25 May, 2022
HOW DO YOU MEASURE GROWTH WITHIN A PROGRAM?
Some may argue that the biggest sign of improvement comes in the form of wins. For Second Baptist School men’s soccer that argument could be made about this past season.
From Doug Walker’s first season at the helm – one win in 2021 – to finishing with six wins in 2022, there is definite growth.
“It felt like a massive step forward in a lot of different ways,” Walker said. “Physically and skillfully, we improved a lot. We saw that success in our win column.”
But the work for this season began immediately after their last match of 2021. The team took two weeks off and then dove into the offseason program.
Part of that program was building the culture.
During the summer, Walker and his players met weekly for Bible study and community. It was a laidback atmosphere to get to know one another and create genuine camaraderie.
“Building relationships ahead of time was really helpful, so day one, everyone knew each other,” Walker said. “The freshmen coming up felt like they were part of something already.”
At the start of the season, the team had a retreat, which was new for everyone. Throughout the season, they also had some intentional “family fun time” to continue building a healthy culture.
Every step was part of Walker’s process.
“Doing [the retreat] together was a bonding moment, and it set the tone for the rest of the season,” Walker said.
As the team pieced together win after win – even stringing together three-straight at one point – Walker’s joy came from seeing his seniors celebrate.
It is a senior class that has gone through the lean years. The winless seasons. The 10-0 losses. But now, they were winning and doing it consistently.
“This year’s senior class worked so hard,” Walker said. “To finally see our first win happen and turn into two and then three wins, the joy that was on their faces, the raw joy of winning together is something I’ll always remember.”
Despite an 0-8 start to the year, with five of the eight games being decided by just one goal, Walker said the seniors never gave up. They finished the year 6-3-1 to go 6-11-1 overall.
“We preach in Second Baptist School soccer that we want everyone to be faithful to the commitment they’ve made, adaptable to playing different roles and teachable,” Walker said. “Those are the three qualities we really look for in players and the seniors took that seriously.”
With a big season behind them, what’s next in year three for Walker and company?
“We are really pushing our chips in on our culture building,” Walker said. “Showing Second Baptist School soccer is fun. We love playing together. We want to see more player ownership where it is player led.”
With grit and determination combined with a growing sense of family, it’s clear the future is bright for this team, even as its seniors graduate.
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Photo by Bradley Collier
As Caroline Bonnecaze stepped up to the starting line at The Woodlands Christian Invitational on August 25, 2018, the then seventh grader didn't know what to expect.
Or, even what time to shoot for.
Bonnecaze just ran.
Her times got better and better as the season went on. Eventually on October 18, 2018, she took second place at the GHAC XC Championships for middle school.
“I think placing like I did really boosted my confidence especially for the years following,” Bonnecaze said. “It still drives me to compete harder at meets. Doing so well convinced me to keep doing cross country and I’m so glad I have.”
As she transitioned to the high school level in 2020 as a freshman at Bay Area Christian School, Bonnecaze continued to drop her time and kept finding the podium.
In October of 2020, Bonnecaze ran a thenpersonal best of 12:25.40 at the TAPPS 4A District 4 & 5 Championship to take home the district crown. She then advanced to the TAPPS State Championships, where she finished fifth overall.
Last spring, Bonnecaze took her success from the cross-country course to the oval. She advanced to the TAPPS Track & Field State Championships in all three distance races – the 800-meter, 1600-meter and 3200-meter. There, she ran personal bests in all three events.
Bonnecaze finished third in the 800-meter (2:25.55), fourth in the 1600-meter (5:37.77) and fifth in the 3200-meter (12:55.17) as a freshman.
“My success has been very rewarding,” Bonnecaze said. “It’s fulfilling to see your hard work pay off and see my times drop. Although I have good races, there are always races I don’t do as well in. Even though it’s disappointing to have a bad race, it keeps me motivated at practice to do better than the last time. I try to work on keeping a consistent workout schedule, so I don’t lose progress. Endurance is also something I constantly keep working on.”
Being this good at a sport which can take two to five to 12 minutes to finish a race, comes down to feeling and instincts for Bonnecaze.
While running, the sophomore thinks about things like “how far have I gone, how many more laps, what place am I in, if I need to pass people, if my pace is too fast or too slow, and how water will taste so good after I finish”. Even, what meal she will get after the meet is over.
With so many races under her belt, Bonnecaze admits she knows when it is time for that final kick to the finish.
“By the last 100 meters of a race I’m typically sprinting and the adrenaline takes over,” she said.
This year as a sophomore for BACS, Bonnecaze advanced to the TAPPS Cross Country State Championships for a second-straight year and finished 10th overall. This spring, Bonnecaze continues to run her distance races but has also added the long jump, reaching 14-feet7.5-inches in March as a personal best.
“This year I wanted to try something new, and I’ve never participated in a field event before,” Bonnecaze said. “Long jump has been unlike anything I’ve competed in, which I think helps me appreciate the other events more. I’ve enjoyed getting to start fresh at something and gain new skills. I’ve been working on the different parts of the jump and trying to get more height.”
So, could we see Bonnecaze running at the next level one day?
“Running in college hasn’t been my main goal, however, if the right opportunity arose, I’d consider the possibility,” she said.
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SECOND BAPTIST SCHOOL SENT BOTH THEIR MEN’S TEAM AND SEVERAL WOMEN’S INDIVIDUALS TO THE TAPPS 5A STATE CROSS COUNTRY MEET IN NOVEMBER.
The men’s team finished 13th overall with 363 points and three finishers in the Top 75. The men were led by junior CJ Hobbs who took eighth place overall. Hobbs posted a time of 17:36.9. He was the top finisher in the TAPPS 5A race from Houston.
Hobbs was named to the TAPPS All-State Cross Country team.
“Definitely my goal going into the season was to place in the top 10 in the state,” Hobbs said. “It’s great for the resume to finish all-state for TAPPS, especially in 5A.”
Junior William Chapman placed 50th overall with a time of 19:43.4, senior Schuyler Clark came in 80th crossing at 20:46.1, sophomore John Going took 120th overall (22:21.7), junior Carson Bohannon placed 128th (22:35.4) and senior Stanford Tarkington took 145th (23:25.3).
The women were led by senior Grace Lunsford, who finished 71st overall with a time of 15:15.9. Sophomore Angelique Hlavinka-Maclin took 110th overall with a time of 16:29.8 and senior Elaine Sims posted a time of 21:38.9.
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