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Section B + HaysFreePress.com 1 M| ON BO HES; Lehman students bone up on social awareness. - Page 3B July 24, 2013 * Page 1B PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III After helping Hays claim the 2013 State softball championship, senior pitcher Sarah Leal has continued her progression in the circle during the summer, gaining experience with her select team, the Austin Storm. BY MOSES LEOS III news@haysfreepress.com ufter a whirlwind of a mmer, complete with ccolades, superlatives "Winning State and earning all of the honors has been an overwhelming experience. But that was last year. We will be starting fresh this year." and a state softball tide in hand, one might think pitcher Sarah Leal would sit back and take it easy. Think again. Leal, now a senior at Hays High, has been diligently the past six years. Participat- learned will translate to suc- working hard on the field ing with the club helps her cess next spring. and in the weight room. She gain valuable experience, "When playing select ball, wants to ensure last season's repetitions and collegiate you have to tell yourself you accomplishments are left at exposure, are [not tired]. It takes a lot that: last season. While she enjoys playingof composure; it is all in your "Winning State and earning for the team, she said the head," she said. "You have all of the honors has been an schedule is taxing. During a to stay in there and be ready overwhelming experience," recent tournament, the Storm to go. You never know when Leal said. "But that was last played 18 games in eightyou are asked to go in relief. year. We will be starting fresh days. Our coaches do a great job of this year." In addition, Leal travelled helping push us forward, and Ever since Traci Green from Oklahoma to as far away we always help support each squeezed home the last out of as Colorado. She enjoyedother." the state title game, Leal has driving through the Rocky When not traversing the continued to play ball. Mountains. country, Lea] joins her Lady So far this summer, Leal Despite the schedule, Leal Rebel teammates during has competed with the Austin and her teammates find ways "power camp" summer work- Storm select softball team, a to dig deep and focus on win- outs. team she has played for over ning. She hopes the lessons "We start our power camp - Sarah Leal, pitcher for the Lady Rebels at seven in the morning, and work from seven to nine," Lea] said. "We run first. On our shorter days, we do a lot of sprints and agilities. On other days, we will run for 25 to 30 minutes. During those longer runs, if someone falls behind, we will slow down and run with that person. Our team sticks together." "This year, the main reason I'm in power camp is to increase my speed," Leal said. "I feel I have [enough] speed now, but I want to get faster and get stronger for next year." Equally important will be to continue an aggressive attitude on the field. Little superstitions also motivate the team. "Two years ago, [2012 graduate] Kelsey Sadler began the tradition of drawing a backwards "K" over my eye. It's been a superstition for us ever since," Leal said. "It definitely gives me con- fidence. IfI don't have my "K," STATE REPEAT?, 2B BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com Football is life for Hays High senior Jacob Palo- mares. Since his playing days with the North Hays Optimist Youth Football League, Palomares has been drawn to the thrill of the gridiron. On .April 31, his enjoyment of the sport he loves grew to new heights. On that day, Palomares re- ceived an invitation to partici- pate in the 2013 International Development Games for the United States U-18 National Development Team from July 6-12 at St. Stephens Episcopal School. It was an offer the soon-to- be senior could not pass up, even with the prospect of par- ticipating in a summer camp at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. "I was one of the few chosen from Texas to [participate] in this," Palomares said. "It was a tremendous honor to play with these top athletes." However, Palomares was hesitant to try out. With his height at 5 feet- 11 inches, he didn't believe he could match up with Team USA players, some of whom have already signed off to Division I col- leges. His father, Robert, gave him the confidence to enter. "I did not think I could make it," Jacob said. "How- ever, my dad kept telling me to enter anyway. He believed l could." In January, Jacob and about 400 other players tried out in front of scouts in Austin. Palomares made the cut, and out of thousands of players trying out nationally, he was selected to the 160-man roster. Additionally, he was only one of three players selected from Central Texas. All of this with one re- markable caveat: Team USA selected Palo- mares to play as a safety; a posi- tion he had only transitioned into during spring football this year. Previously, Palomares played as an outside line- backer. Moving to safety proved to be challeng- ing. "It was hard at first. As a safety, it requires a different mentality; I was always dealing with lineman and fullbacks coming at me. However, now I'm dealing with [the speed of] wide receivers," he said. "The transition was difficult at first. But now, I'm working on my footwork and getting my tim- ing down." Lack of experience notwith- standing, Team USA gave Palo- mares the chance to compete with a wide variety of athletes. One athlete from the Dallas area got Palomares' attention. "One of the safeties [on the team] played with Dallas Skyline [High School]. He was really good," Palomares said. "He could run to the ball fast, hit hard and catch [the ball]; he was an all around athlete." Participating in the games helped Pale- mares see the "[Hawaiian] different styles of play from around the AK /~,.* luuyers were country. He rec- different;their ognized players from the Hawai- vcKguLa'LrounJ ian Islands as having the larg- and style est difference of all the athletes. "[Hawaiian] ..~.h L..., y,, y was players were different. T&y different;their background mos,],, and style of were play was differ- lineman, and ent. They were mostly line- they were all men, and they were all big," he To said. 'Tm used v% ... see so towhatlsee z;W~rent around [Central many g4b&~J~ Texas]. To see so ~lt]ac many different was styles was awe- " some." awesome. Dorms and uniforms were - Jacob Palomares,assigned on the Rebel football player first dayof camp on July 6. July 7 was an evalua- tion day, where coaches went through funda- mental drills with the players, such as form tackling. All the while, coaches were taking note of the players' skills, PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III Hays senior defensive back Jacob Palomares was one of only three Central Texas football players to be chosen to play in the International Development Games for the United States U-18 National Development team on July 6-12. along with any strengths and weaknesses. Palomares said the next two days were the toughest. The group was split into four teams of 40 players and tasked with preparing for the games. He noted the challenge to get the team to perform well. "It was difficult, as we had to bond as a team. Coming from different schools and states, picking up a team mentality was a challenge. However, we bonded quickly and played well," he said. "It was a fun experience. It was neat to say I roomed with a player from Georgia with four state tide tings." He also praised the coaches with the national team. "The coaches gave us a lot of great tips on how to be a great player, not only on the field but offthe field as well," he said. The final days of the camp consisted of the four teams participating in a series of tournament games, where the coaching staff further evalu- ated the players. While excit- ing, the heat was a factor, with temperatures reaching more than 120 degrees on the field. Palomares watched the players from northern states who were not accustomed to Texas heat. "The heat definitely played a role [during camp]," Palo- mares said. "The players from up north were surprised at the heat; they were surprised at how hot it can get here." Ultimately, the goal for all involved was to find the players who will make up the 2014 Team USA football roster. Those selected will go on to represent the United States in the 2014 International Fed- TEAM USA, pg. 2B + COURTESY PHOTO Team Mizuno brings home the bronze The Austin Junior Volleyball 16 Mizuno team captured the bronze medal after competing in the USA National Volleyball Tournament in Dallas on July 2nd - 5th. Kathryn Wristen, a junior at Hays High School, competed with the USA National team. In all, 24 teams from the USA participated in the tournament in 16 divisions, with the final four teams hailing from San Diego, Minnesota, and Texas. Pictured are, back row left to right: Coach Mike Garcia, Michelle Irwin, Jesse Turner, Becca Latham, Amanda Lesiker, Coach Dylan Faulkner and Chase McKenzie. Front row, left to right: Madison Borowski, Lauren Walker, Audrey Stratford, Jade Beerman, Paige Varga, Yaneisy Lua, and Kathryn Wristen. COURTESY PHOTO Hays Vipers strike competition Showing Off their signature team pose, the Hays Vipers 6U T-Ball team conquered three championships so far during the summer months. The team, comprising of All-Stars from the Hays Youth Baseball/Softball Associa- tion (HYBSA), won the Oak Hill Invitational (5/31-6/3), Directors Tournament (6/7-6/11) and the Hays Sandlot Tournament (6/13-6/16). Pictured are front row, left to right: Nathaniel Straight, Jackson Siebert, Kaleb Mind- ieta, Joaquin Berumen, Chase Curry. Back row, left to right: Mason Hensley, Tyler Hix, Kyle Kothman, Braden Cayce, Cooper Jen, Caleb Bond, Mason Lopez. Not pictured are head coach Daniel Berumen, assistant head coach Trent Seibert, assistant coach David Lopez and assistant coach Eddie Mindieta, Sr. +