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Bowie, Nocona softball teams look to bounce back this season with new coaches

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Softball season has started for both Bowie and Nocona this week.
Both have their first actual games this week as well as first tournament in Jacksboro.
Both teams also are trying to bounce back after tough seasons missing the playoffs in a district that featured two teams making it far in the playoffs.
For Bowie, the program is not used to missing the playoffs, but last year’s team was young overall and lacking numbers following the shortened COVID season.
A lack of numbers for a JV team and missing a year of development cost them in a district that took no prisoners.
Coach Jordon Roth takes over the program and the former Bowie graduate hopes to build it back up from the beginning.
“I am expecting the girls to work hard every day and to be willing to do what it takes to help the team,” Roth said. We have good team chemistry, so I don’t see any issues with them being willing to sacrifice for their teammates.”
The good for the team is it lost only one senior starter from last year. That familiarity and growth for the young team should mean the team should be getting better together as a group.
With more than two seasons gone from the program’s last playoff berth, that does mean the team’s overall swagger and expectations from the players needs to be rediscovered again.
“The biggest area for improvement is going to be their confidence.” Roth said. “They have to trust me and be willing to be coachable for us to thrive this season.”
For the Lady Indians, Nolan Lanham gets his try to coach the softball team. The new coach has been at Liberty, Jarrell and Hamilton and is a graduate from Prosper High School and Tarleton University.
Lanham hopes to bring an “attack first” philosophy to this team.
“I believe for our team to be successful this year we have to learn to attack in every phase of the game,” Lanham said. “Our pitchers have to attack the strike zone and opposing batters, and when balls are put in play our defense has to attack the ball. Offensively we have to attack pitches early and often, then use our aggressiveness on the bases to put pressure on the opposing team.”
The Nocona softball program’s best recent seasons have been where they compete well, but wins have come few and far between. Their worst have been when most games finish early.
In best years the team is usually filled with upper classmen with experience and this team returns some.
Makenna Nobile, Sydnee Mowry, Tobie Cable and Maddi Ezzell all have experience in the infield and will try to lead the Lady Indians in making the fundamental plays on defense and making plays with their bats.
The team also will be incorporating some younger players that do not have a lot of innings playing at the varsity level.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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Oil Bowl 2024 Interviews

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There were 16 athletes from our coverage area who competed in the 87th Annual Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl on June 14-15. The first video is an interview with the athletes who played in the girls basketball game (L-R) Skyler Smith, Ziba Robbins, Cirstin Allen and Makaylee Gomez. The second interview was the athletes who played in the boys basketball game (L-R) Tyson Easterling and Javier Gaytan. The third interview was athletes who played in the small school volleyball game (L-R) Jimena Garcia, Kasi Phillips and Bren Fenoglio. The fourth interview was the athlete who played in the big school volleyball game Olivia Gill. The fifth interview was with the athletes who played in the football game (L-R) Troy Kesey, Johnny Stone, Cooper Waldrip, Brady McCasland, Charlie Fuller and Seth Mann.
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Nocona, Saint Jo finish in top 25 of Lone Star Cup

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On the Thursday the final Lone Star Cup standings were released for the 2023-2024 school year.
Montague County had two schools that finished among the top 25 in their classification.
Nocona finished tied for 13th place in 2A while Saint Jo was tied for 24th place in 1A.
It is the highest finish for Nocona ever since the Lone Star Cup started up in the late 1990s. While it is associated with and measures the overall success of a school’s athletic program, it also takes into account the school’s success in academic and other programs like band, one-act-play, robotics, etc.
Nocona scored points in volleyball, football, cheerleading, girls and boys basketball and baseball. Unfortunately, its state appearance in film did not count towards the total. It all added up to 41 points, which is the most in program history
For Saint Jo, the success of its volleyball, football, softball, baseball, girl’s and boy’s basketball teams led to 32 points.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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UIL changes playoff format

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The University Interscholastic League announced on Tuesday changes for the upcoming school year when it comes to playoff formatting.
For 2A-5A schools, playoff formatting for volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball and soccer will now be split up into two divisions that will model itself like the 6A football playoffs. For 1A schools, this will only be applied for basketball. In all, there will be 12 state champions in those sports now.
This means there will be two playoff divisions within every classification. Districts will stay the same and not be affected. Four teams from every district will still make the playoffs, but now the two biggest schools of the four will play in the bracket with the other bigger schools while the two smaller schools will play in the other bracket.
This will not be like 1A-5A football, where divisions are hard cut by enrollment numbers and district alignments are set up with this in mind. Some districts that feature schools with low enrollment numbers within a classification will have to send two schools to compete in the big school bracket.
At lower levels, it might still set up a scenario where a team faces a school with twice the enrollment numbers. The thought process is it should happen less.
With fewer teams in the playoff bracket, certain parts of the playoffs like the area round and the regional tournament will not be featured as there will be less games to play on the way to the state tournament.
While the announcement was surprising to some, other coaches said they first heard about it at the basketball state tournament. UIL polled coaches, who were reportedly all for the change according to Nocona athletic director Blake Crutsinger.
For some schools, the changes will not mean much besides fewer games. Bowie is in that spot. With an enrollment number of 493, only Vernon and Iowa Park are the schools in its district that are bigger and would have to finish at the top two spots in the standings in order for Bowie teams to play in the smaller bracket.
For other schools, the change could be a big deal. Nocona’s enrollment of 234 is only 20 short of the 2A limit. The Indians will most likely play in the bigger bracket in every sport.
The Lady Indians basketball team finished as runners-up at state this year and will return four of their five starters. The teams that have beaten them the last two years, Martin’s Mill and Lipan along with several other 2A basketball powers have low enrollment numbers and would probably be in the smaller school bracket.
For 1A schools, the change is welcome but the fact volleyball was not included was sad to see for some coaches. From a numbers perspective, there are almost twice as many schools that offer basketball (213) than volleyball (123) in 1A.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.

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