Prosper made quite the splash this season in its inaugural campaign in Class 6A by making the postseason in all eight team sports.
On top of that, the Lady Eagles girls basketball and volleyball teams each reached the regional finals, while football, baseball, softball and girls soccer all won at least one playoff game.
Not to mention, Prosper football will have a brand-new stadium set to open prior to this season.
The Celina Record caught up with Prosper athletic director Valerie Little this week to talk about the school’s early successes in 6A, the new stadium and more.
Prosper athletics seemed to have adjusted smoothly to Class 6A competition this past season. What were some of the main factors to that success all across the board?
Little:No matter what district we were in before, we were playing the caliber of competition of District 9-6A. Prior to this year, a lot of teams were already playing the Plano and McKinney teams because they felt like they could already be at that level.
What changed it was the UIL mandated us to have to play against those teams twice a week, but most of our coaches already had that mentality and had time to prepare our kids for it.
Which school in District 9-6A would you say became a new rival for Prosper in the 2018-19 school year and why?
Little:If someone had to pick one, I’d say it would have to be Allen, but some of that is because we feel like we can compete against them since they are the largest school in the state. Football struggled with them, but look at how girls basketball did being right there with them in the regional final.
I don’t think they were our rival, but to me, since they were the top in a lot of sports that’s who we looked to as top competition.
Since taking over as the athletic director in 2017, what have you enjoyed most about your time in Prosper?
Little:The thing I have enjoyed the most is going from three high schools to one because I got to have more of that personal relationship with kids and coaches. When you have three high schools you know your kids and coaches, but you are constantly bouncing around from place-to-place.
I like that I was able to have that connection more with Prosper, and it was nice to get back to that.
Prosper’s new football stadium, Children’s Health Stadium at Prosper ISD, is set to open this August and seat up to 12,000. How are things coming along with the construction and how excited are you for it this season?
Little:We can’t wait and the thing we’re the most excited about is it being here for our community. We have been in a 3A stadium and haven’t had space for media or been able to take care of scouts. It was still a nice stadium for us, but I’m excited that our community will have what we need.
Our community also can’t wait for our new natatorium (Prosper ISD Natatorium) to open this summer. Right now at 6:30 in the morning, our swimmers get on the bus to drive to The Colony or McKinney to practice, but the fact they’ll be able to go to their own natatorium right across the street should give them a lot of pride.
What are some of the features and luxuries of the new stadium and natatorium that most other high schools won’t have?
Little:It’s really some of the little things we have put in. We will actually have a weight room in our natatorium focused mainly for swimmers. It’s not a big football weight room where you have platforms with heavy weights. It’s more of a functional-type facility for swimmers, and that is going to be neat for them.
At the stadium, we’ll have an X-ray machine, and that will be unusual because there are very few colleges that even have that. That way, if anything happens to one of our kids, our doctors can take them in and X-ray them right there to be ahead of the game.
One thing that is different from McKinney’s stadium is that our community room is an independent room and you cannot get to the field from that room. It’s not exciting but it’s different.
Our concessions are overly big because we wanted to focus on community conveniences. We don’t want people to not go to the concessions because it takes 45 minutes to stand in line. Even our bathrooms are huge and won’t walk into an 89-degree bathroom.
We have also tied in a lot of graphical images of our history. We will have full walls in our community room of just historic graphics from Prosper to tie in the past.