Title IX anniversary takes me back to my LSU days

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the accomplishments of many trailblazing women have been in the spotlight recently.

In her excellent piece in The Advocate this past Sunday, staff writer Robin Fambrough explained what the law meant to so many prominent women in sports in Louisiana – Hall of Fame high school volleyball coach Brenda LeBlanc, LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, softball coach Yvette Girouard (UL, LSU), and basketball player and coach Janice Walker Charles, to name just a few.

With most of the attention on women’s athletics as we celebrate this anniversary, it is important to note that Title IX does not specifically mention sports.

Signed into law on June 23, 1972, Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

As a woman and former college athlete, I have spent the past few days thinking about how the law has impacted my life. Without realizing it back then, I was blessed to spend my college days being coached by one of the true trailblazing Title IX proponents.

“In the year we celebrate the 50th year of Title IX and the 40th year of women’s sports joining the NCAA it is appropriate that we also celebrate a true trailblazer for women’s sports at LSU – Pat Newman,” LSU Hall of Fame gymnastics coach D-D Breaux said when Newman passed away earlier this year.

When Newman picked me up at the Baton Rouge airport in August 1978 and dropped me off at Graham Dormitory, I was just beginning my college tennis career at LSU. Little did I know that I was going to spend the next four years in the presence of one of the groundbreaking figures in women’s sports.

Newman, the first women’s tennis coach in LSU history, served in that capacity from 1973 to 1979 and led the Lady Tigers to a top 10 ranking by 1977 – the year LSU hosted the first AIAW national tennis championships.

For my first two years at LSU, I was coached by Newman, who was named Coordinator of Women’s Athletics in 1977 and eventually relinquished her coaching duties in 1980 to take over as Assistant Athletics Director.

Shreveport native Karen McCarter took over coaching duties for my junior year and Betty Sue Hagerman came to LSU to coach my senior year.

It was during my career at LSU that women’s sports joined the NCAA, moving us from the AIAW to the Southeastern Conference. Unfortunately, it took all the recent celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Title IX for me to realize what a big deal that was.

The fact that one of the early SEC women’s basketball tournaments and the AIAW regional volleyball championships were held on the Baton Rouge campus can be traced to Newman’s leadership and determination.

As the LSU tennis coach, Newman was 71-24, led her teams to three straight Louisiana AIAW Championships, and coached the first two singles All-America tennis players in LSU history in Shreveport’s Kay McDaniel and Ebie Taylor of Alabama.

I had the honor of playing with Taylor at LSU and grew up admiring McDaniel during my days of junior tennis in Shreveport.

The real honor, though, was being at LSU during the tenure of Pat Newman. I only wish I had appreciated it back then.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com






Parks’ late 3 lifts Shreveport to win over So Cal

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Paul Parks’ 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left sent the Shreveport Mavericks to a thrilling 113-110 victory Wednesday night in the first game of the West Regional Finals of The Basketball League at Centenary’s Gold Dome.

The two teams play game two of the best-of-three series tonight at the Gold Dome with tip set for 7:05.

The Mavs’ final eight points were scored by Parks, whose 3-pointer with a little more than two minutes left put Shreveport ahead 107-106. The Moguls, a team based out of San Diego, went ahead 109-107 on a Julian Winton jumper after Isaiah Gentry had tied the score with a free throw.

Tavin Cummings’ free throw with 1:27 left pulled the Mavericks within 109-108 and Parks’ driving layup with 1:07 left put Shreveport back on top 110-109. Winton hit a free throw with 52 seconds left to tie the game at 110-110 and set up Parks’ dramatic 3 from 28 feet at the top of the key.

Parks led all scorers in the game with 33 points (hitting 13-of-23 from the floor and 7-of-13 from behind the arc) and grabbed eight rebounds. Paul Harrison had 27 points, Ty Jordan scored 17 and PJ Meyers added 11 points, gave out five assists and had six rebounds. Cummings finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Winton led the Moguls with a triple-double of 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Gentry also scored 26 and grabbed eight rebounds. Asuahn Tatum had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Alex Smith scored 16 points and Kevin McNeal added 12 points.

Shreveport led for most of the game with its biggest lead coming in the first quarter at 18-10. So Cal came back to lead at the end of the first quarter 30-29 but trailed at the half 60-56 as Myers had nine of his 11 first-half points in the second quarter for the Mavs.

Shreveport led by 86-84 as both teams battled back and forth the entire second half. The Moguls took their biggest lead at 106-102 on Winton’s jumper with 3:45 left in the game.

Contact Lee at lee.hiller51@gmail.com

Photo by LEE HILLER






Does God have rights?

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

Animals have rights. People have rights. Trees have rights. And we are all being made aware that Planet Earth also has rights. But does God have rights? And if so, what are they?

What is a right in the first place? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of a right is: “The interest in a claim which is recognized by and protected by sanctions imposed by a state, which enables one to possess property or to engage in some transaction or course of conduct or to compel some other person to so engage or to refrain from some course of conduct under certain circumstances, and for the infringement of which claim the state provides a remedy in its courts of justice.” Whew! Of course, if you wanted to quickly grasp all that, you would almost have to be a lawyer. Well, I am certainly no lawyer. But as I understand it, what it all basically boils down to in layman’s terms is this: a right is a privilege backed up generally by a law and enforced by an authority capable of ensuring that privilege is honored.

In today’s world, rights are often confused with choices. Merriam Webster defines a choice as: “The act of picking between two or more possibilities.” Choices are not always backed up by law or authorities. For instance, you have a right to know how much you have in your bank account. If your bank does not comply, there are authorities who can make them do so. However, if you make the choice to make a withdrawal by grabbing a gun and robbing your bank, you will not be backed up by authorities. In fact, you will be jailed by them. Choices can become rights when people organize effectively and lobby their government to make it so. This has happened in nations all over the world for centuries. The results are not always good. Who has the last word about rights? Who decides what can become a right? In America, the U.S. Supreme Court has that power. Yet Christians believe there is a higher authority than even the Supreme Court. We believe our Bible when it teaches that God Almighty has the last word on what is right and also what is a “right” and what is not. It takes a being who is 100% morally pure to decide what is right. Only God qualifies. God overrides all human courts and his rulings are always just, and final. When there is a conflict between God and man, Scripture compels us to obey God, not man (Acts 5:29). And yet, you wouldn’t know that by observing how humans react to God’s commands. Ironically, that is even true of many who “say” they are Christians. To illustrate this, I’ve sketched out a few brief examples of how we view our rights, contrasting that with how we view God’s rights.

In America, we practice a legal principle known as the Presumption of Innocence. This means that everybody accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. Does God get this benefit of a doubt too? How many times do we ask why God allowed something bad to happen when we are victimized or witness a tragedy? Without a trial or evidence, many of us convict him and sometimes vow never to speak to or listen to him again. Or consider copyright laws that protect the creative property or ideas of the inventor, writer or creative person. You see the warning when you slip any movie into your DVD player. We send people to prison for tampering with other people’s intellectual property. But what about God’s creative properties? Are they also given this protection? The Bible itself warns that false prophets tamper with God’s Words all the time (2 Peter 3:16-17, 2 Timothy 4:3-4). They change God’s words, sometimes creating their versions of the Bible. This causes people to stray down the wrong moral paths, resulting in sin and sometimes, unfortunately, their damnation. It’s quite serious. Copyright infringement? You bet. The worst, most lethal kind because the lies of false prophets harm people who are ignorant of the truth.

Similarly, we have other laws in this country that protect a person from false statements that injure a person’s reputation. These are known as defamation laws and libel laws. But do we have such a law to protect God’ reputation and honor when heretical religious denominations accept and even promote sins in his name that he has clearly condemned?

What about property rights? As owner of your possessions, you have rights over the things you own such as a house, car, household items, vehicles, food, clothing, personal technology, etc. You get to use these things as you see fit. For instance, you can invite guests to your home, or expel them from it, if they should get out of hand. No sensible person would enter your home and try to take over. But the world is not populated only with sensible people. That’s why we hire thousands of police officers nationwide to make sure you maintain this right. Yet, the Bible tells us that God owns the whole world. He is the sole proprietor—including the animals and humans who populate it. Although he has graciously given mankind the free will to make choices, he has also made it clear from the very beginning of the world that bad choices come with consequences. And he dishes out the consequences. But do we accept this as a reality? Short answer of course is no. Ironically, God is the one owner whose ownership rights are always being contested by humankind and the devil. For centuries we humans have abused God’s gift of freewill by treating our choices as if they were rights. God has made it clear that only the choices that he approves of will be blessed by him. Those choices he does not approve of bring problems and injure the soul. Again, God, not the courts of man, ultimately determines what is a right and what is not.

Since 1966, police officers in the United States have had to read all suspects their Miranda rights. These rights inform each suspect that he or she has the right to remain silent and to have an attorney appointed for them if they cannot afford one. After considering how we’ve abused God’s rights as sovereign lord, it is tempting to think he should get a lawyer. God doesn’t use lawyers. He uses Christians who love him to witness of his goodness and correct misconceptions about him and his Holy Word. It’s our job as believers. Does God have rights? God has all the rights. But the fact is, he does not need them. Rights were created to protect us mere mortals from other mere mortals. Because God cannot be harmed– especially by mortal beings– he has no need for rights as we know them. He has something much greater: awesome power and total and complete control of all things. He speaks and what he says comes into existence. He will reign eternally. Sure, it does not seem that way now, when you look out your window and see the increase in rebelliousness towards him and his values. But one day, Jesus will return and begin a new day for the faithful in which we will live eternally with God. When Christ returns, he expects to find believers not waiting around idle, but busy doing the work of the Kingdom, loving, serving others, witnessing, teaching and spreading the Gospel, and living godly lives despite persecutions and the troubles that result from living among unbelievers who are often hostile to God and his people (2 Peter 3: 9-13). As persecution becomes more intense, we believers are expected to submit daily to God’s will and teach our children to do likewise. Yet, the reality too is that many people will not listen to the call to repent and will continue to turn sins into rights, unaware that doing so will only ultimately lead to their own self destruction. The Bible says, it is not God’s preference that any person should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He wants us Christians to reach out to the lost, warning them and sharing the Gospel with them. Our love for them should compel us to pray for them to repent, turn to Jesus and receive the gift of salvation.

One day, I saw an insightful church sign that read, “Having a right to do a certain thing does not make the thing right.” Being in God’s will is something you can always count on to be right. Which is why having Christian faith is even better than having rights.

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” –The Book of Romans, Chapter 14, Verse:11

Look for this opinion article at least twice monthly in the Journal.






Former NSU hoops coach McConathy considering state Senate run

A DIFFERENT ARENA? Former Northwestern State basketball coach Mike McConathy, a Bossier City native, is considering entering politics as a candidate for revamped state Senate District 31.

When he left Northwestern State In March as the winningest college basketball coach in state history, Bossier City native Mike McConathy wasn’t sure what the future held.

Three months later, he’s considering scratching an old itch. McConathy, who counts Louisiana Political Hall of Famer and longtime influential state legislator Billy Montgomery of Haughton among his primary mentors, is considering running for the state Senate in a redesigned district spanning parts of 10 parishes in northwest Louisiana.

With the anticipated revamp of Senate District 31, incumbent Sen. Louie Bernard of Natchitoches announced last week he will not seek a second term. Bernard previously served 24 years as Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court and after over 40 years of public service, the still energetic 71-year-old said he’s going to serve out his term until 2023 and enjoy family life.

McConathy grew up with a first-hand perspective on public service. His father, John McConathy, was the Bossier Parish Superintendent of Schools for 20 years and later was a key collaborator in the development of the modern Bossier Parish Community College campus between U.S. 80 and I-20 in Bossier City.

Among his accolades, the former NSU coach is enshrined in the university’s Hall of Distinguished Educators for his service as a faculty member at Northwestern, and in 2012 he earned an elite Pillar of Education award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for leading the Demons’ program into continuing educational outreach in area schools. His program was noted for its wide-ranging community service endeavors, and its academic performance – a remarkable 90 percent of his players earned degrees at NSU.

“This is something that has been on the back of my mind for quite some time, because I’ve known people who have served and are serving in Baton Rouge who have made a tremendously positive impact for the people they represented, and for the entire state, for that matter,” said McConathy.

“When Louie made his announcement, I had quite a few friends suggest I ought to consider this. I’m now in the process of visiting with people who have a real understanding of political life and public service,” he said, “along with many dear friends and most of all, my family members, so I can make the best possible decision for all concerned.”

The new District 31 has roughly 70 percent of its population located in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine parishes, with portions of Webster, Bienville, DeSoto, Red River, Rapides and Winn included. That fits the geographic footprint which was the base of McConathy’s recruiting area and team rosters from 1999-2022 at NSU and for 16 years previously at Bossier Parish Community College.

“Some people might wonder how my career in coaching would translate to serving in Baton Rouge in a legislative body, in the political arena. In coaching, to succeed you have to nurture relationships with a variety of people from high school and college students, to colleagues and opponents, throughout a campus community and a fan base with avid alumni of all ages and backgrounds. You have to listen, you have to be responsive, you have to collaborate, and at the same time, you cannot compromise your values and your integrity.

“We all know politics can be a tough business to navigate, now more than ever. Heck, I’ve spent over 40 years trying to find middle ground with the referees,” he laughed. “As long as we understand each other, we can find paths to the best possible outcomes.”

McConathy said if he runs, he would do so as an independent, not affiliated with a political party. The only announced candidate so far is Shreveport Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who has served in the state House since 2010 but is term limited there.

Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State






Shreveport blows out Enid in series opener

MAVS GALLOP PAST OUTLAWS: The Shreveport Mavericks overwhelmed Enid in Wednesday’s game at the Gold Dome.

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Shreveport gave Enid a taste of its own medicine Wednesday night at the Gold Dome in a blistering 130-117 win in the first game of the Central Conference Championship series of The Basketball League.

The Mavericks had four players score 20 or more points in outrunning the Outlaws, who came into the game with three players who were averaging more than 20 points per game.

When Shreveport wasn’t on the run it was big Paul Harrison wearing out the low post with countless fall-away jumpers enroute to scoring a game-high 35 points. He was 15-of-23 from down low and hit one of his two tries from 3.

Guards Paul Parks (28 points), Tavin Cumming (21) and Tyrone Jordan (20) were streaking down the floor hitting from all over for a combined 29-of-49 shots for a shooting percentage of 59.

Shreveport never trailed in the game and led 30-26 after one quarter and gradually stretched the lead to 67-51 at the half. Its biggest lead of 22 points came in the fourth period at 116-94.

Overall the Mavs shot 53 percent (53-of-101) and outrebounded the Outlaws by 51-50. Jordan led the Mavs in rebounds with nine.

Enid got another double-double from Ricardo Artis who had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Vivian native Kadavion Evans, who played at LSUS, led Enid with 31 points and point guard Daylon Guy had 30 points and eight assists.

The series will now move up to Enid, Oklahoma for a Friday game at Stride Bank Center set for 7 p.m. The Outlaws must win to force a Game Three that would be played on Saturday in Enid. The series winner advances to a matchup with a west coast conference.

Photo by LEE HILLER






Expo Hall renovation could generate millions in economic impact

PRIME LOCATION:  After renovations, the current Expo Hall building in downtown Shreveport could trigger economic growth locally.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

Three years ago, Shreveport was on the verge of losing The Red River Classic — a big volleyball tournament which had been held at the Convention Center several years and had a significant economic impact on Shreveport and Bossier City.

“We did talk about moving the location,” said Andy Reitinger, Executive Director of Summit Volleyball of Carrollton, Texas, which brings the tournament to our area.

Why? Summit wanted to grow the event, which meant more competitors and more matches. But the convention center was not big enough to accommodate that growth. Another facility was needed to complement what the convention center could handle.

Thus, Expo Hall, which had been used as a movie soundstage, became a temporary volleyball arena.

“The space worked okay,” Reitinger said. “The subfloor was a bit of a hazard, and the dark walls were not ideal for lighting at a sporting event.”

However, despite that and other issues, Summit decided to keep the tournament in Shreveport for the foreseeable future. Not because of what Expo Hall is, but what the City promises it will be.

As the Shreveport-Bossier Journal previously reported, Expo Hall will be converted into a multi-sports venue. The $4.5 million project is estimated to take 12-18 months to complete after construction begins soon, city officials said.

“The (Shreveport-Bossier) Sports Commission…is optimistic about having a multi-sports facility available in Shreveport,” Reitinger said.

Likewise, the Commission is optimistic that the renovated facility will not only keep events coming to Shreveport-Bossier, but also will be beneficial in bringing new events.

Events mean tourists. Tourists mean money to the local economy. For example, Brown said the 2019 Red River Classic accounted for 2,000 room nights at 16 hotels — a sizeable increase from 2018. She said the event had an economic impact of $546,015. Included in that number was $177,453 spent on food and beverages, and almost $109,000 spent on retail shopping.

“Based on (a projected) 16 events, the direct economic impact would be right at $3.9 million,” said Stacy Brown, President of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, which oversees the Commission. “That’s direct — not with any multipliers. As we know, money turns over in the community.”

Brown said that number is contingent on those events bringing in a total of more than 2,900 daytime attendees and more than 11,000 overnight attendees.

And Brown emphasized the money those people spend — on food, lodging, and shopping — will help keep taxes lower for those who live in Shreveport-Bossier. For example, she said local taxes on the above numbers are about $250,000.

“That helps offset our costs,” Brown said. “Just because tourism exists and we bring in these events, our local people pay less in taxes. Most of these people are coming in and using very little of the city’s services. But they are spending money in our community, so it provides greater economic impact.”

Brown is hopeful downtown Shreveport, where Expo Hall is located, will be a major beneficiary of the multi-sports facility.

“It’s a key location downtown,” Brown said. “Driving more people to that downtown area is going to help raise all of those businesses. Right next door to Expo Hall is the Red River District, which has struggled. They just haven’t had that walk-thru traffic they’ve really needed to be successful. This will also give that an opportunity to really flourish.”

Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com

Photo by LEE HILLER






Team Max helps teen cancer survivor get back in swing of things

It appeared Max White’s wish came true last Wednesday.

The 19-year-old, who battled cancer during his time at Captain Shreve, received a custom St. Jude Children’s Hospital golf bag, a new set of Titleist irons and a personal caddie during his round at East Ridge Country Club with Shreveport’s PGA Tour Canada member, Philip Barbaree Jr.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation did an impeccable job of ensuring White’s day was unforgettable and that his story was told – nearly every media outlet in the area was there to relay a tale lathered in inspiration.

White did a great job of making it seem things were perfect. Cancer derailed many aspects of his life, including his golf game, but he showed little sign of rust during a glorious afternoon.

I’ll be back in Canada to loop for Philip this week, but I was honored to “carry” Max’s bag Wednesday. I had the best seat in the house when White drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole and showed Barbaree his nifty short-game with an up-and-down birdie on their fourth hole.

There were smiles, there were fist pumps. And even some tears from White’s mother, Laura Leigh.

However, something on the inside was eating White alive. No, not cancer. Well, at least he hoped.

“When I looked back at my media interviews, you could tell I was thinking about it,” White told The Journal. “And I WAS thinking about it. I could have done better in the interviews.”

The minute golf with Barbaree was to end, White faced a near-six-hour ride to Memphis. The following day, two years after disease was eradicated from his body, he was to undergo a battery of tests at St. Jude.

“I was stressed out,” White said. “It’s a whole day’s-worth of testing. It’s very overwhelming to even think about it. I’m mentally exhausted, but I feel very blessed. You can’t beat that.”

Imagine being the center of attention for an entire day and doing interview after interview as a cancer “survivor,” knowing the next 24 hours could produce devastating news?

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Not only did White get the all-clear Thursday, he was informed his check-ups in Memphis would move from every six months to every 12 months.

The fight isn’t over, but White’s new lease on life is officially underway.

“It’s time to get my life back on track,” White said.

White, who has a couple of loose ends to tie up in terms of school, hopes to attend Louisiana Tech after the first of the year. Wednesday’s round with PBJ has him excited about golf again. In fact, White put his new sticks to use with three rounds of golf this weekend in Hot Springs following his arduous Thursday.

“My new clubs definitely make we want to play some more,” White said. “I’m definitely going to go home and practice.”

White has a new golf coach now, too.

“Philip said I can send him videos of my swing,” White said. “I need to fix it.

“I grew up in the same neighborhood as Philip and I’d see him on the range hitting balls, but I never knew him — he’s a few years older. A lot of my friends knew him. Now, I know him. This is probably something that should have happened a while back. He’s a great guy. I’m glad I got to finally meet him.”

I guarantee we weren’t the only recent additions to Team Max, but Team PBJ is 100 percent on board after our wonderful round at East Ridge. White has some game. The kid who used to play the local Front Nine Tour is talented and competitive.

Of course, you need a little fire in your belly to defeat the C word.

“My life was thrown off, so I’ve been having to deal with that. It took a little bit longer than planned — my life recovery, not the physical part,” White said.

Now, White is ready to make up for lost time. And his support system, Team Max, is bigger and stronger than ever.

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com

Photo by CHRISTI LANG

Philip Barbaree Jr. (at left), Max White (Photo by CHRISTI LANG)






Pitcher Perfect: LSU softball’s Britni Sneed Newman headed to the Hall

MORE THAN OK IN OKC:  Brittni Sneed Newman sparkled in Oklahoma City at the Women’s College World Series just as she did throughout her four years as a dominant pitcher at LSU.

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports, Written for the LSWA

Baylor softball coach Glenn Moore is by the baggage claim in Dallas, not an unusual place for a coach in the South to be, but he finds himself in an unusual spot.

He’s been asked to name a moment that stands out for him in the standout career of pitcher Britni Sneed Newman, voted by fans of LSU’s Tiger Rag Magazine as the program’s best-ever player and now one of the newest members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Moore recruited her relentlessly — “Wrote her every other day, if not every day,” he said — signed her, and coached her the first two seasons of her storied LSU career, one littered with more awards and titles and hardware than you can shake a softball bat at.

Her entire career seemed to be One Big Moment. No way you can pencil in a single point in time, since her whole career was a repeat of one thing: winning.

“Tough to think of just one because she didn’t lose,” said Moore, who has had Newman by his side now for 19 seasons as Baylor’s highly successful pitching coach, and more recently as associate head coach. “She always won … To say that you can’t think of a specific time when you thought ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her better’ says a lot.”

“She dominated the SEC when she was playing,” said Yvette Girouard, Newman’s coach at LSU during the righthander’s final two seasons. “With somebody like that on the mound, you always felt you had a chance to win it all.”

To put it in a glove shell, Newman put LSU softball on the map, pitched the program to its first Women’s College World Series, vaulted the program to the perpetual WCWS contender it has become. She came to a program only three years old, a program that had been dropped 15 years earlier.

She came to town, and LSU softball has been impossible to ignore since.

To list her many awards and all her deserved and earned recognition, it might take the invention of two more alphabets and another set of numbers. Consider, if you can take a deep breath, all of this from her 1999-2002 career:

* Two-time first-team All-American;

 * Four-time first-team All-SEC pitcher;

 * First LSU softball player to be chosen for the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 2009;

 * Two-time finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year;

 * SEC Player of the Year in 2001;

 * SEC Pitcher of the Year in 2002 and SEC Tournament MVP in 2001 and 2002.

 * Produced a career record of 120-25 with a microscopic 0.89 ERA;

 * Helped pace LSU to a 230-45 record during that time, including at least 56 wins in each of her four seasons (59 in 1999 and 2002);

 * Helped the Tigers to a third-place finish in their first Women’s College World Series appearance in 2001, highlighted by her striking out a then-SEC record 19 batters in a 13-inning, 2-1 win over Oklahoma.

On and on it goes. Sort of ridiculous, really.

A player raised in Houston who earned prep All-America honors at Cypress-Fairbanks High, she held a lifelong dream of going to Texas A&M. Except the Aggies said they didn’t need a pitcher.

Error.

Newman decided she wanted to be a Tiger, an opportunity to make her mark and do something no one else had done.

So … she did.

She’d put on her uniform the same way. Every time. Catcher Jennifer Schuelke would braid her hair. “If you look good, you feel good, right?” she said.

And when she got the start in the circle, she’d warm up the exact same way, every time.

But it wasn’t superstition that made her an LSU legend. It was her mix of talent and her two secret weapons that made her so fierce in the circle.

One, she developed a change-up before her junior season that “put her in another stratosphere,” Girouard said, and two, “she was one of the most fierce competitors I’ve ever been around. To be such a kind soul off the field … She separated life and softball.”

“She was the complete internal mix,” Moore said, “with a ton of talent.”

Photo courtesy LSU Athletics






Three area softball players named honorable mention on Class 4A All-State

JOURNAL STAFF

Gabbi Olague of Evangel, Huntington’s Danielle Robinson and Hannah Ward from Northwood were all selected as honorable mention for the LSWA Class 4A Softball All-State team released Sunday.

Olague was a junior first baseman for the Eagles who hit .523 with eight home runs. Robinson hit .614 with five home runs and 27 RBI a a senior outfielder for the Lady Raiders. Ward finished her senior year at Northwood with a .485 average that included four home runs and 30 RBI.

Mia Norwood of North DeSoto was selected by the voting panel as the Outstanding Player after helping lead the Lady Griffins the their second straight Class 4A title.

The Coach of the Year was Kayla Shirley of Franklin Parish. Shirley guided her team to a 20-11 record and the state finals as a No. 10 seed.

Here is a look at the rest of the team:

2022 LSWA CLASS 4A ALL-STATE TEAM

Position, Player, School, Class, Stats

P Ava Prejean, St. Thomas More Jr. 12-4

P Kairah Williams, Tioga Sr. 13-6

P Laney Johnson, North DeSoto So. 23-4

P Kalyn Dehart, Vandebilt Catholic Sr. 18-4

C Peyton Miller, North DeSoto Fr. .453

IF Gabby Mitchell, Eunice Jr. .535

IF Ellie Loftin, Neville Sr. .433

IF Mia Norwood, North DeSoto So. .517

IF Corin Talbot, Vandebilt Catholic So. .423

OF Ari Townsend, St. Thomas More Jr. .481 

OF Khynzi Jackson, Tioga Sr. .464 

OF Lillie Mazur, Vandebilt Catholic Sr. .443

UT Aly Delafield, North DeSoto Jr. .514

UT Kaitlyn Worsham, Neville Jr. .527

UT Emerson Blanchard, Pearl River Fr. .543

UT Gracie Toledano, Academy of Our Lady .479

UT Sage Champagne, Cecilia Sr. .485

OUTSTANDING PLAYER: Mia Norwood, North DeSoto

COACH OF THE YEAR: Kayla Shirley, Franklin Parish

Honorable mention: Gabbi Olague, Evangel; Danielle Robinson, Huntington; Hannah Ward, Northwood; Jacey Adams, Minden; Regan Henderson, North DeSoto; Caroline Vienne, Eunice; Lexi Gautreaux, Beau Chene; Addie Bagwell, Neville; Emerson Blanchard, Pearl River; Ca’Terra Bates, Academy of Our Lady; Gabbie Stutes, St. Thomas More; Jailah Rideau, Beau Chene; Cloe Bonvillain, Beau Chene; Zoe Roland, Tioga; Frances Boudreaux, Vandebilt Catholic; Anna Brunet, South Terrebonne; Ella Mabile, Assumption; Vyctorhea Romero, Teurlings Catholic; Kirsten Lalonde, Beau Chene; Cara Rankin, Lakeshore; Olivia Rhodes, South Terrebonne; Abbi Troquille, Tioga; Allison Turner, St. Michael; Madison Gray, Morgan City. 






SPOTLIGHT: Plaza helps local track stars compete nationally

MAKING IT HAPPEN:  Local and area track and field standouts compete at the Great Southwest Track & Field Classic thanks to unselfish coaches, including this year’s Team Louisiana staff:  Byrd’s Juan Plaza is in the middle holding the state flag, and is flanked (left to right) by Xavier Wilson, Kevin Jackson, Allen Whitaker, and Johnny Giordano.

By JERRY BYRD Jr., Journal Sports

Twenty years ago, when Juan Plaza took two local athletes to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Great Southwest Track & Field Classic, there was no need for a 15-passenger van. It was Plaza and a pair of young men who would make names for themselves: future NFL defensive back Jonathan Wade and future Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins in Plaza’s ‘98 Toyota RAV 4.

Gas prices aren’t the only thing trending up. The number of athletes 20-years-plus head coach Plaza, formerly of Calvary and now at C.E. Byrd, takes to the Land of Enchantment has increased over the last two decades. This year there were nine in Plaza’s traveling party. There were two other groups, one from Ruston and another from Southwest Louisiana, who made the trip as well.

Athletes from Caddo/Bossier making the trip included Byrd’s Elliott Cochran, Hudson Roberts, and Trent Wells, Calvary’s Jackson Burney, Loyola’s Tripp Roemer, and Parkway’s Gabe Falting. There was even an athlete from East Texas; Joaquin’s Victoria Byrd joined the Team Louisiana group because East Texas did not send a team this year. 

When this all started, Plaza didn’t have to drive all the way, like he does now. Then-Great Southwest Classic meet director John Haaland offered to pay for Wade’s airfare since he was the No. 1-ranked high school sprinter in the nation. All Plaza had to do was come up with airfare for himself and Perkins. Three for the price of two was a bargain.

While speedsters Wade (in the 100 and 200) and Perkins (800) performed well during the 2002 meet, it was the flight to Albuquerque which stands out in Plaza’s mind.

“Those two had never flown before,” Plaza said. “It’s funny because both have flown all over the world now. On their first flight, I made the mistake of sitting between them. They both grabbed my wrist or hand when we hit turbulence.”

As the plane approached ABQ, Perkins, according to Plaza, “flipped out” when the plane turned to get lined up with the runway.

“He was like ‘What’s going on, coach? What’s happening?’” Plaza said. “I had to explain to him that the plane was turning to get lined up with the runway. There wasn’t any laughing about it then, but we laugh about it now.”

Plaza has been to track meets all over the world, but the Great Southwest Classic is one of his favorites. And while the performances are always great, it’s the experiences – like a future NFL defensive back and future mayor making their first trips on a plane – that stand out for Plaza.

“The thing I like to do with this trip is to make it a reward for the athletes and their accomplishments,” Plaza said. “We try to make it as stress-free as possible. Sure, we want to compete at the meet, but this is a reward. We go to Sante Fe Plaza. None of them have been there. They get to briefly experience what the Sante Fe culture and the cuisine are like. They see the Native Americans selling their crafts in the plaza and see the art museums.”

Plaza hasn’t done it alone. He has been helped by coaches across the state of Louisiana.

“The reason it works is because of coaches like Johnny Giordano (St. Louis Catholic), Allen Whitaker (outgoing from Ruston High School), Trent Ellis (Brusly High School), and the late Dr. Edmond Johnson,” Plaza said. “They check their ego at the door and it’s really all about the kids.”

As usual, Team Louisiana performed well at the all-star meet.

The boys’ 400 relay, which was made up of Ruston Bearcats Brandon Green, Brady Beason, Carsen McPherson, and Jalen Paige, came away with gold medals despite being the “undercats” going in. Ruston, which finished as the LHSAA Class 5A runner-up with a time of 41.47, got around the track in a season-best of 41.32.

Trent Wells, coming off a 3200 meters state championship last month, finished second in the 1600 meters with a 4:26.76, which impressed his coach because of Albuquerque’s high altitude. 

Two other Ruston athletes finished in the top three. Ruston junior Joshua Anding had a personal record in the 400 meters with a 48.67. Green finished third in the long jump with an effort over 23 feet. Green, the Oklahoma signee who is the No. 1 ranked junior triple jumper in the nation, struggled with a nagging injury in his specialty and was not able to get a mark in three preliminary attempts. 

Whatever the finish, all went home after great experiences in New Mexico and on the road, riding through the windmill farms and prairies of West Texas, instead of nervously flying over them.

Contact Jerry at sbjjerrybyrd@gmail.com








Are we overlooking a key solution to ending merciless, random shootings?

by Edwin Crayton/Opinion

Right now, in Washington, politicians are meeting to try to find answers to the question of how to stop random, mass shootings that continue to plague the nation and which are breaking its heart.  As I catch glimpses of those conversations and debates through news reports, it has occurred to me that our progress on this issue is being hindered because there are questions we are overlooking. What I mean is, while it is obviously a good thing that the politicians are asking how we can stop the shootings. I believe an even better question is how can we stop the shooters from wanting to commit such horrific acts in the first place?

What if we could change the minds of the gunmen long before they picked up guns? What if we could reach them at a point when they were receptive to the idea that violent acts are morally wrong and ultimately destroy both the victim and the shooter? We can. The Bible tells us how. Proverbs 22:6 says the key is to reach them when they are at their most receptive stage of life: childhood. It reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” In other words, the training we receive as children—formally or informally—stays with us for a lifetime and has a lasting impact on our decisions as adults (Also see Deuteronomy 6:1-12).  Of course, changing minds is not an easy task. But the Scriptures also assure us that we have the help of a resource that does not fail: God is available to help us do his will and bring up children in ways that are obedient to him. In fact, the Bible also says that when a person becomes a Christian, God transforms the mind of the individual (Romans 12:1-2).

But some may ask, why couldn’t God just end these killings through a miracle or something? While it’s true that he could do so, God has historically chosen to work through people. From Abraham to Moses to Peter to Paul and into our modern day, God has worked through ordinary, flawed people. (Mostly because that’s all he’s got to work with.) Still, it is his choice to use mankind to heal and help mankind. That means those of us who are moved by these tragedies are being called to be used by him. God wants to use you and me to be part of the solution to dealing with these random shootings. Being used by God requires being open to new perspectives and new truths, some of which are inconvenient. It will also require self-examination and a willingness to change direction, because God does not follow, he leads.

When the shootings occur, usually there is a tendency to view the shooter as someone who is out of touch with society. While mental illness has played a role in several cases, is it as simple as that? Or are these shooters a product of their society? Think about it. The shooters rely on violence as a solution at a time when our society is also becoming more violent. We are entertained by video games where the players are rewarded for killing. Our reality shows play up conflict. It isn’t hard to find talk shows featuring battling women who fight over men on the air in front of an amused audience—all with no shame. Our two main political parties are becoming so angrily polarized towards one another, they have almost become ineffective at governing. Even as we mourn the killing of children in Uvalde, Texas, an NPR news report has cited a poll that said that 53 percent of Americans support a woman’s right to an abortion, which is just another way of taking a child’s life. In other words, while some people mourn the death of innocent school kids, they are apparently still alright with the idea of taking the life of innocent children in other ways.

What can we do to contribute to a solution? If you are a Christian, God has already laid out a clear plan. He calls us to be witnesses by living out our Christian values in front of our children. We can start by taking them to church and demonstrating Christ’s love in how we treat other people throughout the week, especially in conflict situations. Do we love even our enemies as Jesus commanded? Or do we respond with violent acts and vulgar words? Trading insult for insult, returning evil for evil. Do we practice prejudice? Or is our love inclusive of all people, regardless of whether they are like us or not? Or whether we agree with them or not? Do we vow to get even or pray to God to help us to forgive? Children watch what we do, especially when we don’t realize they are looking. What they notice can become life lessons which can turn into their personal values.  There is an old saying I have a feeling you are probably familiar with: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”  What kind of a tree are you?

We may not mow people down with bullets, but do we mow them down with cruelty or profanity? Many of us have become so comfortable with profanity, until today, you can hear people using it in almost every social setting–even in a business meeting.  It’s in the music our children listen to. I’ve heard more than a few young moms call their own children vile names in public: “Come here you B_ _  _ _!” Who are we really more like? The shooters or the victims? These shooters did not come from Mars. They were raised amongst us. When we submit to God’s will, he will help us raise more godly families, resulting in children who at least will grow up having been influenced by God’s values. Of course, there is no guarantee that children will buy into the values we try to teach them. Some will even reject the Christian faith and its teachings. But those who do surrender their lives to Jesus will be transformed by the Holy Spirit to make good moral choices when they submit their decisions to Christ. As Romans 12:1-2 says, their minds will be renewed. Although this does not mean that they will not sin, it does mean that their decisions when influenced by faith and obedience will be spiritually healthier ones. When a person is under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he or she is not going to walk into a supermarket and shoot people as the shooter recently did in Buffalo, New York. God’s Holy Spirit would simply not compel anyone to commit such an act.  

Realistically, we will always have killers in our midst. It is a sad fact of the flawed human character. But by teaching and encouraging our children to submit their lives to Jesus and persuading them that every life matters, we can begin to build a society that refuses to accept random killings as a normal part of life in the 21th Century. And the less we accept random violence and commit ourselves to stand against it with God’s help, the less such violence is likely to happen.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2

 Look for this opinion article at least twice monthly in The Journal.






Craft an ocean of possibilities at Shreve Memorial Library this June and July

Shreve Memorial Library is inviting readers of all ages to discover “Oceans of Possibilities” this summer at the library. Children, teens, adults and families will dive into the ocean depths through reading and interactive programs as part of the library’s “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Program. Throughout the summer, Shreve Memorial Library will host a variety of ocean-themed programs, including crafts programs for teens and adults. Programs will take place at library branches throughout Caddo Parish. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration may be required.

Teens will be able to explore STEM concepts by making LED anglerfish. Anglerfish are bony fish found in the ocean depths, best known for their use of a modified luminescent fin ray to lure in and prey on other fish. Teens will learn how to create a paper circuit using paper, conductive copper tape, LED lights and a power source to illuminate their very own handmade anglerfish. Workshops will take place at select Shreve Memorial Library branches on the dates and times listed below.

  • Monday, June 13 at 4:00 p.m. at the North Caddo Branch (615 N. Pine Street, Vivian)
  • Tuesday, June 14 at 1:00 p.m. at the Hollywood/Union Avenue Branch (2105 Hollywood Avenue)
  • Wednesday, June 22 at 2:00 p.m. at the Atkins Branch (3704 Greenwood Road)
  • Friday, June 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Mooretown Branch (4360 Hollywood Avenue)
  • Wednesday, July 6 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wallette Branch (363 Hearne Avenue)
  • Thursday, July 7 at 1:00 p.m. at the Oil City Branch (102 Allen Street, Oil City)
  • Tuesday, July 12 at 4:00 p.m. at the Broadmoor Branch (1212 Captain Shreve Drive)
  • Tuesday, July 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the West Shreveport Branch (4380 Pines Road)
  • Wednesday, July 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the North Shreveport Branch (4844 N. Market Street)

In addition, teens are also invited to express their creativity by making earrings and keychains using Perler beads. Perler beads are small plastic beads with a hollow center that can be arranged to create interesting patterns and fused together by applying heat to the design. Teens will be encouraged to create ocean-themed earring sets or keychains using the colorful beads. Supplies will also be provided for the Perler bead crafting sessions, and teens can participate at the following branches on the dates and times listed below.

  • Monday, June 6 at 4:00 p.m. at the North Caddo Branch
  • Wednesday, June 8 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hosston Branch (15478 U.S. Highway 71, Hosston)
  • Friday, June 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Means Branch (7016 Magnolia Lane, Ida)
  • Tuesday, June 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the West Shreveport Branch
  • Friday, July 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the Belcher-Wyche Branch (409 Charles Street, Belcher)
  • Tuesday, July 19 at 4:00 p.m. at the Higginbotham-Bryson Branch (9359 Greenwood Road, Greenwood)
  • Tuesday, July 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the Gilliam Branch (12797 Main Street, Gilliam)
  • Thursday, July 28 at 12:00 p.m. at the Rodessa Branch (10093 Main Street, Rodessa)

Adults are also invited to join the crafting fun at the library. Throughout the months of June and July, adults can learn the art of macramé at Shreve Memorial Library branches. Macramé is a technique or method of crafting textiles that uses several types of knots to create the basic shape and function of a piece. Macramé is used to create things like wall hangings, plant hangers, jewelry, purses and more with simple materials such as cotton twine or yarn. Adults will learn the basic techniques of macramé to create a leaf pattern wall decoration. All supplies will be provided, and workshops are scheduled at the following Shreve Memorial Library branches on the dates and times listed below.

  • Wednesday, June 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Higginbotham-Bryson Branch
  • Thursday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m. at the North Caddo Branch
  • Friday, June 24 at 2:00 p.m. at the Means Branch
  • Monday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the Gilliam Branch
  • Thursday, June 30 at 2:00 p.m. at the Oil City Branch
  • Monday, July 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the Rodessa Branch
  • Friday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. at the Hosston Branch
  • Monday, July 25 at 1:00 p.m. at the Blanchard Branch (344 Alexander Street, Blanchard)
  • Friday, July 29 at 11:00 a.m. at the Belcher-Wyche Branch

“Oceans of Possibilities” is open to all ages, and patrons can participate by logging books online and attending a large variety of interactive, live programs at their favorite Shreve Memorial Library branch. Children, age birth to 10, are encouraged to read five books over the summer, teens age 11 to 17 are asked to read at least three books, and adults are tasked with reading two books. As patrons log books online, they will receive digital badges for each book read. Those who complete the 2022 Summer Reading Program challenge will receive prizes to include drawstring bags, books, pencils and other assorted promotional items. Registration for the Summer Reading Program can be completed online through the library’s Beanstack site at https://shreve-lib.beanstack.org/reader365.

For more information and a complete lineup of Summer Reading Program events, please visit www.shreve-lib.org.

About Shreve Memorial Library

Shreve Memorial Library transforms Caddo Parish lives with resources, services and support to create a better world. Focusing on service priority areas of creating and maintaining young readers, stimulating imagination, providing lifelong learning, information fluency, and ready references, and informing citizens, Shreve Memorial Library’s 21-branch system is maintained by a parish-wide property tax millage to support the informational, educational and recreational needs of its constituents.  






UPDATE: Undecided 2022-23 student? Sign up for Journal’s $3,000 scholarships to NSU by June 8

Students who aren’t sure where they’ll go to college this fall have until midnight, June 8 to apply for the Journal Services NSU Scholarships, which will award three new Northwestern State University students up to $3,000 in the next school year.

A link to a simple online application form is available here:

APPLICATION:  To Apply – Click Here

The scholarships are designed to assist Class of 2022 high school students who haven’t settled on a college choice, as well as students currently enrolled at other higher-education institutions who are considering transferring to NSU in Natchitoches.

They are being provided by Journal Services, LLC, based in Natchitoches, which supports 12 locally-owned journals covering north central and northwest Louisiana.

“We know there are students who haven’t decided yet where they’ll go to college this fall. We know that in many cases, money is a key factor in making college accessible,” said Bill Vance, general manager of Journal Services, LLC. “We are providing three game-changing scholarships bringing eager students to NSU to take advantage of the excellent academic programs here, and to live in a community where there are plenty of opportunities to find part-time jobs and to have a great student experience.”

Applicants are asked to provide their high school GPA (and college GPA if applicable), and also, report their ACT score along with listing honors, extracurricular activities and other relevant information on the form. That information will provide a basis for selecting the three winners. 

The scholarship awards are for $1,500 cash per semester in the 2022-23 academic year. To renew the scholarship for the Spring 2023 semester, winners must post at least a 2.7 Fall semester GPA at NSU.

Scholarship winners must live in Natchitoches Parish during the upcoming school year. They are also required to have in-person, face-to-face instruction for 75 percent of their classes in 2022-23.

Students who have already accepted financial aid awards from Northwestern are not eligible to apply.






Top seed Southeastern (Fla.) scores late to knock off LSUS

PILOTS FALL: Pitcher Bobby Vath had a quality outing, but LSUS lost late Monday night to top-seeded Southeastern (Fla.) in the winner’s bracket at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

JOURNAL STAFF

LEWISTON, Idaho – LSU-Shreveport hung around with top-seeded Southeastern (Fla.) for eight innings, but the Fire scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to post an 8-4 win in the Avista NAIA World Series Monday night.

LSUS (52-7) had to wait to see who won the late game between No. 3 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 7 Faulkner (Ala.) to know which of the two games in the loser’s bracket they would be slotted. The Pilots will play Faulkner (39-16) at 5 p.m. (CDT).

Monday’s game was quite the contrast to the only other meeting between the two schools that had Southeastern win in a 25-13 slugfest in last year’s World Series.

LSUS broke through to score its first three runs in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Josh Wunnenberg started it with a walk. Cameron Lewis came in to pinch run and advanced to third on a steal of second and error on the catcher. Following a walk to Julian Flores, Zyon Avery singled to right field to score Lewis. Ryan Major then followed a pair of ground outs with a single to drive in Flores and Avery.

The Fire came right back with two runs in the sixth on a Stephen Cullen 2-run home run to take a 4-3 lead.

The Pilots tied it 4-4 on an Allbry Major solo home run in the eighth inning.

Southeastern went back on top in the ninth on a Jose Marcano solo home run and added three more on a Brian Fuentes three-run home run.

Wunnenberg was the only Pilot with multiple hits going 2-for-3.

Bobby Vath started on the mound for LSUS, going six innings, giving up six hits and four runs. He walked two and struck out eight. Brad White suffered the loss, giving up two hits and two runs in a third of an inning.

Photo courtesy of LSUS Athletics








TODAY’S SCHEDULE: LSUS plays in NAIA World Series; USA Volleyball in Bossier City tonight

Tuesday

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (Lewiston, Idaho)

LSUS vs. Faulkner (Ala.), 5 p.m. (CT)

 

USA Volleyball (Brookshire Grocery Arena)

Germany vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.

USA vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.

Wednesday

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (Lewiston, Idaho)

LSUS vs. TBD

USA Volleyball (Brookshire Grocery Arena)

Poland vs. Canada, 5 p.m.
Korea vs. Japan, 8 p.m.

Note: The above schedule is subject to cancellations or reschedule

 






SPOTLIGHT: Spain’s Castillo-Gargallo has game, personality that translates

WINNING: New Pierremont Oaks tennis and fitness staffer Judit Castillo-Gargallo is making an impact with her technical knowledge and boundless enthusiasm, just as she did as a player at Northwestern State.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

It doesn’t take Judit Castillo-Gargallo long to feel at home in a new environment. When she left her hometown of Teruel, Spain in August 2016 and landed in the United States for the first time, she was just beginning her college tennis career at Northwestern State.

The fact that Castillo-Gargallo had never been to this country and couldn’t even speak English did not deter the outgoing Spaniard from quickly adapting to the new environment.

“It was a family atmosphere from the beginning,” says Gargallo, who now feels at home as a tennis pro at Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club. “My first impression when I got to Natchitoches was that the people were warm and welcomed me. They showed me that they were there for me no matter what.”

Over her five-and-one-half years at NSU, Castillo-Gargallo became one of the most popular – and successful – tennis players in Lady Demon history. In addition to finishing her college career tied for No. 8 in all-time wins with 54, she was named to the Southland Conference All-Academic Team three times.

Gargallo came to Northwestern as one of the top junior players in Spain after winning several national junior tournaments. After four years as an undergraduate, she was granted an extra year because of COVID-19. After finishing her playing career, Castillo-Gargallo decided to stay at NSU to get her master’s degree.

During her first semester as a graduate student, she served as a graduate assistant in the athletic fitness department, worked as a strength and conditioning coach and helped with the women’s tennis team.

While transitioning from competitive tennis to student and coaching was an adjustment, Castillo-Gargallo fell into the new roles with her usual enthusiasm.

“When I was playing (on the tennis team), I would wake up, do weight training at 6 a.m., go to class, practice, shower, and then do homework,” says Castillo-Gargallo. “Then I wasn’t doing that anymore. It’s always an adjustment when you’re used to competing and then you aren’t anymore. But I was still in that mindset. I was still trying to train.”

By this time, the only tennis Gargallo was playing was recreationally. “I was hitting with the tennis community and helping with the team,” she says.

Then came the opportunity to travel to Shreveport to play on a team in the St. Jude’s tennis tournament at Pierremont Oaks.

“It was the first time I had competed in a tournament after college,” says Castilo-Gargallo, “and we won it.”

Across the court during one of the matches at the St. Jude tournament was Todd Walker, the former LSU baseball star, former major leaguer, and inductee of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. While Walker was a regular – and popular – tennis player at POTC, Gargallo had no idea who he was.

“MLB, MLB,” says Castillo-Gargallo. “I didn’t know what that meant.”

After their match, Castillo-Gargallo explained to Walker that one of the reasons she wanted to play in the tennis tournament was to promote a 5K marathon she was helping to organize. She had brought a bunch of posters with her, hoping to hang them around the club to advertise the event.

“Do you have any power here?” Castillo-Gargallo joked with Walker.

“I know who to ask,” replied Walker, who took some flyers and walked into the pro shop.

Thinking Walker was just asking POTC pro Grady Wilson about hanging up some posters, Castillo-Gargallo patiently waited outside the pro shop. Little did she know he was telling Wilson that Pierremont Oaks needed to hire her – as soon as possible.

Castillo-Gargallo had a feeling that Shreveport might be her next home.

“When I left here and got back to Natchitoches, Grady checked to see if I made it back safely,” she recalls. “The next Thursday, I was working with the football team (as a fitness instructor) and I got an email at 7 a.m. about coming to work here. During that morning, Grady and I exchanged emails about coming to work at Pierremont. I had the same feeling that I had had when I first got to Natchitoches. I just knew I wanted to be here.”

The same determination, drive, and outgoing personality that quickly drew the Natchitoches community to Castillo-Gargallo was having the same effect on the tennis community in Shreveport.

Since joining the POTC staff at the beginning of the year, Castillo-Gargallo has created a fitness program at the tennis club that involves personal and private training as well as fitness training on the tennis court.

In addition to teaching tennis lessons and running the fitness program, Castillo-Gargallo has continued to play competitively. On Sunday, she and Brian Irvin captured the Open Mixed Doubles title at The City Championships at The Bossier Tennis Center.

Whether on the tennis court or in the training room, Castillo-Gargallo knows she has found her new home. And it didn’t take her parents long to see that when they came to visit and celebrate their daughter getting her master’s degree.

“They could tell I was happy and felt at home here,” says Castillo-Gargallo. “When people asked them if I was coming back, they just smiled and said, ‘No.’”

Photo by JOHN PENROD






Weekend Sports Scoreboard

Friday

Pro Basketball (The Basketball League)

Potawatomi Fire 123, Shreveport Mavericks 111

College Baseball

NAIA World Series

LSUS 8, Bellevue 4

SEC Tournament

Tennessee 5, LSU 2

SWAC Tournament

Grambling State 14, Texas Southern 5

Bethune-Cookman 19, Grambling State 0, 7 innings

Sun Belt Tournament

Texas State 8, ULM 2

Saturday

Pro Basketball (The Basketball League)

Shreveport Mavericks 115, Enid Outlaws 108

College Baseball

CUSA Tournament

Old Dominion 9, Louisiana Tech 6, 13 innings

Louisiana Tech 8, Old Dominion 7

SEC Tournament

Kentucky 7, LSU 2

Sunday

College Baseball

CUSA Tournament

Louisiana Tech 9, UTSA 8






SCHEDULE: LSUS plays top seed in NAIA Word Series

NSU 19 Daunte Stuart

Monday

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (Lewiston, Idaho)
LSUS vs. Southeastern (Fla.), 5 p.m. (CT)

Tuesday

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (Lewiston, Idaho)

LSUS vs. TBD

Note: The above schedule is subject to cancellations or reschedule








WEEKEND SCHEDULE: SMavs on road in Oklahoma for two games

Friday

Pro Basketball (The Basketball League)

Shreveport Mavericks at Potawatomi Fire, 7 p.m.

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (at Lewiston, Idaho)

LSUS vs. Bellevue, 1:30 p.m. CT

SEC Tournament (at Hoover, Alabama)

LSU vs. Tennessee, TBD

SWAC Tournament (Birmingham, Alabama)

Grambling State vs. Texas Southern, noon (at UAB); (if GSU wins it plays again at 6 p.m.)

Sun Belt Tournament (at Montgomery, Alabama)

ULM vs. Texas State, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Pro Basketball (The Basketball League)

Shreveport Mavericks at Enid Outlaws, 7 p.m.

College Baseball

CUSA Tournament (at Hattiesburg, Miss.)

Louisiana Tech vs. TBD, 9 a.m.

SEC Tournament (at Hoover, Alabama)

LSU vs. TBD

SWAC Tournament (Birmingham, Alabama)

Grambling State vs. TBD, noon (if GSU wins both Friday games)

Sunday

College Baseball

SWAC Tournament (Birmingham, Alabama)

Championship game, noon

CUSA Tournament (at Hattiesburg, Miss.)

Championship game, 1 p.m.

SEC Tournament (at Hoover, Alabama)

Championship game, 2 p.m.

Note: The above schedule is subject to cancellations or reschedule






Journal offering $3,000 scholarships at NSU for undecided 2022-23 students

Students who aren’t sure where they’ll go to college this fall are encouraged to apply for the Journal Services NSU Scholarships, which will award three new Northwestern State University students up to $3,000 in the next school year.

Applications are being accepted beginning today through midnight June 8. A link to a simple online application form is available at the bottom of this story.

The scholarships are designed to assist Class of 2022 high school students who haven’t settled on a college choice, as well as students currently enrolled at other higher-education institutions who are considering transferring to NSU in Natchitoches.

They are being provided by Journal Services, LLC, the business that serves local and area residents by providing the framework for the Shreveport-Bossier Journal. Journal Services, LLC, is based in Natchitoches and supports 12 journals covering north central and northwest Louisiana.

“We know there are students who haven’t decided yet where they’ll go to college this fall. We know that in many cases, money is a key factor in making college accessible,” said Bill Vance, general manager of Journal Services, LLC. “We are providing three game-changing scholarships bringing eager students to NSU to take advantage of the excellent academic programs here, and to live in a community where there are plenty of opportunities to find part-time jobs and to have a great student experience.”

A successful applicant from Caddo and Bossier parishes will join 1,987 other local students who attend Northwestern. Among the university’s 81,000 alumni, nearly 10,000 (9,534) currently live in Caddo and Bossier parishes.

Applicants are asked to provide their high school GPA (and college GPA if applicable), and also, report their ACT score along with listing honors, extracurricular activities and other relevant information on the form. That information will provide a basis for selecting the three winners.

The scholarship awards are for $1,500 cash per semester in the 2022-23 academic year. To renew the scholarship for the Spring 2023 semester, winners must post at least a 2.7 Fall semester GPA at NSU.

Scholarship winners must live in Natchitoches Parish during the upcoming school year. They are also required to have in-person, face-to-face instruction for 75 percent of their classes in 2022-23.

Students who have already accepted financial aid awards from Northwestern are not eligible to apply.

APPLICATION:  To Apply – Click Here






OBIT: William Terry Monday

A memorial service will be held for William Terry Monday at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 27, on the A.A. Fredricks Stage in the Performing Arts Center of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Monday, age 70, passed away March 17, 2022, at his home in Jacksonville, Florida.

Terry Monday was born November 5, 1951, in Shreveport, Louisiana, to William Horace Monday and Billie Sue Nelson Monday. Terry graduated Fair Park High School in 1969, and attended NSU, earning a BA in Speech and Journalism Education in 1975, and an MA in Speech and Theatre in 1981. While at NSU, Terry was the President of Tau Kappa Epsilon Social Fraternity and a photographer for the Current Sauce campus newspaper. Monday was a member of the University Players and Alpha Psi Omega Drama Fraternity.
Following graduation Terry toured with a children’s theatre group and several Broadway productions before relocating to Jacksonville and his life’s work, teaching technical theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. He also was a member of the International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees Local 115.
Terry was an integral part in the formative years for several generations of theatre lovers. His passion for the arts and teaching helped his students build careers as stage managers, producers, designers, and technicians on Broadway and beyond. Students that did not find their way in the theatre were motivated by the pride in effort and strong work ethic he instilled in them.

After teaching for 25 years at DASOTA, he leaves a legacy of students, artisans and technicians to carry the mantra of his teaching, “Work hard, do your best, be proud.” Terry’s passion for the arts, music, gardening, his cats, and BMW motorcycles could always bring a colorful story, memory, or life lesson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his younger sister, Kathie Monday Driver (Albert Richard “Dick” Driver, Jr.). He is survived by his nieces, Danielle Driver Roussel (Paul), Deann Driver, and Darcy Driver, grandnephew Sutton Driver, and grandniece MacKayla Milczarski, as well as numerous cousins and relatives in the Shreveport metro area.

In lieu of flowers, you may contact the NSU Alumni Association to make a donation to the Creative and Performing Arts Fund.