Hard work adds up to Wave’s 18th all-sports win

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Laurie Bishop loves beating Madison Central … in anything.
So Tupelo High School’s volleyball coach was all smiles Sunday when she learned Tupelo won the Clarion-Ledger’s All-Sports Award for the 2011-12, edging rival Madison Central in the process – 437.5 points to MC’s 431.
The all-sports win, based on a points-earned formula for a school’s athletics program, was Tupelo’s 18th in the award’s 25-year history.
“It’s all based on a points system, so it’s not something people sit down and select,” said Bishop, whose Lady Wave won the Class 6A state championship in volleyball. “It’s big. Our kids know that it takes everybody to win.
“Any time you can take something from Madison, it’s a great thing.”
Tupelo wasn’t the only Northeast Mississippi school to earn recognition. Starkville was the 5A winner while Oxford was second in the same classification. Pontotoc won the 4A competition.
The Golden Wave sports programs scored points in 19 of 22 sports leading to championships sanctioned by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
THS won state titles in eight sports last season – bowling (boys, girls), cross country (boys, girls), swimming (boys, girls), golf (boys) and volleyball (girls).
“This award recognizes and spotlights the contributions of other sports that wouldn’t get notice otherwise,” boys cross country coach Jonathan Begnaud said. “It’s pretty special to win. The kids take pride in that.”
‘It means a lot’
THS athletics director Danny Porter said he appreciates the “pride, character and hard work” from his coaches and athletes.
“It means a lot to us to win this,” he said. “I know we didn’t win it for a couple of years. Maybe we took it for granted. Every year now, we’re keeping up with the points.”
Adds Bishop, “Everybody wants to do their part.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com

Insider
TOP ALL-SPORTS SCHOOLS
OVERALL: 1. Tupelo 437.5. 2. Madison Central 431.0. 3. Starkville 397.0. 4. Oxford 373.5. 5. (tie) Clinton 341.0, Pontotoc 341.0.
BY CLASS – 6A: Tupelo. 5A: Starkville.
4A: Pontotoc. 3A: St. Andrew’s. 2A: Madison
St. Joseph. 1A: St. Aloysius.