From the Pressbox

By JOHN KASTNER

There is no doubt that competition in all levels of high school sports has become more and more rugged. Some teams, especially those that have moved into a 5A bracket, can attest to this. They seem to struggle, especially when is comes to an annual powerhouse that dominates conference championships.

Locally, the Smithson Valley Rangers have moved into a strong 5A conference the last several years. They, too, can feel the modest setback. Teams like Judson, Reagan, Madison and MacArthur seem to field veteran teams on an annual basis.

But let's take the situation a bit further and include New Braunfels and Canyon in the mix. Many people feel New Braunfels may be heading back to 5A status very soon, especially considering all the growth in the district.

The Unicorns have taken its licks in 4A. Just 15 years ago, NB was nesting in a 3A bracket, playing teams like Belton, Lampasas and Pflugerville.

And now the 'Corns feel somewhat easy with a District blend of Austin schools and Texas Hill Country.

Meanwhile, Canyon also feels its competition level is just about the same ­ like NB. For Canyon, 5A status may be somewhere down the line, when ­ nobody can estimate.

· There were no surprises this past week when the All-District picks in basketball were announced for Canyon's boys and girls. In the girls' picks, Carly Friesenhahn, who averaged 9 ppg, landed on the first team, while Nita Kessler, 10 ppg, landed on second team. Mary Paniagua, 11 ppg, was also named to second team. Natalie Fey was recognized on the honorable mention list.

· The Cougar boys made the list, including Isaiah Jackson, Matt Zachary and Austin New. All made the first team for the co-champion group.

· It appears the Ranger girls' track team is off-and-running in spectacular fashion. They made a great showing last weekend in the Texas State Invitational. The girls capped first in team standings with 140.5 points. Seneca Guenther capped third in discuss and first in the shot put.

· Meanwhile, the area soccer top 10 picks are in. MacArthur is still No. 1, Smithson Valley is No. 5, and is Canyon No. 7.

· The Ranger girls' softball squad remains No. 1, with O'Connor at their heels at the No. 2 spot. Ranger ace, Taryn Munoz, has been fantastic on the hill with her blazing fastball. Brooke LaRue has spilled out several 3-for-4 plate chartings.

There is a load of sport action on tap this weekend. Starting Thursday, the Rangers host their own track meet, including some of the top-flight teams in the area.

On Friday, Canyon soccer vs. New Braunfels. Baseball find SV vs. Judson, Canyon softball vs. NB and SV vs. Reagan.

On Saturday, Canyon vs. Austin Akins in diamond action.

After making a tremendous showing in the Texas State Meet, Seneca Guenther feels that she is getting better with each and every meet.

"The entire idea of all these meets is to focus on working on basics, which will help you when the District and State meets come," Guenther said.

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