For the first time in school history, the Bellaire Cardinals girls’ golf team qualified for the Class 5A State tournament, where it ended up sixth in the state.
“To see these girls excel the way they did is just great,” said Cardinals golf coach Mike Kramer. “They didn’t grow up playing in country clubs, but are products of the First Tee Program, which introduces the game to kids from all backgrounds.”
To earn a berth to state, the Cardinals finished second at the Class 5A Region III Meet, which included the top high school golf teams in the Greater Houston area. Then at the state meet, the Cardinals’ sixth-place overall finish was higher than any school from the Houston region. “Our goal at state was to be the No. 1 Houston team, and our girls came through,” said Kramer.
Leading the way at the state tournament was junior Emily Gilbreth. The regional medalist as well, Gilbreth fired a marvelous 3-under-69 in the first round of the state tournament. “Emily is our No. 1 player, and she’ll play at the next level,” said Kramer.
Bernice Leonard, Samantha Smith and Taylor Moser also played outstanding golf all season. “We don’t even have a range to practice on at our home course in Sharpstown, so these four girls had to go all over the place just to hit balls,” said Kramer.
In boys’ golf, the St. Thomas Eagles brought home the fourth state championship in school history, winning this season’s Texas Association of Private & Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 5A state title.
“We had a really good year with us winning eight of the 12 tournaments we played in,” said coach Billy Tuten. “Actually, winning state was more of a relief for me than elation since the expectations were pretty high.” At the state tournament, Eagles junior Tommy Kherkher and senior Richard Le tied for the team low score with a 149 over the 36 holes and were named to the all-state team.
For the season, the Eagles’ No. 1 player was junior Thomas Wheeler, while Juan Gutierrez, Travis Martin, Ryan Baker and Collin Burwinkel were also core players. “Along with winning state, I’d say the biggest highlight of the season was winning the Dick Harmon Memorial Golf Tournament at the Redstone course,” said Tuten. “The top 10 teams in Houston were invited to play in the event, and for us to win it was pretty impressive. Almost all our tournament wins were against tough public-school teams, and our kids just did a great job.”
The high school basketball season may be long over, but there was a huge off-the-court award for the Memorial Mustangs, with every member of the team receiving Academic All-District honors. “It just speaks volumes to the work ethic they were taught by their parents and the commitment to be the best they possibly can,” said Memorial head basketball coach David Lay. “I’ve been here seven years, and it’s the first time this has happened.”
Seven of the 14 players (Mars Berwanger, Kyle Dobbins, Ryan Gregory, Travis Read, Brooks Taylor, Max Yanke and Michael White) were also named Academic All-State, which requires a minimum 92 average in core courses over their entire high school career.
“I loved this team to death,” said Lay. “They worked hard every day and maintained an incredible attitude.”
It was a proud moment for the Stratford High School community with the selection of former Spartans quarterback Andrew Luck as the overall top pick in the recent NFL draft. A 2008 graduate of Stratford, Luck went on to a brilliant career at Stanford University.
Among those invited to attend the draft for Luck’s selection at Radio City Music Hall in New York was Stratford head football coach Eliott Allen. “We knew going in he was going to be the overall No. 1, but to be right there when Andrew’s name was called was something really special,” said Allen. “I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to have coached a special kid like Andrew. He’s got an amazing future ahead of him.”
Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the Emmy Award-winning co-host and producer of the KUBE SportsZone, which airs Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 57-KUBE. To submit information for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) todd (at) thebuzzmagazines (dot) com.