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 as a reporter, I have had the opportunity to profile and follow the career paths of some noteworthy athletes in Plano ISD and surrounding areas, and it’s time to look at a handful of students who impressed this past season and could be in line for even bigger roles in 2020-21.
Today, let’s look at five of the top returning athletes from Plano West who will impact their teams in various ways next season.
Although the Lady Wolves graduated some of the top outside hitters in program history, their offense should still be in good hands thanks to Le’s return at setter.
Entering her fourth year as a starter, Le engineered the bulk of the offense by the Class 6A state runners-up, finishing her junior year with 839 assists and 52 kills. Chipping in on defense with 243 digs, Le is West’s most valuable weapon behind the service line — logging a team-best 105 aces last year.
Stephens has a chance to leave his imprint on both the Wolves’ football and baseball programs, starring on both as a multi-year dual-sport athlete.
During the fall, look for Stephens to ply his craft on the gridiron as the centerpiece of the West defense. The linebacker tallied more than 100 tackles last season and could see some reps at running back this season as well.
Come springtime, Stephens will hold down a spot in the outfield as one of the core members of West’s baseball team. Stephens has seen varsity reps on the diamond since he was a freshman.
Although a young West squad endured some growing pains last season, one of the bright spots was the emergence of Ross as one of the craftiest scorers in the talent-rich 9-6A district. The athletic southpaw led the Wolves in scoring as a junior and earned all-district first-team honors and will be called upon to once again carry the mantle for the program this season.
In August, Ross tweeted an offer from Alabama State and has received interest from several other colleges at the mid-major level heading into his senior year.
After a pair of fourth-place state finishes as a freshman and sophomore, Patton hoisted a Class 6A state championship during her junior season. Along the way, she went undefeated at 128 pounds with a 41-0 record — a standing she backed up by defeating the state’s Nos. 2 and 3 wrestlers in her weight class, as well as the state champion at the 5A level.
Patton, along with fellow senior and state champion Leilani Hernandez, helped guide the Lady Wolves to their best-ever showing at the state meet last season — a fourth-place team finish.
Named the 9-6A newcomer of the year as a sophomore, Moore’s junior campaign on the baseball diamond didn’t last long due to the pandemic, but he still turned in some of the best pitching numbers in the state.
Moore was one of just 22 starting pitchers in Class 6A to not surrender an earned run during the preseason and also tallied 20 strikeouts.
Verbally committed to Texas Tech, Moore’s pitching and defense shined as a junior following a year where his offense fueled a breakout sophomore campaign.
That well-rounded skill set could pay big dividends for the Wolves next season.