Top taekwondo meet, LR’s biggest draw, is set

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The American Taekwondo Association is expected to draw 20,000 people to Little Rock for its annual international competition and training event.

The conference runs July 7-13 at the Statehouse Convention Center. Three days of competitions are set to start July 11 and are open to the public. Three-day passes will be sold for $10.

Participants will be able to attend martial arts seminars, special training sessions, tournament competition and other events.

Organizers say the ATA was founded in the United States but has grown to have a presence in 23 different countries.

The high-profile H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden next to the convention center is named for the organization’s founder.

Lyon College hires Sampley as softball coach

BATESVILLE (AP) — Lyon College has announced the hiring of former Lyon baseball player Elliott Sampley as the new head softball coach.

Lyon athletic director Kevin Jenkins announced the hiring Tuesday.

Sampley is a 1996 graduate of Lyon College and played baseball at the college in Batesville from 1992-96. He was inducted into the Lyon Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bicyclists tracking Trail of Tears through NW Ark.

FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Bicyclists associated with the Cherokee Nation is to ride through Benton and Washington counties along the route of the Trail of Tears.

The bicyclists on Wednesday are to ride down Business 71 from Rogers and take Old Wire Road in Springdale. They’re expected at Fitzgerald Station on Old Wire Road between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. as they head into Oklahoma.

The riders are taking the northern route of the Trail of Tears from Georgia. They’re going through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas before concluding the ride in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

The riders are marking the forced removal of Indians across the South and relocation in what was then Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Two groups of Cherokees went through Fayetteville during winter 1838-39 en route to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

ASU’s Nelvis nominated for Honda Sports Award

JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State’s Sharika Nelvis has been nominated for the 2014 Honda Sports Award in women’s track & field.

The nomination was announced by Chris Voelz, the executive director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards. The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports.

Nelvis is a three-time All-America selection. She won the national championship this year in both the women’s 100-meter outdoor hurdles and the women’s indoor 60-meter hurdles.

Joining Nelvis as nominees are Courtney Okolo of Texas, Oregon’s Jenna Prandini and Kenell Williams from Georgia and the winner will be announced later this week.

Arkansas State to play in preseason WNIT

JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State’s women’s basketball team is in the 16-team Preseason WNIT and will open at in Jonesboro against Jackson State.

The university announced Tuesday that the opener is Nov. 14 and that each team is guaranteed three games. Teams that lose with finish the tournament in a consolation bracket.

Jackson State head coach Surina Dixon has an Arkansas State connection. Dixon was on on Brian Boyer’s ASU staff in 1999-2000 when the team attained its first Top 25 ranking in school history.

The tournament’s second round will be played Nov. 16-17 and the semifinals Nov. 19-20. CBS Sports Network is to televise the championship on Nov. 23.

Arkansas State has beaten Jackson State in two previous meetings.