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SportzBuzz - April 2024

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St. Thomas Eagles

STATE CHAMPIONS The St. Thomas Eagles were crowned state wrestling champions for the first time in 11 years. The Eagles won the TAPPS state title by a decisive 14-point margin over second-place Dallas Biship Lynch.

For the first time since 2013, the St. Thomas Eagles are state wrestling champions, capturing the TAPPS state title by a 14-point margin over second-place Dallas Bishop Lynch. “Our wrestlers performed to the best of their ability,” said St. Thomas wrestling coach Mike LeHolm. “Every single one of our guys matched or exceeded their seeding going into the tournament. Everything came together at once and was a total team effort. It was incredible.”

The Eagles boasted a trio of state champions with junior Roberto Pacini (113 lbs.), freshman Joshua Guzman (150 lbs.), and junior Trace Langin (285 lbs.) all capturing gold medals. Pacini and Guzman were also qualifiers for the Prep Nationals.

In addition, the Eagles had five runner-up finishers at the state meet in freshman Logan Koteras (106 lbs.), junior Jacob Prochaska (144 lbs.), senior Boyd Quinlan (157 lbs.), senior David Grattan (175 lbs.), and sophomore Italo Chavarria-Mendez (190 lbs.).

For LeHolm, the championship was especially rewarding after coming within one point of the state title in 2019 and then another runner-up finish in 2022 for the Eagles sixth year head coach. “It was a big win for our program,” added LeHolm. “It just seems like everything we’ve been working towards the last six seasons has come to fruition. I have a great coaching staff, which includes my brother and even several volunteers. We were able to get the kids to believe they can do it and they went out there and won the title.”

St. John’s wrestling

DYNASTY ON THE MAT The St. John’s wrestling team put forth another dominating season in route to winning the SPC Championship, the Prep State Duals Championship and the Texas Prep State Championship. It’s the fourth straight year that St. John’s has won all three of those major state titles.

With its dominating SPC Wrestling Championship, it was another remarkable season for the St. John’s Mavericks wrestling team. Along with the SPC title, the Mavericks also captured the Prep State Duals Championship and the Texas Prep State Championship.

“It’s the fourth year in a row we’ve won all three of those major state-wide championships so that’s amazingly special,” said Mavericks head wrestling coach Alan Paul. “I don’t think that’s ever done before by another school. The strength of our team is our cohesiveness. We have a strong culture of togetherness. We had 47 wrestlers on our roster this year, which is our biggest team ever.”

The Mavericks won the SPC title by a lofty 74-point margin while remarkably placing a finalist in 13 of the 14 weight-divisions. Five Mavericks won individual SPC championships including Braden Lane (115 lbs.), Mason Lum (126 lbs.), Nico Sturgis (144 lbs.), Yahya Mir (165 lbs.), and Noah Jamison (215 lbs.) The remaining finalists for St. John’s included Cameron Baird, Spencer Arouty, Jet Ligums, Barrett Mossman, Michael Mann, Henry Denham, Sebi Rodriguez, and Wyatt Childers.

“It truly was a remarkable year for our entire team,” added Paul. “My assistant coach Danny Henderson and I have been together here for 18 years. Along the way we’ve won ten SPC Championships, seven Prep State Championships, and six State Dual championships.”

Episcopal Knights

SPC CHAMPIONS The Episcopal Knights celebrated their first SPC Girls Basketball Championship in 36 years. The Knights secured this year’s title with a 66-54 victory over rival Kinkaid in the SPC tournament final.

It was a double-dose of basketball championships for the Episcopal Knights with both the Knights boys and girls teams winning SPC 4A Championships.

For the Knights girls team, it marked their first basketball championship in 36 years having wrapped up the title with a 66-54 victory over rival Kinkaid in the SPC tournament final. “It’s just a testament to the girls and the hard work they put forth starting back in early summer,” said Knights girls basketball coach Chelsea Bass. “Our goal from day one was to win the championship and to win it all in our home gym made it all the more special.”

In the championship final, the Knights were led by a sensational game from McDonald’s All-American Me’Arah O’Neal. The daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, the Knights senior capped off her high school career with a 28-point outing in the title game. “From the very start the goal was to win an SPC Championship,” said O’Neal. “It was pretty much all that Coach Bass talked about and to grind through the season and get the championship meant everything.”

On the boys side, the Knights victory over Dallas St. Mark’s in the SPC tournament final marked its second SPC championship in the last three years. “We as coaches always have groups that we feel special with and this is mine,” said Knights head coach Wayne Jones. For his part, Jones also picked up a monumental 700th career victory this past season.

“This senior group has been incredible from day one. They came in during the Covid year and had their season cut short. They still ended up playing in three straight championship finals while winning two SPC titles. I couldn’t be any prouder of these guys.”

Editor’s note: Todd Freed is the host and executive producer of H-Town High School Sports, which airs Saturday at 10:30 p.m. on CW39 and Monday-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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