Dominating summer

Kate Clark, Managing Editor

Avery Jackson – Beach Volleyball

For three days in July, freshman Avery Jackson and her partner played 11 beach volleyball games— and won them all.

Jackson and her partner Kenzie Miller won gold in the National Beach Volleyball Tour Junior Championships in Huntsville, Ala. “The first two days of the tournament it was just exciting because we had not been able to travel due to COVID,” Jackson said. “The last day was nerve-racking because there was pressure to do well because we had come all that way.”

At nationals, both Jackson and Miller’s coaches came to support and coach the girls to victory.

“I met Kenzie at a tournament in Austin,” Jackson said. “She just asked to play, and we worked really well together,” Jackson said.

Although Jackson has played volleyball for eight years, she has only played beach volleyball for three.

“I love the strategic part of beach volleyball because it is only two people covering the whole court,” Jackson said. “I like knowing what the other side is going to do before they even do it.”

Jaden Thomas – Soccer

Although this summer lacked the usual soccer tournaments and games freshman Jaden Thomas usually attends, she got news in June that added excitement to her summer. Thomas found out she was ranked the third best overall U.S. soccer player for the class of 2024, and first as a forward.

“My parents brought all of us into my room,” Thomas said. “And they said ‘Guess what? You are ranked No. 3 in the country.’ My mouth dropped, and I was speechless.”

U.S. National Team scouts and coaches throughout the country are polled to provide player ranking recommendations.

“At first I was shocked. I did not expect to get ranked that high,” Thomas said. “For two days, I just could not believe it. I was like ‘Are you kidding?’ I was really happy and shocked.”

Thomas currently plays for her club team FC Dallas. Throughout the summer, she practiced with her team, worked on skills, worked out with her sister and had a few scrimmages within her club. Now in high school, this will be the first year that Thomas’ league will allow her to play at on the school team.

“I am so excited about playing Hockaday soccer with my classmates,” Thomas said, “and the upperclassmen, too.”

Lauren Roach – Lacrosse

Lacrosse midfielder and draw specialist sophomore Lauren Roach was selected for both Under Armor 150 and Under Armor All-American Lacrosse Classic.

She was one of 150 players in her age group selected for Under Armor 150, and one of 22 players from the Southwest for the All-American Lacrosse Classic.

“I love playing at such a next level where everyone is the best,” Roach said. “It’s like a new type of game.”

After the All-American Lacrosse Classic, Roach was selected for the All-Tournament Team, an MVP-type list of the best eight players at the tournament.

“I was at the airport about to fly back. We were walking to our terminal and an older player stopped me to say congratulations,” Roach said. “I was like ‘What are you talking about?’ She said “Oh, you made the All- Tournament Team!’”

These two tournaments were the only ones Roach was able to attend.

“The showcases were everyone’s big outlet into recruiting because it was the only time you were able to show yourself to coaches this summer,” Roach said. “It made it a lot more exciting to finally be able to play again.”

Lily Fu – Fencing

Junior Lily Fu is an avid fencer, both at Hockaday and on her club team. For her commitment to the sport and her grades led her to earn the title of Absolute Fencing Gear All- Academic First Team this summer.

USA Fencing and Absolute Fencing Gear partnered to recognize and name young fencers who have excelled in high school with All-Academic Team honors. Fu earned the title of ‘First Team’ because she falls in the highest GPA category.

“I wouldn’t have gotten the award without the help and support of
my coaches and teachers, so I am thankful for them and very glad to be selected,” Fu said.

Fu is going into her fourth year of fencing. She competes not only with Hockaday’s fencing team but also with her club, the International Fencers Alliance of Dallas (IFAD).

Although this summer looked different than the past, she was still able to have club practices.

“We would practice our footwork and handling the blade while trying to social distance,” Fu said.

But Fu said her skill with fencing comes from her mind.

“Fencing is mental,” Fu said. “It is about picking up on your opponent’s patterns and trying to figure out some plan or strategy while you are fencing.”

Annie Herring – Crew

Rowing in Oklahoma City, training in Albuquerque and winning regionals in Dallas, Annie Herring did not let COVID-19 halt her crew practice.

“I honestly think I am in better shape [than before the pandemic],” Herring said. “I have not been erging a ton, but I feel like I am fitter. Having more time to train has been really helpful.”

Herring competed in a Virtual Erg competition in the spring. She won regionals, qualifying her for nationals. However, she did not participate in the national competition.

From June 30 to July 12, Herring drove to Oklahoma City for a two- week rowing training camp at the Oklahoma City High-Performance Center. She lived at a Homestay in Edmond with three other girls in the program.

“It was mostly college rowers,” Herring said. “It was very fun to train with them.”

After Oklahoma, Herring drove to Albuquerque, where she stayed with her grandma and trained daily. She began the day with a six-mile run, moved into workout circuits created by Elia Stanfield, head strength and conditioning coach, and ended the day with a bike ride through the mountains.

“My grandma’s house is in the perfect location for training,” Herring said. “She lives half a mile from a large park and, a quarter of a mile further, there is a paved trail along the river that runs 25 miles.”

Entering her second Hockaday season, Herring has a positive outlook going into the fall.

“Even if we aren’t competing, it’s fun to row fast,” Herring said. “That is a huge motivator, just to be fast for your teammates.”