Published 12:00 am Friday, May 23, 2008
By Donna Taylor
Students from every athletic and school spirit division were presented with awards and admiration at the North Panola High School athletic banquet on Friday night, May 16, in the school cafeteria.
The guest speaker was Derek Horne of the Ole Miss athletic department. Horne is in his 14th year at the university, and after joining the team in 1995 as an assistant he is now senior associate director. He was a four year Letterman with the Rebel basketball team.
The topic of his speech was “Mind, Body and Soul.” “You must have balance,” Horne told the high school athletes. He explained the importance of being in tune with all aspects of the body and mind that impact one’s life.
“Don’t forget your academics. Get a quality education,” he stressed repeatedly.
He reminded them that all athletes do not make a career out of their athleticism and urged them to get degrees to have something to fall back on. He used himself as an example.
”The enemy of excellence is satisfaction, “ the guest speaker said.
The newly formed track team was presented with awards and several first year track members placed in the top three in the region. Some of it’s members are junior high students. The awards were distributed by Coach Robert Hunter.
This year the spirit squad, the cheerleaders, were recognized by their sponsor, Pamela Preston, with several awards for leading the fight songs throughout the season.
Chris Yancy, boys and girls basketball coach, told everyone how proud he was of both teams, especially the girls, who are the District 3-3A Champs and made it to the first round of the state championship.
“I enjoyed coaching both teams,” Yancy said with a wide smile.
Audrey Taylor was named girls’ Most Valuable Player after sitting out a portion of the season. Taylor gave her team a boost when she took to the court, and as the cliche’ goes, “the rest is history.”
Kevin Jones, assistant principal/athletic director, presented the Most Athletic award to Tyrus Mack and the scholar athlete award to Templeton Hardy.
Wilbourn, a graduating senior was named the Most Valuable Player in football and awarded the new Booze Gross-Johnson Award, which is named for former players, who were fierce on the field and furthered their athletic careers beyond North Panola.
Hardy was given the Michael Smith Award, which was accepted by his parents Roberta and Michael Hardy in his absence.
”He does it in the classroom and on the field,” head coach Clifton Davis Jr. said of him. Hardy was also named to the Dandy Dozen, elite athletes in the state.
Special guest Jamil Northcutt, former Chucky Mullins Award winner and assistant athletics director at Ole Miss, also attended the festivities. He serves as athletic liaison with football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball operations. He was a member of the 1999-2003 Rebel football team.
All athletes were multiple award winners. Robert Strebeck, the state conservator, was in attendance.