• 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

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    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
  • Dolfins Put on a Show at Divisional Meet

    Head coach Pia Lara, left, led the Dolfins to the DASA divisional title.

    Head coach Pia Lara, left, led the Dallas Dolfins to a DASA divisional title.

    The Dallas Dolfins have made quite a splash this summer. The youth swim team, which trains at Holmes Aquatic Center in University Park and features several competitors from the Park Cities, won the team title last week at the Dallas Amateur Swim Association Division D meet at Loos Natatorium in Dallas.

    The victory means that 36 of the 44 swimmers who competed at the divisional meet for the Dolfins advanced to a season-ending all-star competition on Monday night at Loos.

    The all-stars include Gabriella Bily, Scarlett Calvert, Nola Carroll, Olivia Carroll, Emily Cockrell, Mac Conine, Gray Damonte, Riley Damonte, Drew Durgin, Abigael Duy, Ashlyn Duy, Buck Elliott, Drake Elliott, Callan Fox, Evie Fox, Chloe Haag, Lindsey Haag, Spencer Haag, Jacob Herzog, Grace Knudson, Elliot Lovitt, Jack Lovitt, Miya Malouf, Arianna Maurici, Pasquale Maurici, Phoebe Nguyen, Andrew Nuth, Ella Patterson, Jacqueline Schnieders, Abby Stacy, Audrey Stuckert, Alexis Stus, Jonah Stus, Max Van Cauwelaert, Jake Whitehurst, and Harold Wright.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 14, 2014 | 9:13 am | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Former HP Standout Powers Penn in Soccer

    Sam Hayward scored five goals during his freshman season at Penn, including the game-winner against Princeton. (Courtesy Photo)

    Sam Hayward scored five goals during his freshman season at Penn, including the game-winner against Princeton.

    When Sam Hayward entered the University of Pennsylvania last August as a freshman, the school’s soccer team had not won an outright championship in 17 years.

    Less than a year later, the former Highland Park standout scored the winning goal against Princeton in the penultimate game of the season, helping the Quakers claim an Ivy League title. After a victory over Harvard in the season finale last fall, Hayward and his teammates are sporting championship rings.

    Hayward was a highly recruited athlete during his time with the Scots, as well as with the Solar Academy select team.  He was contacted by more than 50 Division I college programs.

    During Hayward’s junior year, Solar won the Dallas Cup in the under-18 group after winning six games in eight days. The squad also reached the U.S. Soccer Development Academy quarterfinals. Hayward’s twin brother, Connor, is a former goalkeeper for HPHS who is now playing for Washington & Lee University in Virginia.

    The striker selected Penn after finding a connection with head coach Rudy Fuller. He saw significant action as a freshman and was second on the team with five goals, including two against rival Drexel.

    “He really cares about his players, on and off the field,” Hayward said. “I knew I wanted to play Division I soccer at a college where I connected with the coach and which was also strong academically, so this seemed a great fit.”

    Hayward’s transition from U.S. academy soccer to collegiate soccer went smoothly due in part to the rigorous academy training program, which includes a year-round season. The youth soccer program in Texas is nationally competitive.

    “It is really exciting to see the U.S. competing head-to-head with other world soccer powers like Brazil, Germany and England,” Hayward said.

    He hopes one day to join those other countries on the field while competing internationally.

    This story appears in the July edition of Park Cities People, on stands now.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jul. 10, 2014 | 2:30 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • Boyer Named NISCA All-American

    Kate Boyer poses with her most recent gold medal during a rare appearance on dry land.

    HPHS swimmer Kate Boyer poses with her most recent gold medal during an appearance on dry land.

    Congratulations to Highland Park High School swimmer Kate Boyer, who recently received All-American recognition from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for the third straight year.

    Boyer won gold medals in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle at the UIL Class 4A state meet in February. Her time in the 100 set a new state 4A record, and she also set a school record at the 50-yard distance.

    In 2012, Boyer was named an All-American as part of the HP 200 freestyle relay team, and last year she was recognized for her swims in the 50 freestyle and 200 medley relay. She will be a senior at HPHS this fall.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jun. 27, 2014 | 2:06 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
  • DUC Wants You to Cruise the Lake

    On Saturday, you can learn the basics of what these athletes do.

    With nice weather expected this weekend, there should be another strong turnout for the latest Cruise the Lake event hosted by Dallas United Crew.

    DUC, the rowing program that includes several students from the Park Cities, will have an open house of sorts, in which visitors can meet coaches and team members and learn the basics of rowing and dragon boating.

    The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. to noon at White Rock Lake. It’s open to ages 11 and up. Online registration is recommended.

    By Todd Jorgenson Jun. 27, 2014 | 1:55 pm | No Comments | Comments RSS
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