Keller Citizen

Forecast 2017: Keller ISD practice facilities, 5A split and more

With nobody in the Class of 2017, the Keller girls cross country team is primed to win back-to-back state championships.
With nobody in the Class of 2017, the Keller girls cross country team is primed to win back-to-back state championships. Courtesy photo

Fearless predictions for the upcoming calendar year are pretty much just as valid as New Year’s resolutions.

When you first say them, they sound good and feel even better. But it doesn’t take long for everything to fall apart and you’re right back where you started. That’s probably two weeks. Yet we keep doing them, because there’s always the hope that this is the year that everything comes together.

Northeast Tarrant County enjoyed quite the magical 2016, with several team and individual state championships. It will be tough for 2017 to top that.

But as we take our first look into the new year, we base these Top 5 fearless predictions on what we have observed over the years, the talent that is coming through the area as well as the issues that are facing athletics.

Just know that when you stay up until midnight Saturday to watch 2016 give way to 2017, you are prepared. Maybe.

1. Keller ISD joins the indoor multipurpose athletics center movement: If you live in Keller and saw the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD voters in May pass a bond package that included new indoor facilities that will start construction soon, there might be a small part of you wondering, “Why can’t that be us?” This issue has drifted into and out of the district thinking. But given that Carroll has one, all three Northwest ISD high schools – Northwest, Byron Nelson and V.R. Eaton – have them, both Hurst-Euless-Bedford high schools – Euless Trinity and Hurst L.D. Bell – have them and Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage are getting them, the pressure to join the arms race for the KISD will mount like it hasn’t been seen before.

The best way to sell these to the voters is to make sure these aren’t only for football. Other athletics and fine arts programs will be involved. Whether or not this ever makes it to a bond package remains unknown. But we believe the issue will gain and keep momentum.

2. Class 5A will split into divisions: Maybe you read our story in the Keller Citizen about the issue that involves Justin Northwest and the potential that it could stay as a large 5A school indefinitely. In either late January or early February, superintendents across the state will vote to determine if the conference should split into 16 districts for small schools and 16 districts for large schools (the cutoff would be 1,600 students).

We believe this will pass. In a survey taken back in the fall, three of the four regions were good to make the move. Only Region III’s lopsided vote (in the heavily populated greater Houston area) tipped the balance to opposed. Some of those votes will flip. Other ‘no’ votes in the other regions will also flip.

3. Keller girls cross country will repeat as Class 6A state champions: Honestly, when the Lady Indians won the state championship in November, insiders probably were not surprised. But a lot of either people were. This group, which doesn’t have one senior in its first five, has the talent and now the experience and maturity. The only thing the Lady Indians will find novel is how to handle every team giving them their best shot.

4. Justin Northwest WR Gavin Holmes will stay close to Texas: The NET 2016 Player of the Year has seen his stock rise to where many P5 programs have offered. He’s visited Nebraska, will visit Arizona State, UCLA and possibly Notre Dame and Baylor in January. But he has said that his original hope was to play close to home.

You never know how January unfolds with new schools entering the scene. But even if it’s not Baylor, we think Holmes will takes advantage of the opportunity to be close to his family and stay in this region. Besides, there’s nothing like family and friends coming to watch you play on Saturdays. That’s why he will do what he will do on National Signing Day, Feb. 1.

5. Major coaching move: Out of respect to our long-time coaches, who have given their heart and soul to their schools over the years, we’re not going to specifically name a coach who will call it a career and retire or move on to a new opportunity. But we can think of several head coaches in football, basketball and baseball who may be ready to do something different.

Now, you may believe that this is a default prediction. And you’re probably right. We hit a glut of those moves in 2015. We really didn’t run into that in 2016. It’s back on for 2017.

We’ll put these in the sock drawer for safe keeping. If any or all come true, we’ll be the first to tell you. If none of them happen, don’t be surprised if you can’t find us.

We wish you a very safe and rewarding 2017.

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