There aren’t many Alice High School athletes who were more decorated than Ariel Lichtenberger.

Basically, whatever sport she played in, she excelled. In her four years at Alice High School, she won and earned a long list of awards and accolades. Then after high school, she won a spot on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville softball team and became one of that team’s all-time great hitters.

On Friday, Lichtenberger, surrounded by a big group of family and friends, picked up yet another award. Lichtenberger was inducted into the Alice Coyote Athletic Hall of Honor before the Alice-Calallen football game Friday night in Memorial Stadium.

Her story

Growing up, all Ariel Lichtenberger wanted to do was play softball and basketball, and she played both with an intensity and fire that quickly separated her from other athletes.

By her freshman year at Alice High School, not only was she good enough to make the varsity roster in both sports, she earned starting roles in both as well.

By the time she left Alice High School, Lichtenberger had more than made her mark on the Lady Coyote athletic program. She was the program’s basketball and softball MVP multiple times.

Lichtenberger was part of the 2005 basketball team which reached the Region IV tournament at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. To get to the tournament, Alice upset a highly-touted Sam Houston squad. Lichtenberger was so sick with the flu during the game that then-head coach Tracy Zamora used time outs simply to give her a break and water.

In softball, Lichtenberger led the Lady Coyotes in batting in each season that she played. She was then one of the first girls from the program to play college softball.

Lichtenberger “walked on” to the Texas A&M University-Kingsville softball team as a freshman. Like she did in Alice, she quickly settled in and became of a cornerstone of the program. She started in a handful of games in different roles as a freshman in 2007 and then had a break-out season in 2008 starting at first base in 55 of the team’s 56 games.

In 2009, Lichtenberger was back at shortstop and earned Lone Star Conference honors. She was among the team’s top hitters that season with a .306 batting average.

Lichtenberger finished out her college career playing shortstop for the Javelinas. As a senior, she again won All-Lone Star Conference honors. She hit .281 with 10 doubles, seven homers and a .541 slugging percentage.  She set a school record earlier in the season when she hit a home run in five consecutive games.

She returned back home and put her chemical engineering degree to use working for FESCO.

Earlier this year, the strength and determination that made Lichtenberger such a competitor were tested once again when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors said it was the most aggressive kind tumor that exists. Since the tumor was located by her brain stem, surgery was out of question. Instead, Lichtenberger underwent six weeks of radiation treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

During this time, the friendships she made through athletics brought hundreds of people together — family, friends, classmates and strangers — to raise money through softball and basketball tournaments for her treatment.

Three weeks after her last dose of radiation, an MRI revealed the treatment had worked and the tumor was dying. It was a trying ordeal for her, but one that some of those closest to her knew she would win.

“She’s going to win it, because she has courage, heart and determination,” Zamora, her former basketball coach, said. “You know, she could be down about this, but she’s not. She’s very positive and I know she’ll be fine. She just has to keep fighting like she always has. They say sports teaches you about life. It teaches you how to be successful and how to pick yourself back up once you’re down.”