Weatherford Sports

Area athletes make commitments for next level

Rachel Harrell signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for Sam Houston State University.
Rachel Harrell signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for Sam Houston State University. Photo courtesy

Rachel Harrell will be a Bearkat next season, having recently signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball for Sam Houston State University.

However, she has some unfinished business as a Brock Lady Eagle before moving on.

So do five other senior athletes from Parker County who recently made their college playing decisions on the fall signing day.

The list includes:

▪ Sydney Herbel, Millsap, basketball, Colorado Christian.

▪ Kadyn Kirkpatrick, Aledo, softball, Southwestern Oklahoma State.

▪ Cody Bradford, Aledo, baseball, Baylor.

▪ Nick Cheema, Aledo, baseball, Arizona State.

▪ Katelyn Davis, Aledo, equestrian, Texas A&M.

Harrell, a three-year varsity starter at guard for the Lady Eagles, helped them win their fifth consecutive Class 2A state championship in 2013. As a freshman, she ignored the pressure and hit five 3-point baskets in the championship contest, a 40-32 win over Merkel.

The next season she and the Lady Indians returned to the title game, only to see their run of championships come to an end with a heartbreaking 48-44 loss to Wall.

The Lady Eagles, 28-7 last season, once again were ousted by the state champions as Sunnyvale eliminated them in the third round.

"I’m very happy for her and her family," said Brock head coach Chance Westmoreland. "Rachel has spent countless hours in the gym to become a great player."

Harrell is a two-time all-state selection.

"I think she will do well in college, and her work ethic will allow her to get better and better each year."

The Lady Bearkats of Sam Houston are coming off a 6-22 season.

Herbel, a guard, is in her fourth season as a starter for the Millsap Lady Bulldogs. Among her career highlights are twice being named all-state.

"She is such a pleasure to coach," said Millsap coach Ron Berry. "She loves to work out. She makes sure she gives her best, whether it be in the classroom or on the court.

"She is constantly in the gym working on her game, and foremost she is such a competitor."

Another highlight from last season was when Herbel and her teammates helped Berry win his 800th game as a coach.

"She is one of the best players I have ever coached," said Berry.

Colorado Christian finished 19-14 last season and won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. They advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Kirkpatrick, an outfielder, has been a part of the Aledo Ladycats’ back-to-back state softball championship. She has started on the varsity since her freshman year and has helped the team to three straight state tournament appearances.

"She has grown up so much since then and matured into a great softball player," said former Aledo softball coach Jeff Lemons, who retired from softball to become the golf coach this year.

"She showed just how softball smart she is in the championship game last year (season) when she didn't panic on the last play and threw a perfect strike to third for the final out. She will be a fantastic senior leader this year.

"I will miss coaching Baby K, but really looking forward to watching her play."

Southwestern Oklahoma state was 8-37 this past softball season.

Bradford, a left-handed pitcher, is a second-year varsity player for the Aledo baseball team. In helping the Bearcats reach the state tournament for a second straight year, he pitched a no-hitter against Everman.

Bradford posted a 1.37 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 46 innings as a junior.

Cheema, a three-year varsity player at catcher and pitcher, helped Aledo win the 2013 4A state championship. Cheema has the unique combination of a fastball that has been clocked in the lower 90s, and has also caught some of the best arms in Texas between the Bearcats and his club team.

Both are going to NCAA Division I programs that rank among the elite in college baseball. Baylor is rebuilding after going 23-32 last season, and Arizona State was 35-23, advancing to the NCAA Fullerton Regionals.