Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Almost Cinderella

We talked about the Cinderella stories last week but there was one I forgot to mention, mostly because it isn't exactly a Cinderella story.

TMP Baseball used to be a lapdog on the diamond. Ending the season with a .500 record used to be a dream for the Monarchs, and sometimes that wasn't possible.

Come 2010 and TMP ripped off 20 wins and beat Lakin in the Goodland Regional championship game, 4-3 after a three-run homer in the sixth inning. And this coming from a team with less than a handful of seniors.

I throw it on the edge of the Cinderella category because with 20 wins, you would be shocked if they didn't win their regional championship game and head to state.

Absolutely shocking turnaround for them and now they enter the 3A state tournament as a second seed, taking on Riley County Friday morning.

Hopefully they will be there longer than one day in Manhattan.

Semifinal soccer pairings announced

In Class 6A action taking place at the Olathe District Athletic Complex on Friday and Saturday, Garden City (16-1-1) is the No. 1 seed coming out of the west and will take on the two seed from the east, Blue Valley Northwest (12-5-2), at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Blue Valley West (16-3-0), the top seed from the east will matchup against the No. 2 seed from the west, Maize (15-2-1), on Friday at 7 p.m.

Kapaun (16-3-1) is the top seed coming out of the west in Class 5-4-3-2-1A and will face-off against Topeka-Hayden (13-5-1) on Friday at 5 p.m at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.

Salina Central (15-3-1), the two seed out of the west will take on St. Thomas Aquinas (13-4-1), the top seed from the east, at 7 p.m. on Friday.

State Soccer Matchups
Garden City (16-1-1) vs. Blue Valley Northwest (12-5-2), 5 p.m.
Blue Valley West (16-3-0) vs. Maize (15-2-1), 7 p.m.

Kapaun Mt. Carmel (16-3-0) vs. Topeka-Hayden (13-5-1), 5 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas (13-4-1) vs. Salina Central (15-3-1), 7 p.m.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where to look next -- Events to watch at the State Meet. By Carol Swenson

With two high jumps, two pole vaults, a shot put, a long jump, and a triple jump all going on inside Cessna Stadium in addition to the event on the track, plus a discus throw and javelin going on outside the stadium at the same time, sometimes watching the KSHSAA State Track & Field Championships can become a little overwhelming! It really is a 3-ring circus times three!!
Your announcing crew will try to keep you focused on what is happening, but even then, it is easy for a great performance to slip by.
So, here are a few of the “expected-to-be” highlight events of the up-coming 100th running of the State Meet.

You’ll want to make sure you have your seat staked out early Friday morning because the finals of the 3200-meter runs for the large classes [4A-5A-6A] begin at 7:45 a.m., and the first set of field event finals begin at 8:00 a.m.

Sprints & Hurdles (100-200-400-100/110H-300H)

If things go according to form, you should see the state’s all-time #1 and #3 performers in an event go head-to-head with state meet gold on the line at approximately 12:40 p.m. Saturday.

The Class 5A girls’ 100 meters will, hopefully, bring together again Topeka West freshman Macahla Wesley and Shawnee Heights senior Abreanna Parker in Saturday’s final. They have gone head-to-head several times this season, including at last week’s regional at Topeka-Seaman, and their top marks (Wesley, 11.61, #1 All-time; Parker, 11.72, #3 All-time) came when they met at the Topeka Track & Field Carnival on May 7th. Wesley passed on the Centennial League meet with a slight hamstring strain, but she appears to be back and ready to go. Wesley also enters the state meet with the #7 all-time best time in the 200 meters, 24.42 FAT plus a slightly superior hand-timed mark of 24.1.

The state’s top 400-meter mark is Class 2A Peabody’s Lauren Pickens’ clocking of 57.49. The 2A 400 meters will take the track around 3:40 p.m., Saturday. The 6A girls’ 400 meters (Saturday, 3:50 p.m.) should be interesting with four girls having run under 59 seconds led by Janessa Clay (SM North) at 57.61.

Hallie Kuhlman (Sharon Springs-Wallace County) swept the Class 1A 100-200-400-800 last year, and is back to go for another gold medal quad. This is a an especially tough one though since the 800 meters immediately precedes the 200 meters, but she showed last year it can be done.

When talking about the girls’ hurdles and sprints you also have to look for Breeana Coleman (Olathe East) and LeTristan Pledger (KC Washington) to be at the front in Classes 6A and 5A, respectively. Coleman has qualified again in both short sprints and the 100-meter hurdles where she leads the state with a 13.96. Pledger will run both 100-meter events (i.e., dash and hurdles), but will long jump, where she ranks #5 all-time, off her state title win last year, as her third individual event.

The 4A boys’ 100 and 200 will again bring together area rivals Joe Fisher (Valley Center) and Morgan Burns (Wichita-Trinity). Fisher tops the boys’ state list in both events, clocking a 10.47 100 meters and 21.6 hand-timed 200. Burns has gone sub-49 in the 400 meters so has the strength, but will have to get out quickly to have a chance against Fisher in the short sprints.

Shawn Smith (Olathe East) leads the 6A short sprinters with a 10.4h and has the state’s best FAT 200 (21.91), but don’t be surprised to see an upset in the large school dashes.

Miles Ukaoma (Maize) leads the state 400-meter list at 48.18. He was just one-hundredth of a second out of a spot on the all-time top 10 list last year with his 47.95, so we know what his goal is when he takes the track around 4:05 on Saturday. Ukaoma also leads the state 300m hurdles list (38.72), and if he makes it through Friday’s prelims, he’ll have the luxury of about an hour between the finals of the 400 and hurdles on Saturday, unlike the break between events during the season.

The state’s hottest 110 meter hurdler is Wichita Northwest’s Andrew Etheridge. He equaled the state’s #3 all-time mark earlier this spring with his 13.84. Etheridge should be joined in both 6A hurdle events by Ukaoma and dark horse Meshach Kennedy (Derby).

Finals in the 100 meters will begin on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., with the 400 meters scheduled for 3:40 p.m., and the 200 meters at 5:45 p.m.

The finals in the short hurdles are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, with the 300 hurdles final scheduled for 4:10 p.m.

Distances (800-1600-3200)

The only finals on the track on Friday will be the 3200 meters for all classes. The smaller classes’ [1A, 2A, 3A] 3200’s will begin around 6:30 p.m., wrapping up Friday’s action on the track.

The 4A girls will start the whole meet off at 7:45 a.m., Friday. Molly Milbourn (ElDorado) tops the Class 4A girls and ranks second on the state list with her 10:51.2. A 7 ½ -second improvement in junior’s season best can move her into the state’s all-time top 10. Milbourn will come back on Saturday (approx. 1:25 p.m) with the state’s top time at 1600 meters, 5:01.85, before wrapping up her weekend going for gold in the 800 meters around 5:15 p.m.

Look for the 6A girls’ 3200, scheduled for 8:35 a.m., to be a dandy with 9 of the state’s top 13 times qualifying. Avery Clifton (Topeka-Washburn Rural) leads the state with a season best 10:50.97, but while that is about 10 seconds off her #9 all-time state performance from last year, she appears to be peaking right now. Clifton also ranks second on this year’s 1600-meter state list, and will be back on the track Saturday around 1:35 with an eye on the distance double.

Heather Ruder (3A - Hays-Thomas More Prep-Marian) will also be going for the distance triple. She ranks third on the state list entering the championships in the 800 and 1600, and is ninth overall in the 3200 meters.

An interesting triple to watch, one that will carry over between the sprints and the distance races, will be 6A Maize’s Danielle Walker. She leads the state at 800 meters (2:16.35), is fourth at 1600 (5:09.04), ninth in the 400 (58.78), and is going for the gold in all three.

The 6A boys’ 3200, immediately following the 6A girls, should be a good one. Seven of the state’s top 10 performers have qualified in that class, led by Neil Metler’s (Derby) 9:23.70. The Kansas City and Lawrence areas are loaded though and this always seems to be a great race.

The movement of the finals to Friday has given the state’s distance runners a better opportunity to double and triple to the best of their abilities over a two-day meet. I believe this was one of the better changes in the meet’s schedule in recent years, and salute the KSHSAA and the coaches for making the change.

Brendan Soucie (Osawatomie) moved in to the state’s all-time top 10 with his 1:52.96 800 meters at the Pioneer League meet. If he can get gold in Friday morning’s high jump, he has a shot at completing one of the more unusual state meet doubles Saturday afternoon around 5:40 p.m.

Relays (4x100-4x400-4x800)

You can throw out the form chart on the short relays. One little bobble and it is all over. The key is getting the stick around the track!

Wichita Southeast’s girls threw down the state’s #3 all-time best in the 4x100 relay with a 47.5. Eight of the top 11 times in both the girls’ 4x100 and 4x400 come from Class 6A so both of those finals should be dandies, and Friday’s prelims could be really fast!

Olathe East has posted the only all-time top 10 mark for boys this spring, clocking 42.02 for the #10 4x100 mark. Surprisingly, one boys’ team, Olathe East, tops the state 2010 charts in all three relays. Whether they go home on Saturday with three gold medal finishes though is another thing.

Vertical Jumps (HJ-PV)

One of the highlight events of the entire weekend should be the Class 6A girls’ pole vault scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Friday.

At last weekend’s regional meet, Drue Davis (Lawrence-Free State) upped the all-time state best in the pole vault to 12’8”, bettering Christi Lehman’s (Hesston) previous all-time best of 12’7” set in 2001. Davis won’t lack for competition though as 6A also has Katie Thurbon (Topeka-Washburn Rural) and Abby Row (SM North), who come in ranked tied for 4th and tied for 9th on the all-time state list at 12’3” and 12’0”, respectively.

Sharing the 8:00 a.m., Friday morning spotlight with the 6A girls’ vault will be the Class 5A boys’ vault. Four qualifiers have cleared 14’6” or better, led by Kyle Wait’s (Gardner-Edgerton) 15’3”. Wait’s teammate Casey Bowen and Emporia’s Ethan Pearson have been over 15’0” and 14’11”, respectively. Surprisingly, the state leader Luke Arnold of Bishop Carroll (15’8”) failed to qualify.

Two classes of boy high jumpers stand out: Class 4A (Friday, 8:00 a.m.) and Class 1A (Friday, 3:00 p.m.).

Class 4A has four guys over 6’7”, topped by Griffin Knopp (Fort Scott) with a state leading 6’10.5”, but you can’t count out Trevor Miller (Hoyt-Royal Valley), Jess Bahner (Carbondale-Santa Fe Trail), and Brendan Soucie (Osawatomie) as the Cessna Stadium apron has been kind to the state’s high jumpers over the years and we may see the state’s first 2010 7-foot clearance right out of the chute as the 4A boys’ high jump opens the meet in the 8:00 a.m. time slot on Friday.

Don’t overlook Topeka West’s Nic Giancana. He leads the 5A boys (Friday, 11:30 a.m.) by four inches with a 6’10” best and if the 4A guys don’t get the first 7-footer, he may.

The most competitive high jump may be the 1A boys, scheduled for Friday at 3:00 p.m. Spencer Amerin (Ashland), Greg Prescott (Little River), and Jerell Nightingale (Centralia) have all topped 6’8”, but ready to challenge are Jerell’s brother Gale Nightingale, Cody Howell (Pretty Prairie), and Angel Mason (Natoma), all who have cleared 6’5” or better.

Horizontal jumps (LJ-TJ)

Jamillah Bonner (Wichita Southeast) bounced into a tie for the #3 mark on the state’s all-time triple jump list early this spring, hitting 40’3”. She will take the state meet stage in the triple jump on Friday at 1:15 p.m.

Two ladies are over 19-feet in the long jump and two more have hit 18’11” this spring. Abreanna Parker (5A - Shawnee Heights) holds a narrow lead for the state’s season best, having gone 19’4.75” ahead of Alyssa Kelly’s (6A - OP-Blue Valley West) 19’4”.

Parker ranks #7 all-time off her 19’8.25” from last season, but the top returning jumper is LeTristan Pledger of Class 5A KC Washington. Pledger hit 19’10.75” last year for #5 all-time, and along with Dana Gates (Wichita Southeast) enters the state meet a 2010 season best of 18’11”. The Class 5A long jump is 9:45 a.m., Friday, and Class 6A goes off at 9:45 a.m, Saturday.

On the boys’ side, watch Steven Mann (2A - Mound City-Jayhawk Linn) in both horizontal jumps. He leads all classes in the triple jump (47-01.75) and ranks second in the long jump (23-07.25) to the 23-10.25 of Alex Reed (5A - Great Bend).

Four classes are represented by the four jumpers over 23-feet in the long jump, and three different classes give us the top three triple jumpers so the horizontal jumps are really up for grabs.

Throws (SP-DT-JT)

Kearsten Peoples will leave Ottawa HS as one of the state’s all-time best throwers. She holds the state’s all-time best in the shot put and ranks #4 in the discus. People’s 49”11” in the shot is just short of her prep 50-foot goal, and her 160’0” toss in the discus is just over five feet short of the state’s all-time best in that event. The 4A shot put is scheduled for 1:15, Friday, and the discus at 8:00 a.m., Saturday.

Joining Peoples in the all-time top 10 in both the shot put and discus is Alex Hartig (Great Bend). Hartig will enter her final state meet ranked #10 in the shot and #7 in the discus. Hartig is going for her fourth straight title in the shot (Saturday, 1:15 p.m.) and third straight in the discus (Friday, 8:00 a.m.).

When talking about the boys’ throws, you have to start with the javelin. The boys’ all-time state leader in the javelin, Johannes Swanepoel (SM South) will be taking on the rest of Class 6A at 1:15 p.m., Friday. Swanepoel popped a toss of 231’11” at the Seaman Relays on April 30 to raise the all-time state best by over two feet.

Joining Swanepoel on the all-time top 10 was Macauley Garton (Shawnee-Mill Valley) who tossed the spear 211’4” last week at the Class 5A regional (also at Topeka-Seaman) good for the #9 all-time mark. The 5A boys’ javelin is scheduled for Saturday at 9:45 a.m.

The state has only one 60-foot throw in the shot this spring, Luke Wilson (4A – Paola). Three others have bettered 57-feet and all are capable of the breaking the 6-0 mark.

The complete meet schedule is available at

Saturday, May 22, 2010

State Baseball Pairings Announced

KSHSAA has announced the state baseball pairings. They are listed below. Who are the favorites? Who are some sleeper teams that we might not see coming? Leave a comment and lets us know!

High school



at Hoglund Stadium, Lawrence

Friday, May 28

First round—(2) SM Northwest (19-2) vs. (7) Goddard (16-6), 11 a.m.; (3) Manhattan (19-3) vs. (6) Blue Valley Stilwell (17-5), 1:30 p.m.; (1) Maize (20-2) vs. (8) Olathe North (10-12), 4 p.m.; (4) Lawrence Free State (18-4) vs. (5) Wichita Northwest (18-4), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—SM Northwest—Goddard winner vs. Manhattan—Blue Valley Stilwell winner, 10 a.m.; Maize—Olathe North winner vs. Lawrence Free State—Wichita Northwest winner, 12:30 p.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, 3 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.


at Falley Field, Topeka

Friday, May 28

First round—(2) Topeka Seaman (20-2) vs. (7) Great Bend (10-12), 11 a.m.; (3) Andover Central (19-3) vs. (6) Salina Central (13-9), 1:30 p.m.; (1) Wichita Carroll (20-2) vs. (8) SM Miege (7-15), 4 p.m.; (4) Lansing (17-3) vs. (5) Shawnee Mill Valley (14-5), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Topeka Seaman—Great Bend winner vs. Andover Central—Salina Central winner, 10 a.m.; Wichita Carroll—SM Miege winner vs. Lansing—Shawnee Mill Valley winner, 12:30 p.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, 3 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.


at Evans Stadium, Salina

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Silver Lake (19-0) vs. (8) Valley Center (7-16), 11 a.m.; (4) KC Ward (13-6) vs. (5) Fort Scott (12-8), 1:30 p.m.; (2) Spring Hill (17-6) vs. (7) Scott City (13-10), 4 p.m.; (3) Topeka Hayden (16-7) vs. (6) Mulvane (12-9), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Silver Lake—Valley Center winner vs. KC Ward—Fort Scott winner, 10 a.m.; Spring Hill—Scott City winner vs. Topeka Hayden—Mulvane winner, 12:30 p.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, 3 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.


at Norvell Field, Manhattan

Friday, May 28

First round—(2) TMP-Marian (20-3) vs. (7) Riley County (15-8), 11 a.m.; (3) Wellsville (19-3) vs. (6) Hillsboro (16-7), 1:30 p.m.; (1) Troy-Wathena (19-0) vs. (8) Douglass (9-11), 4 p.m.; (4) Galena (18-4) vs. (5) Neodesha (14-5), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—TMP-Marian—Riley County winner vs. Wellsville—Hillsboro winner, 10 a.m.; Troy-Wathena—Douglass winner vs. Galena—Neodesha winner, 12:30 p.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, 3 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.


at Soden’s Grove, Emporia

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Pittsburg Colgan (21-2) vs. (8) Moundridge (9-14), 11 a.m.; (4) Sublette (16-5) vs. (5) Ellis (15-6), 1:30 p.m.; (2) Ell-Saline (21-2) vs. (7) Jayhawk Linn (9-11), 4 p.m.; (3) Valley Falls (16-3) vs. (6) Central Burden (16-7), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Pittsburg Colgan—Moundridge winner vs. Sublette—Ellis winner, 10 a.m.; Ell-Saline—Jayhawk Linn winner vs. Valley Falls—Central Burden winner, 12:30 p.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, 3 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.

State Softball Pairing Announced

KSHSAA has released the State Softball Pairings. They are listed below. Who are the favorites for each class? Who are the teams to look out for that might not be seed in the top two?

High school



at Arrocha Ball Park, Lawrence

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Topeka Washburn Rural (22-0) vs. (8) Olathe North (11-11), 10 a.m.; (4) Garden City (19-2) vs. (5) Maize (19-3), Noon; (2) Olathe Northwest (21-1) vs. (7) SM North (17-5), 2 p.m.; (3) Wichita Northwest (21-1) vs. (6) Olathe South (18-4), 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Topeka Washburn Rural—Olathe North winner vs. Garden City—Maize winner, 10 a.m.; Olathe Northwest—SM North winner vs. Wichita Northwest—Olathe South winner, Noon

Third place—Semifinal losers, 2 p.m.

Championship—Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.


at Hummer Sports Complex, Topeka

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) St. Thomas Aquinas (20-0) vs. (8) Newton (15-7), 5 p.m.; (2) Andale-Garden Plain (21-1) vs. (7) Shawnee Mill Valley (16-4), 5 p.m.; (4) Arkansas City (18-3) vs. (5) Wichita Carroll (18-4), 7 p.m.; (3) Topeka Seaman (19-3) vs. (6) Salina South (18-4), 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—St. Thomas Aquinas—Newton winner vs. Arkansas City—Wichita Carroll winner, 10 a.m.; Andale-Garden Plain—Shawnee Mill Valley winner vs. Topeka Seaman—Salina South winner, 10 a.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, Noon

Championship—Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.


at Bill Burke Park, Salina

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Silver Lake (21-0) vs. (8) Buhler, 5 p.m.; (2) Basehor-Linwood (21-2) vs. (7) Colby (16-7), 5 p.m.; (4) Girard (19-2) vs. (5) Mulvane (20-3), 7 p.m.; (3) Paola (21-2) vs. (6) Holton (17-4), 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Silver Lake—Buhler winner vs. Girard—Mulvane winner, 10 a.m.; Basehor-Linwood—Colby winner vs. Paola—Holton winner, 10 a.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, Noon

Championship—Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.


at Twin Oaks Complex, Manhattan

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Medicine Lodge (22-1) vs. (8) Riley County (12-11), 5 p.m.; (2) Hillsboro (22-1) vs. (7) TMP-Marian (17-6), 5 p.m.; (4) Osage City (21-2) vs. (5) Caney (19-2), 7 p.m.; (3) Riverton (20-1) vs. (6) St. Marys (19-4), 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Medicine Lodge—Riley County winner vs. Osage City—Caney winner, 10 a.m.; Hillsboro—TMP-Marian winner vs. Riverton—St. Marys winner, 10 a.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, Noon

Championship—Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.


at Trusler Sports Complex, Emporia

Friday, May 28

First round—(1) Spearville (22-1) vs. (8) Yates Center (9-12), 5 p.m.; (2) Pittsburg Colgan (22-1) vs. (7) Wabaunsee (13-10), 5 p.m.; (4) Chase County (16-5) vs. (5) Inman (16-7), 7 p.m.; (3) Chetopa (20-3) vs. (6) Sylvan-Lucas-Luray (13-8), 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 29

Semifinals—Spearville—Yates Center winner vs. Chase County—Inman winner, 10 a.m.; Pittsburg Colgan—Wabaunsee winner vs. Chetopa—Sylvan-Lucas-Luray winner, 10 a.m.

Third place—Semifinal losers, Noon

Championship—Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cinderella time

It's that time of year again. The time when good teams go down to lesser teams and the Cinderella slips her foot into the shoe again.

Such is the case for Great Bend baseball. The Panthers had a less than .500 record, 8-12 (10-12 after the regional) entering the Salina South Regional, then knocked off rival Hays in the first game and the outlasted Hutchinson in eight innings for a one run, 3-2 win to head to state. Unbelievable.

Having seen them play, I thought they would fall in the first round OR fall in the championship, but they proved me wrong.

Congrats to Great Bend for making state. Don't let the ball end too soon...

Recent grads excel in April college games

While May is heating up for high school teams pursuing their postseason dreams, April was an exciting month for some recent area graduates.

Andover’s Kortney Clifton and Goddard’s Whitney Berry played key roles for the University of Kansas women’s soccer team during an April game. Although women’s soccer takes place in the fall, the Jayhawks played six exhibition matches in March and April. Kortney and Whitney helped Kansas beat Iowa in its last exhibition game April 24 at the University of Minnesota. The contest was part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. Whitney’s goal put Kansas ahead 1-0, but the Jayhawks’ own goal tied the game and eventually resulted in a shootout. Kortney scored KU’s game-winning goal in the shootout.

Also in April, Yale sophomore Callie Kemmer was among five named to the all-Ivy League first team for women’s golf. Callie, who graduated from The Independent School in Wichita, tied for fourth place at the Ivy League Championship in Springfield, N.J.

Finally, Wichita Southeast alum Nate Kirk finished his tennis season in April when his squad – the University of Illinois at Chicago – lost to Cleveland State in the Horizon League championship match. Nate completed his sophomore year at UIC after an impressive freshman performance; he tied the school record for singles wins in a season when he recorded a 21-6 mark in 2009.

It’s been a good season, but now it’s time to qualify. By Carol Swenson

Friday will serve up highlight #2 on most Kansas high schools’ track and field schedule! Teams across the state are heading into regional competition, and while it is only Monday as we write this, the forecast sounds like we may get just what every coach and athlete prays for: warm temperatures, sunny skies, and hopefully, lighter than normal winds!

While the important thing this week for the athletes is just being among the top four finishers and therefore qualifying for the “Big Show” next week, fans won’t be lacking for an opportunity to see some of the state’s all-time best compete before Wichita.

My picks for the top marks coming out of last week’s league meets both came on Thursday. Osawatomie’s Brendan Soucie turned in a 1:52.96 (800 meters) at the Pioneer League Meet at Garnett while Gardner-Edgerton freshman Cassie Wait vaulted 12’00” in her home pit at the Frontier League championships.

Wait’s mark tied her for the #7 spot on the all-time Kansas prep list, while Soucie’s mark moved the Trojan senior into the #9 slot. But, those were just the latest of more than a dozen all-time Kansas top 10 marks that have been set to date this spring.

Topping 2010’s performances are three All-Time Kansas Bests:
Kearsten Peoples (Ottawa): 49’11” (Shot Put, April 1st, Ottawa Invitational)
Johannes Swanepoel (Shawnee Mission South): 231’11” (Javelin, April 30th, Seaman Relays)
Macahla Wesley (Topeka West): 11.61 (100 meters, May 7th, Topeka City Carnival)

Swanepoel’s and People’s marks both currently rank #2 on the 2010 national prep lists while Wesley’s performance ranks #10 for races run under all-conditions (i.e., legal and windy).

Other all-time top 10 marks to date this season include:
Boys’ 110m Hurdles – 13.84, Andrew Etheridge (Wichita Northwest) [Equal #3 All-Time Kansas]
Girls’ 100m Dash – 11.72, Abreanna Parker (Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights) [#3 A-T, same race as Wesley’s 11.61]
Girls’ Pole Vault – 12’03”, Jaimie House (ElDorado) [#3 A-T]
Girls’ Triple Jump – 40’03”, Jamillah Bonner (Wichita Southeast) [Equal #3 A-T]
Girls’ Discus – 160’00”, Kearsten Peoples (Ottawa) [#4 A-T]
Girls’ 200m Dash – 24.42, Macahla Wesley (Topeka West) [#7 A-T]
Girls’ Pole Vault – 12’00”, Drue Davis (Lawrence Free State) [Equal #7 A-T]
12’00”, Katie Thurbon (Topeka-Washburn Rural) [Equal #7 A-T]
12’00”, Cassie Wait (Gardner-Edgerton) [Equal #7 A-T]
Girls’ Discus – 157’05”, Alex Hartig (Great Bend) [#7 A-T]
Girls’ Discus – 154’06”, Erica Brand (Shawnee Mission Northwest) [#9 A-T]
Girls’ Shot Put – 46’04”, Alex Hartig (Great Bend) [#10 A-T]

Add to those the following all-time top 10 performers returning from last year (with their 2009 best mark) plus the usual “surprises” we get each year and this year’s regional and state meets shouldn’t be lacking for star-power.

Girls’ 100m Dash – 11.73, Breanna Coleman (Olathe East)
Girls’ 3,200m Run – 10:40.09, Avery Clifton (Topeka-Washburn Rural)
Girls’ 100m Hurdles – 13.82, Breanna Coleman (Olathe East)
14.19, LeTristan Pledger (Kansas City-Washington)
Girls’ Pole Vault – 12’01”, Cara Detmer (Wichita-Bishop Carroll)
Girls’ Long Jump – 19’10.75”, LeTristan Pledger (Kansas City-Washington)
19’08.25”, Abreanna Parker (Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights)
Girls’ Javelin – 151’04”, Hailey Twietmeyer (Cheney)

Regional meets will be held this week at the following sites:
6A – Olathe East, Topeka (Hummer Park), Overland Park-Blue Valley West, Wichita Southeast
5A – Emporia @ Emporia State Univ., Liberal, Kansas City-Washington, Topeka-Seaman
4A – Abilene, Iola, Andale, Tonganoxie
3A – Fredonia, Smith Center, Garden Plain, St. Marys
2A – Burden-Central, Sublette, Seneca-Nemaha Valley, WaKeeney-Trego Community
1A – Greensburg, Mankato-Rock Hills (hosted by the Pike Trail League), Madison, Fort Hays State Univ. (hosted by the WKLL)

Starting times vary some so check those out on the KSHSAA website at You don’t want to miss out on any of the action!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Score one for the dirtbags

If you haven’t seen Bryan Holmgren’s video of the Newton Railers baseball team yet, I have no idea what you are waiting for. This package brought on a flood of memories.

Athletes across the board are borderline loopy at best. But nothing compares to the obsessive compulsive disorder that seems to be a part of the same genetic code that makes a baseball player.

Hockey players might have an argument, but it’s a close race.

And in the middle of Harvey County, the Railers have found a way to crossbreed baseball and hockey madness, in the form of facial hair. Playoff beards have been a hockey tradition as old as the sport itself. When the playoffs come around, you let it grow—plain and simple.

It doesn’t matter if you have to shave four times a day to keep from looking like you have lived off the land in the mountains for the past decade, or if you have the scrawniest, patchiest, 13-year-old beard known to man. You let it grow.

Now Newton’s baseball team has taken this scruffy, awesome superstition and made it their own. I hope the team adopts this as an annual tradition.

Dirtbaggers, I salute you!

I happen to be among the ranks of the crazies who believe in these superstitions. There are a billion or more baseball superstitions—stepping over the foul line when you come on and off the field just to give one tame example.

My tick was not washing my game socks for an entire season. Let me tell you, it didn’t get to smell any better throughout the course of the summer. And no one was knocking anybody over to haul my disgusting feet to the road games either.

But the way I see it, I had all the dirt from all the games in the past with me, and I was a catcher so my “essence” was extremely distracting to the opposing hitters.

Naturally, there was a ceremonial burning of the socks when the season was over. All just a completely normal, rational part of being the best ballplayer you can.

I have been in a heated argument over the reality of superstition with a friend of mine that has been going on for years now.

He thinks the whole thing is completely absurd. I beg to differ.

It’s not that I believe in superstitions on a supernatural level. I would not be swallowed into the bowels of a monster without my superstitions. But it is a form of OCD. You need your rituals to get yourself right in the head.

If I had washed my socks, I wouldn’t have been able to stop thinking about it. It would have been the itch on your back you can’t quite reach. In a game of failure, it wouldn’t have taken much to send my thoughts into a tailspin of negativity.

Swing and miss for strike one with dirty socks—no big deal. Swing and miss for strike one with freshly washed socks—oh no, what have I done!?

If you have an odd or disgusting sports superstition you would give an assist for some of your success, share it with Catch It Kansas.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Calling all former state T&F champions" by Carol Swenson

As we close in on the final weekend in May, more and more people are finding out this year’s state meet marks the 100th running of the official KSHSAA State Track & Field Championships.

This is a significant landmark in the history of the KSHSAA and state track and field, marking the anniversary of the Association’s first official state high school championship event. And, boy have things changed since that first state meet held in Emporia in 1911 to today.

As part of this year’s centennial celebration, the KSHSAA and the Centennial Celebration Committee want to invite all former state track & field champions and the head coaches of championship teams to participate in several activities during the weekend, but especially the “Centennial Lap”, being held Saturday afternoon of the meet.

As of early last week, at least eight former Kansas preps who went on to represent the USA as Olympians have responded that they will be in attendance, some for the entire weekend while others for only one day. This group of special former Kansas preps will be leading Saturday’s “Parade of Champions”, helping with the presentation of medals during the weekend, and some of them will be meeting with this year’s state meet qualifiers at a special “meet and greet” on Thursday evening prior to the start of the weekend’s competition.

But, making contact with all the former state champions has been a monumental task.

The KSHSAA contacted the athletic director of every Kansas high school asking for the contact information of their former champions. Some schools responded in a big way, passing along all the information for every one of their former champions, individual and relays.

Some schools didn’t respond at all! But, it’s not too late.

This year’s meet is a significant milestone and the members of the Centennial Celebration want to have as many past champions join in as possible.

Each former state champion will be given free admission (if the KSHSAA knows you’re coming and the athletes pass through the proper pass gate) in addition to the opportunity to be part of the “Centennial Lap” and maybe even help out with the presentation of medals.

If you are a former state champion (both individual and/or relay team members), the former head coach of a state championship team, or you know of someone who was and you have their contact information (postal mail or email), just go to the KSHSAA website at to find a form which is to be returned to the Association’s office to notify them you are coming.

In addition to the “Centennial Lap”, the weekend will include a memorabilia display coordinated by former Kapaun-Mt Carmel and Wichita State University head coach John (JK) Kornelson in the WSU Koch Arena Multipurpose Room. It will be open during specific hours (I believe, 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) so you will want to check out the times it is open. That in itself should be special!

The committee wanted to make sure this year’s competitors didn’t feel left out of the significance of this year’s meet, so each athlete qualifying for and participating in this year’s meet will receive a special commemorative item along with their bib number.

In addition, several other commemorative items will be available for purchase at the meet site, so you might bring along a few extra dollars. Those will include a special edition t-shirt, the official state meet history “A century of Milestones – 100 years of Kansas High School Track and Field”, which includes a complete listing of every state champion, both boys and girls, in every event from the initial 1911 meet through last year’s 2009 championships, reflections on the state meet, and special breakdowns of records, events and medalists. You might be surprised to find out you know more state champions than you thought.

This year’s state meet should be a special event and we hope you will be able to join in! See you in Wichita!

Doubling the Pressure?

Last Friday night I was sitting here in the office, helping Bruce put the 10 o'clock show together as the Catch It Kansas staffers came trickling in from their respective tournaments they were covering. Mike Mendez made a comment about feeling bad for one kid because the weather was really messing up his state tournament stuff. I forget what sports the kid played (I also forget his name off the top of my head but I figure it's better to forget it than call him out in this blog) but because of the weather two of his regional tournaments would fall on the same day.

That got me thinking this weekend. When I was in high school we were only allowed to play one sport per season. I played volleyball in the fall, soccer in the winter and then trained for soccer in the spring and volleyball in the summer. I didn't ever want to be a cheerleader but even if I wanted to I could not have done that at my school because cheerleading was a fall and winter sport which would have conflicted with soccer and volleyball. Not that I was upset I couldn't be a cheerleader it just irked me that my school wouldn't give me the opportunity. Now I think I'm finally understanding why.

High school is tough as it is for kids, especially when they become juniors and seniors. How can playing two sports in the same season be helpful at all? Sports themselves teach leadership and time management but how can you be an effective leader and balance your time at all when you've got two different commitments?

I was stretched as it was in high school, especially my senior year. I was senior class president, in National Honors Society, a Spanish tutor and captain of the soccer team (and a lot more odds and ends mixed in there too). Not to mention I was taking visits to colleges, applying to colleges and trying to take some time to be a normal teenager! I can't imagine trying to tack on another sport that would take up tons of my very precious high school time.

We make a big deal out of education now for college athletes. You hear a lot about the NCAA giving 'grades' to universities depending on how many athletes they graduate in a year. I have to wonder how well some of these same-season dual-sport kids do in school and in life. I would be so burned out if I was them, and these kids are way too young to be even close to getting burned out.

Is there anyone out there who feels like kids should only be allowed to play one sport per season? I must say I used to feel the opposite but now, I'm all for it. It's funny what adult rules you look back on an realize how right they are.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Regional pairings announced

Regionals for all classes of baseball, softball and soccer were announced today. Play will begin on Monday in all three sports.

Baseball kicks off Monday in Class 5A, 4A, 3A, 2-1A. For a complete list of those games click here. Class 5A and 6A will also host opening round games on May 18, 19 and 20.

Softball pits action from all classes on Monday, click here for the list of games. First round games will also take place on May 18, 19 and 20.

Class 5-4-3-2-1A soccer gets started off in full on Monday with a pair of 6A matchups taking place as well. First round games continue on May 18.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Where is Thane Baker?" by Carol Sweson

Elkhart, Kansas, population 2,233. Elkhart High School: seven individual and one relay state championships in the first 99 years of the Kansas state high school track and field championships, Class 2A in 2010 with 99 students in grades 10-12. Yet, out of that “small” town on the plains of southwestern Kansas have come two Olympic medalists, national collegiate champions, and world record holders – Glenn Cunningham and Thane Baker.

Yet, when I dug through the old state meet results while doing research for the KSHSAA’s centennial state championship commemorative book, “100 Years of Kansas High School Track & Field 1911-2010 – A century of Milestones”, I could find no mention of Thane Baker. This was really puzzling! Was there an error in the results? Where was Thane Baker?

This was particularly perplexing since of the 33 Kansas high school students that would go on to represent the United States of America as track and field Olympians, it appeared that Baker was the only Kansas prep, later Olympic “medalist” who didn’t have a Kansas high school state championship to his credit. [See notes at the end for details on the other non-state champion Olympians.]

But, back to Elkhart. Most observers of track and field history and Kansas track history in particular are aware of the story of Glenn Cunningham.

Cunningham suffered severe burns in a country schoolhouse fire as a youth; burns that almost led to the amputation of his legs. After a long, painful struggle to regain the use of his legs, the scarred limbs would eventually carry him to two Kansas state high school championships, the first such titles in Elkhart High history, collegiate conference and national championships for the University of Kansas and the NYAC, being tabbed the “King of the Boards” as the world’s top indoor track performer of the first half of the 1900’s, world records at 800 meters, 880 yards, and 1-mile, berths on two US Olympic teams, and a silver medal at the 1936 “Nazi” Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.

Having had a keen interest in the Olympics, and track and field in particular since I was in grade school, I had read the stories about Cunningham, the fire, his injuries, and recovery. I even had the pleasure of meeting the famed miler when visiting his “ranch” near Cedar Point with family friends when I was in sixth or seventh grade.

I had grown up just 25 miles south of Manhattan so I was a life-long K-State fan (and later graduate) and was aware of the other “Elkhart Flash.”

Thane Baker had also gone to Elkhart High School before matriculating to Kansas State College in Manhattan. At K-State, Baker would become an NCAA champion under the tutelage Track & Field Hall of Fame coach Ward Haylett. He would set or tie eight world and/or American records at distances from 60 to 300 yards. Baker too would go on to represent the USA on two Olympic teams. At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, he would earn his first Olympic medal, silver at 200 meters. Then in 1956 at the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Thane would reach the pinnacle of his career, winning silver at 100 meters, bronze at 200 meters, and finally, a gold medal as part of the United States’ Olympic champion 400-meter relay team.

But, what was the story of his not showing up in the state meet results? With my curiosity aroused, I decided I had to find out the story behind “Why, no Thane Baker?”

I was aware that following his Olympic career, Baker was instrumental in the founding of the international Master’s track and field and had competed at the elite level of Masters’ track and field, nationally and internationally, for years. An internet search led me to the Masters’ track club in Dallas, Texas, that Thane had competed for in recent years. I e-mailed the secretary of the club explaining the project I was working on for the 100th running of the state meet and asked if it would be possible to get the contact information for Baker. The secretary wrote back that they would not give me Baker’s contact information, but he would forward my request to Thane. A short time later that afternoon, my phone rang.

It was Thane Baker! That phone call and a later visit to his Texas home on the Brazos River filled in the missing parts of the story.

While “maybe” not quite as dramatic to some, and definitely not as well documented as the Cunningham story, Baker had his own story of a childhood injury to overcome before reaching national and international athletic fame. What was it about those Elkhart boys!

As a freshman at Elkhart High School, Baker suffered an injury that left him with a piece of steel embedded in his left knee where it remains to this day. While pulling nails out of old, hard lumber, the head of a nail broke off and embedded itself in his knee. When the local doctor refused to try to remove the piece of nail, Thane’s parents took him to a doctor in Hays. There they were told that any surgery to remove the piece of metal would likely leave Baker permanently crippled because the operation would involve the cutting ligaments and tendons in the knee. Besides, Thane seemed to be able to walk with it in there.

Because of the injury Baker didn’t compete in athletics until his junior year of high school. The most noticeable result of the injury was the growth of his left leg had been stunted, leaving him with a left leg that would always be shorter than his right.

Like many small schools of the day, Elkhart High didn’t have a true “track”, but rather an unmeasured, graded dirt loop on which to train. Still, as a senior at EHS, the young Baker earned berths in the 1949 state meet in both the 100 and 220- yard dashes with wins at the regional meet, which was held on a half-mile horse race track in Kinsley. But while training for his one, final chance at state meet glory, Thane developed a severe case of shin splints. Finally on the state’s biggest stage, and with his shins taped to lessen the pain, Baker would qualify for the finals in both events. But, the coveted state title, a spot on the awards stand, or even a place among the top five finishers wasn’t to be for Baker as he finished sixth, dead last, in both dashes.

No wonder his name never showed up in any of the old state meet results. Only the first five finishers were listed. The mystery of the Baker missing from the state meet results solved!

With only the offer of a partial football scholarship to Dodge City CC on the table, Baker decided to be a student and further his education at Kansas State College. Once in Manhattan, he saw an ad placed in the school paper by coach Haylett announcing open tryouts. When Baker told the veteran coach he was a sprinter, Haylett said Thane could come out for team because “they might be able to use him on a relay or something.” After four years of consistent, dedicated work, daily doing the workouts to the best of his ability, Baker developed into a Big 6 Conference as well as NCAA champion, a two-time USA Olympi¬an and world record holder.

“I always believed my shorter left, inside leg gave me an advantage in running the curve in the 220,” said Baker.

Only in the last few years has Baker ended his competitive masters’ career, but he has never ventured far from the sport, serving as starter for the Texas Relays for 43 years and doing some private coaching.

When asked what advice he would give today’s young athletes, Baker said, “Having never won anything at the state meet, I’m not sure what I can offer. Maybe it’s ‘You have to have heart; you don’t just get fast overnight.’ In high school my best time (for 100 yards) was 10.1. In college it dropped from 9.9 my freshman year, to 9.7 as a sophomore, 9.5 as a junior, and then to 9.4. In ‘56, I ran 9.3 and 10.2 (for 100 meters), tying the world record in both.”

“Unlike most of the athletes I competed against in college, going to the Olympics was always my goal. I was six years old when a ‘Glenn Cunningham Day’ was held in Elkhart after he came back from the 1936 Olympics. He ran down (Elkhart’s) Main Street in his Olympic uniform, and for a six-year kid, that was something. So going to the Olympics was always in the back of my mind.”

Summing it up, Baker offered this sage advice, “Be patient and keep working. You really have to want to do it. Don’t give up; keep training.” Words of a champion and one that has been there, both last and first!

NOTES on other non-state champion Kansas prep Olympians: Three women who attended Kansas high schools before becoming Olympians never competed in the Kansas state championships: 1964 Olympian (400m) Janell Smith of Fredonia HS; 1968 Olympian (80m H) Julia Dyer of Topeka HS; and 1996 Olympian (SP) Valeyta Althouse of Wamego HS. Two other Olympians competed in the state meet but were unable to win a state championship: 1984 Olympian (PV) Doug Lytle of SM North HS, and 1996 Olympian (Stpl) Sarah Heeb of Topeka West HS.

I knew or found out the stories behind the other Olympians who had not won state titles: Smith and Dyer competed before the KSHSAA had an official state championship for girls and most schools didn’t have any athletics at all for girls; Althouse transferred out of state after her freshman year; Lytle finished second at state while competing during the greatest era of prep pole vaulting in Kansas track & field history; Heeb had finished sixth as prep senior in the 300-meter hurdles before finding an event that better fit her skills as a collegian, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and in which she would become the first official IAAF world record holder.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Can't we just play ball

I love to watch girls get feisty when they are playing sports. Its pretty entertaining to watch girls puff up their chests and act like they are really going to do something about a little trash talk.

Last night I was at a WAC soccer game and it was a pretty physical game. Girls were being kicked in random places, some were slide tackling when the ball was yards from the slide and a couple yellow cards were even given out.

My favorite part of the evening however, was when two players were face to face having a screaming match. Now it might be scary to see two guys face to face having words, but these two girls just made the fans laugh.

It was the highest pitched trash talk I have ever heard. With arms flailing through the air, (not touching each other) but more doing the finger shake, and heads bobbing so much the duo looked like chickens.

A yellow card came out of it, but to be honest I'm pretty sure what started it was an elbow. So after wicked slide tackles, kicks in the back, and even head butts to opposing players, an elbow gets a yellow card.

Can't we just play ball?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Big 3 by Carol Swenson


The preliminaries are over! We’re done with the invitational’s, the triangular, quads, and relay meets. It is time for the “Big Three” on most teams’ schedules – League, Regional, and State!

For many schools, the ultimate goal is winning “League” and with it the area bragging rights. While they may not have enough quality depth to compete for state meet hardware the title “league champions” is significant and important to teams, coaches, parents, and whole communities.

Surprisingly, the regional meets may not produce the host of season best marks many might expect since the ultimate goal of regional competition is placing in the top four and qualifying for that all important trip to Wichita and the State Championships.

For many prep athletes, “State” is their one opportunity to compete on the biggest stage of their athletic career, knowing they will be competing against the best in their respective class in front of 20,000 fellow athletes, coaches, classmates, parents, and good, old die-hard fans of Kansas prep track and field.

Among the 50 state prep championships across our country, the Kansas state meet is unique. Six classes, over 3,000 boys and girls, competing on a common stage over two, action-packed, compact days – a track and field lover’s paradise!

Getting to see how the best of Class 1A or 2A compare to their big school/city Class 5 and 6A counterparts; 18 events, 150 races on the track, 42 separate field event competitions officiated by 200 track and field-loving volunteers!

The Kansas State Track & Field Championships are a three-ring circus times three! Two field events (discus, javelin) will be going on outside Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium, south of Koch Arena, while inside you will find at times one shot put, two high jumps, two pole vaults, a long jump and a triple jump competition all going on at once in addition to the race being run on the track. It can be a little overwhelming at times to the uninitiated, but the announcing crew will try to help direct your attention to what is happening.

The 2010 State Track & Field Championships on May 28-29 marks a special milestone in the history of the KSHSAA! This will be the 100th running of the Association’s first official state championship. All former state champions, a group that includes 25 living Olympians and several former world record holders, are invited to return for a series of special events this year including Saturday afternoon’s “Parade of Champions”. We hope you can join us as we cheer on another group of young women and men, athletes who will go on to be our next generation of Olympians and world record holders, but even more importantly our future business leaders and educators, farmers and laborers, friends and neighbors!

See you in Wichita!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wait. You mean it's over?

After going to the girls soccer game between Maize and Wichita Heights on April 16, I have to say that I was left frustrated. It is not because the game was boring or one-sided though.

The game went into double-overtime.

It was because after investing the 80 minutes of game time in regulation, plus the extra 20 minutes of game time in the two overtimes, the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Was there a reason to even play this game? I suppose it’s the old glass that’s either half empty or half full I hear so much about. Of course, when a game ends in a tie, nobody loses. However, nobody wins either.

Winning isn’t everything in high school sports. It is much more important in high school than middle school, but learning to work as a member of a team, learning the importance of hard work in preparation for an event, having fun…etc, are important too.

Blah, blah, blah.

Look, nobody likes to lose. It’s not fun.

But sometimes more can be learned in a loss than a win. The measure of who we are as humans comes down to how we deal with adversity.

Ever met someone who has skated through life without ever having to deal with any kind of a rainy day?

Admit it. They make you want to puke, don’t they?

Steve Morse from the Bad Dog boxing gym in Wichita once told me the tough guys aren’t the ones who knock people out. The tough guys are the ones who get up and keep fighting after being knocked down.

You never can tell if an undefeated prospect has a real shot at a title until you see the fighter deal with adversity. It may come in the form of a knockdown, or even a knockout. It may just be a really bad cut. The ones who keep fighting through it are the ones who become champions.

So, here is my idea for a better version of high school soccer overtime, one that doesn’t waste everyone’s time with a tie.

First, keep the sudden death format. But either cut each of the periods in half so there are two five minute overtimes, or just go with one, 10 minute overtime.

Why shorter overtime periods?

According to KSHSAA, the maximum amount of overtime allowed in a regular season game is two 10-minute periods. So, with the extra 10 minutes saved, let’s get to the shootout and have some closure.

Someone wins and someone loses, the way competitions were meant to be.

With these rules, you could go to a hockey-style points system to determine league champions, and playoff seeding.

Just won a game? That’s two points added to your wins and losses season point total.

Lost in regulation? Sorry, but you don’t get any points.

Lost in overtime? You do get one point for losing in overtime, or in a shootout. Some credit for making it that far is due.

Plus, you are already guaranteed at least a point. So go for it in the sudden death portion. Push the attack. Time is short and losing one point isn’t as big a deal as the point you will gain if you get the goal in overtime.

Acquire the most points using these rules at the end of the season, you are a league champion. The teams with the most points in each side of the postseason bracket are the No. 1 seeds, and so on.

Of course using this point system will still require tiebreakers at the end of the regular season. There are a number of possible tiebreaker scenarios, that all end with a coin flip anyway, so get creative. Take it down to head-to-head if possible. Did you rack up the points with overtime losses or with wins? The team with the most wins takes the tiebreaker.

However you break the tie, make sure that it is broken for Pete’s sake.

At the end of the day, all I want is for there to be a different outcome at the end of the game than there was before the game started. It’s a competition, not friendly pick-up game where everybody has to quit in time for supper, right?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Few Random Thoughts From a Crazy Mind

I went down to Wellington today to do a segment with Crusaders' golfing stud Myles Miller. We shot a quick "20 questions-ish" piece with him and he was so nice, so was his coach James Ginter. Coach Ginter also told me that Myles is one of the best kids he's ever coached. It's always refreshing to hear that about high school kids we cover. I always say that I like talking to high school athletes (with very few exceptions) because they're far less jaded about life and they're usually always extremely kind. I've said it about Perry Ellis and Evan Wessell before, Blake Bell is always up there, Tiffany Bias is as stand-up an individual as you can get and today I get to add Myles Miller to the ever-growing list. I must say the kids in Wichita and the surrounding areas are some of the best I've come into contact with. I'm from the South where we boast about our Southern Hospitality as being the best in the world. Well, I still believe that but I'm putting Midwest kindness as a very very close second. The kids we have around here make it a pleasure to cover high school sports.

Got a great email the other day from Mike Strauss, one of the assistant sports information directors at the University of Kansas. It said that former Andover golfer Katy Nugent was transferring to Kansas from Arkansas. I couldn't have been happier to read that sentence! We talk a lot in our office about how frustrating it is to see all of our amazing athletes go out of state for school. Blake Bell is going to OU, Selby Polley is going to Baylor, Tiffany Bias is heading to Oklahoma State, and the list goes on. I love that Nugent is going to finish her college career at Kansas. I totally understand the kids that go out of state because they're excellent opportunities they can't possibly pass up. I just wish (and mind you this is coming from someone with no connection to either KU or KSU) that our in-state schools made a bigger push to get kids from our area. We live in a very talent-rich part of the state and Kansas universities could do themselves a huge favor by picking up a few of the high-character, skilled athletes from around here.

Finally, a blanket apology for the Catch it Kansas show last week! I did a horrible job of pronouncing people's names and I am terribly embarassed. I'm hosting again this week so I promise I won't let it happen again. I don't do it out of spite I can just be pretty bad at pronouncing names sometimes. Hope everyone watches this Friday, it will be an excellent show!

League champs, Dippel dominate on the court

Monday’s league tennis tournaments featured several dominating performances in the area.

Wichita Independent won all four brackets at the Central Plains League tournament to take first place, well ahead of second-place Conway Springs. Hutchinson did the same thing in the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division I, claiming first place in every bracket to run away with the team title.

McPherson was nearly as overpowering in Division II, where the Bullpups earned championships in three of the four brackets. In the other one (No. 1 singles), McPherson settled for second place. The Bullpups compiled enough points to outdistance second-place Winfield.

The margins were impressive considering that each league tournament featured more than one strong team. The AVCTL Division I includes Goddard and Hutchinson, ranked among the top five in Class 6A and 5A, respectively. The AVCTL Division II features Winfield and McPherson, both ranked among the top five in 5A. And the CPL stars are Independent and Conway Springs, both top-five teams in Class 3-2-1A.

Wichita Collegiate, the top-ranked team in 3-2-1A, had a much closer margin in the Mid-Central Activities Association tournament. The Spartans finished only four points ahead of Smoky Valley, the top-ranked team in Class 4A. Collegiate and Smoky Valley are defending state champions; it’s too bad they won’t remain in the same league when the MCAA dissolves after this year.

One of the rising stars in local tennis competition is sophomore Quinn Dippel, whose brother, Chase, was a star athlete in multiple sports at Smoky Valley. Both boys advanced to state semifinals in the 4A tennis tournament last year. Chase capped his senior year with a second-place state finish and Quinn was third in singles competition. Not a bad start to his high school career.

Quinn has excelled this season, too. In April alone, he placed first in tough tournaments at Salina Central, McPherson, Collegiate and Hesston. His opponents in those finals included Maize’s Clint Chlumsky, Collegiate’s Daniel Ritchie and Hesston’s Jesse Voth-Gaeddert, all respected players.

Smoky Valley will compete in this weekend’s Class 4A regional at Russell. Expect Quinn – and several of his teammates – to proceed to the state tournament.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Big time baseball and softball on the west side

Going into last night's monster match-ups, the four baseball teams on the west side of Wichita boasted a combined record of 45-7.

Bishop Carroll and Wichita Northwest battled last night at Westurban for the City League's top spot. The Grizzlies, who came into the game with an unblemished 11-0 record, met their match on Friday night. Carroll dominated Northwest winning the doubleheader by scores of 17-8 and 7-2. The sweep put the Golden Eagles at 14-1 on the season and gave Carroll a two game lead over Northwest in the City League standings.

Out in Goddard the Lions squared off against Maize. Like Carroll, Maize completed the sweep of their rival winning the games 8-1 and 4-1. The sweep clinched a league title for the Eagles as they improved to 13-2 overall and 9-1 in league play.

On the softball side of things, Maize knocked off Goddard in the opening game 8-6 before dropping their first game of the season in a 5-4 defeat to the Lions in the nightcap. Maize is now 15-1 overall and 10-1 in AVCTL Div. 1 while Goddard sits at 11-3.

Northwest's softball team has been equally as impressive, losing their opening game of the season in a 2-1 loss to Derby. The Grizzlies have since rattled of 11 straight wins.

The Grizzlies will face-off against Bishop Carroll (12-2) on May 4. Carroll's two losses came to Maize in the first two games of the season.

Other games to watch out for:
May 6: Bishop Carroll (14-1) vs. Goddard (11-6)
May 7: Blue Valley Stilwell (No. 1 in Class 6A) vs. Maize (No. 4)
May 14: Northwest (11-2) vs. Maize (13-2)

May 14: Northwest (11-1) vs. Maize (15-1)