THE 2021 FOOTBALL SEASON SAW THE NIMITZ COUGARS AS THE LONE REP FROM ALDINE ISD TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS, GOING 4-6 IN THE REGULAR SEASON AND 4-3 IN DISTRICT 14-6A PLAY TO TAKE THE FINAL POSTSEASON SLOT.
Nimitz bounced back from an 0-3 start to the year and won three of its last four district contests to make the playoffs. The Cougars fell to College Park (42-0) in the Bi-District round.
Aldine Davis finished the year 3-7 (3-4) and just one game out of playoff contention. Eisenhower was 3-7, MacArthur 2-8 and Aldine finished 0-10 on the year.
In the offseason, Aldine welcomed Cirilo Ojeda as its new head coach, while Nimitz will be led by Cornelius Harmon heading into 2022.
THE LADY GENERALS OF MACARTHUR WON THE DISTRICT 14-6A TITLE WITH AUTHORITY.
Big Mac ran the table going 14-0 in the district to win its second-consecutive title under the direction of head coach Lynda Eastland.
MacArthur was loaded in 2021 with District MVP Aaliyah Callaway and first-teamers Jessika Martinez, Emeli Maugututia and Jasmine Rutledge. Sydney Davis and Natalia Gammage earned second-team nods.
Nimitz finished third in the district and punched its postseason ticket under District Coach of the Year Shannon Harrison. The Cougars went 22-17 overall and 9-5 in district play.
Davis also earned a playoff spot, going 8-6 in district play to finish fourth overall. The Falcons were led by District Outstanding Setter Aeja Brown.
IT WAS YET ANOTHER BANNER YEAR FOR BIG MAC OUT ON THE CROSS COUNTRY COURSE.
At the District 14-6A Championships in October, the MacArthur boys took home the district crown with 32 points and four runners in the Top 10. Nimitz came in second with 46 points, while Aldine placed fourth and Davis in sixth.
Individually, MacArthur’s Jay Hernandez Laboy took home the District 14-6A Championship with a time of 18:01.
On the girls’ side, MacArthur took second overall as a team with 64 points, while Aldine had 76 points for third. Nimitz placed fourth with 91 points and Eisenhower came in sixth with 167 points.
Individually, Nimitz’s Erika Sanchez was the district’s top finisher coming in fourth with a time of 23:13.
At the Region II-6A Championships in October, Hernandez once again led the field with a 48th place finish with a time of 16:50.77. Silva came in 55th crossing at 16:59.45, while Mota came in 74th posting a time of 17:20.90. MacArthur finished 15th as a team, while Nimitz took 23rd.
On the girls’ side, Sanchez led the contingency with an 87th place finish with a time of 21:37.20. Doyle took 99th in the Regional Championships with a time of 21:53.21. MacArthur took 22nd as a team and Aldine placed 23rd.
IT WAS ANOTHER BIG YEAR FOR ALDINE ISD ON THE TEAM TENNIS COURTS IN THE FALL.
MacArthur once again led the way. With an 18-1 victory over Aldine on September 30, the Generals secured the District 14-6A Championship. It marks the sixth straight team tennis district crown for the program. Since 2016, MacArthur has gone 42-0 in district team tennis play.
The Generals were one of four teams from Aldine ISD to make the Class 6A Team Tennis Playoffs. MacArthur fell to Oak Ridge, Nimitz fell to The Woodlands, Davis lost to College Park and Aldine came up short to Grand Oaks all in the Bi-District round.
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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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