Category: Hamlin Pied Pipers


Football is just around the corner, and we at are committed to bringing you the information you need to prepare for your favorite team’s season.

We’ll be releasing our Big Country Preps Preseason Football Preview, the most comprehensive look at the upcoming Big Country football season anywhere, on Saturday, Aug. 14. But you won’t have to wait until then to sate your gridiron appetite.

Leading up to the first day of fall football practice on Aug. 2, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2021 as part of our annual “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.

We start in Class 2A Division II with the Hamlin Pied Pipers. On Thursday we will take a look at the Roscoe Plowboys, followed by the Albany Lions on Friday.

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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP (Day 2): Vancleave wins discus state title at the last possible moment

How many of you once dreamed of hitting a game-winning homerun or shooting the game-winning shot to win a championship?

Hamlin senior Jenna Vancleave experienced the track and field equivalent of the same dream on Friday in Austin, only she had an even greater sense of urgency.

Not only did Vancleave win the girls 2A discus state title on the final throw of the competition at the state meet, but she did it on what she knew would be the final throw of her career. Her performance shares the spotlight with Wylie’s Kylor Aguilar, who took gold in the boys 5A pole vault. 

“I just came in hoping for the best,” Vancleave said. “It was all in God’s hands.

“I was very nervous. My stomach hurt so bad, but my coaches talked to me and calmed me down. They were like, ‘You’ve just got to throw. Let it loose and relax.’ So I took that advice and and apparently it worked.” 

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EVAN REN: Handicapping the boys state track meet.

Having already released our picks for the girls state track meet earlier this evening, we now present the boys event, using the same approach. 

We’ll comb through each event involving a Big Country athlete (or athletes) and assess if they are favorites, dark horses or long shots to get on the medal stand. 

Let’s not waste any time. Let’s dive in. 

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EVAN REN: Picking the favorites, dark horses and longshots at the girls state track meet

I don’t care who you are — even if you’re a non-fan when it comes to track and field. 

The excitement of the state meet in Austin will capture your attention if you catch sight or sound of it. It’s inescapable. 

And once per year, it is my pleasure to examine the multitude of Big Country athletes heading to Austin for the event and pick who we can expect to see on the medal stand from our area. 

Let’s begin with the girls side, looking at each event in which a Big Country athlete has qualified for state. 

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FEATURE: Hamlin bids farewell to an old friend

Photos courtesy of Gary Ford

HAMLIN — The first time Charlie Shira sat behind a microphone to work PA at Hamlin High School, Ronald Reagan was President, “Dallas” was the top-rated show on television and the Space Shuttle had yet to get off a launch pad. 

That’s a long time ago. 

Some four decades later, Shira was honored prior to Tuesday’s Hamlin baseball game with Forsan in a brief ceremony to commemorate his years of service to HHS and to acknowledge his retirement from PA announcing. 

It brought to a close a career that included 40 years of track, 30 years of baseball and 25 years of football as the “Voice of the Pipers.” 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Clyde’s Phillips earns this week’s spotlight

In a week filled with unforgettable moments, several of our nominees handed in by area coaches could justifiably be called our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

We finally settled on Clyde sophomore Payton Phillips, who stunned attendees at the Region I-3A meet by taking gold in both the long jump (18 feet, 6 inches) and the 100 hurdles (15.12) — breaking school records that were 25 and 15 years old, respectively. 

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REGION II-2A TRACK RECAP: Haskell girls top Stamford for team title

SPRINGTOWN — The Haskell girls track team made a remarkable showing at the Region I-2A track meet Friday and Saturday at Porcupine Stadium, sweeping all three relays to run away with the team title.

The Maidens finished with 106 points to top second-place Stamford by 26 points, headlining an outstanding weekend for Big Country athletes and teams.

In all, area competitors accounted for 33 total metals and 26 state berths, with the bulk of those coming on the girls side of things. Big Country girls claimed 10 gold medals and eight silvers out of their 23 total medals.

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BREAKING: Hamlin makes hire for new head football coach, athletic director

HAMLIN — The Hamlin school board approved the hiring of Wheeler’s Chris Evans to be the Pied Pipers’ new head football coach and athletic director at a school board meeting on Monday night.

Evans, who will be replacing new Sweetwater coach Russell Lucas, went 33-16 in four seasons at Wheeler, following up a 6-6 record in his first year in 2017 with records of 8-4, 10-3 and 9-3.

His 2017 squad lost to the Pied Pipers 47-27 in the area round of the playoffs, and Hamlin defeated the Mustangs 56-22 in a regional semifinal as the team made its run to the state championship game in 2019. Continue reading “BREAKING: Hamlin makes hire for new head football coach, athletic director”

Evan Ren’s 2021 Gym Rat Team: The toughest, hardest-working teammates in the Big Country

While scoring and rebounding garner much of the attention in basketball, there are other elements, crucial to success, that seldom grab headlines. 

Behind the scenes is where character, effort and sacrifice set the foundation for teams to reach their full potential. And it is with our Big Country Preps Gym Rat Team that we salute the individuals who bring these elements to the table. 

This team isn’t about who the best players are — though some of the area’s top players are on this list. 

The Gym Rat Team is about outworking, outhustling and outgiving everyone around you, both on the floor and off. Hard-working, honest, selfless, tough, coachable kids are what we seek for this roster. 

A Gym Rat Team member can be your best player or the last player off the bench. But the one thing all of them bring is an uncompromisingly good attitude. 

It is for that reason that our Gym Rat Team is selected entirely by area coaches. And Big Country Preps is truly honored to present these individuals to you — the best “team players” (boys and girls) that the area had to offer during the 2020-21 season.

Players are listed in no particular order. 


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UPDATED: Sweetwater names Hamlin’s Lucas new AD, football coach

The Sweetwater Mustangs have their new head football coach and athletic director and didn’t have to look far to find him.

Sweetwater has tabbed Russell Lucas, Hamlin’s coach for the past 13 seasons, to replace Ben McGehee at the helm of the storied program. McGehee left the program in early February to take over Magnolia West.

That history is one thing that appealed to Lucas, who wasn’t even looking to leave the Pied Pipers. Continue reading “UPDATED: Sweetwater names Hamlin’s Lucas new AD, football coach”