It’s time again for Galveston County high school sports fans to get out and vote for a boys and girls athlete of the year for the 2017-18 high school sports campaign.
First, The Daily News presents its four finalists for county girls athlete of the year featuring three multi-sport standouts and a breakout track star. Click on this article at galvnews.com to find the poll and vote on a winner. Voting will end July 14, and the girls athlete of the year sports section will print July 15.
Here’s a little more information about this year’s finalists:
CLASS OF 2018, CLEAR FALLS
Garcia’s memorable senior year began with volleyball season, where she led a young Knights team to an unlikely playoff run all the way to the Region III-6A championship match — Clear Falls volleyball’s deepest postseason trek since a state final appearance three years prior. Garcia was named all-state by both the Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches and the Texas Girls Coaches Association and was picked as an all-District 24-6A co-most valuable player after putting up well-rounded numbers, which included a team-best 489 kills.
When track season rolled around, Garcia finally got her moment of glory at the end of what was an injury-plagued high school career. Her laundry list of injuries included a severely sprained ankle suffered just two weeks before the district meet this season, but she overcame it and advanced past district, area and regional meets before claiming a Class 6A state championship gold medal in the 300-meter hurdles.
CLASS OF 2018, BALL HIGH
It’s rare to see an athlete make a varsity roster in three different team sports, let alone play an integral role in all three, but that’s exactly what Lee accomplished as a part of the volleyball, basketball and softball programs.
During volleyball season, the senior Lee served as a team captain, and while the team was hit with injuries to other key players, she was a steady presence for a competitive Ball High squad, sharing the lead in total sets played with Caroline Baze with 52, in which Lee contributed 200 digs (among other key plays). Lee was an honorable mention in the all-District 23-5A volleyball awards.
Lee was a starting forward for Ball High’s most successful team last season, the Lady Tors girls basketball team. A reliable rebounder and defender, Lee didn’t score the most points but was a high-percentage shooter, which kept opposing defenses honest in guarding her higher-scoring teammates. The Lady Tors ended up as outright district champions for only the second time in program history, and Lee was a second-team all-district selection.
On the softball field, Lee was a strong defensive presence at the all-important shortstop position and posted a .282 batting average en route to earning a nod as an all-district second team infielder.
CLASS OF 2018, HITCHCOCK
For outstanding girls athletes at smaller high schools, hopping from volleyball to basketball to track and so on is pretty much par for the course, and it was no different for the multi-sport standout Otems at Hitchcock.
The senior is best remembered this past school year as a key member of the Lady Bulldogs’ dominant basketball team that made it back to the Class 3A regional tournament. Playing the post and often times being the catalyst of Hitchcock’s trademark up-tempo, swarming defense, Otems averaged a double-double on the season (12.1 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game) and earned all-district co-MVP honors (sharing the award despite Hitchcock beating 24-3A foes by an average of nearly 50 points per game) for the 12-0 district champion Lady ‘Dawgs.
Another highlight of Otems’ senior year was once again qualifying for the state track and field championships as a member of Hitchcock’s 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter relay teams.
CLASS OF 2020, LA MARQUE
From the out-of-nowhere-to-star-status category comes girls athlete of the year finalist Woodkins of La Marque, who became the surprising face of the Lady Cougars’ track and field program this past season.
Woodkins entered her freshman season a year ago without any experience competing in track but took to the sport naturally. Despite only having a minimal amount of runs under her belt, Woodkins experienced a meteoric rise this season — avoiding any sort of sophomore slump. Competing in the 400-meter and 200-meter runs, Woodkins simply kept getting better and better, and at the Region III-3A meet, she scored gold in both events.
The breakout season just got even more amazing for Woodkins at the state championships, as she took home gold in dominant fashion in the 400-meter run.
Editor's note: Final numbers for the 2017-18 county girls athlete of the year vote were taken 4:02 p.m. July 14, 2018.