They say it’s lonely at the top.
Maybe, just don’t tell the women who play soccer at Navarro College.
If it feels like rush hour in Dallas, it’s because Navarro is loaded with players this season — well, overloaded.
“We’ve never had this many players,’’ said assistant coach Aric Bonner, whose wife Debbie is the head coach of the team. “We usually have about 21 players, and this year we’ve got 27. It’s different.’’
Bonner feels good about the depth of talent, but admits it’s going to take a while to sort it all out.
The Bulldogs open their season at 4 p.m. Saturday in Tyler against Barton. They play Laramie in Tyler at 3 p.m. on Sunday and lay their home opener at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
This weekend will be a serious test for the new Bulldogs. Both Barton and Laramie are national powers. Navarro opens the season ranked No. 13 in the nation in the NJCAA poll, but that ranking is based as much on what the Bulldogs have done in the past as what they might do in the future.
After all, Navarro returns only four players from last year’s team that lost in the district final. Two of those players — Judith Bast, a midfielder, and Lexie Riggs, a defender — were all-conference players, and they will need to be leaders on and off the field for a team with 23 freshmen.
“We’ve got a ton of kids,’’ Bonner said.
The loss of Nugene Nugent, who was a talented scorer and is now at the University of Memphis and helped Navarro win 17 games last year, would be tough enough, but the Bulldogs have to replace starters all over the field.
Not only is Navarro young, but Bonner knows it will take time to find the right mix, the perfect chemistry that is as important — or more important — in soccer as in any sport.
“It’s going to be one of those deals where we have to figure out they fit together,’’ Bonner said. “Freshmen are freshmen. One day they look really good and the next day they look like they’ve never seen the field before.’’
The wealth of players is a by-product of Navarro’s success and could prove to be the blueprint for a big year.
“It’s kind of a different year for us,’’ Bonner said. “We’ve got more bodies. It speaks to the fact we’re getting known and being perceived as a place to come and have a positive experience. In the past 10-12 years we’ve finished in the top 15.’’
It may take a little patience. Bonner said none of the freshmen have jumped out.
“They have all continued to make positive strides,’’ he said/ “I can’t say there’s one who is heads and shoulders above the rest.
“The lineup will change from game to game. This time of year it’s really hard to tell. By early September it will start to separate.’’
Still, having a logjam of players is an enviable position .
“It’s not a bad problem to have,’’ Bonner said. “It would be bad if we didn’t have enough. We’ve got plenty of bodies. Now we just have to figure out how they fit into the puzzle.’’
They say it’s lonely at the top.
Area schedule for the week
Here's a look at this week's schedule for Golden Ciircle teams and Navarro College. The schedule does not include upcoming bi-district playoff games in softball because times and sites have yet to be determined.
GC Baseball/Softball: Blooming Grove sweeps Rice in baseball and softball
Blooming Grove's Lions needed this one.
Heck, they need all of them.
That's where they're living today on the Blooming Grove diamond, where everyone knew going into Friday's game with Rice that the Lions need to win their final three games to have a chance of nailing down the final playoff spot in District 23-2A.
One down, two to go.
“It's in our hands,'' said Blooming Grove Coach Matt Anderson moments after his kids beat Rice 8-0 Friday night. “As long as we take care of our business we'll be fine.''
GC Softball/Baseball Roundup: Frost girls win district title
Frost's Lady Polar Bears needed to win to nail down the district title and they never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead en route to an 11-7 clinching victory over Itasca Friday on the road. They wrapped up their second district title in a row with a 9-1 record and enter the playoffs next week at 13-1.
CHS Baseball/Softball: Whitehouse sweeps Tigers in baseball and softball
The Tigers lost a tough game to Whitehouse, 11-3 as the Wildcats' ace, Pat Mahomes, who went four innings and gave up all three runs on two hits and five walks
GC Basketball/Baseball: Mildred's Connor Hill sees life clearly
There was never any doubt for Connor Hill, never any question about what he would do or how he would do it.
Sure, there was that meeting with his mother and father and talks with the doctor when he was 10, talks and meetings that came accompanied with worry and concern.
But never from Connor.
He just never dwelled on the fact he played sports with one eye. He didn't worry or talk about it when he was 10 and he never talked about it at Mildred High, where Hill emerged as a star on the basketball court and baseball diamond.
GC Track & Field: Roundup — Frost girls win area meet
The Frost Lady Polar Bears made a shambles of their district track & field meet last week, scoring 206 points, and they were dominate again in the area meet Thursday, scoring 162 points to win the meet at Blooming Grove.
Morgan:The new endangered species
Am I just that old, or have amateur athletics gone absolutely nuts these days? On second thought, don’t answer that unless it’s yes to the nuts part.
High School and college basketball are on the verge of being totally ruined by AAU basketball. Top roundball prospects are identified by the junior high level if not earlier.
GC Track & Field: Area meet Roundup
Corsicana's Gilfillan wins 4A area pole vault title; Frost girls win 1A area team title, Frost boys finish second
GC Baseball: Mildred falls to Riesel, 9-0, on the road
Mildred managed a hit and struck out 12 times in a 9-0 loss on the road that could have given the Eagles some cushion in the 23-2A standings. They are now 5-6 with a game at league-leading Teague Tuesday.
CHS Soccer: Tigers boys and girls top off season with strong showing on All-District teams
That tough and gutsy style of play sent both the boys and girls teams into the playoffs and on Thursday the Tigers were rewarded again for their fine seasons as two boys won special honors,four boys were named to the All-District first team and two girls earned first-team honors.
Michael Roman, who did a little of everything — and did it well — was named the District 28-4A Utility Player of the Year, and sophomore defender Jesus Barreto was named the district's Newcomer of the Year.
- More Sports Headlines
- Area schedule for the week