All-Star Week offers competition, friendships

By Donna Stephens Originally Published June 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 14, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.
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— Forty athletes from the Three Rivers Edition coverage area will be among the 458 set to report Monday for the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Week at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

Representatives from the region will be involved in all six sports, as well as cheer and dance.

“Being selected to participate in the all-star game is a great honor and a great opportunity, just to be able to be around some of the better talent, the more talented players in the state of Arkansas,” said Roddy Mote of Harding Academy, head football coach for the East. “Being able to compete and develop new friendships is a big deal.”

Coaches will report today, Father’s Day, with players following on Monday. Practices for all sports will begin Monday. Baseball and softball doubleheaders are set for Tuesday, soccer and volleyball are scheduled for Wednesday; basketball will go Thursday, and football will conclude the week’s festivities on Friday.

Those squads that have not yet played their games will attend the other all-star contests during the week to cheer on their new friends.

“It’s very relaxing,” Mote said. “Our players (at Harding Academy) will talk about other players across the state, what they’re doing, and here’s a period of time where you actually get to sit down and visit and develop a friendship, talk to them, develop a bond and work with some of these players you’ve been hearing things about but you’ve never been able to meet.”

Mote’s experience as an all-star football player in West Virginia in 1984 and the ensuing years have made him appreciate what these all-stars will experience this year.

“It’s those relationships you build, the friendships — and some of those guys are going off to the same school, some are going to play college football or basketball or baseball or whatever, and for some, this is it,” he said.

“You’re always getting ready for the next game; there’s always a next game, but this is it. Those who are chosen as all-stars have had an opportunity to do the very most they can as a high school player, and it’s very rewarding for them. They feel very honored and very humbled.”

Representing the Three Rivers region in baseball will be Joe Formel of Searcy and Trent Finley of Harding Academy, both on the East squad.

On the East girls basketball team are Jamie Jackson of Beebe and Kassidy Spradlin of Bald Knob.

The East boys basketball roster includes Logan Bailey of Greers Ferry West Side, Will Francis of Harding Academy and Chaz Matthews of Cave City.

The East football squad includes Javier Rodriguez and Jonathan Hendrix of Batesville, Antwan Arnold of Searcy, Hunter Gentry of Harding Academy, Derrick Fisher of Heber Springs, McKenzie Jones of Riverview, and Mickey DeMarzo and Evan Scarbrough of Searcy.

On the East girls soccer roster are Hana Cooper and Tabitha Owens of Cabot, Anna Richard of Batesville, and McKenna Smith and Samantha Stewart of Searcy. Devin Patterson of Cabot is manager.

In boys soccer, the East squad includes Kevin Beckheimer of Searcy, Mario Garcia of Batesville, Kristian Rivera of Southside Batesville and Evan Scarbrough of Searcy.

The East softball roster includes Alexis Ingram of Heber Springs, Kelsey Cotton of South Side Bee Branch, Maylie Bain of Harding Academy and Taylor Anderson of Cabot. Madelyn Poe of Beebe is manager.

Playing for the East volleyball team will be Jayme Shell of Batesville and Emily Giboney of Harding Academy.

Sarah Lynch of Heber Springs, along with Maddy Gerald and Taylor Sales of Cabot and Mindy Linvell of Newport, will be part of the East cheer squad. The East dance team will include Carly Jackson and Shawna Smith of Beebe, and Ashley Bingham and Jessica Doss of Cabot.

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