Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Sydni Williams By Ebony Carrington

Position(s): Sprinter (Relay First Leg)

Team: IBTT Blazers Track Club (Denton)

Age Group: 14U

Grade: Seventh

If you searched Google today for things that could be done in 11 seconds or less … tie a tie, unload a 12-pack of soda or open a bottle of wine — running a 100-meter dash at 12 years old wouldn’t be listed. Yet, 12-year-old Sydni Williams has made it her new year goal.

The average runtime for a high schooler (14 to 18) to complete the 100-meter run is around 10 to 11 seconds, but not at all average for a seventh grader. 

Williams, an all-around athlete, began running track at age eight when it was discovered (while playing soccer) how fast she was on the field. It was suggested she try running track.

“Though I’ve played many sports — soccer, basketball, volleyball and dance, track is by far my favorite, and the sport I feel I excel at the most,” she said. “Being a well-rounded athlete is important to me. It helps me stay in the best physical shape possible.”

Williams focused runs are the 100, 200 and 400-meter sprints, in addition to running first leg in the 4×100 relay with the I’m Better Than That (IBTT) Blazers Track Club in Denton County. Last summer, the IBTT Blazer (12U) Girls 4×100 relay team placed first at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) State Track & Field meet and finished fourth place in the Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) Junior Olympics.

“When it comes to track, I am my biggest competitor,” she shared. “I often feel nervous about racing right before I have to. I constantly have to encourage myself beforehand to be successful in the race.”

In the coming months, Williams will be training in off-season working toward achieving her set goals and exceeding last year’s placement with her relay team. She hopes to one day receive a scholarship to run at either Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, or Southern University.

“Staying focused, working hard, bringing dedication and determination are characteristics I feel are most important to being successful,” she said.

And with set goals and expectations in check, the support of family and friends, including a winning attitude, it’s no doubt Williams will achieve success.

Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Deon Holloman Jr. By Ebony Carrington

Position(s): Center

School: Life Middle School – Waxahachie

Player #: 23

Grade: 8th Grade

It’s usually every young man’s desire to play a professional sport, but for Deon Holloman Jr. — the possibility isn’t so unrealistic. At 13, Holloman stands 6 feet tall. He towers over his parents and is easily the second tallest on his Life Middle School (Waxahachie) 8th grade basketball team. He’s what you’d consider a team’s golden ticket, averaging 12 points, four blocks, four steals and five assists per game.

“I generally play center because of my height,” Holloman said. “But, I am naturally a small forward/shooting guard.”

The LMS basketball team currently holds a record of 5-0 for the season, with a promise of continuing on the path to a successful finish. They have an outstanding team to credit for it, not to mention Center — who is as competitive as they come. Holloman is known as the rim protector and for mid-range scoring and steals. He credits his competitiveness to all those he will ever come up against, sharing that’s what drives him — always striving for the No. 1 spot.

Holloman’s parents said he’s always been a natural at basketball, since he began playing at age five. Outside of his natural ability and height, he continuously challenges himself and creates goals that he can work to achieve.

“I would like to see improvement of my ball handling and consistency with shooting,” he said. “I am always trying to outdo my previous short term goals/stats.”

With the support of his parents, his goals in view and a focused mindset, Holloman intends to one day go for that definitive dream, playing in the NBA.

“My family has always been my greatest supporters. They always point me to God and tell me to never let anyone limit my abilities,” he said. “That’s why I plan to have a blast on this journey.”

He hopes to one day join the ranks of one of his top college picks, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Kentucky and the University of Georgia. As he continues to gain height and advance his athletic ability, maybe someday, he’ll be considered one of the pros.




Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Bailee Kenney By Ebony Carrington

Position(s): Base

School: Della Icenhower Intermediate

Team: Ice Surge All Star Elite Youth 3

Cheer Squad: Onyx Cheer Force (Arlington)

Grade: 5th Grade

The definition of sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Competitive cheerleading meets those qualifications, just ask 10-year-old Bailee Kenney who’s been tumbling since age 2 and cheering on the Onyx Cheer Force squad since she was 5.

Not only do cheerleaders perform traditional cheers, chants, dances, and pom routines — standard acts one might recall from school football games (considered recreational) — they also compete. Competitive cheer includes stunts, jumps, tumbling and dancing (All Star Cheerleading). It’s Kenney’s favorite sport.

“I enjoy cheer because I get to put all the skills I learned tumbling to use,” she said. “Plus, I really like being a flyer and doing pyramid stunts, but this year, I am trying something different by being a base.”

Bases are athletes that hold the flier (or girl on top) in the air during a stunt. They are considered to be the foundation of a stunt because they are very strong. One of Kenney’s goals is to focus on core and strength training to stay tight, which will ultimately help her become stronger. Though holding a new position wasn’t something Kenney initially wanted to try, her coaches and teammates were very encouraging.

“My teammate Brooklyn inspired me to not give up on learning a new skill set,” she shared. “I can’t say where my cheer journey will lead me, but I am having a lot of fun along the way.”

The season of competitive cheer just started, in the past, her team has received cheer bids and traveled to championship competitions all the way to Orlando, Florida. She looks forward to doing it all again — to receiving bids, bringing home championships, and even getting a jacket, a ring and trophies.

“I don’t really keep up with competitors. I just look forward to cheering and having fun,” she said. “If I could inspire other young girls interested in cheer, I’d tell them to ‘Keep putting in hard work, never give up if it’s your passion. You work hard and work towards your goals.’”



Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Taylor Marie Clarke By Ebony Carrington

Position: Right Side Hitter

School: Trinity Christian Academy

Team:  Frisco Flyers 14 APX Bill

Jersey #: 6

Grade: Freshman

At a towering 5’10”, 14-year-old Taylor Clarke is at the start of what is expected to be a promising club volleyball season. Clarke, a Trinity Christian Academy freshman playing Varsity-level volleyball, is the newest recruit to the No. 1 ranked Volleyball team in the nation, the Frisco Flyers 14 APX-Bill.

After a disappointing (7-22) Varsity season behind her, she’s entering her third year of club ball looking forward to the possibility of a record-breaking season with the Flyers, and bonding with her new teammates. Clarke shared that she’s always used volleyball as a way of meeting new people. She was in fourth grade when classmates invited her to her first lesson. Now, as a Varsity-level freshman, she finds there are newer challenges beyond meeting new people — balancing her academic and sports schedules, while learning the ropes on a newer, more advanced team.

“Playing on varsity as a freshman was definitely stressful at times,” Clarke said, “…but it was also very rewarding and gave me the opportunity to build great friendships with upperclassmen.”

Clarke’s biggest goal for the upcoming year is to strengthen her defensive game and help the team bring home the National Championship again. With her impressive left-handed hitting skills, she brings a sure advantage hitting from the right side of the net — speed and agility. She says she is her own biggest competitor (and whoever is on the other side of the net, of course).

As Clarke continues to advance in her skillset and grow to her full height, she hopes to be as accomplished as her inspirations — University of Texas at Austin Women’s Volleyball Hitter, Logan Eggleston and Women’s USA Volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist Hitter, Jordan Thompson.

Although a freshman, she dreams of playing competitively in college (on scholarship) and in the U.S. Olympics. Her top picks for college include the University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Louisville University, and Stanford University.

With her biggest supporters — her parents and grandparents (who travels from Mississippi for most games) by her side, she will embark upon a season that is sure to be more than just an honorable mention.

Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Dalone Holloman Jr. By Ebony Carrington

Position(s): Cornerback

School: Florence Elementary School (Mesquite, TX)

Team: Mesquite Mustangs – Mesquite D1 League

Player #: 10

Grade: Third grade

Speed. Agility. Strength. Adaptability. These are a few of the characteristics a football cornerback should possess in order to achieve maximum potential. Third grader Dalone Holloman Jr. (8) already has much of that potential and is working on boosting the other necessary skills to dominate all aspects of the game.

Speed is what comes naturally to Holloman. As one of the fastest on his  Mesquite Mustangs pee wee league football team, running is where he feels he excels.

“Once I take off running, no one can catch me,” Holloman said. “That’s why one of my favorite things about football is running the ball and scoring touchdowns.”

But in order to achieve his goal of learning and growing in every position of the game, Holloman must step outside of his comfort zone (learning lineman) and stretch himself in order to become an all-around athlete.

The objective of pee wee league football is to teach young players the fundamentals of the game and to emphasize the qualities that need developing in order to be successful. Success for Holloman is to one day play football in college like his dad, and later professionally, in the National Football League (NFL) like his all-time favorite NFL player Dak Prescott.

“I’ve played football for four years, and I grew up watching my dad play, too,” he said. “I know it takes a lot of hard work, but the first step is learning.”

One way Hollowman has worked to expand and improve his skill set is by taking on additional sports — basketball and baseball. Studies show that playing multiple sports leads to better muscle (strength), speed, balance and promotes agility and adaptability. Seemingly, all the characteristics of a cornerback.

With Hollowman’s continued persistence and drive to promote his athleticism, there’s no doubt that someday, he’ll reach maximum potential.

Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Addison Thomas By Ebony Carrington

Position(s): Competitive dancer

School: Acellus Academy (Homeschool Private Learning)

Team: DV8 Dance Company of Dana’s Studio Of Dance (Southlake)

Grade: 7th Grade

At the tender age of 11, Addison Thomas already knows what it feels like to have a 10-year tenure in what she loves — dance.

Thomas began dancing almost as soon as she learned to stand. Since then, she was enrolled in dance classes and camps, and the rest is history. She’s been dancing competitively for the past eight years. In her combined 10-year run, she has sampled the styles of ballet, hip hop, tap, ballroom, modern, jazz, lyrical and open, with contemporary being her favorite style.

“What I love most about dancing is expressing my feelings through my movements,” Thomas shared. “Being a dancer requires you to be confident and have the ability to learn new things.”

One of the newest things she’s taken on is dancing for the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Squad, the first and only youth (ages 7 to 16) dance crew of its kind in the NFL.

The opportunity to learn and train with dance professionals of this caliber has been a huge win for Thomas. She feels that in order to be a successful dancer, you have to be able to work well with people (in order to train and grow) and to be humble.

“It’s important to never think you’re too good, to know that there are always new things to learn and room for growth,” she said. “When I first started dancing, it was all about winning trophies, but as I get older, I realize it’s about getting better at my skill and the learning experience.”  

Her dance acumen stems from her parents and is being passed on to her younger sisters (ages 4 and 8) who also dance. The Thomas family believes that achievement is about sacrifice and dedication. For them, dedication means dancing 20 plus hours a week — while homeschooling — and adding an in-home dance studio.

Thomas wants to continue dancing in college and beyond, with dreams of one day being a famous dancer/choreographer. She realizes everyday that a little sacrifice in the beginning is for the hope of a big payoff in the future.

Oowee Sports Nation’s Student Athlete of the Week: Zavien Abercrombie-Brown By Ebony Carrington

Zavien Abercrombie-Brown

Position(s): Defensive back (cornerback) and kick returner

School: James Martin High School (Arlington, Texas) 

Player #: 34

Grade: Sophomore

A triple threat is defined as a person who is adept in three different fields of activity or a football player adept at running, kicking and passing. Arlington’s Martin High School sophomore Zavien Abercrombie-Brown is that triple threat. 

Not only does Abercrombie-Brown dominate in the special teams area (due to his flexibility), but the speed he brings from his seasons in track and his stamina and ball handling from soccer make him a serious contender for future opponents. 

Fresh off a victorious football season where the Martin High School varsity football team finished 9-3 overall and were declared champions with a 6-0 record in the district, Abercrombie-Brown is optimistic about his athletic journey ahead. 

“As an underclassmen on the varsity team, sure, I faced some challenges. I constantly had to prove myself,” Abercrombie-Brown said. “But, what I love the most about it is the relationships and bonds I built with my teammates.” 

Abercrombie-Brown shared that though the season was personally challenging, he felt empowered by being chosen by his coaches to play at an advanced level. He said once he was able to prove to himself and the team that he’s just as fast and strong and can hold his own with his upper class teammates, the rest of the season brought great symmetry. 

“As a multisport athlete, I’m able to kick as well as run down the field to make the tackles,” he said. “Soccer helps keep me conditioned and [my] footwork on point, while track helps to maintain my speed. I definitely feel like I’m not a one-trick pony.”  

With the support of his family (especially his dad, former athlete/coach and current trainer), Abercrombie-Brown said he ultimately hopes to earn a D-1 scholarship to play football at one of his four college picks of University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University, University of Oregon or Baylor University. 



Student Athlete of the Week: Gabrielle Jackson By Ebony Carrington

Gabrielle Jackson

Age: 15

Team: Flower Mound Lacrosse and 214 Lacrosse (Dallas)
Position(s): Defender
Team #: 12

School: Flower Mound High School

Grade: Freshman 

In lacrosse, defense is primarily about quickness, footwork, and determination — all things that Flower Mound High School freshman Gabrielle Jackson possesses. As defender for local Flower Mound girls lacrosse team and Dallas’ 214 Lacrosse, Jackson pushes herself to stay at the top of her game. As a minority in an already uncommon sport, Jackson realizes she’s in a pretty unique position. 

“Lacrosse isn’t a very diverse sport — there aren’t many African Americans that play, but there’s so much opportunity,” Jackson (15) said. “It’s more popular on the East Coast, but that’s changing everyday. It’s growing in popularity and that opens up doors.” 

Lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport in the U.S. with more than 500 NCAA varsity women’s programs. 

Lacrosse is a rare sport where speed, agility, athleticism, skill, and attitude are showcased. It is very similar to soccer, which is where Jackson got her start. She’s now been playing for the past six years. She hopes to one day play collegiate lacrosse at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) — her top picks are Howard University, Hampton University or Xavier University. 

In 2016, Hampton University was the first HBCU to reintroduce lacrosse back into their athletic programs. Currently, these HBCUs host D1 women’s lacrosse programs — Howard, Hampton, Delaware University, with Xavier being the latest addition in 2021. Not only is women’s lacrosse a fast-growing sport at the collegiate level, but at the high school level, too. Many D1 high schools are beginning to add lacrosse as a featured sport. 

“For inspiration, I often look at other players in and around Texas that played lacrosse at the collegiate level or really any collegiate level player,” she said. “K. Chase Coleman (Team GRIT — Houston, TX) just committed to Howard. She is goals.”

Jackson’s Flower Mound girls lacrosse team has committed seven senior girls to all D1 schools. When her time comes, she hopes to be among the top committed to her choice of an HBCU.