by Bobby Stapleton, sports
Izard County punched their ticket, this time a Golden Ticket, last Saturday, when they knocked off the Mount Vernon-Enola Warhawks at Morrilton in the semi-finals of the State Tournament. Ten years ago, the Izard County Cougars went to the Summit in Hot Springs and brought home the 1A State Championship trophy. This weekend, they will try to duplicate that achievement. The Cougars head back to the Spa City for a 7:45 p.m. tipoff on March 10, where they will face the Guy Perkins Thunderbirds.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead when Justus Cooper lit things up with a baby hook shot in the lane and Dalton Dillard stroked a trey from the left wing. Cooper upped the lead with a step back jumper from the top of the key, making it an early 7-zip lead for the Cougars. Mt. Vernon-Enola finally got on the scoreboard at the 3:18 with a free throw and Dylan Tharp answered that with a pull up jumper off the free throw line, pushing the Cougar lead up to 9-1.
The Warhawks racked up back-to-back treys to close the gap down to a two point game, but Caleb Faulkner hit a jumper in the lane and Dillard hit one of two free throws to bump the lead to 12-7. The Warhawks capped the first stanza with a couple of charity tosses and the Cougars kept the lead, 12-9. Mt. Vernon-Enola made it a one point game with a bucket with less than half a minute gone from the clock in the second, but Faulkner drained a trey from the top of the key to make it a two possession game once again. The Warhawks picked up a bucket at the other end to keep it close, but Faulkner sank a couple of free throw to keep it a two possession game. The Warhawks picked up five straight points to claim their first lead at the 2:50 mark, taking an 18-17 lead. A little less than a minute ticked off the clock and Cooper stuck back a rebound and followed that with a traditional three point play, pushing Izard County back out in front 22-18, which held up until halftime.
The Warhawks opened the third quarter with six straight points, going up 24-22. Faulkner hit a jumper from near the free throw line to knot the game back up at 24-all, but a traditional three point play at the other end kept the Cougars trailing. Faulkner stole a ball on defense and took it back for the lay up, pulling Izard County back to within one. Another old fashioned three point play by Mt. Vernon-Enola gave them a two possession lead at 30-26, but a baby hook by Cooper off the right side and a floater in the lane from Faulkner tied the game 30-all with 3:40 left in the third. The Warhawks retook the lead with a trey, but Cooper hit a jumper from the top to keep it a one point game. Mt. Vernon-Enola stayed with the long range bombs, hitting their third trifecta of the frame to up their lead to 36-32 before Mike Uecker hit a reverse lay up to pull the Cougars back to within two. The fourth trey of the third quarter upped the Warhawks lead to 39-34, but Faulkner crashed the offensive glass and stuck back a rebound to close out the frame, pulling the Cougars back to within three points at 36-39.
Izard County had eight minutes to get things lined out and head back to Hot Springs, where Coach Kyle McCandlis has fond memories, since he was on the team ten years ago when Izard County last won the Championship. Uecker hit a jumper off the right side after getting the no look pass from Cooper, making it a one point game. The Warhawks made it four in a row as they nailed a trey to up their lead, and the Cougars started climbing back with a vengeance. Back-to-back buckets by Faulkner knotted the game to 42-all with 6:03 left in the game, then Cooper came back with two free throws at the 5:34 mark to put Izard County on top 44-42. With the Warhawks spreading the floor to pressure Izard County, Faulkner attacked the basket and hit the jumper in the lane to make it a two possession game at 47-43. Mt. Vernon-Enola never could put together back-to-back scores and Izard County hit free throws from there on to secure their ticket to the Championship game by taking a 52-48 win. For Izard County: Faulkner (22), Cooper (17), Uecker (6), Dillard (4), Tharp (2), and Everett (1).


DISTRICT AND STATE CHAMPIONS: Izard County Consolidated FFA Shooting Sports Team brought home four individual trophies from the Second Annual FFA Shooting Sports Contest on Friday, November 17 at the AGFC Shooting Complex in Jacksonville. Hayden Ekenes and James Morris both shot a perfect score of 50/50, out of the 22 schools participating. After a shootoff, Ekenes came out as Champion of the contest. In the awards ceremony, Ekenes received two trophies, the Eastern District 1st Place Individual Male, and the Arkansas State FFA 1st Place Individual Male Champion. Morris received a trophy for the Arkansas State 2nd Place Individual Male, and Kassey Martin received a trophy for the Eastern District 1st Place Individual Female. ICC FFA Advisor and Shooting Sports coach Wayne Neal said, “I am very proud of the team and it was an honor to be recognized for having the top male and female individual shooters in the Eastern District, and to have the top two male individual shooters in the State.”


Melbourne School District
Melbourne Elementary Open House will be Thursday, August 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. Melbourne High School Open House will be Thursday, August 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Seventh grade orientation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the ninth grade orientation starting at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
Salem School District
Salem School District will be hosting an Open House for students and parents on Thursday, August 10. The Open House will be on both the Elementary and High School campuses from 6 to 7 p.m.
Izard County Consolidated School District
ICC School District will host their Open House for students and parents on Thursday, August 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the High School, Middle School and Elementary.
New students may register until August 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m


Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp will address Ozarka College graduates during the 2017 Commencement Ceremony.
Commencement will take place on Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the John E. Miller Education Complex in Melbourne. Approximately 400 students are expected to receive credentials from 32 degree programs.
Mammoth Spring High School Graduation will be on Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m. in the gymnasium.
Izard County Consolidated High School will hold graduation ceremonies at the Brockwell campus, on Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m., in the gymnasium.
Salem High School Graduation will be held Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the high school gymnasium.
Melbourne High School will hold commencement exercises on Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Michelle Gray, Representative District 62, Arkansas House, will be the featured speaker.
Highland High School will hold graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the A. L. Hutson Center.
Viola High School Graduation will be held on Thursday, May 18 at 8 p.m. at the high school gymnasium.
Calico Rock High School commencement exercises will be held on Friday, May 19 at the elementary auditorium. Video begins at 6:30 p.m. and graduation begins at 7 p.m.


PROUD FAMILY: (l to r) Howard and Janice Blankenship, Eli Blankenship – American FFA Degree recipient, and Sheila and Danny Blankenship.

by Karen Sherrell
The American FFA Degree is awarded to less than one percent of FFA members, and is one of the organization’s highest honors.
In 2016, the degree was awarded to Izard County Consolidated graduate, Eli Blankenship of Bandmill.
The 2016 American FFA Degree Ceremony was held in Indianapolis, IN on October 22, during the Eighth General Session of the 89th National FFA Convention Expo. Blankenship joined 34 other degree recipients from Arkansas, and 3,790 from throughout the United States, chosen from a national roll of 629,367 FFA members.
The degree is earned by members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and have made significant accomplishments in their agricultural experiences. All of which describe Eli, through years of hard work and commitment.
This degree has also earned him the title of being the first FFA member at Izard County Consolidated Schools to receive the American FFA Degree since Wayne Neal has been the Agri Teacher and FFA Advisor for the past 14 years. “I have had three other FFA members receive national recognition by earning a National FFA Scholarship,” said Neal, adding, “Eli has not only earned this National Degree, but also the pride, respect and honor of his peers, friends and family, as well as the leaders and mentors before him that inspired him to earn this degree.”
And proud his family is. Accompanying Eli to the ceremony in October were his parents, Danny and Sheila Blankenship, and grandparents, Howard and Janice Blankenship.
Highschool graduates may apply for the American FFA Degree one year after their graduation. Eli graduated in 2014, and is currently in his second year at Arkansas Tech in Russellville.
During his first year in highschool, Eli earned his FFA Greenhand Degree, followed by the Chapter degree the next year, and then his State degree. “Eli raised cattle, chickens, and goats and rabbits,” said his mother Sheila. “He also had a community project he had to do.” Eli’s primary agricultural project was cattle, he was on the ICC Show Team, and he served as an FFA Chapter officer.
FFA members utilize the Agricultural Experience Tracker, AET, which is an online record keeping system for agriculture students to record their time worked or money earned with their projects or Supervised Agricultural Experiences, SAE’s. “They also keep records of their FFA activities, officer work, and time in community service, along with other accomplishments and awards,” said Neal. “Utilizing this system is vital for FFA members to earn the degrees, scholarships and awards that they deserve.”
FFA members must apply for the American FFA Degree one year after they graduate, and Eli’s older brother Isaac, a recent graduate of Arkansas Tech in Russellville, encouraged him to apply. “He had all the steps to do it,” said Sheila, “And he worked hard to earn state recognition.”
To earn the American FFA Degree, members must have received the State FFA Degree, and have been an active member for the past three years, with a record of satisfactory participation in activities on the Chapter and State levels. They must have completed the equivalent of at least three years of systematic secondary school instruction in an agricultural education program, and have one full year of enrollment in a postsecondary agricultural program. They must have maintained an operation and records to substantiate an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program, through which they have exhibited comprehensive planning, managerial and financial expertise. They must have earned at least $10,000 and productively invested $7,500, or earned and invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of scheduled class time. In addition to having a record of outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement, they must have achieved a scholastic record of a C or better, and participated in at least 50 hours of community service within at least three different activities.
No easy feat, and that’s why only one percent of the National FFA membership receive the American FFA Degree. Recipients are also awarded the gold American FFA Degree Key, a symbol of the highest achievement of the National FFA organization, and earned by one hard-working young man, Eli Blankenship.

cev
CRASHING THE PARTY: ICC’s Coby Everett goes right at the defense during the ICC Jr. Cougar’s game against Hillcrest last weekend during the finals of the Bill McCurley Jr. High Tournament. Everett hit a game high 24 points. See full story and additional photos on page 7 in this week’s Pacesetting Times. Photo/B.Stapleton

bball
by Fred Walker
The Izard County Consolidated Cougars and Lady Cougars will tip off the 2016-17 basketball season with their annual Black and Gray intrasquad games on October 7 at Brockwell.
The games will start at 5 p.m. with a seventh grade girls game and followed by the seventh grade boys, junior girls, junior boys, senior girls and senior boys.
Admission is free and a Chili Supper is being held in conjunction with the event from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Each meal will cost $6 and all proceeds will go to the Kailey Moss Memorial Scholarship Fund.
For more information or to make a donation, call 870-258-7700.

iccjrvolley
SET AND READY: The Izard County Junior Varsity Volleyball team gets ready to receive a serve from opponent Cave City, on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Brockwell campus. The Junior Varsity team includes Roree Warren, Trinity Neal, Stormy Woods, Tess Savell, Haley Stone, Isabella Martinez, Tracy Middleton and Joni Sherrell. See additional photos in this week’s edition of Pacesetting Times. Photo/K.Sherrell

smmh
PROTECTING THE PLATE: ICC’s Shelby Morris gets ready to apply the tag to Lady Pirate Megan Hiles in the semi-finals of the Regional Tournament. Photo/B.Stapleton
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OUT BY A STEP: Calico Rock first baseman Katie Hamby takes the throw from Maykayla Simmons for the out as ICC’s Shelby Morris hustles down the line during the semi-finals of the Regional Tournament. Photo/B.Stapleton
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GETTING CLOSER: Mammoth Spring’s Logan Skaggs slides safely into third base in last week’s Regional Tournament. Photo/B.Stapleton
ccossey
SCORCHING ONE: Melbourne’s Cailey Cossey hits a line shot against Manila in the semi-finals of the Regional Tournament. Photo/B.Stapleton
shelbym
JUGGLING ACT: Lady Cougar Shelby Morris corrals a pop foul for an out against Viola in the opening round of Regionals. Photo/B.Stapleton

golf
Three Person Scramble
St. Mary of the Mount Catholic Church Knights of Columbus and Ladies Guild in Horseshoe Bend has rescheduled the Three Person Scramble to be held this upcoming Saturday, June 13. All monies raised will help them to continue their charitable works where needed. Get there early for the complimentary refreshments that will be served starting at 7 a.m. with the 8 a.m. shotgun start. For more information the Pro Shop at 870-670-5252 or Dick LeMere at 870-670-5610.
Mountain Home Charity Golf Classic
Mark your calendars for the Mountain Home Charity Golf Classic, formerly known as the Mountain Home Christian Clinic Charity Golf Tournament, on June 13 and 14 at Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home. 
Entry fee: $165 per person or $495 per three person team, includes cart. Entry fee includes lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.
For more information call 870-508-6105.
Two Person Scramble
The Izard County High School Athletic Department will be having a Two Person Scramble Golf Tournament at the Course on Turkey Mountain in Horseshoe Bend on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. The cost of the tournament is $100 per team. A large variety of door prizes will be given away and participants will have an opportunity on all three par threes to win a hole-in-one prize.
For information, call the Pro Shop at 870-670-5252 or David Harmon at 870-373-1713, or by email at david.harmon@iccougars.org. An entry form is on page 3 in the June 10 edition of Pacesetting Times.

golf
Three Person Scramble
St. Mary of the Mount Catholic Church Knights of Columbus and Ladies Guild in Horseshoe Bend has rescheduled the Three Person Scramble to be held this upcoming Saturday, June 13. All monies raised will help them to continue their charitable works where needed. Get there early for the complimentary refreshments that will be served starting at 7 a.m. with the 8 a.m. shotgun start. For more information the Pro Shop at 870-670-5252 or Dick LeMere at 870-670-5610.
Mountain Home Charity Golf Classic
Mark your calendars for the Mountain Home Charity Golf Classic, formerly known as the Mountain Home Christian Clinic Charity Golf Tournament, on June 13 and 14 at Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home. 
Entry fee: $165 per person or $495 per three person team, includes cart. Entry fee includes lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.
For more information call 870-508-6105.
Two Person Scramble
The Izard County High School Athletic Department will be having a Two Person Scramble Golf Tournament at the Course on Turkey Mountain in Horseshoe Bend on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 9 a.m. The cost of the tournament is $100 per team. A large variety of door prizes will be given away and participants will have an opportunity on all three par threes to win a hole-in-one prize.
For information, call the Pro Shop at 870-670-5252 or David Harmon at 870-373-1713, or by email at david.harmon@iccougars.org. An entry form is on page 3 in the June 10 edition of Pacesetting Times.

alltourney
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM: (l to r) Lauren Jones, Jen King, and Kennedy Cooper were selected to be on the All Tournament Team at the NEA Invitational Basketball Tournament held last week. See full story and additional pictures on page 7 in this week’s edition!

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