Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I love to watch you play!

It has been a while since I have seen a game that has kept my undivided attention. I am always focused on the game, but sometimes they can be rather boring, which makes my camera focus on the ball so I can get my highlights.

Last night I felt like a fan!

This season Spearville has made a run of wins in southwest Kansas. The Lancers are 19-1 and that only loss was to South Gray (a team they beat previously in the season.) I know when I head to the "town of windmills" I'm probably going to see a blowout.

However, I don't mind the blowout because I love to watch Carson Konrade play ball. He is all over the floor. If you've been to that gym you know it is so small if you are sitting on the stage with your feet hanging over... your toes are on the court.

Last night Carson was standing by me after blocking a shot. I put my camera down to mark the play, which was... I don't know... a total of 1.5 seconds, and Carson was all alone on the other side of the court dropping an easy bucket.

He's just so fast! But besides being all over the court... He can do it all. Although he is one of the tallest members of the Lancers' team, he can also play point. In fact, there are several times when players look just for him so he can touch the ball. Of course, his height puts him on the post, but don't be surprised to see him draining treys.... He is a perimeter boy.

My personal favorite.... his dribble drive. He seems to be able to weave through any traffic he sees, and always make the lay up look so easy. To be honest... I'm jealous... I want those athletic genes.

Last night he finished with 24 points, which just adds to his list of double figure games. In fact, in the 20 games the Lancers have played, Carson has failed to hit double digits in only one. He averages 21.7 a game. He also leads the team in assists, so he isn't selfish.

WOW,WOW,WOW!!! Carson, You're my hero!

321A State Wrestling Jamboree & Traveling Sideshow

Have you ever been to 321A state wrestling tournament? I highly recommend it.

But I will warn you, it is nuts. Organized chaos could describe it but sometimes the chaos-ness(?) seems to outway the organization.

Think about it for a second, every 3A, 2A and 1A school from the state of Kansas will come to Hays for a shot at the belt. (They don't give out title belts but how COOL would that be to win, instead of a trophy and a medal to wear around your neck, but a belt that says State Champion!)

Nearly 200 hundred wrestlers (probably more), plus coaches, parents, cheerleaders, trainers, fans, media, prinicipals and administrators, bus drivers and event staff are all jammed into Gross Memorial Coliseum and almost no one is sitting down. It's nuts.

Oh and did I mention some local radio stations are there broadcasting. (Still trying to work out how you call a wrestling match. "And he is still on the mat... trying to get up... no, he's still down...")

GMC is a loud place and especially if your fans are sitting in the upper decks, it can get even louder if one of your boys wins a title. Norton, I'm looking at you. Smith Center, you too.

It is just simply nuts. And a whole lot of fun. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Central's Williams seems to be peaking at right time

Alex Williams is nearing the end of his high school basketball career at Salina Central, and he may have saved the best for last.

Williams is a 6-8 senior who committed to Kansas State University as a walk-on. He was averaging 15.9 points going into the Mustangs’ recent battle with cross-town rival Salina South, and since then his numbers are even better.

He had 28 points and 11 rebounds against Salina South, 21 points and 9 boards vs. Goddard, and 19 points and 8 rebounds in the Mustangs’ most recent matchup, which was against Campus.

Williams has helped lead Salina Central to an 11-7 overall record. He and his teammates will take on Hutchinson tonight (Tuesday) and then conclude the regular season against Maize. Salina Central could use more strong production from Williams since the team lost to Hutchinson and Maize earlier this season.

Salina Central is assigned to the Class 5A sub-state at McPherson, which includes two ranked teams, McPherson and Great Bend. The Mustangs are aiming for a return trip to state; they finished last season 16-9 overall and in third place at the 5A tournament. Williams received honorable mention on the all-state team last year.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Let’s Get Ready For Tan Lines!

Things are getting pretty hectic around here at Catch It Kansas as the winter postseason is upon us. Before we shower the cream of the winter-athlete crop with the coverage they deserve, I am going to take a minute to look to the spring season.

For me, there are few things in life more glorious than having baseball and softball as an excuse to go sit out in the sun after a long, frigid winter.

Ah, I can almost feel it already.

I need the sores on my inner cheek and gums from the amazingly delicious salt overload of an enormous mouthful of sunflower seeds, the deep pondering of situational strategy, the lazy comfort of my favorite camping chair parked in front of the fence down one of the baselines, and the sting of a bad sunburn.

A bad sunburn a good thing? Look, the choice between sunburned and frostbitten is no choice at all as far as I’m concerned.

That week or so of single digit temperatures brought me to my knees in praise of indoor sports. But it also made me hungry for spring.

The diamond is where humans reconnect after a long exile to the depressing land of sofas, space heaters, and TVs. It’s as though we have all come out of hibernation, rubbed the sleep out of our eyes, and had our brains awakened by the immediate philosophical questions:

· This hitter hasn’t caught up to the fastball all day. Do you risk hanging an 0-2 curveball?

· Do you bunt with the best bat in the lineup to advance a runner down by one in the bottom of the seventh?

· How long should this team continue to ride this pitcher?

· Would a hit-and-run here pay off, opening up a huge hole on the right side?

· How do we get a ground ball here to get out of trouble with an inning-ending double play?

· Corners in for four-then-one or roll it up the middle?

· (Sniff) What’s that smell? It’s so familiar. Ah, yes! I remember! It’s barbecue! How can I get in on some of that?!

Umm, pulled pork sandwiches with sauce dripping down my face, how I’ve missed you.

Lazy days spent out in the sunlight aren’t quite here yet. But the start of winter postseasons mean it’s time to start thinking this way.

I can’t wait.

We're Just Not That Into It

There's a reason why the four major sports in America are the four major sports in America. Well, I think the NHL could be considered a 'fringe major sport' but that's a topic for another time. The reason they're considered major sports is because baseball, football and basketball are sports that most everyone in America grew up playing or watching in one form or another. I went to my first baseball game when I was a month old and played my first tee-ball game when I was 4. My brothers and I played every sport imaginable from soccer to baseball and basketball, volleyball for me and football for my brothers. My brother Greg was also big into track placing third in state in the pole vault. My oldest brother Doug could've gone to college on a golf scholarship but chose to take his scholarship to Florida State for baseball instead. When it comes to 'running the sports gamut' my brothers and I have done a lot. You know what, I'll even come clean and admit that I was a cheerleader for two years, two horrible drama-filled years.

However, in my 25 years of sports experience I was never, ever a swimmer. Nor was I a diver. In fact, I'm very very afraid of heights so even getting to the top of the high dive was an accomplishment (it took me quite a while to actually jump off the high dive, baby steps you know?). Anyway, we had a big discussion last night about this weekend's swim and dive tournament in Topeka. In that discussion not one of us could tell you what a good time was in swimming or what a good score was in diving.

I may have just admitted something kind of bad for a sports department but seriously, how many people out there can look at a kid's swimming time and go, "Oh my gosh that's absolutely phenomenal! What an amazing swim!"

So today the point of my blog was supposed to be looking into what a good time for swimming was and try to liken it to say, running a mile. Everyone has run a mile in their lives but not everyone has swam 500 meters. I'm not even sure that equals a mile; I'm really bad with math and conversions. But I wouldn't mind getting a little help from my friends out there in the Catch It Kansas Blog viewing world. I know there have to be tens of you.

Again, here's my question: What exactly is a good swimming time for a high school kid and is it possible to liken it to a sport most everyone has competed in at some point in their lives? For example: Jenn swimming the 500 in 10 minutes is like Jenn running a mile in ______ minutes. Help please?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Regional Wrestling - Get Excited!

Wrestling regionals are this weekend and generally it is a foregone conclusion that the top wrestlers will make it into the state meet. The real battles are in the consolation semifinal rounds where the losers go home and the winners are guaranteed a spot in the state meet.

Even though the championship matches for regionals will be decided by Friday night and those wrestlers will be comfortably in the state tournament, they will still have seeding and pride to wrestle for in the championship rounds.

Here is a quick rundown of the potential marquee matchups around the area on Saturday that could serve as state championship previews.

Wichita Northwest 6A Regional

At 103 pounds top-ranked Kaleb Bonilla of Goddard and second ranked Anthony Calderon of Garden City will be in attendance. The 140-pound weight class is stacked as well with the top three ranked wrestlers in 140 pounds all attending. Bradley Little of Derby, Tre Houlden of Goddard and Hunter Edwards of Dodge City all have a shot at anything from a regional championship to a third place match. At 285 pounds top-ranked Trey Page of Northwest will likely faceoff with second-ranked Jesse Trent of Dodge City.

Bishop Carroll 5A Regional

The two marquee matchups will likely be Arkansas City vs. Andover Central. At 125 pounds, top-ranked Garrett Jones of Arkansas City and the Jaguars second ranked Jake Gentzler should faceoff. Then at 135 pounds, top-ranked Kash Biddle of Ark City and second ranked Alex Bontz of Andover Central are both in attendance.

Pratt 4A Regional

Valley Center’s Chase Nitcher will be looking for his second consecutive state championship and first in class 4A. He will have his hands full against second-ranked Colton Eck of Andale in the 135-pound weight class.

Norton 3A Regional

There might not be a more stacked regional anywhere than this regional. Top-ranked Dylan Schumacher and second-ranked Calvin Ochs will likely faceoff in the 112-pound weight class. The 135-pound weight class is absolutely stacked with Jace Campbell of Oakley, Kale Newell of Smith Center and Terrance Lamb of St. Francis. The three are ranked first through third by the coaches.

Not to be outdone, the 145-pound weight class boasts the top four ranked wrestlers in that class. The wrestlers are Kaenon Keiswetter of Norton, Trevor Oliver of Osborne, Eric Albers of Oakley and Kevin Wolters of Atwood. This one regional could legitimately produce the top four placers at the 3A state meet next weekend.

Even though the battle in the consolation semifinals will be entertaining all around the state, the battles for first will be entertaining as well in many classes with previews of what to expect at the state meets next weekend.

Substate of the Union

I love bubble talk. Love the speculation that surrounds the final few weeks leading up to the NCAA tournament. Love the possibilities of a blank bracket. Love the word “bubble”… Somehow none of that ever manages to spill into the high school ranks. And that’s a shame.

Sometime next week Substate assignments are due out for 2A through 6A schools. I don’t know of anyone – aside from maybe those directly involved –counting down the minutes until their release. But wouldn’t the last week of the regular season be a lot more fun if we were a little more aware of the stakes?

In 5 and 6A seeding means everything. Teams are broken down into four regions of eight teams each, but each Substate will ultimately spit out two state qualifiers. So in 6A’s Wichita East Substate, seven other teams are hoping against hope that Wichita Heights will end up in the opposite four-team pod.

Topeka (10-5 and currently looking at a four seed) would love to sneak up on Wichita East (12-5 and sitting third) if for no other reason than it allows them to trade a potential substate final date with defending state champion Heights for a crack at Derby, instead.

I’m sure most coaches will tell you that it doesn’t really matter. The chips will fall where they may. You have to beat the best to be the best. But you can’t honestly tell me that Washburn Rural (currently in line for the five seed) isn’t in worse position than Manhattan (number six if the season ended today).

In 5A’s Andover Substate, the bottom four teams are all separated by just half a game. Depending on how tiebreakers shake out Wichita West (7-10) could fall anywhere from five seed to eight seed. Ark City (7-10), Andover (7-10) and Bishop Carroll (8-10) are all globbed* together with them.

*- Spell check insists that globbed isn’t a word. “Glob” is. But the Microsoft paperclip draws the line at turning a noun into a past tense verb. Apparently “punked” is also not a real word. So there you go.

The stakes in that Andover Substate? You’re either dealing with Andover Central (which has locked up the top seed) or Kapaun/Liberal. Carroll – in line for the five seed – may be better off losing on Friday in order to drop down to a six or a seven.
I know, I know. This is stupid. It’s better to keep winning and take your chances. At this stage of the season everyone who makes it to a substate final is good. Sure. But some roads are tougher than others.

Substate seeding in Class 6A (as it stands now):
This is just a sampling and not the official bracket. I’m not up on my tiebreaker formulas, yet, so take this at face value.

6A –
Wichita East Substate:

#1 Wichita Heights (15-2)
#8 Junction City (6-10)
#4 Topeka (10-5)
#5 Washburn Rural (9-5)

#2 Derby (14-3)
#7 Wichita Southeast (7-11)
#3 Wichita East (12-5)
#6 Manhattan (7-9)

Wichita South Substate:
#1 Dodge City (15-2)
#8 Wichita South (2-15)
#4 Campus (9-7)
#5 Wichita Northwest (10-8)

#2 Maize (13-4)
#7 Goddard (6-11)
#3 Wichita North (10-7)
#6 Garden City (7-10)

I started in on the 5A’s but found them so muddled by teams with similar records that any attempt to sort them out would be far too time consuming and inaccurate to be much good.

But that’s the beauty! In a week where most of the league titles have already been decided and teams are simply playing out the string, we have STAKES.
And that’s enough to make me bubbly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

At least you wouldn't have to worry about traveling

For all you avid bloggers out there that keep up with the CIK blogs... just a few days ago Bryan wrote a blog about random stuff.... I love it. Especially the part about the cheerleaders taking over for the girls basketball teams.

Oh Bryan... I have seen the infamous cheerleading pyramid that reaches the rim that you speak of. It's actually pretty funny!

The Garden City Cheerleaders do a build, (which is what has replaced the pyramid... FYI Bryan) it's three builds actually.

The first, a cheerleader on another's shoulders.... The second, a cheerleader in a low build.... the third, a cheerleader in a high build, (sorry to all those cheerleaders who are reading this laughing because I don't know the technical terms of all your builds)

The ball starts in the hands of the girl on the shoulders. It's then passed to the girl in the low build. Finally, the girl in the highest build gets the ball. It just so happens the highest build is only two feet from the basket. The cheerleader then proceeds to "dunk" the ball.

Oh... and the best part.... The crowd goes wild! (said in a fake announcers voice.)

It takes approximately one minute to put these builds up and to pass the ball to the highest girl.
In 32 minutes of regulation... if each team of cheerleaders got equal time (16 minutes) and lets say they make every shot.... the score could be 32-32. Not to mention the most dunks ever made in a high school girls game. But, considering the Garden City girls basketball team only put up 36 points last night... I'd say the cheerleaders could give them a run for their money.

Of course there's that little thing called Defense. That could get ugly if trying to do it in builds. However, with pass, pass, shoot... at least you wouldn't have to worry about traveling.

Growin' em big

Fort Hays State senior basketball players Tim Peintner and Corbin Kuntzsch hail from Scott City, a town on the western edge of the state. Standing at 6'6" and 6'4" respectively, they were some seriously tall kids when they graduated.

But they were only continuing the trend of big size in the prep ranks in Kansas.

Getting some players above fix feet tall is nice, getting a few taller than that are a huge benefit for coaches but rarely do the really tall ones come along.

This week's Rising Star, Quinter basketball, has seven players above six feet tall. Zack Nemechek and Brett Ochs are 6'4" but brother Scott is up there at 6'7".

But they all pale in comparison to Sage Penner of Stockton, ducking under doorways at 6'11"! They might be the tallest prep team in Western Kansas, 12 of their 14 players are above six feet but come on - 6'11" - my goodness!

Imagine playing defense against that guy?! Forget it.

As Ochs said, "We grow 'em big in Kansas."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The times they are a-changin' for Valley Center

The beleaguered Valley Center football program has a new coach, and the Hornets hope he will help engineer a turnaround.

Valley Center has struggled in recent years. In 2009, the Hornets went 0-9, were shut out four times and concluded their season with a 53-14 loss to Wichita West.

Every other team in their league – the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail’s Division II – earned at least four victories in 2009. Now, Valley Center fans hope Pat Haxton will be part of the solution.

Haxton has coached Southeast of Saline for 11 years. He led the Trojans to a Class 3A title in 2005. He is Valley Center’s new coach, replacing John Black after three seasons.

Southeast of Saline put together an 8-2 record in the fall, finishing with a loss to Hutchinson Trinity in the first round of the playoffs. In 2008, Southeast of Saline compiled a 7-3 record and lost in the first round of playoffs to Halstead.

Valley Center, on the other hand, hasn’t had a winning season since 2001. That’s the last year Mike Smith coached the Hornets before departing for Garden City.

In his last five years at Valley Center, Smith never had more than two losses in a season. In contrast, he hasn’t won more than four games in each of the past three seasons at Garden City.

Valley Center is facing considerable change, not only because of the new football coach but because of the AVCTL’s division re-alignment. The Hornets will remain in Division II along with Arkansas City and McPherson, but Andover, Andover Central and Goddard will move to D-II in the 2010-11 school year. In addition, voters approved a bond issue that calls for a new high school set to open in 2011. The current high school will house seventh and eighth grades.

Other football coaching changes:

Steve Pazzie resigned after 19 years as Augusta head coach. Roger Robben will leave his head coaching position at Goddard to replace Pazzie.

Bill Lowe resigned after five years as Emporia head coach. He will be the head coach at a new school, Blue Valley Southwest.

Dustin Delaney, assistant coach at Hutchinson, will take over for Lowe at Emporia.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter sports finals rapidly approaching

Looking at the calendar on my desk of upcoming events, I can see the next few weeks are going to be busy and action-packed to say the least.

Things are already in motion in the pool, with the GWAL swim meet taking place earlier this week and the AVCTL meet going on as I type this.

State swimming is on the docket for next Saturday in Topeka, as well as wrestling sub-state taking place all over the state. Speaking of wrestling, the GWAL wrestling tournament is in full-swing today, and I will be heading out shortly to grab highlights of the action which you can view later this evening.

State wrestling is on the slate for Feb. 27, with Class 5A and 6A finals taking place at the new INTRUST Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. Class 4A will be at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, and Class 3-2-1A taking place at Fort Hays State. As always we’ll have reporters all over the state, and you can expect complete coverage of all the happenings at

The beginning of March brings us state bowling championships and sub-state basketball, with state basketball rounding it out on Mar. 13.

We’re working on some new things to spruce up the website for state tournaments which we think you will like and we will of course be working diligently to bring you the most up-to-date information on all these events as they happen.

Then we can all start looking forward to spring sports! Then again, maybe we should just get through the next few weeks first. To use an old cliché, “strap in, it’s going to be a wild ride.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hesston baseball: shot down in flames

For nearly two decades, there has been a movement to add baseball as a varsity program to Hesston. To say the least, the movement has been more of an uphill trudge through the mud.

But there has been a little bit of progress. The high school now offers baseball as a club sport, with around 20 kids expected to play this year, paying out of their own pockets to get on the diamond.

Clearly, there is an interest among the kids.

The latest proposal for the school board was a co-op, possibly with Haven, with expenses to be paid for privately with no cost to the district.

I decided to go to the meeting and hear the argument for myself.

After nearly 20 years of shooting the program down, surely there would be a well thought out reason.

Not exactly.

I was surprised (shouldn’t have been) to hear the old tired, politically cliché, slippery-slope fallacy.

After all, if you open the door to baseball, how long before you have to deal with—a rowing team?

Unfortunately I didn’t pull rowing out of thin air. This was actually mentioned by a school board member.


According to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ high school athletics participation survey, baseball is the third most popular boys sport by participating schools, with 15,720 participating schools nationally. That is 1,733 more schools with a varsity baseball team than football.

In Kansas, there are 64 class-4A schools. Hesston, Cheney and Hiawatha are the only three of those 64 who don’t play baseball. In Hesston’s league, the Mid-Central Activities Association (a league in its final year of existence), Hesston, Ellinwood and Sterling are the three out of 12 schools without a baseball team.


Actually, why not?

Why not add boys and girls soccer, girls golf and—even rowing if the interest is there? Adding more opportunities for kids is something to be admired, not scoffed at. It is the very core of the baseball movement in the first place. It is about more opportunities for kids to get a chance to participate.

For kids who aren’t as big and strong as a bull, football might not be the way to go. For kids who aren’t tall or who can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, basketball is probably out too. But for these kids, a baseball diamond could be a great place to be a productive member of a team. I don’t want to minimize the athletic ability needed to play baseball, because it takes a tremendous amount of ability and dedication. But the game doesn’t necessarily require the same prototype of physical build as the other sports.

After having said all this, there are some good reasons to pass on baseball.

At the heart of the issue is Hesston’s lack of a diamond to play on. A few years ago, a proposal for a multimillion-dollar sports complex was put on the table. The school board was understandably as eager to pull the trigger on a multimillion-dollar complex as it would have been to spend money on a rocket to the moon.

But an elaborate complex is not what the program needs. It would cost an estimated $200,000 to $300,000 to build a diamond.

And you can’t overlook the timing involved. At the moment, every district in the state is in dire monetary straights. Programs are being cut and every opportunity to save is being considered.

Now is simply not the time to be adding anything.

But when will the time be right? You would think that the time would have been good enough at some point during this long fight. But for one reason or the other, it just hasn’t been.

So the baseball players in Hesston will have to continue to hope they will one day be a part of a varsity program. And they will watch another class of dedicated players graduate without having ever experienced varsity baseball.

And so it goes.

Random Stuff

Scatterbrained thoughts from the scattered brain…

To Jenn and the West High community. If the 6-game winning streak comes to an end tonight and this resurgent season goes in the tank, I take full responsibility. I did a "Rising Star" feature on the Pioneers' recent boys basketball success (as many wins in the last three weeks as they'd had in the previous three years combined!), recognizing the jinx possibilities that might ensue. But this seemed like too good a story not to tell.


I’ve been meaning to throw this into a blog but keep forgetting. Cross country and track are notorious for team t-shirts with slogans, ranging from inspirational to snappy to hokey to all of the above. The most creative I’ve ever seen belongs to Wichita Northwest for the simple yet effective “Bringing XC Back.” Two years too late, maybe, but still very funny.


Random thoughts that pop in my head while covering high school basketball #158: If every City League girls basketball player were simultaneously injured and each school’s respective cheerleading squad had to step in to finish out the schedule, which team would be the best?

I went with Heights because there are so many of them, and they seem like they would be scrappy. Thoughts?

Cheerleaders playing hoops wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily. Human pyramids make it easier to get to the rim… assuming that’s not illegal for some reason.


I finally got to see Bishop Carroll’s new gym last week. I stuck my head through the window while it was under construction last year, but this was my first experience with it on game day. Color me impressed. I love the new dug out gyms with walkways around the top. Especially when they incorporate seating behind the basket. There aren’t too many gyms in Kansas that have bleachers all the way around. I can think of a few (Halstead, Hesston, El Dorado, McPherson, North). I know I left a bunch out, but you get the idea. There aren’t many. Having that makes a gym feel more like an arena. Big time. Good job Carroll. I hope Kapaun’s turns out similar. Ditto for the new Wichita schools when they open.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sub-State Injustices

Basketball postseason is quickly approaching, so that means it is time for my annual “the KSHSAA Sub-State system is flawed” rant.

I am going to start out with the biggest problem and that comes out in Class 3A Boys Sub-State in Conway Springs. Wichita Collegiate is the defending champions in 3A and have not lost to a 3A team since the 2007-2008 season. The Spartans are the top ranked team in Class 3A by the Kansas Coaches.

Also in the Sub-State are the second-ranked and 15-1 Douglass Bulldogs. One of these two teams will not make the state tournament. They are each putting up similar numbers with Collegiate’s scoring average this year is 69.6 points per game while only giving up 44.6. Douglass scores 63.3 points per game and gives up 46.8.

The likely sub-state championship game in Conway Springs likely should have been reserved for the state championship game.

The East Boys regional is similarly stacked. Two teams get out in Class 6A and 5A, Top-Ranked Heights will be favored to advance, but Wichita Southeast will likely be on the Falcons side of the bracket and the Golden Buffaloes are the only City team to beat Heights this year, so that game could be very interesting.

Likely on the other side of the bracket will see Wichita East and Derby locking horns. They are ranked eighth and sixth by the coaches respectively.

The local 5A Girls Sub-States are both brutal as well. The Andover Regional has top-ranked Andover Central, third ranked Bishop Carroll and sixth ranked Andover. Andover and Carroll will likely play for a spot in the state tournament.

In the McPherson Regional, fourth ranked Emporia, sixth ranked McPherson, ninth ranked Newton and 10th ranked Salina South will all take the court.

These are just the local examples. IN 4A boys, top ranked Basehor Linwood will have to get through third ranked Kansas City Sumner to make the tournament. At Topeka Hayden, second ranked Hayden must deal with fourth ranked Clay Center.

Something needs to be done. I have always been a fan of seed the teams one through 32 or 64 and playing it out college basketball style, but that may not be the answer. What do you guys think? Is there a way to make sure the top teams at least have a fair shot at making the tournament?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Going for two

Quinter went through a lot during the football season.

Their coach Greg Woolf battled cancer and left the team for a period on their way to defeating the defending champions for their first 8-man state title.

All that adversity brought those players together and now they are the team to beat in 1A.

17-0, #1 team in the classification all season. No one has come close to challenging them so far.

A town of less than 1,000 people, maybe less than 800, they have seven kids over six feet tall, and their big man is 6'7".

Check them out on the home page.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

North, West boys meet after 5-game win streaks

The Wichita North boys basketball team is on a five-game winning streak after defeating Wichita Northwest on Friday. The Redskins feature some talented players, including senior twins Brison and Briston White, and freshman Conner Frankamp. Frankamp averaged 17.2 points in the team’s first 13 games.

North’s 14th game on Friday brought its record to 9-5 overall. Next up for the Redskins is Wichita West, which will host Tuesday’s game. West is on a five-game winning streak of its own. The Pioneers are 6-8 this year, which marks a milestone for them. West had only one win in the 2007-08 season and just three victories last year, so the Pioneers have already surpassed their win totals of the past two years combined.

So Much Fun to Watch

As I've said before in this blog it's really really hard for us each week to decide what games we're going to cover. Do we hit the big schools because of bigger numbers or do we go with the small schools because we want to be more all-encompassing? It's a tooth and nail type of fight, trust me.

But lately it's been tough for us to break away from covering the 6A schools in our area simply because night in and night out there's always a chance for an upset. I'm not just blowing smoke here, there truly is always a chance for an upset.

For example, tonight Southeast travels to face Heights. The only loss in the GWAL for Heights this year came at the hands of the Golden Buffaloes. Granted, the Falcons were without point guard Evan Wessel, but still, you have to wonder if Southeast still has Heights' number?

North is as West tonight. Normally this would sound like a slam dunk for the Redskins but the Pioneers have been a major surprise after boys tournament week. West has won 5 in a row, that's more wins in just a couple of weeks than the West girls have had in about the last 5 years! All of a sudden West seems like the perfect underdogs with the capability of an upset. This newly confident Pioneers team got beaten handily by North earlier in the year, a 17 point loss to be exact. But tonight West is at home, they're riding a serious wave of confidence and as always, what do they really have to lose?

Let's not forget Northwest here either. The Grizzlies are having a solid, yet under the radar type of season. They're a little young but the team is still holding its own against some power house 6A schools.

The post season is always fun to watch but I think this year will be exponentially entertaining considering the number of talented schools we have in our area. Will it be another championship game between two Wichita schools? I hope it is because I want to watch these teams play for as long as possible!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Small towns passionate about their sports

As the newest member of the CatchItKansas staff, I’m still getting used to the grind, but having fun in the process.

Getting the opportunity to get out of the office and go shoot video of area games on Tuesday’s and Friday’s is a unique opportunity.

In the past few week’s I’ve been to Rose Hill, Wichita Heights, Halstead (twice), El Dorado, Sedgwick, Haven, and most recently Remington and Berean Academy in Elbing.

As a graduate of Wichita Northwest, I often thought that the school spirit and passion for high school athletics was lacking. Not to pick on the big kid, but it just seems like small towns take a lot of pride in what is happening on the court or gridiron in their hometown.

The student sections are always rowdy, and everyone in the stands in fixated on the court and not as worried as about their plans for the rest of the night.

Last night, I travelled from the Remington girl’s game, to shoot video for the Berean boy’s game against Moundridge. Upon arriving, there was no need to ask where the gym was because the cheers were already pouring down the hallway.

While getting set up for the game and during down periods of the game, several people approached to tell me that “you should have been here earlier!” The Warrior girl’s team had just won on a buzzer-beater shot.

Little did they know, that the boys game would come down to the wire, with Moundridge’s final second shot bouncing off the back iron as time expired giving Berean a one-point win. The place went nuts!

You get a whole different experience watching a game through a tiny view finder, but you still feel the excitement and heartbreak that fans go through on a weekly basis.

So, thanks for the good times so far small towns. Then again, it was fun watching Perry Ellis and Blake Bell go toe-to-toe on the hardwood…

Friday, February 5, 2010

Time to start crowning champs

The winter season has been a blast.

It was filled with buzzer-beating baskets, last second takedowns, a perfect 300 game of bowling, fish-like feats of swimming, and a signing day blitz that had us all pulling for our local heroes and the bright futures awaiting them. listed nearly double the amount of signings as a similar Kansas website throughout the day Wednesday.

It was also filled with the usual share of weather cancelations and single-digit temperatures that made me reach for my golf clubs when the thermometer hit a sweltering 31 degrees.

But seemingly as soon as it started, the winter season has nearly come to a close. State swimming starts on Feb. 18.

So as much fun as the winter season is, it’s high time we buckled up and start crowning some champions.

And let our signing day coverage be an indicator of how we will approach state championships.

State swimming kicks off the winter postseason in Topeka on Feb. 18-20. Boys swimming has been dominated by the Kansas City area for the better part of 30 years with a couple of exceptions. Wichita Southeast won a title in 2003. It was the first western championship since Salina South won in 1983.

But Maize is showing a ton of promise in 2010. Could this be a rare year for a Wichita-area team championship?

Wichita Trinity has carried the girl’s banner, winning four titles since 2000. But this year the Lady Knights will have to try without one of the Bruce sisters.

On the Saturday state swimming wraps up, regional wrestling tournaments will decide who moves on to state the week after.

When the state tournament starts on Feb. 26, expect wall-to-wall coverage with a live blog throughout the day, video, photos and articles, all leading up to the championship finals on Saturday.

The week after state wrestling brings us right into March, with state bowling on Thursday and Friday. Goddard will be defending a boys title in 6A as will the Maize girls. Bishop Carroll took both the girls and boys championships in 5-1A.

On the Saturday following state bowling, basketball sub-states begin as teams will either win or go home. Catch It Kansas will have in depth coverage of the state tournaments the following week with live blogs, video, and articles.

The winter has been fun. But the time for fun and games is over. Let’s ratchet up the intensity and find out who the best in the state really is.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for our winter state coverage, let us know how you would like to see the events covered.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Track season quickly approaching

We are almost to the postseason for Winter sports so that means that it once again is almost one of my favorite times of the year, track season. The University of Kansas held its high school indoor invitational on Jan. 31 and we got a little preview of what to expect this spring. Here are some of the results of note from the meet:

- Wichita East’s Oliver Bradwell ripped a 21.84 to win the 200-meter dash. That is one of the top five times recorded by a high school athlete in the US in the indoor season. Last season the fastest 6A time at state outdoor was 21.90 in a prelim. If Bradwell can keep it up he should be in for a big track season.

- Class 5A mid-distance heavy weights Josh Muncsh of Hays and David Thor of Bishop Carroll faced off in the mile. Munsch came away with the win fairly easily in a time of 4:32.44 and Thor was second at 4:36.78. Munsch also ran the 800 where he placed third with a time of 2:01.02. Munsch is a senior who will run for the University of Kansas next year.

- Cameron Sprague of Hutchinson, class 5A runner-up in cross country, ran a time of 9:36.46 in the 3,000-meter run to place third.

- Aarian Tipton of Wichita Southeast ran a time of 26.30 to finish third in the 200-meter dash. She was third in Class 6A in the event last season.

- Jamie House of El Dorado won the pole vault by a foot with a winning vault of 11-feet and three inches. House is the two-time defending 4A champion in pole vault. She also holds the third best vault in the history of Kansas.

What do you think? What athletes will make some noise this spring on the track?

For complete results of the meet click here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Colt Rogers is a winner on the gridiron: Three state football titles, two time all-state running back, member of the longest winning streak in Kansas prep football at Smith Center High School.

We know that but despite all that, not many schools showed much interest in his football potential. And unfortunately, you can't blame them with his small stature.

(Would you be excited if your team signed a 5'5" 150 pound running back?)

But that comes in handy on the wrestling mat, where Colt has been just as dominate by himself: three time defending state champion at 130 pounds and undefeated in his prep career.

The University of Virginia and even the Naval Academy (NAVY!) expressed interest in Colt on the mat, and locally Fort Hays State and probably a few Big 12 schools.

And whenever you asked him where he was going, he answered, "Don't know..."

Ask his dad, Mike, and he gave the same answer but he always added something, "I think he wants to play football..."

He got his dream Wednesday, signing with the Pitt State Gorillas (awesome mascot) to play football.

Absolutely did not see that coming! Completely blindsided.

Big 12 wrestling schools, UVA and the Navy wanted him on the mat and when you put all the stats and intangibles on the table, wrestling seemed like the sure fire path to a free education at a high quality institution but he wanted to be on the field.

I went head, he went heart.

The Okies are Coming!

Signing Day. Ugh. It’s a sad day… Okay, not exactly sad for everyone. For guys like Blake Bell, Geneo Grissom, etc it’s the realization of a lifelong dream, the culmination of years of hard work, blah blah blah, etc.

No, it’s sad for the rest of us who will be watching them in “hunter safety orange” or “crimson and cream” for the next four or five years. Joseph Randle? Devon Hedgepeth? You’re dead to us. You’re the enemy now!

It’s a sad day for major college football in the state of Kansas. The cream of the recruiting crop was pillaged by our neighbors to the south.

Consider the top high school recruits from Kansas (according to Rivals, at least):
1. Justin McCay – ATH – Bishop Miege – Oklahoma
2. Blake Bell – QB – Bishop Carroll – Oklahoma
3. Geneo Grissom – DE – Hutchinson – Oklahoma
4. DeMarcus Robinson – RB – Northwest – Kansas State
5. Joseph Randle – RB – Southeast – Oklahoma State

These are the only four star athletes in what typically is a shallow pool to pick from. Props to Bill Snyder for landing Robinson – who’s as good a kid as he is a runner – but seeing the Sooner State snap up four of the top five football players in Kansas is disappointing. No… Infuriating!

Grissom was supposed to be a Jayhawk, but when Mark Mangino was bumped, Grissom decided to re-open the recruiting process. In stepped Brent Venables and out the window went Grissom – one of the most talented defensive lineman to come through here in a while.

Go down the list a little further. Lucas Vincent – a 3-star defensive tackle from Olathe North – slipped across the border to Missouri. Ouch.

Derby’s Devon Hedgepeth – who Brandon Clark compares favorably to former K-State all-american Terence Newman – won’t be reprising the role in Manhattan. He’s headed to Oklahoma State.

K-State and KU did step in and nab the next best three on the list with Tre Walker, Laton Dowling and Pat Lewandowski (numbers 8-10). But still!

Justin McCay has a 42-inch vertical. Forget "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader."
McCay could probably jump over a fifth grader. But if he ever decides to try it, it’ll be one from the Norman, Oklahoma school system.

Both programs (KU and K-State) rely heavily on table scraps from the schmorgasbord that is Texas, but it’s hard to build sustainable success if you can’t protect your own back yard.

See: Bryce Brown, Chris Harper (the first time through), Arthur Brown, Blake Lawrence… It’s been four years since a Kansas school has actually been able to land the state’s top prospect. Those are just a few of the ones that got away.

I suspect Bill Snyder won’t be fully caught up in the recruiting game until this time next year. If Turner Gill is the silver tongued pied-piper he’s billed to be, he’ll also make some inroads in 2011. For the sake of college football in Kansas let’s hope so.

In the meantime it might be wise to start drawing up blueprints for a big wall across the Oklahoma border.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bored with Sports?

I just recently watched a spoof that aired on the BBC (my favorite channel) called "The Anatomy of a News Package." I would post the link but this is a high school site and it has an unsuitable word in it. So you can probably just google it. Anyway, for those who don't know, a 'package' is basically a story that you see on the air. It's what an anchor tosses to when they say, so and so has the story. We do that in sports too. We have rising stars, game wrap-ups, highlight packages, etc. What this spoof does however, is make fun of the way we do said packages. It calls news reporters out on how predictable and unoriginal our format is. So I wonder, do fans feel the same way about sports packages?

Trust me when I say that all stories are not created equal. In that same vein reporters don't feel creative every day. It's hard to be terribly witty on a regular basis. Just ask Jay Leno. So sometimes we get lazy which is a horrible thing to say but it's true. But on the days that we actually do get a little creative and witty and put a lot of effort and care into our stories, is it actually worth it to you the viewer/reader?

The Catch it Kansas show is a perfect thing to dissect when it comes down to my question. Do you all like the way the show is put together? We try to keep it as quick and as engaging as possible without making it a total strain to put together. There's a total of about 25 people that make this show possible every Friday night so it's easy to get a creative vibe going when there are that many people around. We try adding new things all the time, like this year when our producer (we'll call him Brian Funruh) added in the column on the right hand side telling you what's coming up next. We have Bryan Holmgren do packages while I call my highlights on the set just to mix things up. We have packages from Grant, Trista and Melody usually accompanied by live highlights called by Bruce just so it doesn't get mundane. Does that help?

I'd love to get some viewer feedback on it with some ideas. Well, creative and useful ideas that is. Please, if you're feeling in a non-witty/unoriginal mood I'd rather you wait until you hit your creative stride :).

Martin Segovia named Garden City Athletic Director

Martin Segovia was named the new Athletic Director at Garden City high school today.
Segovia is originally from Garden City and only left to attend college at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

While in college Segovia was a three-time All American wrestler in the 134 pound weight class. Segovia made an appearance in 1993 at the National tournament where he placed fifth, and then in 1995 was national runner-up.

Because of his accomplishments at Kearney, Segovia was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the university.

Segovia has been a teacher at Garden City High school, along with being an administrator at surrounding elementary schools.

Segovia also coached the GCHS wrestling team for three years as an assistant and seven years as the head coach. In his reign as Buff head coach, he earned a 119-16 dual record, and was named Kansas 6A coach of the year two times running.

Segovia will precede Bill Weatherly in the 2010-2011 season.

Lindsay Hett leads Marion to 11-2 record

Senior Lindsay Hett is finishing her basketball career at Marion with a flourish. After the Warriors went 13-9 last year, they have put together an 11-2 record so far.

Marion has more than one strong player, but Hett has been a force this season, averaging 17 points per game. The Warriors moved into the No. 9 spot in Class 3A this week, according to Kansas Basketball Coaches Association rankings.

The Marion girls won their own tournament by beating Berean Academy for the championship this season, and they took third place at the Hillsboro tournament. The Warriors’ only losses have been to Thomas More Prep, ranked No. 5 in 3A, and Hesston, ranked No. 7 in 4A. In the loss to Hesston, Hett exploded for 25 points and 15 rebounds, both game-high totals.

Hett was named to the Mid-Central Activities Association second team after last year’s basketball campaign. She was also a second-team MCAA pick for volleyball in the fall.