Mississippi College Alumni Magazine | Summer 2010

Putting the Student in Student-Athlete

Mississippi College led the American Southwest Conference in ASC All-Academic players.

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Mississippi College led the American Southwest Conference in ASC All-Academic players. All-Academic representatives include student-athletes who are in their second year of play and carry a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Some 107 MC players representing fall, winter, and spring sports made the list. This marks the ninth consecutive year that MC has led the American Southwest Conference in All-Academic conference representatives.

On and Off the Court, Patterson Shines

Whether she’s drilling three-pointers, playing tenacious defense, or serving others off the court, senior Anna Patterson has been an exceptional leader for the Lady Choctaws basketball team.

The 2010 recipient of the MC Outstanding Senior Athlete Award for women’s basketball, Patterson also landed a spot on the second team of the American Southwest Conference East squad. During the 2009-10 season, Patterson scored an average 11.8 points per game and shot a superb 35 percent from the three-point line.

Patterson is also a success off the court. In addition to posting a 4.0 grade point average, she served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, was an active member of the Swannanoa social tribe, and helped raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fight cancer. Following her graduation from MC this spring, Patterson plans to pursue a career in the medical field or enroll in graduate school to become a teacher and basketball coach.

“When people ask me what I want to do when I grow up, I tell them I want to help people,” Patterson says. “That’s been a big part of my time at MC. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by other athletes who were not only pursuing greatness in their sport and the classroom, but also for Jesus Christ.”

For Whom the Bell Bats

MC outfielder Bo Bell was one of five American Southwest Conference players named a preseason All-American by D3baseball.com. Bell was named ASC East Hitter of the Year after finishing second in the conference with a .438 batting average, tops among division players. The Gulfport native led the league for the second straight year in runs batted in, this season compiling 56. Prior to enrolling at MC, Bell was a standout at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Double Trouble

Kicking or catching, Brannon Walls is a winner either way. The kinesiology major suits up for Choctaw football and baseball, and excels in both sports.

Walls was the hero who kicked the game-winning field goal with four seconds left to play in a crucial win over Mary Hardin-Baylor last fall. Walls’ winning kick gave the Choctaws the victory they needed to claim the American Southwest Conference championship and earn a ticket to post-season NCAA Division III play. The Choctaws went on to finish 2009 with a 9-3 record.

In May 2010, Walls belted two homeruns in a crucial 9-8 win over the University of Texas-Tyler as the Choctaws eliminated the Patriots from the NCAA Division III West Regional in Oregon. Walls is also involved in MC athletics off the field as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership team and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“My college years at MC have been some of the best of my life, emotionally, spiritually, and socially,” Walls says. “I’ve made some lifelong friends here who share my interest in sports and love the Lord just as much as I do.”

Conference Call

Choctaw sports fans that thrive on American Southwest Conference competition will soon have another match-up at which to cheer. In April, the ASC announced that Shreveport’s Centenary College will move from NCAA Division I to Division III affiliation and will join the ASC. Centenary fields athletic teams in 13 ASC championship sports, including basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, golf, cross-country, and volleyball. With the addition of Centenary College, the ASC will return to a 16-member level with teams representing private universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana.

Coach Brian Owens Racks Up 100th Victory

brian-owens.jpgMC baseball coach Brian Owens reached a major milestone with his 100th career win as the Choctaw’s leader.

Number 100 didn’t come without its share of suspense. The Choctaws edged the Millsaps Majors in a nail biting, 7-6 come back triumph on April 20th at Frierson Field on the Clinton campus. The ninth-ranked Choctaws wiped out a 6-2 deficit with three runs in the 8th inning and added two more in the 9th to knock off rival Millsaps and give Owens a 100-67 record during four seasons as the Choctaws’ head coach.

In 2010, Owens led the Choctaws to a record number of wins as the team reached an NCAA Regional Championship for the first time in program history. The Choctaws closed out the season with an impressive 39-11 record as they fell to Linfield College on May 22 in the championship of the NCAA Division III Regional in McMinnville, Oregon.  In 2009, Owens led the Choctaws to an American Conference East Co-championship with a 30-16 overall and 14-4 conference record.

Paddling it out in Wisconsin

Mississippi College’s table tennis team paddled its way to a 5th-place finish at the 2010 National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) championship in Wisconsin. More than 150 college teams nationwide play ping-pong; around 40 squads from the United States and Canada punched their ticket to NCTTA’s big dance in the dairy state.

During their April 9-11 showing, the Choctaws netted wins over several larger schools, including Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the University of Southern California. MC finished one notch below number four Princeton and one above number six California.

“We won the games that we were supposed to win,” said MC table tennis team captain Ken Qiu. “We finished number five, exactly the same as the pre-nationals ranking.”

All six MC players who made the road trip to the championships are natives of China, where table tennis is considered the national sport. The 2010 championship represents Mississippi College’s third championship appearance in three years.

“Amazing as it seems, prospects look even better for 2011,” says team sponsor Andy Kanengiser, the university news coordinator.

Qui and fellow players Bill Cai, Johnson Liang, Renping Ge, Lishun Lu, and Ou Lan are among the sport’s top national collegiate stars. When they’re not paddling balls, the six can often be found hitting the books together; all are students in the MC School of Business.

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