The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock
   

Good Sports

Every month, Arkansas Catholic brings you inspiring sports stories from around the diocese through our Good Sports feature.

 

Wrestling coach, son carry on legacy of competition

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 9, 2017   

The Catholic High wrestling team’s practice space is lined with thick mats and grappling athletes. Along one wall, backpacks lie slipshod on the floor under the portraits of past champions that peer down, gauging the new season’s crop. The air is heavy and rank compared to the late November breeze outside.   Along the back wall, assistant coach Matthew Crawford guides two wrestlers through their opening drills. This is Crawford’s third tour helping out hall of fame head coach Paul Mammarelli, but this year holds a certain More... 

Game, Set, Unmatched: Rocket trio lands threepeat at state

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 25, 2017   

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Catholic High is atop the high school tennis world. The Rockets blazed their way to a third straight conference and state team titles this season, an accomplishment that saw one senior bow out in style and a doubles pair on the brink of perfection. “This year, senior year, winning in the third set in the (state) finals, was just the best way to go out,” said Parker Stearns, who claimed his third consecutive singles title. “I had my friends storm the court, More... 

Sacred Heart athlete takes ‘all-around’ to a new level

By Dwain Hebda, Published: October 30, 2017   

In the sporting pantheon, there exist some rare examples of versatility. A prize baseballer is a “five-tool” player: hit for average, for power, can run, throw and catch. The winning decathlete shows excellence over 10 separate track and field events. The most well-equipped Swiss Army knife ever made, the Wenger Giant, featured 85 tools and 141 functions. And then there’s Christian Briggler, 17-year-old senior at Sacred Heart High School in Morrilton. Briggler doesn’t play every sport the More... 

Little Rock’s Loeb sisters prove lightning can strike twice

By Dwain Hebda, Published: September 15, 2017   

Four years ago, almost to the day, Mount St. Mary’s then-head golf coach Marilyn Lenggenhager sat in a small conference room talking up her sophomore star Taylor Loeb for the local press. After extolling the future state champion’s virtues at length, she paused and peered intently at the Arkansas Catholic reporter. “And you know,” she said in a hushed, can-you-believe-it tone, “there’s another one.” Fast forward to today, and that “other one,” 16-year-old Lauren Loeb, has ably More... 

Indoors or out, Mary Katherine Ashburn’s a volleyball ace

By Dwain Hebda, Published: June 10, 2017   

Just being around Mary Katherine Ashburn, you know she’s a terror on the volleyball court. Tall and lean, with good reach and the kind of angular body that can generate considerable torque through the ball, hers is a skillset that belies her tender age. Talking to her, you know she’s the kind of player coaches love to have, smart enough to see the big picture and articulate enough to communicate strategy and positioning to teammates, with More... 

Former Rocket wrestler Chiles makes Arkansas history

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 12, 2017   

Josh Chiles has a knack for making the record books. As a 182-pound senior at Little Rock’s Catholic High School, Chiles’ 2014 state title led the school to its first — and thus far only — team state wrestling championship. He’s also one of the select few Rockets to win back-to-back individual state titles, also taking the gold medal at 195 pounds as a junior. This year, he again made history, in grand fashion. A junior More... 

Rogers soccer standout rides the highs and lows alike

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 25, 2017   

For Mary Treacy, it’s been the worst of times followed by the promise of the best of times. The senior soccer captain and member of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers suffered through a challenging season last year at Rogers High School, only to emerge this year with a new coach and new outlook on the sport. “Last year wasn’t great; it was actually really rough,” she said. “We didn’t make it to state last year More... 

Mountain biker finds his groove with new CHS club

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 14, 2017   

Davis Bennett is a man of few words. Asked what piqued his interest in the Catholic High mountain bike club, the sophomore cuts right to the chase. “They just mentioned it over the announcements at school,” he said. “I’ve always loved mountain biking, and I was like, ‘Sounds fun, I want to do it.’” Bennett had ridden recreationally for a long time, but never raced. In fact, he admitted he wasn’t much of a joiner at all More... 

Athletic directors spur conference formation in NW Ark.

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 14, 2017   

Quentin Lunsford, athletic director at St. Vincent de Paul School in Rogers, apologized for being a few minutes late to an interview with Arkansas Catholic. St. Joseph School in Fayetteville had whipped a rival the previous night in basketball and Lunsford had taken the time to place a congratulatory call to the Panthers’ athletic director T.J. Barnes. Lunsford and Barnes are kindred spirits. Barnes, a Kansas-born Catholic, and Lunsford, who grew up Methodist in northwest Arkansas, More... 

First-year coach looks to lead MSM Belles back to state

By Dwain Hebda, Published: January 21, 2017      

Lauren Ramsey, 26, carries herself in practice with the cool confidence of a coach many years her senior. The first-year head coach of the Mount St. Mary Academy varsity basketball team shouts instructions to her players only sparingly and without the snarl that others do, but that comparatively soft voice still instantly nudges players into a higher gear as they sprint through their drills. “It’s a process and it’s hard to teach somebody to go harder More... 

Young Conway runner makes big splash in her first season

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 13, 2016   

In the 1981 biopic “Chariots of Fire,” Eric Liddell is a Scottish man of God who uses his dominance on the track to bring people the Good News. Qualifying for the 1924 Paris Olympics, he’s confronted by his sister who’s afraid his notoriety as an athlete is starting to cloud their goals of being missionaries. “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast,” Liddell explains to his sister. “And when More... 

Game on: CHS doubles teams push each other to titles

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 28, 2016   

It is said that every great athlete or team is made even greater when pushed by a rival, those opponents who always bring out the best in one another. Muhammed Ali had Joe Frazier. Magic Johnson had Larry Bird. The New York Yankees have the Boston Red Sox. And at Catholic High School in Little Rock, two young doubles teams treated tennis fans to a season full of excitement that culminated with the Rockets’ second straight More... 

In Morrilton: No. 23 in your program, No. 1 in their hearts

Dwain Hebda, Published: October 27, 2016   

MORRILTON — Aaron Duvall, athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Sacred Heart High School in Morrilton, handles a lot of details in the final run-up to the season’s first game, not the least of which is issuing uniforms. This year, however, that task was simplified by one: No. 23 was a forgone conclusion. “I put it aside the first day,” Duvall said. “The jersey was off limits. We knew that jersey was going to More... 

New Trinity head coach at home with 40 years on the field

By Dwain Hebda, Published: September 20, 2016   

John Vitale has always felt at ease on the sidelines, but it is only this season that he’s come home. “I go to church at Immaculate Conception (in Fort Smith) so I know a lot of people around here,” he said. “I was really excited when the job came open. I thought, ‘Hey, what a great way to serve my last years as a football coach coming to a place that I’m familiar with and know More... 

Jonesboro teen gains confidence in martial arts

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 23, 2016   

Angeles Gonzales may not sound that imposing at first meeting, but be advised: This 16-year-old, who has been practicing tae kwon do since the age of 3, speaks softly and carries a big kick. “When I started I was too little to really understand what was going on,” she said. “When I got my black belt, I was around 8 or 9 years old. From that point on, I knew I really liked it.” Now a third-degree More... 

Freshman Alex McManus signs with Notre Dame

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 23, 2016   

Alex McManus has a way with first impressions. She played her first organized softball in grade school and after one year, high school coaches were telling her father to develop her pitching skills. As time wore on and the victories piled up, all-star coaches would take one look at the tall, powerful right-hander and pencil her into elite lineups all over the country. She cast the same spell over college recruiters. Ranked 16th among recruits by online More... 

At 79 years, ‘Doc’ Wilson is still fixture on the court

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 13, 2016   

SWISH! There’s nothing quite like the sound of a basketball hitting dead center, the white knotted twine of the net snapping just so. It’s a sound Dr. John Wilson, better known to his friends as “Doc,” has been chasing for most of his 79 years. “I never saw a football game when I was growing up. I grew up in western Kentucky. We didn’t have football there, we had basketball year-round,” he said, his voice as deep More... 

Arkansas quarterback looks to National Football League

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 1, 2016   

The more things change for Fredi Knighten, who completed his last campaign at quarterback for the Arkansas State Red Wolves this season, the more they seem to stay the same. “One thing you notice about Knighten … is how physically unimposing he is — at least when he’s standing still,” is how Arkansas Catholic described the then-Pulaski Academy junior in a 2010 profile. “When he’s on the fly, it’s a different matter.” At 5’11” and a sleek More... 

Father-son coaching duo going strong at Sacred Heart

By Dwain Hebda, Published: January 21, 2016   

There was a time when Rick Duvall wasn’t coaching baseball at Sacred Heart High School in Morrilton, but there are few around the program today who remember it. Fewer still remember a time before he was coaching Little League baseball for the youth at Morrilton.  And just a couple remember very clearly how it all got started, as only one who was there can. “It’s kind of funny, this is the good part of the story,” said Aaron Duvall, More... 

Peter Malakhov is a natural on the ice at six years old

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 15, 2015   

Even in our hyper-competitive, open-all-night world, it’s still not often that you can say a first-grader has achieved remarkable balance in life. But in summing up Peter Malakhov, that’s precisely the word that’s brought to mind. Peter, who attends St. Joseph School in Fayetteville, is all about balance. It’s key to his figure skating, perched as he is over a blade less than a quarter of an inch wide. And, balance fuels his many other interests More... 

Tennis teams prove youth must be served and volleyed

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 28, 2015   

Parker Stearns, as he delights in reminding people, saw it all along. “Before the season even started I told coach we were winning state,” he said. “I even walked into my principal’s (Steve Straessle’s) office and told him we were winning state.” Knowing what we know now, Stearns’ precociousness wasn’t too far out on a limb. In fact, given the dominance Catholic High and Mount St. Mary Academy tennis teams showed this season, predicting a 7A state title might actually qualify as modesty. “It’s More... 

NLR priest teaches young athletes volleyball skills

By Dwain Hebda, Published: October 26, 2015      

North Little Rock Catholic Academy isn’t the largest school in the diocese, hardly so, but you can’t escape the degree of diversity that exists in the halls, classroom, even on the volleyball court. Here, a blue-eyed blonde bumps to an olive-skinned, raven-haired setter who positions the brown-eyed, mocha-complected spiker for the kill. In the eye of this swirling hurricane of color and culture stands a lean, 30-something African demonstrating technique, barking orders and clapping his encouragement More... 

Junior golfer wins state, commits to Razorbacks

By Alesia Schaefer, Published: October 24, 2015   

ROGERS — Like many high school students, Brooke Matthews considers hanging out with her friends a top priority. But unlike most juniors in high school just beginning their college search, Matthews has made up her mind. In early August, after a summer of tournaments, Matthews verbally committed to play golf at the University of Arkansas beginning the fall 2017. But for now, the more pressing matter, said Matthews, is to just keep playing solid golf. Defending her More... 

Twin brothers follow different paths in purple and gold

Dwain Hebda, Published: September 23, 2015   

On the face of it, there’s not a lot of things upon which twin brothers James and Matthew Rose appear to disagree. Both agree attending Catholic High School in Little Rock after attending public elementary and middle school was a great decision. Both seniors have their eye on attending the University of Arkansas and neither knows precisely what he will study once he gets there. They also concur that the lessons they have learned both in More... 

Subiaco alum has Trojan student runners on track

By Dwain Hebda, Published: August 20, 2015   

Of all the sports Subiaco Academy sponsors, few look more at place than Trojan runners. Fitting neatly as it does in the hilly countryside and miles upon miles of straight farm roads, the sport also embodies the ethos of the school’s Benedictine fathers: Get up, say a prayer, work hard and find joy in the effort before doing it all over again tomorrow. “The community here is very supportive,” said third-year head track and cross country coach More... 

Junior high fitness team runs their paces in Little Rock

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 19, 2015         

The small gaggle of detainees reported to the gym promptly after final bell, the warmish spring afternoon already thickening the air. No one dares be late. They line up dutifully and follow every command — having nearly served their month here, they know the routine. And although most of them tower over the diminutive figure in charge, not a one of them steps out of line. “All right, let’s go!” PE teacher Jan Pipkin’s voice ratchets More... 

Catholic High’s bass fishing club hooks boys, fathers

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 20, 2015   

Hunter Keeling is a young man of few words, especially when he’s just been asked a question which strikes him as painfully obvious: Why fish? Keeling catches fish for the same reason Catholic parishes fry them up on Fridays in springtime — it’s part of who he is. But it’s also a way for the Rocket freshman to connect with classmates and compare angling skills thanks to the Catholic High Bass Club, a competitive fishing group More... 

Trojans usher coach into first state title game

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 27, 2015   

To understand how poorly things started out this year for the Subiaco Academy basketball team — the same team that on March 13 became the first Trojan squad to play in a state championship game — Coach Tim Tencleve points to an early season tournament. “We were playing so bad that sometime in the third quarter I just sat down and Coach (Randy) Terry, my assistant, said, ‘What are you going to do?’” he said. “I said, ‘I’m gonna More... 

Running pastor looks to finish what he started

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 28, 2015   

In keeping with its 2014 superhero theme, the Little Rock Marathon asked entrants to name their particular superpower on the sign-up form. One response stood out. “I wrote ‘transubstantiation,’” said Father Jason Tyler through a hearty chuckle. “I wonder what the person processing the form thought.” Even given the Little Rock Marathon’s fun-loving reputation, that had to be a first. But 2014 was a season of firsts for the 35-year-old runner starting with entering the hometown race More... 

Love of bicycles keeps The Community Bicyclist rollin’

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 2, 2015   

Everything you need to know about Sam Williamson and his love affair with the bicycle is found in a poster of a pre-teenage Williamson sticking the landing on a motocross-style bicycle after ramping off a picnic tabletop. All of it — his shaggy, 1973 hair slightly aloft, the bike’s front fork and knobby tire jutting forward into thin air — is the literal picture of happiness and youthful abandon. And within the first minute of talking More... 

Michael Drake still growing into role of teacher, coach

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 15, 2014   

Michael Drake, Catholic High School class of 2009, is Rocket basketball royalty. There’s no shortage of reminders of that at the Little Rock campus, from the team photo in the hallway to the banner on the gym wall to the current basketball team running through their afternoon paces. “He’s fun to watch play. I’ve watched him since he was in high school,” said junior Chad Wharton, a two-year starter at point guard. “He’s a really chill More... 

Catholic quartet leads women’s rugby team to nationals

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 26, 2014   

In just three years, a University of Arkansas squad has gone from nothing to gritty, undefeated conference champions; a team of runners, blockers and tacklers who this month took the field to play for a national championship. It would be world news if it was Bret Bielema’s gang of blockers and runners, but it’s not. It’s women’s rugby, led by four Catholic pals bent on making you pay attention to the sport that’s become their passion. “A More... 

Maumelle teen taking aim at international competition

By Dwain Hebda, Published: September 15, 2014   

It’s said the people and things you love most are the hardest to capture in words. Maybe that explains why Grace Hambuchen, a senior at Little Rock’s Mount St. Mary Academy, has yet to name one of her favorite things. “You know, I have named everything else of mine, but I just have not named my gun,” said the 17-year-old parishioner of Christ the King Church in Little Rock. If you’re native to Arkansas, or a state More... 

Coach proves if ‘Mom’ ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy

By Dwain Hebda, Published: June 24, 2014   

The last person who openly questioned Annette Dunham’s resolve, Subiaco Academy’s first-year head soccer coach recalled, was a fellow asking her future career plans while she was still in high school. “I told him I wanted to be a coach and he laughed at me,” she said. “I told him what I really wanted to do was coach boys sports, and he laughed harder and walked away.” That guy might not have stuck around long enough to More... 

Little Rock school adds archery to Phys. Ed. lineup

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 22, 2014      

The idea of putting a bow and arrow into the hands of a bunch of middle schoolers — indoors, no less — might seem like questionable judgment at first. But Elaine Miller, physical education instructor at Our Lady of the Holy Souls School in Little Rock, sees it differently. “Some of our kids are really into archery, some of them go bow hunting with their parents, some of them have worked with the Game and Fish Commission, More... 

Subiaco booster gives new meaning to ‘lifetime fan’

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 26, 2014      

SUBIACO — It’s a crisp, clear Tuesday night at Subiaco Academy and the crowd is in full roar. Cheers and chants rain down from the student section and the jazz band cranks out guitar-heavy classic rock at full volume as the Trojans take the court for the last home basketball game of the season. Technically, tonight is Senior Night honoring five young men and their parents in pregame introductions. But truth be told every night that Elizabeth Strobel — More... 

Sister Carol Anne Corley: A fisher of men (and women)

By Dwain Hebda, Published: January 22, 2014      

HOT SPRINGS — “Gather ‘round and choose your thread color,” said Sister Carol Anne Corley, RSM, to a class of middle school students. It’s early dismissal today but nobody’s going home until they get their first fishing fly tied in Sister Carol Anne’s class, part of the art curriculum at St. John School in Hot Springs. “Are any of you left-handed?” she asks, then seeing none adds, “Ah, what a blessing. Thank you, God.” Sister Carol Anne More... 

Norm DeBriyn transitions from diamond to diaconate

by Dwain Hebda, Published: December 17, 2013   

FAYETTEVILLE — Norm DeBriyn hasn’t coached in more than a decade, but you’d never know by looking. His office at the University of Arkansas Foundation, clogged with photos, souvenir baseballs and other knickknacks isn’t altogether tidy, in fact, not even close. Several team photos on one wall yawn a couple degrees past level. He can navigate his iPhone, but anything more technical and he signals for his co-worker and fellow Catholic, the ebullient Elizabeth Sullivan, like More... 

Subiaco tennis coach keeps it simple, keeps winning

by Dwain Hebda, Published: November 26, 2013   

SUBIACO — Ask a cross-section of Brother Adrian Strobel’s tennis athletes what’s core to the old coach’s program and you’ll likely get a variety of answers. Ask the man himself and one thing immediately pops to the surface. “They better be respectful,” he said. “I told them if they use foul language on the court or, you know, if you throw a racket or something that’s detrimental to the school, I will go out there and More... 

Villanova runner credits family, alma mater for success

by Dwain Hebda, Published: October 29, 2013   

For everything else that Alex Tully has conquered in his collegiate life, the cold still holds the upper hand. Tully hates the cold, especially the particular brand of cold they serve up in places like Indiana, Wisconsin and right there on the campus of Villanova University in Pennsylvania. It is impossible to describe to his former Catholic High classmates, especially those whose collegiate lives played out in more reasonable southern climes. And, it is equally impossible More... 

Sophomore golfer Taylor Loeb anchors MSM squad

by Dwain Hebda, Published: September 16, 2013      

Asked her strategy for helping sophomore sensation Taylor Loeb improve upon a spectacular freshman campaign, Mount St. Mary Academy golf coach Marilyn Lenggenhager doesn’t hesitate. “I bring her Gatorade and snacks,” she said, disintegrating into a laugh. “I mean, in 22 years, she’s the best I’ve ever had. I’m learning from her.” Loeb, a member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock, is one of the biggest things to happen to girls golf in a long More... 

John McDonnell chronicles life, coaching in new book

By Dwain Hebda, Published: June 24, 2013   

With 36 years as the head coach of the Arkansas track and cross-country teams, a tenure that included 40 national championships, 83 conference championships and 23 Olympians, you’d think there’s some magic formula to be found in “John McDonnell,” the recently released biography of the legendary coach. Amazingly, there is not. Such is not to say the book, written with former competitive runner and coach Andrew Maloney, is lacking in details about the now-74-year-old retired Arkansas legend. More... 

No sophomore slump here; pitcher credits Catholic faith

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 28, 2013   

Hasten Freeman believes in keeping things simple. Ask him about developing his pitching and he breaks it down to its most basic elements. “Once you learn one pitch, it gets a lot easier to develop others,” said the 19-year-old. “It’s all just a little tip of the hand to one side or the other or over the top.” The rest, he said, is just hard work. Repetition and focus. Minimize mistakes. Work through jams. Simple. Seeing things as he More... 

Hall of Famer Joe Kleine feeds competitive spirit

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 24, 2013   

“You want to know about faith?” said Joe Kleine, guffawing at the theological insight he’s about to deliver. “Faith is when you’re guarding the lane and you see Shaq coming right at you and you have to stand there and try to stop him. All you can think is, ‘Jesus, please help me! Send down some chariots!’”  When you’re a couple of insoles shorter than 7 feet tall, you can’t get through life without collecting some More... 

St. Joseph basketball 'resurrection' gives school hope

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 25, 2013   

PINE BLUFF — It’s the last practice of the season for the St. Joseph Huskies and no one’s running faster than coach Mathew Foss. Before his players even break a sweat, he has a stray jersey to locate, he’ll discover one player inexplicably in the library instead of warming up, there are notes awaiting him in the school office and an Arkansas Catholic reporter just walked through the door. Oh, and interim grades just posted with a More... 

Mount alumna McFadden returns to coach at alma mater

By Dwain Hebda, Published: January 19, 2013      

It’s a Wednesday afternoon and a group of high school athletes have gathered for practice in a nondescript gym tucked away in a Little Rock industrial park. Exertion dampens the air of the bare-bones facility where coaches bark commands and instructions. Music pumps through speakers, but the athletes’ faces show this isn’t fun and games. The state championship is around the corner and things are not as they should be. One competitor crouches off to the More... 

Puerto Ricans bring passion, faith to Razorbacks

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 22, 2012   

When Janaliss Torres-Lopez arrived in Fayetteville four years ago, she shared the same anticipation -- mingled with a little fear -- as any other college freshman. That is, with the notable exception of being nearly 2,100 miles from home and the only Puerto Rican player on the Razorback volleyball squad. "I was pretty much alone here," she said. "I didn't speak a lot of English. Even the food was different." Torres-Lopez soon discovered American cuisine wasn't the More... 

Homegrown coach fast-tracks Sacred Heart cagers

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 24, 2012   

If ever there was an unlikely success story, it is Aaron Duvall and the Sacred Heart High School boys' basketball team. Duvall played for the Rebels in both baseball and basketball, posting a solid if undistinguished career there. During these years, he had an early influence in his father who was a volunteer coach with the Sacred Heart baseball program since Aaron was in middle school. This created a call to coach that was so strong, More... 

Kayla Nehus never accepts any such thing as 'can't'

By Dwain Hebda, Published: October 27, 2012   

Kayla Nehus doesn't know the meaning of the word "can't" except for the transformative power that word seems to have when applied to something she wants to do. Early in her running career, doctors told her that someone with her flat feet can't possibly hope for a successful career as a competitive runner. All that did was drive her to land all-conference and all-state honors for three consecutive years at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little More... 

Fort Smith ninth grader tops youth golf rankings

By Maryanne Meyerriecks, Published: September 29, 2012   

FORT SMITH -- Trinity Junior High School ninth-grader Addison Mitchell took home two trophies at the U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship held in Pinehurst, N.C., July 26-28. Playing in the girls 13-16-year-old group, she helped her team defeat the international team. She also was the top-ranking American, winning second-place overall in individual play. "In our foursome, my teammate, Megan Munroe of North Carolina, and I played two girls from Mexico and Venezuela. We were the More... 

Teen channels competitive spirit into service

By Dwain Hebda, Published: August 25, 2012   

If Madeline Whitacre decided to just play soccer her last two years at Mount St. Mary Academy, it would be enough. If all she wanted to do was help the Belles' program continue to be a force on the girls high school soccer scene, perhaps culminating in a state championship, it would be just fine. No one who has seen her play could accuse her of not leaving everything she had on the field. Certainly not More... 

Second generation skiiers making a big splash

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 19, 2012   

Lots of families decorate their game rooms with sports memorabilia. Few can say the photos, clippings, magazine covers, autographed national flags, competition posters and other trinkets from around the world hanging on the walls commemorate their own accomplishment in sport. Not so with the Greenwood family of Little Rock. Covering the walls of their spacious home's game room are photos of Scott and Jane Greenwood and two of their three children, Brittany and Sam, doing what More... 

Longtime Catholic High booster bleeds purple and gold

By Dwain Hebda, Published: February 18, 2012   

By day, Reggie Rogers is every inch the mild-mannered Everyman. But on Friday nights and weekends throughout the school year, a startling metamorphosis occurs. Donned in his trademark purple and gold, no matter the season or the weather, his alter ego emerges. Reggie Rogers is Catholic High's Superfan. "It's exciting to watch the kids give everything they have," he said. "Lots of times, we are outmanned, outweighed, underdogs. But our boys always compete." It needs to be underscored More... 

Hard work, perspective molds former Rocket footballer

By Dwain Hebda, Published: September 24, 2011   

Jake Bequette stood on the sidelines of War Memorial Stadium in the fall of 2008 and looked around. It was the same field that barely a year earlier he had prowled during his senior season at Catholic High School, playing both ways for then-head coach Scooter Register. Dotting the crowd, faces of family and friends who had come to see him play bore wide, excited grins. The familiar white walls ringing the field and the bark More... 

Meet Little Rock's running ambassador: Gary Taylor

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 28, 2011   

To watch Gary Taylor at work is to watch a man living his passion. In the hip yet accessible confines of his one-year-old Little Rock enterprise Go!Running or at one of the many events the store sponsors, Taylor moves through crowds as smooth and easily as he negotiated the field as a standout athlete at the University of Arkansas. Hardcore runners share details of their last run with him or pick his brain over shaving seconds More... 

Wrestling team develops champions, leaders, sportsmen

By Dwain Hebda, Published: April 23, 2011   

Not long ago, the only version of wrestling happening in Arkansas was the body-slamming, made-for-TV stuff that showed up at local arenas from time to time. But in just five years, the classic hand-to-hand grappling that started with the ancient Greeks has grown by leaps and bounds in the state. And as it has grown, so has the success of the Catholic High School wrestling program, led by head coach Paul Mammarelli. "Our program was popular from More... 

Catholic High, club, family propel swimmer Sam Olson

By Dwain Hebda, Published: March 19, 2011   

Sam Olson is one fast swimmer. Fast enough to win titles at the highest levels of his club and high school competitions. Fast enough to grab the attention of Division I and Division II college teams from Michigan to Missouri and fast enough, perhaps, to one day qualify for the Olympic trials, a lifetime athletic goal. You’d think someone as fast as Sam Olson would have earned a suitably speedy nickname like Stingray or Swordfish or More... 

Benton Gibbens doesn't let Down syndrome stop him

By Dwain Hebda, Published: January 15, 2011   

Leslye Gibbens knew her son Benton had the basketball bug bad when on the morning of his first game, she found him up at 6:30 a.m., fully dressed out in his green and gold uniform -- for a 2 p.m. tip-off. The 13-year-old athlete, number 23, stands tall in those duds whether he's the wing for the Dragons of St. Edward School in Little Rock or horsing around with his younger sister Caroline in the More... 

Star quarterback measured by morals, led by family

By Dwain Hebda, Published: December 18, 2010   

Those who follow Arkansas high school football know Fredi Knighten, 16, as the starting quarterback for Little Rock's Pulaski Academy, one of the most heralded programs in the state and a team many pick to return to the top of the heap in the 4A state championships. It's not hard to understand why -- after losing a one-point heartbreaker to Cabot in the opening game of the year, the No. 2-ranked Bruins reeled off eight wins More... 

Personal best: Cross country runner outpaces lymphoma

By Dwain Hebda, Published: November 27, 2010   

By just about anyone's standards, 31 minutes and 41 seconds in a 5K for a varsity high school cross country meet stinks. It's the kind of performance middle-aged weekend warriors turn in during runs that raise money for animal shelters and children's museums. It's not what upperclassmen with two years experience, miles of training and the elixir of youth propelling them forward clock. It's certainly not the time junior Griffin Marczuk envisioned when he took the line More... 

Justice twins lead Bulldog volleyball team

By Jodie Hightower, Published: October 23, 2010   

CONWAY -- With the 2010 volleyball season coming to a close, two seniors at St. Joseph High School in Conway are enjoying the fruits of their labors. Jordan and Jessica Justice, 17, identical twins, are making this their best year yet for the volleyball program at St. Joseph. At just over 5 feet tall, the girls are not the typical volleyball player. Players tend to be tall in order to block balls at the net and More... 

Special Olympian a fierce competitor, bowl of sunshine

By Keli Jacobi, Published: June 26, 2010   

EL DORADO -- It's hard to know whether the move from London, England, to El Dorado, Ark., has had more of an impact on Michael McKinlay or whether he is the one exerting more influence on his newly adopted hometown. McKinlay's winning streak has not slowed down since his family's move to Arkansas a couple of years ago with his parents, Marie and Thomas, and his older brother, Kevin. The 17-year-old is a member of Holy More... 

Jessie Moix: St. Joseph High School's triple threat

By Jodie Hightower, Published: May 15, 2010   

CONWAY -- Behind the sweet smile and soft voice of Jessie Moix is a fierce competitor. Moix, 17, is a graduating senior at St. Joseph School in Conway. "I like to win," she said. Win she does. Moix was selected to the All-State Tournament Team in the 2A classification for the past three years in basketball. She was also named to the All-State Golf Team the past four years and All-State Soccer Team in 2009. Most recently, More... 

Noah Findlay's track career off to a fast start

By Dwain Hebda, Published: May 15, 2010   

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure." --Eric Liddell, "Chariots of Fire"   You don't have to know much about running to appreciate Noah Findlay's gift, just watching him do track work is enough. His long stride and smooth, easy gait glides over the track, accelerating as powerfully and decelerating as easily on the last interval as the first. Above the waist, no energy More... 

Bowling team wins over non-traditional athletes

By Armando Rios, Published: February 27, 2010   

Sister Lisa Griffith, RSM, and Sister Joan Pfauser, RSM, thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up when no one initially volunteered to coach a bowling team for Mount St. Mary Academy, so they stepped up to the lane. The Arkansas Activities Association started bowling as a high school team sport six years ago. "When AAA first asked, there were no coaches available to do it," said Sister Lisa, who is the school's dean of More... 

Coach preparing younger wrestlers for high school meets

By Armando Rios, Published: January 16, 2010   

The nine seniors on the wrestling team at Little Rock Catholic High School in Little Rock all started with the program when wrestling was added to sporting competitions at the high school level, first as a club sport four years ago, then more recently, as an Arkansas Activities Association high school sports competition. The program continues to grow. Currently, there are 28 wrestlers on the high school team, and Coach Paul Mammarelli has initiated a wrestling More... 

Christ the King coach motivates generations of athletes

By Armando Rios, Published: November 21, 2009   

Bill Hogue started off as a volunteer and quickly fell in love with what he has been doing for more than four decades, most of that in the Catholic school system in Arkansas. "Coach Hogue" has coached elementary and junior high school students for 38 years, primarily at Our Lady of Good Counsel School until it closed three years ago and now at Christ the King School, both in Little Rock. Having been a coach in the More... 

Every child can succeed at track, coach says

By Malea Hargett, Published: April 25, 2009   

For students who might not be able to find their niche on the basketball or football team or on the cheerleading squad, cross country and track and field are good options, Clem Papineau said. Papineau, Central Arkansas Parochial League track director, said he has seen over the past fours years that running and field events have strengthened students who are already athletes, but it has also brought in junior high students who aren't participating in any More...