Majors Pound Panthers

by Megan Murray

sports editor

The Millsaps Majors and Birmingham-Southern Panthers recently faced off in three different sports over a three-day span. The Panthers trekked into Jackson for women’s and men’s tennis matches and baseball games, while the Majors hopped over to Birmingham for men and women’s track and field meet.

The Southern Athletic Association conference battles began with women’s tennis. The Majors decisively won the match 7-2, capturing their second conference win and improving to 6-8 overall this season.

The women started the day off strong with doubles wins from partners Deena Li Kam Wa and Ashley Ford, and partners Mary Claiborne-Sharpe and Reya Hayek. Li Kam Wa/Ford had a decisive 8-1 victory, while Claiborne-Sharpe and Hayek added an 8-4 win for the Majors.

The success for the Majors continued in singles, as the ladies won five out of six matches. Li Kam Wa, Claiborne-Sharpe,and Hayek all enjoyed straight-set victories, with Hayek picking up her fifth-straight win. Ford and Rachel Beck had to battle a bit harder, but they tallied two more points for the Majors to ensure the conference win.u6ebkq82w46t5vw3

Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information

Hayek said, “As a team I think we were all really excited for that big win and I think we were happy to see all of our hard work pay off, especially against Birmingham Southern. They are a good team and a big rivalry that we always have close matches with so it was really rewarding to get that win especially.”

Men’s tennis also took to the Coach Montgomery Courts on Thursday to face BSC. The Majors accomplished a crucial 5-4 conference win. The key to the victory was undoubtedly doubles. The Majors came out swinging, recording victories in all three doubles matches.

Charles Rees/Emerson Brundick and Diego Marti-Vertiz/Alex Centurion won decisively, 8-3 and 8-5 respectively. Avinash Ananth and Cameron Doles had a tougher match, but the duo came from behind to win the match 9-7, advancing the Majors to 3-0 heading into singles.y0l4p3ivifv1liaz

Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information

The Majors only won two out of the six singles matches, but it was all they needed to ensure the win. Centurion and Anath each recorded their second win on the day in straight sets to propel the Majors to victory. The Majors improve to 2-1 in SAA play and 12-2 overall.

Ananth said, “It felt unreal to win the tennis matches against my hometown school.” He continued, “[Our] doubles match was won mainly through the fact that I had the support of my partner Cameron who has always believed in my good even during my struggles. [In singles] I went on the court and just made sure to play every point with the same focus and believe in my abilities.”

The Majors baseball team rounded out the home events against the Panthers. In the three game series, the Majors won two games, 2-0 and 9-8, to trump BSC as tops in the SAA standings.

The most impressive game, however, was the first. Smokey Ethridge pitched lights out with a complete game shutout. He recorded 10 strikeouts to no walks, and only allowed two hits in the entire game. His earned run average now stands at a remarkable 1.76. Ethridge also enjoyed help from his offense. Even though the Majors left 11 runners on base in the 12-hit win, they came through in the sixth with a run and added an insurance run in the eighth.xweino5x5y1ao9kw

Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information

Ethridge said, “It was amazing. Our whole team was ecstatic. I knew it was going to be a tough game for us to win, so when the game was over, I was probably more relieved than anything. It’s always a good feeling to know you beat the No. 4 team in the nation.” He continued, “I would say the key to my success yesterday was my whole team being behind me. Our dugout was loud the entire game, and I didn’t want to let them down.”

Majors men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Birmingham-Southern College for the annual Hilltop Classic. The men placed fourth out of eight teams, and the women finished fifth out of nine teams.

The Majors saw some standout performances from the men. In the 400 meters, Kenny Holloway placed third with a time of 53:02. With an impressive time of 4:15.21 in the 1500 meters, Ben Parva earned a fifth place finish. Jared Allen, coming off his first win in 3000-meter steeplechase the previous meet, dominated the field with a first place finish in the same event. He left no chance for competition, as the next runner finished 13 seconds behind him.5nug5h13kcz8fqeq

Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information

The Majors’ men had an equally impressive showing in the field events. Clayton Killebrew placed top in three different events: eighth in discus, fifth in shot put, and second in the hammer. Jonah Zahller had a strong day in javelin with a 154-foot throw that awarded him fourth place.

The most electric Major of the day was Dallas Prater. He competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. His day began with a win in the high jump, where he cleared six feet four and one-quarter inches in his second attempt to bring home the victory for the Majors. Prater continued his success with a fourth place finish in the long jump, recording a 21-foot jump. His final event of the day was the triple jump, where he also earned top honors as the third place finisher. With a total of 42 feet, six and three-quarters inches, Prater was the top jumper in all of Division III.

The women also enjoyed a solid outing at the Hilltop Classic. Mikaela Thurber had an impressive day on the track. She finished second in the 800 meters, with a narrow margin of one second between her and first place. Thurber added a fifth place finish in the 1500 meters with a time of 5:12. She had the best time among the Division III participants at the meet.qaeioiirl7vf6o0y

Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information

Senior Jenna Johnson was a standout in the field events for the Majors. She recorded a 118-foot 11-inch throw to finish second in discus. Johnson had a dominating performance in the hammer. Her mark of 147 feet, one inch earned her second place, beating the majority of Division I and Division II participants in the event. The impressive throw set the new school record in the hammer.

“It felt good after working so hard for the last few years to perform well especially since I set the school record for hammer which was an amazing feeling,” Johnson said. “We’ve been working really hard this season and we had a lot of great performances on Friday.”

Both the men’s and women’s track teams will travel to Arkansas this coming weekend to compete in the Arkansas-Little Rock Invitational.