Monday, June 3, 2013

All-Greater Houston Soccer and Tennis Picks

Memorial High School seniors Grant Reichmann and William Jou were named Boys Players of the Year and featured June 2 in the Houston Chronicle newspaper’s All-Greater Houston Boys and Girls Tennis section in Sports.

An interview with the two players and photograph of the Class 5A boys doubles title state champions was included in the special newspaper report.

Also named All-Greater Houston best players in the same feature are Memorial’s Dane Esses in Boys Singles and Thomas Pecor and Christian Vieira, also in Boys Doubles.

Memorial’s Nava Nowamooz and Nousha Nowamooz were honored for Girls Doubles and two other groups of players were named as best in Mixed Doubles – Ciro Lampasas and Katie Davis of Memorial and Josh Hollaway and Kaylin Kruseman of Stratford.

The full Chronicle story on this topic is posted below. (Scroll down to read this story)

Soccer Girls and Boys

Soccer forward Kelly Ann Craig of Stratford High, a senior, was named to the Chronicle’s All-Greater Houston First Team in girls soccer. Selected as Second Team All-Greater Houston soccer picks are Stratford High’s Jennifer Morris and the Spring Woods Tiger Ruth Giraldo, both of whom are seniors.

The Chronicle’s District 19-5A Boys All-District Soccer Team included Memorial senior Joe Heller on First Team. Second Team picks included Memorial junior Chandler Atkinson, and Memorial seniors Forrest Denio and Jose Pineda.

Earning Superlative rankings in the District 42-4A were six SBISD high school soccer players:

Most Valuable Player, Roberto Chavira, Spring Woods; Offensive, Tomas Novaki, Stratford; Defensive, Jose Cardena, Spring Woods; Newcomer, Alan Cruz, Northbrook; Goalkeeper, John Craig, Stratford; and Coach, Jose Copa, Stratford.

The newspaper’s District 42-4A All-District Boys Soccer First Team includes the following students: Salvador Ayala, Alan Cruz and Vicente Perez, all of Northbrook; Jose Cardenas, Roberto Chavira, Flavio Deras, Frank Flores, Royer Ontiveros and Luis Sanccez, all of Spring Woods; John Craig, Antonio Fernandez, Tyler Frost, Tyler Garcia, Carlos Lara, Tomas Novak and Franco Timonieri, all of Stratford.

The All-District boys Second Team in soccer included the following students; Sergy Cruz, Jorge Gonzalez, Jesus Reyes, all of Northbrook; Alec Barraza, Edwin Castillo, Daniel Rivera and Render Villata, all of Spring Woods; Abraham Alatorre, Kyle McAndrews, Lucas Santos and Chris Vanston, all of Stratford.

In girls All-District 19-5A soccer, three students were named to the newspaper’s First Team. They are Leslie Bonner, Olivia Brook and Lanie Russo. Second Team players include Memorial’s Lauren Matthews and Grace Miller.

In girls All-District 42-4A soccer, four district students won Superlative rankings.

They are: Most Valuable Player, Ruth Giraldo, Spring Woods; Offensive, Kelly Ann Craig, Stratford; Defensive, Jennifer Morris, Stratford; and Coach, Margaret Fuchs, Spring Woods.

First Team players in All-District 42-4A girls soccer include: Alexandra Deras and Lexus Garcia, both of Northbrook High; Jael Abarca, Chandler Callahan, Natalie Elizondo, Laya Garza and Ruth Giraldo, all of Spring Woods; and Kelly Ann Craig, Taylor Aycock, Kelly Cuevas, Caroline Hilton, Martha Kuhn and Jennifer Morris, all of Stratford.

Second Team players in All-District 42-4A girls soccer include Tina Pham and Cindy Ramos, both of Northbrook; Becky Dubner, Cathleen Evans, Emma Koydemir and Laura Newman, all of Stratford; and Lydia Kye, Maria Luna and Lily Mendoza, all of Spring Woods.

Principal Recognition

In separate but related news, Stratford High Principal Chris Juntti was featured in the Houston Chronicle for his tweets and fan followers this year as the Spartans made the playoffs in all eight University Interscholastic League team sports – volleyball, football, basketball (boys and girls), soccer (boys and girls), softball and baseball.

Stratford High was one of only six Houston-area public schools to do that, joining The Woodlands, Seven Lakes, Westside, North Shore and Reagan high schools. The full Chronicle story is posted below. (Scroll down to read this story)

Boys tennis players of the year: Memorial’s Reichmann, Jou

By Angel Verdejo

June 2, 2013

Grant Reichmann, Memorial and William Jou, Sr., Memorial

Grant Reichmann and William Jou ended their careers as state champions, winning the Class 5A boys doubles title after falling in the finals a year ago. It was a fitting end - Reichmann and Jou lost to Memorial teammates Thomas Pecor and Christian Vieira in the championship match at both district and regionals, then knocked off their friends and rivals in the all-Mustangs state final.

Q: How good does it feel to be a state champion?

Reichman: "It feels amazing and very relieving after going to state so many times and finally being able to pull it off at the end. It's the best feeling ever."

Jou: "It was a great way to finish. The last four years we've been trying to go for a state title, and to finally get it feels great."

Q: What was that state final like?

Reichmann: "It was a bittersweet feeling because I was really happy that they were in the final and happy that our school was definitely going to get first and second. But it was also bitter because we lost to them at district and regionals, and we knew they were going to be tough competitors."

Jou: "It's good for us, but your teammates just took a loss, so that makes it tough."

Q: How close are the two doubles teams?

Reichmann: "Usually we're pretty even skill-wise. We were just on that day and they weren't.

Jou: "It's pretty much a toss-up every time we play, so it's whoever is playing better that day."

Q: How fun was playing doubles at Memorial with each other?

Reichmann: "He's almost like a brother to me. On the court, we support each other and help each other out, especially when one misses."

Jou: "We're best friends, so we spent a lot of time together on and off the court. We're really close, so that helps us stay confident and believe in each other."

Q: What about playing at Memorial?

Reichmann: "I don't know how fun it will be in college, but I doubt it will be as laid-back and funny as with my high school teammates."

Jou: "It was an amazing experience. It allowed me to meet a lot of people, and the team chemistry was really great."

Only 6 area schools made playoffs in all eight UIL team sports

By Angel Verdejo

May 17, 2013

This school year has been particularly busy for Christopher Juntti.

In addition to his day job as Stratford's principal, Juntti also runs the campus' Twitter account. He makes announcements to his followers but also tweets about all of the Spartans' success in the classroom, on the athletic field or anywhere else the school might excel.

Since the start of the 2012-13 school year, athletics has done its part.

"I'll tell you what - we've had so much success, it's almost impossible for me to keep up with it and do the rest of my job," Juntti said. "Which is a good problem to have."

Stratford made the playoffs in all eight University Interscholastic League team sports - volleyball, football, basketball (boys and girls), soccer (boys and girls), softball and baseball.

The Spartans were one of six Houston-area public schools to do that, joining The Woodlands, Seven Lakes, Westside, North Shore and Reagan.

It was only five sports the year before for Stratford, but the volleyball and softball teams each rebounded from a one-year hiatus, while the baseball team returned to the postseason after missing the previous two seasons.

More work, more fun

For Juntti and other administrators, it means more work in supervising games. That's not necessarily bad, Juntti told his staff.

"You get pretty tired this time of year," he said. "And I said, 'Look, you guys, I know it's been a long and busy year, but the fact that we're not bored this time of year means our kids are still having success.' So I think that's a great message.

"When you're bored in the spring, it means that your kids haven't been very successful."

Of the six Houston-area schools that qualified all of their teams for the playoffs this year, only Stratford and Seven Lakes did not accomplish the feat last year.

Across-the-board athletic success is the norm at The Woodlands, which has won four of the last five UIL Lone Star Cups - an award given to the state's best overall athletic and academic programs in each of its five classifications.

The Highlanders' eight teams all won or shared a district championship, and each won at least one playoff game or series.

"We love it because our kids have high expectations, the coaches have high expectations and the community has high expectations," The Woodlands boys basketball coach Dale Reed said. "So everybody knows what it takes to succeed, and then they go out and do it."

Getting off to fast start

Teams in the fall can set the tone for a school for the remainder of the year, with each team that follows wanting to meet the same level of success or surpass it. The wins also help with numbers, Reagan athletic director and football coach Stephen Dixon said.

"When you hear about all the sports doing so well, you just seem to get more kids who have aspirations of coming to Reagan and wanting to do well," he said. "It's definitely pushed us forward to where we are now and is going to even push us to greater heights going forward."

Many programs succeed in other UIL sports - Stratford won its second consecutive boys swimming state title while Seven Lakes (wrestling) and The Woodlands (track and field) had individual champions.

Among private schools, Episcopal won Southwest Preparatory Conference Division I titles in football, boys basketball, baseball and boys track and field. St. Agnes reached the TAPPS 5A softball championship game Monday - one of eight sports at the school that finished fourth or better in the state.

"It affects the entire climate of your school," said Juntti, who helped organize 10 buses that took 500 Stratford students to watch the girls soccer team play in the regional tournament. "People who are being successful are positive, so when you have so many groups that are being successful, you really feel the positive vibe at your school."


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