The Gonzales Apaches athletic department bolstered its staff by announcing four more hires this week, with some familiar names including a multiple-time state champion coach.
Lady Apaches add veteran state champion coach to staff
After 17 years of coaching at Shiner St. Paul High School, Dana Beal-Sestak will be joining the Gonzales Apaches as head cross-country coach and track and field coach.
Beal-Sestak had many roles at St. Paul, including athletic director, head volleyball coach, head girls’ basketball coach, assistant softball coach and junior and high school girls’ and boys’ cross-country coach.
“Recently, my role has been assistant volleyball, junior and high school girls and boys cross country coach, junior high and head girls basketball and head girls track coach as well as junior high track,” she told the Inquirer.
Before coming to St. Paul, Beal-Sestak was the head volleyball coach and head girls’ track coach at Gonzales.
“I did my student teaching in Gonzales and was hired as a junior high coach eventually starting the volleyball program and working with the distance runners,” she added.
During her time at St. Paul, the Cardinals won multiple state titles under her leadership. Just last spring, the girls’ cross-country team won their seventh straight championship as a team.
A graduate of Yoakum High, Beal-Sestak is very familiar with the area. She received a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and a minor in biology at Texas State University.
She brings to Gonzales a supportive family.
“My husband David Sestak and my children are a constant source of support and encouragement during the long hours coaching requires,” she said. “I have two sons, Zachary and Reagan Beal, who spent a lot of time in the Gonzales High School gym and at the track. I have a bonus son and daughter, Christopher and Chelsea.”
Longtime Gonzales coach makes her way back to the Apaches
Making her return to the Gonzales Apaches staff is Kim Payne, who has 16 years of coaching experience under her belt.
The Fort Stockton High graduate played all four years of volleyball, basketball and track, while also a part of the swimming and diving team. Payne was offered a two year scholarship at Cooke County College, then attended Texas Tech University. She received her Bachelor of Science in all-physical education at Lubbock Christian University.
Included in her 16 years of coaching are head coaching stints in Medina, Ingram, Gonzales and Nixon-Smiley as well as assistant coaching duties at Yoakum for volleyball and softball.
“Coach [Joey] Carrizales has been encouraging me to come back and be a part of the tribe, and I just felt like it was the right time to come back,” Payne told the Inquirer. “I am so excited to be an Apache again and to be able to work with the kids at North Avenue and have the privilege to go up and coach girls’ athletics.”
North Avenue coach moves up to junior high
Another familiar face in the community, Kaitlyn Malina will be joining the junior high girls athletic program after teaching physical education at North Avenue this past school year.
“This will be my second year teaching and first year to coach in athletics,” Malina said. “Even though I’m new to coaching, I’ve grown up playing sports my whole life and coaching has always been a passion of mine.”
Malina graduated Smithville High School, “always bleed that orange, black and white colors,” she said, where she played golf and ran cross-country all four years, played volleyball for three years and ran track, played basketball and was a cheerleader for one year.
“I was even a manager for tennis and boys’ basketball my senior year,” she added.
After high school, she attended Blinn College before transferring to Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2019.
“While there I got involved with Student Congress being president of multiple organizations,” Malina said. “In my second year, there I held the Executive Director of Student Organization position and loved every moment.”
When asked about family and support, Malina told the Inquirer, “I have a great, loving supportive family and a boyfriend who are extremely proud and excited for me to be coaching.”
Well-versed coach to lead freshman football team
Army brat turned Baylor Bear Jared Kloeker joins the Gonzales Apaches after a stint at Barton MIddle School in Hays CISD. Kloeker’s main duty with the Apaches will be head football coach for the freshman team.
Kloeker grew up in many places from Germany to Korea. He finished high school in Leavenworth, Kansas, “where I played varsity football and even went to state in golf,” he said.
After graduating Baylor University, “sic’ em Bears,” he wrote, Kloeker landed his first coaching job at Elgin Middle School. A year later, he moved to Barton Middle to teach Texas history and coach football, basketball and track.
“At Barton, we were able to bring back the first boys basketball trophies in over 15 years,” Kloeker said. “I'm very grateful for the friends and family that have encouraged and helped me through the years.”
As for the Apaches, Kloeker is ecstatic to join the tribe and hopes for “an amazing season.”
“I’m looking forward to helping our students and athletes become amazing men and women in the community,” he said. “Roll Tribe!”