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July 14, 2010     Hays Free Press
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HaysFreePress.com OUTSTANDING EDUCATORS Hays CISD teachers compete for regional recognition. - Page 3B July 14, 2010 Page 1B BY MARK GAUL freepresssports@yahoo.com Although they all may hail from different backgrounds and each took a different path in ful- filling their dreams to become a National Football League player, current stars Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush have several things in common. They were able to win Super Bowls both professionally and also as Pop Warner players. And with the end of the sum- mer slowly appmaching~ prepa- rations are already in full swing for the start of youth football in the area this September for the young men who may be the next generation of NFL superstars. James Pavia, who is the presi- dent of the North Hays Pop War- ner Gators, certainly believes in the youth program. "Whenever we see some of the guys that have come through our program as BY JASON GORDON freepresssports@yahoo.com For the second straight sum- mer, the Hays High soccer coach- ing program is going through a coaching shakeup. Girls varsity head coach Ryan Race has decided to leave Hays to take an assistant varsity girls coach- ing position at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Worth. There, he will coach under for- mer longtime Hays varsity girls coach Dorothy Ortiz. REYNOLDS Ortiz left Hays last summer to coach at Caney Creek High in Conroe before moving to Fossil Ridge High. Cole Reynolds, who was the varsity assistant for the boys team at Hays, will take over the head coaching duties for the Lady Rebel varsity squad. "It was a hard decision, but it was a move that was best for me personally;" said Race, who led the Lady Rebs to the playoffs last season. "It was tough to leave Hays because we have a lot of quality players coming back. But Cole will be fantastic with them. I'm positive they will make an- other playoff run next season." Ortiz, who coached the Lady Rebels to within One game of a state tournament berth three seasons ago, said she was equally pleased when she heard Reyn- olds would be taking over her former Hays program. "When I found out they were going to move Cole into the posi- tion as girls head coach I was re- ally pleased," Ortiz said. "He has a great background and really STAFF REPORTS The Hays Thunder, an area soft- ball team made up of a dozen 9-11- year-old girls, will compete in the Platinum Nationals tournament in Round Rock in late July:. The team will continue to par- ticipate in area tournaments be- tween now and ]uly 27, when an opening ceremony parade will open the Nationals festivities at Dell Diamond. Nationals will run through Aug. 1. Many of the girls have compet- ed in softball for multiple years. The coaching staff consists of Kyle residents Mike Blackwell, John Wipff and Albert Luna. Team members include Ashley Shelton, KayleeWipff, PiperPruett, Delani Jackson, Lydia Striddand, Deja Hubbard, Chelsea Goodson, Hannah Luna, Jacqueline Kukol, Kindle Gault, Meagan Ramos, and Tess and Abbie Blackweli. "We have an amazing group of girls," Blackwell said. "Some of these girls have played together for four or five years, and a lot of them have gone to school togeth- er since kindergarten. Not only do they have good softball talent, but kids become successful on both the high school and college level, it makes us proud," Pavia said. "We hope that means we have impacted their lives in some way, both athletically and academi- cally." The Gators are a member of Central Texas Pop Warner As- sociation, which includes teams from Wesflake, Leander/Cedar Park, North Hays County and Kiileen. Currently about 3,500 kids participate in the league that is comprised of a 10-game regular season, local and regional play- offs and then a trip to Orlando, Florida where the National Su- per Bowl awaits teams fortunate enough to advance that far. "We are the only nationally recognized youth football associ- ation in Hays County," said Pavia. "We also are the only Pop Warner Association that owns, operates and maintains it's own facility in See POPWARNER, pg. 2B This local group of 10-12-year-olds reached the Central Texas Pop Warner they suffered a last-minute defeat. COUR'rESY PHOTO Championships in 2009, where knows the game. I think he'll do a great job." Reynolds helped guide the Hays boys to a regional quar- terfinal berth in the playoffs last year. He was named the Region IV Assistant Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Organiza- tion in 2009-10. Reynolds said he's ready for his new challenge as the girls varsity head coach. He was both an as- sistant boys and girls varsity coach during his 10 years at Crock- ett before moving to Hays two years ago. He has also coached his middle school daughter's teams since she began playing at age four. "I'm excited about this," Reyn- olds said. "From what I've seen, they have quite a bit of talent on the girls team at Hays." Reynolds also said he won't try to mold the Lady Rebel squad into something they aren't. "My coaching philosophy has always been to see what we have from a personnel standpoint and let that lead to our game plan," he said. "I am familiar with a lot of different soccer sets, so I al- ways try and pick one that's right for the players we have." Hays senior Lena New said she's sad to see Coach Race go, but the team will welcome Coach Reynolds. "I've heard nothing but good things about Coach Reynolds," New said. "Our team just has to start fresh again, but I know we can do it. We'll definitely be ready to play for Coach Reynolds." Brent Holcomb, who coached junior varsity last season, will PHOTO~RUDYGONZALEZ Hays senior Ally Tally (right) and the rest of her Lady Rebel varsity teammates will have their third head coach in as many years next season as former Hays boys varsity assistant Cole Reynolds takes over the program. The Lady Rebs qualified for the playoffs last season under former head coach Ryan Race, and were a regional finalist in 2007. step in to fill Reynolds' assistant be an adjustment period for ing his daughter basically since varsity role on the boys side at Cole coaching varsity girls," she's been alive. I think he will Hays. Rebel boys varsity coach ]ason do very well coaching the Lady "I don't think there will even Burnett said. "He's been coach- Rebels." most importantly; they have great chemistry. They are a great joy to be around." The team has played in tourna- ments throughout the spring and summer leading up to Nationals. They continue to raise funds for their tournaments in general, and for Nationals in particular. The en- try fee for Nationals is $675. "We have worked with Baskin Robbins on two fund misers, and they've helped us raise a little more than $300," Blackwell said. "The Baskin Robbins folks have been wonderful to us. Our girls have also raised some ffioney by accepting donations, and we continue to ac- cept those. Each tournament costs appm~dmately $300 to enter." The team practices several times per week, and has competed in tournaments this summer in San Marcos, Seguin, Georgetown and Taylor. "These girls are great ambassa- dors for Hays County," Blackweli said. "They all do well in school, and they are all highly competitive girls. I know they are going to com- pete well at Nationals. We couldn't have hand-picked a greater group of girls." gOURI~Y PI40m The Hays Thunder will compete in a national tournament beginning in late July. Team members (left to fight) are Piper Pruett, Hannah Luna, Jacqueline Kukol, Ashley Shelton, Chelsea Goodson and Tess Blackwell; back row: Albert Luna, John Wipff, Delani Jackson, Kaylee Wipff, Abbie Blackwell, Lydia Strickland, Deja Hubbard and Mike Blackwell. Not pictured are Kindle Gault and Meagan Ramos. THE LAST CAUL How stacked was the NBAS free agent class of 2Ol0? I'll put it to you like this -if you were to organize a pickup game between this year's free agents and the rest of the basket- ball world, the 2010 free agents would win. Going away. Handily. No contest. We're talking about a squad that could start LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzski (my second favorite NBA player, bythe way) andAmare Stou- demire, with Joe Johnson and Car- los Boozer coming offthe bench. They were arguably the best free agent class in league history and had a handful of large-market teams (led by the NewYork Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat) salivating at the possibility of adding them to their rosters. But let's not kid ourselves, James was the guy who captured the attention of the sports world for three very long weeks. He was the biggest domino that had the biggest impact on where the other pieces would fall. Everywhere you went, the 25-year-old James was the talk of the town, even amongst casual basketball fans. Where would he end up and who would join him? Then, on a balmyThursday night after seemingly endless weeks of waiting, it finally hap- pened. Ohio's native son made the announcement that shook the city of Cleveland to its very core. To everyone who watched that night, the moment will always be known as "The Decision." But basketball purists such as myself will remember it as'~e night LeBmn had th~.NBA world in the palm of his hand and threwit in the trash in less than an hour." Actual~, I really thought that James had a pretty good business sense and was extremely media- friendly up to that point, therefore, he would opt to stayin Cleveland. Boy, was I wrong!And the cold-blooded way he left a dty that worshipped his every move for seven years left me flabbergasted. I thought I was in the twilight zone I asked myself aloud. Did that REALLYjust happen? Did this guyjust do that? He did the state of Ohio so dirty there were people taking to the streets to bum his jerseys in dfigy only seconds a_,%r his announce- ment. (Probably a good thing he wasn't physically in any of them.) Newto view atragedyin context, we have to look back at the genesis. Many knowledgeable hoop fans say that Beijing 2008 was the beginning of the end. Some would saythat James getting swept byTma Duncan's Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals was the tree beginning. The truth is the genesis oc- curred during the 2002-2003 basketball season. Why? That's when the Cleveland Cavaliers de- cided to tank in order to put themselves in prime position to draft the 18-year-old phenom. At the time, the Cavaliers were totally irrelevant in the NBA, and lames had already been anointed as the King during his senior year of high school. So why not absolutely tank a meaningless season to get the number one pick? Made perfect sense at the time, right? I personally don't think that a team in any sport should tank just to get a better position in the draft. That is an easyway ouL Ifs lazy and does not require any effort. During their Olympic run in Bei- jing, LeBmn, Wade and Bosh's plan to arrive in South Beach in 2010 is whenit all pmbahlytook affect. I wouldn't be shocked ifWade told Pat Rileyto dear up cap space by 2010 because Bran and Bosh have agreed to sigu orL Of course yeu couldn't call it tampering because this was player to player. This was a good move. It's not that hard to picture. LeBmn finally found his escape plan from Ohio, unless the Cavs won a fide before then. Once he knew that the Cavs didn't have what it takes to beat the Boston Celtics in this year's Eastern Conference Finals, Bran-Bran mentally quit and checked out for good. He quit on the serie~ The team didn't quit on LeBmn. He quit on the team and the fans. It was his way of thumbing his nose at Cleve- land management tst like Kobe didit to takers' management in game 7 against the Phoenix Suns in See TBE LAST CAUL, pg. 2B