By Evan Mohl
The Cove Herald
With another high school year set to conclude on Friday with high school graduation, Copperas Cove student athletes have reason to celebrate and congratulate themselves.
Yet again, the Bulldawg and Lady Dawg contingents have put together a banner year that saw records fall, multiple trips to state championships and a number playoff appearances.
“It was an awesome year,” assistant athletic director and girl’s athletic coordinator Sue Wagner said. “You love seeing kids excel and it just gives you a good feeling to watch it.”
The success wasn’t just isolated in one singe sport either. According to athletic director Jack Welch, every program but two at CCHS either made the playoffs or reached a regional tournament of some sort.
With every varsity sport combined that keeps a win-loss record, the Bulldawgs, unofficially, accumulated 166 total wins. That’s an average of over 18 wins per progarm.
“Programs tend to build off one another,” Welch said. “When one does well, the others tend to feed off the success.”
The volleyball team got things started in the fall when they posted a school record 36 wins and were ranked as high as No. 3 in the state. The tennis team followed suit and broke the 20-win barrier for the first time in Cove history, and both the boys and girls cross country squads made regionals.
As fall whithered away with the leaves and winter approached, the Bulldawg football team reached the state championship game for the second time in as many years. Five players on the team earned all-state honors.
“It’s a great thing for the school, it’s a morale boost,” Welch said of the athletic success. “And when you have so many kids involved like we do, it radiates throughout the school. There’s a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of comraderie.”
The girls and boys basketball teams continued the success in sports as both made the playoffs in February. The Lady Dawgs captured the bi-district championship and posted 25 wins under new head coach Richard Herbst.
Also in February, the AquaDawgs completed their season with both boys and girls teams making Regionals. The boys took home 7th place while the girls finished 13th.
A month later, two Cove powerlifters — Lauren Cox and Jennifer Eveson — made the state meet. Eveson finished fifth in her weight class. Cox was disqualified, but will go on to compete four more years at Texas A&M.
“It’s hard to put your finger on one thing that explains all the success,” Wagner said. “It’s really an accumulation of a lot of things: coaching, training, atmosphere, environment. But really, success breeds success and it sort has a filtering affect.”
Both soccer teams finished in fourth place in their respective districts, which would have put them in the postseason had UIL expanded the amount of teams that advance to the playoffs this year. That change will take place in the fall. The Lady Dawgs, however, did improve by 11 games from last season to this one.
The year ended with a bang as the softball team reached the postseason for the second straight year after having missed the playoffs since 2000. Baseball wasn’t far behind as the Dawgs posted 15 wins — the most they’ve had in 17 years — and also made the postseason for the second straight season.
While the track team wasn’t able to defend its state title, both the boys and the girls squads sent eight players to regionals in 11 events. The girls also competed in the Texas Relays, where they had four competitors.
Finally, Malika Bembridge shocked most of the state of Texas when she made school history as a freshman. The 15 year-old became the first tennis player ever at Cove to make the state tournament.
“Athletics, and activities in general, is the window pane in which the school is scene. With all of our programs succeeding and doing so well, it’s another obvious indication that there’s a lot of good things going on at Copperas Cove High School.”
Contact Evan Mohl at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7564.