Category: Track & field

FEATURE: Reed’s common sense quest may benefit track athletes all over Texas

GORDON — Throughout the gamut of junior high athletics, it is common to see adjustments made for children of that age.  From the size of the field, to the size of the ball to the weight of the equipment used, middle schoolers are helped with modifications designed specifically for them. Without them, 11-13 year-olds would have a difficult time competing in the sports of their choice. 

It only makes sense. 

In Texas, however, there has been a noteworthy exception — one that long-time area track coach Mike Reed (now at Gordon High School) has been battling to have changed for six years: The recommended distance for meet organizers to place between the girls 100 hurdles and boys 110 hurdles. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Stephenville pole vaulter Kirbo wins final award of 21-22 school year

As one of the defensive leaders for Stephenville’s state championship football team, Ben Kirbo was ensured a memorable senior year regardless of what happened at the Class 4A state track meet. 

But the SHS standout and future TCU pole vaulter wanted a little icing on his cake … and got it.

Kirbo vaulted 16 feet in Austin last week to win the Class 4A pole vault competition by a full foot over Pleasanton’s Preston Pilgrim and Argyle’s Mitchell Thompson. And in doing so, he earned our final Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award for the 2021-22 school year.

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UIL STATE TRACK: Cross Plains girls just miss team title amid points total confusion

Photos by Joe Garcia III, PressPassSports.com

Katie Goains became a legend for the community of Cross Plains on Saturday night as the Class 1A state track and field meet came to a conclusion.

In the 1,600-meter relay, Goains passed Blum’s Kayden Arrington in the final meters to clock a time of 4:14.72 and earn a bronze medal.

More importantly, Goains’ strong closing effort helped lift the Lady Buffaloes into what they thought was a state championship.

The elation of the title was short lived as the Lady Buffs found out shortly after thinking they had tied Ackerly Sands for the title with 40 points that the UIL did not account for the four points that Sands’ Landry Morrow had earned in the 100 hurdles with her fourth-place finish.

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FEATURE: Bronte’s Jackson hoping an extra year of experience will pay off in Austin

BRONTE — A year ago as a freshman, Bronte’s Emily Jackson made her state track meet debut with a nervous performance in the 300 hurdles. 

A year later, a 16-year-old Jackson is returning to Austin as a still young, albeit more experienced 10th-grader with an added level of maturity 

She is a year older. A year faster. And most importantly, she believes she has learned from her nerve-racking experience at Myers Stadium which saw her place eighth out of nine runners with a time of 51.50 last season. 

“Last year on the day of (the state meet), I was so nervous that I felt like I really couldn’t compete to my highest potential,” Jackson said. “And I don’t think I did.

“But after just going and seeing it and being there last year, I’m hoping the (experience) will help things go smoother. I’ve been there once, so hopefully, it won’t be such a shock.”

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UIL STATE TRACK: Day 2 sees Big Country bring home hardware in 2A; Haskell girls claim title

Photos by Joe Garcia III, PressPassSports.com

AUSTIN — With a second-place finish in the final event of the night, the Haskell girls track team won the Class 2A state championship Friday at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Asia Billington, Brittany Andrews, Emma Roewe and Savanna Camacho ran a time of 4 minutes, 00.37 seconds to claim the silver medal in the 1,600-meter relay, helping their team to a total of 60 points — just two more than runner-up Panhandle (58).

The Goldthwaite girls mile relay wrapped up a big event for the Big Country by stealing a bronze medal with a time of 4:03.78, cutting nearly six seconds off of their time from the regional meet.

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FEATURE: Cross Plains qualifies six relays for state – again

Photos courtesy of Cross Plains High School 

The Cross Plains boys’ and girls’ track teams have qualified all six of their relay teams for the Class 1A UIL State Track and Field Meet at Austin on Saturday. The Buffaloes and Lady Buffs accomplished the same feat last year, but they have received more recognition this year since they won all six relays at regional.

The relays’ sweep helped the Buffaloes and Lady Buffs both win Region II-1A team championships April 29-30 in San Angelo.

Last year at state, the Cross Plains boys finished second in the 400-meter relay, third in the 800-meter relay and fifth in the 1600-meter relay. The girls won the 400 relay, ran second in the 800 relay and finished fifth in the 1600 relay.

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UIL STATE TRACK: Class 3A, 4A teams get Big Country off to a good start in Austin

AUSTIN — Stephenville freshman Keirstyn Carlton’s bronze medal in the high jump was the first in a string of surprising podium finishes as the UIL state track and field meet began Thursday at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Carlton jumpstarted a day in which athletes from the Big Country Preps coverage area earned 17 medals.

It wasn’t just the individual medal count that started strong, but also team results. The Brock and Breckenridge boys finished 1-2 in the team standings in the Class 3A boys competition, finishing with 55 and 33 points, respectively, while the Stephenville girls finished in second place with 43 points in the 4A standings.

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FEATURE: State-bound Coahoma senior Ott a wheelchair track pioneer, success story

Four years ago, at the urging of superintendent Brad Cox, Coahoma’s Vance Ott joined the Bulldog track team on a lark.

Few could have predicted — or even dreamt — at the time that that would serve as the first chapter of one the greatest success stories in Big Country track and field history.

Ott, who would become the area’s first wheelchair division state qualifier that year as a freshman, became the Big Country’s first state medalist and champion last spring as a junior. Now preparing to compete in his final state meet on Friday, the senior has a collegiate career to look forward to at the University of Arizona and a dream to one day represent Team USA in the Paralympic Games.

That’s quite a rise for for a young man whose original high school plans didn’t include track at all.

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FEATURE: Big Spring freshman the lone representative at state for the Lady Steers

Zach Duncan, Special to Big Country Preps

Niomi Wines isn’t surprised she qualified for the UIL Class 4A state track meet.  

The Big Spring freshman will compete in the high jump at 9 a.m. Thursday and then turn around and run the 200 later that night.  

“I thought it was a realistic goal, I just had to work a little bit to achieve it,” Wines said. “It was very realistic from the start.”  
Continue reading “FEATURE: Big Spring freshman the lone representative at state for the Lady Steers”

CLASS 4A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Spring boys, Stephenville girls headline successful I-4A meet for area

The Stephenville girls and Big Spring boys both finished third in their respective team competitions over the weekend at the Region I-4A track meet to headline a strong effort for area teams and athletes.

The Honeybees amassed 94 points to finish behind only team champion Canyon (122) and runner-up Argyle (106) while the Steers finished with 52 points — 10 behind second-place Decatur and 51 behind boys champion Argyle.

In all, Big Country relay teams and athletes accounted for 21 total medals — 10 on the boys side and 11 on the girls side.

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CLASS 2A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Country highlights from 2A regional meets

Two Coleman track athletes put on a show over the weekend and the West Texas A&M Track and Field Complex in Canyon served as the stage.

This was no surprise.  

As expected, Coleman’s Devinar Roberson took the Region I-2A title in the high jump, clearing 6-09 to claim gold — five inches higher than second-place Luke Braden of Stratford. 

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LOCAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Wylie high jumper Maroney statebound after second-place region finish

Wylie sophomore Indiah Maroney punched her ticket to the Class 5A state meet over the weekend in Lubbock, finishing second in the high jump at the Region I-5A meet to earn a trip to the Austin in two weeks.

Maroney, the only local athlete to earn a spot at state, cleared a personal-best of 5-foot-5 to match region champion Anaya Potter of Justin Northwest, but she took a silver medal on attempts.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore, who also starts for the Wylie girls basketball team, accounted for eight of the Lady Bulldogs’ nine team points and the bulk of the 14 points earned by Abilene high school athletes at the Region I-5A and I-6A meets.

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CLASS 1A REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Big Country 1A highlights from this year’s regional meets

It was a huge day for Cross Plains at LeGrand Stadium in San Angelo on Saturday as both the CPHS boys and girls track teams both claimed Region II-1A team championships. 

The Cross Plains boys scored 70 combined points to top second-place Rankin (65) and third-place Irion County (58).  The Lady Buffaloes, in the meantime, shared the team title with Irion County at 64 points apiece, followed by Sterling City with 44. 

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REGION I-3A TRACK MEET: Brock, Breck go 1-2 in boys team race, Merkel standout claims four golds

Coming off the first region and state titles in program history in 2021, the Brock boys track team was successful in its first title defense, running away with the team championship at the Region I-3A meet Saturday at Abilene Christian University’s Elmer Gray Stadium.

The Eagles finished with 99 points — 44 more than second-place Breckenridge — to headline a strong performance for athletes throughout the Big Country Preps coverage area on the meet’s second day.

Merkel, meanwhile, had the top finish for the girls, riding a stellar meet from senior Alyssa O’Malley to 52 points and a fifth-place team finish — one spot ahead of the Brock Lady Eagles, who placed sixth with 44 points.

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REGION I-3A TRACK MEET: Brock boys dominate on Day 1; Merkel’s O’Malley takes gold

With the bulk of the Region I-3A Track Meet completing its preliminary stages, there were few opportunities for area teams to secure a trip to the state meet on Friday. 

Nonetheless, teams within the Big Country Preps circulation area managed to produce their share of fireworks on Day 1. And nobody did more damage than the Brock boys, who closed with the day with a meet-leading 36 team points.

Nathan Jones shattered the regional shot put record by more than three feet and Eli Potts took gold in the long jump to lead Brock, which enters Day 2 a full 10 points ahead of second-place Bushland. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP Player of the Week: O’Malley overcomes injury to punch regional ticket

Merkel’s Alyssa O’Malley is no stranger to our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week column. 

If she’s not in the weekly mix during the basketball season as one of the area’s top players, she’s competing for our top spot during the spring in track and field. 

Her latest exploit: How about four area championships in solo events, despite having a painful foot injury? 

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FEATURE: Stamford’s Faulks a top regional threat in 300 hurdles

Dylan Faulks admits to having a love-hate relationship with the 300 hurdles.  

The Stamford senior owns one of the best times at the Class 2A level and is hoping to return to state next month. As a junior, Faulks finished seventh last year in Austin, but he’s already running a faster time heading into regionals.  

“The thing I like most about track is that it is a gut sport,” Faulks said. “Especially the 300s, not everybody can do it, so it makes it special.”  

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FEATURE: Merkel’s Holloway finds home in 400 and helping relays

Photos courtesy of Rachael Holloway 

It became obvious after her sophomore track season in 2021 that Avery Holloway needed to find another individual event to replace the 100-meter hurdles.

“She was solid in the 100 hurdles, but she wasn’t going to get to state,” Merkel girls’ track coach Tracy Damiano said. “We needed to find her another individual event. She’s the ultimate team player and has always run on whatever relays we needed her to run. She always ran well in the 4×400 relay, so we tried her in the open 400.

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FEATURE: Sprinters lead Breck boys’ track to first district title in 22 years

Photos courtesy of Breckenridge boys’ track coach Mark Young

It’s not unusual for one sprinter to lead the area in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Breckenridge has two such sprinters in juniors Sean Cooksey and Adrian Ruiz.

Cooksey leads the Big Country in the 100 with his fastest time of 10.75 seconds. Ruiz leads the Big Country in the 200 with his 22.38.

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FEATURE: Stephenville’s Tori Cameron loves soccer, but she’s a state champion sprinter

Photos by Stephenville girls’ track coach Jeremiah Butchee

Victoria (Tori) Cameron is a soccer player blessed with sprinter’s speed for track and field.

The Stephenville High School junior just completed the 2022 soccer season as a forward for the Honeybees, who finished 21-1-2 after a 1-0 loss to Midlothian Heritage on Friday in the Class 4A regional semifinals. It was Stephenville only loss all season. The Honeybees were ranked fifth in the state and allowed only five goals all season.

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FEATURE: Clyde standout Payton Phillips hoping for a return trip to Austin

Payton Phillips knows where she wants to visit next month.  

The Clyde junior enjoyed her first experience at the UIL state track meet last spring, competing in the 3A long jump and 100 hurdles. It left Phillips wanting more.  

“My experience at state was eye-opening because I got to see competition like I haven’t seen before,” Phillips said. “Seeing so many great athletes pushed me to run and jump to my fullest potential.”  

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FEATURE: Snyder’s 1600 Relay … No stars. No depth. Just determination.

Photo by Snyder boys’ track coach Desmond Ayala.

 The Snyder boys’ Big Country-leading 1600-meter relay suffered its first loss Saturday in five track meets this spring, finishing second to Lubbock Coronado’s 3:23 at the Lubbock Invitational. But veteran track coach Desmond Ayala accomplished a key goal with the Tigers’ runner-up finish in 3 minutes, 26.27 seconds.

“We wanted to run against some tough competition that would push us,” Ayala said of his Class 4A Tigers. “We had to run for our lives today. We were in fourth place at one point. Jeremiah Rodriguez (the third leg) got us back in the race. Then on the anchor leg, Jay Castillo got hit on his heel and stumbled and almost fell.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jim Ned duo shares this week’s spotlight

Even in high school baseball, perfect games are rare. Two perfect games in one week in the same league are extremely uncommon. 

Two perfect games in one week, thrown by a pair of teammates are about as elusive as a Lochness Monster sighting.

And coincidentally, that’s about how often Big Country Preps names two players for the Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: C-City pitcher Kaci Rivera takes the top spot

It’s difficult to top back-to-back shutouts when searching for a Player of the Week, especially when one of the vanquished is a solid team from a higher classification.

That was the case last week for Colorado City softball pitcher Kaci Rivera, who held both Big Spring (7-0) and Borden County (6-0) to a goose egg, with 23 strikeouts in 14 innings of work. 

Our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week allowed only five total hits in the two games, to go with two walks. 

“Kaci has really started to show her dominance on the mound,” coach Krysten Marr said. “She is a fierce competitor on both sides of the ball and we are excited to see how she does going into district play.”

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BIG COUNTRY GIRLS TRACK: Top area prospects for the 2022 season

With the track season getting underway, it is time for Big Country Preps to take a look at the area’s top girls track and field athletes returning for 2022. 

Below, we list our top three returnees for each individual event along with additional regional and state threats in each classification.  Top relay times from last year are listed at the bottom. 

We’ll see you at the track!

Enjoy! 

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BIG COUNTRY BOYS TRACK: Top area prospects for the 2022 season

With the track season getting underway, it is time for Big Country Preps to take a look at the area’s top boys track and field athletes returning for 2022. 

Below, we list our Top Three returnees for each individual event along with additional regional and state threats in each classification.  Top relay times from last year are listed at the bottom. 

We’ll see you at the track!

Enjoy! 

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SIGNING DAY: Eight Wylie athletes make college decisions official

One table wasn’t nearly enough for all of Wylie’s signees at the school’s signing day ceremony Wednesday at the Wylie Performing Arts Center. Athletic director Clay Martin needed three to seat the eight athletes who made their college decisions official on National Signing Day.

Five football players, a baseball player, a volleyball player and a track and field athlete all got to sign their letters of intent and be recognized by friends and family, with seven of the eight electing to stay in town and compete for Abilene universities.

Four of the football players — offensive lineman Jaxon Lunsford, tight end Jaxon Rutledge, linebacker Jaxon Camacho and kicker/punter Grayson Bearden — all committed to Hardin-Simmons University, while their teammate X’Zavier Collins, a defensive lineman, signed with Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.

Wylie’s other three signees — volleyball setter Lexi Miller, baseball catcher Nick Sobolewski and discus and shotput thrower Hannah Hutchinson — are all headed to McMurry University.

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ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS DREAM MEET: Boys field

While the UIL state track meet provides a fun and exciting end to the high school track season every year, giving the best athletes in each part of the state an opportunity to compete against the other top athletes in their classification, we here at Big Country Preps weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the sport.

After adding track and field to our coverage for the 2020-21 school year, we’ve decided to end our season with the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Dream Track Meet.

As with our All-Big Country Preps teams for other sports, our Dream Meet is our way of honoring some of best athletes the Big Country had to offer this past school year. But our concept for this is just a little bit different.

Instead of being presented as a team, we’re treating this like a meet with an area-wide field in each event. There are no distinctions made for classification, just a collection of the top performers from across the BCP coverage area. 

Without further ado, we present our first All-Big Country Preps Dream Meet boys field. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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ALL-BIG COUNTRY PREPS DREAM MEET: Girls field

While the UIL state track meet provides a fun and exciting end to the high school track season every year, giving the best athletes in each part of the state an opportunity to compete against the other top athletes in their classification, we here at Big Country Preps weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the sport.

After adding track and field to our coverage for the 2020-21 school year, we’ve decided to end our season with the inaugural All-Big Country Preps Dream Track Meet.

As with our All-Big Country Preps teams for other sports, our Dream Meet is our way of honoring some of best athletes the Big Country had to offer this past school year. But our concept for this is just a little bit different.

Instead of being presented as a team, we’re treating this like a meet with an area-wide field in each event. There are no distinctions made for classification, just a collection of the top performers from across the BCP coverage area. 

Without further ado, we present our first All-Big Country Preps Dream Meet girls field. We hope you enjoy reading through our selections.

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FEATURE: Goldthwaite’s Bartek is not a typical three-sport state qualifier

Photos by Brandon Bartek and Ashley Spradley 

If one high school has one male that qualified for state in three different sports — all within the same academic year — most people would expect the guy to be 6 feet and 180 pounds.

Meet Goldthwaite sophomore Connor Bartek, a state qualifier in cross country last fall, plus track and golf this spring. He stands 5 feet tall and weighs just under 100 pounds. In cross country last fall, Bartek qualified for state for the second consecutive year and finished 11th individually in Class 2A.

In track, Bartek finished fourth in the 2A 3,200 meters Friday, May 7, and his time of 10 minutes, 12.77 seconds broke a 35-year-old Goldthwaite school record.

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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP (Day 3): Cross Plains boys, girls top Big Country teams on Day 3

With a a combined six boys and girls relay teams heading to Austin, backed by a loud contingent of fans, Cross Plains entered the 2021 UIL State Track and Field Meet feeling as though it had a shot to win two team state championships. Or at the very least, team bronze or silver. 

It just didn’t happen. 

Finishing in fifth place in both the girls and boys 1,600-meter relays, the exhausted Buffaloes were edged off the team medal stand with two fourth-place finishes. They were, nonetheless, the top boys and girls team performers among all Big Country Class 1A participants on Saturday, earning a combined total of four relay medals (two each).

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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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STATE TRACK ROUNDUP: Cameron pulls off stunning performance, Brock boys win team title

Not since way back in 1982 had any girl wearing a Stephenville uniform clocked a 100-meter dash any faster than Victoria Cameron did on Thursday. 

She picked the right time to do it — ripping through the girls 4A 100 meters in a blazing 11.48 seconds to capture gold at the UIL State Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium. 

Cameron’s effort not only obliterated her previous personal best of 11.85, but it also smashed a 39-year-old school record of 11.70 and left race favorite Kaylee Lewis of Melissa with a distant second-place finish of 11.78. 

Lewis did come back for a measure of revenge, edging Cameron for gold in the 200. But Cameron’s gold-silver combination still stood as one of the top highlights for athletes in the Big Country Preps coverage area on Day 1, which also saw the Brock boys capture a 3A team championship.

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FEATURE: Ballinger senior Vaughn relishing stretch run of injury-filled high school career

As a four-sport lettermen in his three years at Ballinger — and a freshman standout at Brady before that — Tyler Vaughn has been an impact athlete throughout his high school athletic career.

But with each of his last three years being derailed by significant injuries, Vaughn’s career has been marked by inevitable questions of what might have been had he been blessed with better luck.

Now serving as DH for the Bearcat baseball team after undergoing surgery in late January to repair a torn labrum, Vaughn isn’t focused on what wasn’t, however. With his team preparing for a bi-district series against District 5-3A champion Reagan County this weekend, and a college career at Howard Payne to look forward to after this school year, the Ballinger senior is devoting his energy to making the most of what remains of his time in a BHS uniform.

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FEATURE: Anson’s Reagan Jones excels in classroom and athletics

For Anson girls athletic director Ryan Dollar, there’s never been a student-athlete in his career that’s quite like Reagan Jones.

Calling her “smart, athletic and friendly” was just the starting point as Jones is in the middle of a week that’s included two berths in UIL state meets and seen her lead the Lady Tigers softball team into the second round of the playoffs.

It’s not just Dollar that feels that way about the junior, either.

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