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June 19, 2013     Hays Free Press
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ILLNESS TO BLAME Acute illness tops absence problem in the Hays CISD. - Page 1B HaysFreePress.com ~,~1~ ~c.~rl~e ~l~re~ June 19, 2013 ,, Page 1B BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com Excellence. From the field to the soccer pitch to the hardwood, excel- ]ence was the theme for Rebel Athlet- ics in 2012-2013. The stellar play of many teams cul- minated in one team reaching heights never before seen by a Hays High team. Beyond that one team, athletic suc- cess at Hays continues to burn bright. 1, Lady Rebel softball wins State The number one moment should come as no surprise.On June 1, the Lady Rebels made history, becoming the first athletic team in Hays CISD to claim a State Championship. Under the guidance of head coach Aaron Fuller, the Lady Rebels ran through their district schedule in 27- 4A, compiling a 12-2 mark to claim the first District Championship for the program in nearly a decade. Aiding the Lady Rebel effort was a group brimming with experience. Seniors Brayden Pinckard, Hannah Ramsey, Clarissa Gonzalez and Gabi Albarez provided a strong presence at the plate, with each batter hitting no less than .300on the year. In the circle, ace pitcher Sarah Leal provided a strong backbone for the Lady Rebel defense, with a con- sistently low earned run average and a penchant for working out of jams. With all 03 the elements in place, the Lady Rebels made their run through the post-season, dispatch- ing San Antonio Jefferson in the Bi-District round, then sweeping Cedar Park in the Area round. Hays then defeated local favorite Dripping Springs in the Regional Quarterfinal, before travelling to Floresville to play Corpus Christi Moody in the Regional Semifinals. Hays and Moody faced off in a three game battle royale, splitting the first two games. Despite losing a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sev- enth, eventually losing 4-2 in game two, Hays persevered, rallying late to defeat Moody 6-4 in game three to advance to the Regional Final against Leander. Once again, Hays battled back from long odds, defeating Leander 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh to reach the State Tournament in Austin. The team's road through the play- offs helped shape the contenders they eventually became. "Our playoff run is what prepared us for this game; our tough game against Dripping Springs, the tough series with Moody and the back and forth with Leander," Fuller said after the State Tournament. "For the last month, we have been battling. No matter what the circumstance was, when we have the bat in our hands, we have the chance to make some- thing happen." In the State Tournament, Hays dispatched Aledo 8-1, forwarding the team to play Lucas Lovejoy in the Championship game. The title game was a back and forth affair, with both Lovejoy and Hays trading leads and runs. How- ever, the Lady Rebels continued to battle back, scoring three go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh to win the State Title 11-8. The moment was one that helped The ARC Advantage culminate a memorable season for Hays. "I told my team all week that we are happy that we are here, but there was still work to be done," Fuller said. "When Traci squeezed the [fly ball] in the seventh inning, that was satisfying. I cannot say how happy I am and how proud I am of these kids. They worked hard to get to this point. They deserve every bit of this [championship] ." Hays finished the 2012-2013 sea- son with a 31-10 record. PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON Lady Rebel center fielder Hannah Ramsey poses with UIL Assistant Athletic Director Peter Contreras, who awarded Ramsey with the Most Valuable Player honor during the State Tournament. 2. Five Lady Rebels named to All-State Tournament team, Ramsey wins MVP As a result of strong play during the UIL State Softball tournament, five Lady Rebels earned All-State Tournament team honors. Their dedication on the field at Red and Charlene McCombs Field helped the team win the first state title in Hays CISD history. Earning All-State Tour- nament honors were: Sarah Leal- 14 innings, 11 strike- outs in State Tournament Clarissa Gonzalez-5 for 7, 4 singles, 1 home run, 2 RBI's Maddy Shannon-4 for 9, 4 singles, 2 RBI's Hannah Ramsey-4 for 8, 2 singles, 2 doubles, 2 RBI's Brayden Pinckard-2 for 3, 3 singles, 2 doubles, 4 RBI's In addition, Ramsey was named as the Most Valuable Player during the State Tournament. "It is a great honor," Ramsey said after the Lovejoy game. "I honestly thought it was going to go to Sarah [Leall. She played amazing; she pitched incredibly well. I was a little surprised." 3. Gray vault silver State Track On May 10, Mike Meyer Sta- dium was abuzz with the perfor- mance from sophomore Meagan Gray, who bested nu- merous up- per classmen to claim the silver medal at the UIL wins pole- at UIL Meet Megan Gray PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON The Lady Rebel softball team raises the State Championship trophy on high after defeat- ing Lucas Lovejoy 11-8 in the state title game on June 1. State Track and Field Meet. Gray, who cleared 12-feet-.75 inches at the 86" Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on March 30, used the experience to guide her to the sec- ond place finish. "It was awesome to accomplish what I did," Gray said. "I was not expecting to place this year; my hope was to go out there and do my best. It felt amazing to stand on the podium." Also pushing Gray to the remark- able finish was the ability to com- pete against elite pole-vaulters from around the state. None more so than eventual State Champion Lakan Taylor from Fort Worth Boswell, who set the state pole-vault record with a jump of 13-feet-8-inches. "I am thankful to have (Taylor) in the competition this year. She's a great jumper" said Gray. "She pushed me to do better. The adrenaline of staying in competition with her helped me reach my heights." Gray finished the competition with a height of 12-feet-9-inches. Neal La Hue 4. La Hue hired as Hays' Athletic Coor- dinator/Head Foot- ball coach . The start of 2013 was a whirlwind for the Hays Athletic Department, as they were scrambling to find a new athletic coordinator and football head coach. On ]anuary 11, Blake Feldt announced he was depart- ing Hays for Odessa Permian High School. Along with Feldt, offensive coordinator Bill Gambs left for the bright Friday Night Lights. The district was left to find a replacement for a squad whose head coach helped guide the team to three straight playoff appearances. After an exhaustive month-long search, with the district sifting through a pool of over 100 resumes, Hays CISD chose Neal La Hue as the third head coach in the history of Hays High School. La Hue, who previously was the head coach and athletic coordinator at San Antonio Roosevelt, helped the Roughrider program amass a 29 -21 record in a tough 26-5A district. Other coaching stops for La Hue include a stint as athletic coordinator and head coach at Kerrville Tivy. He also has connections to Austin, as he graduated from Lanier High School. La Hue was eager to match up against a strong coaching pool in the area. "In terms of high school football, the Austin area truly intrigues me. While at San Antonio Roosevelt, we played against Bowie last season; Round Rock two seasons previous," La Hue said. "The Austin area has a tremendous pool of coaching tal- ent. I have been impressed with the challenge that brings, which is one of the reasons I chose to take the Hays coaching position." During the latter part of May, La Hue was able to helm his new team during spring practice. La Hue was impressed with the progression his team possessed, learning a new sys- tem of offense and defense. "They are exactly where I thought they would be," he said. "They are hardworking kids." 5. Lindsey McCurdy makes third straight appearance at State Golf Tournament After winning the 2012 UIL 4A Individual Golf Championship last year, it could have been very easy for Lindsey McCurdy to sit back and rest on a groundbreaking achievement. Such was not the case for the future member of the SMU Golf team as she tore through the District Robert K. Clifford, Jr., MD Orthopedic Surgeon ARC Kyle Plum Creek ARC South 1st Specialty ARC Southwest Jeffrey R. Padalecki, MD Orthopedic Surgeon ARC Far West, ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics, ARC Southwest ARC Far West 512-346-6611 ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics 512-454-4561 ARC Southwest 512-282-8967 AustinRegiona[Clinic.com and Regional golf tournaments, en route to a fourth place finish at the UIL State Golf Tournament at Onion Creek Country Club on April 29 and 30. The 2013 trip to the State Tourna- ment was the third straight appear- ance for McCurdy, who notched her third straight top-five finish at the highest level in the state. Head golf coach Danny Preuss was incredibly impressed with the development by McCurdy on the links. "In her sophomore year, finishing in the top 5 (at the State Tourna- ment) was a big deal. When junior year rolled around, there was only one goal: win state," Preuss said. "Ev- erything slae does is workmanlike; her demeanor is the same - she has a job to do. Her improvement from year to year is great, which will take her into college. She's a great kid." While McCurdy was unable to defend her title, she was eager to perform well on the course, regard- less of placement. "Winning state is great, but I want to do well in general," McCurdy said before the tournament. "Whenever I walk off the course, I want to make sure that I want to play as well as I can. That's what matters most to me. Winning will be nice too, but as long as I can come off the course liking how I played, I will be okay with that." McCurdy shot a tournament total of 145. COURTESY PHOTO Rebel running back raven Mayberry stiff- arms a San Antonio Highland defender during Hays bi-district playoff game in November. 6, Rebel Football repeats as 27-4A Inspired play from a senior laden group helped Hays claim their sec- ond straight District 27-4A crown, the first time in program history such a feat had occurred. Hays clinched a share of the 27-4A title with Alamo Heights and Ker- rville Tivy. The penultimate title clinching moment occurred on No- vember 9, as the Rebels attempted to thwart a late Alamo Heights rally. Hays held a 21-0 lead at halftime, but the Mules surged back, cutting the Rebel lead to single digits. With a 24-21 lead and less than three min- utes to go in the game, Hays' defense stepped up to the task, forcing a field goal attempt from Heights which sailed wide. With one final possession, Hays' Emory Cuzze forced a fumble, help- ing claim the second straight district title under former head coach Blake Feldt. Hays advanced to the playoffs, de- feating San Antonio Highland 60-7, before falling to Leander in the Area round. Hays finished the season with a 10-2 mark, 6-1 in district. 7. Null excels in first year as head coach of Rebel baseball 2013 saw the beginning of a new era in the dugout of the Hays base- ball team. In August of 2012, longtime head coach Doug Ragsdale announced his retirement, ending a 17-year career at Hays that saw the program amass nine district championships and 14 See HAYS TOP 10, pg. 2B ARC Kyle Plum Creek \ i+,,cc,,o,c. 1 / / ~ ~"~ Urgent Care & After H .... J ~ / Kyle / A ~" [ 512-ARC-INFO(512-272-4636) " t11" / /