• Young Swimmers Pool Resources, Break Records

    The young

    The record-breaking relay team included Brooks Kirchen, Bo Clarke, Liam Conner, and Cameron Laurie

    Congratulations to the quartet of 11- and 12-year-old swimmers who comprised two boys relay teams from the Park Cities YMCA. The foursome broke two records at the YMCA Lone Star Swim Meet last weekend in Frisco.

    The team started with a dominating performance in the 200-yard medley relay, including Brooks Kirchen (backstroke), Bo Clarke (breaststroke), Liam Conner (butterfly), and Cameron Laurie (freestyle). Their time of 2 minutes, 4.73 seconds beat the old meet record by three seconds, and was 12 seconds better than the runner-up in the same time.

    Later, the same group crushed the competition again in the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:51.71 that was two seconds lower than the previous record and 10 seconds better than the second-place team. Their efforts also helped the Park Cities Y win the team title at the meet.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 31, 2014 | 1:13 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Gators Have Hope For Future

    Highland Park midfielder Hope Hyde has verbally committed to the University of Florida.

    Highland Park midfielder Hope Hyde has verbally committed to the University of Florida.

    Hope Hyde still has two more years of high school remaining, but she already has her college plans all figured out.

    The soccer standout has verbally committed to the University of Florida, which won the Southeastern Conference title last year. Verbal commitments are non-binding, and Hyde cannot sign a letter of intent with the Gators until November 2015.

    Hyde led the Lady Scots in scoring last season as a sophomore and was given honorable mention all-state honors by the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches. The midfielder posted 11 goals in the playoffs, helping HP reach the Class 4A Region II final.

    Since last season, Hyde has been busy with her select team, Dallas Texans 98, which reached the Elite Clubs National League title game earlier this month in Richmond, Va. For the Texans, Hyde posted 10 goals and six assists in 23 games this year.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 29, 2014 | 5:23 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Looney Strikes With More Postseason Awards

    Layne Looney was dominant this season. Everyone seems to agree. (Photo: Kate Simone)

    Layne Looney was dominant this season. Everyone seems to agree. (Photo: Kate Simone)

    The accolades continue to accumulate following the outstanding season for Highland Park pitcher Layne Looney, who has been named as a first-team all-state selection by the Texas Sports Writers Association.

    He also received first-team honors earlier this summer from the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, and was named to the MaxPreps Underclass All-America team. Looney was named the MVP of District 10-4A for leading HP to a runner-up finish in the league.

    During his junior season, Looney posted a 12-0 record with a 0.53 earned-run average and 119 strikeouts. He also led the Scots with a .370 batting average.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 28, 2014 | 5:38 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Former HP Golfer Leads Web.com Tour Event

    Paul Haley

    Paul Haley

    Former Highland Park High School golf standout Paul Haley took the early lead on Thursday after the first round of the Midwest Classic golf tournament in Overland Park, Kan.

    Haley, 26, who played college golf at Georgia Tech, fired a round of 64 (7-under par) to tie his career-best round on the Web.com Tour. It is the first time he has held the lead after the first round of a tour event.

    Looking over the scorecard, Haley hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 26 putts during his round. If he can hold off a host of challengers over the next three days, he can clinch his first victory since the 2012 Chile Classic, and his first title on American soil.

    It also will help Haley regain his form after a slow start to the season that has seen him miss seven of 10 cuts on the tour. Last season, he was a rookie on the PGA Tour but made just three of 18 cuts at that level.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 25, 2014 | 7:56 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • UP Girl in the Running at Junior Olympics

    Jordyn Kaplan of University Park will run in two events at the USATF National Junior Olympics this week.

    Jordyn Kaplan of University Park will run in two events at the USATF National Junior Olympics this week.

    University Park resident Jordyn Kaplan is among the area runners in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships this week in suburban Houston.

    Kaplan, who trains with the SpeedKidz youth team at Germany Park, will run in the 4×800 relay in the girls 13-14 age division today as part of a quartet including fellow UP resident Sophie Hung, along with Elise Welch of Dallas and Eva Wilk of Plano.

    On Thursday, Kaplan will race against the top 40 girls in her age group in the country in the preliminaries for the 1,500 meters. She qualified with a time of 5 minutes, 4 seconds at a regional meet last month in San Marcos. The finals for the event will be on Sunday at Turner Stadium in Humble. You can find a complete list of events and entries here.

    Kaplan will be a freshman at Highland Park High School this fall.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 23, 2014 | 4:28 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • All Scots Games Will Be on TV This Year

    If you can’t make it to the Highland Park football games this fall, you will only need a remote or a DVR to watch all the action.

    For the first time, the Scots will have all 10 of their regular-season games broadcast on television thanks to an agreement between HPISD and independent station KTXD-TV (Channel 47). The broadcasts will be produced by Bear Wire Video, which is based in Preston Hollow.

    The games won’t be shown live because of UIL stipulations, but will air on a tape-delayed basis at 11 p.m. on Fridays and noon on Saturdays, with the exception of the season opener against Frisco Centennial as part of the Tom Landry Classic. That game will be played on a Saturday (Aug. 30), so the broadcast times will be pushed back accordingly.

    As they say, check with your cable or satellite provider to find the correct channel number.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 22, 2014 | 1:24 pm | 2 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Richards Lines Up For All-Star Game

    Tony Richards

    Tony Richards

    Tony Richards, who graduated from Highland Park High School in May, will participate in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star game on Tuesday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

    Richards, an offensive lineman, signed with SMU in February. He is on the North roster for the game, which features some of the top recent graduates from schools around the state. The North team will be coached by Cedar Hill’s Joey McGuire.

    He will follow in the footsteps of his father, Dave Richards, who was a THSCA All-Star while playing at HP before becoming a standout at SMU and later in the NFL.

    By the way, the game, which is being held in conjunction with the annual THSCA convention, will be broadcast online by Fox Sports Southwest.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 21, 2014 | 10:46 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Phil Stephens Loved His Job and Community


    Phil Stephens

    The relationship between Phil Stephens and the Park Cities went beyond sports or journalism.

    Former Park Cities People editor Stephens died last week at age 65 following emergency surgery in Rowlett, leaving behind a legacy through words and pictures from more than 40 years in the business.

    “The Park Cities was everything to him,” said Gail Stephens, his wife of 32 years. “Covering all the Highland Park sports for the paper, it was his life and his breath. He just had a love for the people there.”

    It was that passion that convinced Gail to move to the Park Cities from Richardson in 1982. That’s where the couple raised their four children, all of who later graduated from Highland Park High School, while Stephens was integral as the paper planted its roots in the community.

    “There literally would not be a Park Cities People without Phil Stephens,” said former publisher and co-founder Reid Slaughter. “He was that important.”

    Slaughter hired Stephens when the paper launched in September 1981 after deciding he wanted the product to distinguish itself largely through its coverage of HPHS sports.

    Stephens was promoted from sports editor to managing editor in 1984, and also was well-known for his photography skills.

    “Phil’s photography raised the level of the newspaper at an important time. Under Phil, we invested in photography, and it paid off,” Slaughter said. “He was really great at capturing the humanity of the kids.”

    Slaughter remembered Stephens as a good-spirited, generous and hard-working colleague. In fact, he was so dedicated that he occasionally slept under his desk as deadlines loomed.

    But while he was best known for his sports writing and photography, Slaughter said Stephens also was a very prolific writer of crime stories and profiles during his tenure as managing editor.

    Stephens left Park Cities People full-time in 1988 but continued to contribute as a freelancer until 2008.

    He also was a longtime advocate for the local and national soccer community, and also operated a freelance photography business. In fact, he covered five World Cup events in locales ranging from China to Italy, as well as the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was a staple at prominent soccer events in the Dallas area for decades.

    “Journalism was his thing, and soccer was his passion,” Gail Stephens said. “He worked so much that he probably slept about four hours a night.”

    Gail said that when the family moved to Greenville six years ago, Stephens missed the daily grind of the newspaper business but remained involved by writing and taking photos for some soccer websites, including DallasSoccerNews.

    His sister, Teri Smesrud, recalls that Stephens developed an affinity for journalism in high school, and enjoyed covering events big and small.

    “It was very important to him. He loved writing and taking pictures,” Smesrud said. “He was a sweet and kind person, and he was always excited about things.”

    One of his two daughters, Megan, picked up a love of both photography and soccer from Stephens, often shooting alongside her father at HPHS events and soccer games. She also was a member of the state championship soccer team at HPHS in 1996.

    “I think what made an indelible impression on me, in addition to a love for soccer and photography, is my admiration for how he did not compromise his passion for a traditional or more lucrative career,” Megan said. “He followed his heart — which was family, community, and sports photojournalism — all while providing his kids the gift of a great childhood in a wonderful community.”

    Stephens also is survived by seven grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Park Cities Baptist Church, with a visitation set for 6-8 p.m. Saturday at 3404 Nova Trail in Plano.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 17, 2014 | 1:21 pm | 2 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Waves Rolling With Successful Summer

    The Park Cities YMCA Waves are making a splash this summer in the pool.

    The Park Cities YMCA Waves made quite a splash at their summer league championship meet last weekend.

    The Park Cities YMCA Waves placed fourth overall in its summer league championship meet last weekend at Town North YMCA. Several members of the team, which is coached by Heath Mitchell, were recognized with High Point Awards.

    Among the first-place winners were Benjamin Hurst (boys 15-21 division) and Paul Radke (boys 13-14 division). Next up, the Waves will roll into Frisco on July 24-27 for the Lone Star YMCA Texas State Swim Championships.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 17, 2014 | 11:36 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
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