From state titles to near misses, girls’ athletics thrive in 2018-19

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From state titles to near misses, girls’ athletics thrive in 2018-19

After a year full of sports, the Redhawk girls' athletics has gone through many experiences. Throughout the year, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, track and field, and golf athletes have grown a lot, and Sports Editor Aaron Boehmer has a recap on this year in sports.

After a year full of sports, the Redhawk girls' athletics has gone through many experiences. Throughout the year, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, track and field, and golf athletes have grown a lot, and Sports Editor Aaron Boehmer has a recap on this year in sports.

provided by Amelia Jauregui

After a year full of sports, the Redhawk girls' athletics has gone through many experiences. Throughout the year, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, track and field, and golf athletes have grown a lot, and Sports Editor Aaron Boehmer has a recap on this year in sports.

provided by Amelia Jauregui

provided by Amelia Jauregui

After a year full of sports, the Redhawk girls' athletics has gone through many experiences. Throughout the year, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, track and field, and golf athletes have grown a lot, and Sports Editor Aaron Boehmer has a recap on this year in sports.

Aaron Boehmer, Sports Editor

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From individual state championships to teams that nearly claimed a championship, girls’ athletics teams had a year full of success. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights.

Volleyball

Earning the District 9-5A championship title that featured a 16 game winning streak, head volleyball coach Ui Womble finds great pride in having coached such a triumphant team.   

“[I feel] successful; I am very proud of this team,” Womble said. “I got to watch them grow up and excel on and off the court. [Next year] I expect another successful year. We’ll be younger than last year, but there are many talented and hardworking athletes ready to follow in the alumni footsteps.”

Junior Jenna Wenaas is looking ahead to the 2019-2020 season by reflecting back on prior accomplishments.

“We had a super successful season, and while there’s always a way we could have been better, we all are proud of the season and can say we gave it our all,” Wenaas said. “I’m looking forward for my senior season, and leading a fairly new team.”

With success comes rewards, but Womble believes having the ability to coach a team like the Redhawks is rewarding enough.

“It’s one of the goals each year when we begin training; we want a long playoff run,” Womble said. “It’s a grind during the season, but ultimately it’s so much fun to continue to coach and work with the student athletes and coaches in the program.”

Basketball  

After a 17-1 District 9-5A run and winning the regional tournament, the basketball team headed to San Antonio for the state championship in March, losing by five points to the Amarillo Sandies in a 47-42 result.

“Making it to state finals, I feel very fortunate, very humbled because it’s really tough to do,” head coach Ross Reedy said. “With this group, we’ve managed to do it twice in the last four years, and two times in my five years as a head coach. And so, you feel lucky, but you are humbled by the work that it takes, and that’s why with every year that ends, you know that it’s going to be a grind in terms of trying to rebuild and do it again next year.”

Among the nine graduating seniors is Kenzi Glover, who reflects back on the season and all that her and her teammates achieved.

“I could not be more proud of not only my performance, but the entire team,” senior Makenzi Glover said. “Making the all state tournament team was such a rewarding feeling. We all worked our tails off to have the success that we did this year.”

Reedy views success as relative as he evaluates the different ways in which the team can approach the 2019-2020 season.

“For next year, you look at it one of two ways, and that is ‘as successful’ would be getting to the state tournament, and going it to the finals or doing better, the black and white version of it,” he said. “In terms of the grayer version of success, that’s one of the things that was so great about this group is that we felt we got the most out of it, or at least near to it. That grayer version of success, we just have to keep the culture intact, keep kids excited about showing up, they’ve got to work hard and show more of a commitment, and some humility in the sense of knowing that it’s going to be a struggle. As long as they do that, and they stay inspired, and they have competitive stamina, that mindset going forward, I know that they can have both the typical, black and white version, and also get a lot out of themselves, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Wrestling  

Continuously working since freshman year, senior Savannah West pinned down a state championship in February, earning the 2019 5A 110 lb title.   

“I feel great about my overall performance,” West said. “I lost some matches that I feel like I shouldn’t have, but I achieved my ultimate goal of winning state. All I wanted was to be a state champion, and now I am.”

Reflecting back on her past four years on the Redhawk wrestling team, West sees how the program has influenced her character.

“Being apart of this team has truly made me into the woman I am today,” she said. “It’s made me tough, determined, hard working, and a lot more. I’ve met tons of great people through wrestling and love each and everyone of them. Wrestling will always be a huge part of my life, and so will my team.”

As she closes the Redhawk wrestling chapter of her life, West hopes to have left a lasting impact on the teammates she leaves behind.

“A lot of the underclassmen are worried that they won’t live up to the standard that us seniors made this year,” she said. “But that is exactly what we thought our freshman year; obviously we turned out okay. I’ve worked long and hard to teach the younger wrestlers all that I know, and I hope that sticks with them. I know they can be great and I hope my ‘legacy’ will show that hard work does pay off with a little blood, sweat, and tears.

Track and Field  

Among the four athletes placing in state in May, senior Nissi Kabongo won gold in high jump, silver in 300m hurdles, and a bronze in the 800m run and senior Sanye Ford won first in long jump.

“I felt like my performance was really good, I hit all the goals that I wanted to it and I had a really successful season overall across the board,” Kabongo said.  “Winning state, to be honest, I already knew since February after I had already jumped 5’10”, I was already confident that I would win state. It was super surprising, but I was really happy about it.”

Kabongo isn’t alone in being proud of the success of the Redhawk track and field team, as head girls’ cross country and track coach Amanda Zambiasi has seen the girls grow into state champions since freshmen.

“This is the most successful track team that I have had the pleasure of coaching since coming to Liberty,” Zambiasi said. “As a coach it is such a proud moment, especially watching seniors win state. We have been with these athletes for all four years and watched them grow into young women. So to be able to be with them through all of the offseasons, injuries, successes, and let downs, it makes seeing them on that podium that much sweeter.”

With the seniors on the verge of crossing the stage for graduation, Zambiasi looks to the current sophomores and juniors to take charge and lead the 2019-2020 team.

“We are going to take a big hit losing such a strong senior class, but I have a lot of dedicated and hard working underclassmen,” Zambiasi said. “We have several individuals that I hope to see step into these leadership roles and continue the high expectations of the program.”

Golf

Unlike past years, sophomore Raeleigh Davidson was the only Redhawk golfer to advance to the regional and state tournaments, placing 7th in the 5A UIL golf tournament.

“It was super fun going to state and being able to make the all state team as a sophomore because it proved my hard work was paying off and that I can come back the next two years and beat this past outcome,” Davidson said. “My goal for next year is obviously make it back to state again and to beat my placement at state from this year.”

Head coach Shannon Glidwell had mixed emotions as it was the first time the golf program did not advance as a team to regionals or state.

“This year was somewhat bittersweet,” Glidwell said. “We played well enough all year, but were just one shot short at the district tournament from advancing to regionals, so the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to. With the exception of Raeleigh Davidson, who advanced to the regional and state tournaments, the season saw us fall a bit short as a team.  It was awesome, however, to see Raeleigh advance as far as she did on her own.”

Hoping to have more golfers advancing next year, Glidwell looks to work with the team to ensure even more success than this year.

“We are looking forward to going back to the state tournament next year,” he said. “We have already identified several areas where we want to improve, not just as individuals but also as a team. Hopefully we can see our hard work payoff in 2020.”