Aledo's Graydon Morris continued his historical sophomore year of running as he was recently named the Gatorade Texas Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year. He is the first recipient ever from Aledo High, and from Parker County.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishing Morris as Texas’s best high school boys cross country runner. It also qualified him as a candidate for Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
The 6-foot-3, 140-pound sophomore raced to the Class 5A individual state championship this past season with a time of 14:58.9. He is the first boy in Parker County history to win a state championship, with the only girl state champion being former Brock standout Kamy Cole in 2009.
Morris also placed second at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 15:23.3, earning All-American honors, and finished third at the Foot Locker South Regional championships. He also won the Paschal Invitational, the Falcon Fast Invitational, the District 6-5A championship and the Region I championship.
Morris has volunteered locally on behalf of youth running programs and has collected athletic equipment for underprivileged Kenyan athletes.
Aledo cross country coach Mike Pinkerton called Morris, "The most gifted, selfless student-athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching.”
“He has set his goals very high, and I have no doubt that he’ll accomplish all of them," Pinkerton added. "On top of the list is to represent the USA in the Olympic Games, and I plan to be in attendance when that day comes.”
Morris has maintained a 3.69 GPA in the classroom.
Morris' honor continues a streak of the award going to a North Texas runner. Former Southlake Carroll runner Reed Brown was honored in 2016 and 2017. Carroll's Colby Lowe also won the award in 2008. The award was started in 2007.
As a Gatorade Player of the Year, Morris will be able to select a national or local youth sports organization to receive a grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Every Gatorade Player of the Year state winner receives a $1,000 grant to donate and will have the opportunity to enter for an additional $10,000 spotlight grant by writing a brief essay explaining why their selected organization deserves additional support. 12 spotlight grants – one for each sport – will be announced throughout the year.
WHS WRESTLERS WIN DISTRICT AGAIN
The Weatherford Lady Kangaroos and Kangaroos each dominated the District 2-6A wrestling championships, which they hosted recently.
Each won the team championship, a fourth consecutive for the Lady Roos. The girls qualified nine for regionals, while the boys qualified 14. The Region I Meet was being held at Haltom High School this past weekend at press time.
The top four finishers in each weight class at district qualified for regionals, with the top four finishers in each weight class at regionals advancing to state at the Berry Center in Cypress, Feb. 23-24.
The Lady Roos are the two-time defending regional team champions. The Kangaroos are coming off their best regional finish ever, finishing third in 2017.
▪ Camille Fournier, district champion, 102-pound weight class.
▪ Sydney Baker, runner-up, 110.
▪ Kadee Kelley, district champion, 119.
▪ Katelynn Snyder Jones, regional qualifier, 128.
▪ Madi Oswald, regional qualifier, 138.
▪ Shelby Gilley, regional qualifier, 148.
▪ Kaylynn Green, district champion, 165.
▪ Karissa Pratt, runner-up, 185.
▪ Sydney Fenus, district champion, 215.
▪ Kalen Napier, district champion, 106.
▪ Alexis Espinosa, district champion, 113.
▪ Mason Woodword, district champion, 120.
▪ Colton Kern, runner-up, 126.
▪ Kit Sanders, runner-up, 132.
▪ Jacob DeLeon, regional qualifier, 138.
▪ Isaiah Lewis, runner-up, 145.
▪ Moises Oropeza, runner-up, 152.
▪ Zane Heck, runner-up, 160.
▪ Travis Good, district champion, 170.
▪ Jeremiah Hatfield, district champion, 182.
▪ Terrell Napier, district champion, 195.
▪ Hunter Fortenberry, regional qualifier, 220.
▪ Jeremy Hutto, runner-up, 285.
Weatherford football player Cody Henderson signed a letter-of-intent to play for Tarleton State University next season. Henderson, a running back, led the Kangaroos with 605 yards and eight touchdowns on 72 carries (8.40 average) this past season.
Aledo also had numerous signings on National Signing Day, including:
▪ Ayden Smith, Trinity University, men's basketball.
▪ Mickey Maloney, Austin College, men's soccer.
▪ Ashlee Ray, Southern Nazarene, women's soccer.
▪ Makenzie Covington, Stephen F Austin, women's soccer.
▪ Kristen Burns, Washburn, women's soccer.
▪ Ellie Reese, Limestone College, women's soccer.
▪ Krista Thrasher, McMurry University, women's soccer.
▪ Bailee Whitener, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, softball.
▪ Beau Mask, Hardin Simmons University, football.
▪ James Williams, Montana State, football.
The Ladycats soccer team finished as the Class 5A state runners-up in 2017. The Bearcats football team finished second in Class 5A Division II, their seventh state championship game appearance in nine years (six championships).