With strong athletic and marching band performances, Keller High School soared in the standings for the UIL Lone Star Cup for 6A schools, finishing third this year just behind Southlake Carroll, a perennial front-runner. Grapevine High School tied for second in 5A competition for the second year in a row and had a third place finish in 2015.
“To be third in the state of Texas among all 6A high schools, some may say this kind of a year at Keller High School can never be replicated, but we say this is only the beginning,” said Michael Nasra, Keller High School principal.
The UIL Lone Star Cup is given to the schools in each classification with the best performances in district and state championships in athletics, marching band, UIL Academics and One Act Play. Those six schools receive a trophy and a $1,000 scholarship award. The 2016-17 6A champion is The Woodlands in the Conroe school district just north of Houston. The champ in 5A is Dallas Highland Park.
Among Fort Worth area schools, Aledo was fourth in 5A Lone Star Cup standings while Birdville was 22nd and Colleyville Heritage tied for 25th. Argyle won the Lone Star Cup for the 4A classification.
After last year’s finish in 11th place — the best Keller had done at the time — faculty members dared to dream bigger.
Nasra said, “We charged ourselves early on with being the best high school in Texas.”
Keller had two team state championships: a repeat in softball and first ever in girls cross country. The boys basketball team advanced to state for the first time and the girls team lost in the regional semifinal to eventual state champion Duncanville. The girls soccer team lost in overtime to the eventual state champion in the final four at the state tournament, also a best-ever finish.
The Indian Band won the regional contest and finished fifth at state, its best since moving to the largest classification.
Tennis, swimming & diving, wrestling and track & field all had state qualifiers. The school had 17 teams reach the playoffs, including 14 district championships. Keller High also had district and regional champions in UIL Academics events.
Lessons outside the classroom
Southlake Carroll is no stranger to the Lone Star Cup, winning it outright in the largest school classification four years in a row between 2011 and 2015. Last year, Carroll finished fourth.
This year, a mind-boggling seventh consecutive state championship in boys swimming and diving, along with strong state performances in cross country, girls swimming and diving, golf, tennis, track and field and baseball contributed to the Dragons’ Lone Star Cup second place finish. The debate team and girls soccer also did well.
Julie Thannum, assistant superintendent for board and community relations, said the Lone Star Cup is special because it combines athletics, fine arts and academics into one award.
“Everyone’s efforts are compiled to help our overall standings,” Thannum said via email. “In other words, each contribution counts!”
Shawn Duhon, principal of Carroll Senior High School, said educators and students focus on all “three A’s” — academics, athletics and arts — to strive for success across the board.
“When you take that approach, and you emphasize that every year, you get a balance between all three,” he said.
Grapevine High School placed second in the 5A classification on the strength of its state achievements in golf, boys cross country, tennis, wrestling, swimming and diving, baseball and UIL Academics, along with solid performances from soccer and football.
Principal David Denning said, “It’s a testament to our amazing kids, our amazing coaches and our community.”
Students are encouraged to find an extra-curricular activity that they enjoy and where they can contribute to the school.
“Academics are very important, but you learn a lot of lessons from other activities, like teamwork, collaboration, hard work and communication,” he said.