By James Ratcliff  Countywide contributor

KENEDY – The 2018-19 athletic year for the Kenedy Lions and Leopards presented them a fair number of changes.

The biggest change by far was the arrival of new athletic director Shawn Alvarez in the spring. He took over for Ronnie Perez, who stepped down after two seasons at the helm.

One thing that unfortunately did not change from the previous school year was the Lions’ varsity football record. The Lions did not win a game in 2018, and haven’t won since the 2016 season. 

Despite the streak, athlete Dedrick Wilson will continue his career at Army-West Point.

In volleyball, the Leopards finished third in 28-2A, which earned them a spot in the playoffs. However, they fell in the bi-district round to Brazos in four sets.

The Lions varsity basketball and baseball teams saw much more success. The basketball team claimed second place in 30-2A, but fell to Flatonia (86-62) in the bi-district round. 

As for baseball, they took fourth place in 31-2A and pushed Riviera Kaufer to their limits in the bi-distirct game. However, the Seahawks took the game 5-4 in eight innings.

The Leopards had a strong spring season to close out the school year. The softball team claimed fourth in 30-2A, but fell to Center Point (10-1) in bi-district. 

According to Alvarez, the softball team earned the following honors on the 30-2A All-District team.

Pitcher of the Year: Angelica Hartsfield, senior. first team All District: Jocelyn Sifuentes,  senior. Camryn Garza, junior. Ali Mireles, senior.

Second team All District: MJ Barrientez, senior. Isabel Fuentes, junior. Alejandra Hernandez, sophomore. Honorable Mention: Destiny Barrientez, senior. Destiny Ochoa, senior. Dezirae Santana, junior.

The powerlifting and golf programs saw a number of Leopards represent their school at the state level.

In powerlifting, Larissa Miller, Destiny Barrientez, and Amber Aleman represented Kenedy at the 2A THSWPA State Meet. Aleman took the silver medal in the 198 weight class with a total lift of 910 lbs, including a 360 dead lift and a 340 squat lift. 

In golf, Aleman joined Alejandra Hernandez, Emily Cruz, Samantha Martinez, and Melanie Martinez at the 2A Girls State Golf tournament in Austin. Hernandez finished in 21st place with a total of 183. 

With momentum from spring sports to build off of, Alvarez and staff keenly await the start of volleyball and football season. The latter starts on Friday, Aug. 30 at Lions Field as Kenedy and Karnes City will meet for the 101st time.

James Ratcliff is a high school sports contributor for The Karnes Countywide. He can be reached at 830-216-3864.