I think it is time for some Southwest Kansas recognition. After all the mileage and all the time spent on the road, my favorite coverage from Southwest Kansas covers a lot of ground. So put on your seat belts as I take you back through my high school sports yearlong expedition.
The Hatchet Game
The first day I moved to Dodge City I was confronted withparents and coaches asking me if I knew about the “Hatchet Rivalry”. I obviously was the only one in Southwest Kansas who had no idea. Coming from Texas rivalries are big but this one was the best I had seen.
Garden City and Dodge City’s fans combined made the groundshake when these two teams met for the last game of the football season. It wasnot only the atmosphere that made this game one of my favorites but the gameitself. Both teams were battling for Western Athletic Conference contention andthe game went into double overtime. Two teams with such powerful offenses all season were forced to rely on other aspects of their games and the defense and special teams had to step up.
After holding the Hatchet for three years in a row, the Demons had to hand it over to Garden City after falling 18-15 in doubleovertime. The Buffaloes also earned the district title, a three-way tie for theWAC champion title and home field advantage for the playoffs.
Sixth woman helps Lady Wildcats defeat the Goldbugs
It’s the coverage stories that have a deeper meaning and tug at your heartstrings that make me love my job. This was one of those stories.
Minneola’s senior guard Morgan Minor lost her 22-year-oldsister, Brooke, to cancer the Monday before the Lady Wildcats faced the LadyGoldbugs. Before the game Morgan and her teammates requested Brooke’s old 33 jersey to be on the bench with them. It was a moving experience and the Minor family was incredibly strong through it all. If you have ever felt like you were meant to be somewhere, that is what I felt when I walked onto that basketball court.
Morgan said she knew her sister was with her and her teammates throughout their 55-19 win.
“This game meant a whole lot to me,” Morgan said. “My sistertaught me everything I know about basketball.My oldest sister just told me that our game at halftime was 33 points and thatwas her basketball number so I think she had something to do with that. Thereat the beginning my shot was rolling around and I know she was the one who putit back in. It was good and amazing to come back out here and play a good gameafter her loss but I’m really excited that we won for her.”
Hays TMP baseball takes third straight 3A regional title from Lakin
What made this coverage so special was the Lakin preview I did for the Catch It Kansas Show the week before. The passion in the Bronc ballplayers, especially the seniors, set up the rivalry. They wanted to go to thestate tournament badly and were doing everything in their power to not fall tothe Monarchs for the third straight year.
It was déjà vu in the 3A regional championships and the gamewas just as close as it had been in their previous matchups. Going into the topof the seventh Lakin was only down by one run. Lakin got two runners in scoringposition with two outs on the board. The tying run scored after a controversialbock call by the umpire but he reversed the call. A pop fly to second base followedand the Monarchs stole the show again 4-3.
The atmosphere and the passionate ball players made everyplay breathtaking and nerve-wrecking. Not to mention the dominant pitchingstaff also made this game one of my favorites to cover.
Ashland’s 1A and Meade’s 2A dominance
I must clump this into one category because I did not get to cover all the championship games these two schools won but I did cover them regularly. Not only are the athletes and coaches from both of theseschools a blast to talk to but also it felt like every time I turned aroundMeade or Ashland were making the Southwest Kansas sporting headlines.
Both of their football programs have been dominant but inthe 2011-2012 season both teams fell in the playoffs.
Ashland earned the 1A-Division I state basketball title witha perfect 26-0 record. Next thing you know the Blue Jays turn around and wintheir third consecutive 1A state golf title with four members ranked in the top12 of the tournament.
The Meade basketball team made it to the 2A state title gameagainst Sterling but walked away as state runner-ups. Needless to say, staterunner-up is still a huge accomplishment. The Buffaloes move on to the golf season and dominate the 2A regional golf tournament for the second consecutive year. No big deal.
At the boys tennis regionals Meade’s team won overall, butalso their doubles team won the championship and their singles player took second.
These two dominant schools were so much fun to cover becauseof their competitive nature and the prominence of their multi-sport athletes.Time and dedication make these schools so strong in the sporting world and makethem always a pleasure to cover.
Anyone who was present at any of these events cannot help but agree with me. This was my first year to cover Southwest Kansas high school sports and it was so much fun! A big thanks to every parent, coach, and athlete who made my coverage incredible. This experience has been such a blessing!
If anyone would like to add to my favorite coverage of 2011-2012 head over to my twitter or Facebook page. You know I would love to hear from you!