By Alex Byington and Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
The Harker Heights volleyball team took last weekend off.
While everyone else was playing their third tournament, the Lady Knights pulled out of the Aransas Pass Tournament following new travel boundaries set by the Killeen Independent School District athletic department before the school year.
Creating a four-pointed box that surrounds Killeen in a 200-mile radius, KISD athletic director Tom Rogers said the move was made purely for fiscal reasons in an attempt to help alleviate athletic travel costs. Arnasas Pass is roughly a five hour and 250 mile one-way trip from Heights
"It's just a way we're trying to trim back our transportation costs," Rogers said. "We've been trying to trim it back for a couple of years, so we decided to go ahead and set those boundaries."
The box's main points are San Antonio (south), the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (north), San Angelo (west) and Huntsville (east).
"If you take and draw a line that starts at San Antonio to San Angelo, and then a line to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and down to Huntsville, and then back down to San Antonio," Rogers said. "Anything inside that box is our travel area."
Travel time should also not exceed more than 2 1/2 hours one way, Rogers said.
The change will only affect regular-season games, most likely making its biggest impact on basketball travel.
Last season, the Harker Heights boys and girls and Shoemaker boys teams traveled to Beaumont in December to participate in the Young Men's Business League/Beaumont Independent School District basketball tournament.
"It was a great tournament that we went down to, and the people in Beaumont took care of us, but we just have to go with what (KISD) wants to be done," Heights boys basketball coach Celneque Bobbitt said. "If they want to put limitations on our travel, we're just going to have to find some other places to go."
The Grey Wolves also went to Sherman later in the month for the Sherman Holiday Invitational. The Killeen boys played in the Fort Worth ISD Coca-Cola Classic.
Bobbitt said the Knights still plan to travel to Aldine (just north of Houston) for a tournament against several Houston-area teams.
The travel wasn't just limited to basketball. Ellison softball played in the Corpus Christi Invitational in early March, the same weekend Heights softball played in the San Angelo Central Invitational. The Ellison baseball team went to the San Antonio area (Spring Branch) to play in the Comal ISD Tournament.
In track, the Ellison boys won meets in both Dallas and Converse (San Antonio area), while the both Killeen teams went to the Richardson Invitational in Dallas.
Outside of Heights' schedule change, the rest of the volleyball seasons has been relatively close to Killeen with teams playing tournaments in Copperas Cove, Florence, Gatesville and West.
Most cross country meets are also in the area (Temple, Waco and the Austin area). The Ellison boys are however, heading to Burleson on Friday, the Heights boys go to Texas A&M next week and the Ellison girls go to San Antonio at the end of the month.
"There are plenty of teams to play inside that area, that I don't really think it'll affect them at all," Rogers said. "It just gives them some parameters more than anything."