From Hollywood to A.E Wood, Kendall Platt’s Star Keeps Getting Brighter. By Corey Rholdon, Sports Editor

The Mississippi College volleyball team has a new phenom from Hollywood. Freshman Kendall Platt has made an immediate impact for the Lady Choctaws, breaking a school record with 23 kills against Southern Arkansas and being the first MC volleyball player to be named GSC Freshmen of the Week since rejoining the GSC in 2014.

Platt has been vital part of Mississippi College’s success this season, and Lady Choctaws Head Coach Shawna Laurendine believes the best has yet to come. “I believe that record will be broken by her again. Kendall has done a great job for us; she is our 6th rotation outside, so she does not come off the floor,” said Laurendine.

Coach Laurendine knows how talented of a freshmen Platt is and tries to use her strengths to the best of her advantage. “Kendall brings a lot to us, she reads the court well, reads her opponents well, and she is a good size block for an outside hitter, which is rare” Laurendine said.

It’s not just the coaches who are impressed by Platt’s talents but the players also trust her to make plays. “In our offense, Kendall gets a lot of swings, and it’s because our setters trust her. We trust that she can put the ball away, and she has proven that she can do so,” said Laurendine.

Platt is from Anaheim, Calif., but the hospitality from Mississippi College has made her feel right at home. “It has definitely has been a big switch. Southern California is completely different from Mississippi, but it has been a lot of fun getting to know people here and getting to experience everything Mississippi has to offer. Everyone is so nice, caring and seems really genuine,” Platt said.

Southern California, unlike Mississippi, does not have rain often, and Platt says that she has enjoyed the rain the most. “The one big thing for me is the weather. It never rains in Southern California, so I absolutely love the rain. I ran through it the other day. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of fun,” said Platt.

Platt has been making it rain on the court, leading the team with 137 kills, including 23 against Southern Arkansas that broke a school record. “Kendall was on fire that day. The two matches before that, I believe she tied the school record with 20 kills. Her attempts doubled anybody else’s just because we keep feeding her the ball. She was in a different place and very in-tune that day” said Laurendine.

Coach Laurendine is just as impressed by Platt’s play off the court as on. “She is pretty low-maintenance. Kendall is a kid that comes to practice, goes to the cafeteria, and goes to class. She hangs out in her room or with her teammates. Kendall does not have to be doing something all the time. She is pretty chill,” Laurendine said.

Mississippi College will continue to need Platt to have outstanding performances, as GSC season is starting to heat up. The team is currently 5-6, and plays the number 10 team in the country, West Florida, this Friday in Clinton.

 

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Strong Out the Gates By: Damon Wright

There is just something about spring time that gets everybody in a good mood. Whether it be the changing of the weather, the exciting feeling of spring break, or even all the midterms we will all do great on (okay, maybe not those). One thing is for certain though: Choctaw spring sports have started, and they have started hot. The baseball team is currently 10-2, the softball team is currently on a two-game winning streak, and the men’s and women’s tennis teams are off to 4-2 and 7-0 respectively.

 

The tennis team’s strong start can be attributed to the strong play of senior leaders on the teams, strong recruiting classes, and improvements from both 2017 squads. On the men’s side, senior captain Sanders Barrick talks about the mental fortitude of the team that has carried them throughout this hot start: “It’s more mentally, we have a bunch of seniors on our team; we have the skills and the seniors and just mentally being prepared and going out on the court and thinking we can win the match every time we are out there is a big thing for us,” said Barrick.

 

The GSC is strong in tennis, holding three nationally ranked teams in West Florida (#1), Valdosta State (#5), and Auburn-Montgomery (#22), but Barrick’s expectations and goals remain high: “We have a great conference in tennis and I think making it to the semifinals or finals in the conference would be a great achievement, and finishing third would be perfect … I think if we are third in the region we can make it to regionals.” Barrick, one of seven seniors on the team, has set selfless goals for himself and looks to leave behind an unforgettable legacy: “I just want to be a good leader for my team and I only play doubles so just winning every doubles match and getting that point for my team is a big goal for me … just making it to regionals would be a big stepping stone or even being ranked would be great legacy to leave on the tennis program,” said Barrick.

 

The women’s tennis team is off to an incredible 7-0 start to the season, including two wins over conference foes West Georgia and West Alabama. The Lady Choctaws have not only won, but relatively dominated their opponents, beating four teams by 9-0. Senior Brenna Keller commented on the team’s strong start to the season: “Our work ethic this season and practices on and off court has been a lot better and we have recruited a couple of new girls for this season and their added level of play has definitely helped increase our line up in general and we are all excited and confident and our first few wins just added confidence,” said Keller.

 

There are very few missteps for the Lady Choctaws, but Keller harkened on one small improvement that she would like to see across the team: “Comradery on our team, I think we are super close but we need to work on our cheering off court and working with our teammates … making sure every one is pumped up during matches and maybe getting a little more excited during the match,” Keller said.

 

Though the team is off to such a hot start, Keller knows that it is important to not get complacent, especially as conference play begins: “The work ethic off court is most important, we can’t let ourselves slack off, we have to keep the confidence and work ethic up, and keep everything up in practice and hopefully relay that to wins on court,” said Keller.

 

This year’s women’s tennis team boasts a bevy of talent, including five seniors who have made large strides since their first season at MC. Keller knows this strong bond and chemistry makes things on the court a whole lot easier for the team, especially with her doubles partner, Anna Marie Kimball: “We are both from Louisiana, so we knew each other a little before this. She is super fun to play with and is always pumped up for our matches and very consistent … we are all pretty tightknit; we go out to eat a lot, hang out, and go to movies and on the court, we just want each other to be successful and that really builds confidence,” The growth of the team from day one has been evident, and Keller believes she, along with the senior class, have left a legacy that can be built upon for the future: “I feel like we have grown as players and people and I feel like we would just like to leave a team that continues to get stronger and I would like to see them win just more and more,” Keller said.

 

It all starts from the top when it comes to both tennis teams. Coach Boteler, who has been at the helm for the Choctaws for twenty-one years, is respected by both squads and leaves a lasting impact on all his players: “Coach Boteler is definitely one of the greatest guys I have ever met in my life … he is the nicest coach I have ever met, probably the nicest coach on the campus; he is so understanding and has his priorities … if anybody has any issues, he is the first to step up and help … he has also helped a lot of people spiritually and overall he has had a great impact on everybody on this team,” says Keller.

 

Men’s captain Sanders Barrick also adds a little about Boteler: “He is the nicest man you will ever meet … he is just like a father or brother to everyone and is everything you need …. I remember walking into his office the first day and him hugging me and treating me especially kind and wanting to know who I was, and he does that to every player that walks in here.”

Both men’s and women’s teams hosted West Alabama last Wednesday. The men fell short to West Alabama, 4-5, while the women’s team extended their streak to seven wins by beating the Lions, 6-4. Both teams look to jump up in the rankings as conference play begins to ramp up.

 

 

 

There’s a New Family in Town Madison Brown, Contributing Writer

Tommy and Shawna Laurendine are the newest additions to the Choctaw coaching staff at Mississippi College. Individually, the Laurendines have a lengthy resume of coaching experience, but Mississippi College is only the fourth university they have coached at together. The husband and wife team spent six years as head coaches for volleyball and football at the Division III school, University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., before heading to Clinton, Miss.

Athletic director, Mike Jones announced in Jan., that the couple would be joining MC’s coaching staff. Shawna Laurendine is the new Lady Choctaws head volleyball coach. Jones said that the athletic department looks forward to her leadership because she “is very knowledgeable about the Gulf South Conference and knows what it takes to win.” Shawna brings with her 15 years of head coaching experience which includes nine in the GSC. A graduate of the University of Montevallo, Shawna has coached at a number of schools including West Alabama and former GSC member Southern Arkansas University where she was named GSC Coach of the Year.

Tommy Laurendine filled the offensive coordinator position for the Choctaw football team, and brings GSC coaching experience with him as well. Tommy spent time coaching multiple GSC football teams like West Georgia, West Alabama and former GSC member Southern Arkansas University where he coached with current Choctaw head football coach, John Bland. Bland is “thrilled about the opportunity to work with Tommy again” because he is “the type of high-character man we want representing Choctaw football.”

Moving for a new job in a new state was exciting for the Laurendine family, and the transition to Clinton has been smooth so far, but with two daughters, there were still some concerns. The hardest decision for the family to make was whether or not to move to a new house and city, again. Tommy said, “we had built a house where we were living 3 years ago, so just the moving aspect of it was hard. We knew after time though, that it would be worth it.” Because the majority of their coaching experience was spent in small towns, the Laurendine’s feel like they’ve moved to the city. “Our daughter’s favorite part about the move is that we have a Chick-fil-a five minutes down the road” said Tommy.

Aside from the chaos of moving houses, the Laurendine’s are excited for another opportunity to coach at the same university. While never coaching the same sport, Tommy and Shawna both spent time at West Alabama and Southern Arkansas University. Shawna said the transition from Sewanee to MC wasn’t difficult because she and her husband were able to work at the same place. “It creates a better culture for our family if everyone’s on board and we’re all with the same program and supportive of each other” she said. Tommy added that, “it’s been a blessing that we’ve been able to obtain jobs at one university. We’re fortunate.”

The transition to another school was not a new experience for the Laurendine family, but it did take time, and when the position for volleyball head coach became available, it extended the process even further. Tommy had been talking to Coach Bland for a while and arrived in Clinton two weeks prior to Shawna. He said he spent his first few weeks at MC “getting paperwork done and meeting coaches and players.” For Shawna, making the move mid semester was a new experience. She said starting practice and getting their daughter into school has been “a whirlwind, but now I feel like my heads above water and it’s been great.” Tommy said that even though the process did take a while “it was all worth it.”

The biggest challenges for the couple over the next few months will be finding balance and time management. Tommy said “we’ve always done a good job over the years of not taking work home. We rarely talk about football or volleyball at home unless it’s pertaining to our daughter’s playing volleyball.” What they’re most looking forward to is getting to know people, making new friends, and winning football games. We just want to enjoy our job” Tommy said.

Shawna hopes to gain the support of students and the community in the coming seasons. She said, “The volleyball team would love to have fan support in the fall.” She wants to see the bleachers full in A. E. Wood Coliseum next season cheering on the Lady Choctaws. To the football fans, Tommy asks for patience. He said, “I know how the Division II level works, and there’s a transition period, but we have some good coaches and we’ll get things going.” Mississippi College is one of the only private schools in the GSC so it’s taken time to progress, but Tommy said, “We’ll turn the corner here soon.”

Both Shawna and Tommy want Choctaw fans to know that as a family, they’re excited to be here in Clinton, and they’re looking forward to working with Choctaw athletes and coaches over the coming seasons. So, Choctaw fans get excited to welcome the Laurendine’s to the MC family!

 

 

 

 

The People of MC – April 15, 2014

Molly Halpin "I think my quality of life would be greatly enhanced if I owned a pug."
Molly Halpin
“I think my quality of life would be greatly enhanced if I owned a pug.”
Drae Bordelon "I wish I had taken the opportunity to red shirt at a D1 college." "What do you play?" "Soccer."
Drae Bordelon
“I wish I had taken the opportunity to red shirt at a D1 college.”
“What do you play?”
“Soccer.”
(From left to right) Danel Nordwall, Jacob Pilgrim, Nicole Nordwall "What's your favorite part of this class?" "Dr. Potts."
(From left to right)
Danel Nordwall, Jacob Pilgrim, Nicole Nordwall
“What’s your favorite part of this class?”
“Dr. Potts.”
Drake Terry & Bo Melton "Why are you carrying a couch?" "Never fail a brother."
Drake Terry & Bo Melton
“Why are you carrying a couch?”
“Never fail a brother.”
Connor Blackwell "What's the hardest thing in your life today?" "The fact that I'm drinking three cokes and I'm going to be FAT!"
Connor Blackwell
“What’s the hardest thing in your life today?”
“The fact that I’m drinking three cokes and I’m going to be FAT!”
Danny Ruth "What is the most craziest thing you would ever consider doing?" "Wing suiting in the Grand Canyon.  I ski dived, and that was pretty sick, and I feel like wing suiting is the next level.  I mean, come on, you're a person and you get to fly.  And see the Grand Canyon at the same time!"
Danny Ruth
“What is the most craziest thing you would ever consider doing?”
“Wing suiting in the Grand Canyon. I ski dived, and that was pretty sick, and I feel like wing suiting is the next level. I mean, come on, you’re a person and you get to fly. And see the Grand Canyon at the same time!”
Jonathan Berryman "What is your biggest regret in life?" "I should've missed football practice when we ran the other morning."
Jonathan Berryman
“What is your biggest regret in life?”
“I should’ve missed football practice when we ran the other morning.”
J.B. Long "What was your best memory when you were five years old?" "The night my mom sat me down and told me I was going to be a big brother."
J.B. Long
“What was your best memory when you were five years old?”
“The night my mom sat me down and told me I was going to be a big brother.”
Bryan Hendricks & Camille Tyner "I text her pick up lines all the time." "He texted me today, 'You're so hot I could bake cookies on you.'" "Can I quote that?"
Bryan Hendricks & Camille Tyner
“I text her pick up lines all the time.”
“He texted me today, ‘You’re so hot I could bake cookies on you.'”
“Can I quote that?”
"If you tried to quote me, you'd have to edit, edit, edit, edit till all you'd have left is 'T'."
“If you tried to quote me, you’d have to edit, edit, edit, edit till all you’d have left is ‘T’.”
IMG_5068
Jordan Cidmore & Duvy Salvant “Once we hydroplaned on the way back from Nashville. We were out of control and landed in a ditch. And the first thing out of my mouth was like ‘Hey, get out of the car and get a snapchat for me.'”
Logan McCleod "What is the most manliest thing you have ever done?" "I held my hand on a hot plate at a Mexican restaurant longer than this other guy.  And he still brings it up."
Logan McCleod
“What is the most manliest thing you have ever done?”
“I held my hand on a hot plate at a Mexican restaurant longer than this other guy. And he still brings it up.”

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