The Lady Eagle tennis team captured the first state title for the school in more than 40 years. The No. 1 Lady Cardinal volleyball team also continued its dominance.
Ellinwood has not been known as an athletic power in the years past. Things are changing with two of the top rated cross country teams in Class 2A. Saturday, the Lady Eagle tennis took advantage of its opportunity to put the town on the sports map. Ellinwood won the Class 3-1A tennis meet to pick up the school’s first state title since 1967.
“I’ve had most of these girls in tennis camps since they were eight or nine years old,” said Lady Eagles coach Lyle Stickney. “It’s a great group of kids and hard workers. “They’re really dedicated and play in the off-season. It’s finally come to fruition after all these years. It’s a really good deal that they could come together and pull this thing off.”
The championship was touch-and-go throughout the tournament as teams took and dropped opportunities to take over the top spot. Eventually, Ellinwood stood as the victor with 30.5 points, just beating out Conway Springs’ 29 points.
“It was kind of ironic because, going into the state tournament, we knew we had a better than good chance of winning it as a team,” Stickney said. “We felt really good with Collegiate going to 4A. That opened the door for us, but we knew we had to play well.
“The draw wasn’t that great. I wasn’t that crazy about our singles draws after the seeding meeting. I felt the doubles looked pretty good. We won some significant matches, especially late in the day on Saturday. There were several times on Saturday where I felt we were goners. We had no chance of winning it as a team. A couple of things went our way, and we won some very key matches.”
Leading the way, the senior doubles team of Bailey Schartz and Darri Beckwith finished second, losing the state title match 7-5, 6-2 to Conway Springs. It was an otherwise easy tournament for the duo, who never lost more than three games in a set, and outscored other opponents 36-11 over two days of play. The team finished the year with a 32-2 record.
“They had an incredible season,” said Stickney. “Honestly, they probably should have won that state final. We just couldn’t get it done. Conway played better than us that day. Still, they had a great year. They had some wonderful wins over some 6A, 5A, and 4A schools that went on to place in their top two in state. We had some really significant wins with those two.”
In singles play, Oma Thomas finished seventh for the Eagles with a 3-2 record at state. Thomas lost her first match to Conway Springs, then reeled off two wins by a combined score of 18-6, before falling to Sabetha. She then beat Conway Springs 9-6.
Gentry McLeland and Kaitlyn Robl finished in ninth place in doubles action. The pair opened the tournament with two wins before being blanked by Conway Springs, and falling in a close 9-8 (7-3) match. The duo then won a close 9-8 (12-10) thriller before getting past Prairie Village 9-6.
Rachel Morales went 1-1 in the tournament in singles play. Morales lost to Shawnee Marantha Academy 6-2, 6-0, but bounced back to beat Phillipsburg 9-5 for half a point. Each Ellinwood competitor scored in the tournament.
“This was a true team win,” Stickney said. “We’ve taken second or third at state before as a team, but the lion’s share of the points have come from one entry. This year, we had a second, a seventh, and ninth, and another girl won her second round. We had points from everyone and it was nice that way.”
The No. 1 Lady Cardinal volleyball team completed its sweep of MCAA opponents on Saturday at the league quadrangular in Larned. Hoisington is 10-0 against MCAA teams this year, and improved to 33-3 on the season.
No one really tested the Cardinal on Saturday. Hoisington downed TMP 25-3, 27-25. The Lady Cardinals also defeated Ellinwood 25-11, 25-18, and handled Larned in straight sets at 25-12, 25-18.
Mallory Flagor was a force at the net and elsewhere for Hoisington, leading the team with 39 kills on the day, and adding 20 digs and 13 aces. Mykela Riedl led the team with 28 digs. Belle Brickley added 18 digs and 10 kills, and Savannah Rose finished with 16 kills. Abby Rziha led the team with 65 assists.
Hoisington 34, Lyons 7
Hagen Hanzlick led the Cardinal football team to a 34-7 district win over Lyons on Friday. The junior running back rushed for all five Hoisington scores and broke the 1,000-yard mark with 298 yards on 33 carries. Hanzlick now has 1,205 rushing yards on the year with 12 scores.
The game was never in doubt as Hoisington scored 14 points, including a 58-yard run from Hanzlick in the opening quarter. The Cardinals led 28-0 in the fourth quarter before Lyons scored its only touchdown. Hanzlick also stepped into the quarterback role, leading the Cardinals with 40 yards on 3-of-4 passing.
Hugoton entered Friday’s district game against the winless Indian football team with a 3-3 record. They played better than their record, taking a 55-0 lead into the fourth quarter and beating Larned 61-7. The Indian defense was not match for the Eagle ground attack, which put together 646 yards on 54 carries.
Larned struggled to move the ball, finishing with a meager 117 yards of total offense on the night. Easton Palmer threw for 58 yards and the lone Larned score on 7-of-22 passing. Brady Keith led the Indian receivers with four catches for 30 yards, including the touchdown reception. On the ground, Chad Wallace picked up 47 of the team’s 59 net-positive yards on 15 carries. Keith added 20 yards on eight carries.
The lone positive for the night may have been special teams for Larned. Wallace returned two kicks, taking one return 62 yards. Brendon Lewis returned four kicks for 88 yards, including a 44-yard return. Neither of those returns, however, were touchdowns.
District play has not been kind to the Monarch football teams over the past two years. Things continued in that direction Friday as TMP turned the ball over seven times in a 47-7 loss to Phillipsburg. The Monarchs have now lost seven straight district football games, dating back to the 2008 season.
Quarterback Nick Hammeke put up strong throwing numbers on 16-of-28 passing for 164 yards, but the senior record-holder also threw three interceptions and lost a fumbled snap. Hammeke did pick up the lone TMP score of the night, a four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to cut the Panther lead to 20-7. Phillipsburg ended the drama in the fourth quarter with 27 points.
The Panthers were able to control the game via possession and field position. Phillipsburg averaged a start near midfield, and controlled the clock with 361 rushing yards on 53 carries. TMP managed only 38 rushing yards, and 202 yards of total offense. Along with the turnovers, the Monarchs had nine penalties for 75 yards.