By BRAD KEITH
Hailey Martin was as good as any back row defender in District 8-4A, according to a vote of the leagues head coaches, who nominated and voted on their all-district team immediately following the conclusion of the regular season.
The senior libero is the 8-4A Co-Defensive Specialist of the Year after leading the Honeybees to third-place behind highly-ranked Glen Rose and Midlothian Heritage. Sharing the honor with Martin was Katie Chambers of Heritage.
Gabie Lucero also earned praise as the best newcomer in the district as versatile setter who often posted double-doubles in assists and digs even while splitting time with Hannah Huckabee, a first-team all-district setter.
Jayci Morton is the other first-team selection from Stephenville after a seamless transition to middle blocker after playing outside as a freshman and sophomore. A dynamic athlete, Morton is on her way to lettering all four years in volleyball and basketball.
Martin is another all-around athlete yet to specialize in one sport, but it appears that day is coming. She’s an equally ferocious defender on the basketball hardwood for a Honeybee team that is off to a 2-0 start and has all five starters back from a Sweet 16 team. They are playing this evening at Eastland.
But it’s track and field where Martin drew two scholarship offer and on November 9 signed her national letter of intent with Tarleton State.
She has excelled as a long and triple jumper, 100 and 300-meter hurdler and a member of relay teams in high school, earning 14 regional berths in six events with another season still ahead. She made it in five events her freshman and sophomore season and in four events as a junior, prompting at least some discussion of a possible future in the seven-event heptathlon as a TexAnn.
Stephenville did not have a second-team selection, but senior defensive specialist Maren Isham and junior outside hitter Chloe Goodman each earned honorable-mention spots.
District champ Glen Rose was ranked No. 1 in 4A until being upset in the playoffs. The Lady Tigers justifiably dominated the awards roster with three superlative player awards, three first team and two second-team selections and the coach of the year.
The Bees honored are the last under head coach Fran Metzger who is retiring in May after 40 years teaching and 38 years coaching. Metzger coached one season at Tarleton State immediately after playing volleyball for the TexAnns and went on to start the programs at De Leon, Granbury and Stephenville, where she spent the past 23 seasons and won a state championship in 2003 in what is now Conference 5A.
All the superlatives, first-team and second-team selections are listed below:
8-4A All-District Volleyball
Most Valuable Player – Logan Smith, Jr. Glen Rose
Hitter of the Year – Julia Valdez, Sr. Midlothian Heritage
Blocker of the Year – Libby Hinton, Jr. Glen Rose
Setter of the Year – Emma Bozarth, Sr. Glen Rose
Co-Defensive Specialists of the Year – Hailey Martin, Sr. Stephenville and
Katie Chambers, Midlothian Heritage
Server of the Year, Tori Needels, SR. Midlothian Heritage
Newcomer of the Year – Gabie Lucero, So. Stephenville
Coach of the Year – Sandy Langford, Glen Rose
First-Team (positions not specified)
Jayci Morton, Jr. Stephenville (MB)
Hannah Huckabee, Jr. Stephenville (S)
Kelsey Carpenter, So. Midlothian Heritage
Katie Glen Rosser, Sr. Midlothian Heritage
Bryanna Lytle, Jr. Glen Rose
Maddie Mooney, Jr. Glen Rose
Ally Andress, Sr. Glen Rose
Melanie Potter, JR. Alvarado
Madi Maxwell, Jr. Godley
Giavanno Charles, Sr. Waxahachie Life
Second-Team (positions not specified)
Hanna Larson, So. Midlothian Heritage
Anna Woodard, Jr. Waxahachie Life
Madison Alexander, Sr. Waxahachie Life
Karena Tipton, Jr. Midlothian Heritage
Rachel Richie, Jr. Midlothian Heritage
Mallory Rogers, Jr. Glen Rose
Laiken McAnear, Sr. Glen Rose
Miranda Roberts, So. Alvarado
Abagail Dugan, Jr. Venus
Nicole Yarbrough, Jr. Godley
Nicole Yarbrough, Jr. Godley
Lyndsi Swiat Sr. Godley
Jada Lacy, Sr. Waxahachie Life
Ariana Robinson, Sr. Waxahachie Life