In his first season as Highland Park boys cross country coach, David Ripley isn’t planning a major overhaul, but rather a few minor tweaks.
He will bring back more traditional uniforms to replace the plaid outfits from last year. He will focus more on distance rather than speed during training. And he will scale back the schedule from seven to six meets during the regular season.
“We think that gives us maybe a competitive advantage and maybe fresher legs going into district,” said Ripley, who was promoted from assistant to head coach following the retirement of Randy Adair in the spring.
The goal is for the Scots to bounce back from a 12th-place finish at last year’s Class 4A state meet. That will be difficult with this year’s jump to the 6A classification, but HP has experience on its side, with six of the top seven runners returning from last season.
“They’ve got a lot of experience,” Ripley said. “They hold their destiny in their hands.”
On the girls side, HP will have to compete this season without Natalie Rathjen, who won a state title last fall and is one of the most decorated distance runners in school history. Hope McLaughlin will likely take over as the top athlete for the Lady Scots, who were second as a team at the state meet.
Both the boys and girls will compete in the same meets this fall, beginning with the Greenhill Six-Mile Relay on Saturday at Norbuck Park.
The District 10-6A meet is slated for Oct. 21 at Warren Sports Complex in Frisco.
Coaches and players get fired up every year about scrimmages. They don’t count, the play-calling is usually bland, and the structure is typically scaled back to alleviate injuries and such, but it presents the first time each fall when they can line up against an actual opponent.
So Highland Park will hold their annual scrimmage with Plano West tonight at Clark Field in Plano (varsity is set to begin about 6 p.m., from what we’re told), to give the Scots and their fans a chance to get the competitive juices flowing.
After tonight’s sneak peek, only a week remains until the regular-season opener against Frisco Centennial. That game is slated for 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at SMU’s Ford Stadium as part of the Tom Landry Classic.
By the way, we’ll be there tonight, so check back later for analysis from the scrimmage.
Do you have an aspiring football star in elementary school? Do you like free stuff? Are you free on Saturday morning?
Some “yes” answers should prompt you to take your youngster to a clinic being hosted by the Highland Park football team and coaching staff at the indoor facility across from Highlander Stadium. It’s open to kids entering grades 1-4, and will run from 10 to 11 a.m.
While the clinic is free, donations will be encouraged to benefit Gridiron Heroes, a nonprofit organization that assists football players who have suffered debilitating spinal-cord injuries.
An indoor aquatic center at Curtis Park could be a long way off, but the idea of such a proposal already has generated some concern among University Park residents.
The UP City Council found out as much on Tuesday, when it approved spending more than $31,000 on a feasibility study with Colorado-based Ballard-King & Associates to study the viability of building the facility that would be shared by the city and Highland Park ISD.
The idea comes from a joint meeting this summer between the UP council and the HPISD board of trustees, which might eliminate its existing natatorium as part of a proposed bond election likely slated for next spring.
With land in the Park Cities at a premium, the school district entered preliminary discussions with the city about adding a facility adjacent to the existing outdoor pool at Curtis Park. It would be operated by the city but constructed by the district using bond funds.
The feasibility study will analyze the potential size of the building, along with issues related to parking, operations, and activity needs. It will include interviews with community leaders and focus groups, and culminate with a written report in November.
The council’s vote on the study included a requirement to hold a public forum on the issue in September, after residents expressed concern that the consultant wouldn’t seek enough public input.
A handful of speakers at Tuesday’s meeting didn’t like the idea because of safety, traffic and environmental issues along a busy stretch of Lovers Lane.
“This is a huge facility in a small space that will generate unnecessary traffic in an already congested area,” said UP resident Ann Burns.
A public forum is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 16, subject to consultant fees and availability.
The only reason Highland Park won’t be able to defend its Class 4A state team tennis title is because it’s no longer in 4A. Instead, the Scots will try to keep their legacy intact in the new 6A beginning this fall.
HP will start the season today with a 4 p.m. match at North Mesquite, and will play District 10-6A matches every Tuesday through September.
The Scots have won six consecutive 4A team titles and haven’t lost a dual match since 2007. This season, HP will play a full slate of district matches in addition to nondistrict contests against El Paso Coronado (Sept. 19), Southlake Carroll (Sept. 20), McKinney North (Sept. 26), Allen (Sept. 27), Plano West (Oct. 4), and Grapevine (Oct. 14).
The district tournament is set for Oct. 21-22 at Fair Oaks Tennis Center, with the state tournament on Nov. 5-6 in College Station.
Highland Park opened its home volleyball schedule with a four-set win over Trophy Club Byron Nelson on Tuesday, 25-16, 25-19, 26-28, 25-17.
Statistical leaders for the Lady Scots (7-3) included Caroline Downing (14 kills, three aces, eight digs), Grace Bonnet (nine kills, nine digs, three aces), Elizabeth Gilley (nine kills, 18 digs), Allegra Munoz (eight kills, five digs), Landry Ray (24 assists, 15 digs, three aces), Madeline Bonnet (16 digs, six assists, three aces), and Catherine Johnson (20 assists, 15 digs).
Last weekend, HP won five of its eight matches at the prestigious Texas Volleyball Invitational tournament in Pearland. We won’t list all the stats here, but the Lady Scots earned wins over Fort Bend Travis, Waller, Byron Nelson, Houston Stratford, and League City Clear Springs. The losses came against The Woodlands John Cooper, Southlake Carroll, and League City Clear Creek.
HP will continue its busy early-season schedule on Friday with pool play in the Allen tournament. The Lady Scots will travel to Keller for a nondistrict match on Tuesday.
The Park Cities YMCA Waves made quite a splash by earning a team title at the Lone Star State Swim Meet in late July. It was the first time the squad had ever finished higher than third place, and it came with plenty of individual accolades as well, in the form of 11 state records.
For example, 17-year-old Nick Moore broke seven Lone Star records and won every individual event he swam. And Paul Radke, 14, set new marks in both the 50-yard and 100-yard breaststroke.
The boys 11-12 relay team of Brooks Kirchen, Liam Conner, Cameron Laurie, and Bo Clarke shattered the record in the 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay. Among the other top swimmers at the meet for the Waves were Hannah Jiang, Michael Zhao, and Benjamin Hurst.
As a team, the Waves surpassed the Duncan Dragons for the title on the final afternoon of the four-day meet.
Dozens of aspiring young tumblers and dancers will be showcased at the Cross Cheer community cheerleading show at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Biggers Building at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
The show will feature 58 Park Cities girls ages 4-6 as well as Peruna, the SMU mascot, who will be on hand to promote a new kids program called Peruna’s Pals.
Timothy Flasik, a Highland Park youth baseball coach and former teacher in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district, was arrested last week and accused of having improper relationships with two teenage girls.
The Dallas Morning News has details of the alleged incidents, which apparently took place when Flasik lived in Bedford and was teaching at Hurst Junior High School.
He also has been a coach with the Scots Baseball Club select organization, and was listed as the coach for the organization’s 10-and-under team for the upcoming fall season until his name and contact information were removed from the SBC website on Thursday afternoon.
“Tim Flasik is no longer coaching for SBC,” said a statement issued by the organization. “He is not affiliated with the club.”
Flasik, 27, is a Houston native who was a pitcher at UT-Dallas for four seasons, earning all-conference honors in 2007.
Highland Park opened the volleyball season on a winning note on Tuesday with a sweep of Red Oak in a nondistrict match, 25-13, 25-16, 25-20.
Elizabeth Gilley led the Lady Scots with nine kills, eight digs, two aces, and two blocks. Grace Bonnet added seven kills, three aces, and nine digs. Others contributing to the win included Caroline Downing (six kills, three digs), Allegra Munoz (six kills, two blocks), Landry Ray (22 assists, six digs), Catherine Johnson (19 assists, nine digs), and Madeline Bonnet (13 digs).
HP will travel to the Texas Volleyball Invitational beginning Thursday in Pearland. The Lady Scots will meet Fort Bend Travis, Waller, and The Woodlands Cooper in pool-play action. The three-day, 87-team event continues on Friday and Saturday.
The home opener for HP will be Tuesday against Trophy Club Byron Nelson.