Most media outlets will complete a “year-end” review in sports. Since the community sports calendars revolve around the high school calendars, it is only fitting that we do a “year-end” review at the end of the school year.
It is also a good time for me to reflect on my first experience handling the sports for a community that is exceedingly passionate about its teams. I will not bore you with my personal reflections, so let’s focus on our local sports teams!
Everyone knew that Atascocita would find the road a little bumpy this year, in their inaugural season, and that was never truer than in football. In a sport where size and speed does matter, the Eagles were not welcomed kindly, but have a firm foundation to build on. However, their volleyball team became the first AHS team to reach the playoffs and win a playoff game.
Basketball spotlighted Kingwood once again as they became the first team to make it to the state championship three years in a row. Mike Singletary and company fell just short this year, but it was a wild ride and one we will always remember. The Lady Wildcats of Humble won their district in basketball and reached the regional quarterfinals before being eliminated by Dulles.
Spring brought the basketball season to a close and opened the door for soccer, baseball and softball. Kingwood once again reigned supreme in soccer as both the boys' and girls’ teams claimed district titles and both teams lost in the Regional Final, only one step away from the state tournament. The Humble boys also reached the post-season successfully with the Eagles just outside looking in. Perhaps the biggest story was the Lady Eagles, who in their first year reached the Regional Quarterfinals, losing to state-runner up, Deer Park.
Softball proved to be a tough year for AHS and Humble as they watched Kingwood represent the area in the playoffs. After a long battle against La Porte in the first round, the Lady Mustangs ran into top ranked Pearland and were defeated, ending their run.
Baseball was hotly contested in the area as a new rivalry started between the Eagles and Mustangs. With Humble rebuilding on the success of previous teams and looking to 2008, Kingwood and Atascocita reached the playoffs intent on making some noise. An early exit for the sophomore-laden Eagles was disappointing, but the Mustangs face Clear Lake as they continue to march toward the finals.
Karyn LaCour is defending her track and field state championship while representing Humble and the Kingwood golf team once again made it to state, hoping to bring home the gold.
Success was also seen in gymnastics by our schools, as well as tennis, proving that this area is the place to be for competitive and successful high school sports.
I don’t know about you, but I am anxiously awaiting the fall and the start of another sports journey.
Recent success of the Humble, Kingwood and Atascocita gymnastics and cheer teams makes it clear that competition in this area is at the highest level. In order to maintain that level of success, competitors must spend hours training and honing their skills.
If you are not involved with one of the school teams, where can you go to help take your talent to the next level? Enter the Texas Flip Factory.
Longtime residents, Stacy and Kris Williams, along with Barbara Biehunko, are opening a new state-of-the-art gym that will offer individuals and teams a place to practice and train their gymnastic, tumbling and cheer talents.
“We really believe in Humble and wanted to bring back a youth organization to the area,” Kris Williams said. “I cheered all through school and now my daughter is involved in it, so now I am able to relive all I enjoyed about those times.”
Texas Flip Factory will open in August 2007 and offers over 6,000 sq. ft. of training space for anyone 3 to 18 years old who is serious about being competitive in these sports. It will boast a 42’ x 42’ “flat floor” that is used for high school workouts, a 52’ x 40’ “spring floor” that is a favorite of all-star competitions, a 40’ x 6’ “rod floor” for long tumbling exercises and all the mats and basic apparatus for the beginner to the most advanced participant. They even have plans to build a 500 sq. ft. aerobic studio for parents as their children train in the gym.
To make sure they continually offer the best training around, Flip Factory will also have classes for all levels of ability taught by highly accredited instructors.
“We are hoping schools will want to come to us to practice and prepare for their competitions, but we are also open to the public and various all-star squads. We are already getting inquiries from as far away as Tarkington,” Williams said.
Stacy and Kris Williams are chairmen of the Humble Rodeo Committee and do volunteer work for the Humble Education Foundation and believe their gym will offer a unique experience for the students in this and surrounding areas.
“We saw a need for a gym in the Humble area that will give students a place to go and get involved in the growing environment of tumbling and cheer,” Stacy iterated.
Located across from St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Issaacks and South Houston Avenue, Flip Factory is easily accessible. For more information on the gym, trainers or classes visit www.texasflipfactory.com.
Photo: Owners and supporters of the Texas Flip Factory held a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday for the new facility coming to Humble on South Houston Avenue at Isaacks Street. Ready to break ground, from left, are Shanna Porten, Connor Porten (in her arms), Barbara Biehunko, Hailey Leahy, Alie Davidson, Lori White, Alyssa Williams, Kris Williams, Stacy Williams and Camrin Porten (front). Photo by Patsy Oliver
When Chance Beasley graduated from Humble High School in 2002, he left behind a legacy of award winning play, effort and dedication. After garnering All Greater Houston and All-State honors in football, he picked up right where he left off and was awarded All-District honors in baseball.
The son of Humble football coach, John Beasley, Chance has translated high school success into eye-opening collegiate stats for his Ouachita Baptist baseball team.
The Ouachita Tigers are currently 48-6 on the season, ranked second in the NCBWA poll and fourth in the CBN poll thanks in large part to Beasley's all-around display of power and consistency. OBU took home the Gulf Southland Conference championship for the first time in school history with a 18-6 conference record.
Beasley's patience at the plate and determination to be the best became instantly noticeable as he hit safely in 31straight games, a school record. His 77 runs scored have him at the top of his conference and ranked third nationally.
It does not end there. He also leads the conference in hits (84), runs batted in (72) and in total bases (143). His RBI total has him ranked 13th nationally. Beasley's 13 home runs and .408 batting average have him in the conference top three in those categories, as well.
Power is not his only asset to the team. Speed and getting on base is a major facet of his game. His 23 stolen bases and .494 on base percentage put pressure on the opposing teams and give his teammates the chance to win many ball games.
Beasley was recently named team MVP and OBU's most outstanding male athlete. If he keeps this up, it may not be long before Humble High School is represented at the professional level.
The Tigers are currently playing in their first-ever conference championship tournament and will be hosting the Division II South Central Regional Tournament on May 17.
Photo: Ouachita Baptist player and Humble High school Graduate Chance Beasley has led his Tiger team to the top of their conference for the first time in school history.
For most Eagle softball players, their last game of the softball season was April 20 against Baytown Lee. That is not the case for starting varsity center fielder, Stephanie Regan. Since she was 8 years old, Regan has been playing in a softball season or tournament virtually every weekend.
“A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to play softball with her one summer, and it just kind of stuck with me,” Regan said of how she got started playing the game.
Whether she stuck with it or it stuck with her, the result is all that matters. Regan finished the inaugural Eagle season leading the team in batting average, stolen bases, and runs scored. She also finished the season with a fielding percentage of 1.000. It is little wonder why she was elected as co-captain of the varsity team.
Her never-quit attitude and all or nothing style of play was noticeable at a collegiate exposure tournament in Colorado and earned her an invitation to play in tournaments in South America and Europe this summer.
“I will be playing in a ‘good will’ tournament in Peru the middle of July and in the Holland Invitational early August,” Regan said.
Both tournaments are supported by the Junior Olympic committees of the respected nations, so this will truly be an international experience for Regan.
“We are excited and honored on her being selected for these events,” her father, John Regan said. “It is always nice when other people recognize your kids.”
Softball is not the only thing that keeps this stand-out athlete busy. She actively participates in her youth group at Atascocita United Methodist Church, plays in the church band when needed, is president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at AHS, vice-president of Christian Student Union, listed in the Who’s Who of high school students and sports a straight-A, 4.0 average in her classes. She also represents AHS on the 1st team All-District softball squad for District 21-5A.
Motivation and the pursuit of excellence is never a problem for Regan, who admits that there are days when she is tired, but once she steps on the field, her drive to succeed kicks in and takes over.
Regan hopes that by playing international competition, the experience will help improve her game and give her an edge heading into next season with the Eagles. She aspires to play for a Division I-A school after she graduates high school.
Regan hopes to represent her community and high school well as she plays throughout the world this summer and is looking for sponsors to help make this once in a lifetime experience possible. If you would like to assist in making this dream come true, you can contact John or Susan Regan at 281-852-5128.
Photo: Stephanie Regan
Reaching the playoffs in their first year of varsity level sports is a great accomplishment in itself. However, the Atascocita Eagles baseball team wanted more. They wanted to advance deep into the playoffs and make it known that they have arrived.
Unfortunately for them, a more experienced and polished La Porte team was waiting for them and halted their playoff run before it could get started.
Following a 10-0 loss in the first game of the best-of-three series, the Eagles came home needing a win to push the series to a decisive game three. Eagle ace Jonathan Dziedzic took the mound against the senior heavy Bulldog lineup.
Two quick fly outs and a strikeout in the top of the first for Dziedzic set the tone for what would be a good pitching performance. The Eagles countered the quick inning with a walk by Jordan Wilson and a double off the bat of Grant Clyde. With one out and runners on second and third, Clay Schrader came to the plate hoping to do some early damage for his team. Personifying one of the big factors of the night, the Eagles could not get the clutch hit as Schrader and Bronson Buell struck out to end the inning.
Despite the missed opportunity in that inning, Dziedic held the Bulldogs scoreless in the second, highlighted by a quick pick-off move to first where Conn McWilliams tagged out the Bulldog runner. More Eagle traffic in the second yielded zero runs and the third inning began with a 0-0 tie.
La Porte led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a throwing error as Dziedic attempted another pick-off. A fielder’s choice brought in the first run of the game for the Bulldogs. Atascocita answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single from Grant Clyde, his second hit of the night. However, the inning ended with, yet again, an Eagle runner on third, unable to score.
“We didn’t swing the bat with intensity and couldn’t get a clutch hit when we needed it,” coach Eric Matthews said.
So far, the Eagles had been able to avoid the damage from two fielding errors, but you can only tempt fate for so long. La Porte began the fourth inning with one single, followed by a double to take the lead 2-1. Two stolen bases and a walk later put runners on the corners with one out. A throwing error on a fielder’s choice and a pass ball allowed two more runs to score and La Porte led 4-1.
Atascocita got one run back in the fourth inning from Clyde’s third hit of the night, a single to centerfield. Unfoturnately, the wheels came off in the fifth and sealed the Eagles' fate.
Three hits and two errors allowed the Bulldogs to score six runs, with only three of them being earned.
“Dziedzic did what he is supposed to do. He pitched well enough to give us a chance to win, but his defense let him down,” Matthews said.
Two more errors in the top of the seventh allowed La Porte to score three more runs and take a 13-2 lead. Dylan Linhoff led of the bottom of the seventh with a single, but was put out on a fielder’s choice. Despite a walk and stolen base, La Porte was able to get the final two outs and the win advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
“Reaching the playoffs in their first year was good for these guys,” Matthews said. “They have got a taste of what it feels like and know that the intensity level increases in the playoffs, and they must match that level with their play. We have a lot to learn, but we are young and had a great first year.”
It has been a great year for the Eagle baseball team and, with most of the team only in the tenth grade, you cannot help but imagine how good they could be in the next year or two.
Photo: Third baseman Grant Clyde attempts to break a scoreless tie in the first inning of the game.
Photo by Wesley Orton
It appears that when searching for an instructor that would take their first year dance and drill squad to the top, Atascocita High School found the perfect candidate in Melissa Rayburn. Rayburn is in her 10th year of teaching dance in the public school system. Before teaching in high schools, she taught in several Houston area dance studios. During thattime she opened her own studio where she honed her teaching skills for five years. Galena Park High School benefited from her pursuit toward excellence as she taught dance and directed the Jacketeer Drill Team for seven years. Before moving to AHS, Rayburn taught dance at Humble High SchoolNinth Grrade Campus for two years. Having received her master’s degree from University of Houston in 2000 and teaching at the collegiate level for five years, Rayburn has a deep well of experience and ideas to take her teams to the highest level possible. The team’s 2007 results are proof. The AHS Patriette’s placed first or second in three of their four competitions this year. Not only did they place in the top two consistently, their officer’s group swept the awards at dance competitions in San Antonio and Northshore. Their biggest competition in 2008 will be the Houston Area Championships in February. Hard work and dedication drives the team, but they could not do it without a committed group of parents and the help of Rayburn’s junior varsity teacher, Cindy Marches. The girls fine-tune their skills by training at least three days after school and on some Saturdays. Rayburn and Marches currently train 92 girls between their varsity and junior varsity squads. Recently new officers were elected to represent the team during the 2008 campaign.
Their success and first-rate facility have earned them a chance to host the American Dance and Drill Team Competition in 2008. For more information on the Patriettes contact Rayburn at 281-641-6017.
Photo: Meet the AHS Patriette officers for 2008! Top Row (l-r): Secretary LaTrea Walters, Treasurer Kinsey Speigelhauer, Social Chair Courtney Sitton. Second Row (l-r): Social Chair Taylor Gistrap, Vice President Ami Hunt, President Tina Ramirez, Social Chair Lindsey Bruton, Historian Nikki Calfee. Third Row: Senior Lieutenant Samantha Linhoff, Lieutenant Ashlee Hendrex, Senior Lieutenant Renee Benson, Senior Lieutenant Monica Duren. Bottom Row (l-r): Senior Lieutenant Ashley Filkins, 1st Lieutenant Jaimee King, Captain Allison Durham, Co-Captain Brandy Smalstig and Lieutenant Skye White. Photo by Wesley Orton