Keller Citizen

Highlighting the Top 5 stories of 2013 in area high school sports

Merry Christmas to you all today. We hope that it is one filled with peace, love and joy between you and your loved ones.

Of course, Christmas also signals the end of the 2013 high school athletics season. There are going to be some high school basketball tournaments played this weekend, but this is the appropriate time to reflect upon the major news stories that impacted our coverage area. We usually go with a Top 5. Admittedly, it is always a challenge to decide which stories belong in this club. Not everyone will agree with the selections.

But this is also an opportunity to relive some great times. So let’s get started.

Carroll Cross Country: a juggernaut

The names may change. But the results don’t. Carroll’s cross country program has emerged into the one to beat in the state Texas. On Nov. 9 at Old Settler’s park in Round Rock, both the boys and girls teams repeated as state champions. Call it a three-peat for each as they collected titles in 2011 and 2012.

For the girls, sophomore Antigone Archer paced the girls team to a tight win. Carroll won with 110 points. New Braunfels was second with 116 points. Seniors Samantha Young and Katherine Burcham also had Top 12 finishes. For the boys, they held off College Park. They won with 80 points to College Park’s 85.

Seniors Jacob Pickle and Connor Hendrickson finished second and fourth respectively, while junior Elijah Canal placed ninth. Do we hear four in a row in 2014?

Byron Nelson girls golf wins state

In 2012, it came down to just a couple of strokes in the Class 4A state golf tournament. Byron Nelson finished as the runner up to Montgomery. In 2013, those few strokes went the other way in late April down in Austin.

Nelson became the first program in the young high school’s history to bring home a state championship. The team tangled with Montgomery again, but won by five strokes (316-321).

This is a talented and deep team led by Maty Monzingo, Alexandra Batista, Zoey DaneshFar, Allyson Springer and Aimee Mires. Monzingo also finished second overall and won a playoff to do so. We’ll see what this spring has in store.

Freier reaches new heights

Northwest junior pole vault specialist Desiree Freier is probably going to go down in Texas high school track and field annals as one of the best ever in her craft. She not only has won two consecutive state championships, she now has a chance to better her record.

On May 11 at Mike A. Myers Stadium, Freier became the Class 5A record holder. Her effort of 13 feet, nine inches is now the mark for future competitors to beat. She broke the state record of 13-8 set the previous day by Saginaw Boswell’s Lakan Taylor.

Northwest steals Johnson

Rusty Johnson had everything going for him, running a top notch girls basketball program at Aledo. He just took that program to the Class 4A state tournament and had the bulk of the team returning to make a push in 2013-2014.

But when the girls job at Justin Northwest opened, Johnson wanted a different challenge. With family living in the area, Johnson was intrigued by the challenge of taking over a program that had won less than 10 games and no district games in the previous two seasons. He wanted to build something.

In April, Johnson left Aledo and signed on at Northwest replacing, Wayne Parker. So far, the build is slow but steady. Northwest has won six games and also won its first district game.

GCISD searching for an Executive AD

Perhaps Grapevine-Colleyville superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan decided that that athletic department needed an overhaul. In November, the district announced that it is searching for a newly created executive director of athletics. The likely hope is that there will be more organization, better structure and communication with coaches from the two high schools on down. The new AD is expected to be named at the end of January.

Honorable mentions: Keller Fossil Ridge 2013 football enjoys a deep playoff run to the Class 5A Region I semifinals; Carroll boys and girls swimming capture state championships; Grapevine, Colleyville Heritage, Carroll and Keller Fossil Ridge baseball teams advance to regional rounds of the state baseball tournament; Colleyville Heritage QB Cody Thomas and Carroll QB Kenny Hill sign National Letters of Intent with Oklahoma and Texas A&M respectively.

Next week, we’ll share our thoughts on what we think will be top stories to follow for 2014.