biology. Chamberlain’s major is engineering.

How did this couple meet, you might ask? The couple met through competing on the Mississippi College Cross Country team. Chamberlain came to MC in 2014 from Evergreen, Colo. She had been running cross country since her freshman year of high school. Not only a runner, Chamberlain spends her time with the Equestrian Team as well. Young came to MC the next year from Nacogdoches, Texas, where he was the 1-A Texas State Champion in cross country and the two-time 1A Track State Champion in the 3200 meters and 1600 meters.

As a premier runner, Young knew he wanted to come to a school where he could contribute to the team right away. Even though they both enjoy running, the couple does not necessarily like to run together. Chamberlain said, “Well, that’s because Will is so much faster than me. My normal run would be a slow jog for him.” Young did say they will run simultaneously, but even “though we run side by side, most of the time we’ll be running at the same time, but not really with each other.”

Congratulations to Will Young and Hannah Chamberlain!

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Choctaws sit a top of the Gulf South Conference! By Andrew Vaughn

About halfway through the season, the Mississippi College Men’s Soccer Team has yet to lose a match. They are sitting at the top of the Gulf South Conference with 7 wins, 0 losses, and 1 tie. The Choctaws are making a conscious effort to take the rest of the season one game at a time. While on a 6-game win streak, it could become easy to look ahead on the schedule and underestimate other teams. This is especially dangerous in a tough conference like the Gulf South Conference. Head Coach Kevin Johns has stressed the fact to his team that they need to play hard in every remaining game. “That’s the thing with our conference; everybody — even the teams at the bottom — can beat you. There’s only a goal or two separating those teams. If you have a bad game you can end up with a loss. You’ve got to be ready to play every day.”

Even though the team is focusing on one opponent at a time, both Coach Johns and Senior Goalkeeper Humberto Pelaez have identified West Alabama as a threat to the Choctaws repeating as regular season conference champions. Pelaez, the 2016 GSC Player of the Year, knows how good West Alabama is, as they have been a tough opponent all four years he has been at MC. “Our biggest threat to repeating as Conference Champs is West Alabama because they’ve been winning the conference for the last three years. They’re the target to beat.”

Even though West Alabama has a conference loss already, if they beat MC, they could take the top spot. Coach Johns knows it will be a tough final road game. “Playing West Alabama at West Alabama is always gonna be tough. They have a loss right now, but if they beat us, we are tied, and then they’d win the head-to-head. What’s going to end up happening is whoever wins our conference is only going to win it by a half game.”

As a senior, Pelaez is doing his best to be the best leader he can by having the lines of communication between freshmen and seniors open. “This is my fourth year here, but the chemistry (this year) is quite different. When you’re a freshman you can talk to the seniors. There’s not a barrier. Being a senior you know you have more experience, but they (freshmen) know they can come to you and try to ask you for help.”

Senior Elliot Rimmer is very confident that if they Choctaws focus and play their brand of soccer, there is no one they cannot beat. “Honestly, and I’ve told the guys this, I don’t think there’s a game we’re gonna play the rest of the season that we should lose. I don’t see us losing a game if we play our style — if we play disciplined, stay motivated. I don’t see a reason that we would lose.”


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Aneta Golawska: The “Polish Princess” on the Tennis Team! By Anais Eliseeva, contributing writer

Aneta Magdalena Golawska

Birth date: July 22, 1997

Height: 5’7’’

Class: Sophomore

Birthplace: Bridgeport, Conn.

Hometown: Gdańsk, Poland


It has been a year since a cheerful blonde Polish girl, Aneta Golawska, came to Mississippi College to study Public Relations and to play for the MC tennis team. “I came here from Poland, but I was born in Bridgeport, Conn. My parents came to America in their mid-twenties, but when I was four years old, they decided to move back to Poland, their home country,” said Golawska. “I have two older sisters and one younger brother and all of us have dual citizenship.”

Golawska started playing tennis when she was 10. “By looking at my older sister Ola, I started loving tennis and wanted to play too,” she said. Also, Golawska’s dad influenced her sport choice. “He likes tennis a lot, and he always wanted to play himself but never got a chance,” she said, even though Golawska admitted that it was her sister who inspired her the most. “I always wanted to be like my sister. I admire how she is and what she does,” she said.

According to Golawska, the best thing about tennis is how it helped her grow as a person. “Tennis is an individual sport, so I learned how to rely on myself. It taught me to work hard to reach my goals. If you’re not putting in all the effort, you can’t expect anything,” she said, “It is important to put 110 percent of effort, not even 100, into what you are doing.” As she noted, she usually plays more aggressive and offensive game.

The main thing Golawska used to struggle with in tennis was her explosive character. “I would do something and then think. I would get into an argument with an opponent all the time,” she said. “If somebody asks me what’s the score, and I think he said something wrong, I am ready to fight. Sometimes it brings issues to the court.” She also used to be very negative to herself for any mistake she made during the match. Golawska gave herself a boost for the upcoming season, which is “do not talk to yourself on the court.”

Golawska plays both singles and doubles matches in tennis. “I would say I prefer singles over doubles, because I am scared of missing a ball when playing with a doubles partner. I always take the whole fault on me,” she said. “In order to become a good doubles player, it is important to be understandable for the other, because you share a part of the court. You have to be supportive and cheer each other up all the time.” During the previous season, Golawska used to play on the first position on doubles, but then she decided she would feel more comfortable playing on the second position.

As for Golawska’s hobbies outside tennis, she likes to watch Polish movies and TV series. “Watching Polish soap operas is what keeps me positive. For me, this is the main thing to do when I am not in class or in practice,” she said. “It is so ridiculous, but I still like it. It is in Polish, and it shows places where I used to walk. When I am watching it, I feel like [I’m] home.” She also likes to spend time with her friends. For example, in the spring, they used to go on trips every weekend. “That kept me busy all the time,” she said.

“It is really hard sometimes to combine studying and tennis and to have enough time for each. Nevertheless, studying is the most important thing so it is important to put as much effort in it,” said Golawska. “During the last semester I used to spend the whole night studying to keep up with the material, and because it was my first tennis season and I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was.” She also has a two-hour tennis practice five times a week as well as one-hour weight training twice a week. Nevertheless, Golawska managed to maintain a high GPA.

Golawska took a one-year break from tennis when she was around 14 years old. She said, “I didn’t play tennis at all. I’m a rather social person, and I just wanted to spend more time with friends.” However, when she went to a tennis camp after a break, she realized that tennis is what she needs to do. “I knew that hanging out with friends will not bring me anything in the future, but what actually could be my future was tennis,” said Golawska, “Tennis became the thing that kept me happy. It was my purpose and took the first position of my daily task. Also, if I didn’t play tennis, I would probably have never come here.”

The thing Golawska is thankful for the most is her family. “Family is the most important part of my life,” said Golawska, “My siblings and I are very close to each other. Also, I can always rely on my parents, because they would always support me in every situation. Now, when there is seven-hour time difference, we can contact each other any time. Even if it is three o’clock in the morning in Poland and I feel sad and I really need to hear my parents, I can call them and they would answer the phone immediately.”

Sofia Carrera, who has been Golawska’s friend for almost two years, said, “If I had to describe Aneta in a few words I would say she is lively, dynamic and kind. She is one of those people who have the gift of making others smile just by saying a few words.” She also added, “As a tennis player, I would say Aneta is a strong willed individual who tries her best every time she steps on the court, even when she screams her classic ‘Aneeeta!’ after missing an easy ball. The Polish princess [nickname given to her by the tennis team] surely is one of a kind.”

Golawska is looking forward to the upcoming tennis season in Spring. “I wish I could play as good as possible,” she said, “I assume the reason the last season was hard for me is that it was my first season.” Since then, Golawska became more experienced, and this time, she knows what she has to be ready for.

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The Mississippi College Choctaws battle the Delta State Statesmen for the Heritage Bell trophy! By Corey Rholdon

The 38th meeting of the Heritage Bell Classic will take place thus Saturday night at Roberson-Hale Stadium. The Mississippi College Choctaws and the Delta State Statesmen have been battling it out since 1935, and Okra currently have a 20-15-2 all-time series lead on the Choctaws. Although MC has been unsuccessful as of late, the players of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90 have a fond memory of the Rivalry. These alumni are excited that the rivalry is back since MC rejoined the GSC in 2014, and believe it will once again be a prodigious rivalry.

Mississippi College Dean of Students, Dr. Turcotte is one of those alumni who is excited the Choctaws and Okra are competing again. Dr. Turcotte was the placekicker for MC during the late 70’s and early 80’s. “Well I am very excited about having the rivalry back I’ve never really lost my competition and competitive nature. I am trying to get students to feel it too, but when we first started a few years ago I was going on about it and the students were like what is this guy talking about… Delta State… They don’t really have an understanding yet how deeply those of us who were athletes back a long time ago felt about this rivalry” Turcotte said.

Dr. Turcotte had some great memories of his playing days against Delta State, but two of them were better than the rest. “But I will never forget in 1982 we were playing at Delta State and one of my best friends Major Everett who was the running back on the team; who later went on to play pro football” said Turcotte. “He came off the field and they radioed down into coach and said Major is about to set an NCAA record put him back in. He went back in he rushed for around 340 yards in one game” Turcotte said.

“The other memory was when I was a senior; I was the student government president of Mississippi College and the placekicker on the football team” said Turcotte. “We played Delta State here at Mississippi College, and I hired a sky diver to put on our mascot uniform and dive out of an airplane and parachute into the middle of the football field at the beginning of the game to fire up the crowd. He ran into a tepee and changed with the real mascot. We ended up winning that game.” Turcotte said.

Athletic Director Mike Jones said the rivalry is a well-respected rivalry, and that it means a whole lot for the state of Mississippi and both of the athletic departments. “The renewal of it is great for athletics, the state and for both of our schools” Jones said. “You don’t have to tell the kids, they understand it is an instate game; 2 hours away. They are a very good athletic program, and we are trying to get back to be just like they are.”

After Mississippi College rejoined division two in 2014, all of the “old” alumni were ecstatic to bring the Heritage Bell Classic back. “The biggest thing that I’ve heard when we came back from division two was to beat Delta State! That was pretty neat, that was the first thing that all the alum said” Jones said. “All of the former players in the 70’s and 80’s have come back and they are involved. Of course they knew what that rivalry meant. I know when I was here during the 80’s coach Williams always said this is Delta State week, so it meant a great deal to us” said Jones.

Choctaws Men’s Head Basketball Coach Don Lofton played football for MC during the 70’s and he believes the rivalry will eventually gain the interest it once had. “When we were division two before it was a huge rivalry. I think now since we’ve gone back from division 3 to division 2 I think over time the rivalry will come back, and the interest from the fans will come back” Lofton said. “Over time the rivalry will be huge again. We need that, it is healthy for Mississippi College athletics. Coaches and players always look forward to playing big games. You want to coach in big games, and you want to play in big games” said Lofton.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s is was THE BIG GAME, as the Choctaws prepared for the Statesmen all year said Turcotte. “Well it’s personally because when I was a student they were our number one rival, and we prepared for them all year. It did not matter what kind of season we were having it was possible for one great team to lose to a not so great team in any given year. I did not really care if we won another game the whole year as long as we beat Delta State. It was a traditional rivalry. On the field, it was very rough and intense” said Turcotte.

Mike Jones is a happy man whenever any Choctaws team beats Delta State, and he believes that a win like this could turn the football season around. “It would be great for our football program, anytime you beat Delta State it is great for your program. Anytime you beat Delta State in anything, as an athletic director it is a great moment for me” Jones said.

The Rivalry with Delta State is not just on the playing field but the recruiting field, coach Lofton says beating Delta State helps recruiting. “In terms of recruiting it think it is huge, and in college athletics is comes down to players. Beating Delta State will gain the respect back that we need in the athletic program” said Lofton.

The Choctaws look to beat the Okra for the first time since 1993 Saturday night. MC has lost the last 5 meetings (Did not play from 1996-2013). But there is no better way to turn the season around than beating the 13th ranked Delta State Statesman at home. Go Choctaws!

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The 17th ranked MC Women’s Soccer team looks to continue its hot start as GSC play continues. By Corey Rholdon

Coach Longabaugh and his Lady Choctaws started their season on fire. The team currently has a 3-0-1 record with a tie against 13th ranked North Georgia. Longabaugh says the team has to take it one game at a time. “We have to take game by game, win it game by game. We need to win the conference to automatically qualify to get in (the NCAA tournament). I think we started off on a great foot, up in Cleveland, Tennessee, when we went up to play Rollins, who did beat us out last year to get into the national tournament. We beat them to make a point.”

After beating Rollins, the Lady Choctaws tie against number 13th ranked North Georgia and that proved the team can compete with anyone, Coach Longabaugh says. “We tied them (North Georgia) in double overtime on a neutral field, which was great because it proves we were just as good as they are. We are that kind of a program; we are a nationally competitive program.”

Junior Goalkeeper Andrea McDonald says the team needs to keep its composure, as it is a long season. “We need composure because last year we were so close, and we were so close my freshman year. Last year we made it to the conference finals and this year it’s about staying strong throughout the whole entire year.”

McDonald says the team is no longer underdogs, and since they are ranked 17th in the nation, the team will get their opponent’s best each and every match. “We are currently 17th in the nation right now, which means we have a target on our backs and we are going to keep it that way.”

Captain Katie Taylor has enjoyed seeing her teammates come together this season. “This year we are working for each other. We literally have girls doing the extra slide tackles, the extra sprints, because they know the person beside them is working just as hard. It’s been cool to watch us grow off the field and on it.”

Taylor wants the Lady Choctaws to outwork every team they face this season and be known as the hardest working team in the Gulf South Conference. “When we leave the field we want the other team to be able to say that we are the hardest working team they’ve played all year.”

Coach Longabaugh really likes his team, and he says the team has a good mix with young players and veterans. “We have a young team mixed with a little bit of older veterans; our midfield is strong, and our backline is strong.”

The Lady Choctaws go on the road this weekend to face Shorter on Friday, and Lee on Sunday. The tough road trip is a good test for MC Coach Longabaugh says as the team needs wins against tough opponents to get into the NCAA tournament. “We have to play teams like that if we want to advance into the national tournament or even the conference tournament for that matter.”

MC’s goal for the rest of the season is to keep winning games and win the GSC. “We want to win conference,” said McDonald.

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Running: It’s a sport! By Madison Brown

The Mississippi College men and women’s cross country teams are off to a great start this season. MC hosted the season opener at Choctaw Trails in the beginning of September. The men’s team claimed the No. 1 spot against 13 NCAA and NAIA schools, and the women’s team finished in second place behind Division I member, Southern Miss. Both Mississippi College cross country teams are led by some of the strongest runners in the GSC.

Senior Abbie Easter and Junior Jordan Pritchard are two leading runners for the blue and gold cross country teams. A transfer from Lake Erie in Painesville, Ohio, Pritchard led the men’s team in their season opener. He finished in third place with a time of 16:34.20. He was also named “Wright and Ferguson Athlete of the Week.” Running all four years with the Choctaws, Easter finished in the top seven for the Lady Choctaws. Overall, she finished in 17th place with a time of 16:17.79.

Easter and Pritchard both began running at an early age, but it was due to the encouragement of others that they really got into cross country. Aside from joining the soccer team in middle school, running was never on Abbie’s radar, at least until the 7th grade. “My best friend actually made me join the cross country team. That’s when I started running.” For Pritchard, running was just something his parents made him do in the 4th grade. “I’ve always been really fast, and I was always running around in the yard. So, my parents made me do track.” He didn’t start running cross country until his junior year of high school because he was focused on other sports, like basketball.

When most people think of running, they usually imagine an individual sport, but there is a team aspect to it. Easter says, “It is individualized in the sense that you’re always trying to beat your personal record, but it’s also a team in the fact that we focus a lot on running together as a pack.” She says it’s easier to run with teammates beside you who push you harder than if you were alone. Pritchard says team scoring is emphasized in cross country versus track because every team member is valuable.

Both Easter and Pritchard have individual goals for this season, too. In her last year of running with the Choctaws, Easter aims to be more of a leader. “There’s several seniors this year. We wanna leave the team in a good place.” She hopes to continue bettering her personal record and finish in the top seven to qualify for regionals.  For Pritchard in his first year at MC, he wants to have a high team finish. “Hopefully I can get all-conference and all-regional this fall.”

Finally, they decided what they enjoy most about running. Pritchard says his favorite thing is seeing his progress. “It’s just seeing where you’ve started and where you’ve come. When I first started running, I could barely run a lap, and now I can do, like, 15 miles.” For Easter, it’s the same idea, but her teammates are what makes it enjoyable.  “It’s a totally different relationship — having to put yourself through those challenges and having somebody to do that beside you.”

The men and women’s team practice together every weekday morning to prepare for their next meet. Both teams will travel to Memphis, Tenn., where they will compete in the Rhodes Invitational on Sept. 16.

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Player Profile: Joshua Robinson By Anais Eliseeva

Full name: Joshua Marcus Robinson

Birth date: April 27th, 1997

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 160 lbs

Position: Forward

Joshua Robinson came to Mississippi College from London three years ago to receive a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Business and to play for the MC soccer team, which is no less important. The quality of education as well as the quality of the soccer program were the two decisive criteria for choosing a university. Robinson was also looking at universities in the UK, Oregon, Idaho, and West Virginia. However, the final choice fell on MC.

Soccer has taken place in Robinson’s life since childhood. “Soccer is just so ingrained in the lifestyle of my country that everyone grows up playing it. I went from playing in the streets of London as a young boy, using jumpers [sweaters] for goalposts, to playing for my local Sunday League team,” he said. It is worth noting that prior to the Choctaws, Robinson semi-professionally played at Sutton United Football Club.

Besides soccer, Robinson was fond of other sports as well, which helped him to improve his skills as a soccer player. “I swam frequently and that helped with my core strength and balance, skills that go a long way in soccer. I also ran track, which of course helped my speed and endurance,” said Robinson. He also added that he mastered the art and skill of Karate and achieved First Dan [rank] Black Belt. “I’m a rather physical soccer player,” he said. “I don’t mind taking a hit and definitely don’t shy away from giving one.”

As for Robinson’s strengths as a soccer player, Robinson stands out because of his athleticism and also because he usually plays aggressive soccer. “When I have a smile on my face, I’m the most dangerous. I like to be a positive character on the field, commending my teammates when they do well and encouraging them when they mess up,” said Robinson. At the same time, he admitted that his “on-ball decision-making” may be a little quicker than it should.

According to Head Coach Kevin Johns, “Josh is a ‘Smart Proper Witty Englishman’ and, as a soccer player, he is a pacey winger who trains and works very hard for the team.”

Robinson grew up watching the English Premier League when it was emerging. “I became a fan of two players around the early 2000s: Louis Saha and Thierry Henry. I, being a Manchester United fan, had a jersey with Saha’s number on my back with Robinson instead. I hated how much I loved Henry, as he’d always score past us,” he said.

“Being a student-athlete really is a way of life,” said Robinson. He explained it as a 4-year commitment to participate in a sporting program as well as to receive a higher education. “I have the utmost respect for all my fellow student athletes, as it is more difficult than I anticipated,” said Robinson. Even though it is hard to find a lot of free time while being a student athlete, Robinson likes to spend it reading, eating, and sleeping. “Not necessarily in that order though,” he noted. Robinson also added, “I’m an avid part-time video gamer, playing Super Smash Bros — and this is a public call-out to anyone willing to get patterned!”

Robinson’s usual pregame ritual helps him do his best on the field. “Before I step onto the field I religiously talk to myself with a little mnemonic I’ve been doing for as long as I remember, SLM. It stands for ‘Soccer Lets Me,’ and I follow it with what I’m able to do and what I am grateful for,” said Robinson. This takes around a minute and then he steps on the field with his right foot first. Also, there are two songs that keep Robinson motivated, which are “Roc Boys” by Jay-Z and “Money Dance” by Rick Ross. “Every single time,” he said, “It makes me feel so grand and so knowing of my worth.”

Soccer has given Robinson countless opportunities in his life. For example, he toured Europe twice playing soccer. “I also have teammates from across the globe who have become some of my closest friends,” he said. “Ultimately, soccer has given me the opportunity to get a degree whilst playing the sport I love being in a new country, conquering unchartered territory! I’d be crazy to say no to it!”

Robinson also shared some of his life goals. Looking to the future, he is looking forward to get into pharmaceutical sales. “Whether that’s in the United States or elsewhere, I will find out. All I know is I will need to be able to keep my family close as I’m so tight with them,” he said. Currently, he does his best to focus on both contributing to the soccer team as well as maintaining a solid GPA. “This season I have two personal goals: to improve my consistency whilst playing with a smile on my face and to fight for my spot in that squad,” said Robinson.

“I’m grateful for my family, as they support me, and without them, I’d genuinely be lost,” he said. “I’m grateful to those who inspire me, whether they know it or not. I’m funnily enough grateful for my mnemonic, SLM, as it’s brought me so much joy with the thing I love. I’m grateful for my independence and stubbornness, as it was those things that got me out to America to pursue my dreams. Last of all, I’m grateful for my teammates, as they’ve been a family out here to me.”

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MC Softball “Fall Ball” Kickoff by Carlie Prescott

Following the Gulf South Conference Championship last year, the Mississippi College softball team is ready to kick off this year’s season of fall ball. Fall ball is essential to the success of this team, because it’s a time to focus on the growth of the team and to prepare for the spring season. This team will take full advantage of this time to go above and beyond the bar that was set last season with the conference championship win. Head Coach Brooke O’Hair says, “During the fall season, you are not as worried about the wins and losses as you are the development of your team.” This time is vital. With a different group of girls learning how to work collectively, fall ball is the manner in which they discover how to fuse one another’s abilities together. Freshman player Alexis Jones says, “I can’t wait until next week when we get to start full practice and see how we all gel together on the field.”

The goal each and every year, according to O’Hair, is to win the Gulf South Conference championship. “We were blessed enough to come out on top last season, but the goal is to be a consistent program,” she said. “We also want to get back to NCAA postseason play and learn from last year to advance deeper into the tournament.”

Already, O’Hair can see the qualities of the team that will be beneficial this year. “This team will have some collegiate experience in the circle. Last year, we had such an inexperienced pitching staff, but we bring back a lot of talent and girls that saw a lot of time on the field,” she said. With regards to the upcoming season, she added, “I’m looking forward to seeing how much that helps us going forward.”

Concerning her final season as a Choctaw, senior player Katherine Lee says, “I know this team is going to give everything they have to be the best in the conference again. I expect us to compete for the conference title and to advance further in the NCAA postseason because of all the talent we have on this team.” A challenge Lee addresses for this season is that the team lost four starters from last season, so it will take time to get used to playing with one another. Regardless, she believes this team still has the ability to be the best on the field.

The Lady Choctaws’ first opponent of the season is Copiah-Lincoln Community College on Sept. 30 in Clinton. Co-Lin is a good junior college program and will be a proper test to start off for the team, according to O’Hair. The toughest opponents of the season, in the eyes of the coaches, will be Co-Lin and Pearl River Community College, as well as Southern Union from Ala. O’Hair says that in recent years, each of those schools have helped the team in the recruitment process, and the team is excited to face them on the field. On Oct. 7, The Lady Choctaws are also competing against South Alabama, a Division 1 program that went 35-20 in 2017 and just missed out on a berth in the national tournament. With these teams in line, the Mississippi College softball players will have a true test of their abilities early.

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DIG, SET, SPIKE! Lady Choctaw Volleyball Team Looks Build on Last Year’s Improvements! By Andrew Vaughn

The Mississippi College Volleyball team defeated the Loyola (La.) Wolfpack this week, 3 sets to none. This marks the first time in program history the Lady Choctaws defeated the Wolfpack. The team will travel to Arkansas for the Dr. Margaret Downing Invitational, where they will finish out their non-conference schedule with matches against Grambling State, Arkansas-Monticello, Texas A&M International, and tournament host, Southern Arkansas. The Lady Choctaws will play host to Auburn Montgomery to kick off Gulf South Conference play.

With a record of 10-21, one might not instantly describe the 2016 season as successful, but it was a huge improvement for the Lady Choctaws. 2016 was the first time in five seasons that they won 10 games. It was also Julie Redus’s first year as head coach. When any coach comes to a program, especially one that has not been winning a lot, they want to change the team’s culture. That is easier said than done, but Coach Redus thinks the Lady Choctaws are on the right track. “It’s really hard to change a culture, especially with the transition to Division 2 and playing in a tough conference like the Gulf South Conference. What’s going to change our culture this year is our eight-senior squad. I’ve got eight seniors this year who are really changing the culture themselves. I’m just allowing them and leading them in the right direction. I let them take control and leave their own legacy. Culture and legacy are synonyms for us right now.”

Senior Madison Frazier would like to see more conference wins this year, as the Lady Choctaws only won three Gulf South Conference matchups. “It was great to have 10 wins,  of course, but we would hope to get a lot more conference wins this year. We had a slow start but I feel like we can still do it, for sure.” Two of those conference wins last year came against the West Georgia Wolves, who happen to be one of Frazier’s favorite opponents. “My favorite team to play against is West Georgia; we’ve beaten them twice, two years in a row. Hopefully we can do that again.”

Junior Shelby Grace Mays and her teammates have established a team goal to help get more wins this year. “Our goals are to minimize on our own errors. We think we have a lot of potential this year; we have a lot of talent. I think we really beat ourselves most of the time by our own errors. I think if we minimize our own errors offensively and defensively we will double our wins from last year.” By eliminating errors, you avoid beating yourself — this can be applied to all sports. Mays also has a personal goal she believes will help the team. “My personal goal is help the team as much as I can by minimizing on my own errors. Serving errors are big for me right now.” You can find Mays in the gym getting in extra practice on her serves, especially for opponents from Alabama. Mays, an Alabama native, looks forward to playing against other players from her home state. “Coming from Alabama I would love to whoop up on UNA or West Alabama or Huntsville. There’s a lot of pressure when I play over there, but I feel like I play better under pressure, so that helps. There’s at least one player on each of those teams that I played club (volleyball) with, so it’s always good playing against old friends.”

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MC Men’s Soccer: The Numbers Behind the Choctaws. By: Andrew Vaughn

The Mississippi College Men’s Soccer Team looks to start out the 2017 campaign on a high note as they play host to the Nova Southeastern Sharks. After an interview with Head Coach Kevin Johns and Senior Midfielder Bastian Busch, the Choctaws look to build on last year’s regular season dominance. Soccer, like all sports, can be broken down as a game of numbers. These numbers seem random and insignificant alone, but when related back to MC Men’s Soccer they are important.

15: The number of international players the Choctaws have on their roster. It is the second most in the Gulf South Conference. Coach Johns attributes the worldwide popularity and opportunities in the United States for student athletes to the amount of players who want to come to the United States, “…with soccer being the world’s game and the most popular game in the world. The game itself is played in every single country with a massive passion. In America, (soccer) it’s way down the list as far as the passion compared to other countries. And they all would love to come get an education in America. In most of those countries, you either pick university or soccer. They don’t have the opportunity to get an education and play soccer.”

12: The number of returning seniors. This depth of experienced players will help the team execute little details that can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Senior Bastian Busch highlighted some of the keys the team has been focusing on this offseason, ““This year we will focus on trying to move the ball quickly and limiting our mistakes. When games are close, it’s the first team to make a mistake that would lose the game.”

10: With 10 wins last season, Mississippi College finished the regular season with the best record and therefore the number 1 seed in the GSC Tournament. Last year was a huge improvement from 2015’s 8th place regular season finish.

9: The jersey number of last year’s scoring leader for the Choctaws: Jorge Delgado. Delgado led the Choctaws on the offensive end, with ten goals and forty-three shots. Fear not Choctaw fans, Coach Johns believes the combination of solid defense and good recruiting will pick up any slack left on the offensive end.

3: The West Alabama Tigers have won 3 straight Gulf South Conference Championships. They look to win another as the coaches of the GSC voted them to first place in the GSC Men’s Soccer Poll. Coach Johns expressed the depth in the GSC, “Our conference is not top heavy, like there’s not a team that could win the national championship. There’s five or six teams that could win the conference.”

1: The jersey number of the reigning Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Humberto Pelaez. The senior goalkeeper is also a preseason All-GSC Pick. Pelaez anchors the Choctaw defense as the one of the best players in the conference. It will make it easier on the offensive end for newcomers when you have such a reliable, experienced goalie behind you.

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Title Bound? Lady Choctaws Have Sights Set on GSC Championship in Second Year of Competition By: Josh Clark

                     “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” That’s what USA head coach Herb Brooks told his group of ragtag college hockey players in the locker room as they prepared to take on Russia in the semifinal game of the 1980 Winter Olympics. His team entered the game as the ultimate underdogs, with their roster being primarily comprised of players either fresh out of college or not good enough for professional play. Their opponent was a team that had not lost a game in the Winter Olympics in 12 years. The Russian machine was supposedly undefeatable, and it seemed as though only a miracle would help the Americans prevail. But that’s exactly what happened and the USA won, successfully giving birth to the “Miracle on Ice.”

          A great moment was born from the greatest of opportunities, and the 1980 Miracle team is immortalized in American history because of it. And though they may not become one of the greatest stories in American sports, it doesn’t downplay the great opportunity that the Mississippi College Lady Choctaws soccer team has this coming season.

          This fall, the Lady Choctaws will dive into their second season as full-time members of the Gulf South Conference, and there’s plenty of reasons to be excited for the year.

          In their first season as full-time members in the fall of 2016, MC took the GSC by storm. They turned in a 13-5-2 overall record and a 9-2-1 record in conference play. This performance was good enough to get them third place in the GSC standings and an automatic bid to the GSC Tournament. In the tournament, they almost went the distance (including an upset win in PKs against no. 2 Lee University), but fell just short in a 2-0 loss to the West Florida Argonauts in the championship.

          With the loss, MC fell just short of the NCAA Division II playoffs. West Florida earned a spot and advanced to the quarterfinals (final eight) before losing to Columbus State. The Argonauts finished eighth overall in the NCAA D-II Top 25 poll. So in other words, the Lady Choctaws fell two goals short of one of the best teams in Division II. But the past is the past and it’s time to look towards the future.

          The Lady Choctaws enter the 2017 season as one of the best teams in the GSC. MC landed third in the preseason coaches’ poll, trailing the same two teams they did in the 2016 final standings (West Florida and Lee). Though they didn’t receive any first-place votes, they earned a top spot because of their solid 2016 performance. But could this be the year that the Lady Choctaws take it one step further? It certainly seems like it could be.

          The Lady Choctaws began preseason practice on Monday, Aug. 14 here in Clinton, MS. Since then, they have played two exhibition games against LSUA and Hinds Community College. They beat Hinds by a whopping score of 12-0 and edged LSUA by a score of 1-0 thanks to a goal from junior Daisy Rodgers. The Colleyville, TX native is one of the many Lady Choctaws excited for the season.

          “We have a lot of returning talent and new talent,” Rodgers said of the 2017 squad. “Our bench is pretty stacked.”

          24 of the 41 players on the Lady Choctaw roster are returners from last season, with nine of them being presumed starters. In addition to the 24 returners, senior Caitlin Hayes and sophomore Lauren Kate Carter made the GSC Preseason All-Conference Team. Sophomore transfer Scarlett Hodges and freshman Holly Pascoe made the GSC list of Top Newcomers as well.


“We’ve been focusing very much [in the preseason] on precision in our formation and the structure of it,” Rodgers said. “Our formation we switched up a little bit this year and we’re doing well with it. It’s been an adjustment but we’re hoping to see some breakthroughs in these upcoming games.”

          And some breakthroughs will need to happen rather quickly. The Lady Choctaws opened up regular season play this past weekend in Cleveland, TN. They open up conference play on Friday afternoon at home against West Alabama, who came in just behind MC at fifth in the preseason poll.

          The Lady Choctaws will host UAH two days after their game against West Alabama. Following the two-game homestand, MC will hit the road for four straight games, two of which will be against Lee and West Florida. There’s a lot of talented opponents in a short period of time, but Rodgers and the Lady Choctaw team aren’t too worried about it.

          “We’re doing well working together,” Rodgers said.

          The Lady Choctaws will play each member of the GSC once this season, ending the year with a three-game homestand against Montevallo and Auburn-Montgomery (who are new to the conference) as well as rival Delta State.

It is looking to be a good year for MC women’s soccer, and there is reason to believe that a GSC championship could be waiting at the end of the ride.

          “Oh yeah,” Rodgers said about MC having a shot at the championship. “That’s our goal. We’ll see as the season unfolds if that goal looks more obtainable than how we see it right now. That’s our goal and it’s looking like we’re going to have a good shot at it, so that’s very exciting.”

          So even though there may not be new bleachers out at Robert P. Longabaugh Field just yet, make sure to go out there and support your Lady Choctaws this season. Chances are they will make it worth your while. Not bad for a team starting their second year in the conference.

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The Lady Choctaws Volleyball team is ready for the next step, as the team starts the season at the Capital Classic in Springfield, Ill. By Corey Rholdon

Last season the Mississippi College Volleyball team went through a culture change under Head Coach Julie Redus. That led to 7 more wins for the lady Choctaws, now the team is ready for the next step.

MC has an experienced group led by 8 seniors, and Coach Redus is excited about how the group bought in this preseason. “They are ready getting after it and buying in now. They are making sure they are changing the culture one day at a time.”

Redus says this group of seniors have been though a lot and that’s what makes this group so close. “This senior group was the first class to come in for us in our division two transition. They’ve really battled it out if I am going to be honest. They’ve went through a change of coach, completely different play of style. They have really just bonded together, and really gone through life together”.

The Lady Choctaws brought in a lot of talented freshmen this season. Those freshmen have left a good impression on their teammates. Senior’s Krista Zieschang and Kayana Mitchell have seen more and more talented players from in since they have been here. Zieschang said that it will help the program grow. “Every year there is higher level athletes that come in. Which really helps contribute to improving our program. I have seen an increase of the skill of the athletes that come in. I think the freshmen will add a lot to the team this year and help get more wins on our record.”

Mitchell is a leader on the team, and she says that she loves the freshmen “I love their attitude and mentality. We have a lot of athletes on this year’s team.” Mitchell wants to show the freshmen the ins and outs of the program. “I lead by example, and showing them how to go about practice. Helping them understand how our coaches are, because this is a new environment for them. Showing them how to be a college athlete.”

With an experience and talented group the Lady Choctaws want to take the next step, and Coach Redus says that is winning one more game. “Next step for Mississippi College Volleyball is winning one more game. That is our motto, just one more, just one more. Because in volleyball or in any sport we just need one more to keep pushing through”. Mitchell says the team goals are not only to win more games but go to the conference tournament. “It is step by step, the next step is getting more wins, and eventually getting to the conference tournament”.

Zieschange has seen a marked improvement of the team as she sees a more motivated team. “I think that there is more drive and more desire to win. There is more drive to play our best and winning to be an expectation and not to expect to lose. I’ve seen that change in culture and for the better.” Zieschange also believes in the coaching staff, which she said will bring them to the next level. “Expectations are pretty high, I think we have a really good team this year. I really think our coaching staff has what it takes to bring us to the next level; for us to do really well and be successful this season”.

The Choctaws start the season in the capital classic in Springfield, Ill. MC plays two games on Friday September 1st, and two games on Saturday September 2nd. Coach Redus expects her team to be challenged this weekend, and wants to see where her “scrappy” team is at. “I expect good tough competition that is why we are going there. We are hoping to gain a little more knowledge and find our weaker areas”.

Mitchell says the team is ready to go “Balls to the wall, we are ready to get after it, and we start the season off on a good foot.” The Choctaws look to have their first winning season since rejoining the GSC.

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The Beauty of Sociology

March 22, 2016

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Sociology may be the most interesting subject possible for intellectual study. No, studying about the id, organic solidarity, or Marxism for a three hour credit does not entail too much excitement. However, simply look at the people surrounding you at any given point of the day, analyze their interactions, and you, friend, have become a sociologist. By taking just a moment to really contemplate socializing, or the process of engaging in society as a functional member, one will quickly realize that such interactions consists of innumerable layers of intricacy and well organized mechanics.

Take, as  a common example, the school cafeteria. Most students of Mississippi College enter the cafeteria to eat at least once throughout the day. Many people walk into the caf at the same time, choose the same food, sit at the same table, talk to the same people, and finish their food at the same pace every single day. Others, however, have no such internal regulators. They eat whenever, whatever, and with whomever they like. Each case results from social “norms” which  have been subconsciously programmed within people’s minds over the course of years to act and think a certain way. Someone from Delta farmland may have grown up eating breakfast with their family at 7:30 every morning before spending the day working, and thus continue the same habit into adulthood. Someone from urban Houston, however, may have lived their entire life  eating “on the fly,” and would experience no such organization. As another example, look to the comparisons between introverts and extroverts. Some people (such as myself) love nothing more than a good book and a steaming cup of dark coffee to spend their Friday afternoon. Others could never even imagine studying in the library with less than ten of their closest friends in a room.

Each disposition, however pronounced, comes from years of very specific interactions and subsequent responses, and these personality traits affect daily life in an infinite number of ways. This process closely parallels the Butterfly Effect, which, according to the almighty Google, “is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” Essentially, one tiny stimulus can, over time, increase to have significant magnitude, given the proper circumstances. One person may have a bad experience with a friend in the first grade, and therefore come decide to hide away from all social interaction fifteen years later. Someone else, on the other hand, may feel euphoria from a teacher congratulating them for making friends in kindergarten, and thus be addicted to the same interaction once in college. Each situation is just as extreme as the other, but just as likely. Such observations make up the study of social interaction.

You may never truly understand the intricacy of daily life without a proper understanding of how you respond to certain situations, and also how others respond to similar situations. By taking such observations into account, we may flow through society with much greater ease and avoid many of the common blunders that most people face when socializing with others.

-Taylor Lemoine, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian

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The Oh Hellos Deliver with “Dear Wormwood”


March 22, 2016

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Less than a month ago, I had never heard of the Oh Hellos, but now they are one of my favorite bands to listen to. I was skeptical at first since I don’t normally gravitate towards the folk genre, but after listening to “Dear Wormwood,” their newest album, I was converted, and it’s all that I’ve listened to for the last two weeks. Musically, The Oh Hellos do an amazing job. Not only is the album very well produced, but the lyrics are extremely deep and well written. If The Oh Hellos’ are a non-Christian band, then they’re the most Christian non-Christian band that I’ve ever heard. “Dear Wormwood” is a concept album, something I personally am a sucker for, that deals with ending this horrid relationship with sin that we’ve so long held onto. The title is taken from the stage production “Dear Wormwood,” which is itself a stage adaptation of “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis.

The album starts with the beautifully orchestrated “Prelude” that gives the album a sense of epicness right from the start. It gets the listener ready to experience the rest of the album. It swells into this amazing ending before fading out on a more reserved note the sets the tone for the next song on the track.

Following “Prelude” is “Bitter Water”. This song has a very laid back, folky feel to it that I think well represents The Oh Hellos’ sound as a whole. The mandolin melody line is very fun to listen to, but the fun feel of the song misrepresents the true meaning of the lyrics. It can be very easy to miss the tension in statements like “lovely bitter water” and how that refers to our own addictive relationship with sin.

I was very close to writing that “Caesar” is my favorite track on the album. I enjoy the feel of it, and I absolutely love the lyrical work here. “Caesar” would not feel out of place in an Easter service. It talks about our coming King and how the world is waiting for His return. It calls us to wait for Him and to look for the signs of His coming because He IS coming back.

“Soldier, Poet, King” is yet another song on this album that has really deep meaning hidden beneath a fun and lively exterior. Underneath this Irish-folk sound, there’s an amazing promise that Jesus (the soldier, poet, king) is going to return to set everything in this world right again. It is an immensely hopeful idea that puts a smile on your face and joy into your heart.

“Dear Wormwood”, the title track, is my actual favorite. It has this haunting tone to it that sends chills down my spine every time that I give it a listen. This song acts as a personal message to our “wormwoods” (the demons, fears, and sins that weigh us down). The song boldly states that “I know who you are now”, “I know who I am now”, and that “I declare you my enemy”. While these may be seemingly simple ideas, in light of the Gospel and of Scripture these truths can change everything. It’s a beautiful idea that is coupled with an equally beautiful music backing.

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend this album to anybody and everybody.

-Nick Shepherd, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian

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Jones and Von Kanel Honored in Byrd Preaching Competition

March 22, 2016

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Page (right) presented Von Kanel (left) with the Byrd Preaching Award. photo by Andy Kanengiser

The Byrd Preaching Award was developed in the fall of 1996 when Dr. Howell Todd was president of Mississippi College.

According to Dr. Burn Page, chairman of the Department of Christian Studies, “The original document that characterizes David and Maude Byrd was signed by the late D. M. Nelson, former president of Mississippi College and the one for whom Nelson Hall is named.”

According to Page, the purpose of this award is  to encourage expository, biblical preaching and to memorialize the lives of David Q. Byrd, Maude May Byrd, William Ashford (Billy) Byrd and Hal Newton Byrd, all of whom are deceased.

Students who wish to participate must submit a sermon to the Christian Studies department secretary, LaJune White. “Ms. White then places a number on each manuscript and makes copies for each of the committee members who will evaluate each sermon; and then the committee selects the candidate,” Page said.

None of the committee members know the author of any sermon. Once the winner is picked, the committee gives the number to White who notifies the candidate who won.

This year’s winner was Ryan Von Kanel, a junior Christian Studies major. Von Kanel not only won $500 dollars and a certificate, but he also got to speak at Chapel on Tuesday, March 15.

“My first chapel speaking experience was very weighty and a lot of fun, and very encouraging. Anytime I am responsible for preaching God’s word it brings a certain weight with it,” Von Kanel said.

His parents were in town from Alabama to hear him speak and he used the new popular live streaming app Periscope so his family out of town could also hear his message.

“All the students who have since spoken to me have really encouraged me and confirmed to me that preaching is something God has called me to do,” Von Kanel said.

Page was also in attendance to hear Von Kanel. “He did an excellent job with the presentation of the Gospel, and I think Ryan’s preaching ministry will bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ whom he loves and preaches,” Page said.

However, Von Kanel was not the first person this year to be awarded. This year’s competition was originally won by graduate student Amy Jones. Jones was not allowed to officially be recognized because of a rule that was overlooked in the original judging.

“The guidelines listed only a requirement for a commitment to full-time church ministry. As a church musician, I believed I met that requirement. There was no mention of the requirement to be an undergraduate student,” Jones explained.

The sermon she entered was the same one she was going to use last year before she missed the deadline. Jones was understandably disappointed when this rule made it impossible for her to be given the award.

Page said he was pleased when he found out Jones was the winner because she was the first female to win.

“I did not know Amy, but Dr. Michael Johnson had indicated that some students from his Ministry class may submit a sermon, so I thought Amy was one of his students,” Page said. It wasn’t until he and Dr. Eric Pratt were discussing Jones’ availability to speak in Chapel that he was made aware that she was a graduate student.

“I was concerned because we do not offer a graduate degree in Christian Studies and Philosophy and the Byrd Award was set up in the CSP Department. We have never had a graduate student apply for the award so it never occurred to anyone to ask,” Page said.

According to Page, the criteria for entry is as follows: “Any student who is not a graduating senior who has made a commitment to the preaching ministry and has maintained an acceptable G.P.A. will be eligible for the award.”

After this mistake, Page says the department will be sure next year’s nomination forms include all the previously unclear information. Jones was also given a monetary gift equal to that of this year’s Byrd recipient which was $500.

“I deeply regret this misunderstanding, and I greatly appreciate Amy’s attitude,” Pratt said. He and Page agreed that, though she was disappointed when he called, Amy demonstrated “great grace and understanding.”

This award was important to Jones and she hoped it would have helped her in some way. “I had hoped that my appearance in chapel could inspire younger women who might also be interested in full-time ministry,” Jones said. However, she remains positive about what is to come and noted that “Ryan’s sermon was excellent, and I admire that he won over even the people who normally complain about chapel! I understand that it’s a difficult situation, and I am sincerely sorry that all of this happened. Certainly, I would never have entered if I could have known it might inconvenience anyone. Thankfully, I did learn that same week that I placed first in the Arrowhead, so my family looks forward to reading that in lieu of seeing me in chapel,” Jones said.

-Ayanna Bloom, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian


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New BSU Leaders Expect Great Things

March 22, 2016

(from left) Mandy Phillips, Emily Greer, Travis Pollard, Anna Widner and Jarrett Frierson ministered in Mass. over Spring Break

 The Baptist Student Union has experienced changes in leadership this semester with both a new Director and Associate Director. In January, former Associate Director Mandy Phillips was officially named Director. Then, on Feb. 22, MC graduate Ryan Bain worked his first day as the associate director.  

Phillips had previously served as Associate Director beginning in October 2014 until her time as the interim Director from October 2015 until January 2016. Phillips has had a 16-year-long career in collegiate ministry that has had her crisscrossing the country. Before returning to her home state of Mississippi to work at MC, Phillips worked in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Louisiana.

Phillips’ first exposure to college ministry came right after she finished her bachelor’s degree at William Carey University in Hattiesburg. She was the associate director for their BSU for a year before going to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to get her Masters of Divinity degree. While there, she ministered to nursing and medical students.

When she graduated from seminary, Phillips moved to Providence, R.I. There, she was a North American Missions Board missionary and worked on staff at a church plant. She said she was able to make many campus relationships with students at Brown University. She recalled helping one particular student become a Christian, which was a difficult thing because of the anti-Christian nature of the school.

From there, Phillips was recommended by a mentor for a job at Louisiana State University. She served for five years at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry there. And then, in 2011, she was recommended for the associate director position at the University of Tennessee.

In 2013 Phillips got engaged. Her fiancé was working in Pennsylvania at the time, so she moved there and got a job at Penn State.

In 2014, Phillips and her husband were “sensing that God was doing something, about to move us, but we didn’t know why.” They ended up moving back to Mississippi, where Phillips applied to the BSU position at Mississippi College that had opened up right about the time they moved. She went to her first interview, and about three hours later, checked into the hospital for the birth of their son.

Phillips said the students she’s encountered at Mississippi College have been different in several ways from the ones she’s ministered to at other schools. “I’ve seen some of the strongest leaders here,” she said. Also, she’s noticed “some of the most willing servants I’ve ever seen. They understand no task is too small and somebody has to set up sound and lug water coolers and somehow that can point to the glory of God.”

Some people have said to Phillips, “You realized you’ve worked with some of the best ministries in the country.” She responds, That’s only the Lord.”

Ryan Bain brings another unique set of experiences to his new position as the Associate BSU Director. He graduated with a bachelors in Christian Studies from Mississippi College in 2014. After graduating, he interned at the Louisiana State University’s Shreveport campus BSU. He then began seminary at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tenn. Bain also interned at the BSU at Northwest Mississippi Community College for a semester.  After his first semester there, Bain made the move back to MC, and will continue to serve here while taking seminary classes online.

-Will Hawks, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian

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