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HPER Archives - News and Events

Stratton named Cochran Congressional Fellow

By | College of Arts and Sciences, President, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

Delta State University student Paxton Stratton was recently selected as a 2018 Congressional Fellow for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Stratton, a junior HPER (health, physical education and recreation) major, with a minor in coaching and mathematics, will move to Washington D.C. in January and remain there through the spring semester. The program selects one Delta State student each year to serve on Cochran’s staff, with the goal of providing a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I’m absolutely elated to be accepted as a Cochran Fellow,” said Stratton, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s a big-time opportunity, and I think it will be a great learning experience for me.”

Stratton said he is excited to learn how the legislative process works, having never previously delved into politics.

“I’ve never really been into politics, but this will be a great way for me to learn the ins and outs of politics,” he said. “I think it will also help my get my foot in the door with people who are changemakers in our country.”

Stratton is driven to design prosthetics after graduating from Delta State, and he said understanding the political environment would be helpful for making prosthetics more affordable to people in the future.

Stratton is also a member of the Delta State men’s soccer team.

Delta State has a long-running tradition of sending fellows to Washington, and Delta State President William N. LaForge served as Cochran’s chief of staff during the 1980s.

“It is professionally and personally gratifying to me that we continue this wonderful relationship with the senator’s office in cooperation with Delta Council and Staplcotn because of the affiliation with Sen. Cochran going back to my days as his chief of staff,” said LaForge. “Paxton will have an excellent experience there, and their office will benefit from his outstanding background at Delta State.”

The fellowship program is funded through Delta State University, the Delta Council and Staplcotn. Additionally, Stratton will receive a stipend from Cochran’s office.

The Delta Council is an area economic development organization representing the 18 Delta and part-Delta counties of Northwest Mississippi. The organization pioneers efforts to solve common problems and promote the development of the local economy. Founded in 1921, Staplcotn (Staple Cotton Cooperative Association) is the oldest and one of the largest cotton marketing cooperatives in the United States.

Youth obstacle mud run returns in October

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State University’s Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in the College of Education and Human Science will host the third annual Delta Down & Dirty Youth Mud and Obstacle Run at Statesman Park on Oct. 17.

Inspired by adult runs like the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race, the Delta Down & Dirty event allows youth 6-16-years-old the opportunity to run an obstacle challenge and mud course developed only for youth. The nearly 0ne-mile course will feature 15+ challenges, obstacles and mud pits for youth to experience, confront and overcome.

“In the first year we had over 400 youth run, and last year we neared 600,” said Todd Davis, HPER instructor and director of the Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Program. “This event is garnering serious attendance and we have moved the event away from Pig Pickn’ because it has just been too big to host with another event. Also, with it being in October now, we hope to have a little cooler temps on race day so youth and volunteers won’t overheat.

“We are hearing from adult race directors all over the South that our event is the largest youth mud/obstacle run in Mississippi, and we want to push to near 750 kids this year. It’s pretty awesome that DSU and Cleveland can have something like this for kids and be the largest in the state, if not the South region.”

Participants will be given approximate race times at registration and will run in waves of 12-15 racers at a time. The first wave of runners will start at approximately 10 a.m. and waves will begin every five minutes, allowing participants ample time to reach and attempt each obstacle without interference or overloads.

All obstacles and challenges are ‘challenged by choice,’ meaning that participants will be encouraged and allowed to try the challenge or obstacle, but will not be required to complete every one of them.

“This will be a fun, adventurous and positive event — one that I hope will inspire youth to be active with their lives and give purpose for exercise and being fit,” added Davis. “I want youth in our area to feel success and have an event of their own – something to train for and be excited to run. I also want youth to feel a sense of adventure, a bit of struggle, and then the emotional connection to finishing something physically demanding, especially in front of their families, friends and spectators. It’s an awesome moment.”

REGISTRATION OPTIONS:
• General: ($25) non-competitive run with coed age groups of 15 participants starting with 6-year-olds at 10 a.m.. Finishers receive a t-shirt and medal.
• Elite: ($25) competitive age and gender groups, mass start of all competitive age groups at 1 p.m. Awards will be given to top three finishers in each age and gender group. First-time finishers receive a finisher t-shirt and medal. Girls run against girls, and boys against boys in their respective age groups.
• Both ($40): allows participants to run in the general run and compete in the elite division. Participants are only eligible to receive one finisher medal and shirt.

Ages 6-8 will run one lap | Ages 9-11 will run two laps | Ages 12-16 will run three laps.

This event is a fundraiser for the Outdoor Recreation Education Program at Delta State. The program offers youth and adult programs and events to inspire physical activity through the outdoors in the Delta and beyond.

Registration is now open online: https://racesonline.com/events/delta-down-dirty.

For more information, www.deltastate.edu/downanddirty

Ironmen ready to test their limits

By | College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology | No Comments

Talk about covering some distance — 97,075 yards swimming, 2,665 miles biking and 522 miles running. Then throw in about 15-20 hours per week working out in the gym. And those are just individual training numbers since October of 2014.

That’s some pretty serious commitment exhibited by two Delta State University employees — Doug Pinkerton and Chris Giger — both prepping for the May 16 Ironman race outside Houston, Texas.

Ironman, known by many as the most extreme endurance race on Earth, begins with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and concludes with a marathon-distance 26.2-mile run.

So why compete in this grueling test of fortitude?

“I look at it as a challenge not everybody can do. Everybody has their passion and this is just one of my passions,” said Pinkerton, director of HPER facilities, operations and programming. “I feel blessed with the ability of endurance. If you’ve got it, you need to use it.”

Pinkerton, also the university’s cross country coach, completed his first Ironman in 2007 in Arizona. He’ll be testing his will again thanks to a push from Giger, enterprise application director with the Office of Information Technology.

“Chris came to me a couple years ago and told me he was interested in doing triathlons,” said Pinkerton. “He got started, and just like me he got addicted to it. I didn’t plan on doing this race, period. He came to me and said he was going to do it and so I decided I’d get in there with him and train hard for eight months.”

Since then, the two have relied on each other and trained together. They both cited accountability — leaning on each other to make sure they keep sight of the end goal.

“Doug’s been there from the beginning,” said Giger. “There’s so much that goes into training for a triathlon. I can go to him with my questions, and training with him really has been a learning experience. There’s a science behind it, and he’s helped guide me through this process.”

Pinkerton has been participating in triathlons since 1999, and Giger is now in his third triathlon season. Next week’s Ironman marks Giger’s first.

“My ultimate goal is just to finish and be standing at the end,” said Giger.

Along with the support they’ve given each other, both said they’ve found motivation in the backing they’ve received from family, campus and the community.

“The neat thing about working at Delta State is that people show a lot of interest,” said Pinkerton. “Chris got me fired up to do another one, but I’ve also had a lot of support from Delta State and Cleveland.”

“Delta State has allowed me the opportunity to access an Olympic-size pool,” said Giger. “I don’t know where I would get my swim training without it. Spin class has been instrumental for my biking training. My coworkers have been very supportive and asked about my progress.

“Another big factor has been the support of my family, especially my wife. Training takes up so much time. She’s been great supporting me and working with me on my training schedule.”

For Pinkerton, this go-around has allowed him to return the favor for all the support he’s received. In the months leading up to the race, Pinkerton led a fundraiser to benefit the Community Fund Program of the Ironman Foundation.

The program benefits the communities where Ironman events are held by providing charitable support to a variety of local non-profit organizations working with citizens in need.

“Just a few days ago I reached the $5,000 mark,” said Pinkerton, who originally set a goal of $3,000. “I just kept expressing how important this is, and Delta State and the people of Cleveland have been real supportive of the fundraising efforts.”

Both competitors are itching for race day and to feel the ecstasy after crossing the finish line.

“I’ve already experienced several emotions — nervousness, anxiousness and excitement,” said Giger. “I’m ready to get it started. I’m always asking myself if I’ve trained enough and if I’ve done enough to prepare. I know I have, but you still question yourself heading into a race of this magnitude.”

“Whether you challenge yourself with a crazy race like Ironman, or it’s just walking a mile, I try to get everybody to see that you can do something if you put your mind to it,” added Pinkerton. “Don’t ever think you can’t. Set some goals and go out and achieve them. To me, it’s all about the finish.”

Learn more about Ironman and the Ironman Foundation at http://www.ironman.com.

Wyatt scholars announced

By | College of Education and Human Sciences, President, Students | No Comments

The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation recently announced the 2015 winners of the Forest E. Wyatt Scholarships.

This year’s recipients are Kathryn Carter of Clarksdale, Miss. and Brook Cline of Frisco, Texas.

This scholarship honors the memory of Forest E. Wyatt, father of President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt. Forest served Delta State as head of HPER for 14 years.

Made available by family and friends of Wyatt, the scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding, full time juniors, seniors or graduate students pursuing a degree in HPER.

Candidates must demonstrate exemplary citizenship and character, possess a 3.0 overall GPA, exhibit an appreciation for extra-curricular activities and show promise for future achievement in the field of HPER.

Learn more at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-education/health-physical-education-and-recreation/.