Clear Lake Roundup: Falcons seek 10th straight cross country title
Clear Lake boys cross country has won nine straight District 24-5A titles and 10 in a row looks like a lock for the 2011 Falcons.
"When you consider the runners returning from last season at the district level, we look tough to beat on paper," Clear Lake coach Mark Horton said. "Our team always has high expectations, but the challenge will be great, and after seeing so many outstanding distance runners graduate out of 24-5A, it's going to be interesting to see how all the team and individual matchups develop and emerge within our district."
The Falcons feature six experienced seniors in John Weldon, Luke Romanko, Zach Daum, Christian Williams, Jeremiah Santos and Michael Lis, and they were all part of the 2010 district championship squad.
"Most of these guys were also members of the 2009 team that qualified for state," Horton said," and we'll also have a great group of younger athletes who will vie for spots during the course of the season.
"We have a deep group of seniors who have set some high goals, and these guys understand what it takes to get to the next level. They are extremely smart athletes who are committed to doing all the right things, both big and small."
Junior Chase Johnson is back at Clear Lake after spending last year in California, and sophomore Luke O'Dowd is also expected to contribute.
"Johnson had an outstanding season for us as a freshman in 2009 and should be a huge asset," Horton said. "O'Dowd really came on during track in the spring and scored in the 3,200 meters and looks like he could be one of our top guys.
"Having those younger runners competing against and learning from our seniors is a big part of what makes Clear Lake such a special place. We have a deep group of runners who are willing to do whatever it takes and always striving to be a part of the top seven."
The Falcons placed seventh in Region III last season with Weldon their top individual finisher at 15th.
"We're going to have our work cut out for us to finish in the top three at regionals and advance to state," Horton said. "Perennial powers like Strake Jesuit and Seven Lakes, and some of the other top teams like Cy Woods, Cy-Fair, Mayde Creek and MacArthur, have outstanding squads returning and will all be in the search for state."
The Falcons earned state berths in 2008 (finished 10th) and 2009 (12th).
Volleyball region repeat
If preseason volleyball rankings mean anything, it could be a repeat of last year's Class 5A Region III Tournament that featured District 17-5A against 24-5A.
Heading into the 2011 season, The Chronicle has 17-5A's Cy Woods at No. 1 and Cy Falls at No. 2, and then 24-5A's Clear Lake third and Clear Creek fourth, in the Greater Houston 5A rankings.
Cy Woods is the defending 5A-III champion after beating 24-5A's Clear Creek in the region semis and Clear Lake in the finals, and the region's other semifinalist, 17-5A's Cy-Fair, was eliminated by Clear Lake.
The rest of the preseason area 5A top 10 includes, in order, Katy, 24-5A's Pearland, College Park, Klein Collins, Kingwood and Deer Park.
With most football teams climbing into or near full pads on Saturday, Aug. 13, it means scrimmages are a week away, and Clear Creek gets it all started against Hastings at 10 a.m. on Aug. 19 at Clear Creek ISD Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Two Clear Creek ISD teams scrimmage at 6 p.m. on Aug. 19 including Clear Springs hosting Morton Ranch at Veterans Memorial Stadium in League City, and Clear Brook visiting Santa Fe.
Clear Lake, under the direction of new coach Sam Smith, was originally set to scrimmage on Aug. 20, but the Falcons will host Spring at 7 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Clear Lake High School.
After each team's only scrimmage, there's three Zero Week season openers at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 including Chavez vs. Clear Lake at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Clear Brook at Lamar, and one of the area's top non-district matchups featuring Clear Springs vs. Dawson at The Rig in Pearland.
Clear Creek kicks off its season at 6 p.m. on Aug. 27 against Pasadena Memorial at Pasadena Memorial Stadium.
Local Advertising by PaperG