Members of the homecoming court are, back row, Mathew Larsen, Caleb Hunter and Tyler King; front row, Kamryn Mayberry, Mechelle Bussell, Elliana Doubleday, Abigail McPhail, Daliana Soto and Kiyah Hays.

Copperas Cove homecoming will be extra special Friday night for nine high school students chosen for the 2013 Homecoming Court.

Six seniors and one student from the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes were selected by peer votes, teacher evaluations, community service evaluations, organizations and leadership positions.

After learning of their nominations Tuesday afternoon, each member of the court expressed excitement for their roles in the homecoming festivities.

“At first it was no big deal, but then I thought about it,” said senior candidate Mechelle Bussell. “And when I realized that it was my peers in band that nominated me, it started to sink in that they thought I could win and they chose me to represent them.”

Senior candidate Abigail McPhail has dreamed of being homecoming queen since she was a little girl. Her father surprised her by coming home from Afghanistan on leave to watch her cheer for homecoming.

“Now he will get to escort me on to the field for the homecoming court,” she said. “My dad said he will wear his Class A uniform if I want him to, and I said yes. He just got promoted to lieutenant colonel.”

Senior candidate Tyler King grew up in Copperas Cove and can remember going to football games his entire life.

“I haven’t missed a game since I was 2,” he said. “There were two years when I lived in Alaska, and even then I was listening to Big Joe from 5,000 miles away. I remember running as a ‘bleacher creature’ as soon as I could do it. I played for a couple of years then tore my ACL and had no choice but to swim. I bleed blue and gold.”

He initially thought it would be fun to be able to say he ran for homecoming king as a senior. But then the swim team sponsored him.

“Today when I found out I made it, everyone was as excited for me as I was, and I realized it was a bigger deal than I thought it would be,” King said. “It’s a big honor to be picked out of 50 people to represent them, to be the person they thought was most deserving is a big deal.”

For softball team member Elliana Doubleday, her nomination is also a chance to bring awareness to her sport.

“Softball doesn’t get much awareness, and my nomination means a lot because we are usually the forgotten sport,” she said. “I’m trying to build up the program and this brings awareness.”

Amal Baty is the UIL academics and activities coordinator in charge of the homecoming court this year.

“These are good kids and it’s nice to see them so excited to be part of this,” she said.

Herald/ Kathryn Leisinger

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