On May 20th, Twelve Belton Tigers will be signing their National Letters of Intent to continue their Academic and Athletic Careers in College. We are extremely proud of these athletes hard work and dedication. They all have worked very hard and are very deserving of this opportunity. The 12 signees are Hannah Kelley – Softball – East Texas Baptist, Jordan Jones – Cross Country/Track – Tarleton State, Stephanie Sanders – Soccer – Paris College, Scarlett Gott – Rodeo – McNeese State, Blake Payne – Golf – Tyler JC, Tori Maldonado – Volleyball – Tabor College, Edgar Soto – Soccer – Grand Canyon University, Alvin Packard – Soccer – UMHB, Jake Gilbert – Soccer – UMHB, Mark Villanueva – Soccer – LeTourneau University, Jeremiah Wade – Football – McMurry, Jocelyn Brewer – Basketball – Rainy River College.
The Ceremony will be held at Grand Avenue Theatre on Wednesday, May 20th at 8:30pm. There will be reserved parking for the athletes and their families. We ask that everyone stays in their vehicle and practice social distancing. We are excited to celebrate these athletes!
Hannah Kelley – Softball – East Texas Baptist
Hannah Kelley will continue her softball career with East Texas Baptist University and we will celebrate her commitment. Hannah is a four year letter for the softball program at Belton High School. She is not only an accomplished athlete, but is an outstanding student as well. Hannah has attended Belton New Tech High School for her academic courses. Hannah is a member of NHS, has an overall GPA of 102.94 on a 100 point scale, and is ranked 18th in her class.
Hannah saw time during her freshman season in the pitching circle and it was extremely valuable. Hannah started or appeared in 11 games in the 2017 season. She compiled a 2-0 record, picked up two saves, and pitched 24 innings. Hannah had a 1.37 ERA and struck out 17 batters. Opponents hit only .218 while Hannah was pitching.
Hannah’s sophomore season was another season to celebrate. She had a 5-1 record. Hannah had an impressive 2.69 ERA while facing much tougher competition than in her freshman season. She pitched 26 innings, had 33 strikeouts, and she had teams off balance with her rise and off speed pitches.
During Hannah’s junior season, she picked up more of the pitching load. She compiled a 10-5 record while facing even tougher competition than the previous 2 seasons. She pitched 65 1/3 innings and had a season ERA of 2.89. Hannah had 70 strikeouts, averaging more than one per inning and only walked 14 batters on the year.
For the 2020 season, Hannah has an 8-5 record, had already thrown 71 1/3 innings, had 84 strikeouts and 14 walks. Opponents were only hitting .240 on the season against Hannah. Hannah also held a position on our leadership council. “Hannah has worked very hard to improve her craft. She’s a quiet kid with an excellent work ethic. Hannah will never shy away from a challenge and always gives 100% at everything she does.”–Coach Matt Blackburn
Congratulations Hannah! Good luck as you move forward to play at the next level!
Jordan Jones – Cross Country / Track – Tarleton State
Jordan Jones has been a huge part of the Belton Cross Country & Track program for the past 4 years. Jordan has been a Varsity runner for both the Cross Country and Track Teams and lettered all 4 years of her high school career. Jordan was an MVP Female Cross Country runner and a high point scorer in distance in track. She was a part of many District Championships in Cross Country as well as, Regional qualifiers in both Cross Country and track. She was a Regional Qualifier in both the 1600 and 3200 meter run.
Jordan was a true leader on both the running courses as well as her academic courses. We as coaches were lucky to have a great distance runner like Jordan in our program, and she will greatly be missed.
We look forward to seeing her continue her running and academic career, where she will be running Cross Country and Track for Tarleton State University. We wish her luck!!
Stephanie Sanders – Soccer – Paris College
Stephanie will be attending Paris Junior College this fall to play soccer. Stephanie has been in the Lady Tiger Soccer program for 4 years. She has been a tremendous asset to our program as a teammate and as an outstanding student-athlete!
Coach Bersoza says about Stephanie- “Stephanie set her mind to playing college soccer and she has done that despite any obstacles that have come her way! Stephanie has shown tremendous desire and grit in accomplishing a goal that she set for herself. She has attending ID Camps and left no stone unturned in an attempt to accomplish that goal. This is a great example to our younger athletes in our program that desire to play collegiate soccer!”
Continue that attitude at Paris Junior College and beyond Steph!
Scarlett Gott – Rodeo – McNeese State
Scarlett will be attending McNeese State to Rodeo on scholarship. McNeese is consistently one of the top college rodeo programs in the nation.
One of the most impressive things about Scarlett is how she balances the demands on her time. The constant training and work she has to do for Rodeo, being a valuable member of the Lady Tiger Soccer team & being a phenomenal student. Not very many teenagers can balance that kind of load. Scarlett handles all of it.
Scarlett boast many rodeo accolades in her young rodeo career which include:
- NBHA youth world Qualifier 2015 2016 2017 2018
- PAFRA world Qualifier 2014 2015
- BBR world Qualifier 2020
- Texas amateur rodeo association reserve Champion
- Martha Josey Junior World & Reunion Short-Go Qualifier
- Barrel Horse World and Horse News magazine have written different articles about Scarlett.
Scarlett trained her starter horse Ziggy but when she started her pro tour she rode Quatro.
The trainers who have really shaped Scarlett, train at Martha Josey Ranch, which she has been at since she was 8. Scarlett considers the people of Martha Josey Ranch her second family!
Good luck at McNeese Scar!
Blake Payne – Golf – Tyler College
Blake Payne has been a part TIGER GOLF all the way back to his 6th grade summer, when he would come out to Wildflower and play with his older brother and all of the other older members of the group that either were already Tiger golfers or soon would be.
He was an important part of likely the best Middle School team that Coach Stephen Kirkpatrick ever fielded. I believe that team went undefeated for the two years that Blake played on it.
Once he was able to make it to a very loaded High School version of TIGER GOLF he took advantage of the opportunity by qualifying for Regional as a medalist both his freshman and sophomore years.
Blake moved into TIGER GOLF’s exclusive Top Ten for his junior and senior years and finished as the District 12-6A Silver Medalist his junior year.
It was unfortunate that his senior year (likely his best campaign to date) was cut short by the circumstances, but Blake has definitely grown as a player during his time with TIGER GOLF and I have no doubt that he will prove to be a major contributor for the Tyler College team that he is moving on to.
Tori Maldonado – Volleyball – Tabor College
Tori Maldonado will continue her athletic career as a member of the Tabor College volleyball team. Tabor College is located in Hillsboro, Kansas, and is a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Tabor College Bluejays compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Tori is a four year participant in the Belton Volleyball program. It is difficult to adequately describe the level of drive and determination that Tori encompases as a player and student of the game of volleyball. Tori’s success was fueled by her constant quest for bettering her defensive play, and continual desire to improve her performance for her team. Tori earned 2019 District 12-6A Honorable Mention, 2019 Belton Volleyball Defensive Player of the Year, 2019 District 12-6A Academic All-District, and Texas High School Coaches’ Association Academic All-State 2nd Team. As a student athlete, Tori also was a member of the National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, Spanish Club, Belton High School ASTRA Community Service Organization, and actively served in her Christ the King Catholic Church Youth Group.
Tori is a tenacious competitor, but also demonstrates fierce dedication to the program and a daily commitment to make others’ lives better around her. Her unselfish nature will serve her well in her future endeavors, and there is no doubt that she will have an impact on her team and new community. We want to thank Tori for her dedication to Belton Volleyball, and look forward to following her future success as a Bluejay! We are proud of you, Tori, and wish you many blessings in this next chapter of your life!
Edgar Soto – Soccer – Grand Canyon University
Edgar Soto will be attending Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona where he will continue his playing career. It’s not very often you get to coach a young man like Edgar. As a high school coach, you may get lucky and have one or two players in your career with the skills, drive, determination, and productivity that Edgar demonstrates. He is the most passionate and dedicated player I’ve ever been around.
There were a lot of days I’d show up to 6:30 am practice around 5:45 am and as I was turning on the lights I’d hear the sound of someone striking the ball and hitting the back of the net. As the light made things clear, I’d see Edgar on the far end. This season he didn’t have an 8th period so after our 7th period work out you’d see him and a few other guys working on finishing. There was no angle on the goal where he didn’t think he could score from. It drove me crazy sometimes, but Edgar definitely practiced the Wayne Gretzky Philosophy “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Edgar’s practice paid off scoring over 100 goals and 40 assist in his high school career. Thank you to the Soto family for all the love, support, and guidance they’ve given to Edgar. He would not be the man he is today without his family.
Alvin Packard – Soccer – UMHB
Alvin Packard will be continuing his education at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where he has also signed to play soccer. Alvin has been an outstanding addition to our team. He is not flashy or emotional, but consistent in his play on the field. His calm presence helped keep our team on the right path. His accountability and work ethic led to him being named as one of our team captains. Alvin took this responsibility head on and help organize his team into a well-oiled machine. With Alvin playing fullback for us, our team won forty-two games with only one loss.
One memory of how much he means to his teammates was when Alvin scored against Killeen to put us up 2-0 and turned to our bench and flexed. Our guys went crazy with excitement and joy for Alvin and it took the whole coaching staff to keep our guys off the field to celebrate with him. Thank you to the Packard family for supporting Alvin and our team. His character is a credit to his family.
Jake Gilbert – Soccer – UMHB
Jake Gilbert will be continuing his education at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where he has also signed to play soccer. Jake is one of five seniors who has been on Varsity all four years. He battled injuries his freshman year and became a starter his junior and senior years. His quiet confidence and relentless work effort made him one of the most admired players on our team. He is the ultimate teammate. No matter who scored he was always the first to celebrate his team’s success or help encourage those teammates that might not of had the best game.
Jake is a builder and makes everyone around him better. In the Senior Tribute videos his teammates talked about winning the Dallas Jesuit Tournament and Jake’s penalty kick was what sealed the game for them. It was a pleasure and honor to coach Jake, he is a special player. Thank you to the Gilbert family for always supporting Jake and our team. Jake would not be the man he is today without your love and guidance.
Mark Villanueva – Soccer – LeTourneau University
Mark Villanueva will be attending LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas where he will continue his soccer playing career. It has been a pleasure to coach and work with Mark over the last six years. We knew he was going to be very special to our program when we watched him in Middle School. He is very skilled and unique player. He is a natural lefty and has the ability to place a ball where he needs too. He thrives under pressure which he displayed in our first game against Temple this season.
With the game tied 1-1 regulation and penalty kicks to decide our fate we knew we had to have dependable players take the lead. As a coach the most important kick is the first one. It sets the stage for the rest of the team. Mark faced significant pressure to be on the spot with his team depending on him. I knew Mark was up for the job. He didn’t just make the shot, he struck the ball with such confidence into the top left corner it left the Temple goal keeper flying the other direction. This moment gave our goal keeper and team the momentum to win the game. I am very proud of him and the man he has become. His faith guides him and he has a great family to lean on. Thank you to the Villanueva family for supporting Mark and helping him live his dreams. I hope Mark considers looking into education and coaching in the future. He would be a credit to the teaching and coaching profession.
Jeremiah Wade – Football – McMurry University
Jeremiah or as many refer to as ‘Miah’, has been a Varsity Football player for the past two years. He has played several defensive positions, but finally found his niche at Outside Linebacker during Spring Football of his Junior year. He was a strong defender for the Tigers until an ankle fracture ended his season during the Temple football game. Jeremiah also contributed to all Special Teams but loved the energy on Kickoff and knocking heads (as he called it). His contribution as an emotional leader on the field carried-over into his classroom academics where he carries a 3.8 grade average.
Jeremiah also participated in soccer his 9th grade year and has been a Varsity Track team member for all 4 years of high school. He was a Triple Jump Area Alternate during the 2019 track season, while also participating in the Long Jump, 200M and relays. This 2020 Senior Track & Field season had him poised to extend his track season to the Area meet in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, 4x200M & 4x400M relays.
Jeremiah will be greatly missed at BHS and we wish him well as he continues to pursue his athletic career playing football for McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.
Best of Luck Jeremiah!!
Jocelyn Brewer – Basketball – Rainy River College
Jocelyn Brewer has the opportunity to continue her basketball career as a member of Rainy River Community College located in International Falls, Minnesota. Rainy River competes in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (finished first and second in the National Tournament) Northern Division.
Jocelyn was a four year Belton Varsity basketball player. Jocelyn has always been a force in the post position during her playing career. She played with great skill in scoring and rebounding. Jo could also hit some 3’s when defense didn’t expect it. She was a tremendous asset. Injuries and surgeries put a limit on her court time but she kept pushing to get back to support her team. Her teammates really appreciated her team attitude and caring personality.
Congratulations Jo! Good Luck, work hard, stay safe, and be the BEST as a player and student.