It’s safe to say 2020 has been one wild year for everyone. In the world of sports, we’ve seen the sacrifices being made and steps taken to make the games a reality.
Wylie East had a roller coaster of a 2020, with cancellations, frustrating seasons and battling through all of the circumstances for another successful year in the world of athletics. Here is the 2020 Wylie East year in review.
Wylie East wrestlers collect state medals
It was a fantastic season for the Wylie East wrestling team.
The Raiders had two grapplers earn medals in the Class 5A tournament. Overall, They claimed 14th out of 77 teams. The result was one spot higher than their finish from the season before.
Canyon Randall, Midlothian and Carrollton Creekview earned team titles.
D’Andre Brown closed out high school career in storybook fashion with a second straight appearance at state.
He emerged with the first place finish in the 113-pound weight class.
Brown beat Frisco Centennial’s Tyten Volk by sudden victory first 6-4 in the deciding match.
Saucedo, younger brother of 2019 state champion Geronimo Saucedo, beat Burleson Centennial’s Hank Meyer by forfeit for third. The previous year, he was 0-2 in the 160-pound weight class and was able to have a standout performance this year.
He opened with a fall win at the 5:40 mark over Rome Esquivel from Leander Glenn in the championship round.
That was followed by a fall defeat at 4:51 to Jadyn Heaton from Canyon Randall. The loss dropped him to the consolation side of the bracket.
Saucedo then bounced back to get into the consolation bracket, eventually coming out on top and reaching the third place match.
Girls’ soccer misses chance to compete for state championship
Wylie East had major hopes of making a run in the state playoffs in 2020. The Lady Raiders were 19-1-2 and 7-1 overall in district play with just a few weeks remaining in the season. They were due for a week-long break with spring break, but eventually didn’t come back because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wylie East had been one of the best teams in class 5A until that point, ranking as high as No. 9 in The Dallas Morning News class 5A rankings. They also ended the season with seven straight clean sheets and outscored opponents 77 to 8 in 22 games played. It was a fantastic season for Wylie East girls’ soccer, but ultimately the Lady Raiders wished they had the opportunity to prove they could win state.
Spring sports: Baseball/Softball/Golf/Track and Field
Raider track and field was scheduled to compete in the Hebron Invitational when the athletes were notified that the season was on hold. Some of the Lady Raiders track athletes were disappointed to not be able to see their season to the end.
Emily Flores added she was shocked, because she didn’t know the seriousness of the situation.
“I was actually on a college visit the day everything changed and went crazy. Once everything sank in, I was devastated and just hoping and praying for a miracle,” she said.
Lady Raider softball had just closed out the first half of the schedule and the team was set for district the following week.
Katelyn Herrod wasn’t entirely surprised because of all that was going on.
“I was upset because I knew, at that moment, there was a chance I wouldn’t get to play the rest of my senior year,” she said. “I knew we really had a shot at being amazing this year.”
Wylie East track was viewed as an underdog heading into the season, but the Lady Raiders thought they had the talent needed to win district 10-5A.
The softball team started 5-2 on the season, scoring 45 runs in its first seven games before the COVID-19 shutdown.
Wylie East boys’ basketball use scoring prowess to reach playoffs
Behind the scoring of Xavier Smith and Jose Melendez, Wylie East finished the regular season 17-16 with a 5-5 district record. While it didn’t seem in doubt, the Raiders won three of the last four games in district play to lock up the four seed in the district 10-5A standings. That’s when they went to play Wakeland bi-district playoff round, where Wylie East struggled in the first quarter and found themselves down 17-6 in the first quarter. After that quarter, the Raiders battled back but it wasn’t enough to get out of the first round.
Wylie East’s 583 points in district play was second in the district in scoring for the season. While Smith and Melendez graduated, the Raiders showed they can compete in district and will look to get back to the playoffs in 2020.
Anjelika Abraham finishes 26th overall
In a tough district, Wylie East couldn’t break through, finishing fifth overall for the boys’ and girls’ district races. They finished behind powerhouses in cross country such as Lovejoy, Rock Hill and McKinney North, but the Raiders only finished with one top 10 finisher from the boys’ and girls’ team, Anjelika Abraham.
Abraham had been one of the top runners for Wylie East all season and perhaps the most consistent. She showed it in this one finishing with a time of 20:06.4.
The next highest finisher was Kayla Ramirez, who finished 30th overall.
The boys’ team didn’t have anyone finish higher than 19th, who was Bryce Hurley. Hurley was also one of the top runners all season from the boys’ team and finished with a time of 18:15.6. Zalyn Hamilton and Eliel Cortez each also finished in the top 30.
Abraham was the only runner to compete in the regional championships for Wylie East in the 5A classification after finishing in the top 10 in the district meet. She was also really close to competing for a state championship, as she finished just seven places out of qualifying, just 26 seconds behind the lowest qualifier. Overall, Abraham finished 26th overall at the girls’ run and finished with a time of 20:18.22. She had a strong season overall, including her personal best run earlier in the season that put her second all time on the Wylie East cross country records board. Coach Justin Eddy said she had a fantastic season and helped the Lady Raiders achieve some high goals overall.
Lady Raiders’ volleyball reaches playoffs on play-in game
It was down to the literal final point to determine whether Wylie East would make the playoffs.
Trailing twice in the match by a score of 1-0 and then 2-1, the Lady Raiders mounted two comebacks in beating Princeton 3-2 in the play-in game to clinch the fourth seed in the bi-district playoffs.
Wylie East was able to get the win despite a number of players being out for undisclosed reasons.
That was as far as they could reach, however, as they fell to Reedy in straight sets to close out their season.
The win over Princeton was a back-and-forth affair that was a struggle out of the gate. Princeton controlled the match in the first set winning with a score of 25-11.
Wylie East head coach Lisa Curry said that the team did a great job of settling in after a shaky first set.
“First set we were playing a little tight and a little nervous,” Curry said. “I told them, ‘Hey, we’re here to play and we’re here to win,’ so the team settled in and were able to get some points in the second set.”
The second set flipped in Wylie East’s favor about midway. They subbed in Baylor Rodgers to serve and she combined with some of the other Lady Raiders flipped the game on the serve, getting key points in their favor on the way to the Wylie East 25-19 set victory.
Wylie East players showed coach Curry they felt confident in their abilities and experience and executed when it mattered the most.
“We’ve been there before and we believe that we can win,” Curry said. “I’ve always felt that the more relaxed a kid is then the more relaxed that they play. So, we worked on keeping them light and keeping the mood up no matter the situation.”
It wasn’t, however, enough to get past Reedy, the top seed in their district and 17-6 on the season. They controlled the Wylie East match throughout, winning 3-0 with the sets of 25-10, 25-17 and 25-14.
With four seniors on the roster, East finished the season 14-12 and an 8-7 district record.
They improved over last season when they finished below .500, but were again unable to advance past the first round.
Wylie East season ends after difficult campaign; Coach Dormady resigns
The Wylie East Raiders’ 2020 football campaign ended the evening of Dec. 4 at home after a 51-0 loss to Highland Park.
The defeat culminated a season in which Wylie East finished 1-7 overall and 0-6 in district. They experienced a number of tough losses, battled COVID-19 – two games were eliminated due to that disease – but also included a number of top individual performances that offer promise for the future.
The Raiders’ lone victory came during the second game of 2020, in which Wylie East dominated Irving Nimitz for a convincing 42-18 road victory. There were other times where had the ball bounced the right way or luck had been on East’s side, a few more victories might have turned up. One case was the Nov. 13 home game with John Tyler, during which the Raiders outplayed their foes for much of the contest, only to see victory snatched away in the final minutes.
After the season and three years with the Wylie East football program, Mike Dormady resigned from the head coaching position of the Raiders’ football program. This comes after a 5-24 record during his stint, including failing to win a district game in the three seasons.
Girls’ basketball wins district, has top player
Lady Raider basketball hauled in all-district selections for 2019-20.
A’kasha Davis led the way as the Most Valuable Player in 10-5A.
Lanie Gooch made the first team.
Second teamers were Taylor Dailey and Aleena Dawkins.
The coaching staff had Michelle Nyakundi, Lyndsie Byers, Kiley Hicks and Aaliyah Halstied.
Academic all-district went to Dailey, Seanna McDonald, Nyakundi, Morgan Healey, Gooch, Dawkins, Hicks, Davis, Lyndsie Byers, Charisma Pierson and A’Kirra Anderson.
Outside of district, Davis was picked 5A Region II All-Region by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.
The Texas Girls Coaches Association had her an All-Region selection with Gooch, and Davis was on the 5A-6A Red All-Star team.
Wylie East finished off the season 20-14 overall and tied McKinney North for first in 10-5A at 8-2.
The Lady Raiders were the top seed in the Class 5A Region II playoffs after winning a coin flip.
Their run ended abruptly in a 63-42 loss to Frisco Centennial in 5A Region II bi-district at Allen High School.
They’ll lose just two players to graduation in McDonald and Pierson.
Boys’ soccer misses out on senior day festivities and playoffs
Clinging on the fourth seed in the district standings, the Wylie East Raiders soccer team ended the year with a 14-5 record and 4-4 district record. They finished behind some of the top teams in the district in Lovejoy, McKinney North and Sherman, but the Raiders proved they could be a good defensive team during the year. Maxwell Quaye, Jack Townsend, Alexander Anaya, Marcus Saldana and Zane Farraro all graduated from the team.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]