Calhoun High Youth Volleyball Camp has grown every year it’s been held, and this past week was no exception.
The Calhoun High Majorettes traveled to Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. to compete at Drum Majorettes of America Nationals on Saturday and came away as big winners.
Recent appraisals of the Atlanta Falcons haven’t been kind. Pro Football Focus rated theirs the 30th-best roster in the 32-team NFL. In its yearbook, Sporting News ranked them third in the four-team NFC South and 24th in the whole wide NFL. But today we offer glad tidings from an improbable source.
Calhoun High School's Majorettes Saturday, July 19, were named Nationals Outstanding High School Group, placed first and also were named the 2014 National Championship High School Line.
For the last few summers, the Calhoun Youth Basketball Camp has been held either in the Primary or Elementary School Gym, and the options for camp activities were limited by space and number of goals.
Four former local stars are playing professional baseball at different levels. Here is an update on how each of them are doing currently:
On July 3, Calhoun resident Tom Whitaker played a round of golf at Fields Ferry, and to say the 74-year-old was in the groove would be a huge understatement.
The Calhoun Blue Barracudas completed an undefeated season with their victory over Ridgeside (Chattanooga) on July 7.
Local Dylan Faulkner competed recently at the USATF Region 4 Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. at Winthrop University.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee baseball signed a pair of junior college standouts to National Letters of Intent on Thursday. Right handed pitcher Sam Alton and infielder Austin Norrell will don the Blue Raider uniform for the 2015 season.
IRVING, Texas (AP) — A rising gold football-shaped trophy will be the prize for the national champion in the new College Football Playoff.
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James tells Sports Illustrated he will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers .
When it comes to LeBron James, all that's certain is this: One fan base is about to feel scorned, and other is about to feel absolute joy.
Miami or Cleveland?
The same choice he faced four years ago is the one facing the four-time NBA MVP now. He became a champion in Miami. He still calls Ohio home. It's obviously not an easy decision, and the ramifications of what he's about to say — it's still unclear when any announcement will be coming, but it's more than likely sooner than later — will have a massive impact on the Heat and the Cavaliers.
For the Heat, keeping James is likely the only way they can stay a championship-contending team for a fifth straight season next year. If he stays, it would seem likely that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would re-sign with Miami as well, keeping the "Big 3" that has played in each of the last four NBA Finals intact for at least another season.
For the Cavaliers, it's a chance to welcome home the player who fans — and the team's owner Dan Gilbert — directed so much scorn toward when he left in 2010 after seven brilliant seasons.
James left Las Vegas late Thursday, two people close to the situation told The Associated Press. One of those people said James and Wade were flying together to Miami, and that James would be continuing on from there for his long-planned trip to Brazil for the World Cup finals. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because none of the details were revealed publicly.
Earlier Thursday, James again appeared at his skills academy for the nation's top high school and college players, scrimmaging and then watching games in the afternoon with some friends, including Wade. Meanwhile, in Bath Township, Ohio, cars lined the streets near James' 30,000-square-foot mansion in anticipation of an announcement. People posed for photographs and TV news crews did remote reports from the driveway of his offseason home.
As he makes his choice, here's some things he may be considering about returning to Cleveland:
BUSINESS HEADQUARTERS: Northeast Ohio is where James and his close friends grew up. He has business interests in the Cleveland area. He and his LRMR agency recently signed popular college quarterback Johnny Manziel to a marketing deal. Manziel now plays for the Browns.
YOUNG ROSTER: Although the Cavaliers haven't made the playoffs since he left, they can offer James a young roster filled with potential and promise. They're led by All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently agreed to sign a five-year contract extension, and the Cavs also have two other No. 1 overall draft picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.
COACHING STAFF: Cleveland's coaching situation could be a concern. The Cavs are on their third coach since James left and the team recently hired David Blatt, an international icon but someone who has not coached in the U.S. before. The Cavs did hire well-respected assistant Tyronn Lue, who has a strong relationship with James.
CAVS ASSETS: The Cavs have assets they could trade to bring another elite player to Cleveland and have had preliminary talks with Minnesota about a deal for forward Kevin Love.
OWNER: The biggest obstacle in James' possible return could be his relationship with Gilbert. In the hours after James left four years ago, Gilbert blistered James in a scathing letter to Cleveland fans. In an AP interview that same night, Gilbert said James quit during the playoffs.
And while James has strong ties to Ohio, he has also forged them in Miami.
PROVEN WINNERS: Instead of potential, the Heat are proven champions. James has been to four straight NBA Finals with Miami, winning two championships. They have made good on the promise Heat President Pat Riley made to James four years ago: Come to Miami, be part of something special, and compete for titles every year.
COACHING STAFF: There hasn't been turnover in Miami's coaching staff and front office since James joined the Heat. He's played for just one coach, Erik Spoelstra, and Riley has championship pedigree.
OWNER: Unlike the situation with Gilbert, there's no rancor with Heat owner Micky Arison. The Heat have preached a family approach to everything, even allowing members of James' inner circle access to the locker room and other team areas — no minor thing within the framework of the Heat culture.
BIG 3: James came to Miami in large part to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, both of whom also are free agents. It's hard to envision Bosh staying if James leaves. It's easy to see both Wade and Bosh recommitting instantly, if James decides to stay in Miami.
MIAMI INVESTMENTS: His wife has a juice bar in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami and James is said to be investing in a chain of pizza restaurants coming soon to South Florida. He doesn't have Miami roots, but he's created ties to South Florida nonetheless.
It's easy to see why James is torn.
Whether it was one of Gilbert's planes coming to South Florida, or movers packing up James' luxury cars from his Coconut Grove, Florida home, or reports that a cupcake shop in Ohio had heard from people that James had already decided to return to Cleveland, any nugget of information sets the rumor mill into overdrive.
But his camp says he has all the information needed to make a decision.
The ball is now in LeBron James' hands.
Reynolds reported from Las Vegas and Withers reported from Cleveland.
ARENBERG, France (AP) — Dutch rider Lars Boom has won a chaotic fifth stage of the Tour de France marked by the withdrawal of defending champion Chris Froome following two crashes.
LILLE, France (AP) — Marcel Kittel won the fourth stage of the Tour de France — his third of the race — in a sprint as the tour returned home from England on Tuesday.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — FIFA will not take action against the Colombia player who injured Neymar and ended the Brazil star's World Cup.
FIFA said its disciplinary panel "cannot consider this matter" under the rules because the match referee saw the challenge by Camilo Zuniga and judged it at the time.
"In this specific case, no retrospective action can be taken," FIFA said in a statement on Monday, because the incident "did not escape the match officials' attention."
In a separate decision, the panel also refused to consider a Confederation of Brazilian Football appeal against captain Thiago Silva's yellow card in the 2-1 win quarterfinals over Colombia on Friday in Fortaleza.
Thiago Silva's second caution of the tournament triggered a one-match ban which he will serve in the semifinals. Brazil will therefore be without its best player and its captain against Germany on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
Neymar will be sidelined for about 45 days after sustaining a fractured third vertebra.
The panel studied video of Zuniga's 86th-minute challenge, where he kneed Neymar in the back when jumping into him at speed. Zuniga apologized on Saturday.
Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo did not show Zuniga a yellow card, and FIFA's disciplinary panel considered the incident judged on the spot.
The seriousness of an injury could not be weighed in a disciplinary decision, nor was mistaken identity a factor in the case, FIFA added.
"First and foremost, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (Claudio Sulser) wishes to state that he deeply regrets the incident and the serious consequences on Neymar's health," the statement said.
The Luis Suarez biting case earlier in the World Cup raised expectations that Sulser's panel would also punish Zuniga.
However, Suarez's bite of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder was missed by match officials. That allowed Sulser to use video evidence to ban the Uruguay forward for nine international matches and four months.
The Mexican referee in that case, Marco Rodriguez, will handle the Brazil-Germany semifinal in his first match duty since Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 on June 24.
Thiago Silva was booked against Colombia for impeding goalkeeper David Ospina who tried to kick the ball downfield.
The FIFA disciplinary code states that cautions can be canceled only in "exceptional circumstances."
The panel "cannot consider the matter given the fact that there is no legal basis entitling it to grant such request," FIFA said.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The World Cup's best dribblers — Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben — face off when Argentina and Netherlands meet in the semifinals.
In Brazil, Robben has been quick, Messi has been quicksilver.
On Wednesday in Sao Paulo, either one could turn the semifinal with a dazzling turn of pace or a weaving run to propel his team to the final.
"We have to cut the supply line to Messi," Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi told Dutch website Nu.nl.
The Barcelona star led Argentina through the group stage with four goals. He has also made 180 passes in his five matches so far.
The Dutch have shared the goal-scoring duties more evenly — Robben and Robin van Persie each have three, Memphis Depay has two of the team's total of 12 — but the Bayern Munich winger's scintillating sprints with the ball have often been the highlights of Oranje matches.
"We know that we will play against one of the best teams when it comes to counterattacks because of the speed of their men up front," Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said. "So we have to take precautions to not give them the possibility to counterattack, to always be well positioned, to not lose balls unnecessarily in areas where there's a lot of risk."
After scoring 10 times in group play, the Netherlands has managed only two in its two knock-out matches and the Dutch will be hoping captain Van Persie regains his touch in front of goal. He looked off the pace and missed an easy chance near the end of regulation time in the quarterfinal against Costa Rica.
The Netherlands will again be without their powerful midfield controller Nigel de Jong, who has a torn groin muscle. A possible replacement, Leroy Fer, is recovering from a hamstring injury and it is not clear if he will be fit for Wednesday's semifinal at the Itaquerao Stadium.
Argentina will be without Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, who limped off in the first half of his country's quarterfinal win over Belgium with a right thigh injury, but striker Sergio Aguero has been declared fit after recovering from a similar problem.
Di Maria scored the extra-time winner against Switzerland in the second round and set up Gonzalo Higuain's winning goal in the first half against Belgium on Saturday.
"He's a good player, but we look at the whole team, not one player," Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen said. "We're going to watch ... how Argentina plays. We're going to make our plan to beat Argentina."
Whether that plan again could involve Cillessen being substituted a minute before a penalty shootout and replaced with the more physically imposing Tim Krul — as happened against Costa Rica — remains to be seen.
The move by tactical mastermind Louis van Gaal was the World Cup's most surprising substitution and one of its most effective as Krul stopped two penalties.
"We are ready for everything," Krul said. "Hopefully, we don't need it against Argentina and we can do the job in 90 minutes."
The two sides have a long World Cup history, including one of the Netherlands' most heart-breaking losses, in the 1978 final when Rob Rensenbrink's shot hit the post shortly before full time with the scores level at 1-1. Argentina went on to win 3-1 in extra time.
In 1998, the Dutch led by Guus Hiddink got a measure of revenge when Dennis Bergkamp's memorable goal knocked Argentina out in the quarterfinals in France.
Cillessen said beating Argentina in Sao Paulo would only be a step on the way to making amends for the 1978 final — one of three the Netherlands has lost, earning the Dutch the title of the best team never to win the World Cup.
"It would be revenge if we win the World Cup," Cillessen said. "But we have to wait for that. It's not a final. It's a semi."
LONDON (AP) — Germany's Marcel Kittel showed he may be the sprinter to beat at the Tour de France, speeding to his second stage win this year in Stage 3 on Monday as cycling's big event entered London before leaving England for France.
Four former local stars are playing professional baseball at different levels. Here is an update on how each of them are doing currently:
The 10-Under Outlaws finished third out of 21 teams at the 2014 Grand Slam World Series in Panama City Beach, Florida recently.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The euphoria in soccer-mad Colombia is deafening, and wonderfully contagious, ahead of Friday's do-or-die World Cup match against host Brazil.
Never before has the star-crossed nation made the quarterfinals. Some are even waxing poetic about World Cup unity accelerating the pace of 18-month-old peace talks to end a half-century of conflict that has claimed some 220,000 lives.
Half the population seems to be wearing the canary-yellow national jersey, even on days Colombia isn't playing. And the merrymaking, from singing in the streets to collective game-watching on huge screens in public parks, is often so unrestrained that many big-city mayors have imposed bans on alcohol sales on game days.
The fear, of course, is that it all will be fleeting and the violence and intolerance that have long plagued the Andean nation will re-emerge at tournament's end.
"Soccer has always worked as a tool of union and a tool for nation-building," said Alexander Castro, a National University sociologist. "But soccer is also as ephemeral as a particular game. And when this World Cup ends it will be like a passing fad, and we'll be back to our old habits."
Not since Colombia drubbed Argentina 5-0 in a 1993 World Cup qualifier has the South American nation of 48 million been so enthralled by the beautiful game.
"Colombia is going to make it to the final because it has the fundamentals and preparation, and (the players) have great courage and desire," said Leonardo Soto, a 23-year-old paralegal in Bogota.
No country's fan base is apparently as dedicated as Colombia. Out of 19 surveyed in a pre-World Cup poll done by YouGov.com for The New York Times. Just 6 percent of Colombians weren't interested in the sport, followed by Mexico with 8 percent and Argentina with 10 percent. The United States, by contrast, had a 60-percent apathy rating.
President Juan Manuel Santos is among the devoted, and planned to attend Friday's contest.
The Colombian team's unselfish poise and grace are about the only thing Santos and his political nemesis, ex-President Alvaro Uribe, can agree on these days as they spar over the handling of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
And even the leftist FARC has claimed a stake in the national cheering section. Before the tourney, rebel negotiators sent the team a letter that gushed "with people like you, we're sure to go far."
Aldo Civico, a Rutgers University anthropologist and conflict resolution expert, says "the joyful and intense expression of unity" around the Colombian team's four-game winning streak has let people "transcend the political tribalism" that has defined Colombia's violent history.
It reminded him, he said, of how Nelson Mandela used South Africa's love of rugby as a tool of post-apartheid reconciliation.
The fear, of course, is that lacking a Mandela, the unity will evaporate after the last referee's whistle sounds.
No one, says former coach and player Alexis Garcia, wants to relive the anguish and shame Colombians felt after the July 2, 1994, slaying in a Medellin discotheque parking lot of 27-year-old defender Andres Escobar, who had knocked Colombia out of contention by accidentally kicking the ball into his own net in a game against the United States.
He was shot six times by the driver of two suspected drug traffickers, one of whom had complained to him about his blunder 10 days earlier in Los Angeles.
Michael Zimbalist, who with his brother Jeffrey made the 2010 documentary "The Two Escobars" about Colombian professional soccer's tainting by drug lords including Pablo Escobar, says the nation deserves credit for largely cleaning itself up in the years since both Escobars were killed.
It's heartwarming, said brother Jeffrey, how football extends to a country's sense of identity and has allowed the world to see a special side of Colombia it hadn't known.
Which is not to say that either brother believes drug money is all gone from the sport.
In 2006, a drug trafficker affiliated with far-right militias named Gustavo Upegui was slain in his bedroom by a gun-wielding intruder.
Upegui had been running the Envigado club just outside Medellin and had recently purchased the rights to an adolescent he thought had a brilliant future.
In fact, that player currently leads all World Cup scorers with five goals.
His name: James Rodriguez.
Associated Press writer Libardo Cardona reported this story in Bogota and Frank Bajak reported from Lima, Peru. AP writer Cesar Garcia in Bogota contributed to this report.
LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray's reign as Wimbledon champion ended Wednesday with a straight-set loss in the quarterfinals to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, who is making his breakthrough after years of being touted as the game's next top player.
Two other former champions, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, came from behind to win in four sets and move into the semifinals once again at the All England Club. Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic also made the final four, beating the Australian teenager who ousted Rafael Nadal.
In women's play, French Open runner-up Simona Halep and Canada's Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the semifinals in straight sets.
Dimitrov completely outplayed Murray on Centre Court, winning 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
The 11th-seeded Dimitrov broke Murray five times — including in the final game — to become the first Bulgarian man to advance to the final four of a major. It was his first victory over a top 10 player at a Grand Slam.
"He was the better player start to finish," Murray said.
Murray last year became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He came into the quarterfinals riding a 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, had not dropped a set this tournament and was bidding to become the first British player to retain the title since 1936.
"To win any tournament back-to-back, let alone back-to-back on a surface like this which sometimes rests on a few points in a set, it's not always going to go your way," Murray said.
Dimitrov's win marked a huge step forward for a player nicknamed "Baby Fed" because of a style of play — especially the one-handed backhand — resembling that of Federer. The 23-year-old Dimitrov is also well-known for being the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova.
Dimitrov served 10 aces and had 32 winners and 18 unforced errors. Murray served as many double faults (5) as aces and had more unforced errors (37) than winners (24).
"Today was a bad day," Murray said. "I made many mistakes. I think I had one backhand winner the entire match which isn't normally what I do, especially on this surface."
Dimitrov will next face top-seeded Djokovic, who came from two-sets-to-one down to beat 26th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2 and reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the fifth consecutive year.
Djokovic, the 2011 champion and 2013 runner-up, extended his perfect record against Cilic to 10-0. He's 3-1 against Dimitrov, who won the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen's Club.
"He hasn't lost a match on grass courts this year," Djokovic said. "He's the player to beat. "
Federer, chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title, advanced to his 35th Grand Slam semifinal with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow Swiss player and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
Federer, who lost in the second round here last year, is through to the semis for the ninth time at Wimbledon. He's gone on to win the title in all those years except for 2008, when he lost to Nadal in the final.
"Last year was such a disappointment," Federer said. "I was very deflated leaving Wimbledon on that note. It's good to be back in the semis and having a chance to go a step or two further."
Federer will first need to tame the big serving of Raonic, who had 39 aces in a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Nick Kyrgios, the 19-year-old wild-card entry who stunned Nadal on Tuesday.
Like Dimitrov, Raonic has made a breakthrough run to his first Grand Slam semifinal. He's also the first Canadian man in more than 100 years to reach the Wimbledon semis.
"It's another step forward," said Raonic, who is 0-4 against Federer. "The goal is to be the best player in the world and this is one of those steps that you have to take to keep getting better."
It's the ninth year in a row that at least two of the so-called "Big Four" in men's tennis — Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray — have made it to the Wimbledon semifinals.
Halep and Bouchard posted wins over 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber, respectively, to set up a meeting in the women's semifinals. Both players are 15-2 in Grand Slam matches this year. The other semifinal is an all-Czech matchup between 2011 champion Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova.