There were district championships, deep playoffs runs and heartbreaks over the past 12 months in area sports.  While it may be hard to pick one event over another, it is awesome to note there are a good number of athletes taking their game to the next level.

Here is a look at some of the highlights of 2019.

January

In its first-ever tournament, the local 16 and under volleyball team Urban Volleyball Club (UVC) was a second-place finisher in the NTR Bid Event’s silver bracket in Dallas. Graford’s Jackrabbits topped No. 21 Albany behind Xavier Harrison’s team-high 14 points.

The Lady Rams soccer team was 4-0 in the Kennedale tournament as defensive-minded Mineral Wells beat No. 2 Kennedale and No 4. Argyle by matching 1-0 scores. Both the Lady Rams and Rams celebrated by winning their home openers the next week.

Not to be outdone by their older fellow volleyballers, the Mineral Wells UVC 13 and under team took second place at the North Texas Rumble/In It 2 Win It tournament in Frisco. 

The Texas Girls Coaches Association took note of the Lady Rams’ tournament wins and home-opening win and listed Mineral Wells (8-1-1) as the state’s No. 9 ranked team. 

Rams senior linebacker Jonah Maston made his commitment to becoming a Warhawk by announcing he was signing with McMurry State to continue his football career. The Rams soccer team bounced back to .500 on the season with a stunning 4-0 win over Snyder.

The No. 7 Lady Rams soccer team dominated Snyder scoring a stunning 13 goals in the shutout. Over a three-game span, Mineral Wells outscored their opponents 27-0.

February 

Elaina Buchanan’s double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds paced Community Christian’s Lady Warriors to their first district title in 21 years as they downed Cornerstone Christian 44-33. CCS rounded out district with a perfect 6-0 record.

All-state goalkeeper Reagan Carter proved why she’s such a well-regarded player with 26 saves in a 2-0  against Aledo. The game put Carter over 500 saves in her just three-year career, and the Eastern New Mexico signee will have plenty more opportunities at the collegiate level.

National Signing Day saw Jonah Maston (OKWU) and Devin Hurtado accepted football scholarship offers. Mineral Wells also had Ross Bullock (Oklahoma Wesleyan) and Carter (ENMU) as early signees.

Perrin ended a 73-year postseason drought in basketball with a 62-42 win against Bryson. No. 22 Santo’s Lady Cats laid claim to a bi-district crown with a 33-36 win against Seymour. CCS’s Lady Warriors crushed Kairos Christian Academy 59-6 to reach the state semifinals.

Terra Newsom’s sixth home run of the year helped Mineral Wells take third place at the Jacksboro tournament as the Lady Rams went 5-2. Braden Fryer got the start on the mound, and the Rams baseball team opened the 2019 season with a 7-6 win against Alvarado.

Strawn’s Greyhound’s won a bi-district basketball title with a 61-48 win against Lingleville, and the next week added the school’s first-ever area title with a victory against Evant. No. 3 Graford won its third straight regional quarterfinal with an 89-51 blowout of Saint Jo.

March

Former Lady Ram basketball player Hailey Regino struck gold at the next level as the freshman was part of the National Championship won by D2 Arlington Baptist University. It was the school’s fifth straight national title.

No. 3 Graford’s playoff run came to an end in a gritty 1A regional semifinal that saw the Jackrabbits fall 66-62 against No. 1 Lipan. Graford finished the season with a glittering 33-4 record.

District 7-4A basketball honors rolled out asRoss Bullock, and Brei Ruelas were selected as first-team players.  Ruelas’ tributes continued the next week with her selection to the Texas Roundup All-Star game.

The Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team exploded for 17 runs and 17 hits in a 17-7 win against 5A WF Rider. The Rams soccer team clinched the District 6-4A title with a 4-2 penalty-kick win over Stephenville.

The Rams track and field team took a third-place finish at the Blue Bonnet Relays while Santo opened district play in baseball with a 25-0 destruction of Ranger. Mineral Wells boys claimed the district title in soccer and Lady Rams soccer team was second behind No. 1 Stephenville.

April

Graford basketball players Preston Tabor and Xavier Harrison were named to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches All-State team. It was the second all-state selection for Harrison and his third selection to the TABC all-region team.

For the fifth time in five seasons, the Lady Rams soccer team were bi-district champions as Mineral Wells defeated Graham 4-0 at Ram Stadium. 

Sprinter Hannah Price captured 100-meter championships at the bi-district and area levels, clocking a 13.53 in Springtown. The Lady Rams softball team improved to 18-9 on the season with a 9-5 win over Stephenville. Santo defeated Lipan 2-0 in baseball and wrapped up a perfect 10-0 district slate. 

Graford ended a 23-year postseason drought in baseball as the Jackrabbits beat Bluffdale 17-2 to clinch a third-place spot. The 

Jackrabbits added a bi-district title to their trophy shelf with a 16-0 drubbing of Gholson. 

Graford senior Preston Tabor signed his national letter of intent to play basketball for UTPB in Odessa. Millsap’s Hailey Allen signed her intention to attend Northwest Tech and become a Lady Maverick softball player.

Soccer senior Mia Elder and Rachel Carter were selected to play in the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Senior Showcase in San Marcos. Santo’s 2-0 sweep of Hubbard lifted the Wildcats to the area baseball championship.

Special Olympics athletes Dylan Benefield and Jamie Novak returned home to Mineral Wells as silver medalists. Perrin swept Savoy to win the regional quarterfinals with 11-5 and 13-3 victories.

Santo’s Landon Fallin, Grant Nemeth, Jett Bryan and Austin Cantrell took second place at the Springtown meet in the 4x100 relay and were already qualified for the state meet. The Wildcats baseball team rode over Moody to 9-1 win and a bi-district title.

May

CCS welcomed Brian Rodricks as its new athletic director and boys basketball coach. Rodricks is a two-time TCAF state champion coach. TASCO selected Mineral Wells soccer players Reagan Carter,  Karime Betancourt, Miguel Hidalgo, Diego Andrade and Marvin Renteria to all-state and all-region teams.

Santo’s 18-game baseball winning streak came to an end in the third round of the playoffs. A pair of losses against Dodd City ended the Perrin’s playoff run in the regional semifinals.

Postseason baseball honors went to Mineral Wells Braden Fryer and Brady Huseman as both players were named first-team All-District 7-4A. Santo’s 13-2A All-District roster included Brayden Benson and Grant Nemeth as MVP and Utility Player of the Year, respectively.

Strawn’s Tanner Hodgkins was a two-time football MVP for the defending champion state champion Greyhounds, but the senior picked track and field and took his discus specialty to the University of Incarnate Word.

June

Coach Gerald Perry announced Landry Gunter and Chance Willard would be co-offensive coordinators in 2019. The Mineral Wells All-Stars were champions of the 10-under Jim Sundberg baseball tournament. The Mineral Wells moccasin swim team began its summer onslaught of medal-winning.

New summer workout rules issued by the UIL allowed for 18 more “practices,” and Mineral Wells football had more than 150 players working out.

After five years of dormancy, the Warriors football program is revived as a whirlwind weekend produces not just Coach Brian Horton but a complete football schedule laid out by athletic director Rodricks for CCS to play.

July

Brett Ray’s hiring as Mineral Wells baseball coach sparked hopes he can repeat the magic of a 45-15 record he had in three years at Woodrow Wilson. The Blue team dominated the Red team in the 2019 Brazos Bowl with a 52-16 win in Strawn.

Local golf coach Tommy Fincher announced Kids Day Golf in Mineral Wells with area youngsters getting lessons and being allowed to play for free on Monday.

Seth Riddle’s hiring as the Rams basketball coach was met with great fanfare as the “local” guy (Lipan graduate) brought his game from Huckabay. Athletic training won out over nursing for Tiffany Crossland, who brought her skills to Mineral Wells to serve as the new assistant athletic trainer. 

Kaiden Sawyer-Bailey(Gold), Preztynn Connally (Gold) and McKayla Ramsey (Silver) all brought home high-jump medals from the TAAF 2019 Summer Games of Texas.

August

Greg Freeman’s late hiring was a big grab for the Mineral Wells coaching staff as the wide-receiver coach has proven to be detailed oriented and has also fired up his junior varsity basketball team.

Millsap’s Payton Johnson earned All-American honors from the USATF after her Mach 1 team’s 4x800 relay performance at the Junior Olympics.

Football fans who like to talk about the Rams got a new location of the Friday Morning Breakfast Club. Fans have been meeting on Friday mornings since 1984 and now meet at Palo Pinto General Hospital.

The first-ever web streaming broadcast of Mineral Wells high school sports features the Lady Rams bash demolishing WF Hirschi in five sets for the win on the Index’s Rams Sports Network.

September

Junior placekicker Marvin Renteria had no idea how long his 50-yard record-breaking field was against Iowa Park until he trotted back to the sidelines. The new mark broke the 45-year-old record set by Ricky Bray in 1974 against WF Rider.

Starting the year ranked at No. 15, the Gordon Longhorns cracked the six-man top ten, and the rumbling of a feature game against Strawn for a district title began.

The Texas Basketball Hall of Fame announces the planned induction of Graford’s Samantha Morrow. The recently retired coach notched 606 college wins and is an inspiration for others as a breast cancer survivor.

Five former Mineral Wells High School athletes were inducted into the school’s  Athletic Hall of Fame.  The new class included Adrain Colbert (2012), Sean Harvey (Coach), Stanley Carter (1976), Leon Teddlie (1956) and Max Trickey (1968).

October

Circumstances and injury lead to junior Ethan Oliver getting the nod as the Rams’ starting quarterback and performs well under pressure against No. 9 Springtown. Community Christian School secured a playoff spot with a 51-40 win against St. Paul’s Prep.

November

Perrin, Santo, Gordon and Strawn were playoff-bound, and the biggest surprise of the year was how awesome the Gordon and Strawn district 10-1A title clash turned out with the Longhorns edging the two-time defending state champs 27-26.

Perrin and Santo bow out of the playoffs in the first round, but Gordon and Strawn battled all the way to the Regional finals where the Greyhounds exacted revenge with a 64-40 win that sends them into the state semifinal against seven-time state champion Richland Springs.

The Lady Rams open the basketball season on a high note with a second-place in the Hamilton tournament.  CCS’s basketball teams start the year on fire with the Lady Warriors at 7-1 and the Warriors 6-2.

December

Sophomore cornerback Robbie Gillen leads a list of eight players who receive all-district football honors. The announcement is delayed six weeks due to Springtown’s deep playoff run. 

Graford’s boys and CCS’s girls are the hottest tickets in area high school basketball with the No. 2 Jackrabbits having to seek out larger schools and tough tournaments to get the action they need.  The Lady Warriors are 18-1 on the year and have already avenged their only loss. 

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