REGINALD ARCHIE SAT DOWN INSIDE HIS HOME THE NIGHT OF APRIL 7.
Still donning his MacArthur Generals track gear, the first-year coach finally had a moment. In what has been a crazy year for Archie, rebuilding a team that graduated a bunch from 2020 in the midst of a pandemic, he finally took it all in.
"When I got home, I just looked at the (District Championship) plaque, I was like 'we actually did it," Archie, who called his mother first with the news, said. "It was very emotional. You always remember your first championship. Especially with this group of kids, they really worked their tails off for me and I appreciate it."
Archie ran track at Fort Bend Hightower before going on to run for Clyde Duncan Sr. at Texas Southern University. After his running days were over, Archie still wanted to be around the sport.
But in what form?
"My sister thought I should try coaching," Archie, whose sister LaTanya was an All-American and Hall of Fame long jumper at the University of Houston, said.
"I didn't know if I would be good with the kids. A lot of times people can do a sport but can't coach a sport. I reached out to [Clyde Duncan] and some of the things he taught me I still do today."
So, he went back to Fort Bend ISD.
He got a job as a hall monitor at Fort Bend Willowridge and volunteered to help with the track program under Daric Zeno, who is now at Alief Elsik. Over the next few years, he volunteered for Lloyd Banks at Fort Bend Marshall and then worked at Fort Bend Elkins.
In 2017, he got certified to teach and came on the staff at Aldine MacArthur.
Coming into this year, the head job was open and after serving as an assistant coach since arriving, Archie was promoted by Aldine ISD Athletic Director Dre' Thompson, who actually was his coach back at Hightower.
"Everybody has been in my corner since day one," Archie, who ran as a kid with Sonics Youth Track Club in Houston, said. "They saw me run as a kid, saw me grow up, and now they see me as a District Champion coach."
All the years of volunteering and working his way up have paid off. Archie, who also coaches running backs for the MacArthur football team, helped carry on the legacy of winning that Big Mac is known for on the track.
Is there pressure? Sure, Archie said but this is a title he will never forget, especially with these seniors since they all came into high school together in 2016.
"I got to see these guys grow up," he said. "It makes it very special because I came in with them, so we were like freshmen in high school together. Now, I get to see them go off as champions, which is something no one can ever take away from me."
The College Park golf program made history this month by sending the girl's team to the UIL State Championship. After placing 3rd at the Region II-6A tournament with a score of 329-322, the team qualified to compete at state.
"The experience of first qualifying, and then playing in the UIL 6A State Championship, was amazing for the girls," head coach, Stephen Tatum said. "To play in a tournament that has the caliber of talent individually and collectively as teams was a true honor. We have a very strong tradition of female golfers at College Park and these girls are a big part of that."
The team traveled to Georgetown, Texas to compete from May 10th-11th. Their Day 1 score was a 318 and on Day 2 they earned a 322. Overall, they finished the competition with a final score of 640 strokes. The top individual finishers for College Park were sophomore, Gracie Heinle and senior, Alexa Gonzalez.
"The environment was intense and competitive. At the same time, everyone was very excited to be there and ready to get out on the course" junior Elizabeth Stallons said. "The extra pressure helped me stay focused and allowed me to make better choices around the course."
After having their season cut short last year, the team was never able to compete at the District level. This season they placed second to The Woodlands, which allowed them to advance onto Regionals. The competition was tight, as The Woodlands edged the team by 33 shots. At Regionals, College Park placed third behind The Woodlands and Mansfield.
"They were a very hard-working group dedicated to getting better each day. We also benefited from the most recent UIL realignment that altered which teams were in Region II" head coach, Stephen Tatum said. "Both of those factors helped us achieve our goal of going to the State Championship."
Despite having a lengthy history of sending female athletes to compete at the collegiate level, no College Park female team has ever qualified to compete at the State level. Though they did not place, the 20-21 team paved the way for future trips to the State Championship. Four of the five varsity athletes will be returning to compete next season.
"I am most looking forward to making more memories as a team and representing College Park again after such a great season this year. I am so excited to see what we can do as a team next season" sophomore Sydney Jackson said.