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Around Cy-Fair, August 2016

| August 1, 2016

Drexel Long (center) hangs out with American

Drexel Long (center) hangs out with American Ninja Warrior hosts Matt Iseman (left) and Akbar Gbajabiamila prior to the Oklahoma City regional.

Ninja Warrior hosts Matt Iseman (left) and Akbar Gbajabiamila prior to the Oklahoma City regional.

CFISD TEACHER IN AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR REGIONAL COMPETITION

Kahla Middle School PE teacher and track and field coach Drexel Long achieved a goal nearly three years in the making when she was selected to compete in one of the American Ninja Warrior regional competitions in May. Long, who began training in December 2013 as part of a 90-day challenge group, was one of 500 contestants selected from among 75,000 applicants for one of the five Season 8 regionals for the popular NBC show. She joined a group of 100 who ran the challenging obstacle course at the Oklahoma City regional on May 13.

“It was my third time applying, but my first time getting a call,” said Long, who trains with Ninja Warrior legend Sam Sann at his northwest Houston gym, Iron Sports. “When I didn’t get the call for Season 7, I said I would try one more time for Season 8. I honestly wasn’t expecting the call, but when it came I was ecstatic.”

A Kahla educator since 2007, Long felt the support from the entire school community as she prepared to fulfill her dream. Principal   Ana Martin changed the school marquee to read “Coach Long is the next American Ninja Warrior” for her application video, and the momentum picked up from there.

“She left that on the marquee for a week, and that week I felt like a superstar,” Long said. “They were calling me ‘Coach Ninja’ and high-fiving me in the hallways.” Staff members bought t-shirts that said “My Coworker is a Ninja. What is Yours?” to help fund her trip to Oklahoma, wearing them on Fridays throughout the final weeks of the spring semester.

Upon arriving at the regional, Long — who served as a course “tester” the previous two seasons — found the experience as a contestant much more challenging. Her run at the course began at 4:30 a.m. in chilly weather. “It was nerve-wracking,” she said. “You had to sleep during the day and try to stay up at night, and that didn’t really work for me.”

The difficult first obstacle required competitors to leap from five suspended steps resembling pinball flippers. Long hesitated on her jump from the fourth step to the fifth step and fell to the water below, eliminating her from contention.

“At first I felt bad because I did all this preparation and then I fell on the first obstacle, but it was 4:30 a.m. in 50-degree weather,” she said. “I don’t train like that, and I gave 100 percent, so I have to be happy for what the outcome is. I believe that if I could have gotten past that fifth step I could’ve finished the course. I am just thankful and blessed to be given a shot at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Long could not divulge any results until after the competition aired on June 20. Although the show omitted her footage from the final TV edit, several friends and family gathered for a watch party to show support.

“All my friends on Facebook were sharing that I would be there so people were having watch parties across the U.S. to cheer me on,” she said. “I got a little emotional because I knew people were hoping I could finish, but they were still so proud of me. Everybody was very comforting.”

But Long hasn’t given up on her next goal of reaching the American Ninja Warrior finals in Las Vegas. She is already planning on creating an application video for the Season 9 competition by the January 2017 deadline.

“I’ve been an athlete all my life, and as a PE teacher and coach I love that I get paid to play sports and fitness activities with the kids,” she said. “I like to show them that even though I’m in shape, there are some things I can do and some I can’t do. I love when they impress me and I can impress them at the same time, and this experience has been good for that. I was just hoping to make Cy-Fair proud.”

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Chris Brooks competes on the pommel horse at the Men’s Olympic Trials. Brooks is the second CFISD alum to qualify for the men’s Olympic team, after Jonathan Horton made the team in 2008.

Chris Brooks competes on the pommel horse at the Men’s Olympic Trials. Brooks is the second CFISD alum to qualify for the men’s Olympic team, after Jonathan Horton made the team in 2008.

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Chris Brooks, a 2005 Cypress Creek High School alumnus, competes on the rings at the 2016 Men’s Olympic Trials in St. Louis. Brooks was one of five members named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team on June 25.

CY CREEK ALUM MAKES OLYMPIC MEN’S GYMNASTICS ROSTER

Chris Brooks, a 2005 graduate of Cypress Creek High School, will represent the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics as one of five members of the men’s gymnastics team.

The announcement came on June 25 after Brooks completed a spectacular showing at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in St. Louis, tallying a second-best all-around score of 358.075.

Brooks will join teammates Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Danell Leyva and Alex Naddour at the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 5-21, having been selected by a committee appointed by USA Gymnastics. Leyva replaced John Orozco after Orozco tore his ACL and meniscus during a training camp.

Brooks, 29, was a replacement athlete on the 2012 Olympic team. A top-ranked amateur in high school, he trained at the Cypress Academy of Gymnastics and competed for the University of Oklahoma alongside Cy-Fair High School graduate and two-time Olympian Jonathan Horton. Horton competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

“I remember Chris as an incredibly dedicated amateur gymnast,” said Jim Wells, former Cypress Creek principal. “Chris was a very polite, respectful young man and all-around good student, especially considering the amount of time that it took to train and compete in his sport outside of school.”

A seasoned veteran in a sport filled with youth, Brooks will be the oldest member of Team USA.

“I was ecstatic when I found out he made the team this time around. He is a very deserving young man following the ultimate dream in his sport,” Wells said. “He has overcome a lot of adversity, and as the oldest member he will be a stabilizing influence on the USA men’s team. Cy Creek, CFISD, all of Houston and the state of Texas should be proud that he is representing our country.”

For more information, visit usagym.org.

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(L to R): Missy Kilday, Principal Post Elementary; Lauren Lake, Cy-Hope staff, Jill Wasson, 3rd VP Post PTO; Krista Guerrero, 2nd VP Post PTO; Christina Sheehy, Spirit Cart Chair, Post PTO; Allison Ray, Communications Liaison Post PTO.

(L to R): Missy Kilday, Principal Post Elementary; Lauren Lake, Cy-Hope staff, Jill Wasson, 3rd VP Post PTO; Krista Guerrero, 2nd VP Post PTO; Christina Sheehy, Spirit Cart Chair, Post PTO; Allison Ray, Communications Liaison Post PTO.

POST ELEMENTARY PTO RAISES FUNDS FOR CY-HOPE

Post Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) recently donated all profits from its monthly school shop, Spirit Cart, to Cy-Hope, a local organization dedicated to helping children in Cy-Fair.

“After the April floods just driving to Post was hard – our neighbors, our friends, our kids’ friends from school – seeing their houses being gutted was sad to see,” said Christina Sheehy, Post PTO Spirit Cart Chair. “Those of us who weren’t affected by the floods felt the need to do something for our neighbors so we decided to use Spirit Cart as a fundraiser.”

The fundraiser was deemed successful with a total donation of $523. “The students were truly generous and felt good about being able to help out their friends in an easy and fun way,” said Sheehy. “Five hundred dollars is a lot for elementary school children to raise.”

Post PTO chose Cy-Hope because they are a local charity specifically for local children. The monies raised will be used to help families in the Jersey Village community.


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