‘Other’ sports get under way

This time of year, the majority of sports fans’ attention is turned to the gridiron—and rightly so with all the emphasis placed on football in America.

Some of that awareness, though, might best be served watching cross county, golf and tennis. All three local schools, Drew Central, Monticello and the University of Arkansas at Monticello, participate in cross county.

Both high schools have tennis teams and both Monticello and UAM field golf teams. And, lest fans forget, the Cotton Blossoms also play volleyball.

Some sports, like Monticello golf and tennis,and Drew Central tennis, have already started. The remainder of the “other” teams will be in action soon.

Monticello’s four cross county teams (two junior squads, two senior groups) are pretty much the focal point of competition other than football and volleyball. Head coach Shawn Curtis has once again exceeded the 100-athlete mark for the four teams combined—and the Billies’ harriers look to be strong.

Returners Cantley Gosdin and Kathleen Claycomb, both freshmen, and eighth grader Riley Derryberry—who finished second, fourth and fifth, respectively, in last fall’s Southeast Arkansas Cross Country League Championships held at on the UAM cross country course, should help the Junior Lady Billies easily defend their conference title in late October, while Fleure Perez (third last year) and Lydia Taylor (ninth) move up to help the senior Lady Billies as sophomores.

The first outing for all four teams is in Saturday’s Little Rock Cross County Classic, to be run on the War Memorial Stadium Golf Course. The senior boys run first (an 8:30 a.m. start), followed by the senior girls, junior boys and junior girls, respectively, in 30-minute increments.

“With over 100 runners,” Curtis said, “tis team is projected to do really well this year.”

The seven regular-season meet schedule will conclude with the Class 4A, District 8 Championships (again to be staged at UAM) for all four teams in Oct. 26, and the 4A State Cross County Championships at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs on Nov. 4 for just the senior high runners.

Drew Central will compete in the majority of the same meets, with the exception of the conference championship. The Pirates’ four units will vie the 8-3A titles in late October and the senior high teams will join Monticello at Oaklawn in November for the 3A state meet.

UAM will open its volleyball season Friday at the Missouri University of Science and Technology Miner Invitational this weekend.

Friday, the Blossoms get their 2019 season under way with a 1 p.m. match against Auburn University at Montgomery. Three other matches (one Friday and two Saturday) will complete UAM’s participation in the Rolla, Mo. gathering.

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