It’s been quite the week for the Flower Mound girls cross country team.
The Lady Jaguars successfully defended their Class 6A state championship on Nov. 6, and just a few days later celebrated two of the linchpins in that effort realizing a longtime dream of running in college.
Seniors Natalie Cook and Allison Buemi were among a cast of 21 Flower Mound student-athletes recognized on Wednesday during the high school’s annual National Signing Day ceremony. Wednesday marked the first day of the early signing period, where student-athletes in all sports aside from football can sign with colleges.
Flower Mound has showcased one of the state’s top athletics programs in recent years, finishing fourth in the UIL’s annual Lone Star Cup for the 2020-21 school year. That success was abundant on Wednesday with student-athletes across seven different sports finalizing commitments to play in college.
Cook and Buemi have been part of two state championship teams during their time with the Lady Jaguars’ cross country program. Cook, in particular, closed out her fall campaign on a high note by finishing first overall at the 6A state meet — she ran a 16:32.4, good for the No. 1 5K time in the nation.
“It’s so amazing. It’s like a dream come true,” Cook said. “It’s something I really wanted, not just becoming a state champion but winning another team title as well.”
Persevering through injuries along the way, Cook made her commitment to run at Oklahoma State official on Wednesday. She was joined by teammate Buemi, who will continue her career at Tennessee.
“It just felt like family. The entire program was so nice and I really felt like I built a strong connection with the coaches and the team,” Cook said.
Just as the Lady Jaguars enjoyed a state championship in their latest season, the same goes for Flower Mound’s girls soccer team, which captured its second-ever state title in April. The Lady Jaguars celebrated six student-athletes signing to play at the next level on Wednesday, including seniors Sydney Becerra (Texas A&M), Marianne Baltmanis (Oklahoma), Lauren Marlow (McMurry), Isabel McKenna (Central Christian College of Kansas), Liberty Plasek (Southeastern Louisiana) and Emma Whiteley (Westminster College).
Flower Mound’s softball team also enjoyed a trip to the state tournament during the spring, finishing among the final four in 6A. One of the big reasons why was the play of seniors McKenna Andrews and Carsyn Lee, who signed with Iowa State and Trinity, respectively, on Wednesday.
Matching the Lady Jaguars’ soccer team with the largest signing turnout was Flower Mound’s baseball team, which had six student-athletes ink letters of intent — seniors Cole Carter (TCU), Tristan Duke (Wichita State), Blake Jordan (Central Baptist), Chris Kelley (Frank Phillips), Aidan Kuni (Texas Tech) and Landon Weidner (Howard Junior College).
Elsewhere, seniors Eliana Amador (Stephen F. Austin), Gabby Walker (USC) and Bella Ortiz (SFA) all helped lead the Lady Jaguars to a fourth consecutive district championship in volleyball before making their college commitments official.
Senior Sarah Edmondson, meanwhile, will continue her basketball career at Arkansas Tech, and senior Julia Wozniak will head to Arizona once she concludes her decorated high school swimming career with the Lady Jaguars.
Marcus celebrates large signing class
Like Flower Mound, city rival Marcus had its own sizable National Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday — also recognizing 21 student-athletes who put pen to paper and signed letters of intent.
That included five signees apiece for the Lady Marauders’ soccer and softball teams — both of whom qualified for the playoffs last season.
Marcus made a run to the regional finals on the pitch during the spring and celebrated the achievements of several key members in that effort. Senior Paige Dickson finalized her commitment to play at Kansas State, while senior Brynn Dunbar is headed to Southeastern Louisiana. Senior Lyndi Maxson inked with Dallas Baptist, senior Nina Mazzola pledged to Central Arkansas, and Kennedy Wise signed with Belmont.
Softball signees for the Lady Marauders included seniors Alexa Hanish (Washington-St. Louis), Mackenzi Maxson (Hillsdale), Mikaela Olguin (North Texas), Haidyn Sokoloski (Oklahoma State) and Hailey Vela (Eastern Oklahoma State).
Sokoloski just finished up a stout senior season on the volleyball court, helping lead Marcus to the regional quarterfinals. Two of her teammates on the hardcourt signed on Wednesday with senior Maggie Boyd headed (UCLA) and senior Ifenna Cos-Okpala (Texas A&M) — two recently named All-American first-team selections by the American Volleyball Coaches Association — finalizing the next chapter in their volleyball careers.
The Marauders’ baseball team has high hopes after a district title and subsequent run to the regional semifinals last season. Three Marcus standouts signed on Wednesday, with seniors Jake Duer (TCU), Tate Evans (Yale) and Nathan Harmon (Northeast Texas Community College) all bound for the collegiate diamond.
Three Marcus golfers will continue their careers into college — seniors Trevor Algya (Loyola Marymount), Kamri Gabel (University of Texas-Arlington) and Sofia McElroy (Northwestern Oklahoma State) all signed.
Elsewhere, senior Jonathan Heath will run track and cross country for Central Arkansas, senior Sydney Rice will continue her swimming and diving career at Miami, and senior Maeve Waldron signed with Lafayette College’s track team.
Hebron, Lewisville athletes sign
The Hebron girls golf team scaled the mountaintop to hoist the first 6A state championship in program history in May. Fittingly enough, several of the golfers responsible for that title were celebrated on Wednesday during the high school’s signing ceremony.
A total six Hebron golfers inked letters of intent, including five from the school’s girls team. Senior Symran Shah, who cracked the top five in the individual standings at state, finalized her commitment with Virginia Tech. Teammate and senior Avree Fields will next play for Stephen F. Austin, senior Nina Gudgeon inked with Palm Beach Atlantic, senior Morgan Horrell is headed to Howard, and senior Estelle Seon will make the trip east to Boston College.
Senior Carter Patterson, a captain for Hebron’s boys golf team, signed with McLennan Community College.
Hebron had plenty of representation from its volleyball team as well. The Lady Hawks have been one of the surprise stories of the postseason, parlaying a fourth-place finish in District 6-6A into a trip to the regional tournament. Hebron took a moment from its resurgent playoff run to recognize four standout student-athletes whose careers will continue into college: seniors Harmony Sample (Notre Dame), Lia Okammor (Santa Clara), Alessandra Pantoja (Dominican College) and Samantha Stahl (Hill College).
The Lady Hawks hope to enjoy similar success on the soccer pitch after a run to the regional quarterfinals last season. Their signing class included seniors Parker Coe (Dallas Baptist), Sydney Japic (Alabama) and Chloe Jones (Texas State).
Meanwhile, senior Jenna Kirby, a regional qualifier in cross country, will continue her career into college after signing with Ole Miss.
Over at Lewisville, two student-athletes made their college commitments official. Senior Nicole Solete, an all-district first-teamer for the Lady Farmers’ soccer team, will stay nearby after pledging to Dallas Baptist, while senior Aubrey Bowers will head east for the next chapter of her softball career after signing with Arkansas-Rich Mountain.