Floydada senior Luke Holcombe puts his State-winning shot at the Texas UIL Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on May 7, 2021. (Ben Jenkins/Press Pass Sports)
FLOYD COUNTY — Local sports fans had plenty to cheer about in 2021 with the accomplishments of Floydada and Lockney athletes. Some of the highlights included a State Championship by Luke Holcombe in track and field; a State Championship in powerlifting by Alex Carmona; Whirlwind basketball and Lady Winds softball teams each advancing three rounds in the state playoffs; Longhorn football team putting together a seven-game winning streak; the Floydada 14U softball team advancing to the Little League Texas West State; Lockney’s 5th and 6th grade Longhorns had an undefeated season in Tiger League football and earned a championship; Jayda Rosales claiming four medals at the district track meet; Kirsten Pyle winning five medals at the district junior high meet; Holcombe slamming 10 homeruns reportedly for the fourth-highest total in the state of Texas; five different pitchers throwing either a no-hitter, one-hit shutouts, and double-digit strikeouts in both baseball and softball; and Kyle Bruington made THSCA All-State Academic teams in four sports, and six other athletes received the same prestigious recognition in a single sport.
These were some of top headlines in 2021, but there were more significant accomplishments throughout the years on the hardwood courts, fields, and diamonds:
The Floydada Whirlwinds have had three consecutive 20+ win seasons and back-to-back District Championships under coach Adam Zepeda. The 2021 Whirlwinds (21-5) advanced to the Regional Quarterfinals (third round) for the second straight season before falling to the eventual 2A State Champion Clarendon Broncos 62-52. Floydada’s playoff run included a bi-district win over the Bovina Mustangs 92-55 and an area round victory over the defending 2A State Champion Gruver Greyhounds 71-59.
Floydada split with the New Deal Lions in district play to share the district championship, and decided to play for the No. 1 and 2 seeds at a neutral site in Littlefield. New Deal won the game by a narrow 53-50 margin.
Floydada ended the season rated No. 7 team in the area by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Lone Star Varsity out of all classifications.
6’3” senior Quincy Gonzales and 6’2” senior Dez Wickware were selected to the TABC All-Region team. Gonzales was Floydada’s leading scorer with 19 ppg, while Wickware scored 14 ppg and was the top rebounder of the team with nine per game. Gonzales was the Co-MVP of 4-2A with Tanner Seely of New Deal. He also was named a “Spark off the Bench” by the A-J. Other starters and players in a seven-person rotation included seniors Dez Wickware, Kaleb Crone, and Devin Henderson, plus underclassmen Jayson Cooper, Abran Castillo, Brandon Marquez and Aiden Trevino.
The Lockney Longhorns (12-9) were the No. 4 seed from 4-2A. The Longhorns lost their bi-district game to the Farwell Steers.
The Lockney Lady Horns also qualified for the Playoffs as the No. 4 seed. Lockney defeated Floydada in a seeding “win-and-in” game. The Lady Horns were eliminated at Bi-District by the Vega Lady Longhorns.
The Floydada Lady Winds junior high team completed their second season undefeated in basketball. This group of girls had a combined record of 28-0 in their seventh and eighth grade seasons. The team was coached by Bethany Morales.
All of the Floyd County varsity teams had winning records going to the Christmas holiday break: The Whirlwinds (12-0), Lady Horns (16-4), Lady Winds (11-6) and Longhorns (8-5).
Floydada senior Alex Carmona won a State Championship in the 165-pound class of Division 3 with a personal best of 1,455 pounds overall. He won the bench press with 365-pound lift and the squat with an effort of 580 pounds. Carmona placed third in the deal lift with a 510-pound performance. All of these lifts were personal bests. Carmona won three plaques at the award ceremony with the Best Bench Press, Best Squat and Best Overall in the Division 3 lightweight classes of 165 pounds and less.
Damion Gonzales of Lockney placed fourth in the 114-pound class at the State Powerlifting Meet with an overall effort of 845 pounds.
TRACK AND FIELD
Floydada senior Luke Holcombe won a 2A State Championship in the shot put at the Texas UIL Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. Holcombe had a career best throw of 57′ 2.5” on his final attempt that elevated him from a bronze medal to gold. The WTAMU signee finished in fourth place in the discus throw with a toss of 161′ 4”, just one position out of the medal count. He qualified for the state meet in the discus throw as a wildcard after finishing third at the Region I meet. He had the best throw of all the third place finishers of the four Regions across Texas to get the wildcard place at State.
Holcombe went through the entire track and field season undefeated in the shot put, and won first place in the discus at every invitational and the District 4-2A meet. Holcombe is now on the Buffaloes track team at WTAMU competing in the throwing events — shot put, discus, hammer throw and javelin.
Senior Jayda Rosales was a versatile athlete for the Lockney Lady Horns track team. Jayda won three gold medals (high jump, long jump, triple jump) and a silver medal (200) at the District 4-2A meet. Rosales signed with Lubbock Christian University to compete in track and field on the collegiate level.
Other District 4-2A Champions in track and field included Dillon Bruington (100) and Ali Gonzales (discus) from Floydada, plus Anson Rendon of Lockney (300 hurdles).
Floydada 8th grade girl Kirsten Pyle put her name as an athlete to watch in high school career. Kirsten won five medals at the District 4-2A junior high meet with three golf medals (pole vault, 100 hurdles, and 300 hurdles), one silver medal (400 relay), and a bronze medal (long jump). Five events is the maximum number of events an athlete can compete in at UIL track and field meet. Pyle was a starter of the Lady Winds junior high basketball team that finished 28-0 in two years, and a catcher on the 14U softball team that advanced to the Texas West State Tourney in the Little League playoff system.
The Floydada Whirlwinds tennis team won the overall District 4-2A Championship and qualified seven players for the Region I-2A tournament. Whirlwinds that claimed district titles were: Kaleb Crone and Dylan Ramos in boys doubles; Angel Fipps and Jasmin Pacheco in girls doubles; Mike Rios and Janeisi Garza in mixed doubles; and Nathaniel Garza in boys singles.
Since 1988, Floydada has won 23 District Championships in overall, boys or girls divisions. Adam Zepeda has been the Whirlwinds tennis coach the past three years.
Prior to Zepeda taking the reigns, Floydada tennis coach Robin Nixon won an impressive 20 District Championships that included a van load of players to advance to the Texas UIL State Tournament, and a bus load of athletes through the years to play in the Region 1 tourneys. Nixon was one of Floydada’s all-time successful coaches in any sport of winning District Champioships and advancing players in the state playoffs. L.G. Wilson in football is probably regarded as the Whirlwinds all-time winning coach, but Nixon should be next in tennis.
The Floydada Lady Winds shattered the FCHS softball record books this year by finishing 25-2-1 on the season and advanced to the Regional Quarterfinals (third round) before falling to the Forsan Lady Buffs. Floydada went through the regular season unblemished at 21-0 and won the District 4-2A Championship. The Lady Winds tied the 5A Plainview Lady Dogs in a playoff warm-up game at Lady Bulldog Park. Floydada then eliminated Seagraves and Sanford-Fritch by 2-0 in the bi-district and area playoffs.
Lady Winds junior pitcher Erin Trevino and freshman left fielder Carissa Fernandez were named to the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA) All-State team.
Trevino had a 25-2-1 record, threw an impressive 222 strikeouts, and had a stingy 1.85 ERA. All of these were school-record numbers in softball. Trevino threw one no-hitter and five one-hitters during the course of the season.
Fernandez slammed 11-homeruns for a school record in homeruns for the season. Kylie Ricketts owns the FCHS softball homerun record with 16 for her outstanding career as an outfielder. Fernandez is off to a hot start of chasing that homerun record.
The Lady Winds starting lineup this year included Trevino (pitcher), Marissa Obregon (catcher), Alyssa Obregon (first base), Kailee Sanchez (second base), Celeste Wickware (third base), Analise Perez (shortstop), Fernandez (left field), Dani Zavala (center field), and a rotation of Alyssa Hinson, Jazmin Coronado and Tatum Glasscock (right field). Alyssa Obregon was the only senior on this exciting team, and the remainder of the roster was all underclassmen.
Armando Morales was the coach in his 12th season with Floydada softball. Morales coached in the Greater West Texas All-Star game in June.
The Lockney Lady Horns softball team finished as the No. 4 seed in the district and qualified for the playoffs. Lockney was eliminated at Bi-District by the Forsan Lady Buffs.
The Lockney Longhorns (12-9) took third place in the District 4-2A standings and advanced to the Bi-District playoffs. The Smyer Bobcats eliminated Lockney from the playoffs.
The Floydada Whirlwinds (11-15) claimed the No. 4 seed for the playoffs out of 4-2A. Floydada lost to the New Home Leopards in their Bi-District series.
Whirlwind senior Luke Holcombe had a powerful year at the plate with an apparent school-record 10 homeruns, 44 RBIs and .574 batting average. Holcombe’s homeruns finished No. 4 in Texas, and the RBIs at eighth according to Stat Leaders by MaxPreps. Holcombe was selected to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association (THSBCA) Elite team for 2A.
Lockney junior pitcher Pablo Morales fired an impressive 17 strikeouts in a win over Floydada, while Longhorn Cristian Gonzales threw a one-hit shutout against Hale Center, and Whirlwind senior Ryder Glass had a one-hit shutout in a win over Hale Center.
The Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) made a routine of naming Floydada and Lockney athletes to the Academic All-State teams in individual sports.
Floydada’s Kyle Bruington received the most selections by making Academic All-State in football (2020 season), basketball, baseball, plus track and field. Bruington was awarded a $2,000 scholarship at the end of the school year by THSCA.
Whirlwind Ryder Glass was named Academic All-State in both football and baseball.
Other recipients included Ryann Castillo of Lockney in softball, Luke Holcombe in baseball. In the 2021 football season, Erin Trevino and Trace Glasscock of Floydada, and Lockney’s Austin Rodriguez earned the elite recognition.
Academic All-State is for senior athletes or student trainers/managers in each sport. It is based on GPA above 92, class ranking, plus good standings of character and moral. An honoree has to be nominated by their high school coach.
Floydada softball fans got excited about a pair of teams in the 14U and 12U Little League playoff system that have created hope for the future of more success in softball for the Lady Winds.
The 14U team (16-2) advanced to the Texas West State Tournament in Abilene. This 14U team was 8-0 in the regular season, won the Tri County Championship (3-0), district tournament (3-0) and the Section 1 series (2-0), before being eliminated at Texas West State in two games.
The roster of this team coached by Jason and Lindsey Pyle included Abby Hernandez, Kirsten Pyle, Maddie Marmolejo, Miranda Reyes, Kyra Segura, Soriah Wickware, Madeilyn Garcia, Kassandra Lopez, Brinley LeFevre, Karly McHam, and Azailey Bustillo.
The 12U team (17-2) won the regular season, Tri County, District and were stopped at the Section 1 Tourney. This was basically the same group of girls that advanced to the West Texas State Tourney in the 10U age division in 2019.
The 12U team coach by Ray and Erica Perez included Jenna Martinez, Maddie Pyle, Emily Garza, Kaitlyn Garza, Bella Perez, Rilynn Hinsley, Abigail Reyes, Bailey McHam, Kara Cavazos, and Hartlee Battey. Ray Perez has been coaching youth sports for 15 years.
A pair of pitchers played a big role in their team’s success in Maddie Pyle for the 12U and Ally Hernandez for the 14U. Pyle had a season high 14 strikeouts in a Section 1 tournament game, and Hernandez fired 16 strikeouts in a District 38 contest. Throwing double-digit strikeouts in a game were not uncommon for Pyle and Hernandez.
The Lockney Longhorns 5th and 6th grade football team won the championship of the Top of Texas Tiger League in six-man football with a perfect 9-0 record. The Longhorns cruised though the regular season with a 7-0 mark, then won both games in the championship tournament. The Longhorns ran past the Lefors Pirates in the semi-finals 39-6, then defeated the Valley Patriots 26-7 in the championship final.
The 6th graders on the team consisted of Josiah Gallegos, Caycen Wright, Aiden Arroyos, Andrew Romero, Sal Naranjo, Evan Salazar, Adris Rosales, Logan Rodriguez, Criss Jimenez, and Seth Perez. The 5th graders were Diego Gallegos, Carter McHam, Ivanee Carillo, Joseph Sanchez, Isaih Chavira, Carson Pritchard and Jaime Guerrero.
The head coach was Justin Wright and the assistant coach was Gabe Rodriguez.
The Floydada Lady Winds finished in second place, and the Lockney Lady Horns took third place at the District 4-2A Cross Country meet at LCU. This advanced both teams to the Region I-2A Cross Country meet in Lubbock at Mae Simmons Park.
The Lockney Longhorns had two individuals — Jonathan Cienfuegos and Alberto Soto-Gonazles — finish in the top ten standings to advance to the Region I-2A meet.
Floydada had two girls in the top ten placings with Allyson Romero in ninth place, followed by Faith Lopez in 10th. Lockney had Maddison Johnson take seventh place.
The Lockney Longhorns made the 2A-II State Playoffs for a second consecutive year by finishing the season at 7-4. Lockney’s season ended in the Bi-District playoffs with a loss to the Seymour Panthers at Jim Ned’s Indian Stadium in Tuscola.
The Longhorns season was highlighted by winning the Floyd County Championship 24-0 over the Floydada Whirlwinds in the 99th meeting of the historic series that started in 1917. The game was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Lockney then took off on a seven winning streak before injuries hit the Longhorns. Lockney fell in a District Championship showdown to the Roscoe Plowboys on the ninth game, and then lost the regular season finale to the Ralls Jackrabbits. The Longhorns advanced to the playoff out of District 5-2A-II as the No. 3 seed. Lockney was coached by Cory McCombs.
The Floydada Whirlwinds (3-8) won a dramatic “win-and-in” game over the Hale Center Owls 35-34 on the last night of the regular season at Charles Tyer Stadium. The Whirlwinds had to overcome a 19-point deficit in the first half and trailed by 12 to start the fourth quarter.
Floydada finished the season with a loss to the Panhandle Panthers in a Bi-District playoff at Younger Field in Tulia. The Whirlwinds head coach is J.R. Compton.