Welcome back everyone, and sorry for the delay. At Dulles we have changed rooms up this year, so with the school year starting next Wednesday I have had to focus on that. But now, I want to take another look back at 2018 in Texas without delving super deep into statistics, and just get a feel for how the year went in general, and see if we notice any trends occurring.
The first place I want to start is looking at the top ten teams. Lubbock made a jump from 5th in ‘17 to 1st with almost a full new team, with only Phyllis Zhang, Jake Watts and Hunter Dortch returning. Watts would end up finishing 1st in scholastics overall, and Dortch 4th in Medium school varsity, helping the team greatly in their victory. Phyllis would also end up helping tremendously, finishing 10th in Medium honors. So the remaining six were either new juniors or seniors, or holdovers who did not make last year’s team. Either of these would bode very well for Lubbock this coming year as well, as it shows Lubbock is set up for sustained success as a program, and not depending on a few elite decathletes to push them on.
Dulles stayed in their 2nd place finish and 1st place large, with a balance shockingly similar to Lubbock’s. With only two returners from the previous team, three of the competitors were seniors who had tried out as juniors and didn’t make the final team. With three juniors on the team as well as nine seniors who didn’t make the team, plus a strong junior class, Dulles will look to challenge for a state title again.
Highland Park had their worst performance in four years- 700 points off of a state title. Will Highland return back to the top? Losing an amazing group of scholastics would hurt anyone, but with 7 years in a row of being in the top 4 of the state, there’s nothing to show that they won’t be competing for state yet again. The question is if they can get back to the heights of 2017.
Seven Lakes was the biggest surprise of the top 10, claiming the top spot of a group of four teams within 900 points of each other. The Spartans used great team chemistry and balance to pull it off, and with a returning top five varsity, they seem like a good bet to be near the top once again next year. However, this is their best result since 2011- does this signal a return to the tippy top, or a flash in the pan?
Friendswood was barely nudged out by Seven Lakes and ended in fifth place, and will now see themselves with the likes of Lubbock, Highland Park, and Summit in Medium school in Frisco. They are set up for an even more successful year next year, and with 7 top fives in the last 8 years, it doesn’t really seem like they’ll slip. If anything, they’ll jump up again next year.
Coppell is a tough cookie to analyze. At Round 1 it looked like they were poised for a down year- turns out they were down a varsity and it showed in their scores. At regionals, they won and were sitting at 9th place (10th if you count Highland above them). At state, they jumped three spots up into sixth, climbing 3,500 points to jump several teams above them. Don’t doubt Coppell, but can they challenge for state again like in 2016?
Taylor went into state 4th and ended 7th in a dead heat. That tends to be rare for Region VII teams as their subjectives are usually low at regionals. However, without great varsities their upper limit was not going to be high enough. Their honors and scholastics were competitive with Lubbock, Dulles, and Highland Park; unfortunately their varsities could not keep up. With a few of those varsities returning, if they can reload their scholastics and their honors (which is to be expected) they can make another run at their first state championship since 2000.
Dobie went through a year of coaching change and still ended up in the top 10. Truly incredible the kids and coaches they have over there. They jumped 2,500 points to go from 11th to 8th. Will this repeat next year? This is uncharted waters for Dobie for the first time since their return in 2007, and with Texas getting stronger every year it could be tough to return to the top.
Plano East rode a superb group of honors to the 9th, their first top ten appearance in 10 years. Will it be a repeat? They have been getting better every year recently, and if they have a solid foundation of honors all they need are a few scholastics and varsities to really push for the pinnacle.
Lastly in the top ten is Summit, returning for the second year in a row. It has been a quick rise for Summit, moving from the lower 10s in Medium to becoming the best team in Medium not named Lubbock or Highland Park. While they did have some very successful individuals, if they are graduating it will be interesting to see how they fare without them. Is a third year in the top ten in the cards?
Further down the line are a bunch of movers and shakers, for better or worse. Historically top 10 teams found themselves in the 11-20 range, including powers like Rockwall-Heath, Clear Lake, Rockwall, Pearland, and Nimitz. Will they see themselves back into the top 10 this next year? Every few years we see a pretty big shift in who is in the top ten in Texas, and more often than not those schools do not return. Which of these will return? I don’t see too many of the top ten from dropping out, but of course there is change every year.
There are also some schools that really made big jumps this year, or showed sustained success for the first time. Klein made it into the top ten at large school, and seem like they are rising over time after placing 14th last year, 15th in 2016, and not even qualifying for state in 2015. Will they break into the top ten next year? They may be the best bet for a new school to make it in. Montgomery jumped from the 20s into 13th this year, and show signs of a program growing as well. Region VI has long been short of top tier teams- will they get two teams into the top ten next year?!
Marshall high school in Northside jumped into the top 15 from 31st, and could quite possibly be a strong contender going forward out of region IV. Another historically weak region since the days of Holmes winning in ‘94, San Antonio could see a rebirth of strong teams if they build upon one of their best years ever.
Hebron first got to state recently with the re-expansion of the field in 2016, and has been slowly improving year over year. Can they break Coppell and Nimitz’s grasp on Region IX? They would be the best bet to do so. Irving also made a big jump in Region IX as well, and look poised to improve year over year.
Wylie East may be one of the most exciting teams to look for next year. With new coaches, they pushed into 4th in Medium in their first year making it to state! That may be close to a historic first year performance at state, and with the taste of success they seem destined to push even further forward next year.
Lebanon Trail also looks like a team destined for great things coming soon. With only a team of underclassmen, they won Small school. With a push to Medium, will they continue to jump? It seems inevitable with the same kids on the team.
There are tons of other teams to look for with a bright future- Morton Ranch, Clear Creek, Katy, and Warren all have young or new coaches who will lead their team to much higher placements very soon. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us!