It wasnt so much the postseason that made Copperas Coves athletic year.Coves football, volleyball and girls soccer teams reached the postseason, but all lost in the first-round game. Highlighting the postseason accomplishments was the boys track team, which finished second at the 5A State championships after winning the 12-5A and Region II-5A meets.
John Horton won the state title in the triple jump, while Ashleigh Andrews took gold at the 5A girls powerlifting championships. In addition, Coves 400- and 800-meter relays both took second place at state. The tennis team returned to the region tournament, the schools fourth appearance in five years.But there was history. Head volleyball coach Cari Lowery claimed her 500th career win, while the girls soccer team won four of its final five district games, taking 12-5As fourth seed and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
It wasnt just on the field 29 athletes were honored in signing ceremonies throughout the year in eight different sports.
1. Footballs big-play ability on display against Ellison In a season filled with big plays, the Dawgs were at their best Oct. 8 against the Eagles. Cove scored six times on plays of at least 37 yards and another on a 21-yard fumble return.The scores came nearly every way possible: William Randolph had 83- and 55-yard runs and a 97-yard kickoff return, Orlando Thomas had a 50-yard run and 37-yard catch. And midway through the first quarter, Gene Gilbert returned an interception 45 yards for a score.
2. Ashleigh Andrews takes gold at state powerlifting A year after finishing fifth at the Class 5A girls powerlifting state championships, Andrews more than made up for it as a junior. She won the 165-pound division, beating the lifter in March who finished one spot ahead of Andrews a year ago.In all, the Lady Dawgs sent five lifters to state championships, with each placing in the top-five of her respective division. That included two third-place finishers (Kenya Williams and Jinea Witter).
3. Volleyball gets two historic wins In her time at Cove, volleyball coach Cari Lowery (who started in 2004) and her teams had never beaten powerhouse and district rival A&M Consolidated. That was until Sep. 28, when the Lady Dawgs dropped their opening two games at home before rallying for a 22-25, 16-25, 30-28, 25-21, 15-10 victory.In their regular-season finale, the Lady Dawgs beat Temple on the road, and with the win gave Lowery career win No. 500.
4. Ricardo Artis goes for 44 against Bryan When he was on, Artis proved to be one of the better scorers in District 12-5A. He showed just that Jan. 28 at home against Bryan. The Dawgs eventually lost the shootout, 101-90, but Artis, who is headed to North Lake College, did his part.He scored 44 points, making five 3-pointers to go with multiple shots around the basket. Artis had a chance for 50 he missed nine free throws.
5. John Horton takes gold and silver at state The triple jump is Hortons main event and the one hell likely specialize in at the University of Houston next year. He showed how good he could be, placing second at the UIL State Track and Field Championships.But it was in the long jump where Horton left his mark this season. A runner-up to teammate Orlando Thomas at the District 12-5A meet, Horton took first at regionals then took gold at state with a school-record leap.
1. Orlando Thomas, football With a full season at quarterback under his belt, expect Thomas to only get better under center for the Dawgs. The University of Texas commit will likely be the most dynamic player on the football field every Friday.
2. Amy Rosenbaum, volleyball The Baylor commit took on plenty of added responsibility for the Lady Dawgs last season, which may only make her better in the long run. Already a top-notch setter, the 6-foot Rosenbaum is pretty good at the net too.
3. Ty Johnson and Austin Greene, baseball If the Dawgs are going to turn the corner in District 12-5A, it will be behind these two talents rising seniors. Johnson is one of the areas best returning bats, while Greene can cover plenty of ground in the outfield.
4. Shelbie Letzer and Alyson Sinclair, soccer Cove loses two college-bound talents (Kristen Grant and Shelby Campbell) but Letzer and Sinclair should keep the Lady Dawgs in range to return to the playoffs after making it for the first time since 2001.
5. Irene Espinoza, softball Replacing the gigantic shoes left by Shabanese Brown was tough to ask for a freshman, but on more than one occasion, Espinoza made a play in the field or at the plate that made people wonder just how good shell end up.