The next two athletic seasons are sure to bring the Texas heat in Humble ISD as the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announces realignment that puts Humble ISD schools in a super district with Galena Park’s North Shore High School for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years.
The UIL realigns every two years. The recent announcement places Humble ISD high schools, with the exception of Kingwood Park, in District 21-6A. In addition to North Shore High School, Humble (Wildcats), Atascocita (Eagles), Kingwood (Mustangs), and Summer Creek (Bulldogs) will face West Brook High School (Bruin Bears) from Beaumont ISD, and C.E. King High School (Panthers) from Sheldon ISD. The previous alignment for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years placed Humble, Atascocita, Kingwood, and Summer Creek high schools in District 22-6A with Pasadena ISD high schools: Pasadena, Dobie, Memorial, Rayburn, and South Houston.
North Shore (Mustangs) received national recognition in football, ranking fourth in the nation in high school football and being crowned the National Champions by MaxPreps in 2018. But they excel in other sports as well. The Mustangs rank either first or second in their district for boys basketball, boys soccer, and girls basketball.
Atascocita ended their 2019-2020 football season as district champions, number three in the Houston Metro area, and ranking number 12 in the state.
The Tribune reached out to head coaches in Humble ISD for reactions to the new schedule their teams will be facing. Overall, the coaches responded very positively and optimistically, welcoming the new competition. Summer Creek Head Boys’ Basketballs Coach Kenneth Coleman said, “I like the realignment. I feel there were quality schools that were added to the district that will make it very competitive and interesting.” Three of the current starters are expected to return for the 2020-2021 school year. As of Thursday, Feb. 7, Summer Creek was ranked Np. 20 in the State, two spots above Atascocita at No. 22, but Atascocita is first in district above Summer Creek at second.
Summer Creek girls’ basketball team is currently No. 18 in state rankings. Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Carlesa Dixon said about the realignment, “I’m excited about the new schedule for next year’s district. There will be new competition as well as familiar opponents that will be tough along the way.” Three of this year’s players are expected to be returning as starters in 2020-2021. According to Dixon, the team will be “very young” next school year and will be focusing on getting the newer players “acclimated to the varsity system and workout routine.”
According to Kingwood Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Monte Cole, the new district will be “one of the more competitive districts in the state,” making the playoffs more electrifying. “There are multiple regional contenders in the district and will require us to be ready to play at a high level every game,” Cole said. “The teams that make the playoffs will definitely be battle tested by the time the playoffs begin.”
Cole shared that preparations for next year will include finding teams to play during the pre-district that will better prepare the team for district. Kingwood will have nine lettermen and two starters returning for the 2020-2021 school year. Currently, Kingwood is ranked third in district behind Atascocita and Summer Creek.
Kingwood Head Volleyball Coach Christie Mewis agreed that the new district will be competitive. “New faces mean new challenges ahead [that] I look forward to,” Mewis said. Kingwood Volleyball is ranked first in district with an undefeated season over Summer Creek at No. 2. They faced and defeated North Shore during the bi-district round of the championship bracket for 2019.
Summer Creek Head Volleyball Coach Sarah Aguilar said the team is excited about the new district and for being able to face competitive opponents without having to travel very far. “We have added some strong preseason matchups to test our talent, along with three very competitive varsity tournaments,” Aguilar said. Summer Creek will have nine varsity retainers for the 2020-2021 school year.
From Humble High School, Head Boys’ Soccer Coach Saul Keene said about the realignment, “Change is always interesting as it carries new challenges that we’ll need to figure out. While we’ll miss competing against Dobie and Pasadena Memorial, we’re excited about the challenge of North Shore and King. It’s a smaller district, but the competition looks comparable.”
Keene said that preparations will not change much for the new schedule of teams. “We’ll prepare for next season just as we have the past several years,” he said. “The process has proven successful, so we’ll go with it until it’s not.” Humble Boys’ Soccer will have seven returning varsity players, including four starters, for the 2020-2021 school year.
Frankline Owino, Summer Creek Head Girls’ Soccer Coach, explained that the new schedule will be “no major change” from the competition faced in the previous two years. “Atascocita and Kingwood will always be vying for the top two spots leaving us with only one team,” Owino said. He added, “I am quite happy with our chances for a top four finish.”
Atascocita’s Head Baseball Coach, Eric Matthews, shared similar sentiments as Keene, saying, “Although our new district has changed, the way we do things will not. We will continue to work hard to be the best we can be as a program.”
Buzz aside, the new alignment takes effect in August 2020, giving all the teams the remainder of the current school year to plan and prepare.