The Woodlands always has the talent, but can this be the year they break through and get back to the Regional Finals for the first time since 2017? The Woodlands hasn't been to state since 2015 and last won a crown in 2011. The 2021 version of the Highlanders possesses plenty of offense.
It starts with University of Louisiana at Lafayette-commit Kayla Falterman, who plays second and in the outfield. In just 21 games last year, she hit .516 with 11 RBIs for the Highlanders. Jordan Jones (Vernon College) was right behind her hitting for .417, while now-sophomore Alannah Leach hit for .403 as a freshman. Haley Mountain is one to watch for as well at the plate. The other name to remember is Alannah's twin sister Gabby, who brings a big bat as well. So, the offense is there.
The Leach twins will be players to watch in the city for the next three years, but do the Highlanders have the pitching? That's the big question mark for this squad.
On Wednesday, February 3, at 2 PM in the Highlander gymnasium, The Woodlands High School held their annual celebration of National Signing Day. The Highlanders had a large class of 42 signees to schools across the country.
The athletes each took the podium for a short speech in front of a limited crowd of family members and coaches. Each student was allowed to invite five loved ones to celebrate, with the addition of the event being live-streamed for those who could not be present.
The Woodlands track and field program was the most well represented with a total of eight signees, six from the girls and two from the boy's team: Kennedy Doakes (Kansas), Kaitlin Laner (St. Mary's College of California), Hannah Jane Miller (Rhodes College), Katie Schlather (Air Force Academy), Sohalia Schoen (Louisiana-Monroe), Ashley Sharer (Texas Tech), Caden Cymbala (Texas Tech) and Ryan Tresaugue (Trinity University).
Following in signees is the swimming and diving program. With a total of six signees, they had one diver, four swimmers, and one triathlon athlete: Lauren Burch (diving, Stanford), Isabella Barrientos (swimming, Washington-St. Louis), Cotton Fields (swimming, SMU), Tyler Hulet (swimming, Texas A&M), Alyssa Sorensen (swimming, BYU) and Freya McKinley (triathlon, Denver).
The Highlander baseball team also represented with a total of five signees: Cody Howard (Baylor), Justin Barry-Smith (South Alabama), Will Chauffe (Pepperdine), Cameron Hainebach (Southwestern) and Dylan Kerbow (Texas State).
The football program had four signees: Jack Calhoun (Kilgore), Arian Cervoni (McPherson), Connor Dechiro (Washington-St. Louis) and Blake Hubert (Southern Virginia). In addition, Teddy Knox (Mississipi University) couldn't make the event due to surgery.
Girls soccer had three signees, all of which are signed at the Division I level: Samone Knight (West Virginia), Isabella Hollenbach (Missouri) and Marley Krach (Miami-Ohio)
The Highlander lacrosse program had four signees, three boys and one girl: Andrew Litsey (Rollins College), Matthew Nunes (Virginia), Donovan Rock (Air Force Academy) and MacKenzie Kulick (Linfield University).
The softball program had three signees: Kayla Falterman (Louisiana-Lafayette), Jordan Jones (Vernon College) and Haley Mountain (UT-Arlington).
The golf program had three signees: Avery Blake (TCU), Holly Paterson (Blinn) and Alejandro Alonso (Loyola Marymount).
Volleyball had two signees: Claire Arend (High Point University) and Natalie Kimmel (Incarnate Word). In addition, early graduates Clara Brower (Georgia University), Natasha Zorbas (Lafayette College), and Jackie Lee (Texas State) who are already playing at the college level.
Other signees included Mallory Kent (acrobatics, Oregon), Ximena Chico (rowing, Virginia), Lachlan Laner (tennis, Austin Peay) and Liam Kozak (water polo, Penn State).
Mutual university signees include Ximena Chico and Matthew Nunes at the University of Virginia; Donovan Rock and Katie Schlather at the United States Air Force Academy; Conner Dechiro and Isabella Barrientos at the University of Washington at St. Louis; and Dylan Kerbow and Jackie Lee at Texas State University.