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A magazine focusing on all things sports in northwest Kansas

INK. June 2014

Terrific tandem Ness City’s Hahn and Rubottom form a reliable force

The Hays Daily News

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On the links Norton’s Garrett Otter tees off on Hole 10 during the TMP-Marian Invitational at Smoky Hill Country Club earlier this month in Hays. JOLIE GREEN, Sports Ink.

What’s up?

A look inside this issue



Rally time

Local electrocar teams produce championship


Ready to run

Ness City girls led by pair of solid senior runners.


Tough to beat

Otis-Bison’s Hoffman has

had his share of


Picture this

Focused on action around the area from the spring sports season.

ups and downs.

Sports Ink. contributors: Nick McQueen Conor Nicholl Diane Gasper-O’Brien Everett Royer Jolie Green Chad Pilster Austin Colbert On the cover Ness City seniors Jessie Rubottom, right and Emily Hahn. Photo by Everett Royer, Sports Ink.

Volume 4, Issue 4 Sports Ink. is published and distributed by The Hays Daily News. Copyright © 2014 Harris Enterprises. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Sports Ink. is a registered trademark of The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays, KS 67601 (785) 628-1081.

Trio of lasting memories


or as long as I have been at the Hays Daily News, it seems as though there has been a Parker adding to the my memory bank of moments at Hays High School. The brother trio of Kyle, Kameron and now Kade has produced a plethora of highlights for the Indians in the past 10 years. What’s neat about it is, the greatest memories have come in a variety of sports. First, Kyle, a 2004 Indian graduate. Kyle was the starting quarterback and kicker on the Indian football team when I first got started full time here. I watched him for a year prior while I was still a stringer. Then, Kameron Parker (2007 grad), also was the Indians’ starting quarterback and played baseball. But, I’ll probably rememHays High senior Kade Parker, right, celebrates with teammates after a game in the ber him most as a stingy defender for the Western Plains Diamond Classic at Indian Field earlier this month. Indian basketball team. No matter who the Indians were playing — although behind senior Layne Downing. While they And he acted as though that was an evGreat Bend comes to mind — Kameron produced a tremendous 1-2 combination, eryday thing — never seeming to feel the Parker was in the hip pocket of whomever Parker’s dominance was a bit of a surprise. pressure. He is the type of player who can was the team’s best guard on the floor. While the no-hitters and pitching sucshrug off any bad at-bat, any bad pitch, Plus, he could shoot the 3, and played on cess throughout the season will be in the or any bad play, then come back and do some teams that jacked up a ton of treys. Indians’ books for quite a while, it was something incredible. The word slump Really fun to watch. the Wichita-Word of Life game to open probably means nothing to him. This spring, it was the youngest of the the Western Plains Diamond Classic that That game ranks right up there, for me, clan stamping his stands out. with a contest several years back that For starters name in baseball. While the entire team saw the Indians defeat McPherson in the Kade Parker, who did its part to claw 2004 Diamond Classic at Larks Park. was set to graduate their way back after a Justin Groff made a diving catch in center two weeks ago, was a grand slam seemingly field to highlight that one. Coincidenkey part of the Indiended its hopes, it was tally, both games were 7-6 wins in eight ans’ basketball team an eighth inning that innings. that set a school belonged to Parker. So since all three Parkers are around record for wins and made a final four apHe pitched the top half of the inning, Hays, perhaps —God willing — I’ll be pearance at the Class 5A state tournament. and recorded the game-winning single in around to see ‘more’ Parkers doing great But, it was what he did this spring that the bottom half. If someone hadn’t gotthings in high school sports in the future. will leave a lasting memory. What makes ten in front of it, that hard-hit ball might Perhaps a Kevin? A Kale? Maybe even a it more impressive is I’m not sure anyone still be rolling. Kegan? — maybe even Kade Parker himself — expected him to do what he did, both on the mound and in the batter’s box. Oh, 2014 Youth Tournaments and he made some tremendous plays in the field too. hosted at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex Entering the Class 5A regional two weeks Fast Pitch Qualifiers Baseball Qualifiers ago, Parker carried a 4-3 record and a 0.81 • May 31-June 1 - ASA HRC 17th Annual Tournament (9-18U) • May 10-11 - NBC Points Tournament (9-14U) *3 Game Guarantee Fee $185 *3 Game Guarantee Fee $200 earned-run average. He pitched two noDeadline: May 23 Deadline: May 2 • June 14-15 - ASA Summer Swing Tournament (9-18U) • June 7-8 - NBC Points Tournament (9-14U) hitters (both against WAC opponents), six *3 Game Guarantee Fee $185 *3 Game Guarantee Fee $200 complete games in eight appearances, and Deadline: June 6 Deadline: May 30 • June 28-29 - ASA Summer Sizzler Tournament (9-18U) • June 21-22 - NBC Featured Points Tournament (9-14U) had one of the Indians’ two saves. *4 Game Guarantee Fee $200 *4 Game Guarantee Fee $225 Deadline: June 20 Deadline: June 13 Plus, he was the leading hitter among Team Name ______________________________________ Manager ________________________________Division __________ Indians who played in all 20 games at .419 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Circle team Age 8 with eight RBIs, five doubles and a triple. Address _______________________________________________ City _______________________ State _______ ZIP _______ Home # __________________________________ Work # ____________________________ Fax # _______________________ Coming into the season, I think he was Cell _____________________________________ email __________________________________________________________ expected to just be a solid No. 2 starter Mail to: Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex • 1105 Canterbury • Hays, KS 67601



Who’s That? Notable performances in northwest Kansas Seth Derr

Derr, a freshman at Bethany College and Phillipsburg High School graduate, recently won the KCAC championship in the javelin for the Swedes. Derr threw 189 feet, 6 inches to claim the trophy. A week later, Derr just missed a school record by throwing 208-1.5 at the Emporia State University Twilight qualifier. Derr placed second in Class 3A in the javelin as a senior for the Panthers and won as a junior.

Bailey Ambrosier

Ambrosier, a senior at Norton Community High School, bested the mark that won her last season’s Class 3A pole vault state championship. Entering the MCL Championships on May 15, Ambrosier had a seasonbest and school-record vault of 10 feet, 9 inches. Ambrosier, the two-time defending state champion in the event, cleared 10-8 to win the title as a junior. As a sophomore, her vault of 9-6 was good for her first crown. The 10-9 mark was leading 3A and was fourth best in the state, regardless of classification, according to track and field historian Carol Swenson.

Kelly Brown

Brown, a member of last season’s Class 2A state champion Oberlin-Decatur Community golf team, has been the Red Devils leader this spring. Recently, Brown finished third at Smoky Hill Country Club in the TMP Invitational. Brown shot a 78 after improving by six shots on the back nine. The following week, Brown shot a 74 to win the Phillipsburg Invitational. He also was second behind Goodland standout Gage Ihrig in a playoff at the Goodland Invitational.

Mattie Schlaefli

The Hays High School junior has been the top point scorer for the Indian girls’ track and field team this spring, competing in relays, hurdles and the javelin competition. Heading into the WAC Championships May 15, Schlaefli posted season-best marks of 126 feet, 11 inches in the javelin, 16.19 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles and 48.19 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles. She also competed on the Indians’ 1,600-meter relay team. Got an idea of someone who you think should be included in Who’s That? Send it to with Who’s that? in the subject line, or call (800) 657-6017.

Technology driven Electrocar teams deliver championships for Hays High School


he freshmen rebuilt the car, then showed some moxie by asking more experienced drivers to maneuver their vehicle around tough courses in the big races. The result was a state championship finish for the Hays High School electrocar team, helping to send senior drivers Kord Albers and Brett Hertel out with a bang in the final season of their four-year careers. Albers and Hertel posted back-to-back first-place finishes with the freshmen’s solar-powered car to claim top honors in that division in the Kansas ElectroRally Championship Racing Series. That duo also was a part of the state championship written report team. And Hays High also placed second in the standard car competition, capping a record-setting year for its research and design class and the Hays High Industrial Technology Association. It marked the first time Hays High finished the championship series in the top two of all three divisions — the juniors’ car, driven Page 6

AUSTIN COLBERT, Sports Ink. TOP: Hays High senior Brett Hertel cruises around the course at Frontier Park in Hays en route to driving the HHS freshmen’s solar-powered car to victory. ABOVE: Working on a car before a race was commonplace the past four years for Hertel, who helped Hays High School’s electrocar team win two state titles in this spring’s Kansas ElectroRally Championship Racing Series.

by junior Lukas Dickinson, finished second in the standard car division. And it was the first time that advisor Chris Dinkel gave all four classes the opportunity to choose their own car on which they

June 2014


wanted to work, thus opening the door for the freshmen to be more involved than ever before. “The freshmen got what everybody thought was the scrap,” Dinkel said. “They took it down to the frame and built it back up.” And did a pretty good job of it, too. In addition to class time during the school day, members of the HHITA meet every Tuesday night to work on their cars. Dinkel said he gave the freshmen the option of having one of their classmates drive at the first race at Scott City on April 23, or to have a more experienced driver take over behind the wheel. “It was their idea,” Dinkel said of the freshmen willing to surrender their car to older drivers. “They said, ‘Let’s have a senior drive it.’ ” Albers lived up to the younger team members’ high expectations, beating out the runner-up car from Dighton by a single lap. The freshmen liked those results so much they decided to stay with Plan A and have a senior drive the second race as well. This time, Hertel took over driving responsibilities for the freshman car, and in what he called the “best race of my life,” he won the Western Tech Electrorally in Hays — by 10 laps. The championship series scores the top two performances (out of the three spring races) in determining the overall winner. So by winning those first two races, Hays had the solar championship in hand even before heading to its final race on May 8 at Beloit. So Dinkel decided to let a freshman try his hand at racing the solar car in the season finale. Ninth-grader Quin Buffington didn’t get to finish the race because a vehicle rolled into him and caused some damage, but he still finished fifth overall, and he and his classmates will be able to show off their state championship trophy in Dinkel’s classroom for the next three years. Besides getting to be part of the state championship team, Albers and Hertel agreed participating in Dinkel’s technical communications program and the HHITA leadership organization has proven invaluable for them. “You get to do a little bit of everything — drafting, electrical, welding,” Hertel said while listing different hands-on aspects of the program. “The fact that you can build a car and then race it, that’s what I really liked.” “The best part is seeing how it all works, how it all comes together,” Albers said. Sports Ink.

AUSTIN COLBERT, Sports Ink. TOP: Hays High junior Lukas Dickinson, driving the HHS juniors’ car to a runner-up state finish this spring, waits for a teammate to make some pre-race adjustments at the Western Tech ElectroRally in Hays. ABOVE: Dickinson rounds a curve at Frontier Park at the May 2 Western Tech ElectroRally in Hays.

Dinkel, who offers seven different courses in the technical communications program, said involvement with the electric cars is a good way for students to work together cooperatively toward a common goal. “There’s the intangible side of team building and camaraderie and rapport,” Dinkel said. “But the tangibles, as far as education is concerned, it really gives the kids an understanding of what engineers do while incorporating core skills in different areas. “The hands-on skills, getting to re-engineer and re-design and to be able to do that this early in their career experience, is something most students don’t get to do until they are at the college level,” he added. June 2014

Joining Albers and Hertel on the state championship written report team through Dinkel’s research and design class were classmates Kaden Beilman, Caleb Hecker, Justin Hertel, Kirk Pfannenstiel, Ben Prindle, Dakota Zimmerman, along with Dickinson and junior Colton Scoby. The electocar race teams for HHS this year: Seniors — Albers, Brett Hertel, Pfannenstiel, Prindle and John Staab. Juniors — Dickinson and Dylan Schmidt. Sophomores — Bradyn Meredith, Payton Ruder and Christian Wright. Freshmen — Buffington, Austin Dale, Nick Dreiling, Thomas Harmon and Alex Tinkel. Diane Gasper-O’Brien, Sports Ink Page 7

Terrific ta Ness City’s Emily Hahn, Jessie Rubottom have opportunity to make history.


ESS CITY – Jessie Rubottom has always competed in distance events. She collected all-state cross country honors all four years and helped Ness City High School to a team title her freshman year. She is one of most experienced small school distance runners in Kansas and enjoys being a team leader. Emily Hahn plays volleyball in the fall

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and has spent most of her track career 2 minutes, 29 seconds. sprinting and on relays. When Rubottom and Hahn each she entered high school, Eagle qualified for state in the 800, and track coach Patrick Younger be- conor Younger devised different race nicholl plans for both runners. Rubottom lieved Hahn had elite distance talent, but others called him can outkick opponents in the crazy. With a month to go last 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, chad season, Hahn ran her first 800 but faces some more speedpilster meters at the Goldsmith Relays oriented runners in the 800. at WaKeeney-Trego Community Younger wanted Rubottom to High School and posted a solid time of push the pace and then try to hang on

story by

photos by

June 2014


goal is to get a medal at state as a team, For

sure, our

and we are more than

capable of it. - Jessie Rubottom Ness City senior

andem at the end. Hahn, because of her sprinting ability, was supposed to hang back right behind the leaders and then outkick at the finish. The duo each ran their race plan to perfection, and Hahn outkicked Rubottom to finish 1-2. “Definitely a shock,” Hahn said. “I didn’t expect to get first.” Hahn finished in 2:25.40, while Rubottom ran 2:26.69. Only Kansas CityMaranatha Academy’s Lauren Harrell (2:27.87) ran under 2:30. At the end of

Sports Ink.

the first lap, Rubottom had a slight lead on the field at 1:13.8, but the top 13 runners were all within a second. But on the second lap, Rubottom and Hahn were the only runners under 1:13. Rubottom posted a 1:12.9. Hahn, still tired from a sixth-place finish in the 400 just an hour before, ran a blistering 1:11.3, more than a second and a half faster than anyone in the race. They helped Ness City take 11th place with 28 points, well behind Maranatha Acad-

June 2014

emy’s 78. “That race perfectly illustrated what we have been working on,” Younger said. Since the Kansas state track meet went to six classes in 1979, Hahn and Rubottom became the third teammates to go 1-2 in the girls’ 800, joining 4A Clay Center in 1996 and Topeka Hayden in 1989. This year, the seniors look to become the first girl teammates to finish 1-2 back-to-back PAGE 10 in the 800.

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••• Hahn, a Wichita State University signee, is one of the state’s top middle distance runners. Rubottom has signed with Fort Hays State University. Hahn has a season-best time of 2:23.51 and Rubottom has run 2:25.27 entering conference week; they rank second and fourth in the 800 in 2A, respectively, according to historian Carol Swenson. In addition, Hahn has picked up the 1,600 and run 5:29 at the Jetmore meet to win the race and beat Rubottom by about eight seconds. Hahn is also a state contender in the 400 and Rubottom is a top 3,200 runner. Together, they lead a close-knit Ness City team that has just seven girls, but could contend for a topthree finish and team title. “Really the track girls, all through the year, you see them together, wherever they go,” Ness City jumps coach Stephanie Rebel said. “It’s just they have their own little family.” “I look up to Jessie and Emily a ton,” sophomore Makenna Fritts said. Younger has won five state titles (three cross country, two track) in seven years, but four are on the boys’ side. Ness City has four top seven finishes in girls’ track since it won state in 2003, but no topthree showings. In addition to Hahn and Rubottom, senior Bree Humburg, Fritts and freshman Madison Gabel are all capable of scoring in multiple events at this weekend’s Class 2A state meet at Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium. “For sure, our goal is to get a medal at state as a team, and we are more than

Ness City’s Emily Hahn finishes the Eagles’ 400-meter relay during the Ness City Invitational.

capable of it,” Rubottom said. “We don’t have the numbers, but the numbers that we do have, we are all capable of medaling individually in events.” Several teams, two-time defending state champion Maranatha Academy, Bennington, Brookville/Ell-Saline, and Kiowa County, with star Heather Melton, have dominated Class 2A track in recent years. All four will be in the mix. Ellis, with likely all of their points coming from freshman Ashley Mattheyer and sophomore Alexcia Deutscher, could factor, too. “It would be super awesome,” Humburg said. “We definitely have the potential.” Maranatha returns virtually all of their top athletes, save junior Caroline Bing-

ham, who won four gold medals last year and transferred to Class 6A Shawnee Mission Northwest. Maranatha and SM Northwest share the same track and have a good relationship. Junior Katherine Smith, who ran on the gold medal 1,600meter relay, also transferred. “Her and Katherine have a very strong relationship,” Maranatha Academy coach Nick Knight said. “I think they kind of made the decision to go. With them being friends, it kind of made sense for them both to go.” Two years ago, Maranatha scored all 64 points on the track. Last year, 68 of the 78 points came on the track. Harrell, who won three state titles and

“For them, I just want them to worry about

competing at their best…” Patrick Younger, Ness City coach the third place finish in the 800 last year, and junior Hope Manning (two state titles) lead the team. Most of the Maranatha standouts are juniors, so Knight said the squad will have a “selfish” year and focus more on individual events than relays so they can set times for college recruitment. Harrell has run a 2:19 in the 800 this year, Manning at 2:24. Ness City and Maranatha likely will meet up in many of the same events, including the 100, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, races that could decide a state title. Rubottom took sixth in the 3,200 and fifth in the 1,600, while Hahn was sixth in the 400 last year. “You guys have got to compete to your abilities at state,” Younger said. “If they do that, then I would say yes, it’s wide open. For them, I just want them to worry about competing at their best because even though the girls did really well last year, if they were honest with themselves, I would think that they would agree that they… didn’t maybe quite have their best race.” ••• When Ness City won the state cross country title four years ago, then-fresh-

man Taylor Gabel and Rubottom were the Eagles’ second and fourth runners at state. However, distance running often changes drastically from year to year. Gabel was never all-state again and didn’t run this past fall because of a hip injury. She spent all of cross country and the first part of winter recovering, started running and then decided to not come out for track as a senior. Rubottom was all-state each year, one of three Class 2A runners to collect all-state each fall. Rubottom has always had a passion for running, relishes competition and loves to check and compare results from her competitors. Earlier this year, Rubottom and her father watched the live Internet feed of the KU Relays. In early spring, Rubottom was aware Bingham had transferred and had looked up Maranatha’s results. “Managing time by getting enough sleep and eating healthy is big,” she said. “On weekends, you have to sacrifice a lot, like going out. If you have a meet, you just have to stay focused and really prioritize track and cross, and that’s what kind of keeps you in the

running.” Rubottom, also Ness City’s best basketball player this winter, understands her teammates follow her lead. “It’s a good feeling knowing that others look up to me and I’m influencing them,” Rubottom said. “I love the feeling knowing that I am setting a good example for others.” While distance runners often battle injuries, Rubottom has managed to stay healthy — or battle through pain. In her sophomore year, Rubottom fractured her foot in the season-opening Fort Hays track meet. Rubottom told herself it wasn’t broken and kept running. She received the X-rays and saw it was a complete fracture. She missed a week, taped it and ran at regionals and state with a broken foot. Last fall, she finished 13th at state despite a hip problem. This spring, Rubottom is healthy and pleased with the start of her season. Hahn defeated Rubottom at WaKeeney and Jetmore in the 800, but Rubottom set a season best at the Ness City meet PAGE 12 when she ran the race with no competition.

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ABOVE: Ness City sophomore Makenna Fritts sprints to the finish in the 100 meter dash at the Ness City Invitational this season. BELOW: Bree Humburg competes in the triple jump at Ness City.

Rubottom has also fully embraced Younger’s tough workouts. In Younger’s eyes, Rubottom didn’t question workouts in the past, but “kind of questioned herself” on whether she could do it. This spring, Younger said Rubottom has done a good job of turning “her brain off” and just doing the workout. Rubottom is further along than she was last year. “She is staying true to the plan, and she has told me many times regardless of what I say, make me do it because I am all in,” Younger said. ••• Hahn came from a completely different background. She finished as Class 2A runner-up in the 400 as a sophomore and was running the 100 last year; Fritts said it was her goal last year to beat Hahn at least once in the 100. Younger, with a sheepish but honPage 12

June 2014

est look, said he deserved about “98 percent” credit for making Hahn a distance runner. Younger saw Hahn’s talent at the longer distances, even if few others did. “When it’s time to do it, she pretty much shuts up and she works hard,” Younger said. “She is kind of like Jessie. She is mentally tough, too. If you look at every year that she has competed at state, she has always done really well, because she is competitive. I think it’s more, she just trusts me, and I won’t put her in anything that is going to hurt her physically or get her embarrassed so to speak.” Last year, Hahn was going to run the 3,200-meter relay and ran her leg well. Younger decided to put her in the open 800. “Kind of acted like it was to get better in the 4x8, but I think he was just testing me,” Hahn said. At WaKeeney, Hahn paced off former Leoti-Wichita County all-state SPORTS INK.

distance runner Paige Wells and finished second behind TMP’s Heather Ruder. At first, Hahn wasn’t excited about the race because of the distance, but now enjoys it more. Rubottom said it “sparked motivation” once Hahn showed success in the 800, an event usually geared more for cross country runners. “She is my teammate, and we love each other,” Rubottom said. “But we have really tough, competitive edges toward each other, so it pushes each other, because we go back and forth like who wins one and who wins the next.” • • • While Hahn and Rubottom could score 30-40 points in their individual events, Ness City likely needs at least 50 to win a team crown. Fritts and Humburg are the Eagles’ best chances for points, while the 400- and 1,600-meter relays are in the mix, too. Even with Hahn’s and Rubottom’s talent in the 800, Ness City won’t have a 3,200 relay for the second straight year, a point of frustration for Rubottom. Humburg cleared 35 feet as a sophomore, and finished seventh at state before she missed last year’s state meet because of injury. This spring, Humburg has consistently jumped around 33 feet. Fritts didn’t compete in the javelin before high school, but had played softball since she was little, and Younger had seen her strong arm. Last spring, Younger told Fritts he would try her in javelin. Fritts uncorked a 112-

Makenna Fritts hands the baton to teammate Madison Gabel in a relay during the Ness City Invitational.

foot throw on her first attempt of the year, a toss that usually places at state. At FHSU this year, Fritts threw 123-1, a mark that’s one of the top Class 2A marks, but hasn’t come close since. “My form, it felt good, it looked like it was just sailing through the air,” Fritts said. “It was cool.” Fritts ran on the 400-meter relay at state last season and loves the 100. She has been injured since mid-April, but is expected to be healthy for the end of the season. Freshman Madison Gabel could

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also score points on the sprints and relays. However, the key event will be the 800, the only individual/relay state championship for Hahn. Rubottom has no state crowns and called the second-place finish “really a heartbreaking race” but also “really cool” to finish 1-2 with her teammate. The result has pushed Hahn and Rubottom in daily runs, meets and — in all likelihood — the state rematch at approximately 5:10 p.m. Saturday. “We both want it,” Rubottom said.

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“I was ready to win state and beat Levi, something I had wanted to do all year. But it was a terrible experience.”

Digging for state gold

Jordan Hoffman, Otis-Bison senior


TIS — Watching La Crosse High School senior Levi Morss win both the 100-meter and 400-meter dashes last spring at the state track and field meet in Wichita was a nightmarish experience for Otis-Bison High School’s Jordan Hoffman. Morss, one of the fastest sprinters in the state for years, had been Hoffman’s greatest rival all season, with Hoffman having bested Morss — albeit narrowly — at the La Crosse Invitational earlier that spring. Hoffman was ready to again defeat Morss — who was already the defending Class 1A state runner-up in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dash — at state, but a groin injury during the 100-meter preliminaries put an early end to that dream. “When I got hurt it was an awful thing,” Hoffman said. “I was ready to win state and beat Levi, something I had wanted to do all year. But it was a terrible experience.” Hoffman, a junior last season, ran the 100-meter finals in 11.38 seconds to finish fifth at state, while Morss won the race in 10.97 seconds. The groin injury, something he had originally hurt back in eighth grade doing track, was enough to keep Hoffman from competing in the 400meter dash, an event he had qualified first in. “He had some fast times going into the finals, but wasn’t able to compete there,” Otis-Bison track coach Travis Starr said. “He had surgery right after track season was over last year. Got that healed up. Now it’s been a hip and a quad strain for him. We are getting all that healed up. Now I think he’s running quite as fast as he’s ever going to run.” Hoffman, who lives in Bison and commutes down the road to the high school in Otis, has dealt with his share of trials in terms of health. His groin injury at state as a junior was just the PAGE 15 cherry on top of a season full of injury. Page 14

June 2014


Everett Royer, Sports Ink. Otis-Bison senior Jordan Hoffman wins the 200-meter dash during the Hoisington Invitational earlier this season.

His end of the year surgery wasn’t because of his groin, but because of an ongoing issue he had with his shins. Hoffman eventually found out he had compartment syndrome in his leg, which is caused by an excessive build up of pressure around the muscle, leading to extreme pain. Hoffman was able to tough it out through basketball and track season before getting the problem fixed with surgery. “Last year there were some down moments. He just had to know the pain is going to be there,” Starr said. “After the initial pain he was able to battle through it just fine. But we had to do some different things that we’ve never done and back off his workouts a little bit and trust in the meet that he would be ready to go.” His senior season has been much of the same, with nagging injuries to his hip and quad slowing him down at times. But all in all, Hoffman couldn’t be healthier Sports Ink.

as Otis-Bison heads into the 2014 postseason. While Morss has graduated and Hoffman’s goal of defeating him at state will never be realized, his other dreams of winning state titles are very much alive. Hoffman already owns the school records in all three sprints and believes he is still capable of improving on those times. He ran a personal best time of 10.72 seconds in the 100-meter dash earlier this season — better than the time Morss had to win state in the event last spring — a time that is also the best in the area, third best in Class 1A this season. As of mid-May, his season best time in the 200 was 22.12 seconds and 52.12 seconds in the 400, both among the best in the area. Hoffman has posted better times in the past, however, running the 200 in 21.89 and the 400 in 49.78 last season. “Every time I get hurt, it seems like I’m going to be the one to win, I’m going to be at the top. Then I just get hurt and it knocks June 2014

me down,” Hoffman said. “I guess I’m a little surprised after having surgery. I’m surprised I’m this far into my times already … I feel like I can beat them again.” And Starr has put extra emphasis on keeping Hoffman healthy this season, knowing the potential he has can they get him to the state meet at 100 percent. “We keep talking about keeping your body right and doing the things you need to do: stretch, ice every day, do the things you need to do to make sure you are healthy enough to run at these meets,” Starr said. “He sat out most of basketball season this year, rehabbing and getting healed up. But he jumped in. First track meet we went to his times were faster this year than they started off the early part of last year. We are making progress and peaking, and hopefully we are peaking at the right moment. So we will see.” Austin Colbert, Sports Ink. Page 15

Picture this Focused

on the

action in the area this spring.

Hays High baseball coach Frank Leo talks things over with the Indians’ Trenton Henningsen, left, during a game this season at Indian Field. TMP’s Alyssa Keil, left, and Racheal Hamel celebrate a goal for the Monarch soccer team against Wichita Independent.

Hays High’s Payton Ruder chips onto the green during the Bob Blazer Invitational at Smoky Hill Country Club.

Goodland’s Dax Ruhs throws the javelin on during the Goldsmith Relays in WaKeeney in May.

Kansas State University senior Shane Southwell plays with a group of kids during halftime of a Barnstorming game at the HHS gym in April. KState and WSU players were in Hays taking on a group of area high school allstars.




GRANT WICKHAM Phillipsburg senior

Ellis’ Alexcia Deutscher competes in the long jump during the Ellis Invitational in April.

Wickham, the Panthers’ standout jumper put together a great track and field season. Heading into the MCL Championships mid-May, he had the area’s and Class 3A’s top mark in the triple jump at 47 feet, 1.75 inches. He also owned the area’s top long jump mark at 22-3.5, and made an appearance on the area list with a season-best time of 11.23 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Wickham, who finished fifth in 3A in the long jump as a junior, had not decided on college yet, having choices to play football or compete in track and field at the next level. P.O. Box 466, Ness City, KS 67560

Office: 785.798.2300 Cell: 785-798-5341

Making Energy Work for You

Fort Hays shortstop Gabe Cook dives for the ball during Game 1 of a doubleheader against Lindenwood at Larks Park this season.

Photos by Chad Pilster, Jolie Green

MOTIVATION. DEDICATION. TEAMWORK. Like our student athletes, Midwest Energy's 285 employees live these values every day. As a team, we work together in all kinds of weather, year-round, to bring you safe, reliable and efficient electric and natural gas services. We wish all area athletes and teams a safe and successful season!

Midwest Energy


Coach is one of a kind


ess City senior Dray Carson and junior Connor Hawkins have each dropped massive time in their Eagle cross country and track careers. Carson didn’t qualify for the state cross country meet as a freshman and sophomore, but then won the Class 2A state title in 2012 and finished third last season. Hawkins didn’t reach state as a freshman, took 43rd as a sophomore and fifth last fall. Hawkins has improved by about 75 seconds in the 5-kilometer run, almost a minute in the 3,200-meter run and around 20 seconds in the 1,600meter run. “Probably made one of my bigger jumps,” Ness City coach Patrick Younger said. Carson’s and Hawkins’ success is another testament to Younger’s cross country and track program. The area has many great coaches, including La Crosse’s football and track coach Jon Webster, Norton FILE PHOTO, Sports Ink. wrestling coach Bill Johnson and Hoxie’s Ness City coach Patrick Younger cheers on former Ness City runner Kylie Stoecklein Shelly Hoyt. Younger should be menduring a meet at FHSU in Hays. strong. On the final 200, Younger comHahn has recorded three second place tioned among the elite coaches — not peted in an all-out sprint against Carson, finishes at state track and the 800 title. just in the area, but in Kansas, too. a Wichita State University signee. The 1-2 finish is the best finishes by a He has coached at Ness City for seven “He pushes you to your breaking point Ness City girl in the 800 meters since years, created the cross country program Kansas went to six classes in 1979. basically from scratch, and built the track and then more sometimes just because he knows how well we can compete,” “He is always encouraging us and giving teams into a small school powerhouse. sophomore Makenna Fritts said. us positive feedback,” Rubottom said. Younger, with four young kids of his Younger’s workouts aren’t for everyone, “He pushes us. He knows how hard we own, has laid down roots in Ness City. but the ones who stay enjoy running can handle it, and he pushes us above He has won five state titles, two boys’ for him. After boys’ that.” cross country, two THE CLOSER cross country went During the winter, Younger takes his boys’ track and one second, first, second, team to an indoor meet at Kansas State girls’ track. first from 2007-10 University and asks each runner for a “He is really close in boys’ cross councertain number of offseason miles. The to all of us,” senior try, Ness City didn’t ones who follow through see a big drop. Jessie Rubottom said. qualify a team in Hawkins, who will transfer to Andover “He is kind of like a 2011, but then took after this spring, credited the work for father figure. We look fourth in 2012. improvements. up to him.” Girls cross country finished third in “I have actually stuck to my training,” Younger is one of several young track 2009 and first in ’10, but only qualified Hawkins said. “Coach, me and Dray, just coaches who practice with their team, in 2012 since. But this spring, girls’ track throughout the winter, that’s where most something Ness City enjoys. Earlier this has a chance at Class 2A state crown after of it came from.” spring, Ness City practiced the day after top-11 finishes the last two years. Ness Near the end of practice, Hahn was runEaster. Younger led them through a difCity has just seven girls out for track, ning low on energy. Still, she kept a stoic ficult workout with repeats of different but the ones who do compete see big expression and completed the training. lengths, including 200, 400 and 600 dividends. She sat down next to Younger at a picnic meters. Rubottom has earned all-state in track table and smiled. Younger ran all of the repeats with in at least one event each year, including “Even when I am dying like today and Rubottom and senior Emily Hahn, who a second place showing in the 3,200-me- feeling really (bad), I feel like I need to took 1-2 in the 800 at state ast year. ter relay as a sophomore and a runner-up at least finish it, so I don’t get called a When several athletes grew tired at the finish to Hahn in the 800 last year. wimp,” she said. end, Younger pushed them to finish



Page 18

June 2014


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