Hernando’s Katelyn Cartwright is a two-time Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) 6A state cross country champion, a three-time winner at last May’s MHSAA 6A state track and field championships, and is last year’s Gatorade Mississippi Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year.
Last week, Cartwright also became the latest new member of the Southern Miss cross country and track and field teams by signing a national letter of intent with the Golden Eagles.
In signing with Southern Miss, Cartwright said her new coach Jon Stuart and his approach to the program immediately sold her on being a Golden Eagle.
“When I first went to meet him I could tell he was very genuine and he really cared about his players,” Cartwright said. “That’s really what I was looking for, a coach who was really going to invest in me and work hard to make sure that I succeed.”
Stuart, a 20-year veteran in coaching who has led the Southern Miss track and cross country programs since July of 2014, last year was the Conference USA Women’s Outdoor Track Coach of the Year, leading USM to the conference championship. In addition to last fall’s second state championship in cross country, Cartwright set personal bests in winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter running events at the state track meet in Pearl last spring.
Cartwright also competes in soccer at Hernando and has a senior track season ahead, but running in college next fall will bring a tougher challenge that Cartwright will have to adjust to.
“It’s going to be completely new,” Cartwright said. “I’m not going to have other sports or other activities that are taking up my time. I’m really going to be focused on running and school and getting in that routine. I definitely will be expecting a change in my running form and my running time. It’s going to be a big change.”
PREP HOOP HIGHLIGHTS: The Olive Branch boys’ basketball team continued its challenging non-division schedule Saturday, as the Conquistadors took on Gonzaga College High School of Washington, D.C. during the Hoophall Classic at Springfield, Mass. The Quistors fell to the Gonzaga Eagles 69-56, despite 22 points from D.J. Jeffries. Olive Branch is back in 5A district action this week, traveling to Lewisburg Tuesday night and at Center Hill Friday night in what will likely be the top game in Mississippi that evening.
Last Friday night, Center Hill posted a 117-45 victory over Lewisburg in a 5A district game behind 30 points from Calvin Temple and 21 from Ken Lewis, as the Mustangs improved to 20-1 for the year. Horn Lake defeated DeSoto Central 73-54 and it was Southaven over Hernando 68-49 in 6A district play. Among MAIS private schools, Magnolia Heights took a 76-57 win against Bayou Academy. Girls scores from Friday had Hernando over Southaven 57-53 and Horn Lake beat DeSoto Central 77-45 in 6A district action, Center Hill over Lewisburg 60-32 in 5A district play, and in a MAIS game, it was Bayou Academy over Magnolia Heights 62-55.
SOCCER KICKS: Friday boys' soccer scores had Center Hill claim a district championship for a third straight year with a 3-1 win against Olive Branch. Ivan Gonzalez scored all three goals for the 13-1-1 Mustangs. Lewisburg defeated Lake Cormorant 4-0 in another 5A district game and in a non-district contest, Hernando and New Albany played to a 0-0 tie.
Friday in girls’ soccer, Lewisburg scored eight goals in the first half on their way to a 10-0 blanking of Lake Cormorant. Caroline Newsom and Brenna Becker each had three-goal hat tricks for the now undefeated district champions. Mallory Gaines scored two goals for the now 8-7 Center Hill Lady Mustangs in their 4-0 district win over Olive Branch and in non-district action, it was Hernando over New Albany 3-0.
HUSTLE NEWS: Tarik Phillip’s team-high 28 points were not enough for the Memphis Hustle in a 129-121 NBA G League contest Friday night at Rio Grande Valley, the first of a four-game road trip for the 16-11 Hustle. Phillip got help from Tyler Harvey, who finished with 22 points and Doral Moore with 14.
Monday, the Hustle acquired Justin Tillman via waiver claim and traded Tanner McGrew to the Salt Lake City Stars for a 2019 fourth round draft pick. Tillman (6-8, 220) has started all 11 appearances made for Wonju Dongbu Promy of the South Korean KBL this season, averaging 25.5 points and 11.7 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game.
SPORTS ETC.: Among the 800 male and female high school basketball players selected for consideration to the McDonald’s All-American Games are two DeSoto County rivals from Olive Branch. D.J. Jeffries of Olive Branch and Center Hill’s Calvin Temple were announced as two of five boys’ basketball players from Mississippi that are being considered. The final selection of the players to take part in the game will come Thursday, Jan. 24.
Terence Davis of Southaven scored 18 points to support Breein Tyree’s 22 points in Saturday’s 84-67 Ole Miss victory over Arkansas in Oxford. The Rebels improved to 14-4 overall, 4-1 in the SEC ahead of a visit to Alabama Tuesday night.
Former Northpoint girls’ basketball teammates Ashtyn Baker and Lauren Gross were on opposite rosters when Baker’s Liberty University Lady Flames met Gross’ North Florida Ospreys Saturday, but neither saw action against each other as Liberty topped North Florida 69-53 in an Atlantic Sun Conference contest at Liberty. Baker has been sidelined with an ankle injury and Gross scored nine minutes in 18 minutes of action.
There may be a meeting of the pair when the two schools play again Feb. 23 at North Florida.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.