Recognize San Antonio/Austin

Updated: March 26, 2009, 4:54 PM ET
ESPN RISE Magazine

Softball - Bowie

It seems like everything has been leading to this year for the Bowie girls' softball team. The Bulldawgs lost to Garland in the Class 5A state semifinals two years ago. They moved one step closer last spring, losing this time to Alvin in the state title game. But the gang is back nearly intact this season with one last chance to go all the way. Senior pitcher Blaire Luna is one of many impact players on this year's squad. The Texas signee is the reigning Austin American-Statesman Player of the Year after posting an ERA of 0.06 last season to go with 246 strikeouts in 123 innings. Luna's battery mate is also back in senior catcher Whitney Bailey. Bowie's outfield returned in full with senior Andrea Porter in center field, senior Sam Beeson in right and sophomore Kendall Wiley in left. That trio doubles as the heart of the Bulldawgs lineup, with Porter hitting second, Beeson third and Wiley in the cleanup spot. All three hit better than .300 last season, with Beeson leading the way at .389. Bowie lost its first baseman, second baseman and third baseman to graduation, but Brittany Moreno does return to hold things down at shortstop. With a pitcher like Luna in the circle, a talented lineup surrounding her and two difficult season-ending losses to use as motivation, it wouldn't be wise to doubt the Bulldawgs come playoff time this spring.

Boys' Basketball - Wagner

When the Thunderbirds muscled their way past nationally ranked Madison in the second round of the playoffs this winter, it was clear the third-year program had emerged as a true contender. Three hard-fought wins later, Wagner found itself headed to the Class 5A state tournament as Region IV-5A champions. There, it took a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Cedar Hill to finally derail the Thunderbirds. The team finished 32-8 overall and will bring back three starters next season, including top scorer Jordan Clarkson.

Wrestling - Westlake

The Chaps produced a banner performance at this winter's state wrestling tournament. Not only did junior Peyton Burns bring home the program's first individual state title since 2002, but the team piled up an impressive 76 points to finish in its best-ever position of third place. Burns claimed the 152-pound title with a last-second reversal to secure a 3-2 win over Allen's Eden Bernstein. Senior Grant Perry took second at 171 pounds and junior Chase Betzer finished third at 130 pounds to help pile up the points.

Girls' Basketball - Buda Hays

The Rebels had to be one of the most unlikely girls' basketball teams to advance to the state tournament this season, but that doesn't mean they didn't deserve to be there. Coming off a 2007-08 season in which Hays missed the playoffs altogether, senior Shelby Calabrese channeled that frustration and led the team on a storybook season that didn't end until the Class 4A state semifinals. The 5-foot-6 guard averaged 14.5 points and four assists per game to pace the Rebels to district and regional titles and a final record of 34-5.


BASEBALL  CEDAR PARK Only a junior, RHP Nathan Thornhill has already emerged as one of the state's top hurlers. GIRLS' GOLF  NEW BRAUNFELS Led by senior Liz Kensing, the Unicorns look to move into the top three at the Class 4A state tourney. BOYS' LACROSSE  MCNEIL Senior attack Ben King has the Mavericks moving up in the standings. SOFTBALL  VISTA RIDGE With junior OF Coralee Ramirez leading the offense, the Rangers won't miss a beat as they move to 5A.