2022 Spring Sports Preview

 

Canton-Galva track already off to a great start

Back row left to right: senior Ethan Alkire, senior Tyson Struber, sophomore Lane McMannis, junior Tanner Koehn Front row left to right: junior Mimi Craig, senior Morgan Becker, senior Christian Darrah

Coach Tina McMannis is back with her team at Canton-Galva. Last season, the boys were runners-up in the Wheat State League and were league champions in seven events—Tyson Struber in the 100 meter and 200 meter; Morgan Becker in the 800 meter and 3200 meter; Christian Darrah in the 1600 meter; Lane McMannis in 300 hurdles; and the boys 4×400 relay (Tanner Koehn, Darrah, McMannis, Struber). All of the athletes return this season.

For the girls, Mimi Craig took fourth in shot put (35-8) last season. She comes back as a junior this season.

McMannis, who starts her seventh season coaching, said the boys team returns all of last year’s state qualifiers and hopes to use that experience and leadership to build a successful year.

“Even with small numbers, the boys team was runner-up in 2021 at the Wheat State League meet and brought home championships in seven events. We are also looking for returners like Preston Minson [junior thrower] and Jaden Ediger [sophomore sprinter/jumper] to improve this year. The girls are led by returning state medalist Mimi Craig and sophomore hurdler Emily Lance,” said McMannis.

The team also has several new athletes this year. Sophomore Brinley Becker joins the girls team as a sprinter/jumper.

For the boys team, junior Isaiah Patton and freshman Nathanal Erskin hope to contribute in jumps and sprints, senior Ethan Alkire joins the middle distance and distance runners, and freshman Brayden O’Hara and sophomore Wyatt Collins will be throwing.

McMannis said several of the athletes came straight out of basketball season into track, so they started with a pretty good conditioning base.

“We have been working hard on events the first few weeks leading up to our first meet,” said McMannis. “It’s all about getting better every day.”

Coming—The Eagles have already had their first meet, which went well. They will competed on April 5 at Marion (with Marion, Herington, Solomon, Moundridge) and will again Friday and Saturday in Wichita.

Centre team numbers are strong with Marion players added to roster

Marion High School Senior Miles Olsen is playing with the Centre players in golf for the season.

Centre High School golf comes back this season with a solid roster of returning players—senior Mike Olson (Marion) and juniors Lane Svoboda (Marion) and Matt Basore and a bunch of new golfers. They have lost Elias Jirak to graduation. Jirak took 11th at State last year.

The team is coached by Max Venable of Centre. He enters his fourth year coaching the Centre golfers and his first year coaching Marion players on the team.

“This year we have great numbers, 12 golfers between the two schools. We now have the opportunity to have a true varsity and JV team. This will afford our newer golfers the opportunity to develop this game at the JV level so they can be more prepared for varsity golf in the future,” said Venable.

While the numbers are great, the team does face a challenge in that their team has limited experience with seven out of the 12 golfers never playing golf before joining the team.

“This means we have to really focus on fundamentals, rules, and gaining a level of familiarity with the game. Golf is a very challenging sport even for experienced and skilled players. Our new golfers need time and practice more than anything,” Venable said.

The returning golfers have been playing on their own on the weekends and before the season.

Venable said that one of his players has taken lessons with a PGA professional instructor which has helped him tremendously.

“Our goal for this season is to help each player develop to the best of their ability. At the end of the season, I hope that each of my players has learned the fundamentals and rules of golf but most importantly had fun in the process,” Venable said.

Coming—The team kicks off on April 5 at Herington. The play at Hillsboro on April 8.

Goessel looks forward to another good season

Back row: Lyna Lerhman, Alece Lerhman, David Johnson, Joey Lapp, Skyler Wuest, Dylan Riley, Jacob Schrag, Timothy Schrag, Ben Olson, Dustyn Gagnon.
Front row Kaleigh Guhr, Cheyenne Sawyer, Braylyn Hoopes, Emily Flaming, Jaicee Griffin, Rylee Walker, Riley Graber, Jake Flaming, Kacen Smith, Klay Willis, Javin Schmidt. Not pictured: Grant Bryant

The Goessel High School track and field team is looking forward to another good year.The team took sixth in the league for girls, and the boys took first at league last year. They are returning with a solid group of state qualifiers from last year.

On the girls’ side, the team returns with Emily Flaming, Cheyenne Sawyer (4×400 relay), Jaicee Griffin, Emily Flaming, Aleece Lehrman, Rylee Walker (4×800 relay), Cheyenne Sawyer (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), and Riley Graber (high jump).

On the boys’ side, they come back with Dylan Riley (400), Grant Bryant and Kacen Smith (4×100 relay), Jacob Schrag, Timothy Schrag, Ben Olson (4×800 relay), Lyna Lehrman, Emily Flaming, Kaleigh Guhr, Riley Graber, and Rylee Walker.

“We are also looking for some good things out of several other younger girls. On the boys’ side, we are returning letter winners Jacob Schrag, Timothy Schrag, Ben Olson, David Johnson, Dylan Riley, Kacen Smith, Grant Bryant, Joey Lapp, and Klay Willis. We will be looking to these returning letter winners to lead the team this season,” said head coach Curtis Guhr, who starts his 15th year as head coach.

The team is looking at over 40 athletes for this season.

“These are great numbers for a small school. With success in cross country this year and many returning state qualifiers from last year’s track season, we will look for some great leadership this season. This year, we are looking to have a balanced team of sprinters and distance runners. Also, with good numbers, we look for great competition for many relays,” said Guhr.

Coming—The Bluebirds had their first meet on Tuesday, April 5, at home, and then they will participate in the Marion Invitational on Friday, April 8.

HHS baseball returns with a solid roster but wants to improve hitting

Hillsboro (and Peabody-Burns) baseball returning letter-winners and seniors.

The Hillsboro baseball team, including players from Peabody-Burns, look strong this season with a roster full of solid returners.

Some of the top returning athletes include OF/P Matthew Potucek, senior; C Jaxxon Hanschu, senior; SS/P Phil Young (Peabody-Burns), senior; 2B Hunter Navrat (Peabody-Burns), senior; P Alex Caldwell (Peabody-Burns), Senior; 1B Corbin Marple, senior; OF Jake Thiessen, junior; OF Dawson Boldt, sophomore.

Potucek made first team all-league last year for outfield and honorable mention for all-league pitcher. Young received honorable mention for all-league utility, Navrat received honorable mention for second base and Caldwell received honorable mention for all-league DH.

“We expect to compete well in a very tough CKL league. Hopefully the level of competition we see in league will prepare us for a run through regionals and state,” said Clint Potucek, who is starting his third year as head coach.

Clint Potcuek pointed out that with a lot of really good pitchers in the league, they will need to battle through the tough innings and find ways to manufacture runs.

“We felt like our hitting was not what it should have been last year, so we really want to hit better. We definitely feel like we should be competing for the top of our league, and can make a run in the postseason,” said Clint Potucek.

Coming—The team has already started their season, although they had to reschedule games due to weather. They will play next on Friday, April 8, at Halstead.

Hillsboro boys tennis team is young but ready to learn

The Hillsboro boys tennis team has no returning varsity players, since they all graduated last year. But they have some key players moving up as well as some promising players who have joined the team.

Juniors Romero Cruz, Sawyer Hall and David Schafer will be joined by freshmen Luke Isaac and Colton Rempel.

“The players on our team are fairly new to the game. So this will be a year of learning and growing. We have canceled two of our varsity matches so that we can pick up two JV matches to help our team develop,” said head coach John Rudder.

Rudder has coached the girls tennis team after coaching at Tabor College for many years. This is his first year as coach for the boys team.

“We are small in numbers with just five players, and all five players are relatively new if not brand new to the game of tennis. My goal is to help them develop their tennis skills and prepare them for a solid future in the game,” said Rudder. “This is my first year with the team. I have given one of the players private tennis lessons for the past year.”

To start off, Rudder said the goal is to develop tennis fundamentals, have fun and foster a lifelong love for the game of tennis.

Coming—The season got started at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, at Smoky Valley in Lindsborg, and then they will play at the Hillsboro Invitational at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.

Hillsboro golf team big but young

HHS Golf returning letter-winners and seniors Rylie Daniels, Duncan Duell, Frank Wichert, Garrett Helmer, Eli Dalke, Bryant Dalke.

The Hillsboro golf team is ready to get started.

They will be led by seniors Frank Wichert, Rylie Daniels, and Eli Dalke. These three have been on the varsity roster throughout high school (excluding their sophomore year due to the COVID cancellation of the season). They were on the team in 2019 that qualified for the 2A State Golf Tournament.

“These three certainly have the most competition experience of any others on the team, and they have all consistently improved throughout their high school careers. Wichert started to shoot some good scores last season and earned top 10 medals in several tournaments,” said head coach Scott O’Hare.

Adding to the senior class are newcomers Duncan Duell and Garrett Helmer.

“Although this is their first season to compete in golf, both of these guys are athletic and coachable. They have the potential to improve quickly and compete for varsity spots as the season progresses,” said O’Hare.

Junior Bryant Dalke also returns with some varsity experience from last year, and the team looks for him to compete at the varsity level again. Josh Siebert, Joshua Diener, Mackenna Reed and Ella Suderman all participated in golf for the first time last year and gained some experience playing in JV tournaments.

There are also three sophomore girls returning from last year. Annaliese Jorgenson, Monroe James and Grace Hein all participated in some JV competitions last year. They are being joined this year by sophomore Rylie Driggers, who is participating in golf for the first time.

“These girls have shown some progress since they began golfing last spring. I know Annaliese has worked quite a bit during the off-season, and she competed in some girls tournaments last summer,” O’Hare said.

Rounding out the team are five freshman boys. Emery Dalke, Owen Dalke, Lincoln Wichert and Gavin Priest have all gained some golf experience by participating in the local Jr. Golf Camp that O’Hare runs. Aaron Paulus is participating for the first time.

“I believe all of these guys have some great potential if they work at it, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of them in the mix to compete for a top six varsity spot as the season progresses,” O’Hare said. “I am excited to work with this group of kids. Overall, they seem very eager to learn and improve, and they have shown a high degree of coach-ability.”

O’Hare said it will be a challenge with the number of golfers who are on the team and the large variety of experience and ability levels.

“Assistant coach Dustin Dalke and myself will need to be very strategic in practice planning to help get the newer golfers some basic instruction to get them heading in the right direction while providing more individual instruction to assist the more experienced golfers in progress in their game,” he said.

Due to scheduling conflicts and weather, the team has had limited practice opportunities to this point, so it is yet to be seen how good this team can be.

“I really believe we have some pieces in place to improve on the past several seasons. With some of the varsity experience returning, if a few of the others can progress quickly, I think we can get a varsity group in place that can shoot some solid scores and be very competitive,” said O’Hare.

Coming—The Trojans get started April 5 at Herington, and then host their Invitational on Thursday, April 8.

 

Front row: Jerusalem Driggers, Delaney Lucero, Kirsten Kluver. Back row: Skylre Stucky, Reese Hefley, Ryleigh Petersen, Jenna Friesen, Keeley Brewer and Anslee Brewer. Returning letter-winners and seniors for Hillsboro and Peabody-Burns Softball

Front row: D’Myia Cox, Emersyn Funk, Trudy Hein, Sammie Saunders, Moriah Jost and Wenxi Funk. Middle row: Zachary Denhol, Nate Hein, Jamari Harris, Tristan Rathbone and Tyson Plenert. Back row: Nicholas Cunningham, Deon Weeks, Pedro Nieto, Filow Cruz and Nathan Lopez.Returning letter-winners and seniors for HHS track.

Marion track team plans to build on past success

While Marion High School track did well last year, they are hoping to do even better this year. They had several athletes place well at state including Anne Baliel, first place, pole vault; Todd Palic, first place, discus; and Chance Shults, 14th place, pole vault.

While Baliel and Palic have graduated, Chance Shults is only a junior and will be key this year.

Other top returning athletes include Campbell Winte, senior, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, pole vault; Heidi Grimmett, senior, 800 meter, 1600 meter; Grayce Tankersley, senior, long jump, triple jump, relays; Mckinnon Waner, junior, shot put, discus, javelin; Christopher Beery, junior, 3200 meter, 1600 meter; Tristen Dye, junior, 800 meter, 1600 meter; Chance Shults, junior, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, pole vault; and Jonathan Frese, sophomore, 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter.

Other key players will be seniors Noah Slater, sprint; DE Smith, throws; and DJ Smith, throws; along with sophomore Grace Hett, long jump, triple jump, relays; and freshmen Luke Wessel, 800 meter, 1600 meter, 3200 meter; Sophia Dye, throws; Addison Cooper, jumps; Kenna Wesner jumps and hurdles; and Taryn Kraus, jumps and hurdles.

“We look to improve from last season. As a team, we are more experienced this year, and we look forward to competing,” said Grant Thierolf, who has been head coach for 34 years.

Thierolf feels their biggest challenge will be getting the athletes into the right events so they are able to have success and to help the team. The team has been preparing by participating in other sports and staying active.

“Our goal is to be the best we can be at the end of the year is our goal every year,” said Thierolf.

Coming—The team had their first meet on April 5 at home, and then they will participate in the Marion Invitational on Friday, April 8.

Mickelly Soyez, Jayden May. MHS Softball seniors and returning letter-winners.

Marion swimmers add members to team of solid returners.

Amy Gayle, Hannah Stubenhofer-May, Emily Hake, Macy Priest (Hillsboro), and Emily Paulus (Hillsboro) are Marion swim team’s returning letter-winners and seniors.

Marion swim team is not only back for their second year, they have added more athletes to their team, including swimmers from Hillsboro. The team was already combined with Centre last year and hope to only be stronger as they add even more competitors.

One of the leaders of the team is Amy Gayle, who went to state last year and placed 26th out of 32. Other solid returners are sophomores Caitlin Thornhill and Leah Brunner (Centre). Other key players will be senior Macy Priest and junior Ainsley Duell, both of Hillsboro.

“It’s new and exciting team this year with Hillsboro joining the team. We started off great so far, and I only see improvements each and every day. I see us getting a couple individuals into state this year with the possibility of a relay,” said Randy Carlson, who is starting his second season as head coach.

One of the challenges that Carlson sees is just getting those who have not had him as a coach up to speed and correcting stroke mechanics. But he isn’t worried, because the girls are hard workers.

“They come in and swim. They prepare themselves and work really really hard. Swimming is a tough, physically and mentally demanding sport,” said Carlson.

For now the group is working on continuing to grow as a team and as individual swimmers.

“Our goal is always to get to state. It just takes one day at a time,” said Carlson.

Coming—The girls have already had three meets and done very well. They will swim in Newton next on Tuesday, April 12.

Peabody-Burns track small again but ready to compete

After having Jake Partridge compete at state in long jump last season, the Peabody-Burns High School track and field team is ready to see what he does this year, along with other key returning athletes senior Mya Winter and junior Jefferson Glover.

“It was Jake’s first appearance at the state meet and a great experience for him. I believe he finished around 11th overall,” said Kody Tegtmeier, who returns for his fourth year as head coach.

While the team brings back some solid returners, they are a small team.

“We are once again a very small group, but we will have some athletes who compete well at every meet. We are not going to win any meets as a team due to numbers but hopefully are going to push for two to four athletes to make it to Wichita at the end of the season.

The team faces other challenges on top of their numbers.

“We have to stay healthy all season and continue to push each other to get better in our individual events. There is not a lot of competition amongst our athletes due to the fact that we only have one or two kids in the same events,” said Tegtmeier.

Most of the athletes out for track and field have been competing in football, basketball and/or volleyball through the course of the school year, so they are in shape and ready.

“I also have most of the boys on the team in the weight room with me on a daily basis,” said Tegtmeier.

The team’s goal once again is to compete at their highest level at every meet.

“Practice is very challenging when you don’t have the numbers to compete against each other during the week, so we have to learn how to push and compete against ourselves every day. Our goal is to get at least two athletes to Wichita at the end of the season,” said Tegtmeier.

Coming—The Warriors got going on April 5 at Fairfield, and then they will be in Marion on Friday, April 8.

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