Cinco Ranch student wins UIL appeal to play at another Katy ISD school

November 28, 2012 8:22:44 PM PST
A local student athlete, with a room full of awards for her softball skills, is celebrating a victory off the field.

She was prepared for the worst, but was able to walk away with a smile.

"Justice was served," Cinco Ranch High School junior Kelli Martinez said.

Martinez missed school Wednesday, including a dreaded physics test, to be in Austin to fight for varsity eligibility and potential college scholarships. We first met the softball standout two weeks ago when she was still devastated by a district decision.

"That I couldn't play varsity," Martinez said.

Her parents say they left the area zoned to Mayde Creek High School over the summer because of crime. Her former coach said it was for athletic purposes to play on a better team.

On Wednesday, both sides found themselves in front the UIL state executive committee, the body that governs such things.

"They went to look for the safest neighborhood," Martinez's attorney Hector Longoria told the committee.

And after an hour of questions for all involved, her appeal was granted, a victory won for this 16-year-old.

"I feel good now," she told us.

And hopefully, there are no hard feelings.

The eligibility policy Martinez was challenging is one of UIL's oldest, written to ensure a level playing field among schools. Hundreds of similar appeals before hers have been denied.

Martinez will start practicing with varsity in January.

At the hearing, Katy ISD officials declined to comment on the outcome. Instead, a district spokesman sent us a statement saying it now supports this new decision.


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