Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wrestling coaches leave alma mater after top finishes at state

A shake-up in Kansas high school wrestling resulted in two coaches leaving an alma mater – and a successful program – for another traditionally strong program in the state.

First, Greg Buckbee left his state-championship team at Emporia to take the reins at Arkansas City. Buckbee coached for five years at Ark City before another five-year stint at Emporia, which he led to the Class 5A state title in February.

Buckbee wrestled for Emporia and won a 6A title at 98 pounds in 1983. After leading the Spartans to their first state crown since 2000, he will resume his tenure in Ark City.

Buckbee’s replacement at Emporia is Dennis Charbonneau, who just completed his 13th season at the helm in Clay Center. His Clay Center squad won team titles in four of the past eight years; the Tigers placed second in Class 4A in February.

Charbonneau won individual wrestling titles as a Clay Center athlete in 1981, 1982 and 1983. The Tigers earned a team championship in 1981.

Now Charbonneau – and his wrestler son, Brandon – are headed to Emporia. Brandon will be a sophomore Spartan. He and future teammate, Chase Sanchez, an incoming junior, participated in the ASICS/Vaughn Junior & Cadet National Championships last week at Fargo, N.D.

In the cadet Greco-Roman category, Chase placed seventh at 145 pounds and Brandon finished eighth at 119 pounds. Chase also placed at the state tournament in February, where he was third at 145 pounds in 5A.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Which league is best?

Based off the All-Sports rankings we figured out who the best sporting schools in the state were this last year. I then found myself wondering what league is the best sporting league in the state?

Using the All-Sports rankings I took the leagues with the schools that finished highest in the rankings. The leagues I looked at were the Wichita City League, AVCTL Division I, Eastern Kansas League, Sunflower League and the Centennial League.

It was not even close.

The Eastern Kansas League was easily the best sporting league last year. Buoyed by St. Thomas Aquinas the league averaged 2.25 state championships per school and scored an average of 40.25 points in our All-Sports Rankings.

The other schools in the league are Blue Valley Northwest, North, West, Stilwell and Miege.
Second place was a tie between the Centennial League and AVCTL Division I. The Centennial League featuring 6A All-Sports Champion Washburn Rural and 4A champion Topeka Hayden had an average of 1.3 championships per school to the AVCTL Div. I’s average of 1.2.

AVCTL Div. I school averaged 32.08 point in the All-Sports Standings compared to 28.65 for the Centennial.

The City League brought was last in both average All-Sports points and average championships with an average of 21.22 All-Sports points and only .33 championships per school in the 2008-09 school year.

The Sunflower league averaged 24.08 All-Sports Points and .58 championships.

Do you agree with this ranking? Which league do you think is best?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Boys, girls golf tournaments plentiful next week

The Kansas Golf Association’s junior section team championship will be July 21 and 22 at Carey Park in Hutchinson.

Hutchinson’s Thane Ringler, Dylan Schmitt and Sam Schulte will play on their hometown course. Other area players who are scheduled to compete include Augusta’s Trey Hayden, Mulvane’s Jason Cain, McPherson’s Treg Fawl, Sterling’s Michael Gellerman and Michael Hendricks, Derby’s Shane Gilbert and Eric Mode, Marion’s Luke Gordon, El Dorado’s Dominic Lara and Salina’s Brooks Brown, Benjamin Hargrave and Ben Shoup.

Wichitans who plan to attend are Jared Burns, Grant Burnside, Caleb Childs, Joshua Cork, Matthew Gilbaugh, Caleb Haight, Craig Howell, Kramer Howell, Max Lazzo, Hunter Leichner, Andrew Munds, Colton Sorlie, Sam Stevens and Alec Wilbert. Western Kansas golfers slated to participate are Dodge City’s Levi Bone and Zach Kirby, Hays’ Trey Herman and Nick VonLintel, Garden City’s Taylor Larsen and Juan Ollarzabal, and Phillipsburg’s Jeff Jarvis.

On the same days – July 21 and 22 – girls golfers will be in action at Newton’s Sand Creek Station. The Kansas Women’s Golf Association Tournament of Champions will feature eight junior golfers in match play. They include Wichita’s Audrey Meisch, McPherson’s Audrey Yowell and Salina’s Hannah Martin and Lindsay Chapman.

Immediately following those tournaments, 16 boys will travel to Hutchinson for the junior match play championship July 23 and 24. This time, the site will be Cotton Hills Golf Club. The 16 golfers will be chosen following the junior section team championship.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leddy leaves alma mater; local grads return for tennis event

After one season coaching the McPherson College men’s and women’s tennis teams, Dan Leddy has resigned.

Dan was a successful coach of boys and girls at Kapaun Mt. Carmel before leaving to coach for his alma mater, McPherson College. His first season was rough since the college teams lacked depth and experience.

Sydney Bwalya has been hired to replace Dan. Sydney, who is from Zambia, played for Barton County Community College and then coached there for the past four seasons. He has three children who also play tennis, including Nina and Besa, who battled in the girls’ 16 singles bracket at June’s Mid-Continent Junior Open. Nina won the bracket, defeating Wichita North’s Lauren Cheeseborough in the final. Besa won the consolation bracket at Riverside Tennis Center.

More recently, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association held a summer circuit event at Wichita State University. Last weekend’s competition featured graduates of Kapaun, Wichita Southeast and The Independent School.

Nate Kirk, formerly of Southeast, now plays for the University of Illinois-Chicago. He advanced to the singles final last weekend. Nate lost to Rajeev Deb-Sen, who will be a sophomore at Columbia University, 6-2, 6-1.

Ryan Norman, a recent Independent graduate, will compete for Creighton. He and his doubles partner, Harry Walsh – director of Genesis Junior Tennis Academy – won the doubles. They prevailed in the final 9-8 (11-9), edging Rajeev Deb-Sen and James Seagraves, who will be a sophomore at the University of Tulsa.

Ryan’s brother, Jake Norman, will be a freshman at Independent this fall. He lost in the first round and then beat two college players to win the consolation.

Other competitors from the area included Kelly Gebert, who previously played for Kapaun, and Suzan Lisenby, a Southeast alumnus. Her fellow Golden Buffalo, Nate, won No. 6 singles in April at the Horizon League Men’s Tennis Championship.

The University of Illinois-Chicago advanced to the league final for the fifth year in a row. Nate defeated a Cleveland State opponent in the final. The league features 10 schools, including Valparaiso and Butler.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Need a mascot? Consider the Hungry Termites recently featured stories about Maize South High School, which will open in August, and Goddard Eisenhower High School, which is planned for 2011. It was interesting to hear about each community’s process to choose a mascot and school colors.

Maize faced a dilemma of whether to stick with a bird theme and a red color scheme. (The Maize Eagles are part of the town’s tradition.) Goddard, on the other hand, is now susceptible to the inevitable jokes: Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Since the Goddard Lions and Goddard Eisenhower Tigers will be cross-town rivals, it makes sense that if a third high school ever opens, the Bears should be strongly considered.

For some reason, birds and big cats are especially popular. Think Falcons, Hawks, Ravens, Eagles and, for a slight variation, Golden Eagles. Then there are Lions, Tigers, Cougars, Jaguars and Wildcats – not to mention Panthers, which are a dime a dozen.

At the 2008 state tournament, I covered a pair of girls basketball games that featured the same mascot: Falcons vs. Falcons (Wichita Heights and Olathe South) then Lions vs. Lions (Goddard and Lawrence).

I like original mascots, and Kansas colleges have no shortage: Kansas Jayhawks, Washburn Ichabods and our local Wheatshockers. If we must incorporate animals, why not use something really original, like the White-Lipped Tree Frogs. Oh, sure, it sounds ridiculous, but if Texas Christian University can have the Horned Frogs, then is this really such a stretch?

It’s funny how different mascots become scarier after we reach adulthood. How about the Hungry Termites? Anyone who has paid for termite damage would be filled with dread. (Trust me.) Or maybe the Fightin’ Bats. I have a friend who plays for the symphony and for some theater productions, and she told a story about a bat that flew into the pit at Century II. Ever been trapped in an orchestra pit with a bat that can’t find its way out? It’s intimidating, from what I hear.

And this would be an especially appropriate mascot in the spring, when baseball and softball seasons start. Make way for the Bats!

I really like the alliterative names, like the Lawrence Lions, Lansing Lions, Paola Panthers and Macksville Mustangs. But the winner would have to be the Lyons Lions. Some might consider that a copout, but what other choices remain? The Lyons Tigers? I don’t think so.

If I ever get to choose a mascot – and I’m not holding my breath – it will be the Fireworks. Of course, this would require a fireworks show to kick off each season. Fans can yell, “Go, Fire!” for short. Some hapless student can dress up as the mascot, a giant firecracker. If it’s a Black Cat, we can even pull in the animal theme.