Kacie Rangel The Colony

Kacie Rangel has guarded the back line very well for The Colony volleyball team.

Some 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 The Colony, and it’s time to look at some of the students who were downright impressive this past season.

In the second of a three-part series, I’ll look at five of the top female athletes in The Colony that are returning.

Olivia Wick

Softball, Senior

The Colony didn’t miss a beat after losing reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year Jayda Coleman and Jacee Hamlin to graduation, and Wick was a big reason why.

The starting center fielder for The Colony hit .521 this spring and had seven home runs, 19 RBIs and scored 41 runs for a Lady Cougar team that cinched a 10th consecutive playoff berth. For her efforts on the field, she was named the District 10-5A utility player of the year, earned a spot on the DFW FastPitch all-Metroplex first team and was named to the Star Local Media all-area first team.

With The Colony returning a majority of its lineup for the 2022 season, expect Wick and company to again be in the hunt for a playoff berth.

Olivia Howard

Soccer, Junior

Howard is a threat to score every time that she has the ball on her foot.

After scoring 17 goals in just 21 matches as a freshman, Howard picked up where she left off by netting 31 goals as a sophomore. On Jan. 14, she eclipsed alum Ariana August’s career mark of 28 goals to become the all-time leading goal scorer in program history. 

Howard, who was named to the 10-5A all-district first team as a sophomore and also to the Star Local Media all-area first team, is surrounded by a talented cast of players who will look to build upon a strong 2021 campaign.

Kacie Rangel

Volleyball, Junior

Rangel, the daughter of The Colony head football coach Rudy Rangel, has quickly earned the praise of head volleyball coach Rachel Buckley.

“That kid works her tail off,” said Buckley, who is entering her second season as the bench boss for the Lady Cougars. “She will run through a brick wall if you tell her to.”

Rangel is one of the best defensive players in 10-5A and she doesn’t care how far she has to run to track down a ball. Last year as a sophomore, Rangel, the starting libero for The Colony, finished with 218 digs, 18 service aces and passed at a rate of 2.09.

Tabitha Bowden

Wrestling, Junior

The Colony has never had a four-time state qualifier in wrestling. But Bowden could change that.

A state qualifier both her freshman and sophomore seasons, she finished the 2021 season with a 20-6 record and wrestled to second place in the 95-pound weight division at the Region 2-5A Tournament.

“I’m excited for her, because when she first started, she didn’t know anything about wrestling,” said The Colony alum Elizabeth Grabiec, who authored an undefeated season this year to win her first state title. “And, from last year to this year, you could see a whole bunch of improvement. She stays after practice, and during our workouts in the summer, you could tell that she wants it.”

Payton Blanco

Softball, Junior

Blanco hasn’t been fazed by the pressure for taking over for 2020 The Colony graduate and current Texas Tech softball player Jacee Hamlin at catcher.

It’s been a smooth transition.

Blanco served as the battery mate for pitchers Kaitlin Moeller and Sydney Young. Not only did Blanco excel behind the plate but also with a bat in her hands. This year, she hit .392 and had 21 RBIs and scored 25 runs.

Other coaches took notice of her overall play and rewarded her with a selection to the 10-5A all-district first team.

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