Let’s dive on in to the best in high school swimming, where it was quite a season for the boys and girls teams from Lamar High School. After finishing among the top teams at regionals, the Redskins were then well-represented at the Class 5A UIL State Swimming and Diving Meet in Austin.
“It was a very successful season,” said Redskins swim coach Stephen McDonald. “It was also really exciting for us to qualify both our boys and girls relay teams to the state meet. “For the boys, Zach Holmes, Marshall Gregory, David Owens, and Eaymon Kelly competed in the relays, while the girls relay team consisted of Amy Ballanfant, Ashley Douglas, Tessa Holmes, and Ali Berry.
“Amy broke her own school record in the 500 freestyle, while Zach finished fourth in the state in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, so that was pretty nice, as well,” added coach McDonald.
In basketball, it was a championship season for the Westbury Christian basketball program, with both the boys and girls teams winning TAPPS 4A State titles. The boys, led by the 29 points from Kevin Perry, defeated Arlington Grace Prep 73-53 in the championship final, while the girls beat Argyle Liberty Christian 72-44 in the championship game. Amber Orrange led the Wildcats with 18 points in the victory, while Sonja Vuong scored 15, and future North Carolina Tar Heel Waltia Rolle added 10 points in the rout.
“It’s really something special for both of our teams to win state titles,” said Wildcats boys coach Russell Carr. As for the guys, the Wildcats finished the season with a lofty 30-6 record while beating many of the area’s best public school programs. “These guys worked extremely hard,” said coach Carr. “They’re a talented and close-knit group.” Meantime, the Westbury Christian girls, who were featured in this very column in February, closed out the season with a phenomenal 42-1 record, and were ranked among the best high school girls basketball teams in the entire nation.
At the TAPPS 5A level, the St. Agnes High Tigers came within one win of a state championship. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win a state title,” said head coach Jeff Hollinger. “We didn’t quite get there, but for a fairly young and inexperienced team, we had a pretty nice year.”
It was an especially nice year for Chelsea Bass, who led the team with an average of 19 points a game. “She was definitely our top player,” said coach Hollinger. Chelsea scored a career high 33 points in the Tigers state semifinal victory over Forth Worth Nolan. “It was a terrific come-from-behind win,” said Coach Hollinger. “Chelsea put us on her shoulders and wouldn’t say die.”
“We really sought to win the whole thing this year,” said coach Hollinger. “But, with Chelsea coming back next season, along with fellow starters Lauren Kleczynski, Kellie Pressler, and Jill Jackson, next season will have to be our year. It’s been 20 years since we’ve won a state basketball title at St. Agnes, and we’re determined to get another banner up in our building.”
Making a national name for himself in wrestling was Episcopal Knight Ben Estus, who recently earned All-American honors by finishing in the top eight at the National Prep Wrestling Championships. “Ben has set the path for others to follow here at Episcopal,” said Knights wrestling coach Steve Leisz. “Last year he was our first SPC champion, and this year we have seven SPC champs.
Along with winning the SPC Championship in the 112 pound weight division, Ben also captured the state championship at the Texas Prep Championships in Dallas, becoming the first Episcopal wrestler to win an SPC and Texas Prep Championship. As a team, Episcopal finished a strong fourth at the state championships.
“It was an amazing month for Ben,” said coach Leisz. “If all that weren’t enough, right around the same time, he also played the lead role of Pippin in our school’s musical. He did an incredible job. “Last year, Ben won the Tommy Tune award as the city’s best high school actor in a musical. He’s just an all-around talent.”
Editor’s Note: Todd Freed is the host and executive producer of High School Sports Live, which can be seen each Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 6 pm on KTBU Channel 55 The Tube. To submit information for possible inclusion in SportzBuzz, please e-mail (email@example.com) todd (at) thebuzzmagazines (dot) com.