Class of 2013: small but memorable


While the Class of 2013 will graduate the smallest group from Rockdale High School in decades with 82 seniors, they left some large footprints on their way out.

They can count a state champion among them in Jamie Czajkowski.

When Czajkowski racked up a state title in powerlifting, he not only became the Tigers’ first gold medal winner in the sport, he was just the second state champion at the school in the past 16 years.

Daniel Brooks grabbed gold in the 100-meter dash in 2011 after Freddie Cates took gold in the discus in 1997.

To put Czajkowski’s feat in perspective, in the 102-year history of Rockdale High School, there have been 10 individual state champions—all in track.

Not to mention that the 5-foot-4, 195-pounder set a new national record in the bench press with a heft of 446 pounds.

“I almost cried when I found out I had won,” he said. “I am definitely satisfied. I achieved every goal I wanted to set this year.”

Czajkowski Czajkowski The Class of 2013 also featured a highly decorated athlete in Ethan Brinkley.

The southpaw leaves RHS as the most prolific passer in school history after becoming the school’s first-ever threeyear starter at the position.

Brinkley threw the ball for 4,616 yards and 36 touchdowns and erased every passing record in the books.

He has signed up to play football with West Texas A&M.

In baseball, Brinkley was named All-State and chosen to play in the THSBCA All-Star game (see story, above) after producing a stellar year at the plate and on the hill.

Let’s not forget Brinkley’s football teammate Markus Hayes, who twice racked up 27 tackles in a game and gained All-State attention for the effort at linebacker.

The Tigers returned to the playoffs after a one year break on the heels of a school record four straight trips.

Brinkley’s twin sister Emily, dominated the district track meets over the past four years, taking four league crowns in the shot put and two in the discus.

She also earned a trip to the state track meet in the shot put in 2012.

Another track standout, Juan Rubio, has also left his imprint on the program, making trips to not only the state cross country meet, but the state track meet as well.

He was district champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs and he will have the opportunity to continue to run at Southwest Assembly of God.

This senior group was a integral part of returning both the basketball and baseball programs to the playoffs.

The Tiger basketball team made its first playoff appearance in 17 years in 2012 and the Lady Tigers entered the playoffs this season for the first time since 2005.

The Tiger baseball team returned to the playoffs in 2012 after missing for three years. They just missed out this season, forcing a third place playoff game with an injured Brinkley on the bench.

The hard luck Tigers lost four one-run games in district play.

In softball, the Lady Tigers maintained their status quo as one of the top programs around.

Senior hurler Kayleigh Montelongo became the school’s all-time winningest pitcher in leading Rockdale to its fifth straight playoff appearance and best season since 2006.

The golf team also returned to the state tournament after a one year hiatus and along the way captured its fourth consecutive district crown.

It’s up to those who follow to maintain what’s left behind.

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2013-05-30 digital edition

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