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The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

Realignment brings good news as Kingwood Park returns to Region 3

Coach+Jeffrey+Hamilton+talks+to+his+team+during+a+timeout+against+Magnolia+West+in+December.+He+said+the+new+realignment+should+give+the+Panthers+a+chance+to+contend+for+a+district+title+next+year.+
Arleigh Doehring
Coach Jeffrey Hamilton talks to his team during a timeout against Magnolia West in December. He said the new realignment should give the Panthers a chance to contend for a district title next year.

Volleyball coach Sarah Stafford could not hold in her excitement following the UIL 2024-2026 Reclassification and Realignment. 

“We were all doing flips of joy, backflips,” Stafford said. “I don’t think any coaches are upset about this.”

For the past two years, Kingwood Park’s athletic teams have been in Region 2, a Dallas-centric region. The majority of sports teams had to drive up to two hours to district matchups. 

Now, Kingwood Park has returned to Region 3 with much closer competition. In the realignment, the football team will compete in District 11-5A-D1 with Crosby, Kempnter, Friendswood, Spring Woods, La Porte, Porter and Pasadena. 

The other teams at Kingwood Park face competition in District 18-5A with Crosby, Dayton, Porter, West Fork, Pasadena and Splendora. 

“I think they were happy to be back in region 3 just for travel reasons,” baseball coach Chris Buechner. “It doesn’t matter who we play, we just want to play good competition and I think we’ll have that in Region 3.”

In the playoffs alone, the travel was the hardest. The girls soccer team traveled 784 miles for two playoff games last year. That will not happen in Region 3. 

Last year when teams played Nacogdoches or Lufkin the district often provided charter buses for the long trips. This year, the district only paid if teams traveled to Nacogdoches on a Tuesday.

“Next year we don’t have to do charter buses,” Stafford said. “That’s a big expense from our budget because we had to fundraise for that money. In the first year, some of them were covered by the district, but this year they weren’t. So we had to fork out nearly $4,000 for charter buses this year.

“Not to mention, it’s really just a safety concern. No one wants to transport children for four hours. It’s honestly quite nerve racking to have to do that.”

Similar to all the coaches, boys basketball coach Jeffery Hamilton was already looking ahead to next season’s matchups. They will no longer face powerhouses like Lufkin and Nacogdoches. 

“I think if you go by how everybody’s done this year, we’re sitting in the third spot in our current district,” Hamilton said. “Crosby is sitting fourth in their district right now. Everybody else is not even in the playoff picture in their current districts. So I mean, I like it from that aspect. I think us and Crosby will probably be considered one of the favorites in that district.”

Senior defender Emma Green participates in the pregame team huddle before the scrimmage against Grand Oaks on Dec. 8. (Maya Ortiz)

For coach Jess White, the realignment contains a homecoming. He has only coached at two schools in his career: Kingwood Park and Pasadena. He helped start the girls program there and after a year switched to coach the boys for nine years. 

He looks forward to playing against new teams.

“When you think of us being a 5A school, look around, what are our options?” White said. “I would like another team or two in our district to fill it out, but seven is better than six. We’ll see how the competition goes.”

For Buechner, it changes the baseball schedule a lot. These last two years the baseball team played all five district opponents three times. 

“So in this new district with seven teams, we’re all going to play each other twice,” Buechner said. “So we’ll pick up more non-district games and we’ll try to play some good competitive teams in those non-district games.” 

Even with new teams and a new region, White’s message to his players stays the same. 

“I always tell the girls to never underestimate anybody,” he said. 

*Preston Carpenter contributed to this story.

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