Gulfport resident Jourdyn Combs had the honor of carrying the torch Tuesday as part of the run-up to this year's State Games of Mississippi. The State Games is celebrating its 25th year of sports competition that is often unique to Mississippi and Mississippians. Among the 38 sports featured in the Olympics-style competition are archery, barrel racing, canoeing, kayaking and pistol shooting.
Bronze, silver and gold medalists go on to national competitions.
While a softball pitcher at Gulfport High School, Combs led her team to three state tournaments. In 1999, she was named Athlete of the Year for the State Games.
One year later, she ran with the torch to symbolize the opening of the State Games in 2000. Fifteen years later, she again took the torch to represent the Games and the Gulf Coast.
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Gulfport Council Member Cara Pucheu also was on hand for the ceremony. Pucheu's son participated in the State Games years ago and Pucheu was a soccer registrar with the State Games for five years.
Her familiarity with the statewide competition inspired her become a part of the Health and Wellness Committee as a council member, she said.
The opening ceremonies for the State Games will be Friday in downtown Meridian.