Rodeo team enjoys successful spring season opener
MERIDIAN — East Mississippi Community College successfully opened the spring portion of the 2020-21 collegiate rodeo season this past weekend by winning the women’s team competition and finishing as men’s runners-up while hosting the school’s 9th Annual Intercollegiate Rodeo.
The three-day Ozark Region event concluded with Saturday night’s championship round held at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.
The EMCC women set a program record by scoring 480 team points in securing their eighth region event team title (second this season) since the school’s inaugural rodeo season in 2010-11. This past October, EMCC claimed women’s first-place honors at the Southern Arkansas rodeo with 475 team points.
While the EMCC men’s team totaled 710 points in placing second behind Missouri Valley College’s 1,025 points this past weekend, East Mississippi’s teams also set a new school standard for one rodeo by combining for 1,190 total points between them.
EMCC’s women out-distanced West Alabama (255 points) and Missouri Valley (205) during the spring opener in Meridian, while UT Martin and West Alabama placed third (550 points) and fourth (515), respectively, on the men’s side.
EMCC’s talented sister tandem of Jaylie and Taycie Matthews (Wynne, AR) combined to collect 280 points between them while finishing first and third, respectively, in the barrel racing competition. Jaylie, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s top-ranked barrel racer during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, earned the maximum 180 points this past weekend with winning runs of 15.01 and 15.04 seconds to claim her fifth region event title. Her younger sister, Taycie, grabbed 100 points after entering spring competition as the NIRA’s second-ranked collegiate barrel racer.
Mikayla Joh Almond (Olin, NC) recorded EMCC’s other 200 women’s team points by winning the breakaway roping event with times of 2.2 and 2.7 seconds along with scoring in goat tying.
In addition for the EMCC women, Blair Bryant (Hatchechubbee, AL) earned 85 individual points by tying for third place in breakaway roping.
Leading the EMCC men, former national collegiate all-around champion Marcus Theriot earned men’s all-around honors with 390 total points during the spring opener. Along with winning the tie-down roping event with a short-go effort of 8.1 seconds, the Poplarville product placed second in team roping with teammate Cole Curry (Liberty) in addition to tying for third place in steer wrestling with teammate Myles Neighbors (Benton, AR).
Also in the team roping event for the Lions, Matt Watt (Scooba) teamed with his brother, Jacob from West Alabama’ team, to score 85 points apiece for a third-place finish. West Smith (Emmet, AR) paired with UWA’s Cooper Malone to also score points in team roping to round out the team scoring for the EMCC men.
Coach Morgan Goodrich’s East Mississippi rodeo teams are scheduled to continue NIRA Ozark Region competition this week (March 25-27) at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.