With the new year begun, let’s look ahead to several of the major stories that will be impacting Northeast Tarrant County for 2018. District basketball resumes this week. The soccer season begins on Thursday.
On Feb. 1, the next two years will be decided for the 15 area high school programs. The programs of note that will be greatly impacted are Haslet V.R. Eaton and Richland.
Those two schools are moving up to Class 6A. With the 6A minimum at 2,190, Eaton knew there was a chance it was going to move up when it turned in 2,222. That number is a little misleading, because that school is going through its first senior class. There is more room to grow.
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On the other hand, Richland may have been somewhat shocked when it came up with 2,207. But the reality is that the Rebels are going to have to deal with the consequences of whatever 6A district they land in. They will be one of the smallest schools in the whole classification.
Justin Northwest will be dropping into Class 5A Division II. Birdville, Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage will be in 5A Division I.
Justin Northwest boys hoops back to state?
The Texans may have been the surprise story in 2017 when they advanced to the Class 5A state tournament. But they aren’t anymore.
This program has been dealing with and will continue to deal with taking everybody’s best shot. Now that district play is the focus for the remainder of the season, this is where Mike Hatch’s program understands that all that was done in November and December was preparation for this 14-game run.
Then, should all go as expected for the Texans to make the playoffs, it turns into a one-game season in the playoffs. Led by sophomore national recruit guard Avery Anderson, the talent is there to return to San Antonio. But they’ve got to do the work.
Another special spring?
This area enjoyed an embarrassment of baseball riches when both Grapevine and Southlake Carroll advanced to the state tournaments last June.
However, the Mustangs and Dragons sustained key graduation losses on the mound and in the field that will make it much more challenging for them to return to Round Rock’s Dell Diamond.
The best bet could be Colleyville Heritage’s squad, which has one of the top prospects in the game and arguably the best player in all of Tarrant County in shortstop Bobby Witt. Games begin in mid March.
Can they make it three in a row?
Pardon the Keller softball fans if they are a little greedy. The Lady Indians have a shot at making history, after all.
This is a program that has been to the state softball tournament eight times and won four titles, including the last two. A familiar face in former pitcher Christina Gwyn-Barton returns to run the program after Bryan Poehler left.
Gwyn-Barton guided the program to its first state title in 2003. Now, it’s her job to try to make it three consecutive. There’s a strong foundation, led by pitcher Dylann Kaderka.
The first non-district game is Feb. 13 facing another great team in Birdville.
▪ You may or may not see some movement on the head coaching front this winter. But you’re likely going to see something in the late spring. Over the last three years, our area has been pretty active with notable head coaches either leaving for different positions, getting out of the profession or retiring.
Euless Trinity girls basketball coach Sue Cannon (retired), Carroll baseball coach Larry Hughes (retired) and Grapevine football coach Randy Jackson (moved to North Forney) are just a few that come to mind. Just don’t be surprised if we see this again …
▪ The Multipurpose Activity Centers at Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage should be completed by the late spring or early summer.
▪ Northeast Tarrant County athletic success is drawing players to it. Consider how standout Drew Sanders moved from Lake Dallas to Colleyville Heritage’s football program last summer. Northwest basketball welcomed big men Mason Hix from Granbury and Sammie Freeman from Cedar Hill. We could see an uptick in impact transfers over the summer.
▪ Finally, you have to watch in late February to see if Carroll’s boys swimming dynasty can make it eight straight state titles at the state swimming and diving meet.
We look forward to these and other stories that are sure to surface in 2018.