Wrestling Winners

Cypress Ranch girls win Class 6A Wrestling State Championship

Cypress Ranch girls win Class 6A Wrestling State Championship
Cypress Ranch completed a run that included both district and regional team titles. vype.com

(Courtesy of Angel Verdejo / Cy-Fair ISD Communications) 

Feb. 25, 2018—The Cypress Ranch High School girls’ wrestling team captured the Class 6A team championship, while 17 total CFISD participants earned top-six medals at the UIL Wrestling State Tournament, held Feb. 23-24 at the Berry Center.

Cypress Ranch completed a run that included both district and regional team titles. All five Mustangs who qualified for the state tournament placed among the top six in their respective division. The title was clinched before the championship bouts, with Cypress Ranch finishing with 96 total team points to unseat defending champion Katy Morton Ranch (65).

“We had disappointment last year. We had a tough team…but fizzled out in the regional tournament,” said Chris Potter, Cypress Ranch head coach. “So we said to them, ‘Remember this.’ All year, we’ve been preaching that they’re tough kids and they work hard, and they put it together.”

Other CFISD teams to finish among the top 30 were Cypress Falls High School (15th, 27 points), Cy-Fair High School (23rd, 22 points) and Cypress Springs High School (28th, 20 points).

Two district qualifiers earned individual state championships.

Cypress Ranch senior Kaitlyn Banas improved on her fifth-place finish in 2017 at 102 pounds, beating Katy Morton Ranch’s Brittany Cotter with a 6-3 decision to win it all in the 95-pound division.

“I’ve been working for this and it feels awesome that it paid off,” Banas said.

Cypress Falls senior Augustina Ijoma won the 165-pound division, beating El Paso Eastwood’s Danielle Saldivar. The championship completed a three-year run for Ijoma where she added the state title to a third-place finish in 2016 and runner-up finish in 2017.

“I talked to my coaches in the morning and they helped me get all this weight off my chest and be able to wrestle and have fun,” Ijoma said. “That’s the best part – I was able to have fun doing it.”

CFISD’s two runner-up finishers were Cy-Fair High School senior Jasmine Hernandez in the 119-pound division and Cypress Ranch’s Nia Miranda in the 148-pound division. Placing third were Cypress Creek High School sophomore Amanda McAleavey, who beat Cypress Ridge High School junior Alexis Sanchez in the 102-pound division, and Cypress Ranch’s Olivia Mottley, who defeated Coppell’s Devin Patton in the 119-pound third-place match.

The following girls’ wrestlers placed among the top six in the state:

  • Kaitlyn Banas, Cypress Ranch – first place, 95 pounds;
  • Amanda McAleavey, Cypress Creek – third place, 102 pounds;
  • Alexis Sanchez, Cypress Ridge – fourth place, 102 pounds;
  • Kayla Fitts, Cypress Ranch – fourth place, 110 pounds;
  • Jasmine Hernandez, Cy-Fair – second place, 119 pounds;
  • Olivia Mottley, Cypress Ranch, third place, 119 pounds;
  • Madison Guinn, Cypress Ranch – fifth place, 138 pounds;
  • Nia Miranda, Cypress Ranch – second place, 148 pounds;
  • Augustina Ijoma, Cypress Falls – first place, 165 pounds; and
  • Yissmet Perez, Cypress Springs – fourth place, 185 pounds.

In the boys’ tournament, Cy-Fair was the highest-placing team at 11th with 39 total points. Other CFISD teams to finish among the top 30 were Cypress Lakes High School (15th, 27 points) and Cypress Ranch (22nd, 22 points).

Two CFISD wrestlers reached the championship finals and placed second in their respective divisions. Cypress Lakes seniorJoaquin Bautista was the runner-up in the 138-pound division, while Cy-Fair’s Josh Wilson finished second in the 195-pound division.

The following boys’ wrestlers finished among the top six in the state:

  • Jacob Grogan, Cypress Ranch – sixth place, 106 pounds;
  • Jude Camacho, Cypress Ranch – sixth place, 113 pounds;
  • Garrett Orlando, Cy-Fair – sixth place, 132 pounds;
  • Joaquin Bautista, Cypress Lakes – second place, 138 pounds;
  • Gabriel Palos, Cypress Ridge – fourth place, 138 pounds;
  • Carlos Cuevas, Cy-Fair – fourth place, 152 pounds; and
  • Josh Wilson, Cy-Fair – second place, 195 pounds.

Three CFISD coaches were also honored.

Cypress Ridge High School’s Tim Ray was honored as a 2018 inductee into the Texas High School Wrestling Hall of Fame. Cypress Springs’ Russ Evans was voted Class 6A Girls’ Head Coach of the Year, while Cypress Ranch’s Bill Durning was voted Class 6A Girls’ Assistant Coach of the Year.

“It’s just so overwhelming,” said Evans, who also received top coaching honors at the district and regional levels in his final season. “You just don’t always know what people think of you until times like these and it shows that all the work you do doesn’t go unnoticed. Sometimes as a coach, it’s easy to get discouraged when you’re not having the district championships and the individual championships, but you keep plugging away and working anyway.  And to be recognized for all that by these guys is just the best thing that I could ever ask for.”

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The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

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