Studly Sims represented Suffolk at state

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2005

Last season, Lakeland’s Kelly Sims pinned down a 36-10 record on the wrestling mats. He finished third at Southeastern District competition, and again at Eastern Regionals. Then he went to states, the only Suffolkian to make the journey, and ended his career as Virginia’s fourth-highest 215-pounder.

For all his achievements, Sims got a nickname from coach Ken Southard at the school’s winter sports banquet on Wednesday night, one that he might carry all the way to World Wrestling Entertainment.

&uot;He is the ‘Lakeland Stud,’&uot; Southard said of his Most Valuable Wrestler. &uot;He did everything I asked him to. If we needed point, I’d bump him up to heavyweight. If we were OK, I’d leave him at 215.&uot;

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The Lakeland matsters had one of their finest seasons in recent memory, ending at 9-13 and going perfect in Suffolk for the first time of the millennium. Zach Gibbons became the first freshman in school history to get to regionals.

Eighth-grader Keith Whitehead got the Coach’s award, and Cody Jones the Most Improved honor.

&uot;If I could sum the season up in one word,&uot; said basketball coach James Jones, &uot;it would be a word that I think young folks would understand – drama.

&uot;Some games, we were ahead, and we let the other team back in it,&uot; said Jones, whose teamed finished fourth in the regular season and made it to the semifinals of the district tournament. &uot;In other games, we were behind, and we tried to pull it out.&uot;

Voyland Cooke got the Coach’s award, while Jaleel Nelson was the top newcomer and Corey Davis the Most Valuable Player. Davis made the All-District Second Team, and Nelson was an honorable mention.

Though her team didn’t have a winning season, said girls coach Johnetta Saunders, &uot;what I did have was a group of girls who stuck with me every game. They always played hard and never quit, and that says a lot. The fans always came out and supported us, both home and away.

&uot;Not only did I see her potential,&uot; Saunders said of top rookie LeCetra Arrington, &uot;not only did her teammates put their trust in her, but all the coaches that I talked with throughout the season could not believe that she was just a freshman from the way that she composed herself.

&uot;She’s a coach’s dream,&uot; she said of Coach’s award winner Erica Rimasse. &uot;She works hard on and off the court. She’s a natural born leader.&uot;

Natasha Whitworth, who made the All-District honorable mention team, got the Most Valuable Player honor.

&uot;They were young, and I was young,&uot; said track coach Darius Bryant, whose team was made up of nearly all eighth- and ninth-graders. &uot;We all learned a lot, and we worked hard all year.&uot;

Cory Worley and Courtnei Grier got Coach’s awards, and Predist Walker and Robert Faulk were the Most Valuable Players.

On the academic team, co-captains Jean-Louis Bile and Sherri Barnes were honored.

How does a cheerleading coach pick her most spirited cheerer? How does someone select the most energetic cheerer from a group whose main purpose is to spread energy around gymnasiums and football fields?

&uot;I went another way,&uot; said coach Latoya Floyd. &uot;I looked for someone who was spirited as a cheerleader, and all around the school. This girl went to a lot of other events; she’d go to field hockey games, and if the band was having a concert, she’d go to that. She’s on the yearbook staff, and is the Vice President of the Senior Class.&uot;

She was referring to Emily Brown. Ashli Taylor was named the most dedicated, Kristen Myers the Most Valuable Player, and Whitney James was the recipient of the Coach’s award.


The Nansemond River winter sports banquet, postponed by Tuesday’s inclement weather, will be made up on Monday evening.