There was plenty of excitement for Hornet fans during the 2010-11 athletic year.
The football team, 0-2 at one point in District 19-3A play, rallied for last-season wins over Waco La Vega and Robinson to make the postseason. Once in, the Hornets almost did it again, falling just short against Madisonville.
The volleyball team didn't need as many rallies, but had a few tense moments on the way to making program history. It wasn't always easy. Both basketball teams had first-year coaches and holes to fill. For the boys, it was replacing a stellar 2010 class. For the girls, it was do-it-all star McKamie Place, lost for the season with an ACL injury.But the success didn't end in the fall.
Veronica Cardenas won an individual powerlifting state title two years after the Hornets claimed the state championship.
And the girls golf team, after eight years of coming up short, broke through the Region III-3A and advanced to the state tournament.
1. Hornets fight injury and time to reach playoffs With its back against the wall, the football team found a way to get back to the playoffs. Down 27-7 to Robinson in its season finale and 27-14 with 3:34 to play, Gatesville rallied. The Hornets made a defensive stop and quarterback Jake Truss, nursing a sore ankle, scored with 1:56 to play. Gatesville recovered an onside kick before Truss found Dexter Knox, also hobbled by injury, with the game-winning touchdown pass with 57 seconds left.
2. Third time is a charm The volleyball team clinched the 19-3A title, sweeping Lorena in doing so. And with a trip to the Region III-3A tournament on the line, all that stood in the way between Gatesville and history was Lorena. The rivals met at Belton High School in the regional quarterfinals, with Gatesville losing a 17-16 lead in Game 4 to send the match to a pivotal fifth game. The Hornets won a back-and-forth Game 5 for its first regional tournament appearance in program history.
3. Alissa Gonzalez reaches state in first try A stellar runner in track, the rising senior tried cross country for the first time during the fall, making her schedule that much more crowded Gonzalez plays volleyball and is a cheerleader. Gonzalez was the 19-3A runner up, only to run a minute faster at the Region III-3A meet a week later and advance to state.
4. Tennis makes history at regionals The Hornets sent three entries to the Region III-3A tournament, and for the first time ever, had two get past the first round.The girls doubles team of Stormi Cole and Sarah Rutherford finished second at district, but won their first-round match at regionals before falling to the eventual champions. Shilah Heavin, a runner-up at district, also picked up a regional win.
5. Girls golf finally breaks through Success isn't foreign to the Hornet golf program the boys won the 2009 3A title and finished second in 2010.
But in 2011, it was the girls that took the torch. After advancing to the regional tournament for the ninth straight year, the Hornets won the Region III-3A title to reach state.
1. Glynna Johnson and Kaitlin Poe, volleyball and basketball The duo will lead the way on the court, with Johnson manning the net and Poe returning as an all-district setter. It will be the same once the season turns, as Poe is a top-notch shooter and Johnson can be an imposing defensive presence.
2. Veronica Cardenas, powerlifting Also a starter on the soccer team Cardenas missed weeks of workouts after suffering a concussion the rising junior is the reigning 3A state champion in the 105-pound weight division.
3. Cole Edmiston, football The junior to be takes over at quarterback, looking to fill the big shoes left by Jake Truss, who led Gatesville to back-to-back playoff appearances. Edmiston already has varsity experience and the summer's 7-on-7 workouts should help.
4. Danny Byrd, basketball The Hornets were up and down this season but there's reason for optimism.Byrd can be a difference maker on both ends of the floor and will only be a junior.5. Riley Latham, softball A first team all-district pick, the rising junior showed her versatility to the Hornets this season. Latham played second base, third and even catcher. She also hit .443 and scored 23 times.