Spunq Sports Magazine April/May 2024

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Jerome Teasley

Hero Body Fitness

Eseose Okoduwa Converse University Track & Field


Andrew Attmore
Fletcher Coach V- Valencia Peterson
Arlisa Thomas O’Shai
22 28 32 10 16 24 36 QB - Dudley High School South International Basketball Association Troy University Football ODAAP Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg, SC Little Rock, AR Jackson, MS Greensboro, NC Huntsville, AL Philadelphia, PA
Junkyard Fitness 4 Health & Wellness

It feels good to be back. After an extended pause, we are very excited about the return of Spunq Sports Magazine. Initially launched in 2016, Spunq Sports Magazine has established itself as a community-based sports media platform.

We began by showcasing local sports talent and athletes in the Triad area of North Carolina; however, by resting on the shoulders of Huami Magazine, the premier publication that Mykel Media Company LLC produces, our reach has grown, and we plan to highlight and showcase even more.

Thank you for supporting Spunq Sports Magazine!

5 AJ McGinnis www.spunq-sports.com Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC www.mykelmedia.com For Advertisement Opportunities www.spunq-sports.com 06 Mykel Media Company LLC Terry L. Watson Publisher/Editor Terry L. Watson Writer Snuggs Photography Photographer Layout & Design Terry L. Watson General Inquiries spunq.sports@gmail.com 336-340-7844 Spunq Sports Magazine is published on a quarterly basis by Mykel Media Company LLC. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media Company LLC doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Please submit concerns or questions by email to spunq.sports@gmail.com We reserve the right to refuse service and submissions. Lipscomb University 2024 All Rights Reserved
At It! NATIONAL BLACK SPORTS & ATHLETICS Nashville, TN Scan The Q-R Code To Visit Our Website

AJ McGinnis Lipscomb University

It’s almost as if he was born with a basketball in his hands.

Huntsville, AL, native AJ McGinnis says that his story is unique. “I started playing basketball straight out of the womb. God has blessed me with an amazing family, education, and gifts to succeed. I was raised by a family with three uncles who played basketball and my dad, Antonio McGinnis Sr, who played at Texas A&M University. It is a no brainier on why or how I picked up the ball at such an early age,” he says.

Growing up, AJ played a lot of basketball for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Huntsville. That experience sped up his development. Each day, AJ says he came home from school, and his mother, Kreslyn Kelley-Ellis, baptized him with soap and water, washing away the residue from running around the club all day. When he arrived at Buckhorn Middle School, basketball would take an even greater presence in his life. “We had a great team at Buckhorn, and we competed with some of the best middle schools in the surrounding areas. During this time, I also competed at a high level with the Bledsoe Ice and Madison County Warriors during AAU.”

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Nashville, TN Photos Provided by AJ McGinnis

I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the United States and the world because of basketball, and it has opened my eyes to new cultures, people, traditions, etc.


AJ would only play in his freshman year at Buckhorn High, which included some big-time varsity games. After his freshman year, he decided to move to Madison and play for James Clemens High School. That is where AJ’s skill level began to improve.

AJ graduated from James Clemens in 2019 and later attended Link Year Prep in Branson, Missouri. At Link Year, AJ was able to acquire a good amount of interest from schools in the area. Once he finished his senior year, his recruitment came to a standstill. He says, “I did not have any more interest. That is when Adam Donyes, my coach at Link Year, showed interest in making me better and helping me achieve my dreams. Shortly after graduating, I made my decision to take a gap year. That decision really helped my body mature. I was in the gym a lot, and my game was getting better every day.”

His time at Link Year Prep was cut short due to Covid-19. Still, he was able to commit to playing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in Greensboro, NC. In the fall of 2020, AJ arrived at UNCG. There, as a Spartans Men’s Basketball team member, he won the Southern Conference Championship and the regular season title. In the spring of 2021, he entered the transfer portal to follow his coach, Wes Miller, to the University of Cincinnati. He played for UC for one year and moved on to Lipscomb University, where he currently attends and plays basketball. At Lipscomb, he has been a part of two 20-win seasons in consecutive years. AJ plans to graduate from Lipscomb with a General Studies Degree, with a heavy concentration in Communications, in May 2024. Not to be slowed down, AJ is currently in the transfer portal looking for my next home as a grad student.

The thing AJ says he loves most about sports is the fact that it brings people from all over the country together. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the United States and the world because of basketball, and it has opened my eyes to new cultures, people, traditions, etc. I also love that it can be an outlet for people to express themselves in unique ways.”

God and his faith in God are the centerpiece of AJ’s life. He adds, “Nobody really knows this, but my family fought for everything that we have. My parents are prime examples of stand-up men and women. I saw their lives change before my eyes, and even today, I am still learning more from them. Through all my ups and downs, God has never changed and has continued to make way for me and those around me.”

Being overlooked as an athlete can sometimes conclude their career. In AJ’s case, that only fueled his fire. He says, “I always have been humble, but I know when people are trying to get over on me. My whole life, I have dealt with situations where I had been constantly looked over. That put a chip on my shoulder, and I was determined it would never happen again.”

While his time at UNC-G, UC, and Lipscomb University has come with great rewards, AJ admits that being away from home and family does take its toll. He says that while going through things, he can’t just go home and tell his mom to fix them. He adds, “I can’t go home and get love just by being in the presence of the people that raised me. Being a college athlete can be extremely hard sometimes because there are times when life hits, and you have to stay down and grind through it all.”

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Andrew Attmore James B. Dudley High School

Greensboro, NC

Senior Quarterback Andrew Attmore has left quite an impression at James B. Dudley High School. Located in Greensboro, NC, Dudley has a long tradition of birthing and building elite football, basketball, and track and field athletes, many of whom played at the professional level. These include former players such as David Amerson, Charlie Sanders, Brandon Haywood, Hendon Hooker, Dale Seagraves, Emmanuel Mosely, and more. So, when Andrew made his way to the historically black high school a few years ago, great expectations were in place, and he didn’t let any getaway.

He has played for Dudley for the past two years, but during his freshman and sophomore years, he served as the Varsity backup QB for Whirlies of Grimsley High School, also located in Greensboro. Academically, Andrew attends North Carolina A&T State University’s Middle College, but athletically, he plays for the Dudley Panthers. “Dudley is a place where you are loved, and everyone has your back and wants you to succeed at all times,” Andrew says.

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Photos Provided by Snuggs Photography
I love the competitive aspect of football, and I love to win. There is never enough work not to get done. If you stop, someone will get ahead of you. You must put in the work to be better.

In regards to football, Andrew says the most valuable thing he has learned is the unlimited opportunities to learn. “I love the competitive aspect of football, and I love to win. There is never enough work not to get done. If you stop, someone will get ahead of you. You must put in the work to be better.” Andrew’s work has paid off.

He acknowledges his offensive coordinator at Dudley, Antonio Hall, for really helping him to be prepared and excel in the quarterback position. “Coach Hall is also a teacher at A&T Middle College. While at Grimsley, he was also one of my teachers, and we always talked about football. During my sophomore year at Grimsley, Coach Hall asked me to come and play football at Dudley. He talked to my parents and helped me to stay on the right path. I wouldn’t be at the level that I am without the influence and instruction of Coach Hall,” he says.

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At Dudley, Andrew owns all of the records for the quarterback position. This includes the passing records at Dudley, as well as for Guilford County. He also owns the single-game touchdown record for the state of North Carolina, where he had eight touchdowns. Andrew was able to accomplish this all within one year.

During his young athletic career, Andrew has faced some adversities. He has suffered some injuries, has had surgery, and missed some games. Those kinds of challenges can be discouraging and deflating. Fortunately for Andrew, he’s had some solid individuals in his corner that have helped him to remain focused and determined. One such challenge he describes happened on the football field during a game. “I played a terrible first half, yet my teammates never gave up on me. They pumped me up, and I came out in the second half with three touchdowns,” he says.

Some of his additional accolades are Two Times All-Conference, First Team All-Area, All-Area Player of The Year, and First Team All-State. As Andrew’s graduation season approaches, he has already positioned himself to play at the next level. In the fall, he will be a true freshman at Lenior-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, and compete for the starting quarterback position. at 6’2” and weighing 205 lbs, there is no doubt that he will win it. “I chose to play at Lenior Rhyne after establishing a great relationship with the coaching staff there. There was a coaching staff change, and I was kept up to date during the process. They have a successful program, and it felt like home,” he shares.

The message that Andrew leaves for his family at Dudley High School is full of thankfulness and gratitude. “There was a lot of heart, blood, and tears shed on the football field. I thank Dudley for taking me and treating me like family.” His advice to other athletes who may follow a similar path is to never give up on yourself and not allow others to bring you down. Stay focused and practice your craft.

Senior Year Stats

Dudley High School

Over 4000 Yards Passing

8 Touchdowns

(All in one game)

Additional Athletic Accomplishments

Two Times All-Conference

First Team All-Area

All-Area Player of The Year

First Team All-State


Arlisa Thomas Southern International Basketball Association

Arlisa Thomas of Jackson, MS, understands the value of hard work.

Arlisa is someone who wears many hats, and with each one, her composure and balance are sustained. She is a professional basketball player, entrepreneur, graphic artist, model, fashion designer, aspiring actress, and movie producer. If that wasn’t enough, her goal is to add even more to her list of accomplishments.

Arlisa is a native of Cary, MS, and she shares that she began learning about her gifts and talents at a young age. She is the sixth of seven children and credits her large family setting with positively impacting her life. “I began playing basketball and embracing my creative talents when I was between five and ten years old. My life revolved around my desire to do something away from my six siblings. Being in a home of seven was busy, and we had experiences that most other families had, like interaction, sharing, and normal kid arguments. I eventually dove into my own world and explored who I was. I wanted to learn what I could do, and playing basketball was something I learned,” she says.

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Jackson, MS By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Arlisa Thomas

Arlisa holds a Masters degree, Bachelor’s degree, and Associate degree in the fields of Technology, Education, and Graphics. She has enjoyed a successful career as a professional basketball player.

Arlisa is the founder of SIBA South International Basketball Association, a platform that allows players to play basketball anywhere in the world. She has sports connections that extend to ESPN and recently took on a coaching assignment at her alma mater, Mississippi Delta Community College, in Moorehead, MS.

With SIBA, Arlisa provides player exposure, mentorship, life skills, and all-around player development for current and aspiring professional basketball players. Their platform is designed for players who desire to play on all professional platforms, such as the NBA, D-League, WNBA, FIBA, and other player-accommodating organizations. SIBA prepares players for endorsements and life after basketball through community impact development. The organization has been a path traveled by many professional players. These include Annaleise Burnett, Truth Taylor, Myeshia Johnson, and more. Arlisa’s career has also taken her abroad, as she has played overseas in Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, and Romania. Of all these areas, Arlisa would love to live in Costa Rica because of her love of the beach.

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I believe in giving back to the game that has given so much to me.

Arlisa’s professional accomplishments include being part of an undefeated team in Mexico, of which she was named most valuable player. Currently, Arlisa continues to train and stay in basketball form. She also finds time to coach and prepare for her next move, which is to play in the WNBA.

She acknowledges Dawn Staley, the Head Coach of Women’s Basketball at the University of South Carolina, as one of her role models. “Coach Dawn taught me strategy and the basics of basketball.” She also credits Ruthie Bolton for inspiring her. “Ruthie is from Mississippi, and she was an Olympian and player. I modeled everything I saw Ruthie do as a player, including her workout routine and how she conducted herself.”

As life continues to happen for Arlisa, one thing is for sure. She will play basketball and coach others in her craft. She also has an apparel line called Element. Her line is geared towards teaching people how to remain in who they are and be the best in who they are. “I believe in giving back to the game that has given so much to me.”

Annaliese Burnett, Arlington, TN, America-SIBA Myeshia Johnson, Jackson, MS, America-SIBA Truth Taylor, Canton, MS, America-SIBA

SNBF Natural Bodybuilding Show

Presented by HERO Fitness

Greenville, SC

Information Provided by Jerome Teasley

Hero Fitness is the ultimate platform that prides itself on celebrating the essence of bodybuilding and the extraordinary individuals who embody its spirit. Led by Jerome Teasley, Hero Fitness’s mission is to inspire, educate, and empower individuals to push beyond their limits and unleash their inner Hero.

According to Teasley, Hero is more than just a showcase of muscle and strength; it’s a testament to dedication, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of greatness. “We believe that everybody tells a story of discipline, sacrifice, and unwavering determination. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor, a passionate enthusiast, or someone taking their first steps into bodybuilding, Hero provides a stage to shine.”

Hero has partnered with the SNBF (Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Organization) and is hosting the “NEW” SNBF FIT LIFEPro-Qualifier. This event will occur on September 7, 2024, in Fountain Inn, SC. This 100% Drug-FREE event is open to all Natural Amateur Athletes who want to win an SNBF Pro Card.

SNBF Memberships are required before competing in SNBF events. In addition to the bodybuilding competition, sponsorships and vending opportunities are available. The registration deadline is August 17, 2024, and late fees will apply. For more information, please visit their website.

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Teasley SPORTS
www.herobodybuildingshow.com 864-525-0645 Jerome

The McNair Foundation Annual Golf Invitational

The McNair Foundation Incorporated held its annual golf invitational on March 23, 2024, at the Rocky River Golf Club in Concord, North Carolina. It was a fun-filled golf outing that involved a lot of great shots and laughs, not to mention some delicious food and prizes to go along.

Daryle McNair of Charlotte, NC, is the face and visionary of McNair Foundation Incorporated. This nonprofit organization focuses on preparing students for their future tomorrow. It also offers scholarships and educational assistance for deserving students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).

The inspiration behind The McNair Foundation Incorporated is connected to Daryle’s desire to honor his parent’s legacy. He lost his father in 1995, and as time went on, he also lost his mother. Daryle shares that his mother and father made a great impression on him, and he always wanted to do something to honor them. “My father would always ask me what my plan was for my life. He wanted to know what I had in mind for my legacy and what I would do to be an asset to society, not a liability. I thought about education,” he says.

Charlotte, NC Photos Provided by Daryle McNair
www.mcnairfinc.org SPORTS
Daryle McNair

Eseose Okoduwa Converse University

“Future Doctor On The Run”

When it comes to the sport of Track and Field, timing is everything. In 2009, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set the world record for 19.19 seconds in the 200-meter dash. Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa cemented his name into the record books by running a time of 43.03 seconds in 2016, a world record. Sprinter Eseose Okoduwa of Converse Univeristy has made time a constant companion for her on the track.

Most recently, Eseose participated with Converse University Woman’s track and field team and won the Indoor Conference Championships for the first time in school history. She says, “I have never been part of a team that has worked as hard or wanted to win as much as we have. Seeing everyone come together and do their part to the best of their ability, as well as supporting their teammates, was truly a beautiful experience and something that I will always remember.”

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Photos Provided by Converse

Eseose, a Junior, is from Columbia, SC. She graduated from Dreher High School before coming to Converse University. Her mother is from St. Thomas, Jamaica, and her father is a native of Edo State, Nigeria. Both came to the United States as immigrants at a very young age. Eseose is the oldest of four kids. “My parents have always been very supportive of my athletic career. I’ve run with AAU Track and Field ever since I was a kid, and every step of the way, they’ve supported me financially and guided me through very difficult situations and decisions that I had to make.”

Esoese has also accomplished a great deal in her career at Converse. In 2023, she was named to the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Athletes to Watch list, placed 5th in the 200-meter dash at the JDL College Kick-Off (26.34 seconds), and finished 6th in the long jump at the UAB Vulcan Invitational (5.06 meters. Eseose also placed 5th in the long jump, 6th in the 200-meter dash (5.22 meters, 26.76 seconds) and placed 4th in the 60-meter dash, and 6th in the 200-meter dash (7.80 seconds, 25.74 seconds). Additionally, she qualified for the finals of the 60-meter dash at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships (7.73 seconds) and placed 10th overall in the long jump (5.11 meters). Eseose also finished 7th in the 60-meter dash finals at 7.78 seconds. Off the field, Eseose studies biology and has conducted biology/psychology research under Dr. Keen and Dr. Erturk, as well as shadowed physicians while working in a pharmacy as a technician. It’s safe to assume that Eseose is good at what she does.

Being a student-athlete, Eseose shares, encouraged her to hone her time management skills. “You have to make time for everything that you need to get done.” Additionally, Eseose says the sport of track is a positive outlet for her, and it also allows her to do what she enjoys most, which is working out. “Setting goals and meeting those standards can be difficult within itself, but that validation of perseverance and hard work is definitely satisfying,” she says.

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Setting goals and meeting those standards can be difficult within itself, but that validation of perseverance and hard work is definitely satisfying.

Like everything else in life, Eseose has faced some challenges on the track. The summer before she was a freshman in high school, she sprained her ankle in the long jump at the AAU Junior Olympics in Michigan. Her injury caused her to be out for more than half a year. Getting back onto the track was very difficult because she had to face the fear of failing before getting back to 100%. “It felt as if I had worked so hard to build up my technique and athleticism that coming back to train was like starting from square one,” she says. With patience and dedication and wanting to be an even stronger athlete than before, Eseose was able to fall back in love with Track and Field.

Moving forward, Eseose plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician. Her advice to other athletes who have similar dreams and aspirations is clear. “What you want for yourself may take more than one attempt or even can be achieved in multiple ways; it’s up to you to determine the most effective path, even if it’s not a straight line. It’s important to take everything one step at a time. Patience and persistence are key. Take these experiences and minor setbacks and utilize them to the best of your ability, and use them as tools to build with towards your next win.”

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Valencia Peterson

Coach V Open Door Abuse Awareness Prevention

Valencia Peterson (Coach V) is the Founder and Executive Director of Open-Door Abuse Awareness Prevention (ODAAP). This nonprofit organization endeavors to prevent violence in all of it’s facets of sexual assault and intimate partner violence through trauma-informed education to youth. Peterson is familiar with the effects of intimate partner violence; at a young age, her father killed her mother. These events fuel her dedication to raising awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and improving the lives, character, and academic development of all youth.

ODAAP is a trauma-informed violence prevention program that works directly with youth. Our vehicle has predominantly been sports, where young people open their hearts and minds amid the tribulations and triumphs of competition. We believe that coaches are uniquely suited to influence and guide young people in integrity. ODAAP offers programs and resources to address violence in its many facets: domestic, relationship abuse, community, and the trauma that lingers after.

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The concept of ODAAP involves in-depth mentorship interventions with sports programs. Throughout the season, the athletes’ perceptions of trauma and healthy relationships are challenged during reflective work, community engagement, and advocate interventions. Coaches are also impacted through trauma-informed training and adjustments to the typical off-the-field programming.

Program interventions are developed with a focus on consistency, care, and compassion. ODAAP represents an intentional quality over quantity in our programs, engaging youth throughout the entire season and continuing the guidance well beyond the field. Coach V says, “Our interventions begin on the sideline, carrying over to trauma training, sexual assault prevention, and developing a vocabulary of emotional awareness. Our program guidance culminates in a summer immersion camp, forging young leaders and lasting bonds within the program. Ultimately, our mission stands on building lasting, healthy relationships while empowering agents of change. ODAAP nurtures our youth to believe in themselves, trust in our training, and lead in our community as beacons of hope.”

Our program guidance culminates in a summer immersion camp, forging young leaders and lasting bonds within the program. Ultimately, our mission stands on building lasting, healthy relationships while empowering agents of change.
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One of their programs is ICU. After many years of working with young men and football, Coach V says they were pursued by Penn Wood High School to develop programming specifically for their young ladies. “We believe this was a powerful moment for us and for them as well. In ICU, we focus on building self-esteem and empowering young women to be leaders through mentorship.”

Another program, Beyond the Game, began with leadership huddles with coach and player representation from programs throughout the city and currently offers alternative outreach workouts for athletes. Their Boys Made Men program has proven to be equally effective. Coach V says that not all of our young men dive into sports. After working for a few years with ICU, they were again approached to develop something for young men. This group primarily functions at Penn Wood High School.

Coach V is fortunate to have the assistance of many dedicated and committed individuals, all of whom help make ODAAP successful and effective in the communities it serves. The organization’s COO, Janine H. Howard has dedicated her professional career to working on behalf of the region’s children and families. Building on her degrees in Sociology and Business Administration at St. Joe’s University, Professional Communications at La Salle University, and obtaining Six Sigma training as a native Philadelphian at Villanova University, Ms. Howard is an accomplished leader in nonprofit administration and organization oversight. Before fulfilling her Open Door Abuse Awareness Prevention (ODAAP) current role as Chief Operating Officer, Howard held the roles of Assistant Regional Controller and State Director of Operations for March of Dimes; performed Marketing and Business Management services for Mialstones Consulting; and rose through the ranks of the nation’s oldest African-American established nonprofit child welfare agency, Women’s Christian Alliance (WCA).

Nick Lincoln is 13-year educator and has been a head football coach in the Philadelphia region. Coach Lincoln is presently head Coach at Delaware Military Academy. He has been a transformational coach who has been utilizing trauma-informed practices while leading Penn Wood High School, Imhotep Charter, and now DMA. Coach Lincoln brings his talents of forging lasting relationships and building young men of integrity to ODAAP.

To learn more about ODAAP, please visit their website.

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O’Shai Fletcher Troy University

With the conclusion of the college football season, Levon O’Shai Fletcher III has set his sights on playing at the next level: the National Football League. The Huntsville, AL, native and resident has been a standout Cornerback and Troy Univeristy’s Football team member. There, O’Shai raised the bar, both on and off the field, and is well prepared for whatever life has to offer him.

O’Shai is the son of Latasha Stewart Robinson and Levon Fletcher. In Huntsville, he attended Randolph High School, and upon graduation, he was Randolph’s all-time leader in career rushing yards. In his junior year at Randolph, O’Shai rushed for 1,066 yards on 141 carries and had seven TD’s. Remarkably, O’Shai was the first player from Randolph High School to receive a Division I football scholarship. At Troy, O’Shai earned two conference title championships and All-Conference honors. He graduated from Troy University in 2022 and received a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Communication.

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Troy, AL Photos Provided by O’Shai Fletcher
Photo by Troy University

O’Shai was raised by his mom and is the only child. He says she instilled strong faith in him and taught him never to give up on himself. “My mom has always had my back. She has believed in me more than I believed in myself.” Today, he is a father himself and is raising two children, a four-year-old son and a daughter who is one, and the values his mother instilled are what O’Shai reflects on. “The things that I have been through, the good and bad, have helped me to become the man I am today. I realized that I am blessed, and I am proud of the person that I becoming,” he says.

O’Shai has played football since the age of six, a journey that began with the Metro Little League in Huntsville. “Football comes naturally to me. I love the grind of becoming better every day in sports, and I enjoy the process of working out and building team chemistry,” he says.

O’Shai participated at Pro Day for Troy University and is waiting on the upcoming NFL Draft. He also expects to be offered an opportunity to play at the next level. “While 23 scouts from NFL teams were present, I feel the Pro Day experience went very well. I wasn’t really nervous, but instead a little anxious, mainly due to me not knowing what to expect,” he says. By the looks of it, O’Shai should expect his name to be called in one of the rounds.

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Photo by Troy University
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Photo by Troy University

Natasha Houston Junkyard Fitness 4 Health & Wellness

While Natasha Houston resides in Little Rock, AR, her native home is undefined. Her stance is that she is not really from anywhere because she moved around a lot as a kid. After graduating high school, she joined the United States Air Force, and her nomadic conquest would continue. Now, as a Disabled Air Force Veteran, Natasha has found her footing as a successful physical fitness trainer, helping others obtain healthy lifestyles.

Natasha is the owner of Junkyard Fitness, Inc. Her company is operated under two umbrellas: a coaching side with Junkyard Clinic and a health side with Junkyard Fitness. “Junkyard Fitness, Inc. is a holistic business that focuses on the whole person. We offer services and products that educate clients and customers on the benefit of a natural holistic transition of mind, body, and soul,” she says.

Natasha offers a variety of coaching programs. One of them is Mindfulness & Stress Management, which teaches mindfulness techniques and strategies for managing stress. There is also Spiritual Coaching that helps individuals explore and enhance their spiritual beliefs, practices, and overall sense of purpose. Natasha also has Relationship Coaching that assists clients in improving their interpersonal relationships, whether they’re romantic, family, or friendship. With her Health & Wellness Coaching, she supports clients in improving their physical and mental health, often focusing on areas like nutrition, fitness, and stress management. Finally, Natasha provides Weight Loss & Holistic Nutrition, which focuses on nutrition and overall health, supporting dietary and lifestyle changes.

Her clients can choose alternative medicine or general health supplements through plant-based solutions. Her Junkyard Herbal/ Juice Solutions include Compound Capsulated

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Little Rock, AR Photos Provided by Natasha Houston SPORTS
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Supplements filled with plant-based herbs. She also has Sea Moss Gel, Elderberry, Fresh Cold Pressed Juice, and all-natural fruit juices for detox, energy, and nutritional value. Her Natural Hair/Skin Products are Natural Soaps, Natural Hair Oil, and Natural Hair and Skin Body Moisturizer or Butter.

Natasha has a Masters of Science degree in Organizational Leadership. She has served in fitness for six years, and in 2023, she incorporated wellness into her portfolio and began utilizing it in her healing journey. Junkyard Fitness, Inc. was launched on June 1st, 2018. Natasha says, “I opened a gym in North Little Rock, AR, and only provided fitness programs. As I started noticing and learning how health and weight loss worked, I started looking into other ways to help my clients to aid in their weight loss journey. That opened the door to me exploring and learning more than just fitness benefits, but whole-body benefits and about mind and spirit. My research also helped to gain an understanding of the current food industry and how people are impacted by it. It also involved understanding black culture and how African Americans, hundreds of years ago, relied on plants and plant-based lifestyles for improved health and healing.”

In her business, Natasha says what she loves most about what she does is exposing the truth: the truth that everything isn’t fixed by medicine and that healing can happen naturally if you feed your body and mind to do so. “The more that I had expanded my knowledge on how the mind and body work, what it needs to heal, and the importance of physical strength, especially for the disabled, the more it has answered the one question I asked myself once I was medically discharged from the military; Was the body not meant to heal itself naturally? And if so, how?”

Natasha says she is inspired by the teachings of the late, great Dr. Sebi and learning how the body is able to heal itself. “As stated before, I am a disabled military veteran, and I have over 11 physical disabilities and four mental health challenges. I have relied on medication for help with chronic pain, inflammation, the physical limitations it caused, and the level of sadness that followed. The day that I decided to end my relationship with prescribed medication was the day that I prayed to God to help me find a solution to my agony. Within the next 24 hours, a married couple and longtime friends, Darnell and Soraya Stark, recommended that I watch a video on YouTube about Dr. Sebi. I got lost in studies and started my own journey to self-healing in order to naturally cope with my health challenges,” she says.

There is Junkyard Fitness Inc. and the challenge of branding and building the brand. Natasha has tackled this head-on and realizes the benefits it has, as well as understands the different ways to incorporate it into her processes. “Marketing and branding strategist Sheenica Smiley of A Blind Vision Studios is currently coaching me. Sheenica is a photographer and has helped me make my brand more identifiable. We are currently working on putting processes in place to improve how I connect with current and future customers and clients,” she says. Additionally, Natasha is always looking for ways to educate her clients and others about the benefits of holistic lifestyle changes. A tool she has brought into the fold is a new podcast.

Personal development is also something Natasha focuses on. She believes one must have confidence, faith, and tenacity as an entrepreneur. “The more I worked on myself and evolved into a newer version of myself, the better my business became. Working on myself looks like heavy mediation. It also looks like taking time by myself, tuning the world out, and checking in with my total self, mind, body, and soul,” she says.


Angel Johnson ICONI Leggins

www.iconileggins.com SPORTS

Angel Johnson is sort of a world traveler. Her feet have touched down in many places, such as Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan. However, she is still a true Southern girl.

Originally from Charleston, SC, she attended the Citadel Military College there and is one of the first one hundred black women to graduate from there in its 150year history. Her next move, she was commissioned into the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant and enjoyed an eight-year career there, obtaining the rank of Captain while, of course, traveling abroad.

All of her experiences have shaped Angel into the person she is. Today, she resides in Denver, CO, and owns ICONI. “I consider myself a start-up founder who likes leggings,” Angel says. Her company offers products for men and women, such as leggings, sports bras, shirts, shorts, and tops. Angel adds, “ICONI activewear delivers motivation and empowerment, and we guarantee to safeguard and support our customers’ bodies. More importantly, we aim to ensure our customers can focus on their workouts instead of see-through, non-supportive, low-quality, and boring activewear.”

ICONI is an acronym for “I Can Overcome, Nothing Is Impossible”.”The ICONI logo represents power, strength, and versatility. The base is a power button representing your power to accomplish your goals. The overlay is the Adinkra symbol for strength and versatility. It takes all these elements to control your total wellness, especially when starting a fitness journey.”

While still in the military, Angel started her company. The idea came about in October 2019, but the company was launched in January 2020. Angel says, “I got tired of spending so much money on activewear. I never understood why women’s activewear was see-through, and I wanted to change that. I also learned that other women shared the same concern, as well as others regarding active wear.”

Angel utilized the power of social media to build the ICONI brand. “I asked questions about the issue other women had about activewear. One thing I learned was the issue they had with leggings falling down. I thought to myself, well, I need to ensure that leggings will not fall while my clients work out. I need to make sure they are not see-through and have compression. I used social media and the feedback from my friends to help create the best products.”

In addition to finding ICONI products on their website, they can be purchased from their Amazon store. Their goal is also to have them available in five to seven boutique stores and gyms by the end of 2023. “We are moving slowly with distribution because gyms will reach out to us to have our products available in their business, but they are not an inclusive environment. We only want to work with inclusive environments because our customer base is very diverse.”

After launching her brand, Angel faced the challenge of the Covid 19 pandemic. She had an activewear line, and her original marketing goal was to go into the gyms, but most gyms across the country were closed. She overcame this challenge by networking and applying to various databases and even hired a marketing company to assist with her marketing needs. Those challenges Angel shares have only made her a stronger and wiser businesswoman.

There have been some highs and lows with running her company, Angel shares. One high was when it was listed as one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things in November 2020. Angel says that experience turned her side hustle mentality into a fully-fledged business. Since its inception, they have done over half a million dollars in sales. Now, with the assistance of outside investors and a marketing company, the projections look promising.

Denver, CO Photo Provided by Angel Johnson
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Located in High Point, NC, the High Point Hushpuppies serves as the city’s very own summer collegiate summer wood bat league team playing in the Central Division of The Old North State League. The Hushpuppies call Ed Price Field in the High Point Athletic Complex home, located at 2920 School Park Road in the city of High Point.

Nic and Kaylin Sturdifen are the owners of the Hushpuppies, a minority-owned collegiate league baseball team. The rest of the team’s staff consists of Christopher Jackson, the Director of Baseball Operations, and Hazel Davis, the General Manager. Coach Mike Pritchett serves as the head coach of the Hushpuppies for the upcoming season in 2024.

Coach Pritchett has a wealth of experience, including his current role as the head coach of the George Washington High School baseball team (Danville, VA), where he is directly in charge of rebuilding a baseball program that folded years ago. Paired with his experience as a player and a coach, his passion for developing the whole person in addition to the athlete is what truly sets him apart. He is a man of integrity, excellence, and competitiveness that will allow his players an experience that will help carry them forward for a lifetime. The support of his wonderful wife, family, and love for God made him a perfect fit for the Hushpuppies organization.

The Hushpuppies kick off their summer league on June 1st with a home game against the Reidsville Luckies. For more information, please visit their website.

Kicking Off New Season for 2024 The High Point Hushpuppies June 1st

High Point, NC
SPORTS www.highpointhushpuppies.com Ed Price Field (Home of The High Point Hushpuppies)
Photos Provided by Christopher Jackson

Walking For A Cause


The Walk for Autism Decatur is a walk for the entire family to celebrate the awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Currently, (1 in 36) children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Decatur, AL, has room for growth in this area, with most families traveling outside of this area for services for those with ASD.

Founder Shana Crumbough says her goal is to increase the resources in Decatur that service this population and their families. There will also be providers on display at the walk so families can see what Decatur has.

Shana says the vision for the walk began while researching events in Decatur. She quickly realized there hadn’t been an event like this since before Covid 19. She immediately began to take action.

Shana is also the face of Every Step ABA Services. Every Step ABA currently provides behavior de-escalation and SAMA group training, parent support, and behavior de-escalation in classroom settings.

Registration has begun, and they expect nearly 200 participants of all ages. The walk will take place at Delano Park, 825 Gordon Drive in South East Decatur, Al. To register and for more information, please visit their website.

Decatur, AL By Terry L. Watson
Photo Provided by Adobe Stock SPORTS
April/May 2024 www.mykelmedia.com
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