Southside Sends Various Sports to State


Southside volleyball, tennis, cheer, esports, and soccer Photos by: Rachel Stubblefield, Jillian Olienyk,, and Haley Richmond

Ella McEntire, Co-Newspaper Editor

     Excellence is an expectation for all elements of Southside, and the athletic teams proved their commitment to this standard this year throughout their seasons. Almost all sports seasons end with a state tournament, including teams from across Arkansas competing for a final State title. Southside sent tennis, volleyball, cheer, esports, and soccer teams this school year to fight in their respective state tournament.

     The Maverick tennis team made their way to the State tournament in Little Rock in October. Three seniors qualified for the tournament after placing third in the conference tournament. 

     “I was really proud of the three seniors that qualified. It’s always good to get to close out your high school career by getting to go to the state tournament. Great group of kids,” Head Coach Benjamin Stovall said.

     These seniors ended their season with impressive finishes at State. Graysen Conley and Robinson Wright placed third in doubles and Cate Cole placed fourth in singles. 

     Alongside tennis, Southside volleyball made their run in the state tournament in late October, with the team competing all the way through to the State finals match against Fayetteville in Hot Springs.

     “Making it to state my sophomore year but not making it far, I went into this year with a mindset of “new team, new dreams.” I was proud of how much we had accomplished and I was excited to see that we made it to the finals and even though it didn’t go how we planned, we fought our hardest and it really set the tone for next year and how much we wanted to win,” junior varsity player Sophia Neihouse said.

     While the Mavericks fell to the Bulldogs in the final round, the team took home the 6A State Runner-Up title and finished second overall in the conference.

     Also traveling to Hot Springs included the Maverick competition cheer team, showing their skills at their state tournament in December. The Mavs gave many dominant performances in four competitions leading up to State, while also balancing performances at school functions and games. 

     “We practiced for hours on end in order to prepare for state, always critiquing the little things that people might not think of in order to stand out from the other teams in our division. Each time we had a practice we focused on the things that we knew we needed to be fixed, making sure if one group was getting focused on that day that everyone else was working on their own part waiting to get critiques of their own,” sophomore Lexi Griffith said.

     At State, the cheerleaders finished with the 5-6A Game Day State Runner-Up title falling to the El Dorado cheer squad. This impressive State performance qualified the Mavs to continue their season through February at Nationals in Orlando, FL. 

     Esports at Southside holds a reputation for its dominance in the region and the state of Arkansas. This year, the Maverick League of Legends team built on that sentiment by remaining undefeated throughout the season for the second time in a row, with a final record of 44-0. 

     “I felt very confident in our team. I feel like I’m a really good team player, and it feels great that I’m a part of the team,” junior Travis Nguyen said.

     At the state championship, the Mavs League of Legends team took home the first-place State title for the third consecutive season. The consistency of this team is one that is expected for years to come.

     Finally, the Maverick boys soccer team finished their season in the state tournament in May. Southside helped to host the event, so the team played at their home stadium versus Cabot in the first round. Many students took advantage of the opportunity to purchase tickets for the match and cheer on their team to end their school day. 

     “It was cool to be able to see the team working as a unit. I’d never been to one before so that was interesting to watch,” sophomore Mahala Williamson said.

     The Mavs, unfortunately, lost to the Cabot Panthers 2-0. However, the team still put up a successful year in qualifying for State, and Head Coach Mahmoud Ihmeidan received the honor of 6A West Conference Boys Coach of the Year. 

     These impressive, yet consistent feats of reaching the state tournament go to show the commitment Southside athletics holds towards giving their best effort in their sport and representing their school with the utmost example of excellence.