As Monday night’s Spring Sports Assembly came to a close, the focus shifted from the recent past to the near future.
Two Stephenville field athletes — Laura Skinner and MaKayla Elliott — have one more meet to go: namely, the Class 4A state meet in Austin May 11-12. Both girls have set marks that rank among the state’s best — Skinner in high jump (5’6”) and Elliott in discus (more than 140 feet).
During his remarks, head track coach Randall Edwards predicted both girls would medal at the state meet.
That meet marks the finale of another successful spring for Stephenville High School athletics. The girls powerlifting team won the regional team championship for the first time in school history, and sent Mikka Moncrief, Emily Polasek and Taylor White to state.
“It was really kind of a big surprise to us,” head coach Joseph Gillespie said.
Not to be outdone, Colby Lozano advanced to the state powerlifting meet, and Seth Reding was an alternate.
Stephenville’s success on the pitch continued as well, as both the Honeybees and Yellow Jackets advanced to the postseason. The boys won a share of the district title for the first time in 10 years — and just the second time in school history — with a young team that will return a strong core for next season.
The perennially tough Honeybees had another strong showing on the hardwood, losing to state champs Fort Worth Dunbar in the regional quarterfinals after amassing a 22-12 record that included head coach Ron Berry’s 600th career win.
The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, may have been “height challenged” but gave their opponents all they could stand nevertheless, head coach Mike Dacus said.
“They got after it. Size never mattered,” he said.
The school’s golf teams also had strong showings this spring. The Honeybees placed in four out of the seven tournaments they played in, and freshman Sarah Fulfer earned all-district honors.
Berry’s senior-laden Yellow Jackets won two tournaments, and placed three members on the academic all-district list.
Tennis coach Brice Crippen said his teams won more medals and matches than in any previous year he had coached in Stephenville.
“I’m real proud of the people right behind me,” he said, referring to the varsity athletes lined up onstage with him.
The Honeybees softball team nearly reached the goal head coach Nick Petro set for them at last year’s event, finishing fourth in district and just missing the playoffs. The team made a remarkable turnaround, going 8-6 in district after a 2-8 season.
The Honeybees even made their way into the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll early in the season, an accomplishment Petro said “blew my mind.”
Finally, Yellow Jackets baseball coach Steve Carroll noted the progress his team made during the home stretch of what he called “kind of a wild year.”
Former head coach Julio Jimenez resigned midway through the season, to devote more time to his father. Carroll was moved up from the junior varsity, and the team weathered a series of rainouts to win three of their last nine games.
Along the way, he constantly invoked the competitive nature of his players and their ability to fight through adversity.