Previous champion Gary Blankenship has committed to return to action this year at the Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip after focusing on running his business in 2010, according to strip spokesman Charles "Red" Harris. The facility is opening in mid-April under new management, with Dewey Turner and Brainerd Optimist Club members taking over the responsibilities handled the last 15 years by Steve Longley, Harris said. Blankenship, 40, owns and operates Reece Tire Co. in Summerville, Ga., and he will sponsor the Jim Reece Memorial Race this summer in honor of his late stepfather, with free entry fee and $10,000 going to the winner. When he's racing, Blankenship will drive a 1969 Camaro Z-28 powered by a modified 522-cubic-inch Chevrolet big-block engine with injected alcohol and nitrous oxide.
• SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The Lee University women's golf team won the SCAD Spring Invitational at Wilmington Island Club with a 318 on a tough second day Tuesday when first-round leader Northwood added 34 strokes to its Monday total. Lee's Geandra Almeida tied for second individually at 153, and teammate Courtney Shelton was fourth at 155 with Sloane Skinner 12th at 160 and Madison Alexander tying for 15th at 162.
• The first-year Tennessee Temple University softball program recorded its first victory Monday at Warner Park. Temple lost 6-5 to Wesleyan College from Macon, Ga., but then won 12-4 as Raven Pope tripled, doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored two and pitcher Dakota Wright struck out eight Pioneers and allowed only one earned run. Whitney Hughes also had three hits and Jamie Johnson had two hits and scored three runs for coach Randy Crawford's Lady Crusaders (1-21). Pope, who is batting .569 for the season, was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double and two runs in the first game, when Wright and Taylor Decker each had two hits.
• KNOXVILLE -- Sisters Ivy and Ellen Renfroe pitched a one-hitter and a six-inning no-hitter as ninth-ranked Tennessee swept Furman 1-0 and 8-0 in softball Tuesday. Melissa Brown was 2-for-3 with a first-inning RBI single for the Lady Vols (25-7) in the first game, when Ivy Renfroe was one out from a no-hitter.
• Former Ooltewah High School players Sara Kelley and Bri Shoemake combined for five RBIs, Kelley with three on her sixth home run of the season, as Carson-Newman beat Tusculum 9-0 in the first game of a South Atlantic Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday at Greeneville, Tenn. The Lady Eagles added a 6-0 win as Shoemake was 2-for-4 and matched Caitlyn Lance from Ridgeland with an RBI. Lance was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI in the first game, when Shelby Robertson from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe was 1-for-2 with a double, a run and her 14th stolen base.
• The Chattanooga connections on the Centre College lacrosse teams continue to make significant contributions. For the Centre men, sophomore midfielder Patrick Vaughn from Baylor School scored a goal and won nine of 11 face-offs in a win at Piedmont, and Friday at Colorado College he had a goal, an assist and seven ground balls while junior Scott Hughes from McCallie scored two goals. Colorado College freshman Bennett Krishock from McCallie was one of the scorers for the winning team. Sunday, Hughes had two goals and an assist in a 17-9 win at Hendrix for the Colonels. For the Centre women, sophomore Sarah Mastey and freshman Audrey Powers from GPS had two goals apiece in a 24-3 win Saturday against Agnes Scott and five goals each in an 18-6 win Sunday at Birmingham-Southern. Mastey and Powers totaled three assists each in the two games and are second and fourth on the team in points. Junior Annie Jonakin is a Centre defender from Baylor.
• The UTC women's soccer team will host Bryan College for the Lady Mocs' spring game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium. The inaugural UTC alumni soccer game will kick off at 9. UTC is hosting a youth football clinic at noon, and the football spring game is set for 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and free hot dogs and Coca-Cola products, courtesy of the UTC Mocs Club and Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling, will be available while supplies last. The Long Gone Darlings will perform live music from 12:30 to 1:45.
• Former Ooltewah High School star Brian Marshall had a team-high 89 all-purpose offensive yards, including 73 on four pass receptions with a 7-yard touchdown, as TC Black won 36-3 in Tusculum College's spring intrasquad football game Saturday. Logan Cornelius from East Hamilton kicked a 42-yard field goal and three extra points in the win, and Cameron Tallent from Rhea County was 11-for-20 for 85 yards as the TC White quarterback. Bo Cordell, the redshirt junior who was the South Atlantic Conference's offensive player of the year in 2010 but missed most of last season with a broken foot, was 19-for-26 for 268 yards and four touchdowns for TC Black.