By Alex Byington

By the Book

"All the world's a stage/And all the men and women merely players/They have their exits and their entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts"- William Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

With her head draped on a metal divider still trying to catch her breath, I asked Harker Heights senior Aliese Hyde simply - "What was going through your head coming around the final turn?"

Her answer left me speechless.

"Honestly, I was thinking about you asking me about how it felt to come in second or third, to not get first, and I didn't want to answer that question."

Hyde, of course, had just run the race of her life, crossing the finish line with arms held high as she won gold in the girls 800-meter run at the Class 5A state track and field championships in May.

As a reporter, you cover incredible things all the time, but you never think about how you might be affecting the story you're writing about. I am flattered to know that I - even in some very small part - may have helped Hyde accomplish a moment she'll remember the rest of her life.

Looking back on the year that was, I was lucky to have experienced a bevy of incredible sports moments - many of which pertained to the Harker Heights-Belton-Salado area.

With that in mind, here are my top 10 memorable moments from 2010:

No. 10: Despite an 0-4 start to the season, the Belton football team clinched a playoff spot for the second straight year in a back-and-forth 37-34 victory over Ellison, as Texas-bound quarterback David Ash (19-of-27, 268 yards, 5 TDs) systematically led the Tigers down the field for a game-winning field goal by backup kicker Carlo Mosnia. (Oct. 22)

No. 9: In its biggest victory since former coach Ross Rogers roamed the sidelines, the Harker Heights football team parlayed seven sacks, two interceptions and a game-solidifying blocked field goal into a 24-14 season-opening victory over Georgetown at the 12th annual Texas Football Classic at the Alamodome. (Aug. 27)

No. 8: With so much talent and promise, the senior-laden Salado volleyball team couldn't overcome a devastating knee injury to setter Brennan Boydstun - who tore her left ACL less than a year removed from tearing her right one - and were upset in the area-round of the playoffs for the second straight season, swept by Cuero 25-22, 25-16, 28-26. (Nov. 4)

No. 7: Harker Heights' uniquely quirky jumper Melissa Mays established new school records in both the long jump (19 feet, 5½ inches) and the triple jump (41 feet, 10 inches) while helping the Lady Knights claim the District 12-5A track and field championship. (April 14-15)

No. 6: The Harker Heights boys basketball upset A&M Consolidated in a double-overtime thriller, 68-64, thanks to 21 points from junior post Brandon Bullock, including 12 straight in OT following a game-tying tip-in at the end of regulation. (Jan. 26)

No. 5: Salado junior golfer Taylor O'Rear won her first-ever individual regional crown at the Region IV-2A golf tournament at Quail Creek Golf Course in San Marcos, shooting a two-day total of 159 as the Lady Eagles cruised to their second-consecutive team title, besting Comfort by 75 strokes. (April 20)

No. 4: The Harker Heights baseball team won five of its last six District 12-5A games and advanced to its fourth-ever playoff appearance with Sean Hansen's 123-pitch complete game 3-2 victory over Bryan in a play-in game to claim the fourth playoff spot. (May 1)

No. 3: Led by senior Division I-bound duo of ace pitcher Dillon Newman and single- season home run champ Shane Hoelscher, fourth-ranked Belton (34-7) won 12 straight and 20 of the last 21 games before being upended with a two-game sweep by Klein Collins, 9-5 and 7-4, in the Region II-5A semifinal playoff series. The Tigers were one win shy of tying the single-season win total of the 1994 Class 4A state championship squad. (May 29)

No. 2: Salado crowns three state champion teams in the same week. Following a victory by the drama team in One-Act Play the weekend prior, the Lady Eagles golf team of state runner-up Rachel VanHoozer (now at UMHB), Taylor O'Rear, Haley Kemp, Leah Ray and Meredith Ward secured the program's fifth state championship behind a dominating 25-stroke victory over Melissa on Tuesday before the 400-meter relay team of Brianha Chambers, Taylor Eary, Kasey Smetana, and Billi Pipes won gold at the 2A state track and field championships on Saturday. (May 8-15)

No. 1 (The golden standard): The Harker Heights track and field trio of seniors Aliese Hyde and Melissa Mays and junior Kyle Thompson win gold at the 2010 Class 5A State Championships in Austin. Mays cleared a distance of 39 feet, 11 inches in the girls triple jump, while Hyde and Thompson swept the girls and boys 800-meter run with times of 2:12.07 and 1:50.80, respectively. (May 15)

Contact Alex Byington at or (254) 501-7566.

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