3 area HS stars are national award finalists

July, 10, 2012

Aledo's Johnathan Gray, South Grand Prairie's Abraham Hall and Mansfield Legacy's Shelbi Vaughn are up for the 10th annual Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Awards, which will be handed out tonight.

Gray is a boys finalist after being named the national football player of the year following a record-setting career that included the most touchdowns in high school history.

Hall was named the nation's top boys track and field athlete after winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the UIL Class 5A state meet. His season-best times would have challenged for gold medals in the 2012 NCAA outdoor championships.

Vaughn is a girls finalist for being named track and field athlete of the year after breaking the national high school discus record by 8 1/2 feet.

The award ceremony can be seen live on ESPN3 tonight at 8:40 p.m. CT, and the winners will be recognized at Wednesday night's ESPYs ceremony on ESPN.

Video: Where will Ra'Shaad Samples land?

July, 9, 2012

Dallas Skyline wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples tells Midlands recruiting coordinator Damon Sayles where he will be playing his college football.

11 area prospects taking stage at The Opening

July, 4, 2012

Dallas Jesuit receiver Jake Oliver and Plano Prestonwood Christian linebacker Mike Mitchell are among the players to watch at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., this week according to ESPN Recruiting writers Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert.

Click here (Insider) to see their entire list of players to watch, including their comments about Oliver and Mitchell.

The Opening, which runs Thursday-Sunday, consists of drills, workouts and competitions for some of the nation's top football prospects. The Elite Lineman Challenge, the SPARQ Rating National Championship and the Nike 7ON comprise the main competitions.

Click here for ESPNHS.com writer Christopher Parish's preview of The Opening, which will be broadcast on ESPNU and streamed on WatchESPN Friday-Sunday night at 7 p.m. CT.

The following nine prospects from North Texas high schools are joining Oliver and Mitchell at The Opening:

LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Cedar Hill ATH
Dontre Wilson, DeSoto ATH
Jake Raulerson, Celina OT
A'Shawn Robinson, Fort Worth Arlington Heights DT
Torii Hunter Jr., Prosper WR
Eldridge Massington, West Mesquite WR
Kameron Miles, West Mesquite S
Ra'Shaad Samples, Dallas Skyline WR
Colin Spencer, Dallas Woodrow Wilson CB

Southlake Carroll wins UIL 5A Lone Star Cup

July, 2, 2012
Southlake Carroll is the winner of the 2011-12 UIL Class 5A Lone Star Cup, which is based on overall school achievement in a variety of sanctioned athletic and academic championships.

Carroll won five state championships, most among this year's Lone Star Cup winners: football, boys and girls cross country and boys and girls swimming and diving. It is Carroll's third Lone Star Cup.

Argyle -- with state championships in academics, boys basketball and marching band and a state runner-up finish in football -- won the Class 3A Lone Star Cup. It is Argyle's third Lone Star Cup.

In other UIL news, it was announced that the 2012 state volleyball championships will be held at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. It's the first time the volleball state tournament will be held anywhere other than Austin or San Marcus.

Here are the top 10 in each classification for the final Lone Star Cup standings:

1. Southlake Carroll 100 pts.
2. Conroe The Woodlands 92.5 pts.
3. San Antonio Reagan 76 pts.
4. Austin Westlake 74 pts.
5. Lewisville Marcus 66 pts.
6. Katy Seven Lakes 64 pts.
7. Mission Sharyland 62 pts.
8. Deer Park 60 pts.
Northside O’Connor 60 pts.
10. Arlington Martin 58 pts.
Laredo Alexander 58 pts.
San Antonio Churchill 58 pts.

1. Austin Lake Travis 112 pts.
2. Dallas Highland Park 106 pts.
3. Friendswood 80 pts.
4. Montgomery 79 pts.
5. Waco Midway 78 pts.
6. Cedar Park 76 pts.
7. San Antonio Alamo Heights 74 pts.
8. Aledo 68 pts.
9. Northwest Nelson 64 pts.
10. Canyon Randall 58 pts.

1. Argyle 94 pts.
2. Abilene Wylie 72 pts.
Lucas Lovejoy 72 pts.
4. Liberty Hill 64 pts.
5. Celina 58 pts.
Lubbock Cooper 58 pts.
7. Andrews 56 pts.
8. West Columbia Columbia 54 pts.
9. La Vernia 50 pts.
Lorena 50 pts.

1. White Oak 68 pts.
2. Melissa 64 pts.
3. Brock 62 pts.
4. Poth 56 pts.
5. Wall 54 pts.
6. Holliday 48 pts.
7. Tatum 47 pts.
8. Crawford 46 pts.
9. Bushland 44 pts.
10. Gunter 42 pts.

1. * Lindsay 66 pts.
2. Shiner 66 pts.
3. Stamford 56 pts.
4. Mason 46 pts.
Windthorst 46 pts.
6. Martin’s Mill 44 pts.
Munday 44 pts.
8. Lovelady 42 pts.
Seymour 42 pts.
10. Cayuga 40 pts.
Clarksville 40 pts.
Flatonia 40 pts.
Grapeland 40 pts.
Muenster 40 pts.

* Won tiebreaker.

North Texas sweeps national track AOY honors

June, 27, 2012
As the first running back in prep history to rush for 100 yards in 45 games and the second to reach 8,000 career yards, Emmitt Smith is no stranger to extraordinary achievement as a high school athlete. In many ways, the Florida native, Texas icon and former national Gatorade Player of the Year was the perfect pick to surprise South Grand Prairie senior Abraham Hall and Mansfield Legacy senior Shelbi Vaughan with 2011-12 Gatorade National Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors.

Gatorade made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth with Smith posing as a celebrity reporter conducting a mock television interview with the teens before breaking the news.

“It's nice to know there are kids today who understand the significance of their role in their schools and communities," said Smith, the NFL leader in career rushing yards with 18,355, who won the 1986-87 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year trophy as a high school senior. "They're willing to make the sacrifice to be one of the best athletes in the country, and to be able to recognize them for that is a wonderful thing. They're humble, classy kids who have been given a tremendous opportunity, and I know they'll do their best to make the most of that opportunity."

Hall, a 5-foot-11 senior, won the 100-meter dash with a personal-best time of 10.19 seconds and the 200-meter dash in a personal-best 20.58 at the Class 5A state championships, leading the Warriors to a fourth-place finish as a team. The 100-meter clocking ranks No. 8 in prep history while the 200 time ranks No. 18 in history. Only seven boys in high school history rank in the top 10 of one event and the top 20 of the other.

Vaughan, a 6-foot-2 senior, launched the discus 198 feet, 9 inches at this month’s USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships, setting the national high school and junior records in the event. She also finished fourth at the ongoing U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field with a throw of 195-9. One of only two girls in prep history to throw the discus over 190 feet, Vaughan has now crossed the barrier five times.

“I was not expecting this,
It's amazing to see the list of athletes who have have won the award and where they are now. They've accomplished so much, and it's incredible to know I'm on a similar same path as all of them."

Vaughan is one of only four girls in high school history to throw the discus over 185 feet. Now the prep record-holder, Vaughan eclipsed the old mark by eight and a half feet. The largest previous record-breaking margin in the apparatus dating back to 1980 was one foot, 11 inches. She also won the discus at the Class 5A state championships with a throw of 187 feet, 10 inches, and also took first by launching the shot put 50 feet, 1.25 inches.

Vaughan has maintained a B-plus average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Union Gospel Mission, helping to feed and clothe the needy, and has donated her time mentoring intellectually and physically challenged students in technology applications and physical education. She has signed a national letter of intent to compete in track and field at Texas A&M University next season.

“Shelbi has had an amazing year,” said DyeStat.com/ESPN High School’s Steve Underwood. "I’d go so far to say she redefined what’s possible for girls’ high school discus throwers. As her coach said after her Olympic Trials performance, she’s on her way to being the future of the event at the professional and Olympic level. For me, Shelbi basically clinched Athlete of the Year honors when she broke the U.S. prep record for the third and fourth times at the USATF Juniors. Capturing fourth at the Olympic Trials was icing on the cake and just affirmed her status.”

Hall’s state-title-winning effort in the 100 ranked as the nation’s No. 1 time among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection, while his time in the 200 was ranked No. 2 nationally. He has maintained a 3.71 GPA in the classroom. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has participated in community service initiatives with that group in addition to donating his time as an elementary school outreach ambassador. He will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he will compete in track and field next season.

“Abraham really came on this year to become a great sprinter,” said Underwood. “His 10.19 and 20.58 at the Texas 5A state meet rank right up there with the best 100/200 doubles we’ve ever seen. Then he backed it up nicely with an outstanding 100-meter dash victory against two other 10.20 sprinters at Great Southwest. He also epitomizes what it means to be an outstanding student-athlete.”

Both Hall and Vaughan are now finalists, respectively, for the prestigious Gatorade Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special ceremony prior to the ESPYS in July. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field of play. ESPNHS manages the award’s selection process.

Hall and Vaughan are the 26th and 27th Texas natives to win national Gatorade Player of the Year honors, which has been awarded since 1985 across 12 sports. Only California has produced more Gatorade national winners than Texas with 58 of 246 overall. Florida ranks third with 19.

Texas has now produced seven national Gatorade winners in boys track and three in girls track, also second only to California’s eight and 18, respectively. The most recent boys winner from Texas was Cedar Hill (Texas) hurdler Jason Richardson in 2003-04 and the last girls winner was Luling (Texas) sprinter/jumper Ychlindria Spears in 2000-01.

Seven Texas natives in the past five years have won national Gatorade Player of the Year honors across the program's 12 sports, most recently 2010-11 National Softball Player of the Year Paige McDuffee, who graduated from The Woodlands (Texas) this spring.

Area stars named Texas' best in track & field

June, 24, 2012
The Gatorade State Track & Field Athletes of the Year were announced last week, and both of the Texas winners were from the Dallas-Fort Worth area: South Grand Prairie's Abraham Hall and Mansfield Legacy's Shelbi Vaughan.

As a senior, Hall won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the UIL Class 5A state meet, helping South Grand Prairie to a fourth-place team finish.

Hall will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point this fall, where he will compete in track and field.

Vaughan earned gold medals at the UIL Class 5A state meet in the discus and shot put as a senior. She also set a national high school and junior record with a discus toss of 198 feet, 9 inches at this month’s USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships.

Vaughan has signed with Texas A&M.

Cowboys' Dallas Day crop looks strong

June, 24, 2012
DeSoto’s Patrick Crayton is the biggest success story from the Cowboys’ Dallas Day workouts, which are held before each day for prospects who attended local colleges or high schools. Dallas Kimball’s Phillip Tanner is an example on the current roster of a player who caught the Cowboys’ eye on Dallas Day and kept impressing after signing as an undrafted free agent.

This year’s Dallas Day netted a pretty intriguing haul. The Cowboys signed four undrafted players from those workouts who appear to have legitimate chances to stick, whether it’s on the practice squad or 53-man roster. A look at the rookies with local roots:

[+] EnlargeLance Dunbar
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezLance Dunbar could force his way onto the Cowboys as a fourth running back and kick returner.
OLB Adrian Hamilton: He took a twisted path from Dallas Carter High to Prairie View A&M, signing with Oklahoma State, playing briefly for Texas Tech and spending some time at a community college, but Hamilton had one the most prolific pass-rushing season in SWAC history last year. His 22 sacks broke the conference record held by Colts defensive end Robert Mathis. The knack for getting to the quarterback gives Hamilton a chance to make the team.

CB Isaac Madison: The 5-foot-10, 173-pound Madison, another Carter High product, started the last three seasons at Arkansas. He performed well enough during offseason workouts to earn some reps with the first-team nickel package with Mike Jenkins and Morris Claiborne unavailable. Madison will be fighting for the fifth cornerback job during training camp and the preseason and can help his cause by proving he can contribute on special teams.

WR Cole Beasley: The son of his high school coach at Little Elm, the SMU product is the stereotypical short, quick slot receiver. Beasley won’t earn high marks on any eye tests, but coaches can’t help but notice his tendency to get open and catch the ball. The Cowboys didn’t have a pure slot receiver on the roster last season, moving Miles Austin inside in multi-receiver formations. Beasley, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at SMU, could give them another option.

RB Lance Dunbar: He’s a 5-foot-8, 191-pound scatback who broke North Texas' all-time records for rushing yards (4,224), all-purpose yards (5,375) and touchdowns (49). It will be tough for Dunbar to beat out Tanner for the third running back job, but the Cowboys kept four running backs at the beginning of last season. Dunbar, a Haltom High product, will have a chance to impress on kickoff returns.
Jovan Hernadez’s ascent up the pitcher’s mound Friday clearly represented what Rockwall-Heath’s baseball team had worked for the last four years to achieve.

“It was like reaching the summit of a mountain,” Heath coach Greg Harvey said. “We were finally where we’ve been working to go.”

Hernandez’s complete-game, four-hit effort was more than enough to secure Rockwall-Heath’s first baseball state championship Friday at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond. Heath routed North Texas neighbor, Cleburne, 10-1 in the final 4A game of the season.

The win brought back a 4A title to the Metroplex for the first time since 2002.

Hernandez also had a team-high three RBIs on two hits, including a home run, in addition to his stellar pitching effort.

“Jovan went out and threw just an absolute amazing game. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He really just controlled the game from the mound.”

Hernandez’s third-inning homer brought in two RBIs, scoring Clayton Rasbeary after his inning-opening double.

Heath first baseman Timbo Duncan lead his team in hits, going three-for-three with two RBIs.

“We just pounded the ball all night long and all the way up and down the lineup, we had some big hits,” Harvey said.

Heath finished its state championship season 36-9. Rockwall’s annual Fourth of July parade will feature the newly-crowned state champions.

Arlington Martin falls to Houston Cypress Ranch, 6-0

The 5A state title will remain in southern Texas after Arlington Martin was blanked by Houston Cypress Ranch at Dell Diamond on Friday.

Cy Ranch starter Grant Slaughter went the distance, throwing a three-hit, eight-strikeout gem.

Cy Ranch second baseman Bryce Stark drove in a team-high two RBIs with one hit.

Cy Ranch will face College Station A&M Consolidated on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. for the 5A state title.

Five locals earn invites to NBPA Top 100 camp

June, 8, 2012
The National Basketball Players Association has released the roster for its annual Top 100 camp, which will be held June 14-16. Twelve of the top 25 players in the ESPN 100 earned invites, including No. 1 overall Jabari Parker.

Locals earning invites:

Keith Frazier, Irving, G, 2013
Kendal Harris, Richardson Berkner, G, 2013
Jordan Mickey, Richardson Berkner, F, 2013
Emmanuel Mudiay, Arlington Grace Prep, G, 2014
Karviar Shepherd, DeSoto, F, 2013
During the middle of the season, Arlington Martin rolled out 15 straight wins, mostly in district play.

The Warriors lost just twice in the regular season and tallied five losses total including postseason play.

It’s easy to see Martin is a hot team representing the Metroplex in the 5A baseball state tournament this weekend.

However, the Warriors’ semifinal opponent has proven what peaking at the right time can do.

Houston Cypress Ranch blew through the talented Houston area in the postseason without taking a single loss.

In Martin’s favor the entire season has been its depth in pitching, with a staff that has recorded 36 wins.

Mix that with an offense that scored at least five runs in every postseason win for an intimidating combination.

Martin hopes to bring back the first 5A state championship to North Texas since Plano West’s title in 2008.

Defending the Metroplex is a challenge Martin coach Curt Culbertson accepted before the playoffs began.

“All these guys around here believe some of the best baseball is here in North Texas. Once we get [deep in the playoffs], we’ll deal with that out there,” Culbertson said.

Martin will have its chance to settle the Houston-DFW rivalry for 2012 at noon Friday at Round Rock’s Dell Diamond.

Opening invite for W. Mesquite's Kameron Miles

June, 7, 2012
West Mesquite safety Kameron Miles accepted an invitation Wednesday to be one of the 150 high school football players to attend The Opening, a training and competition showcase that will take place July 5-8 at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Miles, who verbally committed to Tennessee two weeks ago, is ranked No. 12 among safeties nationally and No. 36 among all Texas players in the latest ESPN 300.

For Miles' reaction and more on The Opening, click here (Insider content).
It took Rockwall-Heath three straight trips to the regional finals to earn the chance to travel to Round Rock in quest of a state title.

Having shaken that weight off their back, the Hawks can focus on the success of their first trip to the UIL state baseball tournament in school history.

“It’s something we’ve been working for all year long and we’ve finally got over the hump of Round 5, but we’re ready to get back to work,” Rockwall-Heath coach Greg Harvey said.

Now it is up to Rockwall-Heath to break another streak weighing down Dallas-area baseball teams – a 10-year run without a Class 4A state championship.

Plano West was the last area team to celebrate a state championship, beating Southlake Carroll for the Class 5A crown in 2008. However, 2002 was the last time a Metroplex team won it all in 4A when Southlake Carroll, then a classification lower, beat Corpus Christi Calallen 11-4 at Dell Diaomond.

“It’s something that’s kind of strange to me because the level of competition in North Texas is so strong," Harvey said. "We’re just going to go try and win the semifinal game and if we do it would be great to bring it back to North Texas. It would be great to break the streak.”

Rockwall-Heath (34-9) faces Montgomery (29-13) in a semifinal matchup at Dell Diamond on Thursday at 4 p.m. Austin Lake Travis (33-10) faces Cleburne (29-10) at 7 p.m. in the other semifinal.

Hawks ace Jake Thompson will get the start just days after he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the MLB draft (91st overall). Thompson has made a verbal commitment to play for TCU.

Harvey said Thompson would wait until after the state tournament to make his decision to go pro or play for the Horned Frogs.

If Jovan Hernadez is not needed to pitch in the semifinal game and Rockwall-Heath wins, Harvey said he’d give the nod to the senior for the state final.

Harvey said his team would attend 2A semifinals at Dell Diamond on Wednesday night to get a feel for the state tournament vibe before Thursday’s game.

Regardless, it’s a special trip for the Hawks that has been three years in the making.

“We’re excited, but ready to go back to work now,” Harvey said.

Texas Softball POY: Hebron's Heather Stearns

June, 6, 2012
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.


School: Hebron
Grade: Senior
Position: P/1B
Height: 5-foot-10


Athletic achievement: Stearns posted an 18-9 record on the mound and a 1.29 ERA, leading the Hawks (28-11-1) to the Class 5A, Region 1 final this past season. She struck out 313 batters and walked 40 in 190 innings-pitched. At the plate, Stearns batted .415 with 15 home runs, 41 RBI and a .972 slugging percentage. She hit four home runs in a 13-4 win over Pilot Point on March 3, becoming the first softball player from Texas to hit more than three homers in a game.

Academic excellence: Stearns has maintained a 3.21 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally at a homeless shelter and food bank and has taught Sunday School at her church.


“Heather has not only great velocity, but she has great movement and a great selection of pitches,” said Michelle Mayfield, head coach of rival Mansfield Legacy. “Heather was also huge in the playoffs for Hebron, definitely turning up her intensity and game several notches.”

THE FUTURE: Stearns has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Baylor University this fall.

Forney, Plano East fall short at state softball

June, 3, 2012
Plano East and Forney lost in the semifinals of the UIL state softball tournament Friday.

Plano East lost 6-3 to Klein Collins in a Class 5A semifinal. Deer Park beat Klein Collins 6-0 in the 5A state championship game.

Forney lost 11-3 to Montgomery in a 4A semifinal. Spring Branch Smithson Valley knocked off Montgomery 9-8 to win the 4A championship.

Other UIL state softball champions for 2012 are 1A Flatonia, 2A Crawford and 3A Lufkin Hudson.

Plano East outfielder Chandler Cink and Forney outfielder Rylie Chappell were named to the all-state softball tournament team.

Here are the full all-state tournament teams:

Arl. Martin, Rock.-Heath reach state in baseball

June, 3, 2012
Arlington Martin, Rockwall-Heath and Cleburne were pushed to the limit before winning their best-of-three regional final series to clinch spots in the UIL state baseball tournament.

Martin beat Southlake Carroll 5-2 in Saturday's Game 3 of the Class 5A Region 1 finals. That came after Carroll won Game 2 earlier in the week 2-0 to force the deciding game.

Rockwall-Heath bounced back from a 1-0 blanking against Frisco Wakeland in Game 2 of the Class 4A Region 2 finals to win the clincher 9-2 on Saturday.

Rockwall-Heath will be joined in the 4A state tournament by Cleburne, which beat Waco Midway in three games in the Region 1 finals.

Here is the the UIL baseball state tournament schedule:


1A SEMIFINALS, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
9 a.m. - Price Carlisle (25-2) vs. Fayetteville (19-6)
Noon - Stamford (23-1) vs. Dodd City (27-7)

2A SEMIFINALS, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
4 p.m. - Brock (33-1) vs. Bushland (30-6-1)
7 p.m. - Elkhart (36-4) vs. Jarrell (25-4)

3A SEMIFINALS, UT's Disch-Falk Field
1 p.m. - Sweeny (31-2) vs. West (31-8)
4 p.m. - Robinson (29-2) vs. Texarkana Pleasant Grove (33-5)


1A FINAL, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
9 a.m. - Price Carlisle/Fayetteville winner vs. Stamford/Dodd City winner

2A FINAL, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
Noon - Brock/Bushland winner vs. Elkhart/Jarrell winner

4A SEMIFINALS, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
4 p.m. - Rockwall-Heath (34-9) vs. Montgomery (29-13)
7 p.m. - Austin Lake Travis (33-10) vs. Cleburne (29-10)

3A FINAL, UT's Disch-Falk Field
6:30 p.m. - Sweeny/West winner vs. Robinson/Texarkana Pleasant Grove winner


5A SEMIFINALS, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
Noon - Arlington Martin (36-5-1) vs. Houston Cypress Ranch (30-8)
3 p.m. - Corpus Christi Carroll (32-4) vs. College Station A&M Consolidated (28-11)

7 p.m. - Rockwall-Heath/Montgomery winner vs. Austin Lake Travis/Cleburne winner


5A FINAL, Round Rock's Dell Diamond
11:30 a.m. - Arlington Martin/Houston Cypress Ranch winner vs. Corpus Christi Carroll/College Station A&M Consolidated winner