Blue Ribbon Winner

Liindale is first with five district championships, Sulphur Springs takes second

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 17, 2008 - Winners get blue ribbons, and blue was the color of choice in District 11-4A this past school year.

Lindale and Sulphur Springs, both of whose dominant colors are blue, were first and second in cumulative point totals among the six district schools.

Using 17 UIL-sanctioned sports as a barometer for all-around sports excellence, Lindale finished with 126 points, while Sulphur Springs had 95 as both leap-frogged two-time defending champion Texas High, which had 90.

Standings were figured using regular track and field scoring with first place equaling 10 points, second place eight points, third place six points, fourth place four points, fifth place two points and sixth place one point.

After Lindale and Sulphur Springs, Texas High and North Lamar tied for third with 90 points each, Mount Pleasant was fifth with 78.5 points and Paris was sixth with 57.5.

Broken down into girls and boys sports, Lindale also won both categories with 62 boys points and 64 girls points (tying for first with North Lamar). Sulphur Springs was second among boys with 56 points and fourth among girls with 39.

Every school won the district championship in at least one sport. Texas High tied Lindale for the most district titles with five, though two of Lindale's were in soccer, and Lindale plays in a different district than the other 11-4A teams in that sport. Lindale also won girls cross country, boys golf and girls tennis.

The Eagles and Lady Eagles galvanized so many points because they finished lower than third in just two sports - football and girls golf - and did not have a team finished lower than fourth in any sport.

Sulphur Springs, meanwhile, won three district championships, starting off the season with fall titles in football and boys cross country, and adding girls golf in the spring. The Wildcats and Lady Cats were district runners-up in boys soccer, boys track, softball and baseball.

Sulphur Springs made a jump from fourth place last year with 78 points to second this school year.

Texas High scored almost as many points as it did last year (97 last year, 90 this year), but could do no better than third place because of the rise of Lindale and Sulphur Springs, who both leapfrogged the Tigers. Texas High won district titles in team tennis, girls track, boys track, boys tennis and baseball.

But, Texas High failed to field a full team in two sports (boys cross country and girls golf) and finished last or next-to-last in fourth other sports.

North Lamar tied Texas High for third overall because the Pantherettes were so dominating, winning volleyball, girls basketball, girls soccer and softball. North Lamar boys' best finish was third in golf.

Mount Pleasant's points were evenly divided as the boys scored 39 points and the girls scored 39.5 points. The Tigers won district championships in boys soccer and were second in boys basketball and girls basketball.

The points for Paris were also evenly distributed as the girls scored 27.5 points and the boys scored 30. Paris won one district title, that in boys basketball. They also finished second in volleyball and girls soccer.

The distinction of all-sports winner does not carry with it a trophy or UIL recognition. It is simply a gauge to determine the overall health of a school's total sports program. In the case of 11-4A, most of the schools' overall points are grouped very closely, with only 16.5 points separating second from fifth, indicating a competitive balance in the district.

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