College-bound Highland Park athletes honored on Wednesday’s ceremony included, from left, Hudson Clark (Arkansas), Regan Riddle (Rice), Maddy Stephens (Texas), Adam Elahmadi (Army), and Makay Hansen (Colorado College). (Photo: Chris McGathey)
Regan Riddle played three years on the varsity football team at Highland Park, and left with three state titles.
Now the offensive lineman hopes to bring that championship pedigree to the collegiate level at Rice University, which has had considerably less success in recent seasons.
Riddle recently signed to play for the Owls and was among the HP athletes recognized on Wednesday for their college choices in various sports. Other honorees included Riddle’s teammate Hudson Clark (Arkansas), track standout Maddy Stephens (Texas), gymnast Adam Elahmadi (Army), and lacrosse player Makay Hansen (Colorado College).
At 6-foot-2 and 285 pounds, Riddle anchored the offensive line for the Scots last year, even after switching from right tackle to left tackle prior to the season.
“He was a force to be reckoned with,” said HP offensive coordinator Grayson Wells. “He’s a hard worker. Nobody wanted to make our team better more than he did.”
Rice has just six wins combined over the last three seasons, but could be gaining momentum under second-year head coach Mike Bloomgren. Plus, the Owls have scheduled home games next season against Texas, Baylor, and Wake Forest.
Riddle, who has family connections to Houston, committed to Rice last summer for both athletic and academic reasons.
“I love the new coaching staff,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to build something new. The program is on the upswing.”
Clark will head to Arkansas as a preferred walk-on after starting 30 games at cornerback during the past two years, with 77 tackles and a team-high 11 interceptions during that span.
Arkansas head coach Chad Morris is the father of HP quarterback Chandler Morris. Perhaps more importantly for Clark, both of his parents attended school there, too.
“They were maybe even more excited than I was,” Clark said. “It was a dream come true.”
Stephens was a silver medalist last year in the 800 meters at the Class 5A state meet, which was held on the same track in Austin where Stephens will compete for the Longhorns. She will join a legacy of HP runners at UT that includes Jenna Read, Mary Beth Hamilton, and Gabby Crank.
“They know the traditions from Highland Park,” Stephens said. “They’re really good people to be associated with.”
Elahmadi said coaches from the U.S. Military Academy first contacted him during last year’s state gymnastics meet, where he won a gold medal on horizontal bar.
“I wasn’t really looking at West Point, but he convinced me,” said Elahmadi, who plans to attend military medical school after earning his undergraduate degree. “It’s a nice campus with nice facilities. It was the right place for me.”