Abilene ISD Communications

From West Texas to the Panhandle and down to Central Texas, Abilene ISD student-athletes were in the spotlight last weekend, and they performed brilliantly in every area.

A state championship. Dramatic finishes. Series wins. Last week and weekend had it all as AISD students earned a state title, a state runner-up spot, and series wins on the baseball and softball diamonds.

Here’s a roundup of what happened in AISD Athletics last week, and what is ahead this week for local student-athletes:

Senior Tristan Reyna capped his phenomenal career last weekend in El Paso at the Texas High School Gymnastics Coaches Association state championship meet with a state title in the vault. Reyna – who also finished third in the All-Around competition with a score of 112.70 – won the vault with a combined score of 19.7, winning the title over rival Will Brackeen of Lubbock High (second with a score of 19.5).

The highlight of the meet for Reyna was on the second day of competition when he scored a perfect 10.0 in the optional phase of the meet. That propelled him to the state title in an event where Abilene High’s Aaron Grow finished tied for seventh (18.85). Reyna was ninth and Grow 11th in the floor exercise, and Reyna and Abilene High’s Korban Jackson tied for sixth on the pommel horse (18.550). Reyna was fourth on the parallel bars (18.95), tied for sixth on the horizontal bar (18.80), and 11th on the rings. Reyna also received the THSGCA Collegiate Scholarship.

AISD gymnastics head coach Brandon Cooke was announced as the head coach of Team Texas for next month’s Senior National Championship meet in Anaheim, California, and he’ll be taking three of his gymnasts to the national meet: Reyna, Grow, and Cooper’s Evan Banks all earned spots on the team.

Cooper’s outstanding jumper Jazlyn Hatcher capped a phenomenal senior season last Friday with a second-place finish in the long jump at the Class 5A state championship meet at Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium in Austin.

Hatcher was eighth in the event through four jumps with a best mark of 17 feet, 6.25 inches, a mark she posted on her first attempt. On her fifth attempt, however, she came through with her best jump, posting a mark of 19-0.75 to move into second place, where she ended the day.

Hatcher won the long jump in every meet in which she was entered this year until the state meet. Included in those wins were victories at the District 4-5A, Area 3-4, and Region I-5A championship meets. She also set the school record in the event at the district meet with a winning mark of 19-5.0.

The Abilene High boys’ 4×100 relay team of Bryson Perez, Jaden Jackson, Brayden Henry, and Ryland Bradford finished eighth in the event last Friday at the state championship meet. The Eagles finished in 41.42, just behind McKinney North, which took seventh in 41.41.

The Abilene Eagles (19-13-1) needed some Game 3 heroics last Saturday to advance past Plainview, and senior Beckham Paul responded. Abilene High knocked off the Bulldogs, 11-3, in the first game of the series Thursday, but then lost the second game of the series, 5-3, to set up the if-necessary game.

The Eagles trailed 3-0 going to the bottom of the seventh of Game 3 before finally getting on the board after Camp Churchill walked, went to second on a walk by Connel Colley, and scored on a one-out RBI single by Danian Martinez to make it 3-1. A walk by Brady Bennett loaded the bases, setting the stage for Paul. The AHS center fielder worked the count to 2-2 before roping an extra-base hit into left field. Colley, Martinez, and Bennett all scored on the bases-clearing double, sending the Eagles to the next round.

The Eagles will take on El Paso Ysleta (25-4) in the area round of the playoffs this weekend in a best-of-three series in Monahans. Ysleta won District 2-5A with a 9-1 record and dispatched El Paso High in two games last weekend, winning by the scores of 14-4 and 13-2. The first game of the series is set for 5 p.m. Friday with Game 2 scheduled to start Saturday at 10 a.m. If a third game is necessary, it will start 30 minutes after the end of Game 2. All three games are scheduled to air live on AISD Live.

The Abilene High softball team didn’t need the heroic finish that the baseball team needed because senior pitcher Diana Silva once again was dominant in the circle. Silva threw seven innings combined in Abilene High’s two-game sweep of El Paso Ysleta, giving up just seven hits while striking out 11 batters and setting a new AHS career strikeout record.

Abilene High (23-13-1) won Friday’s first game, 4-3, behind Kinzley Cantu (1 for 3 with a double and three RBI), Brieyonna Reed (2 for 4 with a double), and Andria Starks (1 for 3). In Saturday’s series-clincher, the Eagles were powered by Cantu (2 for 4 with a triple and four RBI), Mariah Estrada (2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI), and Marissa Cardenas (2 for 2).

Silva had 11 strikeouts in the two games and broke the program’s career strikeout record against Ysleta. She has 390 strikeouts going into this weekend’s Regional Quarterfinal playoff series, breaking the old record of 385 set by Kaylen (Washington) Urrutia, who pitched for the Lady Eagles from 2016-19.

Silva will have a chance to add to that record this weekend when Abilene High takes on District 4-5A champion Wylie in the regional quarterfinal round of the Class 5A playoffs. Wylie has won nine straight games going into the series. Its last loss was on March 28 when Silva no-hit the Lady Bulldogs in a 2-0 AHS win. The first game of the series is set for 6 p.m. Friday at Wells Field on the ACU campus with the second game scheduled for 12 p.m. Saturday. If a third game is necessary, it will start 30 minutes after the end of Game 2. All three games are scheduled to air live on AISD Live.

The Abilene High School girls’ doubles team of Abby Bran and Allie Dunn and its boys’ No. 1 singles player, Noah Morris, will all be playing this weekend in the Region I-5A championship tournament at the McLeod Tennis Center on the Texas Tech campus in Lubbock. Players from Region I will vie for championships in boys and girls singles and doubles, and mixed doubles, May 8-9. The top two finishers in each category will advance to the Class 5A state tournament, which will be May 16-17 at the Annemarie Tennis Center in San Antonio.