Senior athletes take their game to the next level

Zachary DiShiano

     Cedar Park High School has been recognized for its high academic scores, exquisite extracurricular activities, award winning organizations and college-caliber athletes. It’s tough to be recognized by scouts in 5A athletics, but several Cedar Park athletes stand out amongst the strongest athletes in Texas. Prashay Deo, Landon Dockery, Christian Fredrickson, Chelsea Simmons and Courtney and Chrissy Johnson are a few of these elite athletes that will graduate CPHS as both exemplary students and athletes ready to play in college.

     “I’m very lucky to be at this school,” Deo said. “I love the athletic atmosphere; it inspired me to play. There are a lot of good players here that are going to college.”

     Deo will be making his way to Plainview, Texas, where he will play soccer for Wayland Baptist University. Having never played soccer at any competitive level, Deo has accomplished what most sports analysts would say is impossible. Although he wanted to participate in soccer over the years, time hasn’t always allowed it.

     “I have always had the dream to play, I just never had enough time or money,” Deo said. “I played pick up games every now and then, but that’s about it.”

     Deo has now earned a scholarship to WBU, and expects to have a hectic schedule in his first year there.

     “This is an amazing experience,” Deo said. “I used to look up to college athletes, and now I’m one of them. I’m very lucky to be here.”

     After graduating, Deo plans to pursue a career in business or another occupation dealing with sports.

      Dockery, a scholarship athlete to Angelo State, has an interest in a similar career, sports marketing. Dockery played fullback for the electrifying Cedar Park offense this year, and his strong play earned him a spot in the elite group of high school athletes receiving college scholarships.

     “It feels good to be here,” Dockery said. “Hard work pays off.”

     Dockery practices three days a week for four hours a day during the season, and five days a week for two hours a day in the offseason. The 5’11”, 230 pound fullback earned all-district honors this year, and also claimed two district wrestling titles in his career at Cedar Park. He would like to transfer to a Division I school after his first year at Angelo.

     “My dad is the one that inspired me, he really taught me everything,” Dockery said. “He told me to work hard and it will pay off, and it did.”

     Kicking the ball since he was six, Fredrickson has played for the school and for a select team in the Lone Star Soccer Club. Next year he will be playing under Coach Dean Foti at Syracuse, who has led the Syracuse Orange soccer team to four top-25 appearances in the last seven years.

     Fredrickson spends around ten hours a week working on his skills. He plans to be starting a career after graduating Syracuse, but doesn’t quite know what he wants to do yet.

      “Hopefully I’ll figure it out in the next four years,” Fredrickson said.

     While Fredrickson will be taking on the daunting task of freshman year alone, two other Cedar Park Athletes will venture into adulthood together. Chrissy and Courtney Johnson, twin varsity volleyball players, have scholarships to Texas Lutheran University where they will play for the Bulldogs.

     “I loved being able to play for Coach Hajduk-Almanza for three years,” Chrissy said. She has inspired me to want to be a good coach.”

     While Chrissy wants to coach for a high school in Austin when she gets out of college, her twin sister, Courtney has a completely different occupation in mind.

     “I’m planning to graduate with a degree in nursing, and hopefully I’ll have a job somewhere in Austin,” Courtney said.

     Courtney has been playing for six years and Chrissy for five. They practice twice a week during club season and every weekday during the school season. Their high school coach has been a huge influence on them as they both mention Coach Hajduk-Almanza as a part of their success. They both feel well prepared for next year’s challenges at the college level.

     “I expect to get very good coaching and my team to be competitive,” Courtney said. “It will be tough but worth it.”

     After leading the team to the playoffs, Courtney and Chrissy leave Cedar Park High School well prepared for the future with plenty of experience athletically and academically. They both worked hard all year long and are sure to have good careers in the future.

     Chelsea Simmons, a varsity golf player, will be receiving a scholarship to Stephen F. Austin University. She has been a key aspect to the team’s success this year and attributes her motivation to her coach.

      “My golf instructor Anne Marie inspired me,” Simmons said. “My game would be nothing without her.”

     Simmons was the University of Texas Golf Club Junior Club Champion for the 2006-2007 season and also earned first team-all district honors during her sophomore year. She practices about four times a week every week of the year. Like Courtney Johnson, Simmons also is considering a career in the medical field after she graduates.

     “Depending on how college golf goes I’ll either be desperately trying to find a job as a nurse or trying to keep playing golf,” Simmons said.

     Being chosen to play for a Division I school is a great honor, but being a Division I athlete also means the competition will be on a much higher level.

     “If I could choose, I would change my attitude,” Simmons said. “Golf is a mental game and a game of patience.”

     Simmons has always been an important member of the CPHS golf team and a major factor in the team’s success. This year they didn’t get as far as they had hoped, but Simmons believes 2010 will bring victory to the Timberwolves.

     “Our girls’ team rocks and they are going to get better,” Simmons said. “Next year I expect them to make state.”

     All of these athletes prove that CPHS has some of the strongest students not just academically but also athletically. Their hard work and dedication provides a good example for the student body. The Wolfpack wishes them good luck as they take a step into their future and thanks them for what they have done for Cedar Park.