Athletics shaped the person Ariel Rogers has become. She was always in the gym, on the field, or running around a track.
Her consistency, work ethic and success are the reason Rogers is the 2012-2013 Wise County Messenger Female Athlete of the Year.
It’s the third straight year a Lady Bulldog has won the coveted award. Rogers follows two-time winner Jordan Ward.
“It’s a huge honor to follow Jordan,” Rogers said. “I was able to look up to her my whole high school career. Seeing her determination, drive and success made me want it too.
“Being able to follow her and keep it in Alvord is neat.”
Rogers helped the Lady Bulldogs’ cross-country team to a ninth-place finish at the state meet, qualified for two events at the regional track meet and went to two straight regional finals in basketball.
“I’m very proud of her,” Alvord basketball coach Rob Schmucker said. “Ariel wasn’t a player who was going to score a lot of points or fill up the stat sheets, but we couldn’t have done it without her.
“She has so much heart and is so hard working – I’m proud of what she has accomplished.”
Despite participating in cross country, track, tennis and softball over a four year span, it was basketball that drove her.
“It’s kind of basketball year-round for me,” she said.
A year after suffering disappointment at the hands of Brock in the regional final, the Lady Bulldogs began the year determined to get back.
Alvord stayed in the top 12 of the Class 2A rankings consistently throughout the year. They lost to Brock twice in district play, and a slip-up against Paradise set up a showdown for second place in District 9-2A.
The Lady Bulldogs throttled Paradise 66-47, while Rogers scored 13.
“Ariel is a leader by example,” Schmucker said. “Girls learn from watching her – the way she carries herself on and off the court.”
Playoff victories against Grandview, Gunter, Godley and Chapel Hill set up another showdown with Brock in the Class 2A Region II final, with the winner headed to Austin.
Brock jumped out to an 18-8 lead after the first quarter which proved to be the difference in a 46-36 Alvord loss. The Eagles went on to claim their fifth straight state championship.
“We made it two years in a row and got beat by the same team, so that kind of hurts. Actually it really stinks because it’s Brock,” Rogers said with a laugh. “It’s heartbreak but it’s also victory in a way. We got there and showed people we could do it.”
With determination and drive, Rogers fought to the bitter end of the emotional loss. She says the last few minutes of her final game were gut-wrenching.
“The worst part is when defeat sets in and the game is not quite over,” she said. “The last seconds and you’re still on the court – that part really stinks.”
Rogers says she still hasn’t totally gotten over what happened in Stephenville that Saturday afternoon in February, but the family atmosphere of her team and coaches helped ease the pain.
“It really hurt going home,” Rogers said. “The next Monday we stayed in the gym throughout athletic period and just talked. It was us and Coach Schmucker and we talked for awhile.
“It was fun hanging out with those girls again. The biggest part was knowing it was over. This is what I breathed, slept and ate the last four years of my life.”
From the basketball court it was on to track where Rogers doesn’t enjoy running, but did it for Alvord and Coach Enis. That’s the kind of person she is.
The regional track meet and short dive into tennis wrapped up Rogers’ career at Alvord. It was a great run for a quiet leader who is quick to give thanks to everyone else, especially her basketball family.
“Those two coaches [the Schmuckers’] have made a huge impact on my life that I could never thank them enough for,” Rogers said. “They automatically started sinking into Alvord, and made such a huge impact it’s unreal. Our basketball family kind of mended with their family. It has been a blessing.”
The 2013 salutatorian is off to Texas Tech in the fall where she hopes to one day become a care-flight helicopter pilot.
Till then the modest Rogers is happy to share this award with her Alvord family.
“It’s pretty awesome. We are always happy for each other when the other has success,” she said. “It’s my name, but it’s not because of me. It is all the people giving me support and coaching me to be the athlete I became.”