The Dallas Morning News

Frisco Wakeland goes for boys and girls state soccer titles this weekend.

Girls, boys can repeat rare 2018 achievemen­t of double state crowns

- By RICK KRETZCHMAR Special Contributo­r

Kayden Amador was playing in a state semifinal soccer game for Frisco Wakeland in Denton. It was early in the second half, and the senior midfielder had just made a pass that led to a Mckenna Jenkins goal to tie the score with Grapevine at 2-all. She was looking to make another big play to put Wakeland ahead.

Obviously, it was an intense time.

Yet in the middle of this intensity she heard a noise from the stands. It was the fans welcoming the Wakeland boys team to the game, the conclusion of a sprint from Midland after the boys defeated El Paso Del Valle 4-2 in their state semifinal. The boys quickly become fans, and this gave Amador a good distractio­n.

“In my mind I’m thinking, ‘Yes! They made it back in time!’ ” Amador said. “When they were cheering for us, you could tell it was helping with our energy.”

The Wakeland girls scored their go-ahead goal shortly thereafter and won 3-2 on Tuesday. Connor Pettigrew, goalkeeper for the Wakeland boys, said the team was repaying the girls for their support during the boys’ 1-0 win over Longview in the Region II final in Sulphur Springs the weekend before.

“There wasn’t a lot of people there for our game, and it was a long drive,” said Pettigrew, a Midwestern State signee. “But the girls team was there in Sulphur Springs. It was great to see and hear them.”

Now the teams have the goal of repeating history.

The Wakeland girls will play Dripping Springs in the UIL Class 5A state championsh­ip game at 2 p.m. Friday at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown. The boys will meet Humble Kingwood Park for their state title at 2 p.m. Saturday. If both Wakeland teams win, the school will repeat rare state success.

Both Wakeland programs won Class 5A state titles in 2018 as well. The only other time two soccer programs won UIL state championsh­ips in the same year was Richardson in 1985.

There are seniors on the Wakeland girls team who have gone through this rare experience twice, including Amador and defender Natalie Cox, who admits that a chance for this is special. So apparently is the camaraderi­e.

“We go cheer for the boys team whenever we get a chance to,” Cox said. “The best part is we're super close with the boys team.”

Three years ago a lot of good times were around food.

Amador said the teams would usually meet for pizza after each round in the playoffs. In the Austin area they had more meals together. Cox said an Italian dinner stood out because it was a victory celebratio­n and also a farewell to girls coach Iseed Khoury, who retired after Wakeland beat Grapevine for the state championsh­ip.

Amador said a downside this time around is the COVID pandemic, which prevents the teams from having postgame pizza together.

“We can't really do what we did then,” Amador said. “We get together when we can.”

Wakeland boys coach Andy Holt, who led his squad to state titles in 2017 and 2018, said the pandemic has toned down their mutual success. There was a sendoff for the girls team Thursday morning, but unlike 2018 a pep rally was not held. The halls were filled with wellwisher­s for an in-school parade before the teams left in 2018, but only a limited number of people were there Thursday.

“Both teams set out goals, and they accomplish­ed them,” Holt said. “You still feel a sense of the Wakeland community coming together over what both teams have done.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States