Posts by Dan Koller
Scotland Yard will be the site of a baseball playoff series between Plano and Rockwall this weekend. Game 1 is scheduled for 7:30 this evening, and Game 2 will be start at 1 o’clock Saturday. If a third game is necessary, it will immediately follow Game 2. The winner of the series will move on to the Class 5A Region II semifinals.
Highland Park Village has added a concierge to its staff, and the shopping center’s management stole her from my staff. In this newly created position, Caitlin Adams will be in charge of coordinating events, assisting clients, writing for the Village’s blog and magazine, and working as a liaison between management, tenants, and customers.
Apparently, the top brass over there became enamored with Caitlin when she was interviewing some of them for a story. Well, that’s the last time I send a friendly face to that dump. In fact, we’re about to launch a series of investigative articles exposing the dark, seedy underbelly of Highland Park Village.
Kidding, kidding. We still love you, HPV, despite your awkward acronym. We love all of your tenants. And, most of all, we love your advertising revenue. Besides, thanks to his new position with the Republican National Committee, I’m pretty sure Ray Washburne could have me killed any time he wants.
As they say, every time a door closes, a window opens. Caitlin’s departure has allowed me to add another Highland Park High School graduate to our staff. The lovely and talented Margaux Anbouba joined the team this week, upping our Scots total to three. (The others are Elizabeth Ygartua and Dorothy Wood.) It’s nothing like the old days, when I believe 10 of the original 12 employees of Park Cities People were Highland Park alums, but I’ll take it.
The blast of a starter’s pistol sounds nothing like the chimes of wedding bells. But for one young couple, those noises are forever linked.
Brianne Frost and William Webb got married on April 27, nearly 13 years after they met at the 2000 edition of the Park Cities YMCA Track and Field Meet. Well, they didn’t exactly meet at the meet. But that’s where William first noticed Brianne.
They were both fifth-graders at McCulloch Intermediate School. She had just finished competing in the long jump for her old school, University Park Elementary. He was waiting to run a relay for his alma mater, Hyer. William tried to work up the nerve to say something to Brianne, but he was a little intimidated by the presence of her father, Scott.
“I walked in circles around them for a little bit, trying to catch her eye,” William said.
After finding out her name, William looked up Brianne’s phone number in the McCulloch directory. He dialed that number 20 times before he found the courage to hit the “call” button.
“Her dad answered, and I was a little bit terrified,” William said, “but I asked to speak to Brianne, and basically asked her out.”
Brianne agreed to go see a movie with him, because it turned out that her dad, whom William initially perceived as a hurdle, was actually a fan. Scott recognized William’s name from the track meet.
“He’s the fastest guy in fifth grade,” Brianne remembers her father telling her. “You have to go out with him.”
Aside from a couple of short-term break-ups, she’s been going out with him ever since. They stayed together through their years at McCulloch, Highland Park Middle School, and Highland Park High School, where they were both on the track team. They remained a couple as she played soccer at Oklahoma and he played football at Virginia and SMU.
On Nov. 24, 2011, William popped the question in the Goar Park gazebo. After their wedding at Highland Park United Methodist Church and honeymoon on a Mediterranean cruise, the couple lives in Houston, where she’s a landman and he’s an equity analyst.
So if any of the young athletes who participated in this year’s Park Cities YMCA meet noticed someone special on Saturday, take a page out of William’s book; call him or her up. That teammate may end up being your soulmate.
For a complete list of results from this year’s Park Cities YMCA Track and Field Meet, pick up the May 17 edition of Park Cities People.
It’s that time of year again. The Caruth Hills & Homeplace Neighborhood Association is posting signs throughout the area bounded by Lovers Lane, Airline Road, Northwest Highway, and Central Expressway, reminding drivers to “WHOA!!! DRIVE SLOW.” Twice a year, the neighborhood association undertakes this initiative to try to slow down the highway traffic flowing into its residential streets. The signs will appear in yards through Memorial Day.
These are stressful times for the parents — the mothers, in particular — of Highland Park High School seniors. Graduation is coming up on May 31, so that means there are only 16 shopping days left until the big day. And these moms are not stressing out about buying presents for their owns sons and daughters. Apparently, it’s become a custom in the Park Cities for seniors’ parents to give gifts to all of their graduate’s friends. I know of one student whose peers’ parents have already given him (deep breath):
- 4 monogrammed key chains, including one made from the skin of an alligator that the gift-giving senior killed himself
- 2 monogrammed beach towels
- 2 monogrammed flasks (Hello, Coach Sutterfield!)
- 2 monogrammed money clips
- 1 monogrammed buck knife
- 1 monogrammed Swiss Army knife
- 1 monogrammed mini cooler
- 1 bow tie bearing the logo of the recipient’s university
- 1 basketball hoop for a dorm room door
- 1 umbrella (not monogrammed — WTF?)
My source told me what she’s giving to her son’s friends — the girls are all getting one thing, the boys another — but I’m going to keep that information to myself to protect her identity. However, I can tell you that her gift ideas are classy for the girls and a bit naughty for the boys.
Having a child with special needs is challenging. When that child becomes an adult, the challenges increase. In Highland Park ISD, a special-needs student can remain enrolled in the Life Skills program until the age of 21. Then what?
A group of Park Cities parents have formed a nonprofit called Connecting Point that they hope can be the answer to that question. They want to offer fulfilling day programs for special-needs adults who live in University Park or Highland Park.
“One of the reasons we chose the name Connecting Point is that we’re really hoping to have everybody out and about in the community,” Sarah Oliai told me. “Everyone’s going to participate on their own level. Whatever their ability is, they’re going to be along for the ride on their level.”
Oliai said the effort began three years ago, when a few students aged out of the Life Skills program. One mom, Gillian Ryan, began looking at options for her son, and she didn’t like what she found.
“She didn’t see any place that, one, provided the level of care he needs, but two, was also someplace that would provide quality care,” Oliai said. “You know, she would go somewhere, and there would be a bunch of individuals in wheelchairs parked in front of a TV, and that’s all they did all day.”
Connecting Point would like to start offering programs this fall, but Oliai said that depends on fundraising. She estimates they need $200,000 to hire key staff plus another $100,000 to open the doors. A big expense will be a bus equipped with a wheelchair lift.
Connecting Point has scheduled an informational meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Episcopal Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, which is on the corner of Inwood Road and Mockingbird Lane.
“This is really our first community meeting to set out, ‘This is what we’ve gotten accomplished. This is where we hope to go,’ ” Oliai said.
My latest musical obsession is Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark.” While riding home on the train last night, I was searching YouTube for a version of the song that would play on my crappy, antiquated phone. That’s how I discovered that University Park’s own Tiffany Houghton recorded herself doing a cover. While her version doesn’t quite make me want to drive a car at dangerous speeds like the studio version does, and her falsetto on “I’m on fire” doesn’t really make me hearken back to the big-time deviltry of my head-banging days, it’s awfully pretty.
I wonder if Tiffany and others in her generation understand what’s being referenced by all of the visual craziness in this version of the song from Conan. For my people my age (damn near 40) and older, it brought back fond memories.
We recently got around to reporting in the paper that Highland Park resident Ray Washburne, the managing partner of Highland Park Village, had been nominated for the position of national finance chairman with the Republican National Committee. Well, word came down last week that the gig is officially his. So, anybody care to guess which candidate Washburne will be drumming up cash for at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016?
By DAVID McNABB/Special Contributor
PLANO — With the St. Mark’s Lions staring down yet another heartbreaking loss in the Texas High School Lacrosse League state championship game, Evan Chang-Tung came up with the biggest goal in the program’s history. And then he did it again.
The speedy Chang-Tung scored the game-tying goal with 43 seconds left in regulation and the game-winner in the third minute of overtime, securing an 8-7 victory over Episcopal School of Dallas on Sunday at Clark Stadium. St. Mark’s rallied from a 6-2 halftime deficit and trailed by a goal for more than nine minutes before Chang-Tung completed a five-goal rally to tie the score at 7-7 with less than a minute left in regulation.
“Evan is a special person and a special player,” St. Mark’s coach Hayward Lee said. “I’m not surprised he was the one who made those plays.”
Before approximately 1,200 enthusiastic spectators, St. Mark’s won its only state title despite being one of the sport’s pioneers in North Texas. Having lost to Highland Park in the 2009, 2010, and 2012 state finals, St. Mark’s (18-3) defeated the Scots, 8-4, in the semifinals on its championship path. The Lions also lost to ESD in the 2007 state finals.
“We have been to six Final Fours and five finals, but we have lost in the previous four in the final minute of very close games,” Lee said. “I didn’t want the burden of winning or losing to fall on this team. Before the game, we talked about playing the best you can against a good opponent, have fun doing it, and not making it only about whether you win or lose.”
ESD (15-7) had split two previous games with St. Mark’s. An emotional surge in the first half led the Eagles to a 6-1 lead in a barrage of accurate shots from Barrett Anigian, Richie Loftus (two goals), and Sam Romano. Freshman David Kerrigan made a scooping shot of a loose ball to give ESD a 5-1 lead to end the first period, and senior Jack Blair’s goal made it 6-1 early in the second period.
“You try to accentuate your runs and limit theirs,” Eagles coach Pat Kennedy said. “You prepare and train for a game like this. It’s the technical part of coaching and the conditioning to avoid fatigue. I’m really proud of our players.”
But just as ESD had built its momentum by aggressively picking up ground balls, winning faceoffs, and taking accurate shots, St. Mark’s remained poised by steadily closing the gap within 7-6 with a goal by sophomore Jack Fotosjek with 9:45 remaining. Sophomore Michael Fletcher had two second-half goals. Goalie Chris Roach made a dozen saves with help from a defense led by Justin Harvey that allowed only one goal in the final 27 minutes.
“We were behind, but we knew it was still early,” Chang-Tung said. “We didn’t get down. We just kept playing one possession at a time.”
With less than a minute remaining, Chang-Tung made a quick dart to the net down a right-side alley and fired off a shot past ESD freshman goalie Charlie Sikes, who made 19 saves. With the first score winning in overtime, it took just three minutes before the speedy Chang-Tung had possession about 15 yards in front of the net, and made a move similar to a step-back 3-pointer in basketball. He bounced it perfectly a few feet in front of the goal to skip up past Sikes’ hip and into the net.
“The mark of respect of a competitor is that they force the very best out of you,” Lee said. “We have a lot of respect for ESD, and they brought out the very best in us. I would have been proud of our team whether we would have won or lost.”
PLANO — The Highland Park lacrosse team’s regular season ended April 18 with an 8-4 loss to St. Mark’s. The Scots’ postseason ended Saturday in exactly the same way.
The Lions roared out to a 5-0 lead in the first half of the Texas High School Lacrosse League Division I State Championship semifinals. St. Mark’s was dominant in the first quarter, keeping the Scots on the defensive.
“In the game of lacrosse, it’s all about ground balls,” Highland Park head coach Derek Thomson said. “Ground balls equals time of possession, and they outworked us on the ground.”
St. Mark’s offensive outburst included goals by junior attackman Tommy Addy in the first and final minutes of the first quarter.
“We had a lot of confidence going into the game,” Addy said. “We just came out swinging, and after that, we just kept rolling.”
Highland Park (14-3) got two goals in the third quarter from sophomore midfielder Kevin Ken. Unfortunately for the Scots, St. Mark’s senior midfielder Danny Koudelka also scored twice in that period.
“The first game, we didn’t really come out firing because we had the No. 1 seed locked in for the playoffs,” Ken said. “And in today’s game, they just played better than we did. There’s nothing we could do. We didn’t play to our potential, but they just outplayed us today.”
Ken moved up to the Scots’ Division I team this season after playing on the Highland Park squad that secured the Division II championship in 2012. Highland Park and St. Mark’s met in the Division I title game in 2012, 2010, and 2009, with the Scots coming out on top each time.
St. Mark’s also lost in the 2007 championship game. The Lions (17-3) will try to secure their first Texas High School Lacrosse League title on Sunday against ESD (15-6). The Eagles beat Jesuit (14-4) on Saturday when Richie Loftus broke a 5-5 tie with 11 seconds left.
“St. Mark’s is playing like we did last year,” Thomson said. “They got hot at the right time of year. I don’t know if they were more talented than us, but I certainly know they played more as a team.”
The championship game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at John Clark Stadium.