Katy ISD athletics excelled in 2018
The 2018 calendar year produced another group of memorable moments in Katy ISD athletics, with several teams playing for state championships in their sport. The year was particularly significant for Tompkins, which achieved new heights in many sports. From the Falcons’ state basketball final, through another strong finish by Morton Ranch wrestling, Cinco Ranch’s regional soccer dynasty and record-breaking runs by Seven Lakes, to another thrilling football season, KISD continued to thrive.
TEAMS OF THE YEAR
No. 1 Tompkins boys basketball
The Falcons entered the 2018 postseason seeking its first-ever playoff victory. They got that and five more, finishing a basket from the Class 6A state championship.
Tompkins finished 32-9 overall, including a 12-2 mark for its first district championship. The season started with promise, as the Falcons went undefeated at the competitive Texas Invitational, defeating Westfield, Dawson, Lancaster, Hebron and Duncanville in succession.
Tompkins later finished 4-1 at the Katy Classic and won its first eight district games, leading the league wire to wire. But the real fun started in the playoffs, as the Falcons stormed past Ridge Point 81-59 for its breakthrough victory.
They prevailed in tight games the next two rounds, defeating Cypress Springs 53-51 and Bush 61-59. They excelled in their first regional tournament, eliminating Deer park 97-50 and Alief Taylor 60-43 on their way to state.
C.J. Washington’s 26 points, Jamal Bieniemy’s 25 points and four blocks, and Emmanuel White’s 10 rebounds and seven points led Tompkins to an 80-76 overtime win against South Garland in the state semifinals. All three ranked among the statistical leaders again in the final, but Allen made the final shot in a 49-47 overtime championship.
Nevertheless, it was one of the most successful seasons in any sport in the school’s brief history.
No. 2 Seven Lakes boys track
The Spartans tied for third place in Class 6A after an outstanding performance at the UIL state meet. They amassed 38 points, finishing behind only The Woodlands (68) and Converse Judson (49).
More significantly, Seven Lakes left with two of the best relay marks ever recorded in high school track and field.
Thomas Pratt, Lance Broome, Chris Williams and Jahquan Bloomfield won the 400-meter relay state title in 39.8 seconds, merely .04 seconds from breaking the state and national record set in 1998.
The same group actually did surpass the national mark in the 800-meter relay, clocking a 1:23.42 for a state silver medal. The Woodlands turned in a 1:23.25, leading one of the fastest events in UIL state history.
No. 3 Cinco Ranch girls soccer
It would not be a Region III-6A girls soccer final without a certain shade of maroon. The Cougars played in their sixth consecutive regional championship match and reached their fourth state tournament in that span, joining the 2014-16 squads.
Cinco Ranch finished the regular season undefeated, including an 11-0-1 mark in 19-6A play and an early Cougar Bracket title at the I-10 Shootout. The Cougars dominated in the playoffs, defeating Travis, Cy-Fair, Clements and Clear Springs 22-1 to set up a regional final rematch.
They defeated defending state finalist Tompkins 3-0 and took Lewisville Marcus to a shootout in a thrilling state semifinal thriller, tying the match on Ashley Bencivengo’s goal with two seconds left in regulation.
Katie Becker, Olivia Futch and Ali Russell earned Texas Association of Soccer Coaches all-state spots following the season, with McKenzie Chew and Claudia Monagas voted all-region.
No. 4 Morton Ranch girls wrestling
The Mavericks reached new heights in 2017, winning their first state championship. Their first season as a defending Class 6A champion went quite well, bringing a runner-up trophy.
The Mavericks scored 68 points at the state tournament, finishing behind only Cypress Ranch despite having only three competitors. Brittany Cotter (95), Chelsea Sanchez (110) and Jordan Suarez (138) all reached the championship match in their respective brackets.
It was another strong showing from Katy ISD, with Katy posting top-10 state finishes in both the girls and boys standings.
No. 5 Katy softball
The Tigers continued their run as one of the state’s elite programs, playing for their fourth consecutive Region III-6A championship. The 2015 state champions finished 39-4, roaring through another undefeated district championship season.
Katy swept Clements, Lamar and Ridge Point in the playoffs before a three-game victory against Kingwood. The Tigers pushed Atascocita to three games before falling one run short of state.
Chloe Cobb, Kayla Garcia and Alyssa LeBlanc were Texas Girls Coaches Association all-state selections after the season. The Tigers return another impressive group of future NCAA Division I athletes.
No. 6 Tompkins girls soccer
The Falcons’ breakthrough season took them all the way to the state championship match in 2017. They very nearly made it back.
Tompkins finished 18-3-3 this past spring, including a 10-1-1 district season that ended with a 1-1 tie against eventual regional champion Cinco Ranch. The Falcons defeated Fort Bend Austin, Bellaire, Cypress Woods and Kingwood by a combined 13-0 in the playoffs before taking the Cougars to overtime in a III-6A final rematch.
Avery Burchett and Barbara Olivieri earned TASCO all-state honors, with Skylar Parker and Leanne Veary making all-region.
It was an exceptional season for Tompkins soccer overall, as the boys turned a No. 4 seed into their second regional tournament appearance.
No. 7 Tompkins football
Likely among the most unlikely area champions in KISD history entering the season, the Falcons took much of the same group that finished 0-9 in 2017 and turned in the best season in school history this past fall.
Tompkins made its improvement clear during a 5-0 start and ultimately finished 10-3, doubling its win total from its first four varsity seasons.
The Falcons took second in 19-6A with a 4-2 record, reached their first postseason and defeated Elkins and Cypress Falls for the area championship, playing within four points of Beaumont West Brook.
No. 8 Taylor girls swimming
The Mustangs challenged for district and regional titles but were at their best at state, scoring 88 points to tie Kingwood for fifth place and finish seven points ahead of perennial power Cinco Ranch.
Emma Sticklen led with a silver medal in the 100-yard butterfly and a bronze medal in the 100-yard backstroke, also leading Taylor’s medley relay and 200 free relay to the top final.
Abbie Alvarez was the B final champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and helped lead both relays, along with Amy Evans, Roxana Nolte and Kat Pashen. All were freshmen or sophomores.
No. 9 Katy football
It may not stand out among the parade of championships and state-level playoff runs by the Tigers, but the 2018 season was one to remember in its own right.
Katy finished 11-2, including a 10th consecutive undefeated district championship. The Tigers outscored opponents 649-193 and defeated Travis and Jersey Village soundly in the playoffs, the first of which marked coach Gary Joseph’s historic 200th victory.
Their only defeats were to the eventual state champion. North Shore topped Katy 35-21 in the season opener and ended the Tigers’ season 49-38 in the regional semifinals. All other opponents averaged 11.3 points.
No. 10 Cinco Ranch volleyball
Katy ISD’s streak of regional tournament representation in volleyball remained intact. For the second straight season, the Cougars turned a No. 3 seed into the regional semifinal appearance.
It was the third regional tournament berth in four years for Cinco Ranch, which finished 32-8 including an 8-4 mark in a competitive 19-6A. The Cougars also had KISD’s best finish at the Katy/Cy-Fair Classic, reaching the semifinals during a 7-1 showing.
They swept Travis and upended Cy-Fair in four sets in the area round to set up a rematch with Katy. Though the Tigers swept the season series, Cinco Ranch prevailed in three this time. District champion Seven Lakes gave KISD three area champions in Region III-6A.