With spring around the corner, baseball season is getting into full swing. Accordingly, Highland Park will host its annual Scotland Yard Classic this weekend.
The Scots will play five games over three days as part of the round-robin event, facing Colleyville Heritage (1:30 p.m. today), Fort Smith (Ark.) Southside (6:30 p.m. today), Sachse (11 a.m. Friday), and Richland (4 p.m. Friday). HP also will meet Keller at 11 a.m. Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Tournament games also will be held at Rockwall, Coppell, Plano East, and Trinity Christian Academy in Addison. Other participating teams include Grapevine, Belton, Rowlett, and The Woodlands.
For the Scots, the tournament will be the final tuneup prior to the start of District 10-4A play on Tuesday at Forney.
A full tournament schedule follows after the jump.
SCOTLAND YARD CLASSIC
(at Highland Park)
Highland Park vs. Colleyville Heritage, 1:30 p.m.
Fort Smith Southside vs. Colleyville Heritage, 4 p.m.
Highland Park vs. Fort Smith Southside, 6:30 p.m.
Rockwall vs. Plano East, 11 a.m.
Sachse vs. Plano East, 1:30 p.m.
Rockwall vs. Sachse, 4 p.m.
Grapevine vs. Keller, 6:30 p.m.
Coppell vs. Rowlett, 11 a.m.
Rowlett vs. Richland, 1:30 p.m.
Coppell vs. The Woodlands, 4 p.m.
Belton vs. The Woodlands, 6:30 p.m.
TCA-Addison vs. Keller, 11 a.m.
TCA-Addison vs. Grapevine, 1:30 p.m.
(at Highland Park)
Highland Park vs. Sachse, 11 a.m.
Colleyville Heritage vs. The Woodlands, 1:30 p.m.
Highland Park vs. Richland, 4 p.m.
The Woodlands vs. Sachse, 6:30 p.m.
(at Plano East)
Plano East vs. Richland, 11 a.m.
Grapevine vs. Rowlett, 1:30 p.m.
Plano East vs. Rowlett, 4 p.m.
Fort Smith Southside vs. Belton, 6:30 p.m.
Fort Smith Southside vs. Keller, 1:30 p.m.
Coppell vs. Keller, 4 p.m.
Coppell vs. Rockwall, 6:30 p.m.
TCA-Addison vs. Rockwall, 11 a.m.
TCA-Addison vs. Belton, 1:30 p.m.
(at Highland Park)
Fort Smith Southside vs. The Woodlands, 10 a.m.
The Woodlands vs. Grapevine, 12:30 p.m.
Richland vs. Sachse, 3 p.m.
Richland vs. Rockwall, 5:30 p.m.
(at Plano East)
Rowlett vs. TCA-Addison, 10 a.m.
Colleyville Heritage vs. Rowlett, 12:30 p.m.
Plano East vs. Colleyville Heritage, 3 p.m.
Belton vs. Rockwall, 10 a.m.
Coppell vs. Belton, 12:30 p.m.
Coppell vs. Grapevine, 3 p.m.
(at Globe Life Park, Arlington)
Highland Park vs. Keller, 11 a.m.
It wasn’t enough for the Highland Park girls soccer team to continue its on-field dominance on Tuesday night. The Lady Scots scored goals off the field as well.
The team presented a check to the HP Special Olympics program for $11,275 as part of its “Going for the Same Goal” fundraising campaign. The money will go toward soccer uniforms, equipment, and a banquet for the Special Olympians, who took the field at halftime of HP’s 2-0 win over The Colony at Highlander Stadium.
The victory, by the way, clinched another District 20-4A title for the Lady Scots (14-4-1, 6-0), who have won their six district games by a combined margin of 27-2.
As his high school basketball career ended last February, Will Miller had never heard of Mount St. Mary’s University. And the anonymity was mutual.
A year later, the former Highland Park standout is a starting guard for an NCAA Division I program, sharing a court with national powerhouses from Michigan State, Villanova, and BYU.
Miller emerged from recruiting obscurity though a connection in the coaching world that eventually led to him getting a scholarship offer from the small liberal-arts school in Emmitsburg, Md., a rural town of modest size near the Pennsylvania border.
“They contacted me really late,” Miller said. “I always wanted to play Division I ball if I could, so this opportunity was really huge.”
The opportunity came through a chance phone call between Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian and Eric Cunningham, a former Highland Park assistant coach. The two coaches became acquainted when Christian was an assistant coach at William & Mary and was responsible for recruiting in Texas.
Christian was trying to recruit some other players in Dallas when Cunningham suggested he look at Miller, a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who played just one season at the varsity level for the Scots.
The second-year coach saw potential for Miller — who averaged about 11 points per game at HP during the 2012-13 season — to be an ideal fit for his up-tempo offensive scheme that emphasizes outside shooting.
“Obviously because we shoot a ton of threes at the Mount, his ability fits us perfectly,” Christian said. “But his coachability has allowed him to make an impact so immediately.”
Through Feb. 13, Miller averaged 5.9 points per game and was second on the team in three-point shooting despite only being on the floor for 17.3 minutes per game. Of his 114 field-goal attempts this season, all but nine have come from beyond the three-point arc.
“Coach has told me that my role is a three-point shooter,” Miller said. “Having this role for my freshman year has been good. In the next three years, Coach may increase my role to other things.”
Miller was inserted into the starting lineup in late January, which coincided with a three-game winning streak for the Mountaineers in Northeast Conference play.
“He has a hunger and passion for the game to improve each day,” Christian said. “He came to us with only one year of true varsity basketball experience, but through the recruiting process I knew from day one that he was a special person with a work ethic that any coach would love to have.”
Miller said the transition to college basketball has been challenging, and not just because the players are stronger and the pace is faster than high school.
“I think it’s going well. It was probably the hardest transition I’ve had to deal with in my life,” Miller said. “Basketball takes almost double the time that school does. It’s been a big adjustment to that.”
He made quite an impact during a nationally televised Nov. 29 game at Michigan State, when Miller knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half and was featured in highlights later that night on ESPN.
His 15 points against the nationally-ranked Spartans marked a season best that he tied on Jan. 3 against Norfolk State.
“I just lit up. I watched it probably five times. I had to call somebody and tell them,” Miller said of the ESPN snippet. “My parents had the same reaction I had.”
At Highland Park, Miller was on the freshman “B” team four years ago but improved steadily, earning all-district honors as a senior.
“The strides that he made in his four years here were amazing,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “He’s a great shooter. That’s his strength and he perfected that. He put the time and effort into it.”
Christian said Miller should continue to improve thanks to a combination of solid work ethic and mental toughness.
“We’re looking for versatility on our roster. I think his role is definitely going to be able to expand here as he continues to improve,” Christian said. “He said he would do anything I asked him to do. Finding those who have the right personality and mental makeup is hard. He has enough talent, but his makeup is what is going to allow him to be a good player for a long time.”
Last season, the Mountaineers gained momentum by finishing 18-14 and reaching the finals of the Northeast Conference tournament. This year’s tournament begins Tuesday, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m really excited about our chances this year,” Miller said. “I think we have a good chance to build this program to something that everyone will know about.”
Highland Park ISD wants to add a taller scoreboard with video capability to Highlander Stadium.
The existing scoreboard is 36 feet wide and 19 feet, 3.75 inches tall. The new scoreboard would also be 36 feet wide but would be 25 feet tall.
The proposal is subject to the University Park City Council’s approval. The council on Tuesday will consider an ordinance that would establish a special sign district at the school.
The ordinance would also allow the school district to add six advertisements to the 34 that already line the fence around the field. The ads could be no larger than 12 feet, 2 inches wide by 9 feet, 2 inches tall, and they would all have to face the field.
This all comes as a surprise to me, as HPISD trustees have seemed in favor lately of tearing down Highlander Stadium, expanding the high school, and rebuilding the stadium outside the district. But I guess all options are still on the table.
None of the public documents on the University Park website mentions how much this new scoreboard will cost.
Because I follow a handful of Highland Park High School football players on Twitter, I know the Scots’ freshmen were expected to show up Sunday afternoon at a certain house in Highland Park, where upperclassmen would give them unflattering haircuts. Under normal weather conditions, the freshmen would show off their kooky coiffures at school today, and then completely shave their heads this evening. But, because school is closed today due to icy conditions, the players are expected to keep their new looks for an extra 24 hours. “We all want to see your pretty haircuts Tuesday,” one team leader tweeted.
What were Jerry and Gene Jones doing at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony? Perhaps the Highland Park resident misinterpreted the name of Dallas Buyers Club as a reference to his football team.
Festivities on and off the field will surround the District 10-4A softball opener on Tuesday when Highland Park hosts Terrell.
The program will celebrate its 20th anniversary with appearances by former players, a photo button booth, a drawing to win Texas Rangers tickets, and hamburgers and hot dogs grilled by the team dads.
Lisa Prather, who was the pitcher during HP’s first varsity season in 1994, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the HP Lads and Lassies will sing the national anthem.
Plus, of course, it will be the first district game played under the lights at the school’s softball field. For more information on the alumni festivities, call Barbara Orr at 214-683-5531 or Donna Hodges at 713-416-4352.
The Highland Park tennis team returns to the court today at the McKinney North Invitational, its first tournament of the spring season.
The Scots will look to continue the dominance they showed in the fall, when HP won its sixth consecutive state title during the team season, its last at the Class 4A level before moving to the new 6A next year.
During the spring campaign, HP will play five times prior to hosting the District 10-4A tournament on April 4-5. The only other home appearance for the Scots will be Tuesday during a boys dual match with St. Mark’s.
By the way, the state tournament is slated for April 28-29 in Austin. The Scots won a mixed doubles championship last spring.
The March edition of Park Cities People, which I’m sure you’ve devoured by now, includes a story about Hockaday senior Catherine McGeoch. The University Park resident and former Hyer Husky is a two-sport athlete, playing both field hockey and lacrosse for the Daisies.
What I did not know — until Catherine’s mom, Cindy, sent me a note to say how much she enjoyed the story — is that Catherine is also a tap dancer. She performed in her school’s production of Anything Goes between field hockey and lacrosse seasons.
If you have not read Marley Malenfant’s story about Catherine, I’ve included it after the jump.
Hockaday senior Catherine McGeoch walks into the lobby with her crosse, the stick used to play the sport.
She just finished dance class and wanted to be ready for practice. Along with being a two-sport athlete, McGeoch also coaches first-grade lacrosse.
Recognized for her accomplishments as a student-athlete, McGeoch was a finalist for the 2013 Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship, which went to The Colony’s Eric Yang in January. (Highland Park’s Nathalie Rathjen was another finalist.)
“Sports are a huge part of my life,” McGeoch said. “I’m a competitive person, and I think other people recognize that.”
Introduced to lacrosse in fourth grade, McGeoch started playing the sport at a clinic near her University Park home. She picked up field hockey in seventh grade when the sport was established at Hockaday.
While both sports are played with sticks, lacrosse is based on finesse, while field hockey is aggressive. Last season, McGeoch suffered a broken finger.
“There’s something about swinging sticks,” she joked. “[Field hockey] can be violent sometimes, like if a player swings their stick back too far. A girl missed the ball and went right through my finger.”
In Texas, lacrosse may be considered a niche sport, but for those who enjoy playing competitively, there are clubs in the Dallas area. UT-Arlington sophomore Mark Eason was skeptical about moving to Texas from Maryland, where he grew up playing lacrosse, but he now plays for a club in Fort Worth.
“When I moved here, I was doubtful that I’d find a team,” he said. “Lacrosse is saturated in Maryland.”
During McGeoch’s sophomore year, Hockaday won a state championship in the Texas Girls High School Lacrosse League, giving the team bragging rights on campus.
“No one at Hockaday has let us forget how much we talked about it,” she said. “We’re such a close group. We love to tell everyone how we are doing.”
Hockaday lacrosse coach Elia Kochan said the team has enough leadership and poise to win another title this year.
“All of the athletes work hard during practice and games to compete at the highest level,” she said. “We will look to our strong group of seniors and juniors to lead us back to our conference finals and to another run at the state title.”
McGeoch won’t choose a college to attend until later this spring. However, she plans on continuing to play both lacrosse and field hockey.
“I definitely want sports to continue to be a part of my life,” she said. “I find that I’m more productive in my studies when I play sports.”
Even-numbered years have been kind to the Highland Park varsity lacrosse team, which has won Texas High School Lacrosse League state titles in 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
Obviously the Scots would like that trend to continue this spring, with HP set to open the 2014 regular season with a game Friday at Allen.
The home opener for the Scots is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday against Houston St. John’s, and the schedule also features the usual matchups against local rivals ESD, St. Mark’s, and Jesuit prior to the postseason play in late April. The state tournament is slated for May 3-4 in Friendswood.
One highlight on the schedule is the King of Spring tournament on March 8-10 in Durham, N.C. The Scots will face McCallie (Tenn.), Calvert Hall (Md.), and East Chapel Hill (N.C.) in the three-day event.
The team captains will be seniors Remy Kell, Robert Mencke, and Grayson Miller. Mencke is a returning All-American midfielder who has committed to Harvard, while Kell was an all-district selection on defense. Other top returnees for HP include Christopher Marlow, Case Carpenter, and William Stowe.
The Scots are ranked No. 48 in the Boys Preseason Fab 50 by Studentsportslacrosse.com and are No. 6 in the website’s Southeast Region rankings.
Last season, HP finished 14-3 and fell to eventual champion St. Mark’s in the state semifinals.