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Sports TheSideline

Conway golfers contribute to Southern Junior Cup matches Log Cabin DEMOCRAT

JACKSON, Miss. — Conway golfers accumulated 7.5 points out of a possible nine in Southern Junior Cup matches that concluded Wednesday at Jackson Country Club. The Ryder Cup style event brought together top junior golfers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Missouri. Oklahoma won with 18.5 points, followed by Arkansas, 16.5, Missouri and Mississippi, 6.5. Casey Ott won all three of her matches, two teaming with Carson Roberts. Roberts halved his other match. Lincoln Hill went 2-1. In alternate shot matches late Tuesday, Roberts and Ott defeated a team from Missouri, 4 and 3. Hill teamed with Hannah Bokalekos of Little Rock and lost to a team from Oklahoma, 4 and 3. In singles matches Wednesday, Ott defeated a golfer from Mississippi, 7 and 6, and Hill won a match, 1-up, against another golfer from Mississippi. Roberts won the 18th hole to square his match with a golfer from Oklahoma and a Kansas State recruit.

Governing body rejects merger

LITTLE ROCK — A merger of 6A and 5A classifications was rejected Wednesday by the Governing Body of the Arkansas Activities Association. The group, with representatives from each of the 165 high schools

in Arkansas, voted 9859 against combined Classes 6A and 5A. It required a 2/3 positive vote to pass. Proposals for the merger had been given a Do Not Pass recommendation by the AAA’s Board of Directors. That means the conference assignments for the 2014-16 cycle are set, although there is already an appeal. Bryant has appealed being moved to the 7A/6A Central Conference instead of 7A South/6A South. Bryant officials cited travel concerns about being in the same conference with Siloam Springs, Alma, Greenwood and Van Buren. Under the approved format beginning in 2014, 7A/6A Central would consist of Conway, Russellville, Little Rock Catholic/ Mount St. Mary, Siloam Springs, Alma, Greenwood, Van Buren and Bryant, It will mark the first time Alma, Greenwood and Van Buren will be in the same conference since 1990. Fort Smith Northside and Southside, who will participate in 7A/6A Central this season, will return to 7A West for the cycle beginning in 2014. In another major proposal, the Governing Body passed a measure to put to separate 7A/6A from all other classes for the state swimming meet. It also passed consistent game-ending measures for non-conference and conference play if football contests are affected by weather.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 •

UA’s Swanson lays foundation for success By KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer

FAYETTEVILLE,Ark. (AP) — Travis Swanson’s ascent to captain at Arkansas began well before last year’s scandalridden spring and subsequent fall collapse. How the center handled the turmoil off the field, however, may just prove to be the defining moment of a playing career that is among the school’s best. A core group of senior leaders, led by Swanson, gives new coach Bret Bielema a foundation to work with as Arkansas heads into fall practice next week. Swanson and Co. have been through a lot, too. There was the Sugar Bowl three seasons ago. Then there was last year’s epic collapse in the wake of former coach Bobby Petrino’s firing; a 4-8 record under interim coach John L. Smith. Through it all, Swanson’s class has endured, thanks in large part to the four-year starter’s endearing personality. The Texas native has earned his fair share of awards throughout his career, and he enters this season as a preseason firstteam All-Southeastern Conference selection. He’s also earned plenty of praise from his new coach after just one set of spring practices.

Beth Hall AP Photo

Arkansas’ center Travis Swanson (64) stands on the field during an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Fayetteville. The Arkansas center has done much more than just avoid errors in his time with the Razorbacks, helping guide the team through the turmoil of the last year and a half.

“Travis Swanson is the best center, in my opinion, in college football,” Bielema said. For all of Swanson’s accolades, it’s worth noting the 6-foot-5, 318pound former lacrosse standout had never played center prior to his arrival at Arkansas. It was only after a camp during his senior year of high school that Petrino recommended the for-

mer guard learn the new position. Swanson took the advice to heart — taking part in 4:30 a.m. workouts during his final semester of high school and learning everything he could about snapping the ball. It was the same kind of selfless display he had shown since first starting football at 6 years old, continuing into his sophomore year

of high school when he was asked by coaches to also play on the defensive line. Swanson accepted the defensive assignment, even though his career path was already winding its way toward the offensive line. The two-way experiment was a success before ending after three games, but it was Swanson’s willingness to do whatever he was told that was remembered by his parents, Todd and Gina. You see, Travis Swanson’s theory on earning playing time was, and still is, a simple one: “Just don’t give people a reason not to like you,” he said. “And do everything right.” Swanson put that theory into practice while redshirting his first season at Arkansas, heeding the advice of coaches and older teammates, alike. By the time his second year came along, Swanson took over at center. Even now, after spending the past eight months trying to impress a new set of coaches, Swanson’s thoughts on his ability are less about his own considerable talent — born out of a potent mix of intelligence, athleticism and size — and more about the humble nature he’s always known.

LOCAL RESULTS City League Flag Football JULY 29 Grades 1-2 Lions 26, Colts 12 Begnals 25, Chiefs 18 Bills 18, Steelers 12 Bears 25, Vikings 18 Cowboys 26, Saints 19 Grades 3-4 Texans 34, Raiders 0 Packers 34, Jets 0 Panthers 35, Broncos 7 Giants 19, 49ers 14

JULY 30 Grades 1-2 Colts 41, Bears 20 Vikings 13, Bengals 0 Saints 28, Bills 0 Chiefs 25, Lions 18 Cowboys 38, Steelers 13 Grades 3-4 Panthers 25, Packers 6 Raiders 7, Giants 6 Texans 14, 49ers 0 Broncos 20, Jets 7

GOLF Nutters Chapel/Centennial Senior Men’s Tournament First Flight 1. Gray, T. / Gatlin, W. 2. Wyzgoski, K./ Binam, J. 3. Deckard, R./ Roebuck, C. Second Flight 1. Hartsfield, C../ Harvison, S. 2. West, J../ Glover, E. 3. Hambuchen, J./ Ball, P. Closest to Hole, No. 16: Wyzogoski, K.

Justin Thomas worth watching at Western

harry king ROLAND, Ark. — Hard on himself and demonstrative, Alabama’s Justin Thomas is worth watching at the Western Amateur. Unlike the even-keel clones that populate golf at the top, Thomas has some fire. No obscenities, no club-tossing, just the self-condemnation that goes along with being a perfectionist. You need to be close enough to hear him and the no-ropes policy at The Alotian Club allows such access. For instance, on the 225-yard fourth — his 13th hole — on Wednesday, he missed twice. The first was a swing at

Western Golf Association photo

Justin Thomas tees off at No. 18 Wednesday in the second round of The Western Amateur Championship at the Alotian Club near Little Rock. Thomas shot 70, putting himself in position to make the cut to 144 golfers.

a wasp. The second was a tee ball so far left that he pleaded for an “unbelievable break.” No such luck. It disappeared into the hillside foliage that is more to enhance the setting than to catch a tee shot Forty-five yards left of target, Thomas said to nobody in particular, after hitting a provisional ball. Aware of the small gallery, he said a faceti-

tious, “Thanks for coming.” Double bogey on the card and back to minus four for the tournament, he walked off the fourth green with a golf glove to the thigh that produced a ka-pow. Because getting to the match play portion of the Western is a twostep process, the mental approach is different. At the U.S. Amateur, for in-

stance, the low 64 go into match play. At the Western, players must survive the 36-hole cut — the low 44 and ties after Wednesday — and then be one of the low 16 after another 36 holes. In football parlance, Thomas with five holes to go in his second round is the equivalent of Arkansas leading Alabama by 10 points at halftime. Common sense says run a low-risk offense, eat up the clock, play great defense, and hang on. For Thomas and others in pursuit of the Sweet Sixteen, the idea is to get low and go lower. Attack was his response to the double bogey. He crushed a tee shot on the 425-yard fifth and asked his bag-toting mother for the yardage on a nearby sprinkler head one stride shy of his ball. “Seventy-three,” she said. His approach had that click that says stick

and he tapped in the 4-foot birdie putt while Michael Kim was getting a ruling about whether he was entitled to a drop from behind a huge fan. Kim, the secondranked amateur in the world prior to this week, was the reason for following the 7:40 a.m. group that started almost an hour late because of some rain. Kim played awful on his way to 84, but the Cal junior was all class. He complimented Thomas and Andrew Yun on their good shots, thanked Thomas for spotting his ball on a blind shot, and made do with his misses. He fought his driver all day, resorting to a long iron off some tees. Kim finishing near the bottom in an amateur event is comparable to Tiger Woods missing a 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour. Thomas, who had a first-round 68, was minus five with the par-five

eighth just ahead when his approach on the seventh was too long. His pine tree-high flop rolled seven feet past and he left the par putt short, dead in the hole. Talking to himself, he emphatically deposited his putter in his bag. At that point, I was on the fence about Thomas. Then, he sold me. First, he apologized to his mother for getting mad. Then, he grabbed his golf bag and boarded the shuttle for the uphill ride to the tee. Once there, he whacked his tee shot and slung the bag over his shoulder, giving his mother a needed break. From just short of the bunker, his eagle chip-in was worth a low five from Yun and set up a 70 and a solid position for the final two rounds. Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is