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Area teams, individuals make history in ’09
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Local high school athletes put together some personal and team triumphs during the first half of 2009, as some multi-sport standouts saw their storied careers draw to a close with the end of the 2008-09 school year.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
The throw in from the outfield gets away from Mineola second baseman Erik Galaz (1) as Kemp's Zach Allison (7) slides safely into second base after advancing on an outfield error during the teams' District 14-3A baseball contest at Kemp April 21.

Mabank’s Panthers gave notice early they would be a factor in the District 15-4A basketball race, knocking off the Terrell Tigers in the loop opener, but the Lady Panthers found the going tougher against the usually much taller and more athletic district teams.
In a first for the area, a group of sponsors obtained official Little League status, and the Cedar Creek Area Little League (CCALL) began signing up players.
The CCALL wound up drawing nearly 600 players during the early spring and summer, but squabbles over policy and a number of questions about money – specifically, umpires not being paid as contracted – would taint the organization’s initial season.
As the year draws to a close, it remains uncertain whether CCALL will return for a second season in 2010.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kemp junior Sharda Bettis clears the next-to-last hurdle while winning the 100 meter hurdles in 16.01 seconds at the Al Williamson Relays April 2. Bettis advanced to the state track meet, where she won the gold medal June 6.

In what turned out to be a key victory, the Eustace Bulldogs edged the hosting Kemp Yellowjackets to gain a two-game district sweep.
The teams wound up tied in the standings, but the Bulldogs advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1997 by having the tie-breaker edge in head-to-head competition.
After the Kemp Lady Yellowjackets and the Mineola Lady Yellowjackets forged a home-and-home split during the two district rounds (each team winning on the other’s home court), they met in Wills Point for a one-game playoff to determine which Lady Yellowjacket squad would be the loop’s third-place qualifier.
Kemp notched the first postseason berth for the girls team in at least 16 years with a 47-41 victory.
Their playoff trip was a short one, however, as they fell to a much quicker Rains Lady Wildcat squad in the bidistrict championship contest at Royse City.
Mabank’s Panthers and Mesquite Poteet’s Pirates split home-and-home contests during the two rounds of district play, and a one-game playoff for the district’s third-place playoff berth ended up going to the Pirates, who nipped Mabank 54-51 at Forney.
Eustace’s boys saw their first playoff trip end quickly, as the Nevada Community Braves (the same folks who knocked the Bulldogs out of the football playoffs in November, ’08) used a significant edge in quickness to run past Eustace 72-41 in a bidistrict championship matchup.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Eustace senior Chelsea Truitt plants her pole en route to clearing 9-6 in the pole vault competition at the District 14-3A track meet April 15. Truitt later won the regional meet, and then broke her own school record to take second at the state track meet June 6.

Mabank senior Kolton Browning, who was named the football and basketball MVP in 3A competition as a junior, repeated the achievement in the 4A ranks, as he was named the outstanding offensive player by district basketball coaches, an honor he also won in football.
The Mabank girls soccer team clinched the school’s first postseason berth in the history of the program (six years for boys, four years for girls) with a 7-0 shutout of hosting Eustace.
Thanks to the luck of the draw, the Lady Panthers faced powerhouse Longview in bidistrict, but played the Lady Lobos closer than anybody else, eventually falling 4-1 to a team that advanced to the regional quarterfinals.
Two MHS powerlifters, Si Frideley and Dillon Bramblitt, qualified for the state meet with their performances at the Region III Division I meet in Lindale March 12.
Dillon set two regional records – squatting 645 pounds and bench-pressing 395 pounds – while Frideley won his weight division’s bench press with a lift of 290 pounds.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank's Dillon Bramblitt squats a meet-best 600 pounds during the Mabank Invitational powerlifting meet Jan. 24. Bramblitt later advanced to the state meet.

Eustace’s boys and Canton’s girls won the Al Williamson Relays on the newly refurbished Kemp High School track.
Eustace’s girls finished second to Canton, while the Canton boys finished second to Eustace. Hosting Kemp’s girls took third and the boys finished fifth.
In softball, top-ranked Van stormed through the district, meeting serious difficulty only against the second-place Wills Point Lady Tigers, while Canton and Mineola proved to be the top 14-3A baseball teams.
Both the Eustace and Kemp boys were projected to be contenders for the loop title, but unforced mistakes wound up costing both teams dearly.
In their second-round matchup at Kemp, the Bulldogs ended their lengthy losing streak and kept the Yellowjackets winless in an 11-10 slugfest.
Canton’s girls and Van’s boys won the top spots at the District 14-3A track meet in Mineola.
Eustace’s boys took second and the girls finished third, with Kemp’s girls taking fourth and the boys finishing sixth.
Three local athletes turned in outstanding performances:
• Kemp junior Sharda Bettis qualified for the regional meet in five different events, winning the long jump, the triple jump and both the 100 and 300 hurdles, as well as anchoring the KHS girls’ third-place 400 meter relay team.
• Eustace senior Chelsea Truitt, competing with a broken bone in her left foot, qualified for the regional meet in four different events, winning the pole vault, anchoring the EHS girls’ winning 400 meter and 800 meter relay teams and finishing second to Bettis in the 100 hurdles.
• Eustace junior Trevan Johnson qualified for regional in five different events, winning the 400 meter run and the long jump, finishing third in the triple jump and anchoring the EHS boys’ winning 1600 relay team and second-place 400 relay team.
The flu – which dominated state and national news most of the year – also threatened to cancel the regional track meets, as the UIL ordered a two-week break in all sanctioned events and announced no regional meets would be held.
Following a major outcry from coaches and administrators around the state, however, the UIL relented, rescheduling the regional meets for May 15-16.
That pushed the state meet to June 5-6, past the end of school for most districts.
Mabank seniors Chelsey Dillon and Kolton Browning were named the top athletes at the school’s annual all-sports banquet.
Actually, it would have been difficult to think of someone else, as both were multi-sport standouts and state-level competitors.
Browning amassed one of the most storied careers in the school’s history – graduating with three of the four top season passing records and the career passing mark (63 touchdown passes), as well as the school’s single-game total offense record.
As noted earlier, Browning was the district MVP in both football and basketball as a junior (3A) and the district’s offensive player of the year in both football and basketball as a senior (4A).
In addition, Browning was a first-team all-district selection in baseball all four years.
Dillon was a regional qualifier in both cross country and track all four years, and a first-team all-district selection in basketball all four years.
At Kemp High School, seniors Meagan Lacy and Joseph Weeks were named the top athletes of the year.
Both also were multi-sport standouts all four years, and Lacy also won female athlete of the year as a freshman.
Both Weeks and Lacy lettered in four different sports as seniors.
Chelsea Truitt and Sharda Bettis both advanced to the state track meet by winning their respective events at the Region II meet in Commerce.
While Bettis advanced to state as a sophomore, it was the first time to advance for Truitt, even though she qualified for the regional track meet in five different events as a freshman, sophomore and junior – a remarkable record of athletic excellence.
It was no surprise when Truitt was named the female athlete of the year at the EHS all-sports banquet, as she lettered in volleyball, soccer and track, despite breaking a bone in her foot during soccer season.
Eustace coaches could not decide between two Zachs for male athlete, so named Zach Keeling and Zach Arambula as co-male athletes of the year.
Again, both young men were multi-sport standouts. In addition to being a regional track qualifier, Arambula was a first-team all-district selection in soccer.
Keeling was a second-team all-district wide receiver in football, and the district’s offensive player of the year in basketball, along with winning the district high jump event for the second straight year.
In her second trip to the state meet, Sharda Bettis became the first KHS athlete to win a gold medal in 45 years by winning the 100 hurdles with a personal best (and school record) time of 14.53 seconds.
A week after graduating, Chelsea Truitt became the first EHS athlete to medal in the pole vault when she took the silver with a personal best (and school record) leap of 11-6.
Youth baseball and softball action swung into high gear, including Cedar Creek Area Little League play.
Gun Barrel City opened an adult co-ed softball league, drawing six teams in its inaugural season.
Local high school athletes continued summer off-season workouts, with boys and girls running and lifting weights.
Local schools also scheduled football, baseball, basketball and volleyball camps for youngsters.
Editor’s note: See the Thursday, Jan. 31, issue of The Monitor for a review of the second half of 2009 athletics.



Upcoming games

Girls basketball

Dec. 28-30
MHS @ Kaufman tourn.
KHS @ Gatesville tourn.
EHS @ Brownsboro tourn.

Jan. 2
MHS open
KHS @ Cross Roads

Jan. 5
MHS vs Terrell*
KHS @ Quinlan Ford

Jan. 8
MHS @ Red Oak*
KHS vs Van*
EHS vs Mineola*

Jan. 11
MHS vs Mesquite Poteet*

Jan. 12
KHS vs Wills Point*
EHS @ Canton*

Jan. 15
MHS @ Forney*

Jan. 19
MHS vs Lancaster*
KHS vs Mineola*
EHS @ Wills Point*
(*District contest)
Boys basketball

Dec. 28-29
MHS @ Wagstaff Classic
KHS @ Kaufman tourn.

Dec. 29
EHS @ Fruitvale

Jan. 5
MHS @ Terrell*
KHS vs Westwood
EHS @ Cross Roads

Jan. 8
MHS vs Red Oak*
EHS vs Brownsboro

Jan. 11
KHS @ Quinlan Ford

Jan. 12
MHS @ Mesquite Poteet*

Jan. 2
EHS vs Kemp (boys only)
MHS girls @ Greenville (scr)

Jan. 5
MHS girls vs NForney (scr)
EHS b&g vs Ferris

Jan 7-9
EHS hosts tournament
(KHS, MHS boys)
MHS g @ Mt. Pleasant trn.

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