During the last UIL realignment period the Pineywoods Community Academy was officially invited to begin playing varsity sports at the Class A level. Now in the middle of their first ever UIL basketball season, the Timberwolves and Lady Wolves have found new school pride in their athletics program.
The Pineywoods Community Academy was officially established in Lufkin in 1998, but had to wait until 2012 to get to play varsity sports in the UIL. Girls Head Coach and Athletic Director Edwin Quarles explains why the new athletics program is important to helping the school grow.
"It is a big deal because it has brought us some more recognition," said Quarles. "People who don't know a lot about our school are finding out a little more about it and it is attracting attention for the school and that is always a good thing."
Others in the athletic program explained that being able to represent their school on the court for the first time has brought on a whole new pride in the Pineywoods Academy.
"That is just a whole new experience because it is the first year in the UIL," said Sophomore Justin Goins. "We have never really had that so it is still brand new, and I love it."
Boys Head Coach Brian Kruk agrees that there is a new buzz around campus.
"What is neat is this school has a lot of spirit and the kids already had a sense of pride about the school," said Kruk. "But then adding athletics has really added to the atmosphere."
Senior Carli Bynum says that the student athletes have enjoyed a lot of support from their peers.
"Kids started coming to our games and so it felt like we were a real school, and not just always going to school and coming straight home," said Bynum. "We all made T-shirts and it was a lot of fun."
Junior Blain Cauble says that even though his team may struggle early on, he is proud to have been one of the very first student athletes for the Timberwolves in the UIL.
"That is a really good feeling because I want to be able to look back and know that I started this," said Cauble. "I hope to see great things that come from this program."
Pineywoods Academy has 32 boys and 8 girls in basketball in their first year as a program. The Wolves and Lady Wolves next play on Monday, December 31st at Centerville High School. Their first game in the UIL's Class-A District-23 begins in January.