Chicken Express Community Heroes: Stephenville's Hailey Martin and Colleyville Heritage's Hunter Ridley

Hailey Martin, Stephenville

Hailey Martin’s athletic career began in the world of gymnastics when she was four years old. After claiming three junior Olympic national championships, Martin later developed into three-sport star at Stephenville High School. 

She qualified for the regional track meet all four years and capped off her track career by competing in five events at the Region I-4A meet this year. She now plans to continue her track career at Tarleton State University in the fall.

“I am very humbled to receive the community hero award from Chicken Express,” Martin said. “I take pride in leading by example and this award exemplifies that.” 

In addition to her success for the Yellow Jackets track team, Martin also earned two defensive player of the year awards on the volleyball team and was a TAVC all-state selection and TGCA all-star. She was a two-time all-district selection on the basketball court and also captained the cheer team as a senior. 

Martin earned academic all-district honors throughout high school and was an academic all-state selection this year. She plans on majoring in nursing at TSU after graduating from Stephenville.

“As a multi-sport athlete the majority of my career was spent around sports,” Martin said. “It was here that I learned many life lessons like how to manage my time in academics, community work and athletics. I will always remember the countless memories with my teammates, family and friends.”

Off the court, Martin is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council, and HOSA-Future Health Professionals. She spent time volunteering with the Special Olympics, church activities and coached cheer and tumbling.

“I enjoy helping others and putting a smile on people’s faces,” Martin said. “It’s a major reason why I picked to major in nursing, so I can continue to help others in the future.”

Hunter Ridley, Colleyville Heritage

When Joe Willis took over at Colleyville Heritage in 2015, he was the team’s third head coach in the last three seasons. 

Willis has transformed the school into an annual contender at the Class 5A level, winning at least 10 games in each of the last two seasons. The transformation of the program is something senior Hunter Ridley has enjoyed being a part of throughout his high school career. 

Ridley played football all four years in high school and also competed in soccer for two seasons and wrestling for one. While soccer was his favorite sport, he began to focus more on football because of its competitive nature. 

“Being able to hang up my helmet with records under my team’s name means a lot,” Ridley said. “We did things that the school’s team had never done before and cultivated a following from a community that hardly payed attention to the football team before.”

In addition to his involvement with the football team, Ridley worked outside of school as a soccer referee and at a steakhouse. He is a part of the Second Saturday Mothers and Sons organization that volunteers around the community as well. 

Ridley attributed his success through high school to his dad and coach Ahmad Zaidan, who coaches linebackers and special teams for the Panthers. Ridley plans on attending Texas Tech and studying Biology with hopes of later becoming an athletic trainer. 

“I think it’s very important for athletes to be involved in their communities because sports are about more than just what happens on the field,” Ridley said. “The actions the players have off the field are just as important – without the support of the community, a team is nothing.”

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