INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 20, 2017) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Special Olympics North America (SONA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue their collaborative efforts of advancing inclusion programs for students with disabilities.
While working through the organizational structures of both organizations, the stated goals of the partnership are to 1) increase participation of students with intellectual disabilities through interscholastic Special Olympics Unified Sports® and other inclusive school programs; 2) support official partnerships between NFHS member state associations and/or local schools and Special Olympics state Programs; and 3) increase the quality of inclusion programs in schools nationwide by serving as a resource for NFHS state associations and SONA state Programs.
Unified Sports is a fully inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition. There are more than 5,000 schools in the United States that currently offer Unified Sports, with a growing number participating in varsity-style interscholastic leagues. This resulted in more than 200,000 students experiencing Unified Sports during the 2016-17 school year. In a recent evaluation report, 97 percent of high school seniors say that the Unified Champion Schools program is changing their school for the better.
“Essentially, this MOU brings together and re-affirms all the tremendous work being done by both organizations in offering programs for students with disabilities and the desire on the part of both groups to continue moving forward to serve these students in our nation’s schools,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “Through our online course, our online materials and working cooperatively with Special Olympics at conferences and in other projects, we look forward to continuing this important work through our member state associations.”
To kick off the agreement between the two organizations, the NFHS and Special Olympics have released the revised online education course “Coaching Unified Sports” on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
The updated course, which is hosted by Kevin Negandhi of ESPN’s SportsCenter, is offered at no cost for coaches and educators wishing to implement Special Olympics Unified Sports in their schools. The “Coaching Unified Sports” course is one of 58 online offerings through the NFHS Learning Center, which has delivered more than six million courses since its launch in 2007.
Other goals for the partnership include continued education on inclusion programs at NFHS conferences, increasing awareness of Unified Sports programs by posting success stories on the NFHS website and through social media, and development of a Unified Sports Experience model program for use at the local and state levels.
The NFHS currently offers numerous resources and articles related to the inclusion of students with disabilities on its website at http://www.nfhs.org/resources/student-services-inclusion/inclusion-of-students-with-disabilities.
In addition to providing content and resources for the newly updated online course on the NFHS Learning Center, Special Olympics will continue to provide its Unified Sports Experience at the annual NFHS National Student Leadership Summit each summer in Indianapolis, and will assist the NFHS with the collection of success stories and provide training and education at various state conferences.
“We are proud to have partnered with the NFHS, the NFL Foundation and the U.S. Office of Special Education Program at the U.S. Department of Education on the creation of the Coaching Unified Sports Course,” said Marc Edenzon, Regional President of Special Olympics North America. “This new and improved online coach course is vital to achieving the goal of having 15,000 certified coaches by 2020 while also providing training to ensure coaches are equipped with the knowledge to offer the best possible experience to all Unified Sports teammates.”
MONTGOMERY – Pleasant Home High School junior River Baldwin scored 30 points and cleared 12 rebounds last Friday to lead Class 1A Pleasant Home (8-2) to a 50-38 win over Class 5A Greenville.
The 6-foot-5 junior center, who is averaging 23.6 points per game this season, reached the 2,000-point milestone of her prep career in the process to grab the AHSAA Basketball Spotlight.
Baldwin, one of just 18 girls nationwide to be selected as a finalist for the 12-member USA Under 16 National Team last summer, also followed that performance with a triple double to lead Coach Tony Wilson’s Eagles to a 43-40 win over Class 5A Carroll of Ozark in the Alabama-Florida Shootout on Monday. She finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 blocked shots. The 14 blocked shots tied Shelby Weaver of McIntosh (2012) and Gwen Jackson of Eufaula (1999) for 7th on the AHSAA all-time single-game record book list.
Charles Henderson junior Maori Davenport set the AHSAA girls’ single-game blocked shot record last year in the finals of the Class 5A state tournament with 19. Baldwin is averaging 12.0 rebounds and just over six blocked shots a game this season – which ranks among the Top 10 nationally, according to MaxPreps.
The Pleasant Home center scored 833 points and pulled down 355 rebounds in 29 games last season. She had 150 blocked shots. She began this season with 1,833 career points, 843 rebounds and 396 blocked shots in 82 games.
Her milestone effort edged out another outstanding performance by Paul Bryant senior point guard Jared Sherwood, who had 10 points, 10 assists and six steals to lead the defending Class 6A state champion Stampede (8-2) to a 76-45 win over defending Class 4A state champion Hale County at Moundville last week. Sherwood, the MVP of last season’s Class 6A state tournament, is one of the state’s top free-throw shooters – nailing 125-of-144 last season for 86.8 percent.
Teammate Kershon Lockhars also had 16 points in the win over Hale County and Dylan Robertson had 10 points and four blocked shots. Jakorrian Edwards had 16 for Hale County.
Sherwood and Coach the Stampede, coached by Sean Peck-Love, will be in action beginning Wednesday at the Steel City Classic boys’ basketball tournament at Samford University. The tourney features three defending state champions. Nine games are scheduled for Wednesday beginning with Vestavia Hills vs. three-time defending 1A state champion Sacred Heart at 8:30 a.m. Parker meets Cordova at 10, Pelham plays LeFlore at 11:30, Eufaula and Homewood play at 1 p.m. Wenonah will play the Vestavia-Sacred Heart winner at 2:30; Paul Bryant takes on the winner of the Parker-Cordova game at 4; Huffman plays the Pelham-LeFlore winner at 5:30; defending 3A state champion Midfield plays the Homewood-Eufaula winner at 7; and Ramsay plays Spain Park in a girls’ game at 8:30 p.m.
Other highlights reported include:
UMS-WRIGHT WINS AT BUZZER FOR CANOVA’S 300TH COACHING WIN: Sophomore Jill Coffee-Jackson scored in the final seconds as UMS-Wright nipped Citronelle 43-41. The victory was the 300th of Lady Bulldogs Coach Terry Canova’s coaching career. He is in his 12th year as head coach at UMS-Wright.
Trailing 41-39 with 10 seconds left, another sophomore Sarah Elizabeth Freeman came up with a steal and fed to junior Emme McPhillips who hit a layup for the tying basket. With three seconds left, UMS-Wright inbounded the ball to Virginia Dukes, who found Coffee-Jackson opening for the winning shot. Senior Amy Robinson had 14 points, including four 3-point goals, coming off the bench for UMS-Wright.
MURR GOES OVER 2,000 POINTS: Lindsay Lane Academy sophomore Tommy Murr scored 49 points to lead the Lions past Addison 86-60 and went over 2,000 points for his career in the process. Murr, a 5-foot-11, 120-pound guard, is averaging 41.6 points per game, and according to MaxPreps, currently leads the nation in scoring. He is shooting 84.6 percent from the foul line (115 of 136) and is averaging 8.2 points per game on free throws alone. He is also 63-of-139 from the 3-point arc (45.3%) and is averaging 13.5 points a game just on treys made.
3 PLAYERS HAVE DOUBLE-DOUBLES IN CENTRAL WIN: Central-Tuscaloosa (11-2) beat Tuscaloosa County 64-53 as three players recorded double-double performances. McKenzie Mahone had 20 points and 10 assists, Shakyia White had 17 points and 13 rebounds and LaTarius Montgomery added 10 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Tamia Knight had 17 points for Tuscaloosa County.
In other highlights reported from last week’s action:
ISAAC WOODWARD, CARBON HILL: Had 42 points in a 94-70 win over Carbon Hill. The junior guard was 9-of-10 on 3-point shots, 11-of-14 at the foul line and scored 17 points in the first quarter sinking the first five treys he attempted.
NOEL JONES, CENTRAL COOSA: Had 25 points and eight rebounds and teammate Jovon Richardson added 13 points, including sinking 8-of-8 free throws in the final four minutes, to seal a 54-51 win over Benjamin Russell.
TREY BONHAM, UMS-WRIGHT: Scored a game-high 23 points, but it was his assist to teammate Brink Bedsole with eight seconds remaining that provided the winning bucket as the Bulldogs nipped Citronelle 49-47.
MASON BRAGWELL, BELGREEN: Averaged 24.3 points per game in three wins as the Bulldogs (9-0) beat Carbon Hill, Fayette County and Phil Campbell.
J.P. ROBINSON, DESHLER: Scored 34 points in a win over Russellville and followed with 18 in a win over Rogers and 19 in an overtime loss to Central-Florence.
JALON JOHNSON, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Earned MVP honors as Hillcrest (9-3) beat American Christian 47-31 to win the championship of its own Hillcrest All-State tournament.
CHASE GORE, SOUTH LAMAR: Scored 27 points to lead the Stallions past Pickens County 80-50 in an early-season Class 1A, Area 9 showdown.
JOSEPH WOMACK, CARROLL: Had 17 points for the Eagles (9-4) in a 61-51 win over Daleville in the finals of the Daleville Christmas tournament to earn MVP honors.
MICHAEL HOLLIS, GOSHEN: Had 13 points in a three-overtime win over Elba, 13 in a semifinal win over Luverne and 13 in a 50-32 win over Brantley in the finals of the Brantley Christmas Tourney.
JA’MICHAEL STALLWORTH, GEORGIANA: Had 29 points in the Panthers’ 89-43 win over Opp and 22 in a 77-69 loss to Greenville at the Andalusia Christmas Tourney. The loss to 5A Greenville was Class 1A Georgiana’s first setback of the season.
DONALD JACKSON, CENTRAL-PHENIX CITY: Scored 27 points as the Red Devils beat Eufaula 73-52.
JESSIE STEGER, BUCKHORN: Sank a free throw with no time remaining to give the Class 7A Bucks (11-2) a 43-42 road win over James Clemens.
KIRA LEWIS, HAZEL GREEN: Tallied 26 points as the Trojans beat Muscle Shoals 57-53.
LATASCYA DUFF, SAMSON: Scored 41 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Tigers’ 71-42 win over Goshen in the Brantley Christmas tournament and followed with 14 points in the semifinal 49-34 win over Brantley and finished with 21 in a 50-27 win over Pleasant Home in the finals for Samson (14-1).
RACHEL JOHNSON, EUFAULA: Recorded 19 points and 15 steals as Eufaula (10-1) beat Abbeville 41-29. The 15 steals ranks third in the AHSAA Record Book. The state record (23) was set by Wanda McDaniel of Speake in 1993. Leah Strain of Woodland also had 16 in a 2009 win over Lineville and 14 twice, versus Handley and Wadley in 2011.
KAREIGH SLEDGE, DESHLER: Sledge averaged 18 points per game as the defending Class 4A state champions won three games last week.
EMMA HUMPHRES, VINA: Scored the 1,000th point of her high school career in Vina’s win over Hubbertville and added 21 in the Red Devils’ victory over Cherokee.
JOSIE HARVILLE, HATTON: Scored 22 points in a win against Class 5A Lawrence County, and then recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Sheffield.
CLAIRE DAVIDSON, COOSA CHRISTIAN: Scored 29 points and teammate India Brown added 15 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Conquerors (9-4) to a 62-46 win over Cleveland.
ANYA BANKS, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Had 10 points and eight rebounds in a 53-15 win over Sipsey Valley in the finals of the Hillcrest All-State girls’ tourney to earn MVP honors for the Lady Patriots (9-2).
SIERRA CARTER, HOLT: Scored 29 points as Holt (7-5) posted a 75-54 Class 4A, Area 7 win over Northside.
By Sue Marshall
Former Athletic Administrator and Varsity Coach at Randolph School, Huntsville
and Major Lane
Principal at Goshen High School
The Alabama High School Athletic Association is made up of more than 400 high schools, along with 300 junior highs and middle schools. These schools are as varied as the thousands of students who walk their halls and run the athletics courts and fields all across the state.
Members include public, private and parochial schools that can have a vastly different focus on their shared mission of educating their students. There is one thing that those 700-plus schools have in common: an athletics organization built on a foundation of fairness and service.
The AHSAA operates based on rules and regulations formulated by its members. Any member school can propose a new rule or a rules change. The new rule gets distributed to all members and there’s a survey vote. From there, a 32-member Legislative Council – four members from each district – votes on the proposal. A two-thirds vote is required to ratify the new rule. It’s democracy – and fairness – in action.
During my career as a coach and athletic administrator in north Alabama, I witnessed numerous significant changes that were a result of rule proposals that were designed to support the needs, interests and safety of student-athletes across the state. I am proud of the consistent effort of the AHSAA to be responsive to concerns and suggestions of the many men and women who strive to make high school athletics a meaningful experience for student-athletes.
At Randolph School, an independent school in Huntsville, we have a proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence as well as a strong commitment to community involvement. In order to help prepare our students for their future in an uncertain world, our faculty, coaches and administrators encourage our student-athletes to be their best in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in their dealings with their peers and in the broader world beyond our campus.
In athletics, as in academics, Randolph coaches work to make sure our students are prepared for tough competition because facing and overcoming challenges strengthens their resolve to do their best – no matter what. We value the opportunity to compete against strong competition throughout the state through the AHSAA. We also find in the AHSAA like-minded institutions led by executives and officials with uncompromising integrity.
Our athletics programs at Randolph School are outstanding, and an important part of our mission to instruct the entire student – mentally, physically and emotionally. We are very proud of our winning programs, but in striving to win we make sure we teach our students that sportsmanship and honest effort are as important as what shows on the scoreboard.
As a former coach and athletic administrator, I am grateful for the integrity, dedication and hard work that the AHSAA provides outstanding athletic experiences for student-athletes and coaches across the state.
Goshen a proud AHSAA small-school competitor
With the AHSAA’s guidance and adherence to policies created for everyone, small schools such as Goshen High School can be confident that the competition is fair for all. In a community of less than 300 in the town limits, Goshen’s ability to stand toe-to-toe with our rivals is a matter of pride. And pride is very important in small-town Alabama.
Our student-athletes don’t rely on finding success with a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality, though. We strive to teach them to stand tall in the face of adversity, knowing that adversity can produce great character and fortitude that can last for a lifetime. Learning to pull together as part of a team is perhaps the best way to prepare our student-athletes for life after high school.
The governing structure of the AHSAA – the Central Board of Control – is comprised of one member from each of the eight districts in the state, plus four minority members from four bi-districts, two female at-large members and one member from the Alabama Department of Education. Thus, every school has a “local” voice in the room when executive decisions are made. Goshen’s voice matters just as much as that of the voice from the largest high school in Alabama. The AHSAA staff that works on day-to-day issues is also highly responsive. The administrators in Montgomery have hands-on experience in school classrooms and always keep the students in their minds in their decision-making.
In short, private schools like Randolph School and public schools like Goshen High share a bond much like those forged on the field of play. Policies and procedures made by AHSAA members for AHSAA members keep a competitive balance in place so that our students have their best chance for success on a level playing field.
Contact: Dan Schuster
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 19, 2017) — The most popular online education course on the NFHS Learning Center – “Concussion in Sports” – is now available in Spanish at www.NFHSLearn.com. The NFHS also has released “Officiating Wrestling,” which is the seventh sport-specific officiating course available through the NFHS Learning Center.
The NFHS partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010 to offer “Concussion in Sports.” The free course has since been taken more than 3.5 million times, and with the help of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is now available in Spanish. This is the first course offered by the NFHS Learning Center in a language other than English.
“We are pleased to offer our very first course in Spanish, as well as continuing to provide additional opportunities for individuals to become involved in professional development,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services.
The goal of “Concussion in Sports” is to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports. The course includes each state’s concussion management requirements, in addition to highlighting the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes. Those who take the course will learn how to recognize a suspected concussion, as well as protocols to manage suspected concussions and the steps used to help players safely return to play.
“Officiating Wrestling” emphasizes the value of a referee’s judgment. To make the correct call, a referee must possess the proper knowledge of wrestling rules and their implementation. “Officiating Wrestling” is designed to help wrestling officials not only understand the rules, but how to properly apply them when in action.
“Professional development is critically important, and we are pleased to add another course for officials to the NFHS Learning Center,” Schuster said. “’Officiating Wrestling’ is a great course for new wrestling officials; however, it also provides great reminders of fundamentals for veteran officials.”
“Officiating Wrestling,” which is also now available through the NFHS Learning Center, costs $20. All members of the NFHS Officials Association are eligible for a $10 discount by entering an NFHS Officials Association registered email at checkout.
After starting with two courses in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 58 online courses – including more than 26 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, administrators and music adjudicators. Since the launch of www.NFHSLearn.com in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than six million courses.
This press release was written by Cody Porter, a graphic arts/communications assistant in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department.
HATTIESBURG (MS) – The week of preparation is over for Alabama and Mississippi All-Star football teams as both teams completed their seventh practice of the week Friday morning. The two teams square off Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi Classic all-star football game at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M/M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi here.
Raycom Media will televise the game over its network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi with most of the stations, including WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery, showing the game over the main channel. Some of the affiliates will show the game over Raycom’s Bounce channel. To check availability, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch” or click on the following link for a story detailing the available at each affiliate: http://www.ahsaa.com/News-Articles/ArticleId/928/31st-alabama-mississippi-all-star-football-game-to-be-televised-on-main-channel-of-7-raycom-affiliates-saturday
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama has 22-8 edge
MONTGOMERY -- The 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game, which kicks off at noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, will be televised live in both states by Raycom Media.
According to Rich Michaelson of Raycom’s Broadview Media, the game can be seen on the main channel of four of the six affiliates carrying the contest in Alabama and on three of the six stations carrying the game in Mississippi/Tennessee. It will be on the Bounce Channel of four of the other Raycom stations. The game will be on the MyNetwork D.2 channel at WTOK TV in Meridian (MS).
MOBILE: Mobile area viewers will find the game on WFNA TV 55 at the following channels: Comcast Cable (channel 235); Cox Cable (channel 1015); U-Verse (channel 1012); Mediacom – Mobile County (channel 804); Mediacom – Baldwin County (channel 817); Dish Network (channel 55); Direct TV (channel 55).
Handling the play-by-play will be Mississippi announcer Russ Robinson and Gary Harris of WVUA TV 23 in Tuscaloosa will be the color commentator. Rachel Richlinski will be the sideline reporter.
Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will be in the radio booth for the AHSAA Radio Network’s live broadcast Saturday as well.
ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI ALL-STAR GAME TV/RADIO INFORMATION
TV INFO: Raycom Media will televise the game beginning at 12 noon Saturday over its statewide network of affiliates either on the station’s main channel (available on cable or satellite) or the D.2 Bounce Channel (available on cable only or antenna TV only). In Mobile, the game will be available on WFNA TV (Bounce Channel).
Raycom will also live-stream the game with links at each affiliate and on You Tube. To find the cable channel in your area, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on Where to Watch or go to www.ahsaa.com and click on the nearest location. Raycom affiliates and partner stations include:
Birmingham WBRC TV Fox 6 (Main Channel)
Dothan WDFX TV Fox 34 (Main Channel)
Huntsville WAFF TV NBC 48 (Main Channel)
Mobile WFNA TV 55 D.3 (Bounce Channel)
Montgomery WSFA TV NBC 12 (Main channel)
Columbus WTVM TV ABC 9 (Bounce Channel)
Biloxi WLOX TV ABC/CBS 13 (Bounce Channel)
Hattiesburg WDAM TV NBC 7 (Main Channel)
Jackson WLBT TV NBC 3 (Main Channel)
Meridian WTOK TV ABC 11 (MyNetwork)
Tupelo WTVA TV NBC 9 (Main Channel)
Memphis WMC TV NBC 5 (Bounce Channel)
RADIO INFO: The Alabama Radio Network will carry the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game over its network. Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will handle the announcing and Michael Forehand is the producer. The broadcast can be accessed at www.ahsaa.com or at the following link: http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/
MONTGOMERY – Hoover High School opened the 2017-18 indoor track season in stride with victories in the first two meets of the season at the Birmingham CrossPlex to grab the first AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight of the season.
Hoover’s boys and girls, the defending Class 7A state indoor champions, won the team competition at the Magic City Classic indoor track meet held Dec. 6 at the Birmingham CrossPlex over a field of 50 boys’ teams and 44 girls’ teams. Coach Devon Hind’s boys’ team had 144.50 points and runner-up Winfield had 86. Hind’s girls won with 96 points and St. Paul’s Episcopal was a close second with 89.
The Bucs also swept the boys’ and girls’ championships at the Holiday Invitational Dec. 9 at the CrossPlex with 107 and 93 points, respectively. Homewood was second with 63.50 points in the boys’ competition and 76 points in the girls’ division. Twenty-four schools participated overall.
The next high school meet at the CrossPlex is Saturday, Dec. 16, with the USTF Invitational. The Hoover Alumni Invitational is scheduled for Dec. 30, the Icebreaker Invitational, Jan. 5-6, the MLK Classic, Dec. 15 and the Last Chance Invitational, Jan. 25-26. The AHSAA Indoor State Championships will be at the CrossPlex Feb. 2-3.
Highlights from the first two indoor meets of the season at the CrossPlex include:
OKHEME MOORE, HILLCREST-TUSCALOOSA: Broke the Magic City Classic meet record in the Class 6A/7A division 400-meter dash finals with a time of 48.72 seconds – bettering the 49.55 record set by Xavier Rogers of Stanhope Elmore in 2016. However, Clinton (MS) sprinter Kristopher Moore won the race with an even better record-setting time of 48.14 seconds in the photo finish. Okheme Moore also won the Holiday Invitational 60-meter dash in 6.95 seconds and bettered his 400-meter time to 48.02 seconds. Clinton’s Kristopher Moore, however, won the event with a 47.89 time – setting a new record for the Holiday Invitational. Xavier Rogers of Stanhope Elmore, who set the previous record (49.95) last year, finished third with a time of 48.45, which also beat his 2016 time. A total of 86 runners competed in the 400-meter event.
JAMES COURSON, HOOVER: Won the Class 6A/7A pole vault at the Magic City Classic clearing 15 feet, 7 inches – and winning the event by 2½ feet over the closest competitor.
CARL NESBITT, VESTAVIA HILLS: Cleared 6-06 to win the Holiday Invitational high jump, tying the meet record set in 2015 by Drew Willilams of Mountain Brook, in the process.
J’MARRI McCALL, HOOVER: Set the Holiday Invitational meet record in the long jump with a winning distance of 21-06. The old mark of 21-05.75 was established by Daryl Bowden of Sparkman in 2016.