POTTSBORO — Two standout athletes have competed at the highest levels in the state for Pottsboro and both Cy Shope and Laklynn Fulenchek hope to continue showcasing their talents at the next level.
Shope has signed to play football for Western Colorado University while Fulencheck will golf at Newman University.
He chose the Division II program over Mary Hardin-Baylor and Southeastern Oklahoma State.
“Over the summer we were looking at schools. I went to the football camp there and they liked me. By the end of the camp they had offered,” Shope said. “They’re thinking about putting me on defense. I like both honestly. Wherever they want me as the best fit for them is the best fit for me.”
He helped power Pottsboro to the best season in school history as the Cardinals went 15-1 and finished as the Class 3A Division I state runner-up with a 42-35 loss against defending champion Grandview in the title game.
“It was tough. Sometimes I still think about it,” Shope said. “Overall I was really happy with how everything went. If you would have said that at the beginning of the season I don’t think we would have believed it.”
Pottsboro set the school record for wins, breaking the old mark of 13 which was set during the program’s state semifinal appearance in 2008 that was the best season before 2019.
Shope was a first-team Associated Press Class 3A all-state selection at running back with 264 carries for 2,070 yards and 36 touchdowns to go with 17 catches for 306 yards and three TDs and a pair of completions that went for touchdowns. That included playing the last month of the season with a knee injury. He also had 41 tackles and two fumble recoveries on defense.
Shope was the District 5-3A (I) Most Valuable Player as the Cardinals returned to the top of the district standings after a one-year absence and set school records with 337 yards and six touchdowns on 34 carries in a 41-27 win over Emory Rains.
“I thought I could be a pretty good running back,” Shope said. “All-state was crazy. I had no clue I’d get that.”
As a junior, Shope did most of his work on offense when the Cardinals got into the red zone. He totaled 45 carries for 371 yards and 15 touchdowns as well as nine catches for 222 yards and two TDs.
His impact was felt much more on defense, where he was a first-team all-district selection, when he led the team with 146 tackles (73 solo) and three interceptions and two forced fumbles from his safety spot. Pottsboro went 6-5 with a bi-district loss.
Western Colorado went 5-6 overall and 5-5 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference this past season. It was a three-win improvement over the previous year and the best campaign since the Mountaineers went 7-4 in 2016.
Fulenchek chose the Division II program in Kansas over LeTourneau University.
“We started looking into it and it wasn’t really serious. Then we learned about it, saw it was small and small was something I was looking for,” Fulenchek said. “One of the biggest things is they have an amazing indoor facility where they practice all the time so weather isn’t an issue.”
As she enters her final season this spring, Fulenchek hopes the trajectory for the program continues upward as Pottsboro has finished better in each of her first three years of competition.
Last spring she helped the Lady Cardinals make it to the Class 3A state tournament for the first time in program history and Pottsboro finished just short of a bronze medal with a combined score of 749.
Callisburg took third at 741. McGregor won the title at 692 and Lago Vista was second at 726.
Fulenchek tied for 29th in the individual standings with a 189 and was five strokes from the top 20.
“Last year gave us the fire and the drive. We want to win. We compete against each other hardcore on the course but when we come off the course we’re as close as can be,” she said. “I would love to be top 10, maybe top five at regionals. I’d love to be top 15 in the state.”
The Lady Cardinals were the 3A Region II runner-up with a combined 820 to finished four shots ahead of Chapel Hill and behind region champ Callisburg. Fulenchek was 15th with a 201.
Fulenchek also competed at the 3A Region II Tournament as both a freshman and sophomore.
During her sophomore season she was 38th in the region with a combined 232 and Pottsboro was seventh as a team.
Her first appearance at regionals saw her finish 45th with a combined 205 as Pottsboro placed 10th.
Newman University joined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association starting with this past season and had top 15 finishes in all four of their fall events. The spring season kicks off in a month.
Last year in their final season in the Heartland Conference, the Jets finished in the top 10 in all nine tournaments across the school year, including a seventh-place finish in the conference tournament. In 2018 the team was fifth in the conference and had a golfer qualify for the NCAA Division II regionals. It was the fourth straight season Newman sent a golfer to regionals, including qualifying as a team in 2015.