The student news site of Center Hill High School.

The Pony Express

The student news site of Center Hill High School.

The Pony Express

The student news site of Center Hill High School.

The Pony Express

The Hill hosts Meet the Mustangs.

Arturo Guerrero II

Yesterday, Center Hill High School athletes, students, and fans flocked to the football stadium for “Meet the Mustangs,” the school’s yearly introduction to the fall sports.

David Burgess, the golf team coach at Center Hill, on the field with his daughter . (Arturo Guererro II)

Coached by David Burgess, the golf teams took the field first. During their last season, the boys golf team ranked 4th in the county while the girls made it to MHSAA Class 6A Golf Championship. The girls team placed 11th, with Reese McNeer, now a senior, breaking into the top 20.

Following golf was the cross country team, coached by Andy McElyea. Last season, the girls team ranked 3rd in the Desoto County cross country meet in October while the boys team ranked 5th, and six runners from Center Hill finished in the top 25—Maggie Linville, Sydney Hyatt, Georgia Shoup, Emily Bogema, Aaron Penefield, and Jared Smalley—and returned to the team this season, except for Hyatt who graduated in May.

Both teams qualified for the 2022 MHSAA 6A Cross Country Championship, where the girls placed 16th in the state and the boys placed 22nd. The cross country teams will compete in the New Albany XC Classic for their first meet of the year on August 26th.

Caption. (Jase McCommon)

Next came the swimmers. The team, coached by Justin Medlin, dives into their season next Thursday, August 24 at the Tunica Aquatic Center.

Volleyball was noticeably absent from this year’s Meet the Mustangs showcase. The team traveled to South Panola for their first district matchup of the year. Both the junior varsity (2-0) and varsity (3-0) squads secured a win. The varsity girls now sit 1-0 in district play and 1-3 overall and hope to make a comeback from last season’s 3-12 record.

Caption. (Arturo Guererro II)

Led by head coach Emily Monroe and sponsor Melissa Smith, the cheer team popped off with a spectacular entrance to the event.

Back in February, the cheer team competed in Orlando, Florida at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. Although they did not advance past the preliminary round for Medium Varsity Division II, the team reached the finals for Game Day Live and placed third, receiving bronze medals.

Caption. (Ashtyn McAdams)

The team has tough competition this year, explained returning cheerleader Makenzi Gipson. The toughest?

“I want to say Olive Branch,” explained Gipson, “because they could come back and beat us just like we beat them.” She laughed. “I don’t know. I don’t know, but I’m definitely ready for them.”

With some fresh faces on this year’s squad, the team hopes to surpass the success of last year.

Their first competition will be in October for MHSAA’s regional competition at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Although the sun is blazing down upon them, Center Hills dance team shows their Mustang spirit!  (Ashtyn McAdams)

Rounding out the pep squad was Center Hill’s dance team, led by head coach Patrice Christian and assistant coach Katelynn “KK” Gunter and sponsored by Lynelda Jones. Last year, the dance team competed in Jackson, MS for the MHSAA State Dance Competition, where they placed 2nd in Large Varsity Hip Hop and 3rd in Large Varsity Game Day.

In February, they traveled to Orlando, Florida and showcased their skills at the UDA National High School Dance Championship, placing 7th in the nation for Large Varsity Hip Hop and 11th in Super Varsity Game Day.

Caption. (Ashtyn McAdams)

Excited for the new season, dance member Milan Galindo hopes to beat their biggest competitors on both the state and national level.

“Well, obviously for state, our biggest competitor is Brandon,” explained Galindo. “I wouldn’t say I’m nervous—I’m like excited. Then for nationals, Coral Reef is really good. They usually beat us, but maybe not this year, you know? Hopefully not this year.”

Center Hill band playing their part of the performance with the color guard team. (Arturo Guererro II)

The penultimate performance was from the Center Hill High School band and color guard. The band, led by directors Charles Campbell, Heath Hopper, and Spencer Davis, placed first at the Bandmaster’s Class 2A Championship last year and, at the 6A state qualifier, received all superior ratings and a bid to the MHSAA state competition in Pearl, MS. The color guard also ranked 5th in SRA Blue.

For their “Meet the Mustangs” showcase, the band and color guard performed their new show “Pinned.” Senior Michael Montgomery takes the reins as the 2023-2024 drum major. Siblings Alvon Walker and Alvia Walker, both seniors, have also taken a leadership role this season as woodwind squad leader and color guard captain, respectively.

Caption. (Arturo Guererro II)

Last but not least, football took the field, led by head coach and athletic director Alan Peacock along with assistant coaches Anthony “Brent” Clark, George “Clay” Tucker, Bruce Hall, Mackenzie “Mac” Cooley, Sean Barker, Spencer Hudson, Shawn Abel, and Douglas Miller.

Caption. (Jase McCommon)

Last season, Center Hill’s varsity team finished 4-7 overall and 3-4 in district play. Despite the number of losses, the Mustangs had staked their claim as Olive Branch’s reigning champions, defeating both their crosstown rivals Lewisburg (23-15) and Olive Branch (24-20).

This year’s team is looking for a more successful run.

Alan Peacock, one of the multiple football coaches, directing Center Hills football team. (Arturo Guererro II)

The CHHS varsity football team plays in their first jamboree of the season at Desoto Central 6 P.M. this Friday, August 18th.

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About the Contributors
Erik Mendoza
Erik Mendoza, Sports Director
Erik Mendoza is the Sports Director for CHHS's student newspaper The Pony Express and yearbook The Mustang.
Stefany Sobotka
Stefany Sobotka, Photography Editor
Sophomore Stefany Sobotka is the Photography Editor for The Pony Express and The Mustang.
Jase McCommon
Jase McCommon, Staff/Photographer
Sophomore Jase McCommon is a staff photographer for The Pony Express and The Mustang.
Arturo Guerrero II
Arturo Guerrero II, Multimedia Director
Arturo Guerrero II is the Multimedia Director for The Pony Express and The Mustang.
Ashtyn McAdams
Ashtyn McAdams, Faculty Adviser
Licensed in English and Social Studies, Ashtyn McAdams teaches Oral Communications and Foundations of Journalism at Center Hill High School. She currently advises the Hill's student publications of The Pony Express (newspaper), The Mustang (yearbook), and inkstained (literary magazine); and coaches the Speech and Debate team.
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