The coronation of Hays High as the new champion of Class 4A softball completed an impressive turnaround for the Lady Rebels.
When Aaron Fuller took over as coach in 2012, he inherited a team that was coming off a playoff-less season. In the history of their program, the Lady Rebels had never advanced past the third round of the playoffs, and their most-recent trip to the postseason’s second round had come in 2003.
But in Fuller’s first season, the Lady Rebels reached the regional quarterfinals. A year later, they were the state champions.
Can the Lady Rebels repeat in 2014? Sure.
Hays will need to replace a lot of offense — seniors Brayden Pinckard, Clarissa Gonzalez and Hannah Ramsey all hit better than .400 this season — and restock its outfield, where Pinckard and Ramsey started alongside fellow senior Traci Green. But the Lady Rebels will bring back six starters, and junior Sarah Leal is expected to return at the sport’s most important position — pitcher.
TOP HEADLINES: This is the last Prepped And Ready column until August so let’s reflect on the past year. Here are the top five high school sports stories from the 2012-13 school year:
- TIMBERWOLVES ON TOP: Cedar Park boasted Class 4A’s second-best boys and girls cross country teams, the state runner-up boys golf team and girls soccer and volleyball squads that reached their respective state tournaments. And the school’s football team also won its first state championship, with quarterback Nate Grimm becoming a folk hero in the process as he played a part of the Class 4A, Division II title game on a broken leg.
- LADY REBELS MAKE HISTORY: Before last week, an Austin metro-area school had never won a UIL championship in softball, and area schools were 0 for 4 in title games. Before last week, Hays High had never won a state championship in a team sport, and the school was 0 for 2 in title games. Two birds, meet the stone that Leal and the Lady Rebels hit them with in the Class 4A championship game on Saturday.
- GEORGETOWN THRIVES IN 4A: A Class 5A school since the mid-1990s, Georgetown fared well in its re-introduction to the Class 4A ranks. The Lady Eagles soared to the title at the Class 4A girls basketball tournament; Blair Murski and Jace LaCaille won championships at the Class 4A wrestling meet; and the football team reached the 4A, Division I title game.
- RAIDERS HAVE YOUNG GUNS: Rouse will graduate its second senior class this spring, but the Raiders’ sports team enjoyed a youth movement this school year. Freshman Madie Boreman won state championships in cross country and track and field while sophomore running back Billy Ray McCrary made his debut on the varsity scene with a great name and a 1,708-yard season.
- MIKE’S RECORD NIGHT: Marble Falls was 4-6 this fall in football, but Todd Dodge’s first season as coach of the Mustangs could be considered a success because of what his quarterback did in a non-district game against Boerne Champion. Senior Mike Richardson earned national headlines in September when he threw for a state-record 724 yards in a 62-55 victory over the Chargers.
Where are they now? Every week, we spotlight the collegiate athletic accomplishments of a few of our area alums. If you know of somebody who should be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freshman catcher Megan Walentynowicz (Cedar Park, 2012) hit .327 for Kansas’ Southwestern College this season. Walentynowicz also hit two home runs and drove in 17 runs.
Concordia sophomore Jack Cersosimo (Lanier, 2011) was recently named the American Southwest Conference’s distinguished scholar-athlete of the year for men’s golf. Cersosimo holds Concordia’s career record for lowest scoring average.
Teams from Austin metro-area schools won nine state championships during the 2012-13 school year:
- Cedar Park: UIL Class 4A, Division II football
- Hays: UIL Class 4A softball
- Georgetown: UIL Class 4A girls basketball
- Lake Travis: UIL Class 5A boys golf; UIL Class 5A girls golf
- Marble Falls Faith: TAPPS Class 2A boys tennis; TAPPS Class 2A girls tennis
- Regents: TAPPS Division II boys swimming
- Round Rock Christian: TAPPS Class 3A volleyball