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SportzBuzz - November 2021

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Grayson Kim

EAGLES ON THE LOOSE It’s been another big season for Second Baptist Eagles wide receiver and four-year starter Grayson Kim. The Eagles were looking to make another deep playoff run this season after advancing to the TAPPS state semifinals the past three seasons.

With a thrilling 23-19 victory over Calhoun, the Second Baptist Eagles secured an impressive win over a larger UIL Class 4A program, while also raising its record to 4-1 midway through the season.

“I would say it was a game that we circled on our schedule as a measuring stick to see how our program has progressed, and our kids responded well to the game,” said Eagles head football coach Terry Pirtle.

The Eagles have responded quite well in recent seasons, with three straight trips to the TAPPS Division 2 state semifinals, while again looking on track for another deep playoff run this season. “On offense, we’re led by running back Eli Smith,” said Pirtle. “Eli is running the ball hard while breaking tackles and extending plays. He’ll play next season at Villanova University.” Also on offense, Pirtle says, sophomore quarterback Turner Murdock has shown big improvement each week, while wide receiver and four-year starter Grayson Kim has been a major contributor.

“Defensively, we’ve played great all season,” added Pirtle. “All-state safety Everett Skillern is having a tremendous year. Everett will play in the Ivy League next season at Brown University.” Other key contributors include linebackers Austin Courtney and Kyle Kollmorgen as well as senior defensive lineman Colin Hedges.

Sophia Agee

TREMENDOUS TIGERS Two-time All-State selection Sophia Agee has helped lead the St. Agnes Academy Tigers to another powerhouse season on the volleyball court. Agee was also part of the Tigers’ 2019 TAPPS state championship team.

In volleyball, it’s been another powerhouse season for the St. Agnes Academy Tigers, who carried a 26-7 record deep into the regular season. Along the way, the Tigers defeated several of the area’s premier Class 6A UIL programs, including state-ranked Ridge Point and Klein.

“We’ve defeated some really great large public school teams,” said Tigers head volleyball coach Cydryce McMillian. “We’ve challenged our girls by going up against and being successful against these big-name volleyball programs.”

Now in her third season as the Tigers head coach, McMillian guided St. Agnes to the TAPPS 6A state championship in 2019 and then the state finals last season, with this year’s team right on track to making another deep playoff run. “We have some seniors who were part of that state-title team two years ago, along with a strong junior class that played on last season’s state final team. We’ve also sprinkled in some younger players, and it’s all come together really well this season,” said McMillian.

Among the returnees for the Tigers is senior sensation Sophia Agee, a two-time all-state player for the Tigers, as well as second-team all-state player Piper Stephenson. In addition, senior outside hitter Alexis Visintine and seniors Grace Webber and Nicole Dworaczyk are three-year starters for the Tigers. Also, junior Ariel Francis, who is a three-year varsity player, and junior NiMya Maruska are key contributors. “The big thing for us is continuing to polish our system and execute at an extremely high level,” said McMillian.

Emmanuel Sgouras

LEADER OF THE PACK It’s been a dominant high school career for St. John’s cross country and track and field sensation Emmanuel Sgouras. In addition to his many victories for the Mavericks, Sgouras also finished first at the Balkan 18U Championships in the 3,000-meter race. (Photo: Kevin Long/Gulf Coast Shots)

With nationally ranked runner Emmanuel Sgouros setting the pace, the St. John’s School Mavericks figure to be making a run at an SPC boys cross country championship this season. “Emmanuel has worked really hard the last two years and is a force both in cross country and track and field,” said St. John’s boys cross country coach Richie Mercado.

With his father being from the Island of Crete, Sgouros has spent many of his summers in Greece, where he’s run internationally for the Greece Junior National Team. This summer, Sgouros raced to victory at the Balkan U18 Championships in the 3,000 meters. He then returned home to Houston in time to lead the St. John’s foursome of Sgouros, Danny Wasserman, William Thames, and Wilson Bailey to victory in the Greenhill 6-Mile relay race.

In September, Sgouros dominated a field of many of the state’s top runners to win the McNeil Invitational while covering the 3.1-mile course in a scorching fast time of 15:01.

“That was a phenomenal victory for Emmanuel,” said Mercado. “It was the same course where the UIL runs its state cross country meet, with four of the eight top runners in the state making up the field.” Sgouros will be the clear favorite to finish first at this month’s SPC cross country championship, but he very well could lead the Mavericks to a team championship. 

“We’ve got a really good group,” said Mercado. “Wilson Bailey ran a personal best at the McNeil Invitational, and we had a big team victory at the Woodlands Christian meet. If we can stay healthy and run as a team, we’ll have a shot at challenging St. Mark’s for the team championship.”

Editor’s note: Todd Freed is the host and executive producer of H-Town High School Sports, which airs Monday through Thursday on AT&T SportsNet SW. To submit high school sports news for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email [email protected].

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