Why spend hours in the weight room or outside in 100-plus degree heat? Why wake up at 7:00 a.m. or stay after school until 7:00 p.m. everyday for half of the year? Why would you sacrifice things that the normal student finds essential, such as sleep, breakfast, or social time? The answer is simple for athletes because sports is woven into our fabric of life during these high school years. Mac is one of the few schools that understands the value of sports to the kids playing. Teachers, administration, and fellow students always ask you how you did, when do you play next, and wishes of good luck echo throughout the campus on every game day for every sport.
The older athletes set the tone in every locker room and instill a work ethic that is carried with players in every sport. While the upperclassmen are asked to carry most of the load while being the leaders and captains, the freshman and sophomores provide additional talent and a spark to every team at Mac. In football, Tyler Vitt emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the district as a stud sophomore. Girl’s basketball had two freshman guards, Ta’niya Jackson and Sydney Blakely, that combined for 10.5 points per game. Boys basketball had four sophomores on varsity that combined for almost 14 ppg. In baseball, freshman Jace Jung showed that he can be the team’s best player over the next three years. Boys soccer started two freshmen in William Vidal and Samuel Villegas that combined for 10 goals and 6 assist this season.
The individual sports athletes represented Mac around the city and even the state. In Golf, Rachel Yu advanced to the regional tournament. In swim Kyle Benson placed 13th in the state in the 100 freestyle. Tennis hosted the mixed doubles team of Eddie Pompa and Mary Cardone that came in fourth in the region. In track and field, MaryJayne Gonzalez reached the region final in the 100M, and Cynthia Gonzales placed sixth in the state in shot put. Wrestling boasted three athletes in state this year in Gus Tijerino, Jolissa Lujan, and Jonathan Kellog.
The team sports in the 2015-16 school year had similar success across the board, as these nine teams combined to win 52.5 percent of their 238 games this year.
Volleyball made the playoffs for the first time since 2012, led by juniors Maddie Trawick and Mallory Potts.
Football made the playoffs for the second consecutive year thanks in most part to their high flying offense.
Tennis made the playoffs for the third straight year with a senior heavy team.
Boys basketball went 6-6 in district, tied for third, however missed the playoffs due to the tiebreaker rule in place.
Girls basketball struggled this year, going 7-25, but their two freshman guards show potential for the near future.
Boys soccer had somewhat of a letdown year as they came in fifth in the district.
Girls soccer had a magical run to the state semifinals with a terrific all around team, experienced seniors, and the San Antonio Coach of the Year in Erik Stolhandske.
Baseball made the second round for the third year in a row, with a mix of older and younger players.
Softball made the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season and will be getting back every starter from this years team, next year.
I’ve been able to see every team play on multiple occasions, and when I watch them, I see some of the best players in the city, most of which, will be continuing their sport at the college level. On the football field, senior Joey Fiel captained the defense, while Tyler Vitt, Daijon Williams, and Bobby Lepovitz headed the Brahma’s high powered offense. Boys basketball was led by a big three of Kyle Murphy, Josh Rodgers, and Kevin Luckey. Boys soccer had a good all around team, including Chandler Farnsworth and Rodrigo Guerrero. The three senior captains for the girls soccer team were Ana Campa, Mary Cardone, and Kyra Falcone. Senior Josh Jung was the best all around player on the baseball team this year and at times carried them. The softball team truly had talent from top to bottom, however, their star was sophomore Kiersten Licea, who hit eight home runs in 30 games.
When we look back on this school year, sporting events will be the primary focus of our conversations. If we were playing we would talk about how we made a play that is seared into our memory because that feeling still gives us goosebumps just thinking about it. If we were spectating we’ll remember that time when Madison called us “spoonfed” so we brought hundreds of spoons to the football game, where we routed them, then took Whataburger on Bulverde, or the State semifinal in Georgetown, or the volleyball games against Madison where opposing students were yelling and chanting at each other across the court.
We embrace the role of underdog. MacArthur has a population of 2,541, over 400 less people than than the average enrollment at Reagan, Johnson, Churchill, Madison, and Roosevelt. Players very often play multiple sports, I mean we have one tiny, worn down weight room, how do we compete, and often beat these massive schools? A large part is the coaching, and the other is the extreme work ethic that I see on a daily basis in every athlete. The older the players get, the larger the chip on their shoulder grows.
MacArthur athletics may have up and down years, however, they are consistent in their sportsmanship, work ethic, and most importantly, their character. Congrats to every athlete at Mac this year, good luck to those returning and a special thank you to every single senior for leaving a memorable imprint on MacArthur’s history.