A local boxer used a unique approach to pay for his bid to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic boxing squad. Keon Burroughs started an online account at www.GoFundMe.com to help cover his expenses to the 2015 Elite Nationals Tournament in Spokane, Washington, in January.

Local boxer Keon Burroughs (right) has been fighting for almost eight years.

Local boxer Keon Burroughs (right) has been fighting for almost eight years.

Burroughs, a 21-year-old boxer who has an Alabama Golden Glove title on his résumé, started off well in the 165-pound middleweight division. He defeated Emmanual Guajardo of Tucson, Arizona, in a 2-1 decision. His next match, though, ended with a 3-0 loss to Christopher Thompson of Flint, Michigan.

The eventual winner was Chordelle Booker of Brooklyn, New York. The Gold Medal secured him a berth in the Olympic trials.
“I didn’t make it out of the quarterfinals yesterday,” Burroughs wrote on his website. “My coach told me it was one of my best fights, but we’ll get back to the drawing board on Monday.

“There [are] still 3 more Olympic qualifying tournaments left this year, but for now we’re going to enjoy the finals. God bless and thank you to all that support me!”

Burroughs has been fighting for almost eight years with the Southside Boxing Academy, which is located just off Dauphin Island Parkway at 1580 Tampa Drive. The coaches are John Edwards and John Robinson. For more information on the boxing teams, gym membership and self-defense classes, call 251-229-2152 or visit www.SouthsideBoxingAcademy.net

Prep teams head to The Hank
The 18th annual BayBears High School Baseball Tournament will feature 24 local squads at Hank Aaron Stadium. The games will take place during the week of Feb. 16.

Officials with the Class AA minor league club point out the tourney gives local prep players a chance to perform at a professional baseball stadium.

“The Mobile BayBears are proud to provide an opportunity for young student athletes to cherish and remember forever,” a news release stated.

Six of the high schools will serve as host sites for the initial three days, before play shifts to The Hank. The host sites, with the corresponding participants, include Alma Bryant (Faith, Satsuma, McGill-Toolen), Bayside (Murphy, Robertsdale, Theodore), Gulf Shores (Daphne, Davidson, Foley), St. Luke’s (Cottage Hill, Spanish Fort, Vigor), Saraland (Baldwin County, Jackson, Mary G. Montgomery) and UMS-Wright (Baker, Citronelle, Fairhope).

After the schools are finished playing at the host sites, the overall records will be compiled and the teams will be seeded No. 1 through No. 24. The top two seeds will compete for the championship on Monday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m. The other 22 seeds will each play a game at The Hank from Thursday, Feb. 19, through Saturday, Feb. 21.

For a schedule of game times, visit www.MobileBayBears.com or call 251-479-BEAR (2327).

Early recognition for USA
Players for the softball and baseball teams at the University of South Alabama have been recognized going into the 2015 season.

The members of the Lady Jags’ softball team have been voted to the All-Sun Belt Conference preseason team. Included are senior pitcher Farish Beard, senior outfielder Blair Johnson and junior outfielder Stephanie Pilkington. USA was picked to finish second in the league, behind defending champion Louisiana-Lafayette.

Beard, from Fairhope, has been named to the Top 50 “watch list” for the Collegiate Player of the Year. She finished last season as a Top 25 finalist, after posting a 1.23 earned run average that ranked sixth in the nation. Johnson was second on the team with 48 hits, while Pilkington hit .292 while leading the Lady Jags in hits and triples.

For the baseball team, seniors Cole Gleason and Kevin Hill were named to the All-SBC preseason squad. Hill led the league in strikeouts per game at 10.17. Gleason is an outfielder who hit .333 with 12 doubles and 33 runs batted in. USA was selected to come in seventh behind last year’s winner, Louisiana-Lafayette, in the team poll.

The Jaguars open their season Friday, Feb. 13, when they face New Orleans in the first of a three-game series. The USA women, meanwhile, host Butler, Evansville, Lipscomb and Oklahoma State in the Mardi Gras Invitational starting the same day. For game times, visit www.USAJaguars.com.

Leadership series to feature Bone Collectors
The Outdoor Channel’s celebrity spokesperson Michael Waddell and his “Bone Collector” team will be in Mobile on Thursday, Feb. 26, for the 2015 Mobile Leadership Series.

Waddell will be joined by Nick Mundt, Travis “T-Bone” Turner and Edwin Waddell. The event is set for 7 p.m. at The Grounds, located at 1035 Cody Road N. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The night will start with a hunting and outdoor sporting exposition that is set to showcase some of the latest products from local vendors in the outdoor industry. Individual tickets are $100, and include admission to the expo, dinner catered by Kraver’s Seafood Restaurant and the “Bone Collector” speakers. Special VIP meet-and-greet packages are also available.

The “Bone Collector” television show premiered in 2009, and documents the culture of the hunter. It is known for displaying “the brotherhood of sportsmen that have true passion for the game, the land and the lifestyle.” The show covers bow, muzzleloader, shotgun and rifle hunts.

Proceeds will go to support future Mobile Leadership Series speakers and Mobile Christian School. The Mobile Leadership Series said its goal is “to recognize that strong families and strong education are critical to the community.” For more information, call 251-661-1649 or visit www.MobileLeadershipSeries.com.

Conservation to be discussed
The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board will conduct its first meeting of 2015 on Saturday, Feb. 28, in Montgomery. The gathering will be at the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ auditorium at 1445 Federal Drive.

The board assists in formulating policies for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. It examines all rules and regulations, and makes recommendations for changes or amendments. This includes hunting seasons and bag limits.

Those wishing to address the board must register from 8 to 8:30 a.m. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.

The board is comprised of 10 members, including Bill Hatley of Gulf Shores and Dr. Bob Shipp of Mobile. For additional information, call the commissioner’s office at 334-242-3486.