Flooded With Disaster, Kingwood Runs Toward Recovery

Photo of a submerged Kingwood Whataburger

When coach Jeremiah Dye accepted the Kingwood High School girls head coach of cross country over the summer, he had to have been excited to take over a historic program. Along with being a successful and structured program with a foundation, the Kingwood girls returned the majority of their top seven from their eighth-place UIL 6A 2016 team. 

As Dye guided the team toward the start of the school year and the start of the 2017 cross season, excitement and an eagerness began to take over. 

However, the day before the season was to start, the threat of Hurricane Harvey became real. School districts and meet organizers began to spread the word that meet after meet in the Houston area and all over southeast Texas was being cancelled.

Photo of a submerged Kingwood Chick Fil A

When Harvey began to do its damage, it was clear that the storm was going to cause historic level damage.

"Never, in my life have I experienced anything like this," Dye said. "At Texas State, when I was running we had some major flooding of the San Marcos river but nothing even close to this." 

The effects of the storm are enormous. It has reached from North Houston all of the way to Galveson Island. From as far east as Orange all of the way over and down to Corpus Christi and all roads in between. There are simply no words to describe what has transpired throughout parts of Southeast Texas over the past week. From the arrival of a devastating storm to flood waters leaving thousands of residents without a home to the entire community coming together during a time of need, there has been chaos.  

"We have a few families who were flooded out and are staying with friends and relatives," Dye said. "We have been in contact with all of the coaches and most of the athletes. We use the Remind app to communicate."

Photo of damage inside Kingwood High School

The entire Kingwood community has taken a big hit. Lake Houston is among the several bodies of water that took on historic levels of rain that reached up to over 50 inches in some areas, resulting in severe water damage that will require significant time to repair and restore. Kingwood is in Humble ISD and many of the district's campuses are located within neighborhoods directly impacted by flooding. 

Summer Creek High School Dealing With Direct Impact Of Hurricane Harvey

Kingwood's facilities have also taken a big hit. The school had several feet of water outside as well as inside the building and uncertainty lies within that entire situation for both the education and athletic aspects.

Photo of damage inside Kingwood High School

"Our building took on some water," Dye said. "We have a best-case scenario start date of September 7. We haven't even started the school year yet."

With the damage caused by Harvey, the UIL has already implemented rules to enable athletes throughout the stateto transfer without penalty.  As far as transfers, Dye remarked, "I think it's possible, but families have to do what they have to do. We are more concerned about their well-being than anything else."

Kingwood is well know for its greenbelts that can be found all throughout the community that are perfect for walking, running, and biking. However, the amount of water they incurred will have some sort of affect on their status. 

"Our track is underwater, many of our main run courses are underwater. I know that when the water recedes we will take a look at them again but for the next week or so they are unusable." 

Photo of damage of the Kingwood High School

Kingwood High School annually hosts two cross country meets each season, the Kingwood Class-Mate Challenge that was scheduled for last weekend and the Kingwood / Andy Wells Invitational that is scheduled for September 16. Last week's meet was cancelled and the decision on whether to hold the Andy Wells Invitational will be revisited.

"I don't think cancelling the meet will have a great impact on the program," Dye said. "We can't even meet for practice due to the flooding. I think overall this will strengthen our program and show how much we care about each other and our community. Right now our community needs to heal emotionally and physically and we will help with that." 

Humble ISD has been looking at making provisions to assist the Humble ISD cross country programs get their seasons started. There has been talk of getting some programs up to the Marcus I Invitational this Saturday in Denton, Texas. Kingwood is listed as being entered for the meet. The obstacle for Kingwood and the district is getting transportation to Denton and back. Along with the homes and schools incurring damage were families vehicles and district school buses.