Hart Patterson

Former Baylor athletes walk a final lap at the Hart-Patterson track in April 2014, which marked the Bears’ final event at the facility .

Once Brice Helton connected the dots, an idea started to form.

Helton, the athletic director at Live Oak Classical, learned recently that one of the school’s seventh grade track and field athletes, Maryn Reed, was the great-granddaughter of Jack Patterson, the highly esteemed former Baylor athletic director and track coach. Some other Patterson family connections started to emerge as well.

With a track meet coming up on Thursday at the old Hart-Patterson Track and Field facility, Helton thought, why not honor the Patterson family?

“I was having dinner with Jonathan Sibley, who’s an attorney here in town and a grandson of Jack Patterson, and he helped make all the connections,” Helton said. “It floored me that here I was sitting with one part of the Patterson family, and we were coaching another part of the family. So that’s when we started concocting this idea.”

Live Oak will hold the second annual Howard Classic on Thursday at Hart-Patterson. The event is named for Steve Howard, the former Live Oak AD who still helps out Helton as an assistant AD. Last year, Helton and other school administrators managed to successfully surprise Howard by naming the meet after him.

This year, the Patterson family is in on the build-up, but it should be no less special, Helton said. Pam Sibley, Patterson’s daughter, will serve as an honorary starter and will fire the pistol to commence a kids’ fun run, and that group will include several of Patterson’s grandchildren. Longtime Baylor track coach Clyde Hart, who worked under Patterson, has passed along some words about his former coaching mentor that will be read at the meet.

“Just being here in Waco and learning of what Coach Patterson meant, we wanted to do this, especially since you don’t know what condition the track will be in another five years,” said Helton, whose track team practices at Hart-Patterson twice a week. “We think it’ll be a great way to remember the history and legacy of Coach Patterson.”

Field events for the Howard Classic will start at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The Patterson family presentation and fun run is scheduled for 6 p.m., followed by the running finals at 6:30.

Four Centex soccer teams still alive, kicking

And then there were four.

Just four Central Texas soccer teams still cling to their dreams of getting to Georgetown and the UIL state soccer tournament. That includes a pair of boys’ teams, China Spring and Mexia, and two on the girls’ side, Lorena and Gatesville.

The Lady Leopards (21-5) have been on a mission ever since falling a win shy of state last year. They’ve punished their two playoff foes Palestine Westwood and Little Cypress-Mauriceville, winning by a combined score of 15-1. Haley Flores has seven of those goals by herself.

Lorena will next meet Palestine (15-8-5) in the Region III-4A quarterfinals, 6 p.m. Friday at Mexia.

While Lorena’s third-round presence is expected, Gatesville’s is more of a surprise. The Lady Hornets (11-5-1) were the third-place team out of District 17-4A, but have defeated District 18-4A runner-up Madisonville and 19-4A champion Henderson to move on to the regional quarterfinal round.

In their area-round win over Henderson, Gatesville fought the state-ranked Lady Lions to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtime periods. That sent the action to a penalty kick shootout, where Katrina Thoms, Molly Hogan, Bailee Armstrong and Natasha Thoms all came through in the clutch to help their team win the shootout, 4-2. Next up for the upset-minded Lady Hornets is another formidable foe in Lumberton (21-3-2), 6 p.m. Friday in Madisonville.

On the boys’ side, China Spring has assembled its best season in program history in racking up 18 victories, including a 5-1 overtime triumph over Jasper on Tuesday. In that one, the Cougars (18-8) exploded for four goals in the final five minutes of OT to break through the regional quarterfinal round.

China Spring will have to be on its game and then some, as a Class 4A Goliath awaits in Palestine (28-0-2), a three-time state qualifier.

Finally, there’s Mexia (17-8-1), which topped last year’s school-record run by defeating Center, 6-3, in the area playoffs earlier this week. The Blackcats boast some serious scoring prowess, led by senior forwards Kevin Garcia and Angel Escamilla.

Mexia will try to keep its run going when it faces Lumberton (22-3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in Huntsville.

Belton boys sweep district golf titles

Belton’s powerful golf program cleaned up at the District 12-6A boys tournament, which concluded Wednesday at Cottonwood Creek.

The Tigers’ “A” and “B” teams each scored a 610 over the two-day event to tie for the overall lead. The “A” team ended up winning the district title in a playoff over their Tiger teammates.

Midway’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams finished third and fourth, respectively. Though the Panthers missed out on a regional berth as a team, Midway’s Brayden Bare qualified as the second-place individual medalist.

Bare will compete at the Region II-6A tournament April 22-23 at Cottonwood.

Midway, Belton to raise money for hospital

Midway is using next week’s district baseball showdown with Belton as a platform to raise some money for a noble cause.

The Panthers will host the Tigers at 7 p.m. Tuesday on what the program has dubbed “Home Run for Health Champions for Children Night.” The idea is to raise awareness and funds for the McLane Children’s Medical Center. Patients from the hospital will be on hand for the game, and fans will be able to donate both at the game and leading up to it.

To ask questions or donate, contact Keri Tindell via email at ktindell@mygrande.net or Jennifer McAdams at mcadams05@gmail.com.

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