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Former UIL Athletes Compete in Rio Olympics

By Chris Schmidt, Public Affairs Representative | Monday, August 29, 2016 1:59 PM

Olympic competitors are some of the most talented and well-trained athletes in the world, so it’s no surprise that many of them were successful high school student-athletes. Several former UIL State champions made waves representing Team USA during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Several even medaled at the games.

The following is a rundown of how former UIL state medal winners fared at the 2016 Olympic Games:

Camille Adams, Houston Cypress Woods HS: Adams was the fastest swimmer in the Conference 5A 500-yard freestyle event, winning gold at the 2010 UIL Swimming and Diving State Championships. At Rio she placed fourth in the 200-meter butterfly finals, only .7 seconds from a spot on the medal stand.

Brad Adkins, Idalou HS: As a multi-sport athlete at Idalou, Adkins won UIL gold in football, basketball and in the 110-meter hurdles. However, high jump was his specialty — he medaled three times in the state event (two silvers and a bronze). Standing at 6-foot-2, Adkins cleared 2.26 meters (7-feet-5-inches) in the high jump at his first Olympic games in Rio.

Michelle Carter, Red Oak HS: The Carter family is high school shot put royalty. Both Michelle and her father Michael are the national high school record holders in girls and boys shot put. Michelle, like her father, was also the Conference 4A UIL shot put state champion all four years of her high school career (2000-03). Her third trip to the Olympics was the charm, as Carter won gold this year with a U.S.-record setting throw of 20.63 meters (67-feet-8-inches).

Tamika Catchings, Duncanville HS: Catchings led Duncanville to a UIL volleyball state title as a junior and an undefeated (40-0) state championship winning season in girls basketball as a senior. In 2016 she completed her fourth Olympic games, winning her fourth gold medal for Team USA in basketball.

Kerron Clement, La Porte HS: Clement was a three-time UIL gold medalist, winning the 5A 110-meter hurdles in 2002 and the 300-meter hurdles in 2002 and 2003. He still holds the 300-meter hurdles record in the highest UIL conference. The three-time Olympian captured a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at Rio (his second gold overall).

Kyle Clemons, Garland Rowlett HS: Clemons has four UIL gold medals in his trophy case, two for the 400-meter dash, and two for the 4x100-meter relay in Conference 5A. Running the third leg of the 4x400-meter relay race in Rio, Clemons helped Team USA advance to the finals where they would eventually take home the gold medal.

Kassidy Cook, Conroe The Woodlands HS: As a junior in 2012, Cook was a state champion diver at the UIL Swimming & Diving State Championships. In 2016, she finished one spot away from qualifying for the final in the 3-meter springboard event in her first Olympic Games.

Tervel Dlagnev, Arlington HS: Dlagnev won a bronze medal in the 215 lb. weight class at the 2003 UIL Wrestling State Championships. In Rio, Dlagnev was one match away from the gold medal final, losing in the semifinals of the 125kg (275 lb) freestyle wrestling bracket.

Jimmy Feigen, San Antonio Churchill HS: During his high school career, Feigen won multiple UIL gold medals in the pool. In 2008, he won state championships in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. Feigen swam in the qualifying heat for the 4x100-meter freestyle relay team in Rio, but did not swim in the finals where Team USA took home the gold medal.

Brittney Griner, Houston Nimitz HS: Griner led Nimitz to the state final as a senior in 2009, setting multiple records — including the only dunk in UIL Girls Basketball State Tournament history. At her first Olympic games, she led gold-medal winning Team USA in rebounds (5.9) and blocks (1.4) per game while averaging 9.8 points per game.

Jarrion Lawson, Texarkana Liberty-Eylau HS: Lawson was a two-time UIL long jump and triple jump state champion in Conference 3A, winning in 2011 and 2012. He still owns the UIL conference record in each event. In Rio, Lawson finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 8.25 meters, which was only .04 meters away from a spot on the medal stand.

Stacy Lewis, Conroe The Woodlands HS: A fixture at the UIL Golf State Championships, Lewis’ team medaled all four years of her high school career (3 gold and 1 bronze). Lewis was a stroke away from the medal stand at Rio, finishing 9-under-par for the four-day Olympic tournament.

Inika McPherson, Port Arthur Memorial HS: High jump has always been a specialty for McPherson, who won UIL bronze and silver in the event at the 2004 and 2005 state meets. In 2016, McPherson leapt over the bar at 1.93 meters (6-feet-4-inches) which was in the top 10 at the Rio Olympics.

Courtney Okolo, Carrollton Smith HS: Okolo won six UIL gold medals during her high school career, most notably setting the state record in the 400-meter dash. Not only did she set the state record, she collected three gold medals in the event from 2010-12. She led the 4x400-meter relay team in Rio, running the first leg of what was a gold-medal winning race for Team USA.

Shelbi Vaughan, Mansfield Legacy HS: National high school record-holder Vaughan was a three-time champion in UIL state discus throw (the first in 2010 for Azle High School before moving to Mansfield Legacy). In her first Olympics, Vaughan threw the discus 53.33 meters (175 feet) giving her the second best throw for Team USA and 29th best overall.

Dana Vollmer, Granbury HS: In high school, Vollmer was the Conference 5A 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly state champion at the 2005 UIL Swimming and Diving State Championships. The three-time Olympian took home a gold (4x100-meter medley), silver (4x100-meter free) and bronze (100-meter fly) from Rio in 2016.

Chrishuna Williams, DeSoto HS: In 2011, Williams’ bronze in the 400-meter dash and gold in the 4x400-meter relay helped DeSoto win the overall team UIL track & field state title. Williams represented Team USA at her first Olympics in 2016, placing 35th place in the 800-meter.

Bralon Taplin, Round Rock Stony Point HS: Not a member of Team USA, the Round Rock Stony Point alum competed at the 2016 Olympic Games for Grenada. In high school, Taplin won UIL bronze (2009) and gold (2010) in the 400-meter dash. In Rio, he won his first heat and semifinal race in the 400-meters but finished 7th in the final with a time of 44.45.

Other Texas high school graduates at the Olympics:
Chris Brooks, Houston Cypress Creek HS – Gymnastics; Jimmy Butler, Tomball HS – Basketball; Logan Cunningham, Comal Smithson Valley HS – Track & Field; Glenn Eller, Katy Taylor HS – Shooting; Jackie Galloway, Wylie HS – Taekwondo; Courtney Hurley, Northside Warren HS – Fencing; Kelley Hurley, Northside Warren HS – Fencing; Stephen Lambdin, Colleyville Heritage – Taekwondo; Steven Lopez, Fort Bend Kempner HS – Taekwondo; Simone Manuel, Fort Bend Austin HS – Swimming; Clark Montgomery, Bryan HS – Equestrian; Keith Sanderson, Northside Marshall HS – Shooting; Timothy Wang, Alief Kerr HS – Table Tennis;

UIL Medal Count:
Camille Adams (1 gold), Brad Adkins (3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze), Michelle Carter (8 gold), Tamika Catchings (2 gold), Kerron Clement (3 gold, 2 silver), Kyle Clemons (4 gold), Kassidy Cook (1 gold), Tervel Dlagnev (1 bronze), Jimmy Feigen (5 gold, 2 silver), Brittney Griner (1 silver), Jarrion Lawson (5 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), Stacy Lewis (3 gold, 1 bronze), Inika McPherson (1 silver, 1 bronze), Courtney Okolo (6 gold, 1 bronze), Shelbi Vaughan (4 gold, 2 silver), Dana Vollmer (2 gold), Chrishuna Williams (1 gold, 1 bronze)

TOTAL: 48 Gold, 12 Silver, 8 bronze

2016 Olympic Medal Count:
Jimmy Butler (1 gold), Michelle Carter (1 gold), Tamika Catchings (1 gold), Kerron Clement (1 gold), Kyle Clemons (1 gold), Jimmy Feigen (1 gold), Jackie Galloway (1 bronze), Brittney Griner (1 gold), Simone Manuel (2 gold, 2 silver), Courtney Okolo (1 gold), Dana Vollmer (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

TOTAL: 11 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze