Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Players to watch: Isaac Ruiz, Megan Taylor

This week we featured a Junction City wrestler, Isaac Ruiz (left), who has an interesting story – on and off the mat.

Isaac advanced to the Class 6A state finals last year, where he faced an intimidating opponent in the 103-pound class. Isaac was familiar with the other state finalist, Jeff Vesta of Manhattan. They had faced off several times; both schools are part of the Centennial League. In fact, Jeff – an undefeated state champion – had beaten Isaac nine times in his career.

But Isaac, a sophomore, pushed the state-championship match to overtime and pulled off the upset. Some family members witnessed the improbable achievement, but his father watched from Iraq. A member of the U.S. Army, Toni Ruiz was lucky enough to have the competition broadcast so he could watch from overseas.

Isaac placed second in last weekend’s regional at Wichita Heights, so he advanced to the state tournament. He spent the season as the top-ranked 112-pounder in 6A, according to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association.

Isaac is no stranger to success. He also plays wide receiver for the Junction City football team, which capped its undefeated season with a state title in the fall. Isaac plays on the varsity and JV teams.

His Manhattan foe has moved up to 119 pounds, where he is the top-ranked wrestler in 6A. For most of the year, Isaac was No. 1 and Dalton Miller of Campus was No. 2 at 112. Junction City and Campus have not attended the same tournaments this year, so the two wrestlers have not had a showdown.

In today’s rankings, however, Dalton switched to No. 1. Ulysses DeShazer of Wichita Heights, the first 6A wrestler to beat Isaac, shot up to No. 2. Isaac is now No. 3.

Regardless of whether he defends his title, the upcoming state tournament at the Kansas Coliseum will be a special weekend for him. Isaac’s family will be there to support him – including his father, who is home from Iraq.

As wrestling season approaches its conclusion, basketball is nearing the post-season. Class 1A regionals are under way, and sub-state brackets are just being released.

It’s worth noting that the Rolla girls basketball team will enter sub-state action Thursday with a 17-1 record. The 1A school recently has benefited from the impressive play of senior Megan Taylor. She had 37 points and 17 rebounds Feb. 13 against Moscow, and she added 26 points in the Pirates’ last home game of the season Feb. 17. In those two games, Megan combined for 63 points and 24 boards.

Friday, February 20, 2009

XC Shrine Bowl rosters released

The rosters for the second annual cross country race were announced. The race will be run in Wichita on July 25. Last season's race saw the East boys and West girls prevail.

Tom O'Connell of Andover will lead the way for the West boys. O'Connell had an undefeated senior season. His fierce rival David Roberts of Mulvane will join him on the team. Roberts is a former state champion.

Jason Martin of Herington, the 3A state champion will be on the West squad along with 5A runner-up Kyle Glasgow of Kapaun.

For the East boys, St. Thomas Aquinas will send three runners including state champion PJ Greer. Teammates Ben Grace and Kyle Hanson will also be running.

The women's West squad is highlighted by 3A state champion Amanda Callaway of Belle Plaine and Manhattan's Marley Crusch who was the 6A runner-up last season. Laura Baird of Norton will also join the West squad.

On the East team, BreAnna Briggs of Wamego and Corinna Papps of Baldwin should provide a potent 1-2 punch. The two finished second and third at 4A state last season. Kylie Graves from Rossville will get one more shot to beat Callaway. Graves was the 3A runner-up last fall.

For the complete rosters click here: Shrine Bowl XC rosters announced

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Go Ask Kenyon Martin....

I was in Ellsworth this week, shooting an interview with a wrestler who has a disability but is in no way shape or form disabled. Two things struck me when I was there, 1. The Ellsworth Correctional Facility is WAY too close to the high school.

Driving in off of I-70, take the state road about 10 miles in, you start seeing no hitchhiking signs. Curious as to why, you see a sign not too far past saying, "Ellsworth Correctional Facility -->" You pass that, make a few right turns, hang around the bend and you then you hit the high school. I know its easy for me to sit here and say that they should move the school or the facility, but do something.

Second thing; What in the world is a Bearcat?? It is the Ellsworth Mascot, but more famously it is also the University of Cincinnatti mascot. I see it all the time, but what in the world is it? Is it a large cat-like-animal, like a Panther with the body of a Bear? Or a Bear with the body of a Panther?

Every logo you see has a large cat face, so I assume they are trying to conjure up fear with a hybrid type animal, with twice the amount of ferocity of your average mascot. But then they use the paw for an additional logo, blurring the lines a little more. Or do you think they just ran out of ideas and didn't want to call themselves the Wildcats?

So what is a Bearcat?? Thank you Wikipedia for this glowing answer.

"A "Bearcat" is another name for a binturong, a viverrid mammal from Southeast Asia."

Interesting. Not what I figured an actual Bearcat to look like. Looks intimidating but also kind of startled when whoever took the picture, and actually looks like something they would be investigating on Monsterquest.

If you feel bored, try looking up the other links on the page. I've provided the link, because I'm just that nice of a guy.


It's nice to be wanted

Football recruiting season is upon us.

Wait, you say. You thought we just finished.

Hey, it never ends. We're talking 2010 recruiting now.

Bishop Carroll's record-setting quarterback, Blake Bell, the Gatorade Kansas player of the year for the 2008 season, already has offers from 17 major universities, including KU and K-State, according to his coach, Alan Schuckman.

Schuckman said today that Bell, who's also the basketball team's leading scorer, wants to give all his time and energy to basketball right now. Last year, the Eagles made it to the state championship game in basketball, but Bell was out with a broken hand. He'd like to be a participant this time in another deep playoff run.

But once the season ends, Schuckman said, Bell, his parents and Schuckman will sit down and put together a time table for evaluating schools. Right now, he said, Bell has no favorites.

In the meantime, here are the schools that have made offers:

Colorado State
Iowa State
Kansas State
Notre Dame
Texas A & M

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top 5A wrestling teams gain momentum

Three of the four top teams in Class 5A won their league wrestling tournaments, gaining valuable momentum for regional wrestling this weekend.

Emporia, which has earned 25 of the past 28 Centennial League titles, reclaimed its position as league leader after Manhattan won the championship last season. The Spartans are the No. 1 team in Class 5A, according to the Kansas wrestling coaches’ rankings.

Valley Center, ranked No. 3, and Liberal, No. 4, each won their fourth league championship in a row. Valley Center went undefeated in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division II, and Liberal prevailed in the Western Athletic Conference.

Of the top four teams in 5A, only Bishop Carroll – ranked No. 2 – did not win its league. Carroll, which had triumphed with at least a share of the City League title eight years in a row, fell to Wichita Heights in their last dual of the season. Carroll again lost to Heights – by only 1.5 points – at the league wrestling tournament.

Andover Central, ranked No. 5 in Class 5A, will host a regional tournament Feb. 20 and 21. Perhaps the most competitive 5A regional will be at Liberal. The Redskins will host seven other teams, including some familiar ranked foes – Bishop Carroll and Valley Center.

The closest regionals to the Wichita area will be a 6A tournament at Wichita Heights and the 5A tourney at Andover Central. One change awaits 5A wrestlers who advance to state. After 6A and 5A competition traditionally had taken place at the Kansas Coliseum, last year’s 5A state tournament was held at Hutchinson High School while the 6A battles took place at Koch Arena. This season, 6A and 5A will be back at the Coliseum.

East's Frazier picks Independence CC

Wichita East athletic director Kevin Hartley says that Selwyn Frazier, a defensive back on the football team and a guard on the basketball team, has decided to sign with Independence Community College to play football.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quality over quantity

Last year The Independent School sent one swimmer to the boys state championships in Topeka.
This year, all seven boys on the Independent team have qualified for the state meet this weekend: Christian Kilgore, Michael Patton, Phillip Zimmerman, Misha Yakubovich, Colin McMaster, Andrew Parker and Ahmad Yaffine.
Independent's small team has been an underdog in every meet this season, because other schools almost always have much larger teams.
"I told them before the season we weren't going to win meets but we would just improve," said Maureen Hansen, who is in her first year as a high school swim coach. "And we've far surpassed that. They were so determined. They wanted to make it to state so bad. And they did."
Hansen also will coach the girls team this spring. She expects to have 16 girls, about double the number Independent had a year ago.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Regional Wrestling

The wrestling season is winding down, and it’s time for regionals. Some of the area’s best grapplers will be in action this Friday and Saturday. Check out the regional locations of some of the local teams below.

City League champion Heights will host its own regional for 6A. Also there will be Derby, Junction City, Manhattan, Topeka, Topeka-Washburn Rural, Wichita East and Southeast.Dodge City is also hosting for 6A. Garden City, Goddard, Maize, Campus, Wichita North, Northwest and South will all be present.

Overland Park-Blue Valley North and Shawnee Mission-South are the other two schools hosting for 6A.

In 5A, Bishop Carroll will be out at Liberal along with Great Bend, Hays, Hutchinson, Valley Center, Kapaun and West.

Andover Central will host. At Central will be Ark City, McPherson, Newton, Pittsburg, Salina Central, Salina South and Winfield for 5A.

Emporia and Bishop Miege will host the other 5A regionals.

In 4A, Andale, Buhler, Cheney, Clearwater, Colby, Haven, Hesston, Hugoton, Nickerson, Pratt, Russell, Scott City, Wellington and Independent will be at Ulysses.

Andover, Augusta, Labette County, Caney Valley, Chanute, Coffeyville, Columbus, El Dorado, Fort Scott, Independence, Iola, Mulvane, Parsons, Rose Hill and Circle will be at Caney Valley, also for 4A.

Abilene and Spring Hill are the other two hosts for 4A.

For 3-2-1A assignments and complete regional listings for all classes click the link below.
KSHSAA's Regional Wrestling Assignments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Isn't It Ironic?

Here it is February 12, just passed the month mark of a new year. So let me ask you this... How many of you have already ruined your new year’s resolution? Personally, I never make them because it is way too hard to stick to something that intense. Instead I just make some minor changes. Like this year, I said I would start eating healthier. What I didn't say was I am going to lose 20 pounds in two months. Hmmmm that would never happen!

As most of you know the towns in Southwest KS are extremely far apart therefore I do a lot of thinking on many trips, and most of the time my thoughts turn to random and just downright weird things. So just last week I started wondering how many people in the United States made resolutions to lose weight. Well with over 300 million people in this country and nearly seven billion people in the world I figured it was a number that would take days to count to. So I stopped wondering and started planning for the story I would be doing later in the evening.

Which led me to wrestlers, which in a since revolved right back to my previous thought of how many people are trying to lose weight at this point in time. I laughed because those poor wrestlers are ALWAYS trying to lose weight; until now.

Typically the rule for wrestling is not an ounce over your weight class. Then comes Christmas break. The guys are allowed two pounds plus. So let’s say you’re in the 160lbs weight class ... at your next weigh in you can be 162 and it's still legal to wrestle.

So here's the fun part. If you go to a two day tournament you are allowed a pounds per day plus your two pounds granted for growth. (That's how judges justify giving the extra two pounds. It's for the freshman, they are going to grow.) So let's say you weigh in on Friday at a tournament and weight 162. Saturday morning when you weigh in you get an extra pound because it's day two... so you are legally allowed to weigh 163.

Then the really fun part happens. Lets say you have a Thursday night dual then a two day tournament that very same weekend. Thursday you weigh in at 160… you can weigh 162… Friday you can weigh 163…. Saturday for the last day of the tourney you can weigh 164!!! WOW

Man, a bit confusing when you first hear it. Once I figured it all out I realized the wrestlers are probably trying to gain weight. They want to use those extra two pounds plus some that they get as an advantage and if it's a two day tournament right after a dual, shoot use all four!

Isn't it ironic that while most of the country and maybe even the world is trying to lose weight, the guys in a sport that have to maintain their weight is trying to gain it?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hoop Dreams

I know you will probably laugh at me out here, but we have some great ballers out here, too.

For one, Spencer Hammert from Trego Community. Dude is averaging 29 points a game. He's good for at least 5 three-pointers a game, and wicked crossover on the way to an easy layup because everyone on the opposing team is watching him.

My personal opinion is he is good enough to play at the next level - more than good enough, but someone out there is going to knock him down because he is under 6 feet tall. Shame. But Hammert is the main reason that Trego is the 2nd-ranked team in 2A.

Another one is Hays' Zach Danner. He is seriously quick. Crossovers are second nature to him. He's good for at least a few steals a game. And he can shoot from the outside, too. Arguably the best point guard in the WAC. Teams have to plan around him. He's got skills. And the same affliction that affects Hammert affects Danner - height. Shame. But Danner is one of the main reasons Hays is now ranked in 5A.

Oh, and the best stat for Danner is best game-winning shot against Salina Central to knock off the then 2nd-ranked Mustangs.

Keep an eye on them in the future, or better yet, I'll let you know what happens.


I was at the Panther Classic Wrestling Tournament last weekend in Phillipsburg, where I met Jason Hughes of Ellsworth High School. Jason is the 152 lbs varsity wrestler for the Bearcats. He's a pretty normal high school kid, except when you find out that he's blind.

Jason is a blind wrestler. He has a seeing eye dog named Indy and he goes where Jason goes, and he has a teammate lead him onto the mat, and then the referee takes over, puts him in place on the mat. He and the other wrestler touch hands at the beginning of the match, the ref blows the whistle and they go at it. It didn't look any different from other wrestling matches. Jason is very quick with his hands.

The other wrestler wound up winning, Jason said he was nervous because everyone was watching him, but he is remarkable.

Think how important your sight is to you, and then imagine having that taken away, and then decide to compete in a sporting event. Think of all the coaches that stressed playing with your eyes open, or keep your eye on the ball, and then not having that ability. Pretty Unbelievable.

Watch for his story soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'll take your best Ken, and raise you some underdogs

So my colleague Ken just posted a short list of who he thinks are the best players he's seen in our area. Of course with the caveat that he's actually had to have seen them in action, not just heard of them. Unfortunately he's never gotten to see people like Ashia Woods from Collegiate or Tiffany Bias from Andover Central. Both of those girls are electric on the floor. On the boys side you have your usual super stars like Cecil Shaw at Southeast who is aboslutely lights out when he's on. You can pretty much guarantee a Buffalo victory when Shaw and his counterpart Joe Mitchell are both incapable of missing a shot.

As much as I love to talk about the best of the best in our area I think it's time to give a little love to the underdogs. The assist leaders, the hustlers, the ones who can score a "quiet" 10-12 and are fundamentally sound. The "set-up" players who make the super stars look good.

First off, I gotta tell you about a gal named Whitney Bates from Rose Hill. Not only does she have an excellent last name (no relation that I know of) but she is absolutely mezmerizing when she has the ball in her hands. It's very rare to find a high schooler who has that much finesse when it comes to taking the ball down the court and juking out opposing guards with ridiculous crossovers and mind-boggling behind the back dribbles. If you let her get open, odds are Bates is going to hit the shot. She's a player that you can't really game plan for becuase she's got great court awareness, high "basketball IQ", and is extremely unselfish with the ball.

On the boys side, the first one has to be Christian Ulsaker from Mcpherson. He's one of the main reasons behind the Bullpups nearly perfect record this year, and he's only a sophomore! I'm not sure how many points he averages per game but he's always near the top of the stats list. He makes great cuts to the hoop, is extremely energetic, and most importantly, I've never seen him whine about a foul that did or did not get called. Attitude on the court is everything to me!

Gotta give some love to Heights now. Not only do they have undoubtedly the most talented player in our area in Perry Ellis, they've got one of the deadliest guards as well in Evan Wessel. He's a 6'3 Sophomore that coach Joe Auer aboslutely raves about after every game, even though you may never notice him on the court. Ellis gets most of the love, Austin Bahner is the senior leader with the hot hand from three, and Dorrian Roberts has the flash. However, it's Wessel who makes the Falcons go. He's got great ball handling skills and sees the court beautifully. He sets up the offense and keeps it going. He can play the point or shooting guard and excels at both. Heck, you could even have him post up inside and he'd get the job done. Next time you're at a Heights game, make sure you check out the guard with the Georgia boy haircut and I guarantee you'll be impressed. (Dreamis Smith, another sophomore guard for Heights, came in as a close second to Wessel. But from what I've heard from different sources, Wessel is the harder worker so the nod goes to Evan).

My final "underdog" recognition goes to Abby Henning from Bishop Carroll. I covered the Carroll vs. Goddard girls game a few weeks back and it was just one of those nights for Abby Fawcett. The normally sure-handed Fawcett couldn't seem to connect, but luckily Henning was able to pick up the slack. A combined effort from Henning and Julia Marshall propelled the Eagles past the Lions with Henning impressing me greatly. Fawcett and Marshall get a lot of the publicity, as they should because they are excellent players. However, Henning is the rock of the team. She's always going to put point on the board, seems unfazed if she misses a few shots because she knows eventually she's going to hit from the field. Also, when Marshall or Fawcett start to get into a groove, Henning has no problem handing it off to let them put points on the board. She's another one of those "quiet scorers" that's always reliable, but not usually the one in the spotlight.

Players to go see

I was impressed when I saw Alex Santiago light it up for a Burrton school record 43 points last Friday night.
Burrton’s is just a 1A school, but I thought Santiago could probably play in any league in the state. He’d be up against quicker players in the City League, and he might not be able to drive the lane as successfully as he did against Pratt Skyline. But Santiago has nice range with his outside shot and would still find a way to score.
Anyway, watching Santiago started me thinking about the best players I’ve seen this season.
So here’s my list. Most are underclassmen, so if you haven’t seen ‘em yet, there’s still plenty of time.
Remember, these are only player’s I’ve seen. Check back later, because some of my colleagues at KWCH will be posting their lists too.

Alex Santiago, Burrton, 6-0 junior
Dorrian Roberts, Heights, 5-11 senior
Perry Ellis, Heights, 6-9 freshman
Joe Mitchell, Southeast, 5-11 senior
Bubba Starling, Gardner-Edgerton, 6-4 sophomore
Brett Comer, Blue Valley NW, 6-3 sophomore
Trey Unrau, Moundridge, 5-11 freshman

Julia Marshall, Carroll, 5-9 senior
Abby Fawcett, Carroll, 5-6 senior
Jhasmin Bowen, Heights, 6-1 sophomore
Krystie Ehm, Circle, 5-11, sophomore
Natalie Knight, Olathe South, 5-6 sophomore
Taylor Chandler, Heights, 5-4 freshman

Saturday, February 7, 2009

One Burrton record falls; another will soon

Alex Santiago, one of the hottest players in the state right now, broke Burrton's single-game scoring record with 43 points on Friday against Pratt Skyline. The record of 42 points by Rusty Baker had stood since the 1981-82 season.

Santiago, who's averaging 29 points a game, should get Baker's single-season record in the next two or three games. Santiago has 464 points thus far this season. Baker's record of 544 was set in the '80-81 season.

To read more about Santiago and see video of his record-breaking game, click here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Movin' On Up...

I know I said this before, but I feel the need to say this again - Joe Brown, congrats! Fort Collins is a great city and the Rams are coming back from a few years in the cellar, coincidentally when I was in school there. Didn't make tailgating much fun, but we did anyway. I tried getting Musil to head there, but the allure of Bob Stoops was too much for the call of the Rocky Mountains. Oh well, we got the Judge. So in conclusion, congrats! My dad will meet you at the airport when you arrive.


Now to the point of the blog.

Hays made a great move a week ago when they hired Ryan Cornelsen from LaCrosse. Cornelsen wanted to make a move up and he said he really wanted to take on a challenge. No better place for a challenge than Hays, who have been stuck in mediocrity on the gridiron since the Clinton Administration. Ugh.

The Indians haven't made the playoffs since then, and scored only a few touchdowns in their three district blowouts this season, including a 69-0 slaughtering at the hands of the juggernaut that is Hutchinson football. And that was at home. During the regular season, except for about three games, they looked helpless. There was even talk of them dropping down to 4A.

(Personally, I think they need new uniforms. No logos on their gold helmets, with plain maroon jerseys, and plain gold pants. Its like they were trying to be the Notre Dame of Western Kansas, just without the wins, tradition and Touchstone movie deal.)

Cornelsen took over at LaCrosse and turned the program around by getting the community involved - and he needs to do the same thing at Hays, where basketball is king and the soccer programs have taken over.

He could be the next good coach in the making. Could be. Great Bend's Bo Black is thee next great coach in the making down there. But Cornelsen, who has learned from Black and texts on occasion could make the Hays-Great Bend rivalry an actual rivalry again.


On the recruiting front, Luke Keener committed to play at the Air Force Academy next fall, but that should actually be the other way around. You don't choose the AFA - they choose you. You have to be good at football, but mostly you have to be a good person for them to want you. Impressing Troy Calhoun and the rest of the Zoomie coaching staff is one thing, but impressing Senator Brownback and Senator Roberts is another thing.

Oh, did I forget to mention that - you have to pass a Senate appointment to go to the AFA, and also be in the top, oh, 1% of your graduating class. Oh and have a super ACT score. And be an awesome person. No so easy.

But graduate from AFA and you will be set for life. Not too shabby.

Also, Jeremy Garcia and Lucas Ruff from LaCrosse are headed to Hutch CC. Sounds like that place will be (picture Comedian Ron White saying Loaded) loaded. They picked up almost ever player in the state of Kansas, it sounds like. And they have awesome uniforms, too.

Andover Central, Carroll signings

Andover Central signees Michael Starnes , Ben Fulgum and Jeff Page (topphoto) posed with their coaches after signing with Butler Community College on Wednesday.
Bishop Carroll lined up 10 football players with their coaches for a signing ceremony in the school library (llower photo). Golden Eagles who signed college scholarship agreements were Joe Brown (Colorado State), Jacob Cole, Garret Kraft and Cody Mills (Butler CC), Antonio Rodriguez (Dodge City CC), Nick Johansen (Emporia State), Tony Marquez (Friends U) and Miles Galaway, Austin Butcher and Andrew Hoffman (Hutchinson CC).

Final thoughts on football recruiting

Who had the best recruiting class in the country? says Alabama. says Ohio State.

Best in the Big 12? Both agree on Texas. Rivals says Texas was No. 5; Scout says No. 6.

How about KU and K-State?

Rivals picks KU 31st nationally and fifth best in the Big 12. Scout says KU was No. 47 and only ninth best in the league.

K-State was No. 95 on Rivals' list, 109 on Scout's list. Both agree the first class of the second-coming of Bill Snyder was the worst class in the Big 12.

But all those are just talking points.

Any coach will tell you that you can't really evaluate a recruiting class for five years. A lot can happen. Injuries, academic, legal problems. You have to see who sticks it out and how they perform on the field. Who makes the leap from high school star to college star and who's a bust. Most of all, you need to see how their team does three, four and five years from now to evaluate a class.


With nearly all precincts counted, we can project the final tally.

From 334 Kansas high school football programs, only 17 seniors received scholarship offers from major colleges.

KU and K-State each signed four players out of Kansas high schools. That's exactly the number they signed last year.

Here's the list:


High School


Mark Fancher

Shawnee Mission NW

Air Force

Jake Morin

St. Thomas Aquinas

Air Force

David Baska

St. Thomas Aquinas

Air Force

Michael Seis

Wichita East

Air Force

Luke Keener


Air Force

Evan Kaufman


Air Force

Joe Brown

Bishop Carroll

Colorado State

Darian Kelly



Riley Spencer



Huldon Tharp



Kevin Young

Olathe North


Ty Zimmerman

Junction City


Travis Tannahill

Olathe East


Braden Wilson

Smith Center


Tomasi Mariner

Top. Washburn Rural


Jaydan Bird

Conway Springs


Marshall Musil

La Crosse


Interestingly, but hardly surprising, KU signed 11 high school seniors from Texas, and K-State five.

The Big 12 schools signed a total of 10 kids out of Kansas high schools. Oklahoma took two.

On the other hand, Big 12 schools took 143 out of Texas high schools. Excluding the four Texas universities, the other Big schools signed 54 Texas players, an average of nearly seven per school.

I mention all this because I have a theory about why Texas produces a disproportionately large number of major college football players and Kansas relatively few.

Sure Texas is a bigger state. It has more than 1,150 football-playing high schools. Kansas has 343.

But Kansas, with only 29 percent as many schools as Texas produced only 7 percent as many major college football signees. So size counts, but that's not the only factor.

I just don't think Kansas does as good a job of preparing its high school athletes for major college football.

For one thing, our season is shorter. We play fewer games. Because of the weather, we might not be able to play more games unless we start earlier.

But Texas also allows two weeks of spring football. Most Texas schools take advantage of that. Those that don't are usually those with new coaches who are still assembling a staff. But then if they don't take spring ball, they get to start two-a-days in Augusta a week ahead of the other schools.

Texas also has a highly developed seven-on-seven summer football program, with league play and playoffs leading to a state championship.

I talked with a couple of Kansas' best high school football coaches before last season about this.

Randy Dreiling of Hutchinson, which has won five consecutive state titles, would love to have spring football. Unquestionably, he said, it would prepare high school athletes better for college football.

Alan Schuckman at Bishop Carroll wasn't so sure. If we had spring football, a lot of guys wouldn't play baseball or run track. He values the broader experience of playing multiple sports.

What do you think?


Finally, if you haven't seen it, check out the New York Times story on Brian Butler, recruiting advisor to Bryce Brown, Huldon Tharp and others.

You'll find the story here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Two Ark City football players sign

Two Ark City Bulldogs signed football scholarship agreements Wednesday.
At top, running back/defensive back Darrell Freeman signed with Butler Community College. He is pictured with his aunt Gina Freeman, cousin Kim Freeman, Ark City coach Darrin Wegner and athletic director Tara Taylor.

In the lower picture, quarterback/defensive back Johnathan Miller signed Hutchinson Community College. He is pictured with Josh Miller, Tyler Henderson, Jennifer Collins, Coach Wegner and Taylor.

McPherson College’s signing class

The Bulldogs' multi-sport signing list is made up most of Kansas kids.

In football, 15 of the 16 high school signees are from Kansas. The most recognizable might be quarterback Jake Snodgrass from Derby's outstanding team this past season.

In men's soccer, 3 of 5 signees were from Kansas high schools. In women's soccer, 1 of 4. In softball, 1 of 2. In volleyball, all seven.

McPherson also signed seven juco football players, all but Jeff Frank (Tonganoxie and Garden City CC) from out of state.

Here's the Kansas high school list:

Patrick Barton



Tim Brozek



Caleb Hamilton



Taylor Lemuz

Pawnee Heights


Mitchell Leppke



Ryan O'Neill



James Patton



Taylor Roop



Dylan Smith



James Temaat



Bryant Thies

Medicine Lodge


Jared Kientz



Justin Nguyen



Breana Jones



Janie Gunther

Scott City


Natalie Boss

Valley Heights


Lindsey Erickson

Salina South


Kaylee Joseph

Valley Heights


Lindsey Linnebur



Tiffany Rooker



Stacy Zink




Nine Heights football players sign with Jucos

Wichita Heights, which went 9-2 last season and was co-champion of the City League, had nine players sign letters of intent on Wednesday.

They would have had a 10th. But Ian Knight has already graduated and enrolled at Hutchinson Community College. Several others may sign in the next few days.

In the meantime, here's the Falcons' list.

Dorrian Roberts

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Kameron Neal

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Richard Dixon

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Phillips Iheme

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Joey Barnes

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Chris Boyd

Wichita Heights

Independence CC

Aaron Roberts

Wichita Heights

Hutchinson CC

Orlando Williams

Wichita Heights

Highland CC

Duane Sims

Wichita Heights

Butler CC

Liberal pair sign football scholarships

Liberal is almost in the Mountain time zone. But credit the Redskins with being the first to send in photos from National Signing Day.

In the photo at top, Nate Davis, the player of the year in the Western Athletic Conference, poses after signing a football letter with Garden City Community College. Davis rushed for 943 yards with eight touchdowns and also had 305 yards receiving last season.

In the lower photo, Kevin Lam, Liberal's starting center the past two seasons, poses with his family after singing a national letter of intent to play football at Fort Hays State.

For a complete list of all the signings reported to us so far, click here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Liberal, Newton plans

The Air Force Academy is getting another Kansan (see post on Hoisington's Luke Keener).

Newton's Evan Kaufman, a 6-4, 252-pound lineman from Newton, plans to sign with the academy on Wednesday.

Three other Newton players also plan to sign: QB Nathaniel Martens with Chadron State in Nebraska and RB Chris Smith and RB/DB Collins McDonald with Fort Scott CC.

Liberal has two football players who are expected to sign on Wednesday. Lineman Kevin Lam will go with Fort Hays State. RB/DB Nate Davis, the Western Athletic Conference's player of the year, apparently is still considering his options.

Hoisington, Andale, Kapaun signing plans

To me it's still Division I, not the Bowl Sub-Division, as the NCAA now calls it.
Whatever, Luke Keener, a 6-3, 245-pound defense end/tight end from Hoisington, plans to sign to play among the big boys for the Air Force Academy. Keener was a Class 3A senior all-state pick on defense by the Kansas Football Coaches Association.
Andale also has several athletes planning to sign Wednesday.
Corey Harp, a Class 4A all-state running back, will sign with Hutchinson Community College. Michael Eck, the Indians' QB last season, will sign with Benedictine College.
Andale and Garden Plain combine to field a softball team. And one player from each school is planning to play college softball: Mandy Armstrong of Andale at Hutch CC and Karley Schmelzer of Garden Plain at Emporia State.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel's Austin Cooksey will sign a cross country/track scholarship agreement with Johnson County Community College. Cooksey, a four-year varsity runner, medaled in every cross country race he ran last fall, including the state meet. He runs the 800 and mile in track.

Eight Northwest football players expected to sign

Colby Duranleau, a giant lineman, heads Wichita Northwest's list. He's expected to sign with Coffeyville Community College.

Others: Dominque Terrell, Greg Blackman and Ryan Scherer, all with Independence CC; Tyler Kohlman, Jeff Poe and Steve Buesch with Hutchinson CC, and Nic Farar with Benedictine College in Atchison.

South High's Titanic signing list

Wichita South fullback Angel Martinez, a first-team Class 6A senior all-state pick by the Kansas Football Coaches Association, is expected to sign with Hutchinson Community College on Wednesday.

He’s one of up to 11 South High football players who could sign on Wednesday. At least eight of them plan to go to Dodge City Community College.

Here’s the list:

Dodge City CC: Denzel Ward (OLB), Stephen McGill (WR), Henry Powell (WR/KR), Brandon Wright (OL), Daniel Carson (OL), Rich Thompson (OLB), Kobie Marshall and Dejuan Berry (DL).

Butler CC: Caton Scarry (OL).

Hutchinson CC: Angel Martinez (FB)

In addition, coach Tony Johnson says that WR/DB Dejuan West is still trying to decide between Dodge City, Hutchinson and Friends University.

Recruiting news: Huldon Tharp, Alex Schooler and more

The trickle of scholarship signings expected Wednesday has turned into a stead stream.

Collegiate’s Alex Schooler will sign a football letter with Marshall University.

Cheney High reports that WR/DB Tyler Sears and lineman Dusty Hague will sign to play football for McPherson College.

Wichita Southeast’s Tamara Gagne plans to sign a track and field letter with Pittsburg State.

Buhler QB/DB Josh Madden will sign with Hutchinson Community College.

El Dorado WR/DE Randy Johnson will sign with Hutch too.

Garden Plain RB/LB Daniel Capul, a Class 3A coaches all-state linebacker, will sign with Fort Hays State. Three other Owls are expected to sign with Garden City CC -- Antonio dowdy, Chris Wilson and Brandon Patterson.

Mulvane RB Huldon Tharp, a blue chip recruit before he injured at a camp last summer and missed the entire season, will sign with KU.

Check back later for more.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wake up coaches!

OK, I'm starting to lose confidence in the state rankings released weekly by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, which we routinely cite on, figuring they might have a better idea of which teams are really good since we usually don't often see teams from the northeast or far west parts of the state.

But tell me how the St. John girls can possibly remain unranked in Class 1A?

They're 10-2 and last week they beat Goddard, which the coaches had ranked No. 8 in Class 6A, and Buhler, which the coaches had ranked No. 6 in 4A.

Despite the loss, Goddard remains No. 8 this week. Buhler dropped to No. 9.

But what have you got against St. John?

It won't be all football signings

Athletes from other sports often get burried under the football recruiting news on national signing day.

So we'll take this opportunity to metion Kapaun Mt. Carmel soccer player Nathan Nece.

Athletic director John Heise reports that Nece will sign a scholarship agreement with Division II Newman University on Wednesday.

Nece, who played soccer all four years at Kapaun, was an All-City and All-Region forward this past season. He also plays club soccer for the Wichita Select.

He's planning on majoring in accounting at Newman.

Derby has a baker's dozen moving on to college football

Derby football coach Brandon Clark expects 13 players from his 10-2 team this past season to land with various colleges by by the time the dust settles in the next week or so.

Several will sign national letters of intent on Wednesday:

Evan Engwall
Steven F. Austin St.

Kyle Westmoreland
Butler CC

Jake Molhoek
Hutchinson CC

Connor Sparks
Fort Scott CC

Johnnie Burns
Dodge City CC

Matt Langworthy

In addition, Clark reports that QB Jake Snodgrass and WR Tyler Dunham are expected to pick colleges by Wednesday, RB Aaron Wilson has a visit set up at Western Kentucky next week, DL Thomas Vann is turning three schools over in his mind, DL/Long snapper Marcus Heit is mulling K-State, Emporia State and maybe one other,

Two others are planning to walk on: WR Ian Nichols at KU and DE/LB Andy Jundt at K-State.

Bishop Carroll expects 10 players to sign on Wednesday

Carroll football coach Alan Schuckman expects a record 10 players from the school's 9-2 team to sign college scholarship agreements on Wednesday, the first day football, soccer, track and cross country athletes can sign national letters of intent.
The 10 players would be the most ever from a single class for the football team and swell the list of 15 former Golden Eagles now playing college football.
Here's the list of those expected to sign Wednesday:

Joe Brown
Colorado St.

Nick Johansen
Emporia St.

Tony Marquez
Friends U

Cody Mills
Butler CC

Jacob Cole
Butler CC

Garrett Kraft
Butler CC

Antonio Rodriguez
Dodge City CC

Miles Galaway
Hutchinson CC

Austin Butcher
Hutchinson CC

Andrew Hoffman
Hutchinson CC