MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Stickball:
One of the most popular events at the State Games of Mississippi every year is the Stickball tournament held at Choctaw Central High School. The tournament features nine teams made up of boys and girls ages 9-12 competing for Stickball gold. The ten game tournament began on Wednesday, in a single elimination format leading up to Saturday’s gold medal game.
The game, part of Choctaw culture for centuries, is made up of 25 players on the field for each team. Tournament rules call for 40-minute games split into 10 minute quarters. The objective of the game is to advance the golf-sized ball down the field and hit the opposing team’s post, scoring a point.
“It teaches a lot of life skills, they learn teamwork,” event commissioner Jerod Thompson said. “There have been some games where a team is down five to six points and they’ve come back to win.”
Beaver Dam claimed the Gold medal by defeating Bok Chito, 8-3.
The State Games of Mississippi became the first State Games to incorporate sporting clays as a part of its slate of events. The two-day event saw 50 participants on Saturday – matching the average weekend attendance from prior years.
Marksmen traveled from across the state – such as Vicksburg, Starkville and Oxford – to shoot 100 rounds over the course of 12 stations at Binachi Shooting Sports. Gold, silver and bronze are awarded to the individuals hitting the most targets in their division.
Event commissioner, Ken Kercheval, talks about what brings athletes back to this particular event every year.
“I think they just have a great time and we have so many divisions – there’s so many possibilities to medal and it’s just – really it’s an addictive sport,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and you just keep wanting to shoot and shoot and shoot so, you know, they just have a great time.”
Sporting Clays concludes Sunday.
The trail run took place early Saturday morning at Bonita Lakes Park. Around 35 runners completed the 4.6 mile race that outlined the lake - beginning and ending at the boat dock. First through third places were awarded by time within each age and gender bracket.
Evelyn Watkins, Trail Run Commissioner, believes individual sports, like the Trail Run, allow the State Games to be inclusive for athletes.
“This race, along with some of the other individual races, allows the older population and the ones who aren’t on a soccer team or a baseball team or whatever to participate in State Games and earn a State Games medal,” Watkins said. “And it gives them the opportunity to just participate in the whole event because it’s a fun month-long event.”
Meridian’s Causey Simmons was the male overall winner, finishing in 33 minutes and 14 seconds and Emma James from Collinsville was the female overall winner with a 36 minutes and 49 seconds finishing time.