Heights/Montrose Roundup: Eagles strong at tourneys
Wrestling season doesn't start until early November, but anticipation is already building at St. Thomas.
Coming off the school's first TAPPS state title in wrestling, the Eagles look even more powerful, based on their finishes at two major national tournaments.
"We're well ahead of schedule," said St. Thomas head coach Gordon Oehmig. "We should have one of the top teams in Houston, public or private school."
In late June, Oehmig took a group of Houston-area wrestlers to the AAU Wrestling Scholastic Duals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. In addition to St. Thomas, other schools who were represented included Cinco Ranch, Clear Creek, Episcopal, Kinkaid, Klein, Lamar and Morton Ranch.
Paradigm, comprised of mostly St. Thomas wrestlers, finished fourth in its bracket and 19th out of 155 teams in Community Division I (high school).
The squad went 9-3, with its only losses to Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio), Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) and Bloomington South Purple (Bloomington, Ind.), the latter in the third-place match. However, Paradigm notched a victory over Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.).
"Moeller is ranked No. 12 in the nation and we only lost by two points to Bloomington South," Oehmig said. "We competed really well against some of the top teams in the country."
Individual standouts from St. Thomas were sophomore Nick Bennett and senior Steven Thompson at 112 and 135 pounds, respectively. Bennett and Thompson were a perfect 12-0, along with Cinco Ranch sophomore Niles Peebles. Klein sophomore Cody Romero also went 10-2 for Paradigm.
Oehmig noted that Paradigm also was sixth in the Developmental division, which bodes well for the future.
St. Thomas also was well-represented at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet National Wrestling Championships held at the Fargodome last month in Fargo, N.D. The combined Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling showcase is the sport's most prestigious event.
"As far as wrestling goes, this is as big as it gets," Oehmig said. "All the country's top wrestlers are there. If you don't show up in great shape and ready to wrestle, you're going to get injured. These guys don't play."
St. Thomas took several wrestlers who competed in the Cadet Men (born in 1995 and 1996) and Junior Men (currently enrolled in grades 9-12) divisions.
St. Thomas junior Travis Bradford, who wrestled at 152 pounds in the Junior Men division, posted a winning record (5-4).
"Considering that Travis has only been wrestling for 1½ years, he did incredible," Oehmig said.
St. Thomas freshman Ricky Regas, who was in the 140-pound Cadet Men class, also posted a 4-4 mark, showing promise for the future.
"Ricky is an extremely talented kid who is going to do very well," Oehmig said.
Also making the trip to Fargo were seniors Rudy Fernandez and Nick Rossi, who were in the Junior Men 119-pound and heavyweight classes.
Jones takes helm
Nathaniel "Puddin'" Jones has coached football in the Houston Independent School District for more than 30 years, but, at age 61, he's finally getting his first shot as a head coach.
Jones was recently promoted to head coach at Washington after seven seasons with the Eagles. He previously served as offensive coordinator under long-time coach Joel North. More recently, he was the running backs coach on the staffs of his predecessors, Marlon Taplin-McMillan and Emile Fair.
So far, Jones is enjoying his new job, although he admits there has been an adjustment period.
"My phone's been ringing a lot more, and it seems like I have more people to please," Jones quipped. "But it's a wonderful opportunity and I'm very excited to be here."
Jones has certainly paid his dues. He got his start at Yates in the 1980s and 1990s, serving as an assistant coach under legendary coaches Luther Booker and Maurice McGowan.
"I learned from two of the best in the business," Jones said of Booker and McGowan.
In addition, he coached for more than a decade at Jones.
Jones has been an offensive coordinator at three schools (Jones, Washington and Yates).
A native of Brady, Texas, and a former standout at the University of Houston, Jones believes Washington can continue its run of success. Last season, the Eagles finished 6-6 overall and 4-2 in District 22-4A, but they advanced to the Class 4A-Division II area round.
While depth remains a concern, Jones believes Washington can challenge Wheatley and Kashmere for the District 22-4A crown this fall. The Eagles open the 2011 season against rival Yates at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Delmar Stadium.
TSRN picks up Strake Jesuit sports events
Strake Jesuit has partnered with the Texas Sports Radio Network (TSRN) to broadcast the school's athletic events on the Internet. Parents, alumni and fans will be able to watch the Crusaders' football, basketball, soccer and baseball games.
All Strake Jesuit football games will be broadcast by TSRN, including the season opener against St. Thomas at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Tully Stadium. In addition, two other sports events will be broadcast each week, with lacrosse possibly being added to the schedule.
Games can be accessed on TSRN's website, with each broadcast linked from the school's website or through e-mails sent in advance.
Some Crusaders games may be selected for live radio broadcasts on stations that have been contracted with TSRN. Some games may be featured as video webcasts and can be accessed on TSRN's website for a nominal fee or as part of the network's archives.
"This is a win-win for the school and our families," said Bill McDonald, Strake Jesuit's athletic director and head soccer coach.
"They'll be able to watch our student-athletes throughout the year. It keeps them close to the action."
Local Advertising by PaperG