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Success on the Field, in the Classroom and Remembering Pete Taylor

May 16, 2011

It's been a very successful spring, and I would like to congratulate the following Golden Eagles for their performances in the classroom and on the field of competition.

Women's Tennis
Sophomore Elja van Berlo was one of six players named to the 2011 Conference USA Women's Tennis All-Academic Team. The list consists of student-athletes who hold a minimum 3.2 GPA and competed in at least 75% of their team's scheduled matches. Elja posted a 3.93 GPA as an international business major.

Men's Tennis
Golden Eagle senior Jan Burmeister holds a flawless 4.00 GPA in the classroom as an international business major and earns his third-straight All-Academic recognition. He received the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key Award for the highest GPA. A four-time recipient of the C-USA Academic medal, Burmeister was also named to the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic District 6 First Team.

Women's Golf
Freshman Brandi Rodriguez was named to the Women's Golf All-Conference USA Third Team. It is the first selection for the Lady Eagles since 2009, and she becomes the fourth freshman to earn all-conference accolades.

Men's Golf
Derek Plucienski was selected as one of 10 individuals to participate in the NCAA Men's Golf Colorado Regional. Plucienski becomes just the fourth Golden Eagle to participate in NCAA play. He was named Second Team All-Conference USA and was the only golfer to participate in all 11 events this year. His stroke average of 72.81 over 32 rounds is the third lowest in Southern Miss history.

Women's Track & Field
After becoming the school's first national champion in the long jump, Southern Miss junior Tori Bowie was named the Conference USA Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

The Southern Miss women's team placed four on the All-America teams, Tori Bowie and Ganna Demydova earned first team honors while Chastity Riggien and Ke'Airra Jones received second team honors. Demydova placed fourth in the triple jump competition, while Riggien and Jones, both finished ninth in their respective events, 60 meters and high jump. Five individuals earned All-Conference USA Team - Tori Bowie-2nd women's long jump (Second Team); Tori Bowie-3rd women's triple jump (Third Team); Ganna Demydova-3rd women's long jump (Third Team); Ke'Airra Jones-2nd women's high jump (Second Team); Jessica Bussey-3rd women's javelin (Third Team).,

Men's Track & Field
Marcus Norwood recorded a height of 6 feet 11 inches to win his first conference title. He became Southern Miss's first men's high jump champion since Cedric Norman did it last in 2004. Kyle Smith won the event with a throw of 236 feet which out distanced his nearest competitor by fifteen feet. This mark is the second best in school history behind only Smith's own school record. Smith is the first men's javelin champion since Conrad Chanove III in 2005.

There were 8 other Golden Eagles who earned spots on the All-Conference USA Teams. Suyi Georgewill- 2nd men's hammer (Second Team); Suyi Georgewill-3rd men's discus (Third Team); Ramon Crockett-3rd men's long jump (Third Team); Justin Sims-3rd men's 4 x 100m relay (Third Team); Mario Spann-3rd men's 4 x 100m relay (Third Team); Danny Banks-3rd men's 4 x 100m relay (Third Team); Khiary Hill-3rd men's 4 x 100m relay (Third Team); Robert Collingwood-2nd men's shot put (Second Team).

The season is not over, but it's been an exciting baseball season with the Golden Eagles ranked nationally and playing exciting baseball. As of May 15th the Eagles are still leading Conference USA and the Rice series (May 20-22) will be a shoot-out between first and second. Also, mark your calendars for the 2011 Conference USA baseball tournament which will be held at Trustmark Park in Pearl May 25-29. To order tickets call 1-888-272-8374 or order online at

For a complete list of all the sports' standings, pleasev visit:

And finally, we lost a beloved member of the Golden Eagle family this past week, Pete Taylor. C.J. "Pete" Taylor, for whom Pete Taylor Park is named, died early Sunday morning at his home in Hattiesburg at the age of 92. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family - he will be greatly missed.

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