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Thursday, June 23, 2011

2010-11 Midlothian Rising athletes of the year above Mirror sports writer Alex Riley selects his top five senior boy and girl sports standouts from the past academic season Female athletes


Lexi Ball

Ball will forever be remembered by one nickname – state champion. Someone was going to be the first Midlothian athlete to win a state title as a 5A participant in school history. It just so happened to be Ball. And if no one else wins one within the next five or so years, she might be the only athlete from Midlothian to win a 5A title with the new high school being passed this year. Ball opened her powerlifting season by dominating early meets. She claimed first place honors at a handful of meets and was named best lifter three times. The strong performances made her a top three lifter in Region 3 for the season. During the regional meet in Forney, Ball had one of her better days personally but finished fourth in the 105-pound class, sneaking into the state meet down in Corpus Christi. She would quickly prove why she belonged. Ball started the meet by squatting 245 pounds, a full 45 pounds more than her previous best total for the season. She then benched 125 matching her pervious best of the year. In the final event of the day, Ball posted her strongest numbers ever with 300-pound dead lift that was 35 pounds more than her previous best for the year to finish at at 670 combined pounds. That total was a full 70 pounds better than her next closest competitor. With her first-place finish, Ball became the first Midlothian athlete to earn a state title since Carly Kitts and Vince Frawley brought home first-place honors at the 2009 state track meet. Countdown continues on page 2C Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Lexi Ball will forever hold the distinction of being Midlothian’s first state champion at the 5A level after she claimed the 105-pound powerlifting title this spring.

Male athletes


Dillon Fairbanks

Coming into the 2010 football season, Fairbanks wasn’t worried about piling up statistics or posting gaudy numbers. He just wanted to earn wins and help his team reach the playoffs. The Panther football program might have fell just short of that goal but not for lack of trying. And not for anything Fairbanks did. In a district loaded with dual-threat quarterbacks, Fairbanks proved he could hang with the best of them. A year after leading the Panthers in rushing yards with 428 on 97 carries, Fairbanks upped his production in both areas with 533 yards on 100 carries. The good news – he wasn’t the leading rusher as running back Justin Seeton (715 yards, 10 touchdowns) took a lot of pressure off his shoulders. By not having to carry the rushing load, Fairbanks was able to settle into the pocket and make throws down the field. He finished with 1,393 yards and 13 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He also finished the year with a completion percentage of 59.05 percent. The only quarterback in the district with a better percentage was Cedar Hill’s Driphus Jackson. He might have lost the percentage battle with Jackson but he didn’t lose the game. Fairbanks guided Midlothian to a 5-5 overall record with big wins over several teams but none were more spirit-lifting than the team’s 27-20 upset of the Longhorns. In that game, Fairbanks played nearly flawless, rushing eight times for 87 yards while going 11-for-16 (68.75 percent) for 91 yards and three touchdowns. For his efforts, Fairbanks was named first-team alldistrict quarterback making him a two-time all-district selection.

Williams, defense lead hockey to huge victory By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

FARMERS BRANCH – Trent Williams’ offense kept the Midlothian hockey team in Thursday’s game with Coppell early. Once the defense followed suit, things got a whole lot easier for everybody. Williams notched a hat-trick through the first two periods while the Panther defense responded to a pair of early goals by clamping down and keeping the Cowboys off the scoreboard for the final 37 minutes in a 4-2 win. For Williams, the scoring was a continuation of his recent offensive surge. After opening the season with a one-assist performance against Arlington, Williams has now scored at least one goal in the past five games with multiple points in four of the last five games. Last week, he posted four points (two goals, two assists) after scoring one of each the week before. “The first couple games (the offense) wasn’t there. Now it’s just getting back in the groove of playing and getting to know your teammates a little bit better,” Williams said. “I was just trying to be a leader out there, go 110 percent every time I’m on the ice.” Williams put the Panthers (4-2) up early scoring a shorthanded, unassisted goal just over two mintues into the game. That advantage didn’t last long as Coppell answered with back-toback Scott Brownrigg goals in under four minutes. The shots were what coach Ryan Pfeiffer described as “ugly” and rightfully so. But from that point on, the Panthers showed the ability to make mental adjustments and settle down. “I thought that the defense themselves were shaky when they tried to play offense and the offense was shaky when they tried to play defense but it all came together in the second. I don’t think the defensemen were helping the forwards out with the way they were playing the puck and I don’t think the forwards were helping the D out with the way they were clearing at first,” Pfeiffer said. “But then they picked up on it and they did a great job. You gave up the two goals which were really ugly goals and then they got the point.” Clinging to the one-goal lead Williams provided via his hat-trick, Midlothian got a game-sealing shot just over three minutes into the third period as Tyler Colburn scored off a See HOCKEY, Page 4C

Countdown continues on page 2C Photo by Gary Puckett/Special to the Mirror

Dillon Fairbanks leaving Midlothian with an impact on the passing records and as a key catalyst for the program’s resurrgence. His leadership and skills will be missed.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Trent Williams had a hattrick in the first two periods play against Coppell to help Midlothian earn a 4-2 win over Cowboys.


2C   Midlothian Mirror,   Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 |

2. Blaine Blackburn

3. Cody Taylor

It would be easy to simply write Blaine Blackburn off this list because he participated in two sports but was unable to make the playoffs in either. But few senior players had a showing like this dual-sport threat. Blackburn started his surge on the basketball court where he finished second on the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game. He led the team in three-point field goals (54) and assists (74) while also grabbing 94 rebounds. For his efforts, Blackburn earned second-team all-district honors. Immediately after basketball season was done, Blackburn transitioned to the diamond for baseball season where he saw his roles change. In previous years, he had been a relief pitcher and regular in the field. This spring, Blackburn was asked to be starter on where he posted a 2.07 ERA with 20 strikeouts and just eight earned runs allowed in 27 innings pitched. He also made the most of his plate appearances finished with 10 hits in 30 at-bats, six of which were doubles en route to honorable mention all-district status. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

There might not have been any athlete in all of MISD with more expectations on his shoulders before the season even started than senior golfer Cody Taylor. Last spring, the thenjunior surged ahead of all comers to become the first male Midlothian golfer to reach the state tournament. He was tabbed as the No. 1 ranked golfer in 5A Region I early in the season and an concensus pick to make another run at state. For the most part, Taylor didn’t disappoint. Taylor won three tournaments he competed in over the course of his senior season while setting the school scoring records in his four-year career. At the district golf tournament, Taylor earned a regional berth for the second-straight year as a medalist. Once he arrived in Lubbock for Region I tournament, Taylor put up a good fight finishing in the top 10 and missing a state berth by just two strokes. He will eventually continue his career at the Division I level but will start in the junior college ranks at Texarkana College. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

4. Eric Agbaroji

5. Nathan Fisher

Coming into the fall, Eric Agbaroji had a lot of lingering questions about his health and leadership abilities on the football field. By the team the season was done, both had been answered with authority. Agbaroji did not disappoint in his final year amassing 26 total tackles from his cover corner position over 10 games. He also grabbed an interception, caused a fumbled and blocked two field goals while breaking up more than a dozen passes. The accolades for Agbaroji poured in after the season ended, starting with first-team all-district. He was then given the defensive secondary award during Midlothian’s banquet. Sticking to a commitment he made before the season even started, the senior signed with perennial top 10 and BCS Bowl game contender Boise State to continue his career. By signing with the Broncos, Agbaroji became the second member of this football senior class to go D-I (Dillon Wilson, Kansas State) and the fifth Panther player in the last six years to play at the FBS level. (Photo by Gary Puckett/Special to the Mirror)

Nathan Fisher’s speed has always been his biggest asset. Over the course of his senior season, he got the chance to show it off. Fisher, a multi-use player on the football field, was everywhere Midlothian needed him to be. He caught three passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, rushed the ball five times for 38 yards and a touchdown, stockpiled a team-high 69 tackles while snaring an interception and defending three passes. He also blocked a punt and a field goal. Capping his football career, Fisher earned first-team alldistrict honors while being named co-MVP of the team and signing a scholarship with Tarleton State. Added to all that, Fisher shined on the track earning a region berth in the 400m dash and nearly getting the Panther 4x400m relay team on to the next level in a lightning fast district. When the race finished, opposing racers came up to Fisher to complement him on his speed. That might be the highest honor of all. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

Honorable mention Emigidio Arvizu, soccer Affectionately known as “Iggy,” Arvizu burst on to the scene this year for the boys soccer team and played a huge role on the defensive end. He played so well, the district coaches voted him utility player of the year for the district. Leaving him off the top five was a tough call. Conner Roberts, baseball Roberts’ defense had always been fairly sound but it only got better this spring. His bat quickly followed as his .446 average and 18 RBI were by far team bests. He finished with 33 hits in 74 at-bats including six doubles. He earned second-team all-district accolades.

Heath Lemoine, football and powerlifting On the football field, Lemonie figured to be a backup much of the season. But once regular offensive lineman Blake Lunday went down, Lemonie stepped in and stepped up to plug the hole. Regarded as one of the strongest men on campus, Lemonie earned the top spot in the 275-pound Region 3 powerlifting division but hit rough patch in the regional meet to miss state. Brett Hames, soccer It will forever be known as “the goal that changed everything.” Hames’ go-ahead shot with under five minutes to play in the bi-district

game against Euless Trinity gave the athletic department its first 5A playoff win and sent Hames into sports lore. He was also the team’s scoring leader for the year. Issac Arrington, soccer Arrington’s foot is the stuff legends are made of. He singlehandedly won several games for Midlothian and wasn’t opposed to being either a starter or reserve off the bench. Without his ability to score or create opportunities for others, the Panthers would not have had as much success this year. Kyler Brown, football and baseball On baseball diamond, he posted a

4.94 ERA in 22.67 innings with 10 strikeouts and a .207 batting average with four RBI. On the football field, Brown caught nine passes for 86 yards while picking up 12 tackles en route to honorable mention all-district honors on offense and defense. He was also selected to a scholar athlete competition by the National Football Foundation-Gridiron Club of Dallas. Brown was also an academic all-state selection in both. Dillon Wilson, football Wilson was the other D-I football signee this season but his year was cut short by a leg injury. Still, in limited action he managed to finish second on the team in scoring

2. Carly Kitts

with 32 points on six field goals and 14 point after attempts. Wilson will continue his career at Kansas State. Others considered Vinson Sellars (powerlifting), Derek Agbaroji (basketball and football), John Schoonover (soccer), Gage Windsor (football), Jackson Sandefer (basketball), Brad Younts (baseball), Colton Clanton (football and baseball), Justin Shealy (baseball), Victor Gonzales (football and powerlifting), Cody Cain (baseball), Colton Thigpen (football), Blake Lunday (football and baseball), Scott Hayden (soccer), Vincent Panza (football), Brian Robertson (soccer), Davis Cearley (cross country)

3. Destiny Berry Vocal leadership has never been Destiny Berry’s thing. She’d rather just lead by example. And what an example she set in her final year. Berry, a veteran force on the front line for the Midlothian volleyball program, capped her career with yet another impressive season. She was near the top of the team in kills, led the team in blocks and helped lead the volleyball program to a 5A playoff berth, the athletic department’s first 5A playoff appearance in history. The Lady Panthers were in position to claim the school’s first 5A district title going into the final game of the season against Duncanville but came up just short. For her efforts, Berry was selected as a first-team all-district player, her third straight season earning all-district accolades, and named the team’s outstanding offensive player at the endof-season banquet. Berry signed a scholarship to join Valdosta State’s program this fall where she is expected to make an immediate impact at the net. (Photo by Gary Puckett/Special to the Mirror)

It will be strange to see a distance running program at Midlothian next season without Kitts leading the pack but after four-years of dominance it’s time for the UT-San Antonio signee to move on. For her finale, Kitts didn’t show any signs of injury which slowed her last season. Instead, she ran some of her best career races in both cross country and track. During the cross country season, Kitts won the district meet, placed top 10 at the Region I run and reached state for the third time, placing 16th at the 5A level. Kitts would follow that performance with an impressive showing during Midlothian’s first 5A track meet. She won the 1600m run and placed second in the 3200m run to reach regionals in both events. Sadly, her road ended there as she missed the cut for a state berth but it was still a strong end to an amazing career. During her time at Midlothian, Kitts reached the state meet in the two sports a combined seven times and picked up three state titles. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

4. Megan Spence

5. Brie Munoz What Brie Munoz was asked to do this season is nothing short of daunting. Take a group of relatively young players, mold, guide and shape them into a championship caliber defense on the soccer field. A 5A caliber soccer defense. Munoz not only did that but she also managed to gleam a little spotlight herself along the way and rightfully so. Under Munoz’s watch, Midlothian held six teams scoreless while keeping 17 opponents under two goals over the course of the season. From a 5-0 loss to McKinney Boyd on Jan. 17 until a 9-0 loss to Grapevine in the bi-district playoff game on March 29, Midlothian did not allow an opponent to score more than two goals. For her leadership and ability, Munoz was easily selected as a first-team all-district honoree. She was also a recipient of a Brandon Palady scholarship awarded to senior players who have made an impact on the field, in the classroom and in the community over their career. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

No one really quite knew what to expect from Megan Spence before the 2011 softball season started. The Midlothian program was in a bit of flux with former coach Jennifer McFalls leaving and Spence was going from secondary to primary pitching option for the Lady Panthers. What the senior produced was nothing short of spectacular. Spence pitched herself to a 15-6 overall record throwing 135 of the team’s 161.66 innings. She posted a 2.70 ERA, allowing 52 earned runs with an astounding 122 strikeouts to just 37 walks. Those numbers helped Midlothian finish tied for second in the district race and propelled them to a bi-district championship, the school’s first girls 5A playoff win. With those numbers, Spence earned first-team all-district honors and was named the team’s co-MVP along with fellow senior Reagan Luedtke at the end-of-season banquet. Spence was also selected the DFW 5A All-Star game and pitched well in that outing. (Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror)

Honorable mention Reagan Luedtke, softball Her final high school season could have been a nightmare but Luedtke showed willingness to adapt when a shoulder injury prevented her from playing catcher. She stepped in as a designated hitter and proceeded to lead the Lady Panthers in average (.434), RBI (37) hits (tied at 33) and home runs (tied at four). She had several go-ahead or walk off shots, including a bomb against Mansfield Legacy in the bottom of the sixth-inning. Luedtke was a first-team all-district selection and team co-MVP. Hannah Miller, basketball and softball Miller might have cracked the top five if not for a lingering knee injury

that cut her softball season short. During basketball season, Miller led the team in scoring with a double-figure average and was also the team’s top player in assists. She received second-team all-district honors and was tabbed as the basketball program’s MVP. Following the conclusion of hoops season, Miller joined her softball teammates, batting .304 in 56 at-bats. She finished the season with 17 hits, including two triples, to go along with 21 stolen bases (third best on the team). Haley Richards, tennis Richards whole career on the tennis court has been a success story and her senior year was no different. She shined in the fall en route

to second line all-district honors as an individual. Then, she and doubles partner Lexi Hendrix would have a bounty of success in the spring season, finishing third in district and just missing the cut for a regional berth. Brandi Spillers, basketball and cross country After spending much of the previous season as a reserve, Spiller stepped into a starters role for the Midlothian girls basketball team this season and performed well. She was a consistent scorer and solid ball handler. She was named outstanding defensive player at the basketball banquet. Added to that, she also ran on the cross country team, placing 32nd at

the district meet. Emma Sears and Taylor Chalmers, golf Listing this duo together is not an insult because they both deserve to be on this list but their accomplishments are very similar. Sears and Chalmers were the senior leaders on this year’s golf team which placed second at the District 5-5A tournament and reached the 5A Region I tournament in Lubbock as a team. It marked the ninth time in the last 10 years that the Lady Panther program had reached regionals as a collective group. Sears (Faulkner University) and Chalmers (Adams State) will both continue their careers at the next level.

Kristine Robinson, powerlifting Robinson capped her career with another trip to state making it backto-back years she reached the highest point of competition. She finished fourth at the regional meet in Forney and took home fifth at the state meet with a lift of 905. Others considered Nicole Hulshouser (volleyball), Angie Reyes (tennis), Kali Danner (soccer), Cheyenne Boteler (cross country), Morgan McNatt (volleyball), Brittany Boughton (tennis), Patty Coronado (softball and wrestling), Liz Williams (soccer), Ashley Kocian (volleyball), Chelsie Wood (soccer)

Sports Palady Tournament still bringing joy after 5 years

Thursday, June 23, 2011   Midlothian Mirror   3C

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 |

By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

Jerry Palady looks out over the more than dozen fields that are in use at Hawkins Park. Hundreds of people, most of which Palady knows by face and name, are pouring sweat and battling for goals in the heat of 4-on-4 soccer competition. Smiles are everywhere. Laughter is easily heard. Brandon Palady wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Brandon Palady, a former soccer player at Midlothian High School, had his life cut short in an accident while he was a freshman at Baylor University. After his death, Panther coach Austin Guest began working out a play with the Palady fam-

ily to celebrate Brandon’s life. The end result – a yearly soccer tournament that would raise money for a scholarship to be given out during Midlothian’s end-of-season soccer banquet. Five years later, it has evolved into something no one could have imagined. “I think now, the kids that had played with Brandon have now graduated from college and are going on and getting jobs, starting their careers. But they’re coming back,” Jerry Palady said. “They’re coming back and saying, ‘We won’t miss this thing.’ They’re coming back and that makes it phenomenal.” The Palady Memorial Tournament is friendly competition event

which has grown from a few dozen teams to more than 100 squads over the last five years. The tournament features players ranging in age from elementary school children to grandparents. Teams travel from all over the Metroplex to take part in the event. But no matter how big the tournament gets or how many teams show up, there is still a since of family and camaraderie. Friends say both were qualities that drew people to Brandon. It’s a major reason people are drawn to this event. Guest, who is one of many people that helps organize the tournament and distribute the scholarships, points to different fields were players who were once part of the

Midlothian program are playing. Some received the scholarship money when they made their sojourn to college. Others played with Brandon and always make the trek back home to celebrate his life. Year after year the story remains the same – a tragic event continues to produce a positive result. At the end-of-season banquet for the past year, Linda Palady, Brandon’s mother, spoke to the crowd for the first time since the scholarship’s inception. Jerry and Linda both helped with the pre-tournament set up this year that goes on the night before. After a few hours of setting up fields, hanging banners and getting all the little things ready to go, Jerry

had a small realization. He knew just how much work went into planning the event but to see everything play out made him realize just how much people loved his son, are eager to honor his memory and enjoy the atmosphere that descends on the park each of the last five years. It’s a feeling he described as “incredible.” “I worked with them this weekend a little closer than I had in the past and I’ve got to tell you, I worked my tail off,” Jerry said. “I know it takes months to get this thing prepared and they’re the reason for the success.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@ or at 469-517-1456.

Not vertically challenged Veteran post player working to separate herself, contribue when called on By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

WAXAHACHIE – Standing tall is something Sam Drusch has heard all her life. When you’re 5-foot-11 and playing women’s basketball, you’re expected to get in the post, block shots, be a strong defender be muscle up for close-range baskets. For the most part, that’s exactly what Drusch has done her whole career. It just so happens that is needed to do it now more than ever. With two key seniors graduating from last year’s team and several other players expressing decisions to not return to the team next season, the time for Drusch to step up and shine is now. As the Lady Panthers battle through summer league work, her commitment to meeting that challenge is evident. “It’s very important because some of our best shooters or people who put the most points on the board are leaving and are not playing next year so it’s kind of important for somebody, a whole bunch of people actually, to step up and find that consistency,” Drusch said. Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Sam Drusch continues to develop her shooting touch during summer league work in hopes of being a consistent offensive threat for Midlothian next season. Over the past two games, the post player has combined for 25 points.

Upcoming schedule June 27 vs. Waxahachie1 4:30 p.m. June 29 vs. Ferris 4:30 Last season, Drusch was a consistent contributor to Midlothian’s offense. She scored at least one point 27 games but never cleared the double-figure mark. Over the last two outings, Drusch has shown just how improved her game has become since the end of the 2010-11 season. Against Red Oak, she led the team with nine points. The following Monday, Drusch poured in a game-high 16 points in a big win over Venus. Her impact in the scoring column is growing week by week. As a veteran, it’s a responsibility she has embraced. “I’m one of the oldest and I feel the oldest should step up and take part of that,” Drusch said. Where Drusch goes after the summer league is complete is anyone’s guess. She will be one of the players returning next season with varsity experience and will most likely be a starter. Her leadership as both a scorer and vocal force are getting

stronger with each day. While all these things could happen, there is some uncertainty in terms of post play on the Midlothian roster. Some positions only have limited depth in terms of returning varsity experience. Not the Lady Panther posts. Drusch joins teammates Alyssa Freeman and Haley Lott as players who have a year of 5A competition under their belt. All three expected to see the court and so far all three have played well in summer league work. Despite the battle for playing time, there is no animosity between the players. In fact, they’re downright encouraging of each other because each brings a different skill set to the game. Lott has shown the ability to block shots with her reach. Freeman can shoot jumpers from inside he arc. Drusch isn’t afraid to get tough for rebounds and short shots against opposing defenses. Drusch sees the depth as an advantage Midlothian will try to use when the season roles around. “We all respect each other pretty well. We fight for our time but we also know who gets what time and stuff like that,” Drusch said. “All the posts are great but there’s just some that have a little height over everybody and it’s just a little bit easier because everybody we play is really tall. To have that is good.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@wninews. com or at 469-517-1456.

Clanton finds the perfect fit

Senior catcher caps career by signing with Williams Baptist College, enjoys small town feel By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

There’s a seven-hour driving difference between Midlothian and Walnut Ridge, Ark. But it’s the similarities that made Colton Clanton want to make the trek. Clanton, an outgoing baseball player, will continue his career behind the plate for Williams Baptist College next season capping a stellar career on the high school diamond. Born and raised in Midlothian, Clanton was looking for a second home when he chose where he wanted to go to school. He found just that in Walnut Ridge. “I guess going up there and visiting with the school and the teachers and the coach, it was just kind of like being back here but in a different state. It was a small town feeling even thought things are getting bigger,” Clanton said. “It was more of the country. I could fit in and it fit me. Plus, it was paid for so that was a big part of it.” The lineage of Midlothian catchers playing at the next level has been a topic for discussion all season. Clanton split time with fellow senior Justin Shealy for much of the year. Shealy did beat Clanton to the spotlight, signing a scholarship off with Clarendon Junior College to keep his career going. Each of the last half dozen catchers for Midlothian have taken their talents to the college ranks. For his senior season, Clanton batted .333 with seven RBI and 16 total hits. Of those 16 hits, four were doubles. Clanton also played a major role as a linebacker on the football team, amassing 45 tackles and a sack for the Panthers in the fall. His signing might have been a little later but timing was not important. Finding a place that fit just

Photos by Alex Riley/The Mirror

With his family and coaches looking on, Midlothian senior catcher Colton Clanton signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Williams Baptist College next season. Clanton cited the small town feeling in Walnut Ridge as a major reason for his decision to head to the Arkansas based school. Williams Baptist has a student body size of 625 students. right was the relevant issue. The Williams Baptist student body is a mere 625 students, almost the same size as the Midlothian graduating class of 2011. That small size appealed to Clanton. Getting to play baseball might be the reason for heading east but the decision was far easier than just baseball. “He’s got some ability and some talent and he really wanted to play at the next level and he found a

place where he’s comfortable. I think that’s the most important thing,” Midlothian coach Ray Hydes said. “I think he’ll do good things. I think Colton will continue to get bigger and really going to get stronger. I think he’s still got a lot to learn about the game but once he does that, there’s not telling what can happen and we’ll see where he goes from here.” Continuing a career while playing at a place that feels like home is

a good portion of the dream Clanton had growing up. Now he’ll get the opportunity to live that out. Wherever the road goes for the senior from here still remains to be seen. One thing is certain – Clanton will give it his best shot and that tends to be pretty good. “I remember being little and dreaming of going off to play college ball somewhere so just going off to do it is icing on the cake,” Clanton said. “I would have loved

to have gone to a big school but, like my dad says, college is college and if you can play baseball it’s just that much better. I’m just glad to keep playing.” Contact Alex at alex.riley@ or at 469-517-1456.


4C   Midlothian Mirror,   Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 |

Working to leave his mark this fall

Healed from injury, linebacker Will Marks retakes the field with 7-on-7 summer team By ALEX RILEY Mirror sports writer

Photo by Chad Wilson/The Mirror

After battling back from injury in the offseason, Midlothian linebacker Will Marks is working to get ready for the season by playing on the Panthers’ 7-on-7 summer team.

Hockey Continued from Page 1C

Doss Allen assist for a powerplay goal. For Colburn, it was his second point of the game after assisting on William’s final goal. It was also his second straight week notching a point and his third goal of the summer. Grayson Ridge was the other player assisting on Williams final goal. Midlothian’s defense played so well down the stretch that the Coppell offense found it virtually impossible to get shots off late in the game. The Panthers allowed 10 shots on goal in the first period, including the two for scores. The second period, the Cowboys had 11 shots on goal. Over the final 15 minutes,

The last few months, Will Marks has spent a lot of time thinking and plenty of time watching. He’s had about enough of that. Last week, Marks finally got to act and participate, a far cry where he was last football season. And not a moment too soon. “This was actually the first day for me to get back and run around. It’s a lot different just getting in motion and stuff. It’s good getting my legs back under me, feeling the game and stuff,” Marks said following Midlothian’s 7-on-7 competition against Waxahachie last week. Somewhere over the course of the last year and a half, Marks tore his labrum, ending his time under center for the Panthers as quarterback prospect when he landed wrong on his arm causing the injury. But the coaching staff thought so much of Marks that they moved him from junior varsity in the middle of the season to play linebacker at the varsity level. He recorded his first tackle against Duncanville and finished with three solo tackles that night. Over the next four games, Marks would amass 18 total tackles including two games with five total tackles. He also caused a fumble during the Mansfield Timberview game and recovered fumbles against Mansfield Legacy and Grand Prairie. He did not play in the season finale against Mansfield and eventually landed under the knife to repair the damage to his labrum. Over the early parts of the offseason, he walked around with brace holding

his arm in place as the injury healed. When spring practice rolled around, Marks will out of the brace but not free of a doctor’s care. He took part in some non-contact drills but never full suited up or did everything. While it was tough not to be taking part, Marks says it was good thing that made him hungry for actual competition. “I feel pretty good about it. I had a good spring even without contact. I had a lot of mental reps which I thought was really good. Just learning a new position and stuff like that,” Marks said. Playing for the 7-on-7 team isn’t the end of Marks’ journey but it’s certainly getting closer. He now free to roam the field, trying to break up passing lanes while two-hand touching players to stop them from advancing the ball. It isn’t Friday night lights or full contact but it is a start. And it’s a necessary step to get back. Marks admits the down time is rust he’s working to shake off as he prepares for game speed this fall. Taking part in 7-on-7 gives him a chance to work some of that rust off in simulated game action. Moving from quarterback to linebacker was a transition he was happy to make. Now he’s looking forward to finalizing that transition without a lingering injury. “I’ve always played defense too so it’s pretty easy for me to be on defense. I’ve gotten into the groove of being able to cope with different stuff,” Marks said. Contact Alex at alex.riley@ or at 469-517-1456.

Coppell got just four shots on goal. Goalie John Seitzler, a fill-in during Conner Graham and Cameron Wagner’s absences, saved 22-of-24 shots that came his way. That effort, coupled with Midlothian’s resurgence on the defense end turned out to be a strong combination. “Towards the end, our forwards started figuring out not to go, what we call, north and south, they were going more across the ice, looking for a pass. It’s real tough when they’re heading straight up the ice and we can’t get much of a pass to them,” Grayson Ridge said. “Once they started figuring that out, we could get the puck to them, get a pass out with less skating on the defense’s part.” Contact Alex at or at 469-517-1456.

Upcoming schedule June 23 vs. Mansfield 6:45 p.m. @StarCenter in Euless

July 7 vs. Southlake Carroll @8:30 p.m. @StarCenter in Euless

June 30 vs. Arlington 8:30 p.m. @StarCenter in Euless

July 14 vs. Mansfield @6:45 p.m. @StarCenter in Euless

Midlothian ISD sports summer camp dates

The Midlothian ISD athletic department has released its list of summer camps for this summer. Six different sports will host campers of all ages. July 5-8 Softball - Contact: Frank Griffin Grades third to sixth will be from 9-11:30 a.m. while grades seventh to ninth will be from 1-3:30 p.m. July 25-28 Volleyball - Contact: Rhonda Currey Grades third to eighth will be from 8:30 -11:30 a.m. with ninth-graders going from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. July 25, 27-29 (No camp on Tuesday) Football - Contact: Jimmy Spradley Grades seventh to ninth from 5:30-8 p.m. Tennis camp will run for six weeks starting June 14 for rising seventh-graders through seniors. Camp dates are June 14-16, 21-23, 2830, July 12-14, 19-20 and 26-28. All registration flyers and information can be found online at athletics.

Photo by Alex Riley/The Mirror

After allowing two early goals, John Seitzler settled in to save 22-of-24 shots that came his way during Midlothian’s win over Coppell.

Sports Happenings

Junior golf camps

Waxahachie Country Club is offering weekly golf camps in June, July and August. The camps are open to children from 6-16 years of age. This year’s camps include new golf and swim camps as well as advanced camps for experienced juniors. Call Devin Thomas at 972-937-3521 to sign up or get more information. Local school campuses also have brochures.

GC Sports Camps

GC Sports Camps are back this summer with focus on football, basketball, soccer and volleyball. The camps are free and guaranteed to the first 100 pre-registered campers with a $50 refundable deposit if campers show up to the full camp. Each pre-registered camper will receive a T-shirt, bag, ball and other prizes. All camps are third-eighth grade except the volleyball it is fourth-ninth. The soccer camp is June 2829, basketball is July 12-14, football is July 19-21 and volleyball is July 30.

SAGU volleyball camp

Southwestern Assemblies of God University and head volleyball coach Hank Moore will be holding volleyball camps in June and July.

One final note...

There is a camp from July 18-21 for girls entering fourth-eighth grade. The fourth-sixth grade camp is from 9 a.m. to noon while the seventh and eighth grade camp is 1-4 p.m. All camps will be on the SAGU campus. The cost of the camp is $85 and includes a Tshirt, individual instruction and an opportunity to learn from and play with college players. Registration forms are available at the Waxahachie Daily Light office at 200 West Marvin. For more information, contact Hank Moore at 214-384-7428.

Junior Panther Club

Any youngster looking to join the Junior Panther Club can find more information by visiting Midlothian’s athletic department Website at The club is open to all students in sixth-grade or younger.

Riley soccer camp

The Riley Soccer Academy will hold a kick-off soccer camp from 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 18-21 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex. Pre-registration before July 11 is $65 and there is a multi-sibling discount. Camp T-shirts are provided while campers will learn technical training and receive awards. For more information, contact Seth Riley

Just wanted to say thanks once more for everything over the last two years. It has been a true pleasure to work in Ellis County covering the athletic excellence these schools put out. Again, I might be in Cheyenne, Wyo. working the Tribune-Eagle

at 972-351-2499 or visit rileysocceracademy. com.

SAGU basketball camp

Two-time NAIA National Coach of the Year Donnie Bostwick will be holding basketball camps at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in late July. A shooting and one-on-one camp will be held July 21-23 while a day camp will be held July 25-28. A diaper dandy camp for ages 4-8 will be held July 29-20. For more information on each camp contact Donnie Bostwick at 972-3100380 or by email at

Tennis camp

Certified tennis coach Cris Perkins is offering tennis camp and is also available for lessons. Camp will be held at the courts behind Frank Seale Middle School, 700 George Hopper Road, Midlothian. For further information, contact Perkins at 817-938-5937 or visit his website at www. Got a sports happening in the Midlothian area or for all of Ellis County? Send it to sports writer Chad at chad.wilson@wninews. com.

but if there is ever anything I can do to help you please don’t hesitate to give me a shout. My email address will remain permanent at Thanks for everything.

Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 |


Thursday, June 23, 2011   Midlothian Mirror   5C

Boys b-ball camp Photos by Alex Riley/The Mirror

Two different boys basketball camps were held last week with elementary school aged players working out in the morning and older kids hitting the floor in the afternoon. Future Panther players were put through skill tests and battled each other in contests.

Soccer camp Photos by Alex Riley/The Mirror

The final round of soccer camps for Midlothian were held last week with young players taking part in morning activities and older girls hitting the field in the afternoon. Players worked with coaches on developing skills to improve their game.

Middle school strength camps Photos special to the Mirror

Athletes at both Frank Seale (left) and Walnut Grove (right) middle schools took part in their first strength and conditioning Camp. The two schools combined for a total of 118 boys and 77 girls participating. The camps run for six weeks with two morning sessions, working on stretching, speed, strength, fitness and more.

6C   Midlothian Mirror,   Thursday, June 23, 2011


Alex Riley, Sports Writer 469-517-1456 |

The stars of tomorrow Mirror sports writer takes a look at the names that’ll make headlines for Midlothian next school year Male athletes

Female athletes

Myron Hanson, football (left)

Justin Seeton, Kalen Semper and Bryce Murphy will garner a lot of the spotlight this upcoming season with their rushing and passing totals but their success will hinge in large part to what Hanson does. Last fall, the then-junior made the transition from defensive line to center and played like he’d been at that slot all along. Hanson earned firstteam all-district honors and despite his stocky frame is easily one of the strongest players in the Panther locker room. He might be beat on sheer size but Hanson is a tough guy to get around because of his sheer strength. If he stays healthy, expect the run game to do big things as he throws blocks.

Hunter Enderle and Tyler Honeycutt, tennis

Like Haley Richards and Lexi Hendrix last season, this duo appears together on the list because two is better than one, as they have demonstrated. Enderle and Honeycutt played doubles together in the fall and then again in the spring, reaching the regional tournament together in spring. Both played well as individuals as well but together they’re capable of contending with anyone. Expect a return trip to Lubbock as the minimum they’ll accomplish but don’t be surprised if they can do more.

Alec Humprheys, baseball (right)

No other name on any Midlothian roster carries as much weight as Humphreys does. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold and in his finals high school season the expectations will be at their all-time highest. Last season, Humphreys’ bat was big but he ran into a few errors that were uncharacteristic. That problem probably won’t be a factor next season as the man affectionately known as “Humphy” should have his best season yet. He’s a shortstop that can hit for power and plays sound defense. The scouts will be watching and odds are they’ll like what they see.

Josh Sonnen, track and field

A year removed from reaching state, Sonnen got to regionals and hit a speed bump. The good news – he performed well at most of his meets, including an impressive third place at Texas Relays. Where Sonnen goes from here is anyone’s guess. He has the potential to win a state title and sign a major D-I scholarship eventually. This year will be a good measuring stick of his progress. If he wins a 5A state title, his legacy will forever be cemented as one of the greatest athletes to come out of Midlothian.

Julia Frandsen-DeLoach, tennis (left)

No other Midlothian athlete burst onto the scene the way Frandsen-DeLoach did last year. She earned district freshman of the year along with first-team line 2 singles and second-team line 2 doubles in the fall. Then, Frandsen-DeLoach dominated in the spring and earned a regional trip for her second-place finish in girls singles’ competition. She and double partner Kaylee Hullett are playing together over the summer and will most likely do so again in the fall. Either way, Frandsen-DeLoach is one of Midlothian’s fastest rising standouts in any sport.

Ashley Cox, soccer and track and field

In this same forecast last year, it was predicted that Cox would be a major athletic force in two different sports. She didn’t disappoint. Cox reached the regional track meet in the triple jump for the second-straight season and earned District 5-5A MVP honors for soccer making her the first (and so far only) 5A district MVP in school history. If her senior year is anything like her junior year, Cox will once again be arguably the top female athlete at Midlothian and will be called on to help two different program reach higher competition.

Tadam Mergener, volleyball (right)

It’s a little unfair to call Mergener a “rising star.” She’s already on the recruiting radar and one of the best hitting forces in all the Metroplex. Opposing defenses have to prep for her and be wary of where she is on the court. Last fall, Mergener proved she was back from injury by earning first-team all-district honors and leading the Lady Panthers to a bi-district playoff berth. This season, her elevated play will obviously be called upon but it’s her leadership which will be needed most. She might have a laid back attitude but Mergener is capable of taking the reins when need be.

Savannah Valderas, softball

Valderas is another one of those athletes who falls into this “rising star” category but could contend for top athlete status with the seniors easily. As the Lady Panthers’ centerfielder, Valderas is as fast as they come with stellar range that college coaches drool over. Added to that, she’s spent much of the last few seasons in leadoff hitting spot for Midlothian with a steady bat. Few batters can battle an opposing pitcher to a deep count like Valderas can. The offense and defense both go through her now so don’t expect that to change.

Kaitlin Bush, soccer (left)

Bush is about as steady a soccer player as you’ll find. She’s tall and lanky and doesn’t look overly fast at first glance. But that is a smokescreen as Bush’s long strides help her easily pull away from defenses and get good shots on goal. She’s been relegated to second-team all-district each of the last two years but this is the year she’ll easily crack the first-team ballot. With her natural shooting touch and ability to avoid defensive pressure, Bush will team up with Cox, Riann Winget and Eliza Carey to be the big offensive cogs next spring.

Brent Jones, hockey (left)

If you’ve ever seen the Adidas advertising campaign “fast knows fast,” then you could assume it’s talking about Jones. While hockey isn’t a UIL sanctioned sport, Jones might be one of the fastest and toughest players in MISD. He’s a lightning bolt on ice skates who gets at least one breakaway shot on goal every game. The Midlothian hockey team reached the state tournament last season in large part to his offense. If they’re going to keep building, Jones will be one of the biggest keys.

Cody Meyers, basketball

He’s tall, rangy and nimble, all good things for coach Glenn Hartson’s second look at life as a 5A program. The Panthers were pretty undermanned last season as the record indicates but now that Meyers has another season of experience under his belt he should only get better with age. Plus, let’s not forget, he’s only a rising junior so the upside is limitless. Meyers will be asked to amp up his efforts in the scoring department or at least get more consistent. If he can get to about 10-15 points per game, the season could be completely different.

Bryce Murphy, football (right)

It’s Murphy’s show this fall. What the football team does will ride on what he is able to accomplish. If Murphy becomes the type of quarterback his frame suggests he can be, passing and rushing will be no problem and the Panther attack might end up being one of the best in the Metroplex. He’s a natural athlete capable of making things happen and extending plays. If he gets some help from his receivers, it could be a record-setting season.

Justin Seeton, football, track and field, powerlifting

Seeton’s top sport is football where he became a bruising force last fall en route to district sophomore of the year honors. With more than 700 rushing yards, Seeton showed he’s not scared to run between the tackles and play hard-nosed football. Playing with a broken hand in the final two games only added to his legend. If Seeton can stay healthy and the line can throw some blocks for him, he’s a potential 1,000-yard rusher with a playoff game to aid his cause. And yes, the playoffs are a realistic goal.

Lexa Corbin, volleyball

Corbin has flown under the radar for quite some time mainly because she’s not an overly vocal player. A big kill doesn’t make her break out into a battle cry. Instead, she just moves on to the next serve. But make no mistake – Corbin is good enough to carry an entire team. She’s athletic, strong and capable of playing about any position on a volleyball court. As a junior, Corbin earned second-team all-district honors. If she plays as up to the level she’s capable of, expect her to be first-team material next season.

Kayla Robinson, basketball (right)

Robinson made the most of her first-year on varsity by garnering honorable mention all-district honors. She was a steal machine, jumping in front of opposing team’s passing lanes to come up with a loose ball and send the offense going in the other direction. This season, Robinson will have even more responsibility placed on her shoulders but it’s pressure she’s ready to handle. Running the point, becoming a bigger offensive factor and leading the defense are all tasks she is capable of doing.

Riann Winget, cross country, track and field and soccer

Winget made this list last year and she showed why over the course of the 2010-11 school year. She finished fifth at the cross country district race, took home a top five finish in the 1600m run in district, set the school’s 800m record and earned first-team all-district honors in soccer. All this and she’s only a rising junior. Winget’s career is already on track to be one of the best in school history but another sterling year with more accolades will only further her legend. Plus, she’s now a veteran on the soccer field and the top distance runner for cross country and track. Expect big things.

Mackenzie Grier, softball (left)

Since teammate Michelle Schroeder made this list last year, it’s Grier’s turn to earn a paragraph but both players will be key. Grier (first base) and Schroeder (third base) anchor an infield that might be as good as any in the state of Texas. Grier has sure hands at first and backs her play up with powerful bat that should only get stronger next spring. Grier, a second-team all-district pick this season, will be in the mix for first-team honors next season and rightfully so. If her bat gets hot, she could end up being the offensive mastermind that pushes Midlothian deep in the playoffs.

Jaron Thomas, track and field (left)

A two-time regional qualifier, Thomas is master of the hurdles and that says a lot going against District 5-5A competition. He’s got the speed and stride to reach the state meet which should be his ultimate goal this season. If he’s going to get that far, he’ll need a little luck (as all athletes do) but natural ability will carry him a long way.

Daniel Rushing, baseball and football

A standout on the baseball diamond last season, Rushing has all the makings of a true twosport start. He’s strong, fast, physical and makes even the most difficult play look routine. He’ll most likely be a baseball starter and could do the same on varsity football with so many receivers graduating. If he gets rolling, there’s no limit to his potential in either sport. Expect all-district accolades in both sports by the end of the season.

Leevi Schwartz, soccer (right)

A booming shot and terrific field vision made Schwartz firstteam all-district pick last spring and don’t expect that to change. He handles the ball well and has a knack for finding just enough room to launch shots on goal. College recruiters are giving him a good hard look so a scholarship offer is almost a guarantee. While he finished as one of the top goal scorers last season, a lot of Midlothian’s firepower has graduated leaving Schwartz to pick up the slack. It’s a task he can easily handle.

Others of note:

Jarmon Jackson (football), Hunter Hipsman (baseball), Jacob Morgan (tennis), Colton Rapp (basketball), Doss Allen (golf and hockey), Kendall Jackson (football), Laurence Chamberlain (soccer), Michael Glenn (football and track), Joseph Dancy (hockey), Slater Gravens (football), Tony Kirk (powerlifting and football), Grant Freels (baseball), Jeff Reynolds (football), Tyler Colburn (baseball and hockey), J.D. Pruitt (baseball), Sawyer Golden (basketball), Grayson Ridge (hockey), Cain Miller (football and wrestling), Matthew Young (baseball), Jordan Diedrich (football and track), Dustin Seeton (football, powerlifting and track), Tre Peace (football), Brandon Mundie (basketball and track), Kalen Semper (football), Dylan Hogg (baseball), Tanner Dickerson (hockey and baseball), Matthew Robertson (soccer), Daniel Deweerd (hockey), Jesse Rios (powerlifting and football)

Lydia Traylor, golf

If you remember nothing else about Traylor, remember this – she’s just a freshman. Traylor helped play a key role in getting the Lady Panther golf team back to the regional tournament. Coach Brant Bennett has high hopes for the youngster who could become the next big golfer from Midlothian with college aspirations. If nothing else, Traylor figures to be a driving force behind Midlothian’s return to the district title race and regional tournament.

Eliza Carey, soccer (right)

Carey’s earned her share of first-team all-district honors over the last few years, now she’ll be gunning for all-state accolades. With booming shot and a skilled eye, Carey can either score or set teammates up to score with ease. Opposing defenses already have a lot to deal with in Cox, Winget and Bush so Carey is just another player to watch out for. She’ll respond by making team’s regret they tried to defend someone else instead. With a little luck, Carey will be the difference maker for Midlothian.

Others of note:

Ashley Cunningham (track and field), Paige Winningham (volleyball), Michelle Schroeder (softball), Heather Sides (track and field and cross country), Sam Drusch (basketball and track and field), Madi Wilkerson (volleyball), Delaney Wayland (softball), Bria Henson (track and field), Alyssa Freeman (basketball), Morgan McBride (volleyball), Meghan Turner (basketball), Tara Traylor (golf), Katie Daniel (softball), Brooke Emery (golf), Morgan Mobley (volleyball), Kaitlyn Reddick (basketball), Caitlin Paschall (volleyball), Aizia Azarcon (softball), Jaci Browning (volleyball), Kari Kuykendall (volleyball), Amanda Claus (softball), Lauren Wilkerson (volleyball), Lily Escamilla (track and field and powerlifting), Marissa Baltierra (softball)

Mirror Sports 6-22  

Alex Riley's final Midlothian Mirror Sports section on June 22. A countdown the top five senior athletes and a look ahead at future stars.

Mirror Sports 6-22  

Alex Riley's final Midlothian Mirror Sports section on June 22. A countdown the top five senior athletes and a look ahead at future stars.