2011 — a productive year for local athletes
While the many talented athletes of Wilson County look forward to success in 2012, we thought it was a good idea to take a quick peek back at the athletes, coaches, and storylines that kept our communities connected in 2011.
When 2011 began, the local teams were all right in the middle of basketball season. Several of the area’s teams put together good seasons, including the girls teams from Floresville, Poth, and Falls City.
The Floresville Jaguars were able to reach the regional quarterfinals, one of the school’s top finishes, while the Pirettes and Beaverettes advanced all the way to the state tournament in Austin. Falls City eventually fell to Martin’s Mill in the state semifinal, and Poth lost its state semifinal game with Winnsboro. On the boys side, the Pirates of Poth and the Falls City Beavers made the best runs, as each reached the regional quarterfinals.
The sport of powerlifting has been growing in popularity over the years, and no school has embraced the challenge more than Poth.
With state titles already to its credit, the bar has been set pretty high at Poth High School. Several athletes proved they were up to the challenge again in 2011, and the school sent another three lifters to the state meet.
Powerlifters Jessica Coronado, Daniella Noguez, and Antoniette Price each qualified for the state meet, and they didn’t disappoint with their results. Noguez finished sixth in her weight class, Price was fourth, and Coronado took home a gold medal and another state title for the Pirettes.
Over in Stockdale, the powerlifting program has gained momentum under Coach Michael Enriquez. The Brahmas and Lady Brahmas fielded a good team in 2011, and eventually sent a pair of athletes to the state meet. Ashley Valadez represented Stockdale well at the state competition, and just missed the podium with her fourth-place finish. On the guys’ side, Darion McMahan qualified for state and then grabbed a bronze medal with his third-place showing.
Floresville High School also had a presence at the state meet, as then-junior Jonathan Saldana qualified for the meet. Saldana competed in the super heavy weight division, and returned home with a solid sixth-place finish.
In the tennis world, the year started well for La Vernia with a new set of tennis courts. Shelby Brantley then went to work for the Lady Bears, and won the region title to go along with her trip to the state tournament.
Just down U.S. 87, the boys and girls of Stockdale were also playing well, and sent three athletes to the state tournament.
Jordan Jackson was the regional champ, and then went on to win a silver medal at the state tournament in boys singles play. Gabriella and Kristen Salazar had a strong regional tournament in doubles to finish third, and also made the trip to the state tournament.
Track and field
Each year, there are a number of standout athletes from the area in the world of track and field, and 2011 was no different. In addition to district championships for the East Central Hornets, La Vernia Lady Bears, Poth Pirettes, and Falls City Beaverettes, a number of athletes also earned a trip to the state meet.
East Central had a number of stellar athletes dress in black and gold last spring, and the Hornets went out and grabbed the Region IV track title. Several athletes qualified for the state meet in individual events, but it was the men’s 4x400-meter relay team that got the most attention, as Aaron Spann, Matt Coleman, Nick Coleman, and Chris Armstrong ran their way to a silver medal at state.
The Lady Bears of La Vernia were the Region IV runners-up, and several athletes made the trip to the state meet. The 4x100-meter relay team qualified for state, but it was Natalie Baker who took home the hardware thanks to her efforts in the 300-meter hurdles. Baker also ran the 100-meter hurdles, where she finished fourth.
The Bears were not completely absent from the state meet, either, as La Vernia’s 4x200-meter relay team qualified to make the trip.
Poth High School sent a total of three athletes to the state meet in field events. Tara Broyles made a great showing in the long jump at the regional meet to qualify for state. In discus, Avery Acker and Billy Korzekwa each earned trips, as well. Acker improved upon her performance from the regional meet to win a second-place medal at state, and Korzekwa took home bronze for the men.
The Beaverettes won the Region IV title and sent several athletes to state, but the team was shut out during its trip.
Floresville had a great year for track and field in 2011, and the Tigers made one of their best showings in school history as they finished third in the 4x100-meter relay at the regional meet. The bronze medals didn’t give them a trip to state, but it was the best finish the school has ever had in the event. In addition, Travis Svoboda, one of the relay team members, did qualify for the state meet after finishing second in the 100-meter dash during the regional.
When baseball and softball season rolled around, it came as no surprise to anyone to see the Poth Pirettes win the district title and make a good run into the postseason. La Vernia and Falls City also made a good showing on the softball field.
While the Lady Bears and Beaverettes reached the regional quarterfinal round of the playoffs, the Pirettes hung on one extra week, advancing to the regional semifinals before getting bumped out.
Several area baseball teams reached the playoffs as well, but only La Vernia survived the first round. The Bears were booted in the second round by Boerne.
New school year
After a short summer break, the athletes returned to work during a new academic school year. Volleyball, cross country, and football are the traditional sports of fall, as well as team tennis for the larger schools of the area.
It was a pretty typical year in the volleyball world. The Lady Hornets, Jaguars, Lady Bears, and Pirettes all made the playoffs, and the teams went a little further in 2011.
While East Central did struggle with a young team, the squad from Floresville embraced the new changes Coach Regan Curran brought to the team, and the Jaguars advanced all the way to the regional quarterfinals.
For La Vernia, a great fog appeared to lift as the Lady Bears got past the Wimberley Lady Texans in the regional quarterfinals, but the team fell apart at the regional tournament, losing its match to Sinton in the semifinals.
As for Poth, it was business as usual for the volleyball juggernauts as they obliterated the competition and marched straight to San Marcos where the Pirettes captured their eighth state championship.
A number of teams and athletes made great strides in the cross-country world this season, but none more so than the Lady Bears of La Vernia. The team ran great all season long, looked good at the Region IV meet by finishing second in the team standings, and then backed it up with another second-place finish at state. The team also had a couple of athletes medal at state, a first for the Lady Bear program.
On the gridiron
Football is king in Texas, and the fans faithfully rallied around their teams again in 2011.
East Central, Poth, and Falls City each won their district titles, as all three teams escaped their district matchups without a single loss. The Hornets played two rounds deep into the postseason, while the Pirates advanced to the regional semifinals before falling to unbeaten Refugio. The Beavers did a good job at defending their state title, but eventually fell in the Region IV title game to Burton. The rematch from last year was also the state quarterfinal round of play.
The teams from La Vernia and Stockdale also made the playoffs in 2011. The Bears peaked at the right time, making it all the way to the regional semifinals, while the Brahmas were forced to make an early exit in their bi-district matchup.
To the next level
Each year, a handful of athletes in the area are able to continue competing at the collegiate level. In 2011, however, 18 students earned the right to play college athletics.
Grouping them by school, East Central led the way with a total of six signings in 2011. Eddie Lopez signed with Texas A&M-Kingsville, Gant Kiolbassa signed with UTSA, Moses Rymers inked a deal with Mary Hardin-Baylor, Diara Reynolds left for UT-Pan American, Alexis Russell left the state to Northern Oklahoma College, and Kayla Gregg penned a deal with Baylor.
Poth had four student-athletes sign, including Jordan Kotara to UTSA, Avery Acker to SMU, Kelsee Felux to Texas A&M-Kingsville, and Monica Cavazos to Texas A&M-International.
In Floresville, Erica Hernandez signed on to play at Southeastern Louisiana, Tori Bayer will compete at Lubbock Christian, and Garrett Pollok will play in San Antonio at St. Mary’s.
Additional signees from the area include Raustin Harris and Stephen Elizondo of La Vernia. Harris went to Abilene Christian and Elizondo signed on with Western Texas College. Stockdale’s Kristy Vela signed with Coastal Bend College, Jean Deason went to run track at Texas A&M, and Adkins’ J.J. Lindsey will play golf for UTSA.
Milestones and memories
In addition to these traditional sporting events and accomplishments, a few additional headlines made the sports pages of the Wilson County News last year. In the world of golf, Nixon-Smiley’s Nathan Morris put himself front and center as he qualified for the state golf tournament. He played well against the state’s best, and returned home with a respectable sixth-place finish.
A few coaches were also recognized for their contributions over the years. In Floresville, Head Football Coach John Baker received recognition from the school for his 100th win. Just over the county line, East Central High School showed appreciation to longtime basketball coach Stan Bonewitz by dedicating the school’s newly renovated game gym in his name.