High schools, Tabor challenge for post-season success

Post-season success on the field, the court and track was once again a highlight for the six public districts in the Free Press coverage area, as well as sports teams at Tabor College.

JANUARY

Tabor College basketball standout, senior Lance Carter, was recognized prior to the Bluejays’ game with Sterling for setting a new Bluejay career scoring record. Former record-holder Jesse Herrmann presented Carter with a framed photo commemorating the achievement. Through 103 games in his career, Carter scored 1,632 points.

Students on the Tabor men’s and women’s basketball teams had a unique opportunity to fill some of the void created by moving away from home. For the past five years, Tabor teams have participated in a “foster family” program, in which student athletes are matched with a family from the community. Women’s basketball head coach Shawn Reed, who previously coached at Sterling College, initiated the program.

Lena Kleiner and Tom Kaufman, representing the Hillsboro Trojan Booster Club, accepted a check for $2,380 from Hillsboro Ford co-owners Terry Hagen and Randy Hagen. The money was raised through the dealership’s Drive 4-UR School fundraiser in October. Over the years, Drive 4UR School has raised around $27,000 for Hillsboro High School athletics

FEBRUARY

The Tabor College men’s basketball team cut down the net after winning its third consecutive regular-season KCAC title. Tabor defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan to finish the regular season with a 19-3 conference record, 22-8 overall.

Travis King was the lone wrestler representing Hills­boro at the Class 3-2-1A state wrest­ling tournament in Hays. It was his third state appearance.

Five of Marion’s nine wrestlers participating in the Class 3-2-1A regional tournament qualified for state with top-four finishes. Two Warriors won their respective weight classes: Charlie Nordquist and Tyler Palic. Two Warriors placed second: Bryce Shults and Noah Albin. Jarrett Johnson was Marion’s fifth qualifier, placing third.

All five of Marion’s state qualifiers earned at least one win at the Class 3-2-1A wrestling tournament in Hays Friday and Saturday. Junior Tyler Palic won his first three matches at 195 pounds before losing in the championship to finish as state runner-up.

MARCH

The Hillsboro boys’ basketball team qualified for the Class 2A state basketball tournament in Manhattan by defeating Lyndon, 43-32, in the finals of the Class 2A sub-state tournament hosted by Canton-Galva High School.

Hillsboro nearly gave the top-seeded team at the Class 2A state tournament a sacred heart attack on opening night, but the Knights from Sacred Heart survived to play another day with a 55-54 win Wednesday over the Trojans in Bram­lage Coliseum.

The Tabor College men’s basketball team gave top seeded Indiana Wesleyan everything it had in Satur­day’s NAIA Division II national championship quarterfinals, but came up short, 64-62.

In its second game of the NAIA Division II national championship tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, the Tabor women succumbed to first-seeded and overall top-ranked St. Francis Friday, 69-53.

Lance Carter, Julian Winton and Tena Loewen received recognition on their respective men’s and women’s NAIA Division II All-America basketball teams as announced last week. Winton, a junior, was an honorable mention All-America selection. Loewen, a senior, represents Tabor’s 27-7 women’s team as an honorable mention All-America recipient.

APRIL

Wes Shaw set a school record in the discus with a throw of 157 feet, 3 inches. The effort was 4 inches farther than the previous record of 156-11 set by David Penner in 1981. Shaw won the Class 1A-3A shot put event with a heave of 47-6.5.

Hillsboro resident Joe Kleinsasser was inducted into the Greater Wichita Officials Association Hall of Fame. Kleinsasser was a registered basketball official for 40 years, he worked sub-state tournaments for 31 years and worked state tournaments starting in 1986 (29 years).

MAY

HHS sophomore Wes Shaw broke the 49-year-old school record in shot put at the Central Kansas League Meet in Hillsboro. Shaw heaved the shot 55 feet, 11⁄2 inches, which surpassed Milford Klaassen’s 1968 record of 54-101⁄2 by 3 inches. Klaassen’s record was the oldest record in Trojan track and field. With Shaw’s achievement, which included a CKL gold medal, every boys’ track and field record at Hillsboro has been set during head coach Dennis Boldt’s tenure.

The Marion baseball team celebrated after winning the Class 3A regional baseball tournament at Southeast of Saline. The Warriors defeated Hillsboro, then Beloit, to earn a trip to the state tournament.

Marion’s seven athletes competing in Class 3A at the state track meet earned seven medals, including one gold. Junior Tyler Palic was the discus champion with a winning throw of 175 feet, 11 inches, more than 20 feet farther than second place. Palic also placed sixth in the shot put (48-5.5). Junior Jack Schneider earned a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash and anchored the sixth-place 4×400 relay with teammates Tyler Arocha, Zachary Stuchlik and Colin Williams. Senior Marissa Jacobson was the Warrior girls’ only competitor. She placed third in the long jump.

Sophomore Wes Shaw led the contingent of 14 athletes who competed for Hillsboro at the Class 2A state track meet at Wichita. He placed third in shot put and seventh in discus. Also earning medals as a top-eight finisher were Sienna Kaufman, fourth in pole vault; Kaden Ward sixth in high jump and seventh in pole vault; and Jonathan Hiner­man finished eighth in the 1,600.

Not only did the Marion Warriors reach the state baseball tournament, they advanced to the championship game, setting a number of program records in the process. The Warriors enjoyed an 18-game win streak during the regular season, and were the first Warrior team to win a game at a state tournament and took it a step further by winning two. The 23-2 Warriors will go in the record books as the winningest team in program history.

Hillsboro’s golf team finished sixth out of 12 schools competing at the Class 2A State Championship Tour­nament at Garden City. Elliot Ollenburger led the Trojans with an 88, which tied for 22nd place among the 87 golfers and just one stroke out of top-20 medalists. Rounding out the scoring were Elias Werth 91, Caroline Roth 96, Carson Herbel 100, Joe Knoll 105 and Colin Settle 118.

Josh Schmidt, a 2017 Goessel graduate, was selected to play in the 32nd annual Kansas 8-man Division I All-Star football game at Trojan Field in Beloit.

JUNE

Two reclassification proposals were approved by member schools as announced by the Kansas State High School Activities Association. The new classification rules will not go into effect until the 2018-19 school year. In football, Hillsboro and Marion will move from Class 3A to Class 2A.

JULY

For the fourth-consecutive year, the Hillsboro swim team won the Mid-Kansas League championship swim meet, tallying 1,077 points through 80 events to top the nine-team field.

The Cottonwood Valley League Senior Babe Ruth team (ages 16-18), comprised mostly of Marion County players, was the runner-up at the District 4 tournament in Moundridge July 6-10. As runners-up, the team qualified for the state tournament July 12-16, then secured a spot in the Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Regional Tournament in Junction City, July 20-24.

OCTOBER

Hillsboro freshman Tristan Reed qualified for the Class 2A state cross-country race by placing eighth in a field of 70 runners in a personal-best 18 minutes, 51 seconds.

Marion senior Colin Williams qualified for state by finishing fifth in a field of 70 runners. He crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, 45 seconds, about 14 seconds from his personal-best time.

Goessel was represented by senior Julia Nightengale at the Class 2A cross-country meet at Wamego. Nighten­gale was the lone Bluebird to qualify. Her time of 23:04 was her season best by 10 seconds.

Goessel’s oh-so-close unbeaten volleyball season ended one step from perfection with the Bluebirds’ second-place finish at the Class 2A state tournament. Goessel took a 39-0 record into the tournament and swept all three pool games on Friday.

Members of the media and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches showed major respect for the Tabor College basketball programs during the annual Media Day gathering Oct. 17 in Wichita. The coaches poll and media poll for men’s basketball picked South­western College as the favorite to win the conference crown this season, but the Bluejays were right behind. In the women’s polls, both the coaches and media picked Tabor as the team to beat. Nine of the 10 coaches who voted picked the Bluejays to win the crown.

Offense was hard to come by for the Marion Warrior football team in a 56-0 defeat at Cheney in a Class 3A regional contest. Marion ended the season with a record of 8-3. This was Marion’s first postseason appearance since 2014, having ended the regular season at 7-2 the past three years. Marion’s bi-district win over Halstead earlier in the week gave the Warriors their first playoff win since 2013.

Winning the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Con­ference volleyball tournament not only earned them the KCAC tournament championship, it qualified them for a spot in the NAIA Volleyball Champion­ship.

Fueled by a supportive home crowd and powered by Amy Horner, its KCAC player of the year, the Tabor College volleyball team went the five-set max before defeating Trinity Christian College, 3-2, in the opening round of the NAIA Volley­ball Championship Saturday afternoon at Hills­boro.

Tabor returned home from the NAIA Volleyball National Cham­pionships with an 0-3 record in pool play, but that doesn’t mean the team didn’t come home without a victory. “I was so pleased with the team and how hard they fought,” coach Amy Ratzlaff said.

The Tabor College football team did everything it could possibly do on the field to extend its season with a 65-21 thumping of Bethany College. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to earn an at-large berth in the NAIA playoffs. But the Bluejays did come away with some history to claim. “We got our third conference title in a row, which has never been done before at Tabor College,” coach Mike Gardner said.

For 30 years, Grant Thierolf has walked the sideline as Marion’s head football coach. But Marion’s Class 3A regional loss to Cheney in early November also signaled the end of an era, as Thierolf has decided to step away from coaching football.

Mike Jamieson has been hired by Tabor College to be head coach for men’s and women’s golf. He was to assume his duties Dec. 1 with the goal to begin the program with the 2018-19 academic year.