Ellinwood will again send a handful to state tennis, and the Hoisington football team was the only MCAA squad to win in week 6 of action.
The reigning state champion Lady Eagle tennis team was one of many across the state enduring cold and sometimes wet weather at regional play on Friday and Saturday. Despite losing five seniors from last year’s squad, Ellinwood will again send three players back to the Class 3-2-1A State tournament, finishing second as a team last weekend at Russell.
The sophomore duo of Rachel Doll and Danae Patten have had a successful year at No. 1 doubles. They extended their season with a second-place finish. The pair easily won their first two matches by a combined score of 24-5. Then they met the Central Plains team of Aubrey Kempke and Karli Beck, falling 6-2 in the first set. They rebounded to win the next two sets 6-1, 6-2. In the finals against No. 1 seed Janae Hekele and Katie Hipp, the third-place finishers at state a year ago from Central Plains, the Lady Eagles dropped a quick 6-0, 6-1 match.
Senior Oma Thomas finished seventh at state a year ago and has played No.1 singles all year for the Eagles. She cruised to a third-place finish Saturday in Russell with Norton phenom Tawni Griffey taking the championship. Thomas blanked her first opponent in straight sets, then was nearly as impressive in a 6-2, 6-0 win against Osborne. Ellsworth’s Rachel Herzog downed Thomas 6-4, 6-1, but the Ellinwood senior rebounded to beat Central Plains sophomore Breanna Schartz 6-2, 6-3. Thomas will take a 25-8 record to state.
After an 0-2 start against tough competition, the Cardinal football team has found a way to win. Friday night, Hoisington pounded MCAA-foe Larned, taking over atop the conference with a 60-14 win. The Cardinals (3-3) led 35-0 at the half.
Senior quarterback Hagen Hanzlick had another big game with four combined touchdowns. He scored on runs of 68 and 38 yards, finishing with 190 yards on 180 carries. He also threw for two scores and 105 yards on 4-of-5 passing. Avery Urban and Chris Jonas also ran for touchdowns, and Jacob Durrett and Brandon Ball each had touchdown receptions. Durrett’s one catch went for 68 yards. In the second quarter, Zach Sanders returned an interception 38 yards for a score, and Cayton Janousek added a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Late in the game, Cameron Richter ran back a kick 85 yards for a touchdown.
Lady Monarch senior Heather Ruder was used to winning on the cross country course. After claiming a Class 3A state title in 2010, she was defeated by Hillsboro’s Emily Sechrist in 2011. Thursday, Ruder defeated Sechrist by five seconds in Sterling, winning the girls’ race in 15:11. The TMP boys finished third in the event, and the Lady Monarchs finished fourth as a team.
Freshman Andrew Hess led the boys with a 14th-place finish in 18:13. Nick Dopita finished 19th in 18:56, Tony Staab ran a 19:05 for 26th, and Matt Mindrup was the final team scorer with a 29th-place run in 19:13. Behind Ruder in the girls’ race, Kayla Walker finished 22nd in 17:51. Shelby Stouffer ran an 18:01 for 27th, Jordan Manhart finished 32nd in 18:51, and Annie Mindrup placed 36th in 19:00.
The Indians started the season with a bang, going 3-0 for the first time in 14 years. Friday night, Larned lost its third-straight contest. This time, it was MCAA-rival Hoisington jumping to a 35-0 half time lead en route to a 60-14 win in Larned.
The Indians trailed 14-0 after one quarter before letting the Cardinal defense score the next two touchdowns. Finally, in the third quarter, back-up quarterback Trey Kraisinger found Brayden Smith for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Senior running back Brady Keith had the only other Indian score, running 45 yards in the fourth quarter. Keith rushed for 151 yards on just 15 carries and caught four passes for 18 yards. Grant Unruh added two receptions for 41 yards. Quarterback Easton Palmer was 2-of-9 passing for three yards and an interception. The sophomore Kraisinger completed 7-of-13 passes for 86 yards, a score, and two picks.