VOLLEYBALL Harlandale, Southwest net three wins in Floresville Tourney

Harlandale (7-4) and Southwest (6-8) fared the best of the six area teams competing Friday at the Floresville Tournament. Both teams won  of four matches on the opening day of the tournament.

Harlandale incurred its only loss against former district rival and tournament host Floresville (5-6). The Dragons fell only to Stevens (10-1).

Southwest defeated Burbank 25-12, 25-15, Eagle Pass in rally scoring 25-14, 30-29 and the Floresville junior varsity 25-10, 25-9. Stevens senior Lexis Vallejo recorded 13 kills and three blocks in leading the Falcons to a 22-25, 25-15, 25-18 win over the Dragons.

Harlandale won 25-14, 25-11 over Pearsall, 25-8, 25-13 over the Highlands JV and 25-21, 14-25, 25-15 over Laredo United. Floresville defeated the Indians 25-23, 25-18.

Highlands (2-11) won two matches, defeating the Southwest JV 25-20, 20-25, 25-18 and the Taft JV 25-9. 25-5.

Burbank (3-7) and Edison (4-9) also won matches during Day 1 at Floresville.

Burbank defeated the Floresville JV 25-21, 25-18. The Golden Bears won 25-21, 25-16 over Cole (4-7).

Individual matches were unavailable for the tournament matches.

South San Tournament

Fox Tech, Jefferson and South San won matches in the first day of the South San Tournament, althought complete results apparently were not available.

Jefferson (3-4) trounced Wagner (6-6) 25-7, 25-13. Fox Tech (7-7) also defeated the Thunderbirds, winning 25-14, 25-20.

South San won in three games over Jay. The score was unavailable.

Other tournament results and statistics from all tournament matches were unavailable.

According to the South San ISD Twitter feed, four teams that were scheduled to participate did not compete.


VOLLEYBALL: Lanier sweeps Poteet for season’s first victory

Lanier came close to recording its first win this year in its opening match at the Devine Tournament Thursday. The Voks (1-8) came up a little short in that three-game contest against Jourdanton, but they didn’t come up empty-handed in the first day of pool play.

Lanier finished the day with a 25-17, 25-11 win over Poteet (1-8). It was the Voks’ third match, following a 25-9, 25-14 loss to Devine (4-2). The host team prevailed behind five kills and four digs from DeAnn Greehey.

The Voks began the day with a tough loss to Jourdanton (6-3) in Game 1, 25-23. They won the second game against the Squaws – yes, that’s Jourdanton’s actual nickname – 25-22. However, Jourdanton claimed the match, winning by the same score in Game 3.

District 29-4A rival Brackenridge also is competing at Devine this weekend. The Eagles will play their first pool match against D’Hanis at 1 p.m. They’ll also face Hondo (3 p.m.) and Boerne (4 p.m.) today.

Three other tournaments involving area teams begin today. Those are the South San, Floresville and NEISD tourneys.

VOLLEYBALL Mid-Week Roundup: Juniors lead East Central to sweep of Lee

Holy Cross picks up two more victories

Juniors Brandy Campos and Nichole West showed the way as East Central (6-3) recorded an efficient 25–20, 25-19, 25-16 non-district win over Lee Wednesday.

The Hornets received 11 digs and eight kills from West. Campos supplied 25 assists at East Central.

Kaylin Mills distributed 10 assists and Alex Pena added eight for the Hornets. Christi Crosper finished with eight kills. Lisa Lopez had two blocks.

Holy Cross, Southside

Holy Cross probably needed a breather Wednesday after a marathon match Tuesday at Southside.

The Knights (7-3) made that happen on their home court, smashing Schertz John Paul II 25-11, 25-10, 25-21. Senior Mallory Ozuna distinguished herself with an impressive 11 aces to go with 19 assists. Julia Ibarra notched eight digs. Victoria Gonzalez was credited with six kills for the Knights.

In a back-and-forth match against Southside, Holy Cross prevailed with a strong fifth game. The Knights won 15-25, 25-15, 25-14, 19-25, 15-8.

Holy Cross statistics from the match were not available.

The Cardinals were led by freshman Alyssa Gallardo with 16 aces, 12 digs and four kills. Ariana Cisneros recorded 22 digs. Cristina Guerra made seven kills and served two aces. Amber Munoz finished with 12 digs. Mayra Sendejo supplemented her seven digs with four kills. Analee Uriegas showed a well-rounded game with five assists, four digs and three kills.

NOTE: Holy Cross and Southside will be at the South San Tournament Thursday-Saturday, and Sports on SA’s South Side will be there. Other area teams competing include Fox Tech, Jefferson, Sam Houston, Young Women’s Leadership Academy and the host school, South San. Watch this space for updates throughout the tournament.

FOOTBALL: Wheatley Heights to pick up slack this fall while Rock Pile takes a rest




For the potential benefit of the Wheatley Heights Sports Complex, the timing couldn’t have been better.

Alamo Stadium is taking a much needed sabbatical from competition this fall. The San Antonio Independent School District needed a facility to share the load of middle school and high school football games with the SAISD Complex.

Fortunately for both parties, the Wheatley Heights complex has been up and running since February 2012.

“I think it’s a really positive deal. It’s something that helps both of us,” said Wheatley Heights executive director Frank Dunn, a Highlands High School alum.

“For us, it’s like a huge advantage. We’re going to have a lot of people coming in here who’ve never really known where this place was.”

Until the Alamo Stadium renovations are complete and football returns to its artificial turf next fall, Wheatley Heights should fill the bill of what the school district was looking for. Although it lacks Alamo Stadium’s 23,000 seating capacity, the like-new pinch-hitter brings a lot to the plate. 

“We needed to find another place to play football games,” SAISD athletic director Gil Garza said. “The reasons we liked Wheatley Heights is because it was inside the district and very similar in bleacher space to the sports complex. It has a very good turf field. So we came to an agreement on using it.

“It’s a really nice facility. I think it’s going to work out really well for us, and it’s good for the east side.”

Thirteen varsity football games will be played at the Wheatley Heights Sports Complex. At least one will take place in each week of the season, with one exception. During the week of Sept. 26-28, when many area teams have a bye week, Wheatley Heights won’t play host to any varsity games.

However, a hefty schedule of middle school and underclass high school games will be played on its Paragon turf surface throughout the season.

“I’m going to miss Alamo Stadium. I’ve been in the district for quite some time – 30 years,” Brackenridge coach Willie Hall said, “It’s been a showcase in the city since it was first built. It’s still the largest stadium in San Antonio.

“But (Wheatley Heights) is a beautiful facility. I think there’ll be great deal of enthusiasm about it. I think it’ll be a little short on seating but, outside of that, I think it’ll be a nice venue. It’ll be a change and I think it’ll give us something to look forward to.”

Area varsity teams that will play at Wheatley Heights this year are: Brackenridge, Burbank, Edison, Highlands, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lanier and Sam Houston.

“It’ll be a great place to play,” Highlands coach Bert Lopez said. “It’s a different venue and it’s close to home. We’ve never had a varsity game there, but we’ve had several track meets. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.”

Dunn isn’t certain whether the first move to establish a football partnership between the SAISD and the facility was made by Wheatley Heights’ representatives or the district’s.

“They were in need,” he said, “and since I do a lot of work with the school district, we just started talking one day. It kind of worked out. They needed a facility, and we had one.”

The facility was funded through a venue tax as part of Bexar County’s Community Venues Program in conjunction with the City of San Antonio. The $7.5 million grant enabled Wheatley Heights to offer a nine-lane, all-weather track, four soccer fields suitable for AAU and UIL usage and other amenities.

It’s located on the east side, close to I-10. It’s adjacent to the expressway’s intersection with south W.W. White Rd.

Youth football has dominated the landscape at the facility so far. Although, as Lopez indicated, Wheatley Heights got its SAISD christening when several track meets took place there last spring, including the District 28-4A meet. Middle school track meets also were shifted from Alamo Stadium to the new track.

“We hosted fall events last year, but they were mostly Pop Warner football and track,” Dunn said. “Now, going into high school, it opens us up to a whole different audience.”

The first varsity game at the venue will be Brackenridge versus Sam Houston in Week 0. The Aug. 29 neighborhood rivalry game figures to be a great shakedown cruise for how well-prepared Wheatley Heights’ staff is for its new challenge.

“Playing Sam Houston, it’s two inner-city schools in kind of a neighborhood brawl,” Hall said. “A lot of kids from both schools are very friendly with each other. It’s a great opportunity for both schools to get off to a good start on their season.

“The Hurricanes always have great athletes. We never look past them.”

The crowd should be sizeable as a companion to the electric atmosphere.

“It’s going to help that the crowd is going to be closer to the field,” Hall said. “It’s going to be different than playing in front of 20-plus-thousand. It could bolster the fan base we do have. It may seem like there are tons of people in there, even if it’s no more than we usually have.”

The rivals will be two of the most frequent visitors. It’s the first of five games the Eagles will play at Wheatley Heights. Sam Houston has four games scheduled at the venue.

“We wanted to be as equal as we could with who played there and who played at the sports complex,” Garza explained. “But some of the schools that bring bigger crowds couldn’t play at Wheatley Heights. We wanted to give our kids an equal opportunity to play at both places, as much as we could.”

Although it’s one of the closest schools to Wheatley Heights, Highlands will make its only appearance on Sept. 7, in a non-district game against Uvalde. That is due, in part, to its ability to fill the stands.

“Unfortunately, we only have one game there this year,” Lopez said. “Most of our games are at the sports complex. When this was first proposed, it was said that ourselves and Jefferson would never be “visitors” at Wheatley Heights because of our crowds.”

Although Alamo Stadium lends a big-time ambiance to any game played there, it had one detriment the Highlands coach won’t miss. In fact, it’s an aforementioned strength at Wheatley Heights.

“It’s one of the (varieties) of field turf, so it’s a really good turf,” Lopez said. “It’s going to be a big improvement on the old carpet at Alamo Stadium.”

The venerable old stadium, nicknamed The Rock Pile, was built as part of a Works Progress Association project in 1940. Make no mistake, its absence will be felt by players, fans and coaches.

“I guess the kids are used to playing at Alamo Stadium, but they don’t know any different,” Lopez said. “It’ll be nice for them to play in their community.”

To prepare Wheatley Heights for much larger crowds and demands on its facilities, some changes have been made. Temporary seating has been imported along with portable locker rooms in the form of double-wide trailers.

“The artificial surface is very, very good,” Garza said. “That’s probably one of the biggest pluses. They’ve also got a very good track. It’s one of the best around.

“The bleacher space and seating is adequate for our needs. Our biggest concern was that they didn’t have locker rooms, but we’ve brought in these double-wides, so teams will have some place to meet at halftime and dress after games.

“There are no showers, but then a lot of schools didn’t shower at Alamo Stadium anyway. For the teams that do need to shower, we can make arrangements to take them to a high school.”

Dunn has heard the concerns about being able to accommodate the crowds that area games will attract, and has addressed them. He said he’d recently gotten approval to bring in portable bleachers on both sides of the field. He said they will raise the seating capacity to nearly 7,000.

“I did a study on San Antonio school district games the last two years,” Dunn said. “I think the average attendance was about 2,400, with the exception of one game.

“I guarantee you this: More people will come to games at Wheatley than ever went to Alamo Stadium. We’re more community-based. When schools like Sam Houston, Highlands and Brack play, we’re going to be busting at the seams. I think it will get a bigger number of fans.”

One reason Dunn said he believes that crowds will flock to the stadium is because it’s close to east-side homes. Another is the concessions.

“We have Bob’s Smoke House and a guy who does chicken wings,” he said. “That’s one thing people who’ve been here for track ask about, will we have those same concessions (for football). It’s going to help bring those people back. The athletes went wild for barbecue sandwiches and the chicken nuggets The Wing Man sells. It’s all fresh.”

Dunn said one of the founding principles when the complex opened was that it would continue to expand to meet the community’s needs.

“We want to add a community center that will double as a weight room with shower facilities,” Dunn said. “We want to get that on the radar for the city council and the county. People will be in there all day long.”

With a first-class field and 700 parking spaces, including a separate section for buses, Dunn is hoping schools will book Wheatley Heights for playoff games at season’s end.

Garza said some SAISD boys and girls soccer games will be played there in the spring. Of course, the track meets will continue.

The track already is well-known among area track and field fans. In addition to the SAISD meets, it’s home to Dunn’s San Antonio Heat track club.

Next fall, football will return to renovated Alamo Stadium. Asked what he liked about the revisions that are being done to the stadium, Garza’s answer was “everything.”

The new Alamo Stadium will have a smaller seating capacity of 16,000 to 18,000, but a wider playing field that will especially benefit soccer. The estimated completion date currently is late spring or early summer of 2014.

“As it was, it was a great old stadium,” he said. “It just has so much history. But it was built in 1940, so what it needed was a facelift. Other than the scoreboard, goalposts and track, nothing had really been done to the infrastructure. It had antiquated locker rooms, concession stands and restrooms.

“It needed a facelift, and it’s finally getting it, but we kept the structural integrity. Everything will be new, but it’ll still have the same look about it.”

Even so, this might be the beginning of a long-lasting relationship, depending on the arrangement works for both parties. The SAISD athletic director stated that it was possible for district teams to continue playing at Wheatley Heights in future seasons.

“I’d like to keep our options open,” Garza said. “One thing I like is the enthusiasm Highlands and Sam Houston are going to generate when they play there. We don’t want to lose Alamo Stadium. But there’s probably a very good chance Highlands and Sam Houston will play there in the future.

“We’ll have to see how many games we want to play there.”

The executive director thinks Wheatley Heights made its mark on the athletes who ran there in the spring.

“When they came over and saw our field,” Dunn said, “they loved it. They wanted to stay on the field. We had to run them off of it.”

Dunn recalled a conversation he overhead this spring during a middle school track meet.

“We had some people who came over from Judson (High School),” Dunn said. “Some guy told his family, “This facility is awesome. I didn’t even know this was here.’ ”

Because of that conversation and the general reception Wheatley Heights has received in its relatively short life, Dunn is confident others soon will have similar thoughts about it – and they’ll be reflected in the bottom line over time.

“Eventually,” he said, “we’ll get business out of it.”


Friday, Aug. 30

Brackenridge (0-0) vs. Sam Houston (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 6

Floresville (0-0) vs. Brackenridge (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 7

Uvalde (0-0) vs. Highlands (0-0), 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 13

Kennedy (0-0) vs. Jefferson (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14

Devine (0-0) vs. Sam Houston (0-0), 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 20

Del Rio (0-0) vs. Brackenridge (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 4

Burbank (0-0) vs. Jefferson (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 11

Edison (0-0) vs. Brackenridge (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 18

Burbank (0-0) vs. Edison (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 19

Somerset (0-0) vs. Sam Houston (0-0), 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 25

Edison (0-0) vs. Lanier (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 1

La Vernia (0-0) vs. Sam Houston (0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 9

Burbank (0-0) vs. Lanier (0-0), 7 p.m.