2019 was one heck of a way to close out a decade in Austin County’s sports history. From the top of Bellville to the southern-most point in Wallis, it was The Sealy News’ honor to bring you the sports news for the county and there was certainly no shortage of tremendous accomplishments.
This past calendar year had numerous achievements not only on the district and regional levels but also at the state- and nation-wide levels with another border-breaking performance to boot.
The staff compiled the top 10 stories of the year on both the news and sports side and we hope you enjoy this recap to find out what the top sports story was this year.
As always, you can find all the latest sports news at SealyNews.com/Sports and be on the lookout for some breakout feature stories from this past year with a few coming on the gridiron, a couple on the track and one each on the soccer pitch and off-road course.
Until then, enjoy this countdown which starts at #10 with the seniors in high school who signed on to play at the next level.
Five soon-to-be Sealy graduates put pen to paper pledging they will make the step to collegiate athletics; two for both baseball and football as well as a cheerleader.
First was Laci Prause who signed on to join the defending junior college national champion Blinn Buccaneers’ cheerleading squad on April 24. In her last five years in a Sealy uniform, she garnered All-American nominations from the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) and made the team her final three years.
Tiger keeps his stripes
A.J. McGee earned first-team all-district defensive back and second-team all-district wide receiver honors in his senior year on the gridiron, helping the Sealy Tigers finish the regular season undefeated and go three rounds in the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
He signed on with the East Texas Baptist Tigers May 10, saying, “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.”
Two schools one signing ceremony
Not long after McGee signed with ETBU, he was joined by running back Ivan Bolden, who was another force for the Sealy offense en route to a clean regular season and two postseason wins, earning the district’s overall MVP award.
While Bolden also retained his Tiger stripes, Garrett Zaskoda shared the spotlight that May 21 and signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball for the Rice Owls after quarterbacking the Sealy offense the past three years.
On the diamond, however, Zaskoda earned first-team all-district recognition from the pitcher’s rubber and was named an all-star by the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association after helping the Tigers get back to the postseason. In 2019, he provided the winning hit to advance over La Grange in the bi-district round after allowing only two hits from the mound all game.
Kelley signs to be a Beaver
All season long, Zaskoda and Hunter Kelley were the top options to take the ball for Sealy baseball skipper Dane Bennett and the latter announced his commitment to the next level June 5.
Not only did his school of choice fit the bill athletically, but it also had the linesman program he was looking for and for that, he shipped up to Pratt Community College in Kansas to become a Beaver after graduating this past spring.
He finished his high school baseball career as District 25’s most valuable pitcher, recording five district starts which covered 39 innings and amounted to a 3-1 record where he racked up 49 strikeouts and surrendered only 19 hits, finishing with a 1.77 ERA. Also, he was named an all-star by the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association.