East Mississippi Lions claim men's rodeo team title at Troy University to close out fall slate

East Mississippi Lions claim men's rodeo team title at Troy University to close out fall slate

TROY, Ala. – The East Mississippi Community College rodeo team concluded its fall slate in winning fashion by claiming the men's team title of the Trojan Stampede hosted by Troy University this past weekend.  The three-day rodeo event concluded Saturday evening at the Pike County Cattleman's Complex.

The victory marked EMCC's second team title in the program's brief rodeo history under the direction of third-year head coach Morgan Goodrich.  The Lions previously claimed the men's team title at the 2010 UWA Rodeo Showdown hosted by the University of West Alabama.

"This was definitely our best rodeo of the year," Goodrich noted.  "I knew we had the potential to break out like this and we were long overdue.  I'm very proud of our team and I hope we can carry this momentum into the spring season."

At Troy, the EMCC Lions collected 510 team points in the team roping competition and 115 more points in calf roping to compile 625 team points and out-distance current NIRA Ozark Region team leader Tennessee-Martin by 125 points.  Missouri Valley College placed third with 440 team points.

In the women's competition at Troy, current Ozark Region team leader Southern Arkansas University scored a 105-point victory (415-310) over runner-up Missouri Valley.  The Murray State University women finished in third place with 250 team points.

Individually for the Lions this past weekend, freshman Riley Grisham garnered men's all-around honors by earning 230 total points in two events.  The former Hancock High School product teamed with MVC cowboy Ben Runyon to claim 170 points apiece with a first-place finish in the team roping event.  The tandem posted a first-round time of 6.6 seconds followed by an 8.7-second effort in the short-go for an average score of 15.3.

Grisham, a former Mississippi High School Rodeo Association Champion Team Roper (Heeler), also earned 60 points in the calf roping event to enable him to edge out UT Martin's Ben Walker by five points for the men's all-around title at Troy.  For the year, Grisham trails Walker by 65 points for the Ozark Region's overall men's all-around crown heading into the spring portion of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's schedule.

Nearly half of EMCC's 625 team points at Troy were recorded by the team roping duo of freshman Kaleb Driggers (Albany, Ga.) and transfer Justin Johnson (Magnolia, Fla.), who earned 150 points each for a second-place finish. Driggers, currently ranked third among team roping headers in the PRCA World Standings, and Johnson, a transfer from Southern Arkansas, combined for an average score of 17.2 seconds with an event-best 6.4 effort in the opening round and a time of 10.8 seconds in the short-go.

In other EMCC results from this past weekend, sophomore Shane Overby collected 55 points for the Lions for his sixth-place finish in calf roping and freshman Garrett Clark picked up 20 individual points in calf roping.  Additionally in team roping, EMCC sophomores Jesse Rush, of Kemper Academy, and Martin Walker, from Humphreys Academy, earned 80 points between them.

Through the five events of the Ozark Region's completed fall rodeo slate, the East Mississippi men's team ranks third in the current standings with 1,485 points.  UT Martin presently leads the men's regional rankings with 3,585 team points for a sizeable 1,580-point margin over second-place Missouri Valley (2,005 pts) heading into the spring slate.

In the Ozark Region women's standings after the five fall events, Southern Arkansas, with 1,275 team points, maintains a slim lead of less than 87 points over current runner-up Troy University (1,188.33 pts).  The EMCC women sit in seventh place with 230 total points prior to the start of spring competition.