Photo by Maria Colmenares, Cypress Falls HS
May 19, 2022—More than 80 CFISD football players from all 12 high schools came together on May 17 to lead the first-ever districtwide skills camp—Camp Courage—for middle school and high school students enrolled in LIFE Skills classes.
The camp began as a campuswide effort at Cypress Falls High School in 2019, when Head Coach Chris Brister borrowed an idea from colleague Chris Massey in Deer Park. Golden Eagle football players led drills for a group of about 15 students enrolled in the LIFE Skills program, which assists students with special needs in learning functional communication and academic skills.
Following a two-year camp hiatus due to the pandemic, Coach Brister suggested to Ray Zepeda, CFISD director of athletics, that all campuses join the effort in 2022.
“He loved the idea of running it as one big CFISD event, and I’m glad we did, because it made the whole thing better,” Brister said.
The other 11 high school football programs dispatched seven players each to escort and encourage the students traveling between drill stations facilitated by Golden Eagle athletes. Campus athletic trainers provided extra water bottles, and parents attended for additional supervision.
To encourage participation, middle school and high school LIFE Skills coordinators reached out to potentially interested students and distributed registration forms. Approximately 80 students initially signed up, and about 40 attended on May 17.
“That allowed us to double up with the chaperones and led to more positive interactions,” Brister said. “The effort our athletes put in was awesome. The best part about was seeing all the football players who try to compete against each other in the fall working side-by-side for a greater cause.”
Malik Slone, a sophomore defensive end for Jersey Village High School, had a positive experience working at Camp Courage. He made a connection with Cypress Falls student Haley Hayes, one of the first campers to arrive early to the event.
“Haley is a very kind and generous person who wasn’t confident at first, but I feel like I helped her create a bigger persona for herself,” Slone said. “Now she’s in a mindset where she can do what she wants to—throw a football, make a tackle, whatever. Camp Courage wasn’t about ourselves, it was about helping others who couldn’t do things we can do. It was about what I learned and what I can do to keep up that experience. I would be the first to volunteer if we did it again.”
Zepeda hopes to see the camp continue to grow in future years.
“Camp Courage is a great example of what makes CFISD and the CFISD community such a special place. We are fortunate to have so many athletes and kids that care for one another,” he said. “I appreciate the leadership of Cy Falls Campus Athletic Coordinator Chris Brister in organizing and spearheading this tremendous community service event. I also am so appreciative of the many athletes and coaches that came out to support and provide a great event for many of our students with special needs. It was evident after just a short time that all kids who participated benefited from working together and having fun collectively as a group of CFISD students.”
(PRESS RELEASE FROM CY-FAIR ISD COMMUNICATIONS)
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Dennis Silva II | VYPE
KATY—All along this season, Lake Creek’s softball players knew what they had to do.
Last year’s regional finals loss to Barbers Hill left a bitter taste. The Lions said they had unfinished business this year. They said they had to take it one game at a time.
So, perhaps the biggest difference in this year’s Lions and last year’s is that they are doing what they say they intend to do. They spoke it into existence. And it’s because of turning words into actions that Lake Creek is laser-focused and set that this year’s regional finals trip will turn out more pleasantly.
Lake Creek took care of business Thursday evening, finishing off Friendswood, 10-0 in six innings, to sweep the regional semis at Tompkins High School. The Lions are 37-0, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the nation.
.@LakeCreek_SB wins 10-0 in six. Back to the regional final for the second straight year. State\u2019s #1 team and nation\u2019s #2 is 37-0. @LakeCreekHS @TexHSSoftball @TXPrepSoftballpic.twitter.com/M1uQIBnp1w— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1653010613
But they were undefeated, too, when they went into last year’s fifth round. The feeling, though, is this is not that team.
“It’s very exciting,” said junior ace Ava Brown, who went 4-for-6 with four RBIs in the series, threw a complete-game shutout in Game 1 and followed with a scoreless three innings of relief in Game 2. “Obviously our goal is always one game at a time. But we know where we ended last year isn’t where we want to end it this year.
“We know what happened last year. We were a little complacent, undefeated, and this year it’s not about going to round five. It’s about playing the next game.”
Lake Creek was dominant against a tough Friendswood (30-9) team, outscoring the Mustangs 18-0. The Lions hit .451 and struck out just four times in 51 at-bats. They held the Mustangs to 10 total hits in the two games, and almost as many strikeouts (six).
“We had a game plan against Friendswood, and we executed both games,” coach Michelle Rochinski said. “They were phenomenal picking up on the defensive situations, baserunning. They executed both games perfect.”
.@LakeCreek_SB junior @avajbrownn discusses the Lions\u2019 regional semifinal sweep of Friendswood following tonight\u2019s 10-0 win and advancing to the 5A regional finals for the second straight year. Brown went 4-6 with four RBIs in the series. @LakeCreekHS @TXPrepSoftballpic.twitter.com/jDWNQyuAjS— VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston) 1653013790
The Lions are ridiculously talented. That much is certain with four NCAA Division I commits. But what they’ve proven is they are as rich in depth as they are in sheer ability.
Brown, junior Maddie McKee (4-for-7, RBI) and senior Madelyn Lopez (2-for-5, four RBIs) were the usual prolific producers in the series. But others have emerged, such as sophomore Carmen Uribe (5-for-6, two RBIs), junior Madison Johnson (no runs on four hits in three innings in a Game 2 start) and junior Payton Bauer (two RBIs).
“I see them picking each other up,” Rochinski said. “We’re not relying on one or two people. It’s a full team effort. Everybody is going to have an off day or an off series. We talk about being perfect, but we know in the real world we’re not going to be perfect. It’s knowing the next person is going to pick us up. That’s one thing I love about this team. They’re there for each other, battling for each other.”
Bauer has been one of those consistent battlers at the bottom of the order. She entered the series hitting .354 with a .400 on-base percentage and 11 walks to five strikeouts.
“Do my job,” Bauer said. “If there’s runners on base, get them in. If not, get it started. Do what I’ve got to do.”
Peyton Bauer 2-run single gets them started. @LakeCreek_SB strikes first. @LakeCreekHSpic.twitter.com/tXrqHyLzEp— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1653004547
Rochinski said when the team lost to Barbers Hill last season, there was a feeling that they weren’t done. There was a thought that perhaps it just wasn’t their time.
But after the way the Lions dominated this series, and with the know-how and experience lingering from last season, they are ready to punch the clock. Minds on state, but eyes on Santa Fe at a time and place to be determined next week.
“We have so much drive this year to just finish what we started last year,” Bauer said. “We’re not going to let anything get in our way. We know what we have to do. We know what has to be done. From the first inning, we have to be prepared and locked in. Focused. We have to attack and get the job done.”
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CLICK THE LINK BELOW OR "KEEP READING" TO WATCH THIS MATCHUP ON FRIDAY, MAY 20:
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