Abilene ISD Communications

Before the Class 5A state track and field championship meet earlier this month, Cooper High School senior Jazlyn Hatcher had resigned herself to the fact that her appearance in Austin would be her last competition.

She had been waiting to hear from track and field coaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a scholarship offer. But in the days leading to the state meet, she still didn’t have an offer from UTSA. Despite a season that saw her win the long jump at every meet she competed in until a runner-up finish at the state meet, Hatcher thought she would be attending the University of Texas as a student, and that her days of competitive track and field were over.

But a late push by UTSA coaches reeled her in, and on Wednesday she signed a National Letter-of-Intent to join the Roadrunners’ track and field program in the fall. Hatcher wasn’t the only Cooper athlete to sign a letter of intent or agreement on Wednesday. She was joined by 11 other Cougars who agreed to play at the collegiate level.

Also making their collegiate choices known this spring were football players Eric Tonche (McMurry University), Malik Katuma (McMurry), and Cayden Garcia (Wayland Baptist University); boys basketball players Kam Gray (Ranger College) and Jordan Willis (McMurry); girls basketball player J’Lee Sloan (McMurry); girls track standouts Anne-Lie Waite (Lubbock Christian University), and Samarah Green (Texas A&M-Commerce); soccer player Anita Alcantar (University of the Southwest); boys tennis players Gavin Hail (Hardin-Simmons University) and Bailey Zapata (McMurry); and boys golfer Brennan Moreau (McMurry).

In addition to Wednesday’s signing event, Cooper wide receiver Jaylen Parker (University of Mary Hardin-Baylor), wide receiver Noah Warren (McMurry), offensive lineman Xanaan Fletcher (Wayland Baptist); and tight end Clayton Gift (Sul Russ State University) all agreed in February to play at the next level.

Despite her terrific senior season, Hatcher said her personal-best mark of 19 feet, 5.0 inches might have kept UTSA coaches from going after her earlier in the recruiting process.

“UTSA has good jumpers; their best jumper has a personal best of better than 22 feet,” Hatcher said. “I think they wanted to see my potential before they made me an offer. I improved throughout the season, and I believe I can put up good jumps in college. My potential is what finally sold them on me.”

Hatcher was also a Top-25 student at Cooper – No. 10 in the 2024 graduating class – which means she juggled participating in volleyball, basketball, softball, and track and field with completing academic assignments.

“It probably hit me last year as a junior how much dedication and discipline it would take to reach my goals,” said Hatcher, who will major in Child Development at UTSA. “My grades were always good, but the academic work started getting more difficult last year, and that’s when I knew I had to prioritize.”

And now she’s heading to San Antonio, leading a large contingent of Cougars to the next level of athletics.

“This is a great day,” Cooper athletics coordinator and head football coach Aaron Roan said. “These successes aren’t just athletics. These kids have put in a lot of hard work on the field or court and in the classroom. This is great for the families, the campus, and all the entities that play a part in getting these kids to the next level. This great group of kids will represent our campus, school, and community at an extremely high level.”

While he never directly coached Hatcher, Roan was highly impressed with Hatcher, both on the track and off.

“She’s a special young lady,” Roan said. “After watching her compete, it’s clear she’s been blessed with tremendous talent. She’s also been blessed with the work ethic to put that talent to good use. It’s been fun to see the work she’s put in be rewarded. Watching her jump and compete at the state track meet – especially that fifth jump when she moved into second place – was something special. She’s an intelligent young woman and will do a great job representing Cooper and the Abilene community for a long time.”

Abilene High Spring Signees
Abilene High School has also seen a number of its student-athletes agree to offers to compete at the college level. On Wednesday, May 15, four AHS female student-athletes – volleyball players Amelia Carr (Arlington Baptist) and Yasmine De La Garza (Vernon College), track standout Adriahna Peeples (Hardin-Simmons), and soccer star Laila Brown (McMurry) – signed agreements to play collegiately.

On April 30, Abilene High football standouts Jadrian Carrillo and Bryce Neves and baseball standout Beckham Paul agreed to attend and play at McMurry beginning in the fall.

In February, AHS football players Brelon Badon (wide receiver) and Chad Lara (running back) signed to play at ACU, while quarterback Dylan Slack pledged to play at McMurry. Also agreeing to play collegiately from Abilene High were running back Bam Rashaw (HSU), defensive back DeMarco Upshaw (Tyler Junior College), and tight end Trey Simpson (Angelo State). Also signing that day was AHS baseball standout Brady Bennett, who pledged to play at HSU.

Last fall, softball standout Amyah Stark signed to play at the NCAA Division I at ACU.

“We just completed one of the best years we’ve had in a long time in boys and girls athletics,” AHS athletic coordinator and head football coach Mike Fullen said. “Each one of these athletes\ made a tremendous impact on our entire program. They’ll carry the Abilene High brand to their next stop, and we look forward to seeing the impact they make in college and beyond.