SOMEWHERE IN THE FAR WEST AREA OF SAN ANTONIO – Usually when a new school begins varsity play in most sports, they have gone through a string of losses, and, at times, getting their teeth kicked in. The Harlan Hawks decided not to go through that, and still have all their teeth. In fact, the Hawks didn’t even wait until their first varsity season to win a district championship.
While competing at the JV level in all team sports, individual sports competed at the varsity level in 2018. Boys swimming won the district title six months before Harlan officially competed at the varsity level in all sports.
“It’s really cool that we got to be the first team that won a district title in school history,“ said junior swimmer John Delostrinos. “We had relays where had to work as a team because they score more points.”
Harlan repeated its title last month. The girls didn’t win district last year, but in their first “official” varsity season, they won the title last month, and will send a couple of swimmers to state, including John’s sister Stephanie.
The team sports began varsity play in August, and three of the four who have completed regular season play, won the district 28-5A crown. Girls basketball, boys basketball and volleyball combined to go 45-3 in district to win titles (football in a different district went 5-1 and finished second behind Southwest). With Harlan being a new school and feeder schools changing, Harlan’s teams didn’t have the advantage of necessarily playing together at feeder schools, and some had to bond quicker because of that.
“It’s really cool because you never know what can happen,” said senior basketball player Nicole Nash, whose team begins the playoffs on Monday night against Sam Houston. “Team bonding activities, and we literally see each other more than we do our own families.”
Boys basketball starts the playoffs the following week.
“It was hard work, and everybody bought into the system,” said junior player Zarion Pitre. “Everybody came ready to go everyday. Our goal from the beginning has been the road to the dome.”
Volleyball reached the third round of the playoffs in its first season. “No one expected us to do as well as we did,” said sophomore Kiana Fallaha. “It was pretty easy to bond. The moment we stepped on the court, we just clicked.”
In 2017, Veterans Memorial successfully petitioned the UIL to play varsity basketball a year ahead of schedule, and made the 4A final before moving to 5A in realignment. Nash says what the Patriots did inspired the Hawks in their first season.
“That gave us motivation. We know we have a really good program and a really good coach.“
Boys soccer, girls soccer, softball and baseball are just starting their seasons, so there is a chance more titles can be added. It is expected that Harlan will move into 6A with the rest of the NISD schools in the 2020 realignment that could cause a district split among the 11 schools and affect the rest of Region IV.
Greg Sherman covers high school sports for VYPE San Antonio, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.