How do you pick out a single, life-altering highlight among a reel of so many?
For Makenzie Robertson and Trae Davis, the 2009-2010 Super Centex Athletes of the Year, the answer is simple: you can’t.
The multisport stars cobbled together two of the most impressive high school careers in their respective schools’ histories, producing accomplishments too expansive to boil down to singular terms.
There were the state titles, of which Robertson won three in as many sports, an accomplishment her basketball coach Todd Monsey said “may never be duplicated.”
There were the accolades, with 14 Super Centex superlatives spread between them throughout their careers.
Then there were the multisport barriers, which both Baylor-committed athletes tore down at every turn. With his selection this year, Davis becomes the first Mexia athlete to take home the award in its 24-year existence.
“I always loved all three sports,” said Davis, who played football, basketball and baseball. “Everybody always told me that if you took all your time and focused it on one sport, you can be even better. But I just love so many sports, and I just love to play them all. I continued to play them, and it all worked out.”
The same can certainly be said of Robertson.
“I think Makenzie has a special combination between her ability along with just a selfless nature about her,” Monsey said. “She’s extremely humble, and one that doesn’t really seek awards, yet they seem to find her.”
Girls’ Athlete of the Year:
Makenzie Robertson, Midway
Robertson finally got a hard-earned break this summer.
By her estimation, her family’s vacation to Florida this week is her first legitimate chance to slow down since she began her sports career at Midway four years ago.
It won’t last long, either. She reports to summer school to begin her Baylor basketball career July 6, two days after she gets back.
Such is the life of a three-sport champion.
“I just went nonstop,” Robertson said. “Before volleyball would finish, I’d start going to some basketball open gyms and shootarounds and stuff. And in basketball, when we’d get deeper in the playoffs, that would go into softball, so I’d have to miss the beginning of the season and just go straight into that and earn my spots back.”
If it sounds tiring, that’s because it was. It didn’t stop Robertson from making a mark like few before.
There were few mountains Robertson had yet to climb by the time her senior year arrived. She was already twice a state champion, once in volleyball and then again in basketball her junior year. She’d also been to a state tournament with the softball team in 2008, which ended with a loss in the semifinals.
Despite dropping volleyball as an upperclassman due to the sheer strain of the other sports, she was already well established as one of Midway’s most promising returning basketball players and a mainstay in the softball lineup.
But she still had one more ring to collect this year. She helped key Midway’s run to a softball title this season to finish her career with enough championship jewelry to turn her hand into a glittering showpiece, a testament to her durability as an athlete.
“She’s one of the most competitive players that we’ve ever had at Midway,” Monsey said. “Her desire to be great is something extraordinary. It sounds cliché, but when Makenzie decides she wants to do something, she has the ability and the drive to get things done.”
If across-the-board improvement is the name of the game in high school sports, few did it better than Robertson. The driven star began high school with ambitions to play three high school sports on the varsity level, a task few accomplish.
She credits her maturation and an increased intensity with helping her reach the state pinnacle in all three.
“Sometimes I’ll hear my mom yell from the stands, but I pretty much zone everything out and focus on the game,” said Robertson, who also finished eighth academically in her class. “I think these last few years I have gotten more intense.”
Volleyball, a sport she played mostly “for fun,” yielded the first ring her sophomore year. She was called up to the varsity team that season, and while she wasn’t an integral piece, it stoked her thirst for titles.
“They’re all amazing,” Robertson said of her state experiences. “They all kind of run together sometimes, but each one has something special that I’ll remember.”
In her two money sports — softball and basketball — swift development rounded out her game in both arenas.
Her basketball career arc began as a sharpshooter, a role she’s sure to fill ably when she gets to Baylor. This season, she’ll play under her celebrated mom, Kim Mulkey, a dream she’s harbored ever since she can remember. But she worked plenty hard to get there.
With the array of girls’ basketball talent Midway produced through her junior year — including Division I players like Cokie Reed and DeLisa Gross — Robertson wasn’t counted on to be much else than a downtown bomber.
But her role evolved her senior year. She still shot 43 percent from behind the arc, even hitting an astonishing nine 3-pointers in a single game, but she became more than just a shooting threat, instead doing a lot of the little things off the ball to keep Midway going.
“We had so much domination in the paint, I was basically there just to shoot,” Robertson said. “But especially this last year, I think at one point I even had to play post in a game, and I’m not that big.”
Robertson began her softball career as something of a meek left-handed slap hitter. She finished her career as a bruising middle-of-the-order hitting threat from the right side, a title she lived up to when she sliced a seventh inning walk-off double to push Midway past No. 1 Frisco Wakeland, 3-2, and into the state tournament this year.
Two wins later, she earned her second first-team Super Centex selection of the year and hoisted yet another state trophy.
Not a bad way to end a tiring yet satisfying high school career.
“The entire playoffs were amazing,” Robertson said. “It was just the feeling and emotions that went through us.”
Boys’ Athlete of the Year:
Trae Davis, Mexia
The enterprising Davis always kept his options open.
Even entering a promising senior year, Davis wasn’t quite sure which direction his sports career would take, and there was more than one entirely feasible option.
Davis was a three-sport star for nearly his entire high school career, featuring as a guard for the basketball team, the quarterback for the football team and a hard-throwing pitcher for the baseball team. The latter two were poised to take him to a premier school on scholarship.
But as his senior year got started, he saw no need to make a definite decision on his future.
Not yet, anyway. He was having too much fun.
“I heard it from a lot of different angles,” Davis said. “But I just mainly talked a lot about it with my family and I ended up making the decision to just stick with baseball.”
His sterling high school career to that point is what opened the door.
In a move that may have puzzled onlookers who watched him earn second team Super Centex as a freshman, Davis skipped out on baseball during his sophomore year to recharge his batteries.
For Davis, all that meant was playing basketball and football, for which he nearly won Super Centex newcomer of the year as a sophomore as Mexia’s stylish quarterback.
“Number one is what a competitor he is,” Mexia baseball coach Monte Huggins said. “Not only just in baseball but what I’ve seen in football and basketball, he’s just overall a great athlete. As far as a coach goes, baseballwise or anything else, he’s one of those guys that mainly come along once in a coaching career.”
Davis constantly batted away advice that he narrow his focus to one sport in high school. He was so talented in both football and baseball that he got serious offers to do both at a few prime schools. Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri were all interested in having Davis as a dual-sport athlete, and the Razorbacks even wanted to keep him at quarterback.
The individual offers were even more enticing. Clemson, Alabama, Texas and LSU, among a host of others, all came calling for Davis’ baseball acumen.
As it happens, all Davis needed was a torrid senior year to make up his mind.
It started with football, where Davis blossomed into a powerful dual-threat quarterback. He earned first team Super Centex by throwing for 2,104 yards and 23 TDs and rushing for 1,321 yards and 21 TDs.
Davis really came alive in Mexia’s 41-21 win over China Spring early in the season. Davis rushed for 101 yards and went 15-for-18 for 253 yards passing that night.
“It was kind of that moment,” Davis said. “We knew we were good, we knew we had the talent and could play with anybody, but China Spring was top 10 in the state. You heard a lot about them, and not only did we beat them, but the way that we beat them, we kind of dominated that game.”
Mexia’s football journey came to a close with a 35-26 loss to eventual state champ Carthage, another game in which Davis shined.
His senior year was only just heating up.
Later, he helped the Mexia basketball team into the regional playoffs as a starting guard before toeing the rubber for the final time for the Blackcats’ baseball team.
Again, Davis earned first-team Super Centex as Mexia’s top pitching option and middle-of-the-lineup threat, this time by hitting .612 with 40 RBIs paired with a 1.68 ERA and 97 strikeouts. His fastball routinely topped out in the 90s, and he didn’t strike out himself until Mexia’s final district game.
Thanks almost solely to Davis’ heroics in the opener against No. 1 Robinson in the regional quarterfinals — he smacked a two-run homer and pitched a stellar complete game in a 3-1 win — Mexia pushed Robinson to the brink before falling in three games.
It was the furthest Mexia had gone in the playoffs since Davis’ brother, Greg, starred for Mexia in the mid-’90s.
“That was pretty neat, that was a pretty cool thing,” Davis said.
Of course, Davis still has one more decision to make. The Texas Rangers took him in the 29th round in the Major League Baseball draft earlier this month, and he signed for Baylor baseball the week before Mexia football’s loss to Carthage.
He said he’s leaning toward attending Baylor, though the initial decision to narrow his college options down to just baseball wasn’t easy.
“Baseball always seemed to be my best sport,” Davis said. “It just seemed to come a little more naturally for me. I just had a better feel for it. It was a tough decision, because I really did love football.”
SUPER CENTEX ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2009-10 — Trae Davis, Mexia, and Makenzie Robertson, Midway
2008-09 — Danzel Wilson, La Vega, and Ashley James, Robinson
2007-08 — Dustin Eskew, China Spring, and Karlyn Meyers, China Spring
2006-07 — Randy Kitchens, Robinson, and Raygan Feight, Bosqueville
2005-06 — Perrish Cox, University, and Haylee Abbe, Robinson
2004-05 — Lee Murphy, Crawford, and Hali Henderson, Clifton
2003-04 — Ramonce Taylor, Belton, and Abbey Grubb, Texas Christian
2002-03 — Matt Brown, McGregor, and Terra Wagner, Franklin
2001-02 — Shawn Bell, China Spring, and Bridgette Brackens, Connally
2000-01 — Quan Cosby, Mart, and Tiffany Perkins, Groesbeck
1999-00 — John Garrett, Mart, and Kristen Zaleski, Temple
1998-99 — John Glud, Robinson, and Brooke Polansky, West
1997-98 — Brandon Johnson, Midway, and Kara McCrory, Groesbeck
1996-97 — Derek Michaelis, Midway, and Rashunda Johnson, Midway
1995-96 — Rocky Galindo, Hamilton, and Chimika Carter, Groesbeck
1994-95 — P.J. Williams, Rockdale, and Stacey Bowers, La Vega
1993-94 — Rodney Smith, University, and Katrina Price, La Vega, and Amanda Mooney, Midway
1992-93 — Tony Brackens, Fairfield, and Pam Burns, Groesbeck
1991-92 — Lenoy Jones, Groesbeck, and Kristen Armour, Robinson
1990-91 — Toby Rumfield, Belton, and Tammy Wilkerson, Temple, and Kelley Whitehead, West
1989-90 — Andre Dulin, McGregor, and Pam Jones, Marlin
1988-89 — Maureia Crain, University, and Kelly Lloyd, China Spring
1987-88 — Derek Clark, Lorena, and Lori Gibson, Valley Mills
1986-87 — Brian Hand, Axtell, and Peggy Allen, Mart (inaugural year)