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HS Basketball: Frontier rallying around its own once again


Sometimes, we go looking for follow-ups on stories that we’ve done.

Other times, the follow-up comes to us.

I was lucky enough to get an email earlier this week from Velda Rocha. The subject of her email was “Update”, and I have to admit, before I opened the email, I wasn’t quite sure what update she was talking about. Her name didn’t automatically register with me or connect me back to a previous story.

Then, I started reading her email and it all came back to me:

“You wrote a story about my daughter Vanessa Rocha and Trenton Molina last year on March 6,” Velda wrote. “During the time, the Frontier girls basketball team was playing at state, my daughter was fresh out of open heart surgery and Trenton had started his battle with cancer.”

A side note: Frontier is one of my favorite small school programs to cover. The school, located in Red Rock up in the north central part of the state, doesn’t have football, so basketball is the thing. Kids grow up dreaming about playing basketball for Frontier, and the community is absolutely gung-ho about supporting the teams.

A second side note: Here’s the story that Velda referenced in her email:

Her email continued: “I wanted to let you know that Trenton lost his fight on February 20. The funeral was (Monday) at the Otoe-Missouria Cultural Center. The center was packed with the surrounding communities, tribes, churches and the Frontier students/faculty. Trenton and his family had a huge impact on the entire community.

“Our girls had regional action Saturday night. His sisters played for him. It was an emotional time for all of us.

“My daughter Vanessa played nearly the entire game. It will be year on the 4th since her surgery. I am very proud of the recovery she has had, but that isn't near the feeling of grief for Trenton and his family.

“Thank you again for shining a light to our small community and the love, compassion and heart we have here in small Red Rock, Oklahoma.”

Trenton was such a fun kid to talk with last March. He was dealing with the side effects of his cancer drugs, but he excitedly told me that he was starting baseball practice soon. And his sisters were so proud of him. I could tell that as they talked about the way he was battling cancer. I was so, so sad to hear about his death.

But the way that Frontier has rallied around his family, embracing it with all the love and support that can be mustered and the way that Vanessa has recovered? There is no better news.

Like I said, I’ve always been fond of Frontier. This just makes me an even bigger fan.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›