Sunday, January 31, 2010

A History Lesson

Let's start with some trivia: Name the only City League boys team to never win a GWAL basketball title… The answer below...

We’re right about the half way point of the City League schedule, so let’s take stock. We have a couple of interesting races – on paper. In reality? Don’t hold your breath. Heights is steamrolling toward another boys and girls sweep.

The Falcons boys (7-1) are up a game in the loss column over Northwest and East but have looked like an entirely different team since the return of Evan Wessel in early January. Since reinserting the junior guard into the lineup, Heights is 6-0 and has done it with ease. Their average margin of victory during that stretch – 25 points.

Northwest seems to be putting things together, beating East earlier this week to knock the Aces out of first. But a 30+ point loss to the Falcons earlier this month is hard to overlook.

East has been slumping. After winning seven in a row early in the season, they’ve dropped three of their last four. Injuries are taking their toll.

Heights will host East on Tuesday in a game that could blow the race wide open.

The Falcon girls (8-0) have even more impressive splits on their end. Against Kansas schools their margin of victory is 43 ½ points. Against the City League – even better – 45.4 a game.

Bishop Carroll is 8-1 and just a half game back but lost to Heights by 18 in their lone meeting. If Carroll can win out it potentially gives them a shot at a share of the title in their regular season finale on February 23rd.

Trivia Answer: Bishop Carroll

School, # of titles (Last title)

South - 12 (1996) – won 10 in a row between 1987 and ’96 under Steve Eck
Southeast – 10 (2008) – won a share of 4 of the last 7
East – 9 (2005)
Heights – 8 (2009)
North – 4 (1974)
Northwest – 3 (2004)
West – 3 (1983)
Kapaun – 2 (2006)
Carroll - 0

Carroll has made up for it on the girls side, winning a share of six of the last eight. Their eight total GWAL titles matches them with Heights for number one.
You have to go back to 2000 to find the last City League title not won by a team named Heights or Carroll.

School, # of titles (Last Title)
Carroll – 8 (2009)
Heights – 8 (2009)
Kapaun – 7 (2000)
Northwest – 7 (2000)
East – 4 (1984)
South – 4 (1978)
Southeast – 3 (1988)
North – 3 (1985)
West – 0

Only four times (since the girls officially began league play in 1973) has the same school won both a boys and girls title in the same year (Heights in 2009, Northwest in 2000, East in 1984 and South in 1978). If Heights can hang on and win both sides outright it will become only the second school to ever do it, joining East’s ’84 squads.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recruiting 2.0

With the advancements in technology over the past few years, getting your name out over the internet has become increasingly easy.

For better or worse, this has taken college football recruiting to an all new level. With football signing day set for this Wednesday, Feb. 3, coverage of the event from coast-to-coast will be rampant.

Several recruiting and fan sites track the top recruits from across the country, and are constantly feeding updated information on whether or not that certain five-star athlete will be heading to their favorite college.

With the aid of highlight tapes posted to the internet and national recruiting sites, in recent years, we’ve seen several local talents head to big-name, out-of-state, Division I programs.

Former Wichita East product Arthur Brown is attending Miami, while his younger brother Bryce saw significant playing time as a freshman last season at Tennessee.

Wichita Northwest’s Chris Harper spent time at Oregon before transferring back home to Kansas State, where he will be eligible to play this upcoming season.

Harper will likely be joined by fellow Grizzly running back, DeMarcus Robinson, who has committed to play at K-State and is expected to sign this week.

Highly touted Bishop Carroll quarterback Blake Bell has committed the Oklahoma Sooners squad next season along with Hutchinson defensive end Geneo Grissom.

Other local talents listed among the state’s Top 15 according to include Southeast’s Joseph Randle and Derby’s Devin Hedgepath, who have both committed to Oklahoma State.

Back to the technology aspect…ESPNU will devote Wednesday with wall-to-wall coverage of signing day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can of course sign up for text message alerts for your favorite school from various outlets to see who your school nabbed.

While it’s great to see local talent succeeding and making a name for themselves among the nation’s elite college programs, one has to wonder if the publicity and exposure given to high school athlete’s is becoming too much.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rasslin comes to CIK

For the first time this winter, wrestling highlights will be featured on the “Catch It Kansas Show.” I for one could not be happier.

It is really nothing against basketball. The first night of wrestling highlights comes the night before ESPN’s “College Gameday,” broadcasts from, “The Octagon of Doom,” in Manhattan for a huge Sunflower Showdown. Clearly basketball is a proud staple of our Kansas winters.

Apparently, so is nasty winter weather that makes taking your car from being parked to driving on the road impossible without a push (thanks to the guy in Newton who gave me the necessary assistance to make it to work tonight).

But with all the attention basketball has drawn through the years, wrestling has taken a big-time back seat.

The lack of attention has formed a close-knit wrestling community, bonded by an almost underground competition those outside the wrestling family know almost nothing about.

It is a competition literally forged out of the blood, sweat, and tears that have become a mere cliché in other sports.

Honestly. There is a routine timeout know as, “blood time.” How cool is that. These athletes are dedicated to their craft to say the least.

Well, allow us to invite the rest of the phenomenal Kansas high school sports fans into this unique bubble. It is about time this sport gets a little recognition.

Let us know what you think about our wrestling coverage.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bias one-ups YouTube sensation

Joel Branstrom of Olathe Northwest became a YouTube sensation when he made a half court shot blindfolded at a school pep rally. Branstrom was promised Final Four tickets by his students if he made the shot, but they never expected him to make it. The NCAA ended up stepping up and giving him the tickets.

The story and video can be seen by clicking here.

On Thursday, Branstrom’s team traveled down to the Newton tournament and faced Andover Central and its star Tiffany Bias.

Bias ended the first quarter with a half-court shot of her own. However, she was not blindfolded. Instead of Final Four tickets, she received three points and led her Jaguars to a 57-35 win over Olathe Northwest.

For video of the shot by Bias click here

The Science of Predicting Athletic Ability

It's not often that I do a story for the 'news' side of our operation but this one is particularly interesting. In a story that will air on Super Bowl Sunday we take a look at a company that claims they can test a person's DNA to determine what they're more suited for athletically. For example, if a test comes back and says your genetic code is best suited for endurance sports, it's best for your child to concentrate on things like cross country and swimming. Whereas if the test claims your child is best suited for power or sprint sports you should consider football or weight lifting. The test can also come back as a mixture of sorts which would mean sports like basketball or soccer are best for your child.

The company, Atlas Gene ( requires a payment of $120 per test. It also offers multiple 'levels' of testing that includes products you can use at home to further record and monitor a child's level of progression. The most expensive 'testing' set of products is $999. Is there anyone out there in this blogosphere that's actually willing to pay nearly one thousand dollars to get a general idea of the sport in which their child will most likely excel?

To get a little more specific our news team spoke with a geneticist as Wichita State. She said that tests like this only take into account about 2% of a person's entire genetic code. So does spending $120 on a test to discover what 2% of your genetic code says about you sound like a good idea?

For one man it does. Daryl Winston runs the Salvation Army Biddy Ball organization in Wichita. His father was an excellent ballplayer in the negro baseball leagues so naturally everyone pushed Daryl towards baseball. Daryl says he liked baseball ok but it wasn't something at which he was particularly excelling. It wasn't until Winston's freshman year of high school that he tried basketball. What an amazing transformation. All of a sudden Winston found something he really felt came naturally to him. Next think you know he's playing for Kansas State and then gets drafted by the Seattle Supersonics. Winston says he encourages genetic tests like this so kids aren't stuck in a sport where they don't feel right. So how about parents?

We spoke with a parent of one of the kids in the biddy basketball system. We are testing her 9 year old son's DNA as part of our story. She thinks the idea of the test is interesting but it won't sway her decision on what sports her son plays. She also says she knows plenty of parents that would gladly shell out the money for a test like this so they can try to tell where their kid would be best.

I think it really all just boils down to everyone's own opinions. I personally feel like most of the stuff on the company's website kind of reeks of a scam. But maybe it doesn't. Overall it just seems to flirt with ethics a little bit when we talk about predicting a child's future with a DNA test.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


You have heard of curses affecting sports stars before.

The Curse of the Bambino, the curse of the Chicago cubs, the Sports Illustrated cover curse and for those in my generation, the curse of the Madden NFL video game cover.

But I think I might be cursing when it comes to Rising Stars. I've have a done several Rising Star stories and maybe they should start running away from me. The reason I bring this up is young Dylan Schumacher, TMP wrestler who pins his opponents in record fashion and was undefeated in his prep career, lost over the weekend at the Bob Kuhn Prairie Classic. Undefeated no longer.

He was our weekly Rising Star only a few days prior!

I might be making too much out of this but, maybe I'm not - who are you to decide who I curse?!?!

I'm not saying this is fact but maybe just a well timed fluke, but I'm starting to watch where I walk from now on!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Holy Cow... Look at the Calendar.

Can anyone believe what time of year it is? I know I can't.

I was flipping through my desk calendar this afternoon and realized... We have nearly hit February. That means the winter sports season will soon be coming to a close.

Tournament week for basketball has just passed, which means the half way mark is here for hoops. In exactly one month the state wrestling meets open. That very same day bowling regionals take place.

So I took the liberty of counting.... 45 days remain of the winter sports season.
That means we are 2/3 of the way finished with the 2009-2010 school year!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the spring weather to bring baseball and softball to my coverage area... but Holy Cow... Where does the time go?

McPherson freshman an important weapon

The McPherson girls will enter their own basketball tournament with a 9-1 record Thursday, when they will start first-round play with an important weapon.

Freshman Katelyn Loecker has averaged 14.2 points per game in the Bullpups’ past seven contests. She put up an impressive 24 points and 14 rebounds against Campus, and she repeated a double-double in McPherson’s next game against Andover, when she had 16 points and 11 boards.

McPherson’s only dropped game this season was a three-point loss to Salina South. The Bullpups are ranked No. 6 in Class 5A, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, while Salina South is listed as the No. 9 team in 5A.

McPherson placed second in its tournament two years ago and then placed fifth last season. The Bullpups’ game starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Valley Center.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Wichita North Football Coach

Press Release from North Athletic Director Lance Deckinger

North High announces the hiring of Kelly Sayahnejad to be their next head football coach. Mr. Sayahnejad spent two years at North High School as an assistant before spending the last four years as an assistant coach at Mulvane High School. North High School is excited to have Mr. Sayahnejad build on the proud tradition of North High Football.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Derby-Goddard wrestling rivalry heats up

When Derby and Goddard wrestlers face off tonight at Newman University, it might appear that history is on Goddard’s side. Or is it?

Goddard has edged Derby for the Class 6A state title two years in a row. Goddard is the No. 1 team in 6A this season, according to Kansas high school wrestling coaches, while Derby is ranked No. 2. And Goddard won this year’s Derby tournament, followed by Valley Center (second) and the host (third).

That sounds like a pretty good resume for the Lions. There’s just one problem: Derby has beaten them in league duals the past two years in a row. Perhaps history is on the Panthers’ side after all.

In 2007-08, Derby defeated Goddard 51-30 in their dual. Goddard went on to beat Derby 209-204.5 at state, where Derby settled for second place.

In 2008-09, Derby topped Goddard 38-31 in dual action. Goddard took revenge at state, compiling 180 points to again relegate Derby, with 155.5 points, to second place.

This year, Derby will be seeking its first 6A title since 1985 and 1986, when it won back-to-back championships.

The Panthers commanded attention early in the season, when they won the December Duals, a dual tournament at Valley Center. They didn’t fare as well in their own tournament, where Goddard prevailed.

Goddard features 10 ranked wrestlers, but Derby is close behind with eight. Tonight’s dual is sure to be a fierce battle and possibly the deciding contest in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division I race.

It could be a win-win situation. If recent history is any indication, a loss at the dual could mean a victory at state.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hats off to Catch it Kansas

I'm going to brag on our Catch It Kansas staff for just a few paragraphs.

I was at the Southwest Shootout Wrestling Tournament in Liberal Saturday and I had a few refs tell me how awesome they thought it was that CIK covers wrestling. They went on and on about how wrestling is a forgotten sport because basketball has long overpowered its presence in high school sports.

Those comments got me thinking about all the "smaller sports" the CIK staff covers. Bowling, swimming & diving, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls golf... Shoot I think I could list every sport that isn't football, basketball, and baseball and people would consider them "smaller sports."

I can't speak for the entire staff when I say covering smaller sports is fun, but I think it is. It's refreshing to see kids who maybe aren't physical enough to play football win a golf tournament because they have the finesse to sink a long putt. And you should see the way their faces light up when they realize they are being covered. Sometimes for TV, but for them, any coverage is great.

Not to mention, everyone has knowledge on the "bigger sports." But who can go to a wrestling tournament one time and know what in the world is going on? Not many people. Covering those "smaller sports" gives you a chance to learn things you otherwise wouldn't have really cared about.

So here's some encouragement..... If you like reading the stories about the sports you wouldn't typically go watch.... GO WATCH THEM!!! The kids would really love the support!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Great News

Awesome stuff out of Quinter.

Football coach Greg Woolf, whose diagnosis of non-Hogkins Lymphoma kept him off of the Bulldogs' sidelines for most of the season and went on to win the 8-Man Division I state title, found out this week that his cancer is in remission.

Woolf told his team the news after the second game of the season and began chemotherapy treatments in Omaha, Nebr. in the following weeks. He has a few more followup treatments but it looks like he is in the clear.

Woolf makes no apologies about his faith said that exact faith is what got him and his family through that trying time.

In the short time I have been out here, Woolf is one of the nicest, most gracious men I have met. He had no problem sharing his experience with the diagnosis and letting me into the program to get a sense of how he and the players were dealing with the ordeal.

Winning the state championship that season was the ultimate achievement for Quinter. This is better.

Good coach, great person, awesome stuff.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who's it gonna be?

It's time for another rivalry game. People in the southwest Kansas area wait for games like this one all year in every sport. Dodge hosts Garden on the court tonight.

Lets look at the rundown.

The Buffs are 3-2, one more win and they will already have a better schedule this year than they finished with last year (4- and in the teens.)
The Demons are 4-1, taking their first loss Saturday to Wichita Collegiate.

Garden has a new leader in 2010 in Chris Ruiz. Ruiz leads with 13.6 PPG and has 32 boards, 10 of which are offensive, and Ruiz has scored off more than half of those offensive boards.
Ruiz has kind of replaced last season WAC all league player Cody Bernbeck as the Buffs go-to-guy. Bernbeck has been in a bit of a slump so far this season averaging only five PPG. Last season he never missed a double digit game.

Dodge looks to Terrance Williams to run, well almost every aspect of its game. However, Williams is HURT. In fact, Williams has only played in two of the Demon's five games this season. He first had to sit out the opening weekend when Dodge played Salina Central and Manhattan in back-to-back home games because of violation of team rules. Now he's out from an ankle injury. Sprained in practice last Thursday. At least the Demons still have Rico Hogan. The 2009 freshman phenom, who Dodge was scared they wouldn't even get back at the beginning of the season due to an out of state move. Hogan will take point, while Trey Hallman follows close behind. Don't forget the Dodge height. Three post players 6-3 or taller. Pretty good advantage.

Speaking of advantage... Garden may have the upper hand in vengeance. Dodge did put Garden down in both hoop games last year in the regular season, not to mention the sub-state game.

Who's it gonna be.... Check the teams pages Tuesday night.... I'll get you a final!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Think your return to work is tough?

Well, the holidays are over and by now you have probably dragged yourself back to work or school. Harsh reality has set in as you have traded your La-Z-Boy and bowl games on TV for a desk and a computer screen.

But as you read this in an effort to look busy, thinking about how much it hurts to get back into the daily grind, be glad you are not a wrestler headed to the Derby Invitational this weekend.

Regarded as being tougher than any state tournament, this year’s Derby Invitational will not disappoint. With eight teams ranked in the top-10 across three different classes and 49 individually ranked wrestlers, nine No. 1’s, this is a tournament that will weed out the riff-raff quickly.

Welcome back boys and girls! Now dive right in!

This is a sampling of what to watch for in terms of ranked wrestlers, according to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association, in each weight class.


The fun begins. Look for 6A’s top-ranked Kaleb Bonilla from two-time defending state champion Goddard to be tested by Great Bend freshman Chris Burley. Burley is ranked No. 3 in 5A and will grow up quickly during this tournament


If Bonilla can win at 103, the Lions from Goddard will try to keep it going with junior Justin Martinez, who will have his hands full with Aspen Kimec from Shawnee Heights. Martinez, the No. 6 wrestler in 6A, is a returning state qualifier while Kimec, No. 4 in 5A is a two-time state qualifier who placed fourth last year.


Top-ranked Zac Sparr from 4A Rose Hill is chasing a school record for career wins, and a title in Derby. Sparr will have to get through Pittsburg’s Aaron Seybold, No. 3 in 5A. And don’t count Lincoln Lemon out either. Lemon, another Goddard wrestler is No. 6 in 6A.


125 pounds could be a beauty. This weight features two top-ranked wrestlers in Daniel DeShazer from Wichita Heights and Garrett Jones from Ark City. DeShazer, a state champion two years ago, and a state runner-up last year, lost in the finals of this tournament last year. Jones also has state hardware, as a runner-up two years ago, and as a champion last year. Brady Heincker from Derby, Austin Haake from Pittsburg and Jake Mertins from Valley Center could make some noise at 125 as well. All three are ranked No. 6 in 6A, 5A and 4A respectively.


Top-ranked Taylor Moeder from 4A St. James Academy will have his hands full with Skyler McComb from Derby and Mario Corado from Pittsburg, both ranked No. 2 in 6A and 5A respectively. Goddard’s Mitchell Belle can have a good showing as well as the No. 6-ranked wrestler in 6A.


140 could be a rowdy rivalry and state final preview, between top-ranked Tre Houlden from Goddard and No. 2 Bradley Little from Derby. Vance Oliver from 5A Winfield brings a No. 2 ranking as well. No. 4 Brent Koehn from Pittsburg and No. 6 Cole Rickabaugh from Shawnee Heights make three 5A wrestlers with hopes of state championships at this weight.


St. James Academy will put another top-ranked wrestler in with the bigger school with Ryne Cokeley. No. 2 Cody Shavlik from Derby and No. 4 Tyler Willis from Shawnee Heights will also contend for the title. Chad Macy from Goddard, Daniel Blair from Pittsburg and Kyle McGoldrick from Valley Center all carry a No. 5 ranking and make it six ranked wrestlers at this class. Six ranked wrestlers is the most at any class in this tournament.


Top-ranked Cade Blair from Valley Center will see some tough competition from No. 3 Dylan Penka from Bishop Carroll, No. 4 Vontez Long from Derby and No. 6 Domonique Henderson from Wichita Heights. This will be another interesting test for a top-ranked wrestler in 4A, going up against some of the best 5A and 6A have to offer.


No. 2 Austin Willis from Shawnee Heights could see a potential state foe in No. 5 Louis Burley from Great Bend. But they will both have to deal with No. 3 Lucas Cortez from El Dorado and No. 4 Ian Whittit from Derby, wrestling in his home gym.


The ninth top-ranked wrestler, Devon Keith from Bishop Carroll, will take on some stout competitors at 171. No. 2 Garrett Hoover from Winfield and No. 3 Glen Thurber from Shawnee Heights give this weight all of the top three wrestlers in 5A. Matt Reed from Wichita Heights will try to break up the party as the No. 3 wrestler in 6A.


189 will separate a group of four close wrestlers. Dylon Walker from El Dorado has the highest ranking at No. 2 in 4A, but he will have to go through No. 3 Cole Carpenter from Derby. Dalton Beard from Goddard and Donnie Lockhart from Shawnee Heights will also contend as the No. 4 wrestlers in 6A and 5A.


This will be the last chance to see how a 4A school compares to the 6A and 5A’s of the world. No. 2 Titus Hopper from Valley Center will try his hand against No. 4 Josh Hicks from Goddard, Derby’s Shawn Marlatt and Shawnee Heights’ Brandon Flanagin who are both ranked No. 6.


The heavyweights could feature a rumble between Tylor Woodruff from Goddard and Derek Holly from Shawnee Heights, both ranked No. 4.

Wow. I hope you boys didn’t eat too much holiday ham, peanut clusters, or fudge, because your return to work will not be forgiving.

Welcome Back, Evan Wessel

How much have the Heights Falcons missed their point guard Evan Wessel? Would Heights be undefeated right now if they had him, well, I'm not sure but I'm inclined to say yes.

Wessel has been out for the first half of the season with a broken wrist he sustained in the 6A football state championship game. Which is kind of funny (funny weird, not funny haha) considering I asked coach Joe Auer how nervous he was having one of his star players in the football state championships. Auer said, "I saw him at church the other day and considered throwing a little extra holy water on him." Maybe he should've thrown a little more.

In any case, Wessel will help the Falcons out TREMENDOUSLY in this next part of the season. He said he would return in the second half of the season and told our photographer extraordinnaire, Greg McFadden, that he would be back after Christmas break. Wessel is a perfect compliment to big man Perry Ellis and is an excellent distributor. We here at Catch it Kansas and KWCH 12 like Wessel's play so much that we are all pulling for him to stay in Wichita and play for the Shockers.

Heights is off Tuesday night and they have Northwest at the end of this week. Although he may not be 100% the Grizzlies are in for a rough outing once Wessel touches the ball.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

School of the Decade

With the decade coming to a close everywhere you look there appears to be decade lists everywhere, so I figured I would hop onto the bandwagon and put out a “sports schools of the decade” list. This list is based soley on championships won in the last decade.

Here is the list:

1. St. Thomas Aquinas
Number of Titles: 33

St. Thomas Aquinas has been the dominant school in the state the last few years and its 33 total titles in the last 10 years prove that. Aquinas had 21 titles in girls sports and 12 in the boys sports. The Saints were most dominant in boys soccer where they won six titles. On the girls side there was a lot of balance as Aquinas won titles in eight of the 10 girls sports it participated in.

2. Wichita Collegiate
Number of Titles: 28

Tennis and Golf are what got Collegiate up this high. The Spartans were downright dominant in those two sports with 20 of its 28 titles coming in those sports. On the boys side, the boys golf team made a case for most dominant singular sporting program of the decade with eight titles in 10 years. The only other program to win eight titles in 10 years was Shawnee Mission Northwest cross country. Both boys and girls tennis won six titles over the last decade.

3. Olathe East
Number of Titles: 24

Olathe East made it up this high largely based on the strength of its programs on the girls side over the last decade. Olathe East won 18 titles in girls sports to six titles in boys sports since 2000. It was especially dominant in softball and girls gymnastics with five and four titles in those sports respectively.

4. Blue Valley North
Number of Titles: 21

5. Bishop Carroll & Bishop Miege
Number of Titles: 18