Now that a week has passed in the girls athlete of the year voting, it’s time for Daily News readers to decide which of the four finalists for the 2018-19 Galveston County boys athlete of the year should be awarded that honor.
Readers can vote for their favorite finalist by finding this article online at galvnews.com. Voting closes at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 27, and the Galveston County boys athlete of the year will be announced in the Sunday, July 28 sports section.
The 2018-19 Galveston County boys athlete of the year finalists are as follows:
KIRK COLLINS, CLEAR SPRINGS, CLASS OF 2020
The Chargers’ star athlete Collins has the distinction of being the only one of this year’s finalists to be both a state champion and a two-sport stud.
In the spring, Collins blew away the field with a time of 13.82 seconds to win gold in the 110-meter hurdles at the state track and field championships — where he also won silver in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 36.86 seconds, just 0.05 seconds behind the winner.
In the fall, Collins was a standout cornerback for the Chargers football team with 49 tackles, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 12 passes broken up. Collins was at his best in Clear Springs’ epic comeback win over Dickinson, where he had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. One of those fumble recoveries, Collins took to the house for a touchdown, and his second interception helped set up the game-winning score.
CARTER CROOKSTON, CLEAR CREEK, CLASS OF 2020
Among the list of local state champions this season, perhaps no one had a more dominant run on the grand stage than Clear Creek’s tennis ace Crookston.
Not only did Crookston not lose one match at the UIL state tennis tournament, but he didn’t even drop a single set — posting three straight-set victories to become the first state singles champion in tennis for Clear Creek since 1980.
In the state quarterfinal, Crookston bested Daniel French of Austin Westlake by the scores of 6-4, 6-3, and he then went on to topple Garrett Skelly of The Woodlands, 6-3, 6-3, to punch his ticket to the championship match. In the state final, Crookston cruised past Kyle Totorica of San Antonio Reagan, 6-4, 6-2.
MANNY ELIZONDO, FRIENDSWOOD, CLASS OF 2019
While it’s a rare and excellent feat to become a state champion, it’s even rarer and more excellent to win state to cap off an undefeated season. That’s exactly what Elizondo achieved for the Mustangs in wrestling this year.
At the state wrestling meet and competing in the Class 5A 170-pound division, Elizondo ended a 20-0 season with a 3-2 decision victory over Branson Britten of Canyon Randall. The winning move in that match for Elizondo was executing an escape in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. Elizondo then held off Britten in a tense 2-minute final period, as Britten desperately tried to secure a takedown.
Elizondo pinned his first two opponents in the state meet’s opening rounds, and then scored a convincing decision win, 8-2, over Cullen Davee in his semifinal match.
LANDON ROQUE, DICKINSON, CLASS of 2019
Roque was an absolute difference maker for the Gators this past year, both on the gridiron and on the diamond.
In an outstanding season helming the linebacker position, Roque recorded 126 total tackles (65 solo) and was named District 24-6A’s defensive most valuable player. Roque was also named a finalist for the Houston Touchdown Club Player of the Year award, placing him among the best football players in the Houston area.
Transitioning to baseball in the spring looked seamless for Roque, as he finished the season with a .344 batting average, .464 on-base percentage, 11 extra-base hits (including three home runs), 18 runs batted in and 37 runs scored. Playing one of the toughest positions on the field, shortstop, Roque had a solid .911 fielding percentage. Roque was 24-6A’s second team shortstop in the all-district honors.