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Circle High’s Phillips preparing for Sooners

Former Jayhawk adjusting to indoor game with Wild

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Yellow Brick Road Sports


Vol. 1 Ed. 1 May 2011

Running Junkie Endurance races more Molly Milbourn’s style


OZ & Ends

Gregg Marshall vs. Frank Martin Staff: John Giffin - Editor/Publisher Sariah Giffin - Business Manager Rubi Giffin - Advertising Owen Giffin - Chaos Wreaker Contact information: on the web email on the horn -(316) 621-0611 Subcriptions: -100 free copies to El Dorado locations -e-edition available by e-mailw Advertising -Contact John at (316) 621-0611 -Web, print, audio and video formats Yellow Brick Road Sports is committed to bringing its readers, viewers and visitors the stories behind the participants on the field, while providing local businesses affordable advertising solutions.

Striking similarities between the coaches from Kansas’ ‘other basketball schools’ by John Giffin Only two teams in Division 1 men’s basketball will end its postseason play with a win, and one of them is Wichita State. After being snubbed by the NCAA Tournament committee for the second straight season, the Shockers made the most of its National Invitational Tournament bid defeating Alabama 66-57 in NIT Championship game at Madison Square Garden in New York. Which begs the question: since Gregg Marshall and Frank Martin have taken the helm at their respective supplemental Kansas basketball schools, who has been more successful? Martin has had the most post-season success, winning at least one game in each of his three NCAA tournament appearances and reaching the elite eight in 2009-2010. However, minus Marshall’s first

year at the Shocker helm (2008-2009 17-17, 8-10 MVC), WSU has had similar regular season success to its fellow land grant college to the northeast. In 2009-2010 the Shockers finished 25-10 (12-6 MVC) good enough for a second place finish and its first of two consecutive NCAA snubs. Despite quality wins against Iowa in Kansas City, Texas Tech at Koch and a 12-1 non-conference record, “the Marshall Plan” was diverted to the NIT. Aggieville became packed on Wednesdays and Saturdays in winter after after first-year coach Martin, Michael Beasley and Bill Walker led the 2007-2008 K-State basketball team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996. The ‘Cats failed to make the tourney in 2008-09, but had a historic season in 2009-2010. Martin, Clemente, Pul-

len and company overachieved, finishing with a 29-8 record (11-5, 2nd in the Big 12), a Big 12 tournament finals appearance and a loss to the eventual NCAA runner-up Butler Bulldogs in the Elite Eight. This season speaks for itself. Add the first three season together, Martin only leads Marshall by two wins. Marshall’s overall WSU record is 70-34, Martin’s, 72-32. Plus, Marshall has finished second in the Missouri Valley for two straight seasons. K-State has reached the NCAA tournament three of the last four seasons finishing fourth, second and fourth in the Big 12. The Elite Eight run gives Martin the edge, but soon it may be too close to call. They should settle it in an annual Intrust Bank Arena matchup. That is…. if Marshall and Martin stay put...

Running all the way to Lawrence

by John Giffin In her senior season of track at El Dorado High School, Molly Milbourn is adding to an already abundant trophy case. The two-time cross-country, track 1600 meter, and one-time 3200 and 800 4A state champ has opened the 2011 track season placing first in every race through her first three meets. Milbourn’s season started at Winfield March 29. The University of Kansas bound senior strode her way to firstplace finishes in the 800 and 1600 meter runs. Just to show the Winfield folks she wasn’t fooling, Milbourn won the 1600 and 3200 meter at the Winfield Invitational two days later, April 1. Taking home three gold medals from the Warrior Invitational in Marion April 8, the 2010 KU relays 3200 meter champ swept the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs. And she’s just getting started. The stiffer the competition, the harder Milbourn said she competes. “When I run the best is when I have competition the whole race, pushing me to run faster,” said Milbourn. “ I definitely set (personal records) when I have good competition.” Milbourn went up against plenty of competition in the Wichita State hosted K.T. Woodman Invitational, followed by the KU relays.

Milbourn poses for a photo at El Dorado High School. Going up against all classes, Milbourn saw the ranked 4-6A runners Makenzie Maki fastest in the state of Kansas at WSU (Kapaun), Amber Eickhorn (Wichita and some of the fastest in the midwest North), and Kaitlyn Barnes (Baldwin). the next weekend in Lawrence. Competing against the cream of the “This weekend, I’m going to get to state will only help Milbourn as she race against some of the faster girls moves to compete at the next level. that I don’t get to race normally,” said Milbourn is not expecting to run varMilbourn the week of K.t Woodman sity right away, but moving to races Invitational. “So I’m definitely going of 5K and up at KU plays into her to have some good competition.” strengths. Among the girls she faced are top-

Milbourn page 4

Milbourn from page 4 “The endurance races appeal to me more,” said Milbourn. “I feel like I can sustain a good pace for a long amount of time.” Milbourn’s favorite track race is the 1600 meter. An event she holds the girls’ all-class state record with a time of 5:01. The longest Milbourn has ever run? 13.1 miles at the “Run the Dam” half marathon at El Dorado Lake in June. Having signed to be a Jayhawk in February, Milbourn was also recruited by Oklahoma State and Butler University. “I’ve been a Jayhawwk fan since I was a little, little kid.” said Milbourn. “I absolutely love the campus. Downtown Lawrence I really liked.” Despite all the geographic locations that Lawrence has to offer, Milbourn knew she would have to like the coaches and teammates before she made the final decision. “This fall I got to meet the team and coaches,” she said. “That’s where I could see myself running and I really liked it.” Milbourn started running in the sixthgrade because of her brother. “When I was in grade school, my brother ran cross-country, so I just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” she said. Milbourn ran for El Dorado Middle School her seventh and eighth grade years and ran well, but it wasn’t un-

til she reached EHS that she learned how to work out as a runner under the tutelage of legendary Wildcat crosscountry coach Ron Koppenhaver. “During the season, during the week, we’ll have speed workouts two or three days a week,” said Milbourn. “In the middle, we’ll have an easy run to let our muscles recover. And then I like having a long run once a week. I think that really helps my endurance.” After all, she had been learning from a well-known veteran coach. “I’ve been blessed all four years of my high school with Coach (Ron) Koppenhaver.” Milbourn said. “He’s retiring this year” She continued, “He knew the type of training that was best suited for me. I don’t think I would have accomplished some of the things I did if it wasn’t for him.” What all this success boils down to is that Milbourn is simply a junkie, always chasing that runner’s “high.” “You just get into this zone and feel like you could run, not forever, but longer than you usually do and it’s just really relaxing.” And according to Milbourn, this addiction is untreatable. “Even after college I plan on being one of those weekend road runners who travels around to do road races and I definitely want to run a marathon in my future.

Circle Sooner Jordan Phillips prepares for OU

By John Giffin Standing next to the 6-foot-5-inch frame of Circle High School senior Jordan Phillips, it’s easy to see why he was a highly sought after recruit in college football before he signed with the University of Oklahoma. However, when speaking with the young man from Wichita (who started and will finish his primary and secondary education in the USD 375 Circle school district),one will discover he exudes a quiet confidence non-stereotypical of a premiere athlete. Ranked by ESPN as the No. 10 defensive lineman and No. 119 high school senior football studentathlete, Phillips will report

to Norman in June. Phillips said the Sooner coaching staff told him to take it easy until then. “I’m really just trying to maintain and lose weight,” said Phillips. “That’s pretty much what they told me to do. Get more flexible. I really haven’t been lifting that much.” Even though Oklahoma will return two starters at defensive tackle, Phillips said he is expected to contribute right away. Naturally, the fouryear starter for the 4A Thunderbirds has some butterflies about playing in front of playing in front of 80,000 plus at OU’s Memorial Stadium. “The most people we’ve ever had at a

game is 400,” Phillips said about playing at Circle. “I hope it won’t affect me that much, but I am nervous about it.” In November, Phillips finished a high school career in which he played three offensive and defensive positions for the Thunderbirds while also serving as punter and kicker. As a freshman, Phillips started at fullback and middle linebacker. By his sophomore year he was moved to the defensive line and was brought out of the back-field to line up at tight end. Once Circle moved to a spread style offense in 2010, Phillips became probably the biggest wide receiver in the Ark Valley

Chisholm Trail Division IV, if not in not the state. The position he likes the best, punting; mostly because of the reaction from his opponents. “It’s always such big surprise to everybody,” he said “It’s just fun.” Phillips had much success at the multiple positions. In his senior season, he led the AVCTL IV in receiving, sacks and tackles. He also finished No. 4 in scoring. Phillips was also named Max Preps first-team defensive lineman, a Second 11 defensive lineman by the Wichita Eagle/Varsity Kansas and was invited to play for the West in the 2011 Shrine Bowl. In February, Phillips

officially signed with Oklahoma, ending a long recruiting process. ESPN had Auburn, Nebraska, UCLA, Oklahoma and Kansas listed as other schools Phillips was considering. Phillips said Kansas stopped being a possibility when he visited them as a freshman. “I never really liked Oklahoma,” said Phillips. “I was always a big KU fan. But when I went up there as a freshman, I wasn’t treated real well.” In the end, Phillips’ decision came down to trust. “Oklahoma was just more real about everything.” photo: Jordan Phillips at Circle High School

‘Sharp’ening Skills

Former Jayhawk and Salina native Jake Sharp learns the indoor game with the Wichita Wild

By John Giffin Too small. That has always been a knock on former Kansas Jayhawk and current Wichita Wild running back Jake Sharp. “For me it’s just been a chip on my shoulder,” said Sharp. “I see a lot of guys like Darren Sproles, Barry Sanders. Best running backs in the NFL are short guys. I’m just kind of confused about the size thing.” After sharing time in the back-field in Mark Mangino’s two-back system for the roller-coaster ride that was KU football from 2006-2010, the Salina native has begun his professional football career with the Wichita Wild of the Indoor Football League. The courtship began when the Wild invited Sharp to Hartman Arena in Park City to take in a

game. “I came to a game and thought ‘that was pretty fun to watch. But I hope I’m in the NFL and not the Indoor Football League,’” he said. Sharp spent the summer in Chicago, participating in off-season

camps with the Bears but failed to sign with an NFL team. Once returning to Kansas, he received a call. “I had been in talks with Coach (Ken) Matous and (GM) John Blazek and (Owner) Wink Hartman for quite a while. They said ‘What’s it going to hurt. Come on down.’” Sharp discovered quickly that moving inside is a huge adjustment. “It’s completely different,” said Sharp. “The sooner I learned that the better. It’s not outdoor football. There’s no corner to get to. There’s a wall. A lot shorter field, obviously.”Field dimensions aren’t the only change. How players interact with fans takes some getting used to, said Sharp. “I talk to fans before a Sharp before practice

play or before a kick-off return. I’m supposed to get the fans involved. In the outdoor game, a coach will kick you out for that.” The amount of recognition is now a lot lower when the 2008 Orange Bowl champ is in public. “When we were at KU, it was a pretty big deal,” he said. “We had a lot of success and when you go in to places, people recognize you. Now… you know…you’re a semi-pro football player (laugh). I have a day job.” Having suffered from injuries in college, Sharp doesn’t miss the punishment to his body from the day-to-day banging. “In my college memories I can’t remember one time, except for the start of my junior year I was healthy. It’s nice to be healthy. The game

is a lot Sharp during practice more fun when you’re healthy.” It must be health or size that left Sharp out of the 2010 NFL Draft and away from landing a spot on an NFL roster or practice squad because it definitely wasn’t speed. “I was still faster than everybody,” said Sharp about summer workouts with the Bears. “There were three or four guys as fast as me, but I was still fast.” For now, all that speed is playing on Saturday nights in spring and summer, that is until he’s given an opportunity to play on Sunday. “I’m still looking for a job, so let the Chiefs know I can do Dexter McCluster’s job for half the pay,” said Sharp.

Final Thoughts

What if Intrust Bank Arena hosted the Jayhawks

photo courtesy: by John Giffin Remember how great it was to see Wichita State play Tulsa in the newly unwrapped Intrust Bank Arena in January? Well, take that energy times 100 for what would be the atmosphere for the University of Kansas’ first appearance in Wichita since 1992. The last opponent for

the Jayhawks? Wichita State at Henry Levitt Arena. There is no doubt if the KU/USC match up tips off, it will be the largest event to take over the new downtown venue. So, why has it been so long since Kansas has played in its own largest city? Lack of a large venue

is probably the No. 1 reason. The athletic department at Kansas probably never saw it beneficial to give up a home game to play in a smaller venue. Even the 15,000 seat Intrust Bank Arena lacks the 16,800 seating capacity of the friendly confines of Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

However, the style of Intrust has a bigger more NBA-appeal in an urban setting. Scheduling a game at the Sprint Center and Intrust could attract some bigger programs to risk an early season loss to play in a neutral site showcase game. That, in turn attracts better recruits. And of

course, a showcase game ticket rates are double a regular home game. For those reasons, Wichita will be swarmed with Jayhawks at some point before Christmas every season. I know I’ll be there. How about you? ww

Yellow Brick Road Sports

Yellow Brick Road Sports Magazine  

May 2011 Volume 1 Edition