By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Lady Yellowjacket volleyball teams met for the first day of practice in the high school gymnasium Aug. 3 and Head Coach Liz Henning is excited to bring back nearly the entire squad from last year.
“We get to build on everything we learned last year,” third-year Kemp coach Henning said. “Things didn’t end the way we had hoped last year, but we are going to be much stronger now with all the experience we gained.”
The Lady ’Jackets were a largely young group last year, consisting of mostly sophomores. The young team didn’t fair well in the standings but will now have a heads up on the competition in terms of teamwork and familiarity. Kemp didn’t lose any players to graduation, but one player moved. Now a year wiser and more experienced, they are motivated to reach new highs.
“I keep reminding the girls that they need a volleyball (district championship) banner on the wall,” Henning said. “It helps get them motivated to be their best.”
Thirty girls reported to the first day of practice — roughly 10 players each for varsity, junior varsity and the freshman team.
“They ran a half a mile this morning before they hit the weight room and started volleyball drills.” Henning said.
While the players on the girls teams remain largely unchanged, nearly the entire coaching staff has been recycled.
“My coaching staff is brand new.” Henning said.
New to Kemp are coaches Chris Chase, who has eight years of experience, most recently from Abilene Cooper. Also new is Brittany Scott, with three years of coaching experience from Boyd Elementary School. First year coaches Lacy Jenson and Leigh Anne Lambert come from Venice High School (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Grand Saline; and Megan Cullum brings four years of experience from Cumby High School.
With the new crop of coaches, there will be a fresh slate to shape the freshmen and middle school teams.
“I’m excited about our freshman team,” Henning said. “They did well last year, finishing second in district. They will be a solid core for the next four years at Kemp High School and I look forward to them rising to the occasion. They did well in other sports, including basketball and track.”
Key players coming back to the varsity squad include seniors outside hitter Lucy Anderson, right side Madison Thompson, middle Cortney Crapanzano and juniors middle Hannah Hosch, setter Emily Mullens and libero Sarah Farley.
The first scrimmage of the year is this Friday against Midlothian.
“The girls are ready to get playing,” Henning said. “They did summer workouts in June and July and attended a camp at TVCC in June. We even hosted a summer league with Mabank and competed against Athens, Scurry, Canton and Mabank.”
Posted by : August 6, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Posted by : August 2, 2015| On :
David “Bird” Jones guns it against top enthusiasts on Discover TV show
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP–Kemp resident and street racer David “Bird” Jones has a chance to prove he is among the best of the best after getting called out by top Street Outlaws racer “Big Chief.”
The social media stir began in mid-July, when Justin “Big Chief” Shearer tagged Jones in a post, calling him out and inviting him to race among the top competitors in the scene. The call out from “Big Chief” was more than just challenge, it was also a huge honor to be mentioned and respected by the craft’s biggest names.
His sudden rise to prominence in the street racing scene is even more impressive because Bird had already gained notoriety as a reputable bracket racer.
The two styles are much different. Bracket racing is a form of drag racing that utilizes handicaps based on estimated finish times to stress mechanical and driving skill. The car with the slower estimated time takes off first, while the estimated quicker car takes off moments later. In principle, if both drivers have equal reaction times and their cars run exactly their posted dial-ins, both cars should cross the finish line at the same time.
Street racing however, falls more in line with what one would expect in a “Fast and Furious” flick. In street racing the cars take off at the same moment in a mad dash to the finish line, powered with nitrous oxide to burn through more fuel for a more explosive performance.
Bird ran his first legal street race at the open invitational “Dig Night” in Houston last year. He got down to the final four cars remaining before finally getting beaten. After the loss, Bird had an internal debate and considered giving up street racing.
With just two weeks before another Dig Night last March, Bird took steps to completely convert his Camaro to street racing. He worked nearly night and day for two weeks to get his car ready for the event.
Once in Houston, 32 cars took the field and Bird raced his way to the final, where he faced DOC, the third-ranked racer on the “405 Street Outlaw” list. Jones won.
After defeating DOC, the social media craze began in full force. Street racer Kye Kelley heard about Jones’ victory over DOC and called him out. Kelly is a prominent street racer that had not lost a street race in more than three years and had defeated the number one Street Outlaw, Big Chief, three times.
Jones finally met up with Kelley a couple of weeks ago in an undisclosed location and, to much of the racing community’s surprise, defeated Kelley. That’s when Big Chief reached out to Jones on social media, calling him out.
“This is a big deal in the racing world,” Lynn Jones, Bird’s mother said. “It’s a big honor to David and a great opportunity for him.”
After Jones’ race with Kelley, Bird found some damage to his engine and had to rush order new pistons and travel to Louisiana to pick up his motor, before traveling back to Kemp to install it in his Camaro. All the rushing and traveling is in preparation for another Dig Night Aug. 1 in Louisiana. At least three Oklahoma Street Outlaw racers are scheduled to be at the event this weekend.
Racing runs in the Jones’ blood. Bird has been racing since he was 12 years old and his father, Jackie, was the 2005 National Hotrod Racing Association Champion.
“For as long as I can remember my dad has been my role model,” Jones said. “I look up to him in every way. He’s been my hero from day one.”
It’s been nearly 10 years, but Jones says his biggest moment in racing came when he was just 16 years old, in 2006. Jones lined up in a processional race at Texas Motor Place in Ennis and defeated every other contestant on the field–including his reigning champion father. Jones’ father still races today, now in his 36th year, all while using the same race car.
“Ennis was my first $10,000 win,” Jones said. “To beat my father, who was the champion, was one of the best moments of my life.”
He adopted the nick name “Bird” when he was 16.
“I’m six foot-eight and over 200 pounds,” he said. “They called me Big Bird, and it stuck. Now, it’s changed into just “Bird.”
“Being on Street Outlaws is a big goal of mine right now,” he said.
And while Jones has accomplished a lot in the racing world, he says he couldn’t have done any of it without the help of his close-knit family.
His mom, Lynn, is with him at every finish line and “is always there to get whatever (car) part I need.” He gives her credit for being the woman behind the scenes, registering him for races online and booking hotels.
His aunt and uncle Rhonda and Less Smith have also contributed in a big way, giving him an F350 to haul the racing equipment.
“I couldn’t be doing this without them,” he said.
He also gives credit to his brother, Aaron. “He’s always in the shop to build anything I need. Who else will be there at 1 a.m. the night of a race to help me out?”
Posted by : July 30, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP–Kemp resident Keith Foisey has proved yet again that he is a master at his craft after becoming the Deerman’s 3-D True Hunting Experience (THE) world champion in Ada, Oklahoma July 18-19.
Foisey’s world championship win came on the heels of the Texas title he claimed last May and places him as the best 3-D target archer from the 30-foot range in the entire THE system.
The success has came quickly for Foisey, who just recently took up target shooting last February. When he showed up to his first event in May, which happened to be the Texas Championship, the grandness of the event and competitors nearly intimidated him into going home without shooting.
“At the time I had no experience and I didn’t even know what class I would shoot in,” Foisey said. “I looked around and other archers had much more expensive bows.”
After talking with his wife, Foisey decided that he had nothing to lose and shot anyway. It was a good decision.
“I decided to just go for it,” he said. “We already made the drive anyway,” he said with a chuckle.
Foisey likes shooting with THE because of its sportsman ideals and humane mentality treating wildlife with respect; only taking the shot if you can attain a clean kill. To simulate a true hunting experience, THE sets up its courses with brush and obstacles between the archer and the target.
“I’ve been bow hunting for more than 10 years now, and 3D targets are a great way to stay sharp,” Foisey said. If you are hunting in the woods, that deer is probably not going to walk out into the open for you. If you don’t secure a clean kill, you may never find the animal and it could suffer an agonizing death.”
THE rewards a top score of 15 points per round with a shot to the most vital part of the heart. A small flinch dropping the arrow low could miss the vitals entirely and give the archer –5 points for the round.
This is all that separated Foisey from winning the Oklahoma state tournament in June.
“The competition level at these tournaments is such a high level,” he said. “I missed one of my targets by a quarter-inch and scored negative five points. The winner scored just 13 points higher than I.”
With just one shot separating him from a third title, Foisey has progressed much faster than he ever expected and puts in the time each day to keep improving. He shoots at least 50 arrows a day to stay sharp, averaging about an hour and a half of practice time each day between his range at home and On Target in Canton.
“Considering I just started target shooting this year, this has all been a pleasant surprise to me,” he said. “The guys at On Target peeked my interest in target shooting and it’s been a great experience.”
Foisey says that he is practicing on shooting from farther distances for next season.
“Next year I will go to the 40-yard class and give it a try,” he said. “I didn’t expect to win at the 30, so who knows, I may do well at the 40 also. I’ll give it a try.”