Abilene ISD Communications

Abilene ISD Executive Director of Athletics Jim Garfield announced two new members of the AISD Athletics family Wednesday afternoon, welcoming a new AISD assistant director of athletics and Abilene High School girls’ basketball head coach. That announcement was part of a busy week in AISD Athletics, including regional championship meets this weekend in track and field and gymnastics, the end of the softball regular season, and key games in the chase for the baseball postseason.

Here’s a look back at the previous week in Abilene ISD athletics and a look at what’s coming up for district teams:

Garfield returned to a longtime friendship to bring in the district’s new assistant director of athletics as Lou Mora was hired to replace the retiring Del Van Cox. Mora – who replaced Garfield as the assistant director of athletics in the Lubbock ISD in July 2022 – will begin his duties with Abilene ISD later this summer. Read more about Mora here.

Alfonzo Franklin, who has spent the last three seasons as the girls’ head basketball coach at Hale Center, was announced Wednesday as the new girls’ head coach at Abilene High School. Franklin – who won 63 games, one district title, and led the Lady Owls to the playoffs in each of his three seasons at Hale Center – replaces Brenda Andress, who resigned after three seasons and a playoff appearance in 2024. Read more about Franklin – who will begin his duties later this summer – here.

Abilene High secured a spot in the Class 5A playoffs Tuesday night with a 7-1 win at Lubbock Monterey, pushing the Eagles to 16-10-1 overall and 10-5 in District 4-5A. The Eagles are one game behind district-leading Lubbock Cooper (11-4) and one-half game behind second-place Wylie (10-4) with four games left in the regular season. Each of those three teams has clinched playoff berths, and none can finish lower than third. The Eagles are in action twice this weekend with a home game Friday against Lubbock High at 7 p.m. and then on the road at Lubbock Coronado at 1 p.m. Saturday.

With three of the four playoff spots already spoken for in District 4-5A, the final spot comes down to a battle between Cooper, Lubbock Monterey, and Lubbock Coronado. Cooper saw its five-game winning streak end Tuesday with a 6-2 home loss to Wylie. The Cougars are now 12-14 overall and 6-9 in the district, one game behind fourth-place Lubbock Monterey and one-half game behind fifth-place Lubbock Coronado. The Cougars are off Friday but will play at Lubbock Monterey at 1 p.m. Saturday in a huge game in the playoff race.

The Plainsmen will be at Wylie at 7 p.m. Friday before hosting Cooper, so two Monterey losses – combined with two possible Coronado losses over the weekend as the Mustangs take on Lubbock Cooper and Abilene High – could push the Cougars into third place at 7-9 with Monterey falling to 7-10 and Coronado to 6-10. That scenario could give the Coogs the inside track on the district’s final playoff berth as they would host Lubbock High next Tuesday evening, and then play at Lubbock Coronado in next Friday night’s regular-season finale in a game that could hold massive playoff implications.

The Abilene High Lady Eagles have finished their regular season and will wait to see what seed they will be out of District 4-5A and who their bi-district playoff opponent will be next week. AHS won its final three regular-season games to finish that portion of the season at 19-12-1 overall and 8-4 in the district. AHS is currently in fourth place at 8-4, but could still finish as high as second, depending on the outcome of the final regular-season games of the season, scheduled for Friday night. Wylie (8-3 in district) plays at Lubbock Cooper (9-2 and in first place), while last-place Lubbock High is at Monterey (8-3 and tied with Wylie for second). A win by Lubbock Cooper and an upset win by Lubbock High would leave AHS, Wylie, and Monterey all with 8-4 district records, while a Lubbock Cooper win and Monterey win would leave AHS and Wylie tied at 8-4. While Lubbock Cooper, Wylie, Monterey, and Abilene High have already clinched playoff spots, seeding and playoff implications won’t be fully known until the weekend.

The Lady Cougars of Cooper will close their season Friday when they host Lubbock Coronado at 6:30 p.m. at Cougar Field. The Lady Coogs (11-20-1) picked up their second district win Tuesday night as they beat Lubbock High, 10-7, in Lubbock.

The Abilene High and Cooper boys’ and girls’ track and field teams will be in action this weekend at the Region I-5A track and field championship meet at Lowery Field in Lubbock. All four teams participated in the Area 3-4 championship meet last weekend in Lubbock as the UIL pared the entry list for the regional meet down to a manageable number for this weekend’s list.

Abilene High boys: The Eagles – who finished second to Amarillo High in the team title chase at the area meet – will send eight athletes in eight events and all three relay teams (4×100, 4×200, and 4×400) to the regional championship meet. Senior hurdler Josh Melson finished second in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle races last weekend to qualify for the regional meet. Other AHS individual qualifiers are Ryland Bradford (100 meters), Karter Batten (800 meters), Aiden Seekins (1600 meters), John Alcantar (1600 meters), Andruw Villa (3200 meters), Logan Smith (area champion in the pole vault at 14 feet, 0.00 inches), and Brayden Henry (long jump).

Cooper girls: The Lady Cougars were a solid fourth place in the team race and will send four athletes in five events and one relay (4×100) to the Region I-5A championship meet. Sprinter Anne-Lee Waite won the 100 meters (personal-best 11.96) and was second in the 200 meters (24.74) to qualify in both events. Samarah Green won the 300-meter hurdles (45.09) to qualify, and Jazlyn Hatcher won the long jump (19-3.00) and was third in the triple jump (36-6.75) to qualify in both events. Asharee Davis was third in the long jump (personal-best 17-11.5) and was second in the triple jump (36-6.75) to qualify in both events.

Abilene High girls: The Lady Eagles were fifth in the team title chase at the area meet and will send four athletes in five events to the Region I-5A meet. Zoe Vann (second in the 800 meters and fourth in the 1600 meters) qualified in both events, while Mason Murray (second in the 1600 meters and 3200 meters) and Marin Murray (third in the 1600 meters and the 3200 meters) qualified in both of those distance races. Adriahna Peeples finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles to qualify for the regional meet.

Cooper boys: Jaylen Parker had a terrific area championship meet for the Cougars, qualifying for the regional meet in three events: 200 meters, long jump, and triple jump. Parker won the 200 meters in 21.72, was second in the long jump (personal-best 22-11.0  and finished third in the triple jump (personal-best 44-1.0).

The top two athletes in each event and the top two teams in each relay race at the regional championship meet will advance to the state track and field meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. The Class 5A meet will be on Friday, May 3, starting at 9 a.m. with field events and the 3200-meter run at 9 a.m. and running event finals at 5 p.m.

The Region 3 gymnastics championship meet this weekend at Abilene High’s Eagle Gym features boys’ and girls’ teams from Abilene High and Cooper. Also in the field is five-time defending girls’ state champion San Angelo Central, ranked No. 1 in the state going into the meet. Cooper senior Tristan Reyna is the favorite to defend his region all-around title after winning his second straight District 2-6A all-around championship last month. For more on the meet, click here.  

With the District 4-5A soccer season over, the district coaches have released the boys’ and girls’ all-district teams. Below are the players from Abilene High and Cooper on each team:

MVP – Miguel Robedo, jr, Lubbock Monterey
Offensive MVP – JT Tuttle, soph, Lubbock Monterey
Defensive MVP – Alejandro Ortiz Cruz, soph, Lubbock Monterey
Newcomer of the YearOscar Amaya, soph, Abilene High
Goalkeeper of the YearTalan Rodriguez, sr, Lubbock Cooper
Coach of the Year – Simon Hernandez, Lubbock Monterey

Abilene High
First Team – Juan Luna, sr, center-back; Karter Batten, sr, center-midfielder; David Mash, sr, right-back
Second Team – Garrison Scoggin, jr, center-midfielder; Roberto Hernandez, jr, defender/midfielder; Brayden Henry, soph, forward
Honorable mention – Caden Camp, soph, center-back; Joel McPherson, jr, goalkeeper

First Team – Alaka Assumani, sr, defender; Jorge Monroy, soph, goalkeeper
Second Team – Joe Cortes, sr, defender; Christian Hernandez, sr, midfielder
Honorable mention – Joshua Okorodudu, jr, midfielder; Jeramiah Appel, jr, defender

MVP – Bailey Cate, Lubbock Cooper
Offensive MVP – Ali Villanueva, Lubbock Coronado
Defensive MVP – Aniah Cortez, Lubbock Coronado
Newcomer of the Year – Claire Fellows, Abilene Wylie
Goalkeeper of the Year – Mallory Bankhead, Abilene Wylie
Coach of the Year – Maddie Martin, Abilene Wylie

Abilene High
First Team – Keeley Aston, jr, defender
Second Team – Symone Cano, sr, defender
Honorable Mention – Marin Murray, sr, midfielder; Rheauna DeLaGarza, soph, midfielder