Meridian Star

February 9, 2014

MCC on track for good season

By Robby Atkinson
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — The last couple of weeks I have been taking a closer look at all of the spring sports that are about to begin or have started at Meridian Community College. Before I take a look at the final preview for our springs sports at MCC, I think it would be the perfect time to say that I should never pick football games.

    I was drastically wrong in predicting that Denver would defeat Seattle last Sunday in the Super Bowl by a final score of 24-23, so I think that it is safe to say that I am not a great person to call for advise on picking games. I just wanted to get that out the way right up front since it was one of the most dominating performances in recent Super Bowl history.

    I have taken a look at all of our spring sports for 2014 expect for one sport and that is golf. The MCC golf team is competing in its first tournament of the 2014 season which begins today and a special good luck to the team.

    The Eagles are in Gulfport to compete in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Tournament at Great Southern Golf Course. MCC golf has seen the most success of any of the sports over the past ten seasons and I have had the opportunity to see it up close and personal over the past three seasons.

    The consistency of winning is defined by two young men that captured individual National Championships while playing golf at Meridian Community College. Brandt Garron captured the individual title in 2010, while Jake Stirling won the same honor in 2012.

    The team as a whole has finished second in the country on two different occasions with the latest second-place finish coming in 2010. The team has finished in the top ten nationally an unbelievable 12 times and the Eagles have won countless Region 23 Championships.

    I came to MCC in the summer of 2011 and the team has performed at such a high level. The team is well disciplined and focuses on the fundamentals of the game in such a beautiful manner. The 2014 edition of the Eagles led by second-year head coach Ronnie Key and I know he is excited as we are all about the beginning of the spring season.

    I had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Key this past week and he is very excited about the young men on his squad for 2014. The team has two returning sophomores that will look to lead the squad and a solid group of freshman that will look to put up low numbers.

    Dallas Shepard and Nathan Kirkland will return for their sophomore seasons at MCC and Coach Key is looking for big things from these two returning starters. Shepard is from Madison, Miss., and Kirkland is one of our own from right here in Meridian. The biggest edition to the team is that of Connor Cavin and this young freshman has already provided plenty of spark for the Eagles. The Baton Rouge, La., native had the best scoring average for the team during the fall season and will look to continue his great play on the course in the spring.

    MCC is scheduled to play seven tournaments during the spring season and the one event the Eagles will host is the annual Lou Hart Invitational which is scheduled for March 3-4 at Northwood Country Club. The second tournament that is highlighted on the 2014 spring schedule is the Arkansas State Red Wolf Classic on April 7-8.

    This is a unique tournament for the Eagles because the team is slated to be the only junior college in the nation competing among all of the four-year universities. A lot of people would say that is absurd to play in such a tournament, but to become a better overall team you must play in difficult fields like this one.

    I believe things are shaping up to be a great season for the MCC golf team and it will be fun to see how the young nucleus of players evolves throughout the season. This is our final sport to preview for the spring season at Meridian Community College and I hope when all is completed in May and June, we can celebrate more championships for the Eagle Nation.

    Good luck to all of our spring sports and a special good luck to our basketball teams as they finish the season as well. I can speak for all of the players and coaches in saying thank you for your support for MCC sports.