JONESBORO — The Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star games are back after a two-year break because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Eight contests featuring 2022 seniors are scheduled today and Saturday at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. The baseball, softball, girls’ soccer, volleyball and boys’ soccer games will be played today, followed by girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball and football on Saturday.
Coaches from The Sun circulation area who will serve as East head coaches for their respective teams include Hoxie’s Tom Sears (football), Jonesboro’s Wes Swift (boys’ basketball), Jonesboro’s Nikki Skelton (volleyball), Brookland’s Brooke Williams (cheer) and Brookland’s Aspen Copelin (dance).
Today’s schedule begins with the baseball and softball games, both set to start at 4 p.m. The girls’ and boys’ soccer games are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m., respectively, while the volleyball game begins at 6 p.m.
The girls’ basketball game starts Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by the boys’ basketball game at 3 p.m. and the football game at 6 p.m.
Sears will be coaching in the football game for the second time. He was also chosen as head coach during one of the years when the game was not played.
“It’s good to get back down here. It’s really neat,” Sears said Thursday. “I think it’s a great honor for the kids and the coaches to be a part of this. It’s something I always wanted to be a part of as a player and didn’t have an opportunity. It’s always a goal of mine to be here and be on the staff. It took a long time for that opportunity to happen and I’m proud and appreciative of being chosen to be here.
Sears’ son Cole is one of his assistant coaches and the East roster includes nine players from area schools.
Hoxie’s Cade Forrester and Nettleton’s Cameron Scarlett are the East’s quarterbacks. The offensive line includes Greene County Tech’s J.B. Hoyer at center, Hoxie’s Jalen Chappell at left tackle and Rivercrest’s Octavio Chirinos working at center and tackle.
Wynne’s Tirrell Johnson (end), Davion Logan (lineman) and Javion Wilson (defensive back) are part of the East defense along with Osceola’s Don Littleton at linebacker. Scarlett is also one of the East’s punters.
“I’ve been real impressed with all our Northeast Arkansas kids,” Sears said. “It’s kind of neat with guys that you see and hear about, but you didn’t know them on a personal level, some guys that you played against. They look a lot different when they take their helmets off and you get to know them. That’s the cool thing about this.”
Five of the 15 players on the East boys’ basketball roster are from area schools, a group that includes Jonesboro’s Jesse Washington, Valley View’s Connor Tinsley, Walnut Ridge’s Ty Flippo, Osceola’s Daylen Love and Marked Tree’s Itavious Nesbitt.
Swift leads the East coaching staff, which also includes Melbourne’s Scott Bowlin, Magnolia’s Ben Lindsey and Osceola’s Vernon Wilson.
“Our coaching staff, I’m familiar with all three. Scott Bowlin, he and I have been on the staff before together,” Swift said. “When Ben Lindsey coached at Paragould, we got to know each other a little bit. Vernon and I, we’re acquaintances, but probably haven’t hung out very much.
“It will be cool to spend two days with them and the kids. The relationship part of it for those two days is my favorite part of the whole deal, just getting to meet some people you really didn’t know before now.”
Paragould’s Sonja Tate is an assistant coach for the East girls basketball team. Paragould’s Carson DeFries and Marmaduke’s Heidi Robinson are on the East roster.
Skelton played in the all-star volleyball game after graduating from Piggott in 1993.
She’s now the East head coach, with Westside’s Devin Montgomery as one of her assistants.
The East volleyball roster includes six area standouts, a group that includes Valley View’s Natalie Supine and Hadden Lieblong, Westside’s Abby Manley, Jonesboro’s Ella Tagupa, Crowley’s Ridge Academy’s Molly Chunn and Ridgefield Christian’s Jenna Primm.
“I’m pretty excited about the lineup that we have, the roster. Several girls from Northeast Arkansas are on the team,” Skelton said. “I’m really excited about being able to coach them, all the kids that you watch and see how good they are, and we get to coach against the West. That’s pretty exciting.”
The East baseball roster includes Brookland’s Jack Henry Pettit, Hillcrest’s Bryson Doyle and Jonesboro’s Ty Rhoades.
Wynne’s Ashley Busby, Greene County Tech’s David Reynolds and Armorel’s Deanna Carr are assistant coaches for the East softball team. The East roster in that sport includes Armorel’s Abby Simmons, East Poinsett County’s Zoe Constant, Gosnell’s Emery Cash, GCT’s Kylie Stokes, Hoxie’s Jaecie Brown, Rector’s Morgan Garner, Tuckerman’s Shanley Williams, Westside’s Bailey Willis and Wynne’s Emily Hale.
Nettleton’s Blake Kibbons and Brookland’s Brandon Parsons are among the assistant coaches for the East boys’ soccer team. The East roster includes Brookland’s Ridge Lewis, Jonesboro’s Eder Leal, Nettleton’s Kendrick McShan and Valley View’s Brenden Camarata and Logan Scott.
Brookland’s Kim Paslay is an assistant coach for the East girls’ soccer team. Brookland’s Anna Scarborough, Jonesboro’s Ayesha Uddin, Nettleton’s Stacey Hernandez, Valley View’s Alex Brown and Chloe Moore, and Westside’s Crystal Barnes are on the East roster.
The East cheer roster includes Gosnell’s Adleigh Rouse and Carly Ritchey; Valley View’s Carson Watson and Paige Wagley; EPC’s Chloe Parnell; Brookland’s Elyse Wilcoxson, Olivia Wilcoxson and Sarah McGarity; Rivercrest’s Kylie Baker; and Trumann’s Lydia Bishop.
Brookland’s Ali Tuetken and Evie Ellis; Nettleton’s Alicia Barnes and Kennedy Baker; Jonesboro’s Kaley LaRue and Lia Riney; GCT’s Karlee Jo McCarty; and Paragould’s Taylor Runsick are on the East dance roster.