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Kasey Dollens’ next move not far from home

L This was the first in 10 years the Woodmen advanced to Semi-State. Senior Brant Smith individually qualified for track Regionals in the 800. Kayla Morrison photo

Brant Smith’s finish line: Marian College

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Sports

By Tyler Hensley

enior Brant Smith has contributed hundreds of hours and miles to the boys cross country and track teams in the past three years. Smith’s love for running started with a mere attempt at a healthier lifestyle. “I started running in the winter of my freshman year so I could get in better shape for soccer,” Smith said. Fortunately for Smith’s athletic career, his love for soccer quickly faded after his first year of cross country. “I decided to stay with running because I was becoming a lot better at it,” Smith said. Smith intends to continue running, both for fun and competitively. “I will be running track and cross country next year at Marian College,” Smith said. “Franklin College and Wabash were also interested in having me run on their team in college,” Smith picked Marian over the other colleges for several reasons. “It’s a good school; they are giving me $5,000 a semester to run for them, and I know half of the runners on the team,” Smith said. Even though the money he is receiving will help him pay for college, he has an even bigger reason to continue running in college. “I love cross country and track,” Smith said. “It requires hard work and dedication, I enjoy the competition, and when you mess up you can’t blame anyone but yourself. Participating in athletics through college was something that Smith had thought about in the past but was unsure as to how that would pan out. “I knew I was going to play sports in college, but I didn’t know to what extent,” Smith said. “Before running track and cross country, I used to play football.” Smith has set himself a goal to strive for next year. “I want to help my team advance to nationals,” Smith said. “They recruited eight new guys for this next season, and only seven run, so we are going to have a really solid team next year.”

By Joey Meadors

ately, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has started to go downhill for most fans with the fighting and players committing crimes. For one senior, however, basketball stays Number One in her heart. Most young girls played with Barbies and baby dolls; however, Dollens preferred getting down and dirty playing sports with the boys. “When I was littler, I lived in Whiteland, and I grew up playing softball,” she said. “The first time that I started to play basketball was when I moved to Greenwood. I stopped playing softball because I did not know anyone who would have been on my team. One day, I was at recess, and I was shooting around and Breanne Napier asked me if I wanted to play on her AAU team, and that is how I started playing.” Idols and family can sometimes play big roles in how people do play or perform. “Of course, since I grew up in Indiana, I loved Reggie Miller,” Dollens said. “But I really looked up to Lisa Lesley, and when I was younger, I always wanted to be the first woman to play in the NBA. My family helped me a lot and would help me practice. My step-dad really helped because he would come out and shoot around with me.” Athletes need to prioritize, and for Dollens, tests and homework come before practices and games. “As a student, I think she is a very hard worker,” Coach and teacher Debbie Guckenberger said. “She is very contentious. She has more advanced classes and she knows that she has to work harder than the other kids. She is always challenging herself. She is always willing to go that extra step. The only thing I think she may want to work on is being more organized. As far as the court goes, she definitely leads by example, and she is very vocal and talented with a great attitude. She also works hard at every single drill. She is one of those kids who other kids are just attracted to. We were very fortunate to have her.” Having their name put on the injured list is an experience undesired by all athletes. “My injury was just a freak accident,” Dollens said. “I was coming down the court, and I was at about the half court line and saw that there was a wide open lane. When I went to make my move, I took a step and went down. As soon as that happened, I knew that my season was over and my coaches telling me that my chances of playing are not good. It was really bad because it was my junior year, and that is what college coaches look at is your junior year, so it was going to be hard to impress them. It was really hard, and it did depress me a little bit, When the MRI came back, I saw that I tore my ACL and meniscus, which are the main ligaments in your leg.” Guckenberger had a empathetic attitude toward Dollens’ injury. “I have coacked Kasey since she was a freshman, and I was devastated for her because I know how much she loves basketball and how much it means to her,” she said. “I hated seeing her go through the mental and physical depression that she went through. I kind of know what Kasey went through because when she I was a senior in college I did the exact same thing, and it was probably

At the top of the key, senior Kasey Dollens plays defense on a Center Grove guard. The Lady Woodmen fell to Center Grove during the first round of Sectionals. Tyler Hensley photo

one of the worst things that I have done. The only difference is that hers was in her most important part of high school because she wants to play after high school, and it was at the beginning of her season; whereas mine was in the middle of my senior year of college and it being my last year to play.” Just because a player is not the one hitting the buzzer beaters does not mean they do not contribute to each win. A positive attitude provides just as much. “Kasey has a tendency to be really hard on herself,” Coach Guckenberger said. “She may not think it, but she is a positive player no matter what she does. When she is playing defense, rebounding or just making assists, it is always a positive reinforcement.” With this being Dollens’ last year in high school, she is looking toward college and all it has to offer. “I am going to play for Franklin College next year,” Kasey said. “I want to stay close to home, and the college just fit me. I think the coach is awesome. I watched one of their practices, and I liked the way they practice. I just loved everything about it. If it were not for basketball I would have probably have went to Purdue because it is a Division I school, and I would have not played basketball for them, and I want to play basketball.” Coach Guckenberger acts as a mentor to Dollens and has passed on some of her own advice. “This year after talking to her, I think that she has matured since her injury,” she explained. “She contributed in so many ways, and she really saw that basketball is not everything. I think that made more people gravitate towards her. There are always going to be those ups and downs, and she cannot dwell on the negatives. When something happens, she need to continue to fight for it and fight back and prove to herself that she can do it. She needs to make sure that she focuses on the positive; it could always be worse. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. She needs to make sure that something positive comes out of everything. This year I think coming back from the injury she did very well mentally and physically. She may not have been our top scorer; she did the little things that meant the most, and along with being an emotional player, she is going to be very hard to replace next year.”

Boys golf prepares for prestigious invitational The best of the best will compete at the Lafayette Jefferson Invitational

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Junior Jordan Richardson concentrates on his putt. Richardson will earnhis third varsity letter at the banquet this year. Sam Richardson photo Sophomore Shane White and freshman Tanner Mitchell talk strategy prior to the next hole. This is White’s second year on varsity and Mitchell’s first. Sam Richardson photo

By Caiti Sheff

he varsity boys golf team is preparing to duel at the Battle Grounds for the Lafayette Jefferson Invitational title. With opponents ranked in the Top 20 in the state and GHS’ first year participating, this invitational will prove to be challenging. Coach Rick Guipe entered the invitational with a little help from a family connection on the inside. “This is actually the first time we’ve competed in this invitational,” Coach Guipe said. “My uncle, Tom Guipe, is the host pro at the Battle Grounds, so that’s how we got in. I worked for him for about eight years at Forest Hills Country Club. He has been more like a big brother to me. When this spot came open, he called me, and I said we’d come down there and play.” This is not an ordinary invitational. According to Mr. Guipe, the best of the best will compete that day, showing GHS their Sectional and Regiounal competition. “We are going to be considered the middle of the pack, in the middle of 16. Columbus North will be there, and they are the defending State Champions. Floyd Central is another top-ranked team as well as Lafayette Jefferson and Warsaw,” Coach Guipe said. “This is considered a very prestigious invitational. If you play well there, you are pretty much ready to get after it for Sectionals.” With strengths come weaknesses, and Mr. Guipe has pinpointed a major weakness he would like to work on prior to the invitational. “Our biggest weakness is that we always start off well, but we are not finishing. Whether it’s nine or 18 holes, we need to finish the course well. It’s a mental thing with us. I know we’re good enough to win; we just have to finish,” Coach Guipe said. “We are striking the ball well and putting the ball well. It’s just a matter of keeping it together for an entire 18 holes.” For sophomore Shane White, this is only his second year earning a varsity letter; however, individually, he feels unnerved.

“I’m not really nervous for the tournament itself, but I’m nervous that if we don’t shoot well, we will do poorly,” White said. “We’ve been really up and down this year, I mean we almost beat a team ranked 10 in the state and almost lost to lower-ranked teams like Whiteland and Edinburgh.” “Practice makes perfect” is what the golf team is abiding by. “We have practice every day of the week, except Sunday, and we either play nine holes or hit balls, depending on how much time we have. That is really all the preparing we can do at this point,” White said. Personally, White has been progressing throughout the year, but he feels he has hit a slump recently. “I think I have been getting better through our practices this year, but I don’t think I am shooting as good as I can right now,” White said. “I am definitely getting better from last year, though. Last year, I struggled a little.” Senior Corbin Mitchell is no stranger to the varsity team, and he is going into the invitational with the same expectations. “I expect to play well,” he said. “I’ve been starting to play better. I’m pretty excited for it.” Although Mitchell has been playing since he was just four years old, he still feels there are some aspects of his game he needs to perfect prior to the invitational. “I need to work on my putting and the tempo of my swing,” Mitchell said. “Putting is the most important part of the game; it can make or break a round. With the tempo, if I’m hitting well, it is because my tempo is on. It’s the most important part of my swing.” As someone who absorbs every moment as a learning experience, Mitchell has taken some tips away from previous matches that will prepare him mentally for this invitational. “I need to stay focused and know I can come back. Golf is a tough sport. If something goes wrong, a lot of people will want to quit. I know I can come back,” Mitchell said.


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