Sports column: Celebrating a year of Athletes of the Week

Published 11:55 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

When we at The Vicksburg Post decided to start our Athlete of the Week contest, it was with a mix of curiosity, optimism and dread.

It was certainly an idea with a lot of potential, but like all new features — especially ones that are wholly dependent on audience participation — there was a fear that it would take off like the proverbial lead balloon. Our “Who’s Hot” feature has been a staple for nearly 30 years, but this idea for its super-sized cousin could easily die a quick death if the interest was not there.

Thankfully, our readers were very interested and it took off like a rocket instead.

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Over the course of 33 weeks since the beginning of September, more than 27,500 votes were cast by our readers in the weekly online poll. That’s an average of more than 800 per week, which isn’t bad considering it’s hard to spam the poll. Our software only allows one vote per person per hour, and voting was only open for about 60 hours per week from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday night.

We have honored 34 local athletes as winners — there was a tie in the very first week — and recognized a total of 101 as nominees.

Although there were no repeat winners, 24 athletes were nominated more than once. Porter’s Chapel Academy’s Jase Jung, who plays football, basketball and track, had the most nominations with five. Vicksburg’s Tyler Henderson and Amari Johnson, PCA’s John Wyatt Massey and St. Aloysius’ Hendrix Eldridge were nominated three times each.

The Athlete of the Week contest quickly evolved to serve a dual purpose of not only recognizing outstanding achievements, but to spotlight them across the sports spectrum. Winners came from 10 different sports.
Warren County’s high school athletes were the bulk of the nominees, but we mixed in a few from Tallulah and Port Gibson as well, along with a handful of youth and college athletes.

By all measures, it seems the Athlete of the Week contest has been a hit. With the 2022-23 sports year coming to a close, however, it’s time for a break. The contest will go on hiatus until August, when the calendar resets and new seasons begin.

We’ll continue to look for ways to refine and evolve the contest, and hopefully to grow it. Suggestions are always welcome, so please email them to

Congratulations to all of the athletes who were recognized this season. And most of all, thank you to our readers for participating. We couldn’t do it without you, so hopefully we can do it again when the 2023-24 sports year begins.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

• Sept. 5 – Decorey Knight, Vicksburg High football; and Skylar Beard, Warren Central volleyball
• Sept. 12 – Natalie Cantin, Porter’s Chapel softball
• Sept. 19 – Chloe Barnard, Warren Central swimming
• Sept. 26 – Maddox Lynch, Warren Central football

• Oct. 2 – Mateo Byrd, Warren Central swimming
• Oct. 9 – Wallyeke Curry, Vicksburg High football
• Oct. 16 – Zack Evans, Warren Central football
• Oct. 23 – Jack Wright, Warren Central football
• Oct. 30 – Hendrix Eldridge, St. Aloysius cross country

• Nov. 6 – Trey Hall, Warren Central football
• Nov. 13 – Lawson Selby, Porter’s Chapel basketball
• Nov. 20 – Jonah Artman, Warren Central football/soccer
• Nov. 27 – Joshua Griffin, Southern U. football

• Dec. 4 – Kayleigh Karel, Warren Central basketball
• Dec 11 – Gloria Hall, Warren Central soccer

• Jan. 8 – Emily Cook, St. Al basketball
• Jan. 15 – Zion Harvey, Warren Central basketball
• Jan. 22 – Chase Hearn, Porter’s Chapel basketball
• Jan. 29 – Trinity McGloster, Vicksburg High soccer

• Feb. 5 – Gaylon Turner, Warren Central basketball
• Feb. 12 – Thomas Dowe, St. Aloysius soccer
• Feb. 19 – Arnett Sevier, Tallulah Academy baseball
• Feb. 26 – Zach Ashley, Porter’s Chapel baseball

• March 5 – Lane Gordon, Warren Central powerlifting
• March 12 – Hayes Hopkins, Tallulah Academy baseball
• March 19 – Anaiyah Fultz, Grambling softball
• March 26 – Adria Burrell, Warren Central track and field

• April 2 – Abby Morgan, Warren Central softball
• April 9 – Mincer Minor IV, Vicksburg High baseball
• April 16 – Kylan Landers, Warren Central baseball
• April 23 – Jae’la Smith, Warren Central track and field
• April 30 – Matthew Pitre, St. Aloysius baseball

• May 6 – Jonathan Henderson, Warren Central track and field

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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