VYPE Media's Top 10 Female Athletes of the Year

HOUSTON - It is time to name the best of the best across all sports.

VYPE Media Chief Content Officer and VYPE Managing Editor Joshua Koch dove into the stats and the year that was in state champions and picked the best of the best.

And here they are ...

10: Katy Janes, Huffman Softball

- The 4A State Championship game MVP was phenomenal over her two days of work in Austin. In the state semifinal, Janes was lights out, striking out 15 and throwing a two-hitter against Fredericksburg. Then against Anna, in a 12-0 victory, Janes struck out 11. Janes was phenomenal on helping Huffman capture its second state title in the last five seasons.

9: Maliyah Johnson, Summer Creek Basketball

- Johnson was a critical piece of the Summer Creek women's basketball program this year. Johnson was a double double machine, especially in the playoffs, helping the Lady Bulldogs reach their first-ever state tournament. Johnson will be a top player to watch in the city heading into next year.

8: Shelby Smith, Lutheran South Softball

- In the private school world, Shelby Smith was dominant. Helping guide Lutheran South to a state championship, Smith was lights out. Through the first 15 games of the season, Smith was 12-3 with a 0.34 ERA, 141 strikeouts and 11 walks. Smith was a perfect 8-0 in district play. In the TAPPS Division II State Title game against Bullard Brook Hill, Smith struck out 18. In April, Smith was honored at the 2019 VYPE Awards as the Private School Softball Player of the Year.

7: Allie Byrd, Kingwood Park Basketball & Soccer

You want an amazing dual-sport athlete, here she is. The University of North Texas soccer signee was not only good on the pitch but a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. This past season, Byrd was voted as the District 20-5A MVP for soccer and girls basketball. On the basketball court, Byrd finished with a career total of 2,218 points and 1,707 rebounds. In soccer, it was 92 career goal, which put her at third all-time in Kingwood Park history behind Brooke Harper (96) and Vanessa Valdez (106). Byrd is one of the most prolific dual-sport athletes to come through Houston in recent history.

6: Alyssa LeBlanc, Katy Softball

An ace of the staff is what Alyssa LeBlanc was for Katy. The senior Texas A&M-Commerce; signee was dominant for the Tigers in their run for a state title. In the state semifinal game, LeBlanc tossed a complete game shutout with seven strikeouts. Then in the state title game against Klein Collins, LeBlanc had two hits, an RBI and struck out seven in an 8-2 victory.

5: Kaitlynn Sims, Montgomery Swimming

Kaitlynn Sims was the anchor of the Montgomery girl's swim team - which won its first state title this spring - bringing home four medals, three gold and a silver. Sims set the state record in the 500-yard freestyle and was a part of the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay, which both won gold. The silver came in the 200-yard freestyle.

4: Skylar Fields, Ridge Point

Skylar Fields has been the face of the Ridge Point volleyball program for the past couple of years. Fields, a University of Texas signee, did it all in her high school career, including representing the red, white and blue. Fields was selected to the USA Junior National team last summer. Fields finished last year with 471 kills and more than 1,000 for her career. Fields helped Ridge Point reach the 6A State Championship game this season.

3: Tianna Randle, Summer Creek

Here comes the speed. Tianna Randle helped guide Summer Creek girl's track to a third place finish as a team at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships. Randle was a part of the 4x100-meter relay that finished second behind the power house DeSoto. Randle ran the anchor on that relay. In the 100-meter dash, which is one of the premiere races, Randle took gold with a time of 11.51. Randle is signed to UNLV.

2: Aaliyah Garcia, Angleton

Flat out impressive. Aaliyah "AG" Garcia was phenomenal in Angleton's run to its first state championship since 1994. Garcia was the ace every single game. The senior Georgia Southern signee battled through a three-game series against Barbers Hill to get to Austin. Once there, Garcia struck out 13 over 11 innings and had the game-winning RBI against Forney in a 7-6 victory. Then in the title game, Garcia did it again. Against Calallen, Garcia struck out nine, including the final batter in an 8-1 victory. Garcia finished the playoffs 10-1 with 91 strikeouts and gave up 34 runs in 75 innings. Garcia was awesome.

1: Libby Overmyer, Kingwood Park

Libby Overmyer has had a heck of a run over the past two years.

Check out the resume. As a sophomore, Overmyer helped guide the Kingwood Park girls soccer team to a state tournament appearance. Then, as a junior, Overmyer was a key piece to Kingwood Park volleyball reaching and winning the Class 5A State Championship. Overmyer was named the MVP of the match and VYPE's Player of the Year.

Then on the soccer pitch again this past spring, Overmyer helped get Kingwood Park back to state for a second-straight year. Overmyer had a key save in the final few minutes of the Panther's match against College Station in the Regional Semifinal to punch its ticket to another Regional Final.

So, in the past year, Overmyer has helped three teams reach a state tournament. She's only a junior so more is to come.

Jorge Calderon's soccer play helped put Pflugerville Hendrickson on the map the last few years, and resulted in a strong end to his high school career. One example of this was his VYPE Austin Public School Boys Soccer Player of the Year poll win, which followed 10,162 of the 23,155 total votes.

"I feel honored," said Calderon. "It feels amazing to know that I received around 10,000 votes. The support that I get from my friends and family is unbelievable. I'm truly blessed and grateful for everything."

Another example of this was his all-state honorable mention honor as a junior and his second-team all-state nod as a senior.

"I would've not been able to do it without my teammates, Coach Stern, and assistant coaches Maddux and Castro [because they] always push me to do my best and give my everything in the field," said Calderon.

While Hendrickson soccer is thankful for Calderon's performances, he will also think highly of his time with the high school program.

"It's really hard to pick a special moment from my time in Hendrickson High School because, with the team I had, it was always fun," he said. "But for me, something I'm going to miss is the bus rides before and after the games and tournaments. That's probably something that is always going to stay with me. There was such an amazing vibe between everyone in the team [and] every moment was incredible with them."

Now that Calderon's graduated, he's refocused for the next stage of his career. One of the more exciting opportunities ahead is his college soccer commitment.

"My plan now that I'm done with high school is [to] go to Concordia University Texas and play soccer, get my business degree, and why not try to get into a pro or semi-pro soccer team," he said. "I'm excited for what's next!"

Soccer obviously keeps Calderon busy, but he also enjoys himself away from the game.

"During my free time, I'm always spending time with my friends," he said. "We like to go play volleyball a lot, [we're] always doing something active, and they like to try beating me on FIFA, but they never can."

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With the 2019 football season drawing near, here are our top five preseason private school football teams in Louisiana:

5) Lafayette Christian Academy

After closing last season by scoring 42 points in a half to lock up its second consecutive state title, Lafayette Christian has plenty of momentum heading into its 2019 campaign. The powerful Lafayette offense—which averaged over 54 points per game in the state tournament—will once again feature speedy four-star athlete Sage Ryan. With weapons all over the field, the Knights look ready to capture the three-peat in 2019.

4) Notre Dame

Notre Dame went on a blistering state championship run in 2018, scoring over 40 points in every tournament game and ousting Catholic High-New Iberia 42-21 in the final. Following last year's undefeated season, the Pioneers bring back quarterback Ben Broussard, as well as a solid running back in C.J. Thibodeaux. Notre Dame has played to a consistently excellent standard—having won 51 of its past 53 games—and should continue to do so this upcoming season.

3) Catholic (Baton Rouge)

Catholic has made the state finals three times in the past four years, and its success will likely continue in 2019. Despite losing in a lopsided affair against Curtis in last year's state championship, the Bears are set up to bounce back strong. With All-Metro running back Josh Parker returning, the Catholic offense can rely on a strong ground game.

2) University Lab

University Lab's devastating offense brought the Cubs their second consecutive state championship last season. At the state tournament, the Cubs never scored less than 43 points in a game. Now in pursuit of a three-peat, U-Lab looks to continue its dominance. The Cubs will likely continue to score at a high clip, as they boast the state's most prolific receiver duo in four-star Theodore Knox and three-star Reginald Johnson. The U-Lab defense, featuring four-star defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy, is also staunch.

1) John Curtis Christian

The defending state champions were utterly dominant in their 2018 campaign, capping off a perfect season with a 49-7 rout of Catholic in the Division I final. With a strong cast of returning players, the Patriots show no signs of slowing down. Versatile three-star athlete Corey Wren is a proven playmaker with game-breaking speed. On defense, three-star defensive end Angelo Anderson is a stalwart on the strong side.

With the 2019 football season drawing near, here are our top five preseason public school football teams in Louisiana:

5) Destrehan

Despite falling short of the state finals last season, Destrehan is dangerous. The Wildcats' 2018 season ended with a 67-57 barnburner against eventual champions Zachary in the state semifinals, but they come into 2019 with firepower on both sides of the ball. Four-star running back Kyle Edwards and four-star wide receiver Quincy Brown are game changers on the offensive end while three-star defensive end Noah Taliancich will be terrorizing quarterbacks from the strong side edge.

4) Warren Easton

As the returning 4A state runner-ups, Warren Easton comes into the 2019 season with top-end talent. Four-star recruit and first team All-State center Sedrick Van Pran will be paving the way for fellow four-star recruit, running back Ashaad Johnson, all season long. Competing with 4A rival Edna Karr is no easy task, but the Fighting Eagles have cemented their position as a worthy contender.

3) West Monroe

After losing to Zachary by just three points in the 2018 state final, 17-time state champion West Monroe will look to reclaim its title this year. The Rebels are equipped to do so, with yet another talented squad slated to hit the field in 2019. The redoubtable defensive unit—led by second team All-State safety Brooks —will be crucial to WM's success next season.

2) Edna Karr

Edna Karr, a 4A dynasty and the defending state champions, will return a loaded line up in 2019. Riding a 26-game win streak, the Cougars will be chasing a four-peat. Three-star cornerback Jamie Vance will anchor the secondary while wide receiver Destyn Pazon—who recently clocked a 4.5 second 40 yard dash at the Rivals Combine—has the potential to be a major difference maker on offense.

1) Zachary

The defending state champions are poised for another title run in 2019. Matching their 2018 championship season should not be a problem for the Broncos, as they return a formidable defense and the 2018 Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Keilon Brown. Zachary's aerial assault will continue throughout 2019, as Brown will be throwing to five-star wide receiver Chris Hilton. Also look for wide receiver Jeremiah Grimes and tight end Jalen Bolden to shine as targets for Brown this year.

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