VYPE SETX is recognizing the top athletes from the past school year who contributed mightily to their respective sports and schools. Here are the 2018/2019 VYPE SeTX Athletes of the Year:
Football: James Sylvester, Newton
A super player on a super team, Sylvester led the Newton defense all season to their second consecutive 3A state title. A TCU commit, the 2020 prospect had a monster junior season where he had 82 tackles, 8 sacks, and 14 tackles for loss. Listed as a weak-side defensive end, the 6'5" 240 lb Sylvester returns for a senior season where the Eagles are ranked #1 in every 3A poll.
Baseball: James Burchett, Kirbyville
Burchette was the straw that stirred the drink for Kirbyville during their unprecedented run to the state tournament in 2019. The lanky left-hander was the ace on a team that went 33-8-1 and barely missed making an appearance in the 3A state title game. Burchett was selected 1st team all-state and is a McNeese State commit.
Basketball: Ernest Ceasar, East Chambers
Also a star football player, Ceasar led the East Chambers boys basketball team to the 3A state semifinals. The 5'6" point guard was voted all-state as a sophomore by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and will undoubtedly bring two more exciting seasons to the Buccaneers.
Cross Country: Eli Peveto, Little Cypress-Mauriceville
One of the top long distance runners to come out of SETX in a number of years, Peveto capped off a great cross country career with a 4th place finish at last fall's 4A state meet. Also a great track athlete in the 1600 & 3200 meters Peveto showed his grit on the grass jumping up from a 21st place finish his junior season. Peveto will continue his track career at Lamar University.
Track: Bryce Barbay, Jasper
The Jasper junior had no fear this year as he took the silver medal in the pole vault at the Texas 4A state meet and nearly qualified for the 100 meter hurdles. His best event is the decathlon where he placed 9th overall at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet in June. Barbay is also a returning all-district wide receiver on the Bulldogs football team. Entering his senior year, Barbay looks to dominate in three track events for 2020.
Tennis: Garrett Goodman, Huffman Hargrave
A four time regional tournament qualifier, Goodman represented the Hargrave Falcons at this years' state meet for the first time since 1976. With doubles partner Rachel Willkens, Goodman finishes up an illustrious career at Hargrave as the top male tennis player in SETX.
Soccer: Isai Acosta, Port-Neches Groves
Acosta posted a 1.006 goals-against average and posted three shutouts while helping the Indians win the District 21-5A championship.
Golf: Jack Burke, Little Cypress-Mauriceville
Burke completed the golf trifecta in 2019 winning the district, region and state 4A titles. Coming into his senior year, Burke will be looked at as one of the top golfers in all of Texas. Burke was awarded the 2019 Babe Didrikson Zaharias Male Junior Golfer of the Year honoring the best high school golfer in Southeast Texas
Rodeo: Bryce Taylor, Evadale
Ranked fourth nationally in bull riding, Taylor will be competing in the National High School Finals Rodeo this July in Wyoming. Taylor will be attending McNeese State this fall on a rodeo scholarship and will compete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Fishing: Cole Trick & Hayden Holland, Kountze
Finishing as one of the top angling team in SETX, this duo battled LCM and Lumberton for the top team in Texas. This dynamic duo will compete in the 2019 Bassmaster High School Championship in Tennessee this August.
Softball: Katy Janes, Huffman Hargrave
The junior pitcher for Huffman Hargrave set the tone for the 2019 softball season as the most dominating player in Texas 4A softball, capping her season with the Texas state tournament MVP.
Cross Country: Maddison Helm, Orangefield
The Orangefield junior had a top five finish at the 2018 UIL 3A cross country meet and first place finishes in both the Dayton Bronco Invitation (one mile) and UIL 3A - Region 3 (two mile) competitions. Helm is poised to sweep all major outdoor meets next season.
Track: Emmy Nolte, Huffman Hargrave
Only a freshman, Nolte established herself as a top distance runner with seventh place finishes in both the 1600 meter and 3200 meter races at this years UIL 4A Track and Field Championships. She was the Region 3-4A champion in both races. Nolte will be a force in Texas distance running for years to come.
Soccer: Meg Sheppard, Nederland
Sheppard netted 37 goals as a senior and 149 for her career, en route to leading Nederland to back-to-back district championships and winning the district MVP honor the past two seasons. Sheppard led the Bulldogs all the way to the 2019 Region 3-5A regional semi-finals.
Golf: Elizabeth Townsend, Hardin-Jefferson
Awarded the 2019 Babe Didrikson Zaharias Female Junior Golfer of the Year, Townsend was honored the best high school golfer in Southeast Texas. The junior Townsend led H-J to their first state appearance since 2006 and placed 15th individually at the UIL Texas 4A state meet.
Basketball: Ashlon Jackson, Hardin-Jefferson
The freshman phenom led the Lady Hawks to the UIL Texas 4A state finals along with being invited to the 2019 U16 National Team Trials. Jackson was names to both the Texas 4A state tournament team and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Region 3-4A team.
Volleyball: Casey Warren, Huffman Hargrave
Warren was named District 21-5A MVP, first team all-state and led the Lady Falcons to a 42-2 record this past season. The six foot senior led her team to the Region 3-4A regional finals.
Rodeo: Shelby Young, Buna
Young has established herself as a bonafide rodeo superstar with her nationally ranked skill set in pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping and barrel racing. Young is currently ranked eight nationally in the Senior Girls All-Around competition according to the Texas High School Rodeo Association.
Tennis: Rachel Willkens, Huffman Hargrave
Wilkens was an all-state selection from the Texas Girls Coaches Association and competed in the Texas 4A state quarterfinals in doubles competition with partner Garrett Goodman. Their state appearance was the first from any Hargrave player since 1976.
Fishing: Brielle Butler, Little Cypress-Mauriceville
Fishing with her partner Kooper Abernathy, the LCM incoming senior also excels in volleyball and basketball. The highlight of her season was a catching a nine pound bass at the Lake Houston tournament.