Azlyne Garza

McKinney North senior Azlyne Garza was one of 15 members of the Bulldogs’ track and field program to earn a spot on the THSCA academic all-state team.

For all the time student-athletes put into honing their crafts on the playing field, there’s no competing for their high schools without taking care of business in the classroom first. The Texas High School Coaches Association has recognized several athletes who thrived at exactly that.

The THSCA recently released its academic all-state selections for baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field.

Student-athletes are nominated by their respective head coaches — nominations that are then sent to the THSCA for review. In order to be nominated for academic all-state, a student must be either an athlete, trainer or manager in good standing with his or her team, of good moral character, a high school senior and have an overall GPA of 92 or above.

Across the state’s gamut of springtime sports, there were plenty of local athletes who met that criteria. 

That was especially the case for McKinney ISD’s three track teams, who combined for 30 student-athletes who received academic all-state commendation. That included a couple who earned the THSCA’s highest academic distinction with a spot on the elite team — honors that belonged to McKinney Boyd’s Paige Maple and Kate Leonard.

Nominees are graded out on the award’s criteria and, if they score high enough, are placed on either the elite, first or second teams, or honorable mention. 

Alongside Maple and Leonard, Broncos on the track who earned academic all-state were Dylan Anderson (first team), Spencer Buley (first team), Jenna Leonard (first team), Priscilla Browne (first team), Chiola Oladele (first team), Heidi Tank (second team), Haley Rogers (second team) and Daisy Milliken (honorable mention).

McKinney North, meanwhile, had a staggering 15 members of its track team receive spots on the academic all-state team. Olivia Payne, Sydney George and Jensen Rodriguez were named to the first team, while Hallie Collett, Janelle Villa, Ijeoma Chukwuma, Spencer Van Dyke and Ana Mendizabal all earned spots on the second team, and Graydon Cowgill, Anthony Berardesco, Ivan Montgomery, Azlyne Garza, Mallory Cessac, Kathryn Newsom and Ashley Still all received honorable mention.

McKinney, meanwhile, featured Zachary Bergin on the first team and the quartet of Ryan Wilson, Graham Wilson, Aliza Crider and Chioma Ukaji on the second team.

The Lions had representation in all five spring sports, including an elite selection on the baseball diamond for Kael Kristufek, who will continue his playing career into college at the California Institute of Technology. Other McKinney baseball players to receive academic all-state were honorable mentions for Aaron Robinson, James DuPre, Preston Suckling and Seth Cox.

McKinney’s tennis team had four student-athletes earn academic distinctions with Sean Reyes and Ryan Wilson named to the second team and Jordan Oberbellig and Lamar Castellanos receiving honorable mentions. The Lions’ golf team was represented by honorable mentions for Hayley Vizier and Kailey Duggan, while McKinney softball player Lexi White was named to the second team.

Boyd had healthy representation elsewhere, too. The Broncos’ baseball team had a pair recognized in Landon Brown (second team) and Anthony Evanczyk (honorable mention), while tennis players Jack Hinegardner (first team), Emily Fitzpatrick (first team) and Ethan Kittredge (second team) also received commendation. Boyd also had five golfers earn academic all-state honors with Avery Brott, Makenna Askew, Robert Redden, Krissy Fowler and Ellie Rippee all named to the second team. 

North, meanwhile, totaled seven academic all-state honorees between its baseball and softball teams. The latter included a second-team nod for Paige Cappell and honorable mentions for Elizabeth Paul and Brianna Sims, while the Bulldogs’ baseball team was represented by Dylan Rogers (first), Cameron Bonds (second team), Jackson Jones (second team) and Roberto Molfetta (honorable mention).

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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