With the book about to close on 2020, it’s time to look back on the year that was in The Colony-area athletics.
This year was like no other in recent memory, with high school sports around the country feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the trying year, which included the cancellation of numerous UIL sports in the spring and the week-to-week uncertainties that plagued teams in the fall, The Colony still managed to turn in its share of highlight moments.
The Colony Courier-Leader sports staff has compiled its top 10 sports stories of the year, ending with the second half of that lineup.
1. COVID-19 reshapes sports world
On March 12, the sports world came to a halt when the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced that the boys state basketball tournament was suspended due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Cole’s 58-44 Class 3A semifinal win over Peaster was the final game before tournament play was halted. Wagner had been scheduled for its Class 5A semifinal against Mansfield Timberview on March 12 in a repeat of last year’s 5A final. Brandeis, making its first trip to the state tournament, had been scheduled for a Class 6A semifinal matchup against Duncanville on March 13.
All spring sports – baseball, soccer, softball and track and field — were postponed indefinitely before the remainder of the 2019-20 sports schedule was cancelled by the UIL April 17, forcing the cancellation of the postseason, including the state tournament.
Spring football was cancelled and teams across the state – regardless of sport – weren’t allowed to resume in-person workouts at team facilities until June 8, the first day that the UIL permitted summer strength and conditioning workouts (with strict social distancing guidelines in place) to be held since the pandemic began.
The start of the fall sports season for the state’s two largest classifications was pushed back by one month in response to the number of positive COVID-19 cases, but student-athletes were back on the court and football field in September and both them as well as fans have had to follow social distancing guidelines that had been put in place.
2. Coleman named Gatorade National Player of the Year
On June 10, The Colony superstar shortstop Jayda Coleman was presented with the nation’s top honor for high school softball: Gatorade National Player of the Year.
“The first thing I did when they showed me National Player of the Year, I asked, ‘National?' They said, ‘Yes,'” Coleman said. “I went into tears. I can’t believe that it happened.”
It was the second notable award from Gatorade that the incoming Oklahoma freshman had won in a two-week span, having earned the 2019-20 Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year on May 28.
A three-time MaxPreps first-team All-American, Coleman concluded her prep softball career with 279 hits, 261 runs scored, 209 stolen bases and a whopping .702 batting average.
Coleman helped to lead The Colony to its first state softball title in 2017 and the 2020 senior class posted a record of 111-21-2 over the last four years.
3. Star-studded senior class signs on National Signing Day
The Cougars’ football team sported its most star-studded senior class ever in 2019 and several of the program cornerstones responsible for that success were front and center during the Feb. 8 festivities. That included Christian Gonzalez (Colorado), Mikey Harrington II (Oklahoma Baptist), Keith Miller III (Colorado), Marcus Moore (Louisiana-Monroe), Myles Price (Texas Tech), Dominique Puentes (Evangel) and Kyair Warner (Evangel).
The football signees were joined by two linchpins of The Colony’s softball team, which produced a state championship in 2017 and a state semifinal nod in 2019. The Lady Cougars were led last season by seniors Jayda Coleman (Oklahoma) and Jacee Hamlin (Texas Tech), both of whom were recognized on Feb. 8.
Led by their star-studded senior class, the 2019 Cougars’ football team continued their playoff streak by making the postseason for a school record seventh year in a row. Harrington passed for 3,024 yards with 36 touchdowns. Price finished with 1,591 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns. Gonzalez and Miller III combined for 1,453 yards and 19 scores. Moore led The Colony in sacks (14).
A four-year starter for the Lady Cougars, Hamlin posted a .455 average, 151 hits, 153 RBI, 13 home runs and committed just seven errors in 770 total chances for a .991 fielding percentage.
4. Girls basketball run to regional quarterfinals
During the four years that Tamia Jones (SMU) and Jewell Spear (Wake Forest) were on campus, the duo brought The Colony to new heights, following up on their promise as eighth-graders that would change the history there. In addition to the four regional quarterfinals trips and two appearances in the regional semifinals, they also went undefeated in district play for the first time in school history in 2017.
The Colony posted 21 wins for its fourth consecutive season with at least 20 wins, won six straight games before falling in the regional quarterfinals, 64-50, to Mansfield Timberview, which made an appearance in the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament.
The Lady Cougars came into the game against Timberview red-hot with six straight wins, which included playoff victories against Grapevine (54-50) and Everman (61-44).
Jones and Spear came away with some of the top awards in 8-5A, with Jones garnering defensive MVP honors and Spear coming away with offensive MVP honors.
Aariyah Cotto, now a senior, was a first-team selection after registering 7.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
Kennedy Shaw, now a junior, cracked the second team and put up 2.3 points, 1,1 rebounds and 0.7 steals.
Alum Jasmine Brown and now-junior Haley Courtney were named honorable mentions.
5. Weatherall breaks school record for wins in a single season
When Josh Weatherall earned a 5-1 decision over Burleson Centennial’s Wesley Goleman in the 106-pound championship match of the Class 5A Region II wrestling tournament, The Colony sophomore did more than just win the first regional tournament of his high school career.
Weatherall won his 60th match of the season and also became the first wrestler in program history to earn at least 60 wins in a single season, eclipsing Hudson Herring’s mark of 59 set the previous year. Cortez Castellanos had 57 victories.
All three Cougars have their names etched on a plaque as part of the 50-win club in the wrestling room at The Colony High School.
It was a big weekend on the mat for Weatherall as he won all four matches – the first three via pin – to clinch a No. 1 seed the following weekend in the UIL state tournament in Cypress.
Weatherall won four matches to earn fifth place in the lightweight division and his place on the medal stand at the state tournament inside the Berry Center. He finished the season with a record of 64-4.