It’s time to review our scorecard. Back in late December we presented our fearless five predictions for 2017.
With more than the first half of the calendar completed, we can check a lot of this already. But let’s start by telling you that we predicted that the Keller girls cross country program would repeat as Class 6A state champions. Obviously, the cross country season doesn’t start until August. The state meet isn’t until mid-November in Round Rock. So we have to wait on that.
As for the others:
▪ Class 5A will split into different enrollment divisions for football: We got this one right. Maybe that was an easy call, because you were reading up to the UIL’s March 1 announcement that the support was growing for this move. State superintendents overwhelmingly voted for it, 144-77. The move will go into effect for the 2018 realignment. For our area, it’s very realistic to see a district that will be made up of Colleyville Heritage, Grapevine, Justin Northwest, Richland, Birdville and maybe Northwest V.R. Eaton along with a couple of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw schools. All of those schools are between 1,800 and nearly 2,100 students.
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▪ Keller ISD will join the multipurpose athletic center movement: So far, we’re wrong on this. In fact, it doesn’t sound like it’s going anywhere. We will just have to let the balance of the year play out to determine if this ever gets any traction. If you’re going to sell this idea to voters in a bond election, you have to make sure that they know that the value of these types of facilities goes beyond football use.
▪ Justin Northwest wide receiver Gavin Holmes will stay close to home: We got this one right. Holmes appeared to be a lean toward Arizona State and traveled out there in early January. But when he didn’t commit and then visited Baylor later in the month, that was pretty much a sign that the Bears were going to be the leader. Holmes wound up committing the Bears and signed with them on National Signing Day (Feb. 1). Holmes arrived at Baylor over the Memorial Day weekend. A good fall camp — Baylor starts 2017 preparations Thursday — could determine if he will or will not see a redshirt.
▪ Major coaching move(s): We got this right. When we think of these moves, our thinking is tied into the team sports. In 2015, we ran into major movement. Then in 2016, things pretty much slowed to a trickle. But in 2017, we ran into some intense developments. Let’s start with Euless Trinity girls basketball coach Sue Cannon, who decided to call it a career after 46 seasons. That brought a change when Keller girls coach Doug Sporrer moved to replace her. In football, the shocking move was when Northwest Byron Nelson coach Brad Turner decided to take an administrative athletics position within the Northwest ISD. Defensive coordinator Ellis Miller was elevated. Other notable moves were Grapevine softball coach Steve Bottoms and Keller Fossil Ridge baseball coach Doug Dulany retiring and Grapevine girls basketball coach Lindy Slagle leaving.
Ridge relay runner wins Pan-Am gold
Former Keller Fossil Ridge standout Sean Hooper and his 4x400 relay teammates — Zachary Shinnick, Josephus Lyles and Brian Herron — won gold and set a world record on Sunday in the Pan Am Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru. The quartet set the new mark at 3:00.33. They were three seconds faster than runner up Jamaica. Hooper has been living the good life recently. He won the Class 6A 200 at the UIL state track and field meet this past May. He is moving on to compete at Texas Tech … meanwhile, Northwest Byron Nelson senior Sanaa Barnes competed in the high jump. She finished ninth among 12 competitors.
This week is also the unofficial start of the 2017 Texas high school football season with “Coaching School.” The 85th edition, put on by the Texas High School Coaches Association, is in Houston and runs through Wednesday. No major policy issues are expected to be discussed.
Of course, the event was earmarked by the football and basketball all-star games. But those events went away in 2015 after college coaches were banned from speaking at them. The NCAA passed a rule in late 2013 denying Division I coaches the opportunity to attend or speak at high school events where an all-star game is played. The games were losing interest because the desired top players, who had signed with their school of choice, were already on that school’s campus by early June.