2016 was a rough year, but not for local sports

Published 8:54 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

Between the endless string of celebrity deaths and the contentious presidential election, a lot of people will be glad to see 2016 come to an end at midnight Saturday. New Year’s Day is always about fresh starts, and we as a country could sure use one.

From a sports perspective, however, it wasn’t all that bad.

We got to see the Cubs win the World Series and Cleveland win an NBA championship, both of which seemed as unlikely as … well, the Cubs winning a World Series and the city of Cleveland winning a championship.

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Locally, it wasn’t a bad year either.

Vicksburg native Jay Hopson got his shot as a head coach with an FBS program by making the leap from Alcorn State to Southern Miss. The season could have been better for USM, but it did win a bowl game.

Warren Central and Vicksburg both continued to revitalize their football programs. Vicksburg won nine games, while Warren Central won 10 and came within a play of knocking off Class 6A champion Clinton in the playoffs. Both teams seem set to do well again in 2017.

DeMichael Harris made history for St. Aloysius by becoming the first runner ever to break the 21-second mark in the 200-meter dash at a state meet. He won the Gatorade Player of the Year award for boys track for a second time, keeping it in Vicksburg for the third year in a row.

The runner who won it before Harris, Vicksburg’s Terrell Smith, made it to the NCAA championships in the 200 meters for the second consecutive year while competing for Kansas State.

Former WC football star Sean Brewer was inducted to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and was part of the inaugural class of the Vicksburg Warren School District athletic hall of fame.

In fact, looking back over the past year, there wasn’t a whole lot of bad news in the world of Warren County sports. We didn’t even have that many major coaching changes to sort through during the summer, which is a rarity.

Considering how the rest of the world went, that’s not too bad. Here’s hoping 2017 offers up more of the same — a lot of success, some state and national-level recognition, and plenty of interesting personal stories to keep us all busy and entertained.

Happy New Year’s, everyone!

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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