SPORTS BRIEFS: Monroe’s Land takes sixth at Pan American Games; no NFL teams pick up Albany’s Lockette

Mimi Land

Mimi Land

Land 6th in long jump at Pan-Am games

MEDELLIN, Colombia — Stepping onto the world stage for the first time in her life, Albany’s Mimi Land finished sixth Saturday in the long jump in the 17th Pan American Junior Championships.

Land, a former star at Monroe High and a sophomore at Clemson, qualified for the prominent event back in June with a 19-foot leap in the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championship. On Saturday, Land posted a jump of 19-3.5 to finish as the second best American in the event.

American long jumper Alexis Faulknor won gold with a leap of 20-5.75, giving the United States its fifth gold medal this week.

NFL’s other 31 teams pass on Albany’s Lockette

SAN FRANCISCO — When Albany native and former Monroe star Ricardo Lockette was cut the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, the blazing fast WR seemed like a sure bet to get picked up by another NFL team once he hit the waiver wire.

By the end of the day Friday, it didn’t happen.

Lockette, who spent all of last season on the 49ers’ practice squad, is now without a team just two years after he was signed as an undrafted free-agent by the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle eventually cut Lockette, who appeared in just two games, and the 49ers quickly picked him up. Lockette than became fast friends with starting QB Colin Kaepernick, and the two bought a house together and began studying the playbook tirelessly. That friendship alone — hours spent together, picking the brain of the team’s starting quarterback — seemed to give him an inside track at making the team.

“The first time we met was at the NFL (Scouting) Combine, and I was like, ‘Man, you can throw.’ Then he was like, ‘Man, you are fast,’ ” Lockette said. “When I texted him last year and told him I was on my way to San Fran, he got really excited. When we saw each other we had this big hug like we grew up with each other.”

Lockette, who was unable to be reached by The Herald on Saturday, has not spoken to the media since being cut, and his activity on Twitter has slowed to a crawl. He did, however, send out a tweet from his account @RicardoLockette the day he was cut that read, “Motivation gets you started. Heart keeps you going.”

Southland cross country teams shine in Macon

MACON — The Southland boys and girls cross country teams scored their best combined finishes in program history at the Tattnall Invitational on Saturday.

Sophomore Wright Calhoun’s 17:50 was good for fourth overall, and with freshman Billy Calcutt (11th), sophomore Brian Miller (12th), junior Geoffrey McDonald (20th) and junior Alex Arnold (37th) backing up Calhoun, the Raiders finished third for the second consecutive year.

Three teams — last year’s Class AAA state runner-up Heritage, defending Class AA state champ Trinity, and Southland — together ran away from the rest of the 19 team field. Heritage won with 63 points, Trinity came in second with 66 points and Southland finished third with 81 points.

In the girls’ race, the Lady Raiders took the course once again without injured top runner Chris Shattles (who won the Invitational last year) and proved they still belonged — racing to a fourth place finish.

Eighth-grader Sydney Hayes took ninth overall, with junior Sarah Westra, eighth-grader Lilli Dickens, senior Quinn Hanson and junior Brooke Benton making up the Lady Raiders’ top five finishers.

Mt. de Sales won the meet, followed by defending Class AAA girls’ champ Stratford. Southland’s teams were the top Region 3-AAA teams represented at the meet. Southland is in action again Sept. 3 when it hosts Trinity and Stratford in Americus.

Texas A&M plans to play Manziel

Texas A&M has no plans to bench quarterback Johnny Manziel for their season opener on Aug. 31 against Rice.

Despite an NCAA investigation into Manziel’s eligibility related to autograph signings, a high-ranking Texas A&M official told an industry source that the school is confident that the Heisman Trophy winner will be cleared of any wrongdoing, according to CBSSports.com.

The NCAA is trying to find out if Manziel was paid for signing autographs.

As the investigation is ongoing, Manziel has practiced as usual.

Texas A&M compliance director David Batson would not comment on Manziel’s status.

When asked if Manziel has interviewed by the NCAA, senior associate athletic director of external affairs Jason Cook said: “Texas A&M will not address such questions regarding specific student-athletes.”

However, chancellor Jon Sharp told KBTX-TV Friday that he supports Manziel.

“I know he’s innocent,” Sharp said.

Manziel’s attorney, Jim Darnell, told CBSSports.com Friday that the family is “tired of all of this” but the quarterback has been “playing football and doing what he’s supposed to do.”

Darnell also said that Nate Fitch, Manziel’s friend/personal assistant, who reportedly attended some of Manziel’s signings, has hired an attorney.

However, Fitch and the autograph brokers who reportedly worked with Manziel are not required to cooperate with the NCAA.

Manziel is required to meet with the NCAA if requested.

Texas A&M could be penalized if the NCAA proves that Manziel accepted money.

Texas A&M is also bracing for Sept. 14 when the Aggies take on Alabama.