While almost all was quiet in high school sports this summer, St. Thomas Episcopal won the Henderson Overall Championship Cup for Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 3A. The prestigious award is based on the success of the school’s athletic programs over the course of the entire school year.
“What an honor. Our coaches and our kids did an outstanding job,” said St. Thomas Episcopal athletic director George Alderete. Over the school year, STE captured three state championships while finishing among the top teams statewide in several other sports. “The amazing thing is that we don’t field a football, baseball, softball or wrestling team, yet still scored enough points in the other sports to win the overall championship,” added Alderete.
Along with state championships in boys and girls cross country, STE’s girls swimming and diving team captured its second straight state title while the boys swim team finished second at state. Plus, St. Thomas Episcopal twins Claire and Andrew Coulter were named the TAPPS 3A Female and Male Athletes of the Year. The twins were major contributors to the success of the school’s cross country, track and field and swimming and diving teams. “Claire and Andrew are very disciplined, extremely competitive and super individuals,” said Alderete.
It was another superb track season for Episcopal High School, with the Knights boys and girls finishing second at the Southwest Preparatory Conference Championships. Ghioma Nwanko, who captured four gold medals, led the girls to a phenomenal meet. Along with her victories in the 200 and 400 meters, Nwanko ran the anchor leg in the Knights’ first-place finishes in the 400- and 1600-meter relays. “Ghioma was just spectacular,” said Knights track and field coach Dick Philips.
In the meantime, for the third time in her varsity career at Episcopal, Laura Sellingsloh captured the SPC championship in the high jump. “We’ve had a strong high-jump group in recent years, and Laura’s been the leader of the pack,” said Philips. “She’s performed her best when it’s counted the most.”
Lindsay Graham also captured an individual gold at the SPC meet, upsetting St. John’s sensation Jackie Modesett to win the 300-meter hurdles. “That had to be the biggest upset we’ve had in the SPC in some time,” said Philips. “Modesett is just an incredible hurdler, and for Lindsay to win that race was phenomenal.” For the boys, Episcopal had two gold medal winners, with Lloyd Julian winning the 400 meters and Andrew Walmsley capturing first in the shot put.
Keeping it on the fast track, Memorial Mustangs freshman Olivia Brook emerged on the varsity track and field scene in impressive fashion. Along with finishing second in the long jump and triple jump at the district meet, Brook ran the anchor leg on all three of the Mustangs’ medal-finishing relay teams. By doing so, Brook qualified for the regional championship meet in four events. In addition, Brook was also among the leading scorers for the Mustangs’ soccer team. Definitely keep an eye on Olivia Brook in the years ahead at Memorial.
Looking ahead to the start of the school year, the St. John’s football team is hoping for another great start to its season. “We did well on 7-on-7 this summer, but the biggest thing for us when it counts most this fall is to put together an offensive line that took a big hit from graduation,” said Mavericks head coach Steve Gleaves.
Among the key returnees for St. John’s is senior Chris Gow, who moves from safety to quarterback. “Chris has some big shoes to fill replacing Josh Winslow, but he’s such a good athlete that we feel good about having him back there. He was the backup to Josh last season while also playing safety, and Chris has always been a team leader,” said Gleaves.
Another top player switching positions for the Mavericks is Dan Tweardy, who moves from tight end to running back. “Dan’s also a really good athlete, and we’re anxious to see what he can do as our prime ball carrier,” said Gleaves.
Defensively, the Mavericks look to be strong on the line, especially with the return of two-year starting defensive end Jack Craddock. In addition, the Mavericks boast a pair of big defensive tackles in 6-foot, 4-inch, 265-pound Daren Napier and 6-foot, 4-inch, 270-pound Alexander Saucer. “Alexander and Daren give us a lot of size up front, and Jack is another excellent athlete who we can place at almost any position on the field,” said Gleaves.
Editor’s Note: Lone Star Emmy Award-winner Todd Freed is the host and producer of Todd Freed’s High School SportZone, which can be seen Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. on Channel 57-The KUBE. To submit information for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) todd (at) thebuzzmagazines (dot) com.