Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 18, 2009) – Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), a three-time Olympian with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, was placed on the University Interscholastic League (UIL) All-Century First Team with nine other athletes to represent the highest levels of volleyball achievement in Texas high school history.
Since 1909, the UIL has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world. The UIL provides high school students in the state of Texas with educational experiences through competition, while promoting good sportsmanship and cooperation among member schools.
In addition to Sykora, three other athletes with U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team connections were named to the UIL All-Century Teams. Demetria Sance (San Antonio, Texas), a 2000 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team member, was named to the UIL All-Century Second Team. She was a standout at San Antonio John Jay High School. Erin Aldrich (Dallas, Texas), who joined the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team in 2001 after being a member of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team in the high jump, was named to the UIL All-Century Third Team for her accomplishments at Richardson Lake Highlands High School. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), who trained with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team last spring, was named to the UIL All-Century Second Team for her career at San Antonio Southwest High School and is a current member of the University of Texas volleyball and track and field teams.
Sykora, a1995 graduate of Burleson High School, was a multi-sport prep standout competing in volleyball, basketball, cross country and track and field. However, volleyball was her true calling in terms of athletics.
Sykora led Burleson High School to a 32-2 record her senior year, which helped the Elks reach the UIL regional quarterfinals in 1994. As a high school athlete, she was a phenomenal outside hitter and had her No. 32 prep jersey retired in a ceremony in 2001.
“I would have to say that it is an honor to be placed among such great athletes,” Sykora said. “Sport has allowed me to travel the world, see things I read about in history books and live out my dreams. These dreams started in Texas, and no matter where my life takes me, I will always be a Texan. I am proud and thankful for that.”
After high school, Sykora became a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Second-Team selection (1997 and 1998) at Texas A&M University. She averaged 4.74 kills and 4.37 digs per set as a senior, while ranking ninth in the NCAA Division I in dig average. She also participated on the Texas A&M track team (1995-96) and women’s basketball team (1996-97). Sykora won the Southwest Conference heptathlon championship in 1996.
Sykora joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in January 1999 and switched position to the then-newly created position of libero. She immediately took to the new position and landed a spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Games roster and finished second in digs on the grandest sporting event stage. Sykora earned the Best Digger award at the 2004 Olympic Games as the Team USA libero. She made her third Olympic Games roster in 2008.
As for Sance, she was a four-time All-State, all-district and all-city selection while at John Jay High School before going to the University of Texas. She was MVP of the 1991 UIL state tournament as a freshman after leading John Jay to the state title. In 1994, Sance paced John Jay to the Texas 5A state semifinals after three other state semifinal or final match appearances.
Aldrich was a three-time volleyball letterwinner at Lake Highlands High School while also competing in track and field. At the time, she recorded the second highest high jump in prep history at the Junior National High Jump Championship and placed eighth at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Hooker, who was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team squad that toured China in spring of 2008, was rated as the No. 8 volleyball recruit by PrepVolleyball.com. She was an all-state outside hitter as a junior and senior at Southwest High School. She also was a standout track star in the high jump on the national scene, in addition to posting impressive numbers on the basketball court at Southwest. At the University of Texas, she has earned several NCAA and USA Outdoor championships in the high jump to go with being a three-time AVCA All-American.
As part of its Centennial Celebration, the UIL created All-Century Teams with fan voting for various sports teams. Fans cast more than 14,000 votes for their favorite volleyball players in Texas high school history.