SportzBuzz - August 2014
Lamar Texans football team appears to have all the makings of another powerhouse season.
The Texans advanced to the 7-on-7 State Tournament for the 10th time in the last 13 seasons. “We had really great participation in our summer weight and conditioning program, and I like what we did in 7-on-7,” said Lamar head coach Tom Nolen.
With 12 players from last year’s team moving on to play college football, the Texans will have some big holes to fill this fall, but by no means is the Lamar roster short on talent. Senior defensive back Holton Hill is being recruited by multiple Division 1 schools, while fellow senior Traveon Duncan is an athletic defensive back as well.
Offensively, the Texans received a major boost in the off-season with Fort Bend Marshall quarterback J.W. Ketchum and Episcopal running back Tyreik Gray both transferring to Lamar. Ketchum actually played at Lamar his freshman season before moving to Fort Bend and now back to Houston. At Marshall, he established himself as one of the Houston area’s top quarterbacks. “J.W. has always been a great athlete. We’re thrilled to have him back,” said Nolen.
Meanwhile, Gray is regarded as one of the top running back prospects in the state, and he’ll join senior Ronnie Wesley to give Lamar an explosive one-two threat in the backfield. Wesley helped lead Lamar to the state finals two years ago, and just last season rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns. Lamar also returns standout offensive linemen Trey Jones and Jonathan Veaudion.
Saint Thomas’ Episcopal enters the school year as the winner of the TAPPS 3A Henderson Cup, beating out 46 other schools for the award. The Henderson Cup goes to the school with the top sports programs over the course of the entire school year, with added points for achievements in fine arts and academics.
Along with winning the TAPPS 3A State Championship in boys basketball, STE also boasted high statewide rankings in several sports over the 2013-14 school year. STE scored 87 points in winning the cup, 61 of which were from athletics, 16 from fine arts and 10 from academics.
“This award is a great honor for our school,” said athletic director Clayton Harrell. “It’s the second time in the last three years we’ve won the award, and it shows what a well-rounded educational experience we provide at St. Thomas’.”
Over at St. John’s, the girls lacrosse team closed out the school year by winning the Texas Girls High School Lacrosse League State Championship. The Mavericks beat neighboring rival Lamar in the state final. The victory also marked the 11th consecutive season the Mavericks have won either the state championship, SPC title or a combination of both.
“It was a great victory for our girls,” said St. John’s head coach Angie Kensinger. “We had a very young team with only four seniors.”
Several players won major post-season awards, including senior Eden Epner and sophomore Lindsey McKone, who were both named US Lacrosse All-Americans. In addition, McKone, junior Nell Copeland and senior captain Grace Winston were part of the all-state team, while Eden, McKone and junior Jessica Nyquist were named to the SPC All-Conference team.
The school year closed out with major academic honors for Memorial’s Grant Kirchhofer, Stratford’s Benjamin Riedel and Thomas DiGregorio of Strake Jesuit, who were all named the Greater Houston Scholar Athletes of the Year for their respective sports. The awards were presented by the Touchdown Club of Houston at its 48th annual Spring Sports Scholar Athlete Banquet, with the judging based on athletic and academic achievement as well as community service and extracurricular activities.
Riedel was named the Scholar Athlete of the Year in boys golf, while DiGregorio represented boys soccer and Kirchhofer won the award in boys swimming.
Meanwhile, a number of other local athletes were Scholar Athlete of the Year finalists in their respective sports, including Ben Graber (Memorial baseball), Brenna Black (Memorial softball), Abigail Brown (Stratford softball), Brian Doyle (Strake Jesuit basketball), Campbell Ross (Stratford golf), Margaret Sherwood (Memorial soccer), Taylor Troutman (Stratford soccer), Brianna Burns (Memorial swimming), Daniel Gawerc (Memorial track and field), Colin Thompson (Strake Jesuit track and field) and Kimmie George (Strake Jesuit cheerleading).
Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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