Remember when takes a look back at the local stories from the files of The Messenger that took place 1, 5, 10, 20 and 30 years ago.
30 Years Ago
April 29 — A doubleheader sweep of Westview left the Union City High School baseball team sitting pretty with a 15-2 record. Rob Cursey pitched the Tornadoes to a 7-1 victory in Game 1, aided by two hits apiece by Tracy Bruff, Robin Francis and Jerry Slayton. The nightcap saw Francis drive in two runs in the first and Aaron Dearmitt squeeze home an insurance tally in support of winning hurler Randy Mitchell in a 4-2 UC triumph.
May 2 — The Union City Golden Hurricane track team won the championship of the sixth annual Rotary Relays — a first for the program. Tammy Critchfield was named the Most Outstanding Performer for UC after winning the shot put, the 110 low hurdles and 330 low hurdles and finishing second in both the long jump and high jump. Teammate Gigi Grasfeder placed first in the two-mile run, and Molly Doss captured first top honors in the high jump. On the boys’ side, Union City finished third — boosted by first-place finishes from Odie Bass (440 run) and Layne Wright (discus).
20 Years Ago
April 28 — Both the UCHS girls’ and boys’ tennis teams won the District 26 championship for the seventh consecutive year and advanced to the state tournament. Making up the Lady Tornado squad was Lacy Hogan, Carolyn Dunn, Melanie Kemp, Beth Ann Hepler, Tara Heath and Krissy Searcy. Carrying the banner for the Union City boys’ team was Chris Thomas, Jason Woods, Todd McMinn, Chad Hailey, Trent Borders and Kevin Little.
April 29 — Obion Central basketball standout Ryan Dyer signed to continue his playing career at Dyersburg State. Dyer averaged 11.5 points and eight rebounds per-game in his senior season for the Rebels when OC advanced to the regional semifinals. He was a member of Central’s state tournament team as a sophomore.
April 30 — Southern Sports Agency — owned by local accountants Art Sparks and Al Creswell — had its first National Football League client when Alabama’s Derrick Oden was drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Oden, an All-SEC linebacker on the Crimson Tide’s national championship team, was one of 20 players on the SSA roster from several professional football leagues. Sparks, who handled the negotiating, and Creswell the administrative duties, were in their third full year as owners of the agency.
10 Years Ago
April 30 — Lynette Staggs, who averaged 12.2 ppg in her senior season at Obion County Central, signed to play collegiately at Bethel College. The Lady Rebels went 26-7 in Staggs’ final prep season, and she was headed to the McKenzie school that won 22 games and advanced to the national tournament the year before.
May 1 — Union City was headed into the District 13AA softball tournament on a high note after closing its regular season with a 10-7 victory over Dresden. Emily Ann Sparks smacked a grand slam and Brandi Ally had three hits for the Lady Tornadoes. Sara Rieger pitched around seven errors, giving up just two hits to the Lady Lions in gaining the pitching victory.
5 Years Ago
April 29 — The Class 1A state champion Union City High School boys’ basketball team was honored with a season-ending banquet. Ryne Simpson, MJ Brown, Pat Polk, Andre Coby, Brandon Easley, Nik Brooks and Tony Wilkins were among the Tornado players to receive special individual accolades after UC went undefeated in 37 games on its way to the program’s fifth state title. The Twisters had recorded four consecutive 30-win campaigns.
April 30 — Jana Roney of Obion Central and Union City’s MJ Brown were named winners of the Messenger’s annual Prep Basketball Player of the Year award. Roney was a Miss Basketball finalist in 2A as a junior and an all-stater for the Lady Rebels, while Brown was a two-time Mr. Basketball winner in Class A who led the Tornadoes to the state title his senior year.
April 30 — Union City’s Ben Woods, who was pulling double duty between being a starter on the Tornado baseball club and the No. 1 player on the UC tennis team, won the District 14A-AA singles net championship. Woods earned a spot in the individual regional competition with the title match victory. A man for all seasons, he also served as a manager for both the football and boys’ basketball teams.
1 Year Ago
April 26 — Kaitlyn Wheeles, a four-year starter for the Union City High School softball team, signed a grant-in-aid to continue her diamond career at Austin Peay. A .330 hitter her senior season, Wheeles was also a Top 10 student academically at UCHS with a grade point average of 3.6. She played shortstop for the Lady Tornadoes.
May 1 — Macy Wright was named the Messenger Prep Basketball Player of the Year after leading the Lady Rebels to a Class 2A state runnerup finish and earning all state honors. Wright was bound for Three Rivers Community College after signing scholarship papers there. Also recognized at the annual OC hoop banquet with individual accolades was Paige Hicks, Ali McEwen, Brooke Jennings, Brandi Goodman, Brittney Dodd and Whitney Dodd. Rebel boys standouts who received awards included Zach King, Korben Hagan, Bryan Morris, Thomas Smith and Brett Scillion.
Published in The Messenger 4.25.13