One of the more entertaining aspects of covering high school sports in the Metroplex are the interactions – both personal and as a spectator – with athletes.
During my time, I have had the opportunity to profile and follow the career paths of some worthy athletes in McKinney and surrounding areas, and it’s time to look at a handful of students who were downright impressive this past season.
In the second of a three-part series, let’s look at five of the top female athletes in McKinney ISD that are slated to return.
London Culbreath, senior, North cross country and track
Despite battling injuries and adjusting to the pressure of being both one of the top distance runners in the state and nation, Culbreath proved once again why she’s the queen of long-distance running in Texas.
Through her first three years of high school, Culbreath is a nine-time state champion and has won every UIL races she has competed in through her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Between cross country and track, Culbreath has won over 70 consecutive UIL races and holds the state record at the cross-country state meet.
Culbreath’s senior season will be all about dancing with perfection and striving for greatness. Despite already being the most decorated cross country and track athlete in MISD history, Culbreath will be focused on extending her splendid legacy and trying to put her name in the record books as the greatest long-distance runner in Texas high school history.
Kinsey Kackley, junior, Boyd softball
The hard-throwing right-hander was so dominant during her sophomore campaign, she struck out 497 batters on her way to owning a majority of the Boyd and MISD single-season pitching records. More importantly, Kackley pitched the Lady Broncos to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 just two years removed from winning only two games.
After taking home the 9-6A Pitcher of the Year award, in addition to being named Star Local Media’s all-area Pitcher of the Year, Kackley has risen to must-watch status. Her junior season will be about taking Boyd further in the playoffs and cementing her status as one of the best pitchers in the nation.
Erin Fry, junior, McKinney basketball
As the most experienced player on the McKinney girls basketball team, Fry had her most productive season yet, averaging 18 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. Fry’s consistency led to her being named first-team all-district for the second consecutive year.
Now a senior, she will be a four-year starter this fall and the unquestioned leader of the Lionettes’ talented basketball squad, looking to cap off her productive career by trying to lead McKinney back to the playoffs after narrowly missing out last season.
Alexa Bezpalko, junior, North soccer
Despite only playing in 16 games, Bezpalko put together a very productive sophomore campaign by scoring 16 goals and dishing 10 out assists on her way to being named 10-5A Offensive Player of The Year and a Star Local Media all-area selection.
Besides averaging over 1.5 points per game, Bezpalko was at her best with the game on the line and had a knack for scoring in big moments. She scored the game-winner in North’s bi-district win against Frisco Lebanon Trail and a go-ahead goal in their area-round matchup against Carrolton Creekview.
If she can stay healthy during her junior campaign, Bezpalko is poised to be one of the most productive players in the state.
Zoe Jackson, junior, Boyd basketball
After a productive freshman season, Jackson impressed even more as a sophomore, increasing her averages in scoring, rebounding and assists.
Jackson’s solid season allowed her to come away with a first-team all-district nod while leading Boyd to its best record in almost a decade – finishing only a couple of games shy of .500 and beating crosstown rival McKinney to end the season.
If Jackson continues her current pace, she’ll leave the Lady Broncos’ basketball program as the all-time leader in points, assists and steals.