More Than History: Her Story

Highland Park has won at least one UIL state championship in a girls team sport in 23 of the past 38 years. And that doesn’t even count its dominance in the coed sport of team tennis.

That’s a remarkable run of consistency at a school best known for its prolific football program. The success has been spread out among four programs — cross country, golf, soccer, and swimming — resulting in countless trophies and memories along the way.

Let’s not forget state runner-up finishes for the volleyball team in 2003 and 2008, either. What’s your favorite HP Girl Power moment? Let’s look back and salute some of the top female athletic achievements performances in school history.

Cross Country
HP female runners have 14 state championships as a team, and four individually, making it the most decorated girls sport at the school.
The Lady Scots took home three consecutive Class 4A titles from 1997 to 1999, with Emily Field winning the 1998 race to lead the way. HP accomplished the three-peat again from 2010 to 2012.
Other athletes to claim individual titles for the Lady Scots included Crystal McGuire in 1984, Sara Sutherland in 2007, and Natalie Rathjen in 2013.
Maybe most impressive is HP’s streak of sending at least one runner to the state meet for the past 44 years and counting.

Lady Scots swimmers have enjoyed sustained success this century. (Photo: Courtesy HPISD)

For the first decade of the 21st century, no team could touch HP in the pool. The Lady Scots splashed to their first 4A championship in 2001 and didn’t relinquish the top spot for an unprecedented 10 years. That’s a record for any UIL sport that will be difficult to match.

The streak began in the second year after the UIL created separate 5A and 4A classifications for swimming. HP later made it 12 triumphs in 13 years by reclaiming the title in 2012 and 2013.

The swimmers who led those gold-medal hauls remain among the best in school history — Brittany Sacco, Natalie Sacco, Jennifer Blackman, Candace Blackman, and Allison Arnold.

The Blackman sisters accounted for 13 individual gold medals (eight for Candace and five for Jennifer), while the Sacco sisters combined for seven (four for Brittany and three for Natalie). Arnold later won eight events during her four years.

With their seventh state championship in April, the HP girls became the most accomplished soccer team of either gender in state history.

The first two state titles for the Lady Scots in 1994 and 1996 came before any enrollment classification split. They won the 4A titles in 2000 and 2002. And in 2012, after a 10-year title drought, HP topped Byron Nelson High School on penalty kicks to return to the top.

The Lady Scots again emerged victorious in 2017 and 2019, with a runner-up finish sandwiched in between. HP aims to go back-to-back for the first time next spring and will do it with two state tournament MVPs — Presley Echols and Maja Davison — still on the roster.

With Donna Pierce, known as the “coach who didn’t play golf,” Lady Scots golfers claimed consecutive championships. (Photo: Courtesy HPISD)

The heyday for the Lady Scots came in the late 1990s when HP won three consecutive 4A team titles between 1998 and 2000.

None of those squads included the most decorated individual female golfer in school history — Kelli Kuehne — who earned four straight crowns from 1992 to 1995. After a highly successful amateur career and an extended run on the LPGA Tour, she was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

The Lady Scots added another state title in 2008, which was also the second time (including 2000) that they swept the 4A championships alongside their male counterparts.

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