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A magazine focusing on all things sports in northwest Kansas

Queen

Court

of the

Logan’s Caley Greving does a lot of things well. Basketball is just one of them.

The Hays Daily News

INK.

April 2012


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What’s up?

A look inside this issue

6

8

On Your Marks … A look ahead at the spring track and field season.

Queen of the Court

Logan’s Caley Greving excels on the court, but that’s not the only place where she’s leaving her mark.

To the hoop 14 16

Flying High

Oakley’s Eric Albers had a championship season on the mat. But his goals are much bigger than that.

Just a Minute

Logan High School’s Hannah Pinkerton drives past a Wetmore defender during the Class 1A, Division II state tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays earlier this month. STEVEN HAUSLER, Sports Ink.

Nick McQueen talks with Otis-Bison junior Dylan Wissman. Cover photo by Amy Hammond Dove Hill Photography Sports Ink. contributors: Nick McQueen nmcqueen@dailynews.net Conor Nicholl cnicholl@dailynews.net Raymond Hillegas rhillegas@dailynews.net Steven Hausler shausler@dailynews.net Nick Schwien nschwien@dailynews.net

Volume 2, Issue 14 Sports Ink. is published and distributed by The Hays Daily News. Copyright © 2012 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.


Is the change worth it?

I

remember coming to the Class 1A state basketball tournament as a young child. I was small, and the coliseum was large — the biggest gym I ever had been in. The entire venue of Gross Memorial Coliseum was packed, especially on Championship Saturday. That’s when the top boys’ and girls’ teams battled it out for state bragging rights among the small schools in the state. There was a wild atmosphere, and it was loud. That’s back in the day when the coliseum scoreboard had lights at its top, signifying the noise level in the arena. The louder it got, the more lights that would come on, until the red one was lit at the end. That light was constant several times — and I loved it. That trip to Hays was a journey that signified a lot of different things, but it mostly showcased the best basketball the smaller schools in the state had to offer. A year ago, some of that excitement changed for me. The Kansas State High School Activities Association split Class 1A into two divisions. The larger small schools went to Division I, while the smallest of the small went to Division II. Emporia hosts the Division I state tourney, while Fort Hays State University hosts the Division II tourney. The split was made after recommendations by KSHSAA NICK SCHWIEN, Sports Ink. member schools that wanted more opportunities for the An official waits for the start of the Class 1A, Division II boys’ smaller schools in the state. Now, with the split, an addition- title game this year at the state tournament in Hays. al 16 schools make a state tournament — eight boys’ teams of more than 20 points. and eight girls’ teams. Meanwhile, some good teams don’t even have the chance to In the past, when the class was lumped together, 1A schools make it to a next level. Only 13 boys’ teams entering subhad to compete in regional tournaments, where the top two state tournaments had winning records at the Division II teams advanced to different sub-states. That allowed two level. On the girls’ side, there were 23 teams with winning good teams who were organized into one tough regional the marks entering postseason — including five sub-states with opportunity to continue their season. teams that had three or more squads with winning records. Those eight sub-states then had four teams on each side, That’s a lot of good teams being left watching from the with the winner making the combined 1A tourney in Hays. upper section in Hays when state rolls At times, teams that finished second in the around, much like members of the Wilson FOR STARTERS regional also came out of a sub-state to girls’ team was doing this year. make state. I’m all for giving more students a state Now, it’s directly to sub-state tournaexperience, but having teams that don’t ments for both divisions — similar to necessarily come to Hays and provide how Class 2A and larger are assembled. much of a challenge for the true elite And, I’m not sure it’s working. I love the teams in the state isn’t cutting it. fact more students are getting an opportuI’ve heard coaches and fans say they nity to play in state, and I saw some great action at this year’s wish things would go back to the original format, or KSHSAA tourney in Hays. I would have loved to had a chance to play would take into consideration how teams fared the previat GMC, but it didn’t happen. ous year before assigning sub-states. Still, some love the new Now, the tournament has become watered down. Teams format. have made the state tournament by winning their sub-state, I wish I had the answer, at least one that would make everyonly to be manhandled — and I mean manhandled — by one happy. I don’t, other than to hope the state returns to the top teams in the state in the first round. What’s an opposing three-round postseason it used to offer. coach to do when their team jumps out to a big lead, run At times now, it’s as though the first-round state games in up the score and be looked at like some will-crushing beheClass 1A, Division II are play-in games, with the real state moth? Sometimes, bench players are outscoring starters on tourney beginning with a Final Four on Friday. the opposing team. I’m not sure I would look at the split tourneys the same way Some teams look disinterested at times to be playing, and I used to look at the combined tourney as a child. final scores have proven it. In the first round this year at Then again, change is good, right? Hays, the four games on each side were decided by an average

nick

SCHWIEN

Page 4

April 2012

SPORTS INK.


Who’s That? Notable performances in northwest Kansas

Dylon Braun and Bryce Lewis

Braun, a freshman at Colby Community College, finished sixth at 184 pounds at the NJCAA national tournament in late February to earn AllAmerican honors. Braun, a Hays High School graduate, helped the Braun Lewis Trojans to a 10th-place standing in the team race. Lewis, a sophomore from Minden, Neb., was the top Colby finisher, taking fourth at 165 pounds to earn All-American honors. In all, four Colby wrestlers placed in the top eight at the season finale.

Tangie Hileman

The senior for the Smith Center Lady Red averaged a team-high 17.7 points per game as the team went 22-1 and came up a game short of the Class 2A state tourney. She scored a season-high 33 points in a win against Osborne and was held to single figures once. She also averaged a teamhigh 4.6 steals. Her 3.3 assists were third on the team.

Tasha Wagoner

The 5-foot-8 junior forward for the Bethany Swedes paced the team in scoring this season, averaging 12.2 points per game. Wagoner, from Colby, scored in double figures 20 times this season, including a season-high 25 points against St. Mary. Wagoner also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals for the Swedes, who finished the year 4-25.

Brian Ochs

The Quinter senior averaged 17 points per game this season, along with 11.3 rebounds on a Bulldog team that struggled to an 8-13 record. The 6-foot-4 Ochs, who has signed to play football with Butler County Community College, had his best three scoring outputs in the team’s final three games, averaging 28.3 points during that span. He scored 36 in a season-ending loss to Stockton in sub-state.

Got an idea of someone who you think should be included in Who’s That? Send it to sportsink@dailynews.net with Who’s that? in the subject line, or call (800) 657-6017.


your marks ... On

The track and field season is right around the corner. Here’s a few athletes and events to keep an eye on Hallie Kuhlman, senior Sharon Springs

Two seasons ago as a sophomore, Kuhlman won her eighth gold medal when she won the 200-meter dash at the state finale in Wichita. Two straight seasons, Kuhlman picked up golds in the 100, 200, 400 and 800, becoming the first person in state history to win those four events. Kuhlman, though, missed last season after suffering an ACL tear in the Class 1A, Division II state basketball tournament in Hays. This season, Kuhlman looks to get back to state, and looked healthy when she helped her Wildcat basketball team to the state title earlier this month at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Emilea Finley, senior Colby

The Colby girls were a surprise in Class 4A last season,

Page 6

tying for the team title in the 4A finale at Wichita. It was highlighted by a pair of gold medals for Finley, both in the 800 and 1,600. Finley was at or near the top in the area in both events all season long and capped her strong season with a 2:18.33 performance in the 800, and a 5:05.62 mark in the 1,600. She also finished 20th at the 4A cross country state meet at Wamego.

Girls’ 3,200 relay team Hoxie

Three of the Indians’ gold-medal winning relay members return in junior Ellie Heim, junior Marlee McKenna and senior Shelby Heim. Hoxie has enjoyed a strong run of 3,200-meter relays. With the win last year, the Indians captured their fourth straight 1A title in the event. That team also set a season best at state by nearly 20 seconds.

April 2012

SPORTS INK.


Brady Johnson, senior Plainville

Last season, Johnson broke through for his first career state title after two seasons of placing at the state finale. Johnson won the 3,200-meter run for his first career state title, then came back the second day to finish second in the 1,600. The two medals helped Plainville to a thirdplace team trophy. During the course of a 31⁄2-year career, Johnson has collected numerous medals at the state level. He also captured the first cross country state title of his career this fall, winning at Wamego.

Adam Deterding, junior Hays High

Deterding was a key component for the Hays High boys’ second straight 5A team title. He, along with since-graduated Zack Gaughan, combined for 42 points, helping Hays High to the crown. Deterding won the 110 high hurdles by twohundreths of a second in 15.14 and also scored points in both the triple jump and high jump, placing third and second, respectively. As a freshman, Deterding finished seventh in the high jump.

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Heather Ruder, junior TMP

Ruder scored 38 points last season, pacing the TMP-Marian girls to a secondplace team trophy, and for the second straight season, earned three golds and a silver at the state meet. Ruder won the 1,600, 800 and 3,200 for the second straight season and finished second in the 400 for the second time. Ruder again looks poised for a solid run in 2012. This season, Ruder, was an integral part of a 19-4 finish for the Monarch basketball team, garnering an all-MCAA selection. In cross country, Ruder has one state title, a bronze and silver medal on her resume.

Meet to look forward to

The Goldsmith Relays in WaKeeney always serves as a catalyst for the rest of the season. When the relays are run April 27, the weather typically is warmer and the times start improving after many athletes already have participated in at least three meets. In The Hays Daily News’ weekly track & field honor roll, the Goldsmith Relays provides an improvement in just about every event. • NICK McQUEEN, Sports Ink.

ACIDIZING

CEMENT

TOOL RENTAL

Trevor Keller,

Otis-Bison High School

The senior guard guided the Cougars to their second straight Class 1A Division II state tournament in Hays. Keller averaged 16.7 points per game for Otis-Bison in the state tournament. He hit 13 of 30 shots from the field and 18 of 24 free throws. His tourney scoring was second to Frankfort’s Jacob Broxterman. Keller also hit an off-balanced 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation in the title game against Frankfort to force overtime. He scored 10 points in the doubleovertime loss.

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Photo by Dove Hill Photography


L

Queen

OGAN — There’s no sign on the outskirts of town. There’s no name on the water tower rising high above the small community. The local co-op isn’t named after her. If so, Caley Greving probably would have to move. You see, Greving isn’t like a lot of talented athletes in small towns. She doesn’t have the run of the community. No one bows down to her as she walks the streets or strolls the hallways of Logan High nick schwien School. That’s just fine with Greving. Quiet and steven content is the way many hausler people view her, even though she’s 6-foot and excels at just about anything she does. “There’s a special group of girls in the senior class,” said music teacher Vesta Joe Still. “She does what is expected of her. She’d probably say she doesn’t get to do anything fun because she can never do anything because she’s watched all the time.” Not that Greving would be terrorizing the town of less than 600 people. She wouldn’t She plays like royalty on the hardwood, but be out turning donuts on Main Street in a vehicle or painting over signs at the town’s Logan’s Caley Greving excels in other areas, too most popular attraction — the Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum — to make it seem as though she national anthem before some home games this year. was the main draw to the town. “My mom was an elementary music teacher a couple of When basketball coach Brandon Gehring came to the years ago,” Greving said. “She loves to sing, and she made school a few years ago, he had heard about the exploits of sure we all knew how to sing. We Greving and how much potential sing sometimes in church and stuff, she had. and we just signed up to do the He remembers his first encounter ‘Star Spangled Banner ’together.” with her, too. OK, so Greving can do it all. She “ ‘Hi. I’m Caley,’ ” Gehring said, was a catalyst for the school’s basrecalling the time before Greving’s ketball team once again, guiding it sophomore year. “And she stood at back to the state tournament for the the back of the pack.” second year in a row. She also was on It’s ironic Greving is that way. Her the Trojans’ volleyball team that finprowess on the basketball court — ished fourth at state this school year. her favorite sport, by the way — and “She’s a good kid and involved in the volleyball court is nothing short a lot of organizations,” said volleyof spectacular. She’s not too shabby ball coach Robin VanLaeys. “If you in track as well. ask for something to get done and If there was another sport she if you give it to her, you know she’s could play at the small school, she’d going to get it done. She’s extremely probably throw her hat into the ring responsible.” there, too. Logan’s Caley Greving battles for a loose ball with With a basketball in her hand, Then there’s the dance team, an opponent during the 2011 Class 1A, Division II Greving is the attention of opposschool organizations, and the thing state tournament in Hays. ing teams, averagmany people will remember her ing nearly 15 points per game and more PAGE 10 for — despite all the accolades she’s received through the than 11 rebounds. years in sports. She’s a talented singer and has performed the

Court

story by

of the

photos by


I’M just like everyone else.

“Sometimes, I just want to think that I know I am, but I know people always come up and say,

‘YOU’RE AWESOME,’ AND, ‘YOU’RE A BEAST.’ I don’t like to take a lot of recognition.

that’s not really what i like.” Greving’s ability on the court and off it is what had many college scouts foaming at the mouth to have her play for them next season. That’s been beneficial, said her mother, Cher, an assistant coach to Gehring. “She said if she’s getting anything out of this and all the contacts that she’s improving her social speaking skills,” she said. “She is not one to initiate conversation. She’d much rather sit back and listen than be the talker. This has made her come out of her shell, and she’s enjoyed it.” Greving is a lead-by-example type of player. You won’t see her barking at her teammates or questioning every foul called against her. Well, most of the time. “Sometimes I just let the frustration get ahead of me,” Greving said. “I let something out.” “Her competitive spirit comes out sometimes,” Gehring said, smiling. “I kind of shake my head like I shouldn’t have done that,” Greving added. “But me and the seniors, we’re to the point where we can just yell and

Greving prepares to throw the javelin during the state track and field meet last May at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

yell and yell at each other, then after the game it’s completely over. It’s all competitive spirit, trying to figure each other out and trying to figure out what’s in each other’s minds. It’s just what you get when you grow up playing basket-

ball with the same people.” Greving might be one of the state’s best all-around athletes, but one who doesn’t garner the recognition of others PAGE 12 in the state.

Camaro Enough said.


Greving goes up for a shot against Wetmore players during this year’s Class 1A, Divison II state tourney in Hays.

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“I don’t like a lot of recognition, because it’s not all about me,” she said. “It’s about the team. But it’s kind of nice to know you’re doing something right because I’ve always wanted to be in this position — to go play a college sport. It’s nice to know I’m kind of getting there.” Greving already might be there. Several junior colleges and many smaller fouryear schools in the state are at her beckand-call. In fact, she’s been inundated with calls and texts from recruiters. At times, she hands the phone to her mother to deal with it, mirroring her quietness she exudes at times while competing in her multiple sports. “It kind of drives us crazy at times,” her mom said about her daughter’s laid-back approach. “Like her Grandpa said the other day, she plays her best ball when she’s mad. So it’s OK for her to get a little frustrated at the start of the game because she plays better. “She’s always been like that. It’s sometimes hard for us to sit back and watch when we know what she’s capable of.” But that’s Greving — laid back and not the most comfortable person being the focus of opposing defenses or college recruiters. She’d rather be listening to her hip-hop or country music on her iPod than worrying about fielding mass texts from people seeking her talents. “Sometimes, I just want to think that I’m just like everyone else,” said Greving,

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contemplating the irony of her situation. “I know I am, but I know people always come up and say, ‘You’re awesome,’ and, ‘You’re a beast.’ I don’t like to take a lot of

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recognition. That’s not really what I like. “My Grandpa always says, ‘Don’t let your head get too big.’ I just try to say thanks and move on.”

Saluting Logan Athletics Caley Greving, Class 1A, Division II 2011 State Volleyball All-Tournament Team Trojan pride. Trojan spirit. Trojan determination in every sport. Winning attitude on and off the court.

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Greving (9) and teammate Kodi VanLaeys defend the net during the third-place contest in late October at the Class 1A, Division II state volleyball tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. Also pictured is Brooke Hammond (21). The Trojans finished fourth at the season finale.

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Logan seniors a close-knit group R

ealizing what they had was heart-wrenching for Logan’s six seniors on the girls’ basketball team. A loss in the first round of the Class 1A Division II state tournament can make players reflect on things. And the six players all were in tears. “We sat in the locker room and the first words out of my mouth were, ‘I don’t want to take (my jersey) off.’ ” said Samantha Tien. “We got into a huddle and said, ‘All in’ on three. We had to take some deep breaths to get through it. There was a lot of tears and snot flowing.” Those six seniors — Tien, Caley Greving, Alethea Bennett, Hannah Pinkerton, Paige Buss and Bev Sammons — have given the town of Logan something to hang its hat on the last few years. The became only the second class in school history to make back-to-back trips to state basketball. The Trojans also accomplished the feat in 1994 and 1995. “I’m sad to see it go, and not playing with my teammates any more,” Bennett said. Greving, Bennett and Tien began playing basketball together in the third grade in three-on-three. “Me and my friends, we started out with three-onthree, and we were always very competitive,” Greving said. “We wanted to win every time. It’s always been that way. I’ve played with basically the same girls all my life. We’ve kind of got the same attitude about stuff, just to work our hardest and get the best outcomes we can get.” In addition to the two straight trips to state basketball, the seniors guided the school to a fourth-place finish in state volleyball. And they’ve had great accomplishments on the track as well. Basketball coach Brandon Gehring said the six seniors have been a great benefit, something many coaches in the state would like to have. While Greving might be the top player, each of the seniors have a leadership role in different ways. “I see other girls following the class’s lead,” Gehring said. “She’s mixed in with a great group of girls. She’s not one that likes to stand out in that group, either. She just fits in well with them. Like she said, there’s not a lot of confrontation with them. If there is, they fix it on their own. That’s one thing I’m blessed with. I don’t have to worry about the behind-the-court type of stuff. The drama is pretty low.”

STEVEN HAUSLER, Sports Ink.

Logan High School senior Alethea Bennett defends Wetmore’s Alayna Noe during the second half of a Class 1A, Division II state tournament game at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays.

Tien knows those days of three-on-three with Bennett and Greving have passed. Now, their high school basketball careers together have passed by, too. “It’s so great to be here all together,” Tien said after the loss at state. “(Greving’s) family is my family, and my family is her family. And the whole town of Logan was here. That means so much to us.” While the seniors battled tears, some turned to tears of joy as well when they began flashing back to the past. “It does,” Bennett said about putting a smile on her face. “And all the crazy things we’ve done together.” The town of Logan hasn’t seen anything like this class in a while, and they might not again for a long time. • NICK SCHWIEN, Sports Ink.


His state title is nice, but Oakley’s Eric Albers has bigger goals

FLYING

O

akley High School wrestling coach Dylan Campbell rarely has seen an athlete like 160-pound senior Eric

high

Albers. “He is just a great leader,” Campbell said. “He is probably the hardest working kid that I have ever had in the practice room, maybe “I guess it might be a little bit of a surprise that I am ever, and that’s saying something because of undefeated, but I knew I would be doing this well just besome of the kids that we have had through there. He has cause of all the work I put into it,” he said. “This is somejust been relentless this year. Leads the guys. He never has thing I’ve been dreaming for to ask for anything, never lets anyone slack off in the room. a long time, wanting to win a That’s the kind of wrestler he state championship.” is, goes the extra mile.” Albers also has worked hard toward another goal — flying. Albers’ work ethic has Albers said he has “always helped him on and off the been fascinated” with the wrestling mat. This winter, military and flying. He long Albers put in time during has wanted to become a pilot normal practice hours, but and earned his pilot’s license also worked by himself severon his 17th birthday, the al days a week before school. earliest one can earn a pilot’s It helped Albers collect his first state title, and first state license. medal, in late February at the Albers already has flown Oakley’s Eric Albers Class 3-2-1A state wrestling nearly 150 hours. He flew championships at Gross Meonly a few times in football morial Coliseum. and wrestling season, but looked to get back into the cockAlbers was the area’s lone undefeated wrestler and finpit often this spring. “Just being up in the plane and just being in control and ished the year 35-0.

“I really like the military and what it has to offer and becoming an officer, and especially becoming a pilot. And so I figured out, I wanted to become a pilot, and it’s so hard to become a pilot in the military.”

Page 14

April 2012

SPORTS INK.


in the air, it’s really a cool feeling, I enjoy every minute of it,” he said. He is happy flying any kind of aircraft, whether it’s a helicopter or six wings, but called manning a fighter pilot high on his list. “I really like the military and what it has to offer and becoming an officer, and especially becoming a pilot. And so I figured out, I wanted to become a pilot, and it’s so hard to become a pilot in the military,” he said. “(I thought) what do I have to do to put myself a step ahead of everyone, I just kind of did some research and I just decided to get my private pilot’s license.” Albers has applied at all three academies, Army, Navy and Air Force. Albers wasn’t going to hear back until March or April on whether he qualified. He ranked the Air Force’s program at the top. “It’s a great program; it’s challenging, but that’s kind of how I feel I am, I need to be challenged,” he said. Albers has taken that approach to his sports, too. In the fall, Albers was a running back on a Plainsmen team that reached the state playoffs. “He is a good leader through our whole school and our community and in everything he does,” said Oakley football coach and athletic director Randall Rath. “He is a hard worker and a polite kid, does the right thing.” In wrestling, Albers qualified for the state tournament in each of his first three seasons but never placed. Each year, Albers suffered at least one loss by one point. “My state tournaments in the past have really not been great, and that is really what has pushed me, motivated me and giving me the drive to work even harder this season,” Albers said. “Whether it’s lifting harder or getting on the mat a couple times a week in the summer. But those losses, I would

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STEVEN HAUSLER, Sports Ink. Eric Albers has his arm raised in victory at the Class 3-2-1A state championships at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays.

say the reason why that happened was because when I got to the state tournament as a younger wrestler, I kind of just locked up.” As a junior, that included a 2-1 defeat to Phillipsburg’s Thomas Rachow, the eventual champion at 152 pounds. “Sometimes stuff like that happens for a reason, and he has come back with a vengeance,” Campbell said. After the 2011 state tournament, Albers made a change and continued to wrestle in the kids’ program. There, Albers “finally opened up” and believed he could hit certain moves and defeat any opponent. “Once I put myself in situations and I saw certain moves I might have not have usually hit or something like that, I just hit it,” Albers said. “A lot more aggressive than he has

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been in the past,” Campbell said. “He is much more offensive than he ever was, stays in good position.” As well, Albers put himself into great physical shape with his own workouts before school. At the beginning of the season, Albers would head to school early twice a week. He ran the stairs, sprinted and jogged for 18 minutes at the high school gym. Every two weeks, Albers bumped up his time. About a month before the state tournament, he started going three times a week and was up to about 30 minutes a workout. At regionals, Albers pinned his way through the bracket. At state, he won his first match by fall in 1:26, and then earned 4-2, 10-3 and 5-2 decisions. In the finals, Albers, helped by his shape, rallied late for the title. “I am not real fancy as a wrestler,” he said. “I am going to stay in good position, and I am in the best shape of my life and probably in the best shape out of any of my opponents.” After the match, Albers celebrated with his family and friends with pictures at one end of GMC. Albers was pleased his photo now would be placed next to the other Plainsmen state champions inside the Oakley wrestling room. One goal was accomplished. One goal — flying in the military — remained. ��� CONOR NICHOLL, Sports Ink.

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Just a Minute with Nick McQueen

Dylan

Wissman Otis-Bison junior

Q: Describe what it’s like to play for a title in Gross Memorial Coliseum. A: That title game was crazy. The atmosphere there is amazing when you have all those fans up there and your whole school there. It’s pretty crazy. Q: This being your second year there, were the nerves as great the second time around? A: It was a little nerve-racking. We had bigger expectations this year, and we knew we could make it all the way. Q: Did you guys feel like you lost to a little better team in that game? A: Frankfort was just as good as us; we were just as good as them. Either team could have won it. They just came out on top; a few plays went their way. Q: A lot of people don’t like the 1A split. What are your thoughts? A: I really don’t know. You could look at it any way you want. … That’s just the way it is. You just go out there and play. Q: Do you see some collegiate athletic plans in your future? A: I haven’t ruled it out. It’s a possibility. Q: What kind of things do you enjoy doing off the court and off the field? A:

Really just hanging out with my friends, having a good time. … Just hanging out, talking. Q: Do you have any favorite athletes you follow? A: Have to be my brother Kevin up at K-State. … He’s doing well — moving up the depth chart. Q: What do you feel got this season turned around for you guys and got you to the state tourney? A: The whole idea of going “all in” really helped us out. Playing our best, and giving everything we had every game really helped us out a lot. We played hard, but once we got that motivation, it kind of took us to another level. … Just going hard in practice was making a difference in the games. Q: Going into the semifinal game against Hope, did you have last year’s semifinal on your mind? A: We wanted to beat them, give them some payback. Nothing against them, but we wanted that one.

Alan Brandon Clark Pechanec basketball coach senior teammate

If there were a movie made about him, who would play him? Matt Damon

Have to be a doctor

“Second Fiddle”

Doctor

Doctor (he’s pretty smart)

“Pretty Little Liars”

“Paving His Own Way”

What professional athlete does he remind you of?

Q: What do you see as your greatest game this season? A: Against Greeley in the first round at state. I scored a lot of points, and we had a very good team effort in that game.

Taylor Swift

Q: What are your summers like getting ready for football? A: Coach (Travis) Starr has workouts we have to go through to get better. … Wake up, go work out, go work with dad, then chill the rest of the day. Next day, do it again.

Will Smith (he can dance)

If his life were made into a TV show, what would you call it?

Rex Walters (former pro)

Q: Are you more into football or more into basketball? A: Whatever the season is, that’s my favorite.

Johnny Depp (it’s the hair)

Which of these jobs would he be best at? Lawyer, Cop, Doctor

Q: Does this team take a lot of pride in the fact it made the school’s first title game? A: We realized what we had done, but you always want to win it. But you have to look back on it as a pretty big accomplishment.

Q: Looking back on three years, if you had one accomplishment that stands out as your greatest, what would it be? A: Probably just making state in football, and getting to the state championship in basketball as a junior.

Patrick Piper senior teammate

Steve Nash (has some sick moves)

Chris Paul

If you could pick a celebrity for him to marry, who would it be? Kim Kardashian

Jennifer Lopez

What animal best describes him? Cougar would be fitting now.

ON

Honey Badger

Lion (laid back, but can attack)


Ink. BLOTS

A spattering from NW Kansas

State swimming is something unique, and so are the starting tactics. On the track, if there’s a false start, the runners are removed from competing in the race. In state swimming, just the opposite. Such was the case for the Hays High School boys’ 400-meter free relay at this year’s state meet in Topeka. The starting leg of the relay had a slight bobble, nothing too out of the ordinary — or so I presumed. It wasn’t until the race was finished and all four swimmers had competed their leg of the event that the Indians were notified of the false start in the final event of the day. The small misstep didn’t give the Indians an unfavorable advantage, nor did it account for the nearly five seconds they dropped off their state-qualifying time — something that was a huge step in the right direction for the swim team. It might have been overlooked by many because of the disqualification, but dropping that much time was impressive. It didn’t count in the long haul, but it was a great effort by a team

that doesn’t get a lot of notice at times because it’s not one of the main sports. And, it was one heck of a moral victory for the relay team. — N.S. After the first rounds of the state tournament, there was a little hand-wringing with the state media concerning a few too many blowouts and not enough upsets. The No. 1 seeds went 14-0 in the first round and had an average margin of victory of 62-39. However, by Saturday night, the narrative had shifted. There were plenty of upsets in the final four and state championship contests — and many of the games went down to the wire or were decided in overtime. Only four No. 1 seeds – Ashland boys in Class 1A, Division I; Hoxie girls in Class 1A, Division I; Scott City in Class 3A boys; and Wichita Heights in Class 6A girls — won a championship. Olpe girls, the No. 1 seed in Class 2A, lost for the first time in three years when they fell to Jefferson County North in the title game. Two No. 6 seeds —

Sterling in Class 2A boys and Sharon Springs in 1A, Division II girls — won a title. The state tournament could be a little better if sub-states are arranged differently so certain ones aren’t full of several ranked teams. However, the bottom line is: The state basketball tournament still is one of the top events all year and still produced unpredictable results, close games and upsets this season.— C.N. Sometimes qualifying for a state tournament can be enjoyable and heart-wrenching in the same evening. That’s what happened to Victoria girls’ basketball coach Anne Dinkel. In the sub-state championship, Dinkel, in her first year as Knights’ head coach, led Victoria to the state tournament for the first time in 20 years. Then, Dinkel watched her son, Corey, fall just short of his second straight state appearance. Corey, Victoria’s quarterback in the fall and lone senior on the basketball team, saw his team lose in the final seconds to Otis-Bison. — C.N.


Helping carry the team

H

ILL CITY — As I travel throughout the area each sports of a sport that they really love to play. Everybody felt sorry for him, season, there are stories of great athletes who work hard but he went to practice every night and encouraged the rest of the and succeed with individual and team honors. Sadly, there kids. But that’s the kind of kid he is.” sometimes are stories of injuries and athletes falling short. Rarely, Pfeifer had to wear a brace throughout the fall. He followed all do you have an athlete who suffers a massive injury — and then the orders from his doctor and physical therapists and gradually becomes elite in six months. improved. That is the unique story of Hill City High School senior Adam “It’s been rough,” Pfeifer said. “I kind of have been looking forPfeifer. ward to football and my senior year, just take what God gives you Last fall, Pfeifer began the football season as one of Eight-Man, and then kind of go from there. So I knew that I had to do whatDivision I’s top players. He was entering his ever I could to get my body to be healthy to THE CLOSER third year as a starter and had helped the play basketball my senior year.” Ringnecks enjoy a run to the state championWhen basketball season started, Pfeifer had ship game in 2010, the best finish in Hill City to wear his brace for one more week. Then, football annals. A defensive back and running he joined the team and gradually could start back, Pfeifer was known for his constant work getting back into things. At first, he could do ethic. Many times in the summer, Hill City some of the drills but couldn’t participate in would lift as a team, and then he lifted again full scrimmages for several days. Pfeifer was by himself. The softout of shape but worked spoken Pfeifer was wellhimself into the starting liked and a leader. lineup for the first game. In the first game of Riley, Hill City’s coach the season against for more than 40 years, Thunder Ridge, Pfeifer projected the Ringnecks felt his back pop on to win seven or eight a sideline hit. Pfeifer games in preseason. Hill didn’t know the severity City senior center Dylan of the injury, but knew Anderson didn’t go out he was going to miss for basketball, and the some time. Hill City Ringnecks had no one had a bye in Week 2, taller than 6-foot and so Pfeifer rested. Then, mainly used just five he resumed practicing players. when Hill City opened Pfeifer was an honorup the third week of the able mention all-league season with its second selection as a junior. This game, against Hoxie. winter, despite the injury, Pfeifer played for most Pfeifer became a firstof the game and then team all-league player. RiEverett Royer, Sports Ink. got hit again and was ley said Pfeifer and senior Hill City’s Adam Pfeifer tries to drive the lane against Ellis’ Kyle Weber during landed on awkwardly. Matt Craig “just put us the Mid-Continent League tournament this year in Hays. He hardly could move. on their shoulders.” Pfeifer’s parents had to lift him into bed that night. “Adam has just been there every game,” Riley said. “Boy, he plays “I knew something was really serious,” he said. hard.” He went to the doctor the following Monday. The doctor said PfeHill City went 16-6 and lost to Ness City, an eventual Class 2A ifer had suffered a clean break of the L3 vertebrae. Because it was qualifier, in the second round of the Ellis sub-state. Pfeifer averaged such a clean break, Pfeifer didn’t have to worry about any lasting a team-high 16.5 points per game and also tallied five rebounds, damage to the spinal cord. 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals a contest. He helped Hill City greatly Pfeifer’s first question was whether he could play football again exceed expectations. that season. The answer was no, though Pfeifer possibly could conPfeifer, a state qualifier in the javelin and relays in track last tinue his football career in college. Pfeifer finished the season with season, likely will not participate in track until the end of the year 82 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards and 14 tackles for a team that because of his back. But in mid-February, Pfeifer wore a smile eventually went 4-5 and missed the playoffs. when he looked back at the last several months and how much he However, Pfeifer had such respect from the Mid-Continent — and Hill City — had accomplished. League eight-man coaches, he still earned second team all-league “We are probably one of the smallest teams in Kansas,” he said. honors on both sides of the ball. “Just to know that we can go out and battle with these 6-4, 6-6 “He is a great football player,” Hill City boys’ basketball and track guys, it’s fun. Even though we are not deep at all, but we gel well coach Keith Riley said. “You feel sorry for a kid. I don’t care what together and we are good with each other and we cheer each other school it is, they get to be a senior and they miss their senior year on. It’s nice to be able to succeed.”

conor

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Sports Ink. April 2012