Clear Lake Roundup: Palazzi takes reins of program at Clear Creek
Brian Palazzi, who started Clear Lake's wrestling program in 2006 and served as the Falcons' coach for the past five years, is now the new head coach at Clear Creek, a co-member of Clear Lake in the Clear Creek ISD and District 24-5A.
"It's not what I wanted to have happen, and it's extremely hard to leave a great school and great wrestling team at Clear Lake, but when things couldn't come together, I still wanted to be in the Clear Creek ISD, so I'm very pleased about that."
Palazzi also served as an assistant football coach at Clear Lake, and after a plan to concentrate solely on wrestling didn't work out, the best move for everyone and everything concerned was the move to Clear Creek.
"One of the most difficult things was talking to my Clear Lake wrestlers," Palazzi said. "The older ones understand that it's nothing personal, and it's the way the business works sometimes, and the older guys understand better the the younger ones.
"The coaching community around the area and elsewhere came out for me, and Clear Creek principal Scott Bockart and football coach-campus athletic coordinator Darrell Warden and everyone at Clear Creek have been great and made me feel very welcome, and I'm also pleased to still be able to work with (Clear Creek ISD) athletic director Bill Daws and everyone else in the department."
Clear Lake's new wrestling coach is Troy Chase, and he'll be joined by veteran Clear Lake assistant coach Shane Zalenski, and Chase will also be part of new Clear Lake football coach Sam Smith's Falcon staff.
"Even though we'll be competing with Clear Lake, and believe me, I'll have to get use to that, I'll try to help out any way I can," Palazzi said. "I want wrestling to be successful and keep improving and growing everywhere, and that includes all the programs in our school district, area and state."
At Clear Creek, Palazzi will be able to focus all his coaching attention on wrestling.
"I'm really look forward to that aspect, and hopefully, so will our wrestlers," he said. "It's going to be another challenge for me, just like it was starting the program at Clear Lake and getting it in a position to challenge some of the top teams in Texas."
Clear Lake's match record was 100-18 in five seasons under Palazzi, and the Falcons captured multiple district titles, and individual region and state berths.
Clear Creek's program also started in 2006 under coach Eric Thompson, who moved to Clear Falls to create another program from scratch prior to the 2010-11 school year.
Chris Billot took over at Clear Creek on an interim basis last year and had already informed the Clear Creek ISD he wasn't going to coach in 2011-12.
"It all happened pretty quickly, and there have been a lot of stories going around, but everything seems to be in place, and we're ready for a new year," Palazzi said. "It's really hard on so many different levels to leave something you started, but sometimes things work out that way, and you have to concentrate on the positives and how it's hopefully going to work out well for everyone."
Clear Falls varsity volleyball
Clear Falls volleyball plays its first varsity match at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Nimitz, and it kicks off the first season the Lady Knights can actually go for a University Interscholastic League playoff berth.
Coach Lyndsay Hodges and Clear Falls volleyball had freshmen and sophomores on sub-varsity teams last year, but now, with a junior class added in (still no seniors), the Lady Knights are in District 24-4A with Dawson, Friendswood, Manvel, Santa Fe, Texas City, Ball, La Marque, and Fort Bend Ridge Point, which is also in its first varsity campaign with no seniors.
After opening at Nimitz, Clear Falls competes in the Cy-Fair ISD Tournament on Aug. 11 and 13, and in between, plays at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 at Klein Oak.
The first home games are back-to-back at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 against Clear Springs, and on Aug. 17 with Deer Park, according to the schedule.
Creek Creek ISD at Duncanville
Three Clear Creek ISD volleyball teams — Clear Creek, Clear Lake and Clear Springs - will be in early-season action on Aug. 12-13 at the Duncanville Invitational, which was the state's premier tournaments a few years ago, before the Pearland Classic came along and took over as the No. 1 event in Texas, and one of the best in the nation.
Duncanville still boasts a strong field that also includes area teams Kingwood, A&M Consolidated, College Park and Atascocita in this year's 39-team lineup.
Clear Lake and Clear Creek, last year's District 24-5A co-champs, could possibly meet in the third round, while Clear Springs will try to work its way through to top part of the bracket.
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