Woodville’s Shelby Mixon Named One of Texas 3A’s Finest

by Hale Hughes

Woodville-Sports All-State-Shelby-Softball-2016 150pxFor the second consecutive year, Woodville softball pitcher Shelby Mixon has been named as an All-State softball player for the Lady Eagles.

This year, the talented junior hurler was fortunate enough to draw the attention of coaches and sportswriters alike from all over the state and she has been selected to two different All State softball teams for the 2016 high school season.

The Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) only selects 42 players from Class 3A to be named to their distinguished list. Mixon is in elite company having TGCA name her as one of the state's best to command the circle.

Mixon was also recognized by the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA). TSWA recognizes three teams (first team, second team, third team) as well as an honorable mention classification. Teams were selected by TSWA members based on nominations from coaches and media members from around the state. Three pitchers are named for each squad and Mixon was named to the TSWA second team unit.

Being recognized by both groups is a tremendous honor and achievement for the 2017 Woodville senior. Mixon is quick to downplay herself, saying on many occasions that softball is a team sport and that she has a good people around her on the field that work too.

And work she does. When not on the field, in season and out, Mixon can typically be found somewhere close to a pitching rubber or a batting cage, putting in the time needed and repetitions required to hone and sharpen her craft.

A lot of people see her success, but what they don't see are those hours and hours of preparation, practice and performance she puts in year around. Mixon is a model of focus and hard work and what can be achieved when you are willing to sacrifice and work for it. She also has a deep love for the game of softball and the girls she has called teammates for years. She says that this All-State recognition may have her name on it, but it reflects those around her on her team that are closest to her.

Over a span of 34 games this last season, Mixon led her team to a 31-3 record and a third consecutive trip to the fourth round of playoffs. Over this season, Mixon threw 163 innings from the circle culminating in 25 wins while racking up 244 strikeouts for the Lady Eagles, just shy of averaging ten strikeouts per win. She adds a .7 earned run average (ERA) which is coach-speak for "extremely few runs scored when she was in the circle."

Mixon is the ace for the Lady Eagles and will continue in that role as well as one of the Lady Eagles' most consistent and quality hitters.

Being an All-State player is a great honor for Mixon and promotes positive news about the high school girls team as well as Woodville High School.

Cruse Commits to Colmesneil

by Alicyn Mitcham

Colmesneil-Sports Brookes-Camera-1156 150pxColmesneil Bulldog country is transforming for the better with the addition of Coach Darrell Cruse. The Bulldogs are sure to improve their football record and see growth in all areas.

When asked what he hoped to bring to this year's athletics, Cruse answered, "I plan to help Coach McMurry build a successful program".

Cruse descends from a long line of family coaches. He is a third generation coach but is the first boys coach in the family. His mom has clenched a state championship for girls' athletics, and he has other female coaches in his family. Becoming a boys coach in a family full of successful girl's coaches was not an easy decision for Cruse.

The man who inspired him was Toby Wally. Cruise says that Wally convinced him to move to the boys' side. He picked Colmesneil because he has family in the area, and he wanted to move closer to home.

Cruse attended high school in Kountze and graduated collage from Lamar. Cruse becomes excited as a coach when he sees the understanding in an athlete's eyes. He says, "I love working with boys and molding them into young men".

Cruse's main goals for this year are to complete all tasks the right way, always win, help kids become young adults, and help athletes create and maintain a work ethic. These are attributes that cannot be taught in a classroom, and Cruse hopes that all athletes can dedicate themselves fully to a program.

When asked what makes a great coach, Cruse responded, "A great coach has to be a great teacher, and a great coach has to love kids."

This will be Cruse's eighteenth year in coaching, and he has been to the semifinals in football in 2008. In 2007 and 2009, he went 33-3 in his overall football season, and in both seasons, his district record was 10-0.

Cruse will be the defensive coordinator in football, head powerlifting coach, and head boys track coach.

CHS Names Coach Gary Beam New Yellowjacket Boss

by Jana Rayburn

Chester-Sports Picture-of-Coach-Gary-Beam 250pxChester Yellowjacket Football team has a new leader. Coach Gary Beam is already on the job as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Chester ISD.

Beam comes to Yellowjacket country from Sidney, where he was the Head Football Coach for three years. Sidney ISD is one of the smallest schools in the State of Texas, and fielding a 6-man team has been difficult because of the small enrollment. Beam and his young team went 1-3 his first year at Sidney; they were unable to finish the season because of numbers. In his third year as head coach, the team went 7-3, just missing the playoffs.

Beam is elated by the number of athletes coming into the weight room every day.

"The young men I have met have been very respectful and I am proud of the kids that are coming to work out this summer. So far, they are eager to learn and eager to please," said Beam.

Beam has a different approach to weight training and workouts than the Yellowjacket athletes are accustomed to, but they aren't putting up any resistance; they are giving 110 percent.

Beam is big on discipline. He has high expectations and wants things done a certain way. He is a man of faith, and coaches his team with three important values at the forefront: faith, character, and discipline. He feels that a strong character builds success, and that is what he wants to convey to his athletes.

Asked about what he expects out of his athletes, Beam says, "I will take hard work and willingness over talent every day. I like team players. We are trying to teach these kids to be prepared for life – to be leaders who can take on responsibilities and be dependable. It's not about individual goals." He adds, "I like winning, but my job goes farther than just teaching football. I am teaching life lessons. Our end goal is to win, but we will be respectful and courteous above all."

The entire Chester community is excited to welcome both Beam and his wife, Michelle to Chester. Michelle will be the Kindergarten teacher at Chester Elementary.

Summer Workouts underway in Warren

Athletes running rope drill during summer workout. (Doug Glosson Photo)Athletes running rope drill during summer workout. (Doug Glosson Photo)

by Doug Glosson

Summertime for some students means going to work or to the beach with friends, but for some it also means workouts at the high school.

Workouts began at Warren High School on June13 and run through July 24, Monday through Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and have been averaging around 45 student athletes. Last Thursday, Coach Buckner was running the athletes through rope drills (high speed ladder) while Coach Smart, Coach Nowak, and Coach Schroeder worked them out in the weight room.

Weight room drills include bench, incline bench, power clean, down lift, bent over rows, and squats.

Once done inside the athletes take in some cardio outside before ending the workout with a core training routine. The workouts are designed for all athletes in any sport from seventh grade up to twelve grade.

Most of these athletes are getting ready for football and volleyball two-a-days coming up the first week in August.

When asked about what he hopes these young athletes get out of the workouts, Buckner said, "My goal is to have them not only physically but mentally prepared going into the season."

Spurger Cheerleaders Prepare for Spirited Year

Spurger-Sports IMG 6529 800px

by Andrew Harmon

Cheerleaders play a vital role in a school's spirit program, not only as a support group leading yells at sporting events, but also as representatives of a school's student body throughout the community.

Taking on these responsibilities for the Spurger High School Pirates will be team captain, Cassidy LeBouef and her fellow senior teammates, Louis Jenkins and Chloé Peterson. Joining them will be junior Hannah Grissom, sophomore Justine Loechel, and freshman members Brooke Ellis, Katie Essary, McKenzy Hatton, Abigail Sirmons, BreAnna Wagoner and Kelly Wilson.

Those selected to represent Spurger Junior High are eighth graders, Claire Navarette, Mikayla Odom, Krissy Porterfield, and Abby Sanchez, along with seventh graders, Katy Curry, Abigail LeBlanc, Rilyn Simon and Ashleigh Wood.

Under the direction of sponsor Crystal Means, Spurger's squad members participated in a training camp July 13-15, in order to prepare for the upcoming school year. Led by the staff of Horizons Dance - Tumble - Cheer, Inc. of Orange, members learned new cheers, chants, and a dance to incorporate into this year's routine.

"This week we all worked hard and pushed ourselves to try new things," said sixth year Pirate cheerleader Cassidy LeBouef, who was selected by camp officials as Spurger's top high school cheerleader. Junior high cheerleader Krissy Porterfield took top honors in her division.

Chosen for All-Stars were high schoolers LeBouef, Loechel, and Peterson. Junior high All-Stars are Navarette, Porterfield, and Sanchez. These squad members were presented with medals and certificates to commemorate their achievements.

After wrapping up camp, the cheerleaders held a pep rally to kick off the school year. Teachers, staff, coaches, fans, and students of Spurger are promised a spirit-filled year with the cheer squad selected to represent their community this year.