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Top 10 moments in Hays CISD athletics

1. Lehman boys soccer wins 25-6A crown
For the first time in roughly six seasons, Lehman’s boys soccer program can proudly call themselves district champions. Stellar play across the board helped Lehman secure the outright 25-6A boys soccer district crown in 2019, marking the first time a Lobo boys athletic team sport has won a district title in the 6A ranks. The moment, capped off by a season-ending 3-1 road win over Akins in late March, also marks the first time the Lobo boys soccer program has won a district title since 2013. Coincidentally, that season was also the last time the program made the playoffs. At the time, Lehman played in what is now the 5A ranks. Leading the way was a senior-laden class that included All Hays Free Press and News-Dispatch MVP Eric Guadarrama, Jose Mata and Noah Marquez. Guiding the program was 25-6A boys soccer Coach of the Year Rene Medina. Lehman finished the year 17-5-3 and 12-2-2 in district.

Photo by Moses Leos III

2. Hays softball nabs share of district title
Anchored by the arm of 25-6A Pitcher of the Year Max Valdez, the Hays softball team navigated a challenging 25-6A field en route to scoring the program’s first district title, shared or outright, since the 2014 season. Hays accomplished the feat by virtue of a key 2-0 win over co-champion Austin High in mid-April, setting the stage for a playoff run that finished in the regional quarterfinal round. Leading the way was a program brimming with experienced talent including seniors Brianna Rodriguez, Kaylin Davis and Kari Louk.

3. Steve Hoffman hired as Johnson High coordinator
Just as Hays CISD was readying for the 2018 winter break, district officials pulled the trigger in hiring Steve Hoffman as Johnson HIgh’s inaugural athletic coordinator. Hoffman, whose duties began in January, was hired from Corsicana ISD where he served as the assistant athletic director for the district and the head football coach at Corsicana High. District officials selected Hoffman amid a field of more than 100 applicants from across the state. In 2018, Hoffman was named the District 8-5A Coach of the Year and led Corsicana High’s football team to a 9-3 record and district title.

4. Lobo softball punches playoff ticket

Photo by James Nino

A school-record 24 wins was just the tip of the iceberg that was Lehman High’s memorable 2019 campaign. By virtue of key wins down the stretch, including a critical late-season victory over Lake Travis, Lehman secured 4th in 25-6A this season and the program’s first playoff berth since 2014. The Lobos, led by first year head coach Robert Young, excelled via the efforts of a senior-laden team that featured Seryna Avalos, Gabby Rodriguez and junior pitcher Lexi Bechtel.

5. New leadership hired to helm Hays soccer, volleyball
After more than a decade on the sidelines, Hays High boys soccer head coach Jason Burnett is moving on. Earlier this spring, Burnett was hired at Cibolo Steele High. It is unknown at this time if Burnett will coach at Cibolo. Over the course of 15 years at Hays, Burnett led the Rebels to more than 200 wins and several district titles. Longtime assistant coach Cole Reynolds will lead the program in 2020. Meanwhile, change is also coming to the Rebel volleyball court as Hays CISD hired Ashley Davis to lead the program next fall. Davis replaces Stephanie Coates, who after a five-year tenure at Hays was hired in April to lead the Kerrville Tivy volleyball program. Coates led Hays to four straight playoff appearances in her fives seasons. Prior to her hire at Hays, Davis led Bryan High to the playoffs in each of her five seasons as head coach.

6. Lehman volleyball scores first district victory in five years

Photo by Nathan Latsha

A nearly five-year search for a district win came to a dramatic end this season for Lehman High’s volleyball program. By virtue of a come-from-behind five set road win over Del Valle in September, Lehman notched the program’s first victory in district play since the 2013 season. Previously, Lehman’s last district win came against Seguin on Oct. 18, 2013; at the time, Lehman competed in the 4A, now 5A, ranks. Lightning struck twice in October when the Lobos shocked Del Valle in three sets at home for its second win in district, the first time that has happened since 2013.

7. Hays football scores second straight playoff appearance
For the second time in as many years, Hays High’s football team punched its ticket to the playoffs. Led by first year head coach Les Goad, Hays closed 2018 with an 8-2 regular season record and fourth place out of District 25-6A. The Rebels, which operated out of the run-heavy Slot-T formation, opened the season by winning its first

Photo by Moses Leos III

seven games, a feat that had not been accomplished since the 2005 campaign. That included a heart-stopping 35-34 win over Dripping Springs that came via a blocked extra point in the waning moments.

8. Rebel baseball returns to the playoffs
Critical wins in the final weeks of the regular season catapulted Hays High’s baseball team to its first playoff berth since 2017. Hays opened the season on a roll, winning 17 of its first 18 games of the season before going a mid-season lull to start district play. However, the Rebels rebounded by winning four of their last six games, including a victory over Del Valle in the regular season finale, that gave them third place in 25-6A. Hays outlasted New Braunfels Canyon in the bidistrict round and finished as area finalists.

9. Lobo power-lifting excels again at state
In April, the Lehman Lobo girls powerlifting team capped off another successful season by capturing fourth place overall at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet in Corpus Christi. Leading the way for the Lady Lobos was Amber Saenz who claimed the state title in the 114-pound weight class. Meanwhile, the Lobo boys powerlifting team finished with five powerlifters competing at the state meeting. A total of 45 school records were broken by the two powerlifting teams combined.

10. Hays CISD track athletes excel at state, cross country
Excellence on the track and trails was plentiful for a handful of Hays CISD athletes who reached the pinnacle

Photo by Nathan Latsha

of their sports this year. Leading that charge was Hays freshman Abby Parra who not only made her debut appearance at the UIL state cross country meet in November, but also competed at the 2019 Texas Relays and UIL state track meet in Austin this spring. Meanwhile, a third trip to the UIL state track meet was the charm for Hays High junior high jumper Reagan Casey who secured the silver medal in the 6A girls high jump. Casey had reached the state meet twice before in her freshman and sophomore seasons, but was unable to medal. Joining Casey at the state meet was Lehman High junior Nikayla Fitzgerald competed in the long jump and the triple jump at state.

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