County high school sports fans enjoyed many memorable performances and several outstanding individual accomplishments in 2009, particularly in state track and field.
Meanwhile, a familiar name surfaced late in the year to fill the head coaching position at Tabor College, and stirred hope of gridiron accomplishments befitting a new, top-of-the-line athletic stadium.
The Hillsboro boys placed fourth while the girls placed third by edging Marion in the final round of the annual Trojan Classic. The MHS boys placed eighth. Hesston boys and Thomas More Prep girls were the tournament champs.
Led by weight-class champion John Hein (189 pounds), the Hillsboro wrestling took second at the regional wrestling tournament at Garden Plain. In addition to Hein, the following Trojans qualified for state: Robby McClelland (119), Nicholas Mueller (130), Matthew Yoder (135), Aaron Bina (140) and Tyler Jones (152). Qualifying from Marion were Cody Wildin (130), Adam Regnier (140) and Tylor Neil (145).
Cody Wildin of Marion claimed a silver medal in the 130-pound division at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament in Hays Feb. 28, losing the championship match by a single point. Nicholas Mueller was Hills?boro?s top finisher, placing fifth at 130.
The Hillsboro High girls? basketball team earned a berth in the Class 3A state tournament in Hutchinson with a 38-22 win over Halstead in the regional championship game at Marion.
The Goessel boys? basketball team qualified for the Class 1A state tournament in Emporia by beating Pretty Prairie 70-64 in the sub-state finals.
Hillsboro and Marion are among the schools planning to leave the Mid-Central Activities Association at the end of the 2009-10 school year. Hillsboro will join with seven other MCAA schools to form a new league while Marion has been accepted into the Heart of America league. Transportation expenses and lost school time were cited as key reasons for the change.
Wichita State University volleyball player Tina Frick, a Hillsboro High alum, signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Tabor College this fall.
Daniel Swaney was named the new cross-country head coach at Tabor College. He will succeed Karol Hunt.
No. 1 seeded Southwestern Heights knocked off Hillsboro in the opening round of the Class 3A basketball tournament, 49-38. HHS?finished with a 14-10 season record.
The Goessel boys finished fourth at the Class 1A state tournament in Emporia with a 1-2 record. The Bluebirds, 21-7 for the year, defeated Thunder Ridge, then lost to Hanover and Centralia.
Six Hillsboro Trojans and four Marion Warriors received all-league recognition by the basketball coaches of the MCAA. For HHS, Daniel Jost and David Loewen made the boys? first team while Clay Shewey received honorable mention; Dakota Kaufman was picked for the girls? first team, Candace Weinbrenner for the second team and Allie Faul received honorable mention. For MHS, Julia Zeiner was picked for the girls? first team, while Lindsay Hett and Kaylee Heerey made the second team.
The HHS track-and-field team will be training on makeshift facilities at the old football practice field while the new stadium and track project is under way.
Len Coryea resigned as head football coach after compiling a 27-25 record through five seasons.
?Drive 4 Your School,? sponsored by Ford Motor Co. and Hillsboro Ford, generated about $3,000 for the HHS?booster club. Ford Motor Co. contributed $20 for every person who test-drove a vehicle.
Former Hillsboro High School girls? basketball coach Becky Carlson will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame this summer. Carlson spent the first 21 years of her 25-year career at HHS, where she compiled a 333-149 record.
The Hillsboro High School doubles team of Clay Shewey and Taylor Hagen earned a berth in the Class 3A state tennis tournament by placing third in the regional tournament at Hills?boro. They went on to place seventh at state.
The Marion boys? track-and-field team won the MCAA league meet. Meanwhile, Julia Zeiner won gold medals on four events to lead MHS to second place in the girls? division.
For the first time in school history, Hillsboro High School had athletes competing in state competition for all five of its spring sports programs: tennis, golf, baseball, softball and track-and-field.
The HHS?softball team qualified for state competition for the first time in the 11-year history of the program by beating Council Grove 9-5 in the regional finals at Marion. The baseball team made its third trip to state by beating Beloit 5-0 in the first regional tournament Hillsboro has hosted.
The HHS track team qualified 13 entrees for state and the boys? team won the team title at the regional track-and-field meet in Marion. The Goessel boys won their regional title at Madison.
Chad Markley won the Memorial Day weekend demolition derby in Hillsboro. Dustin Hendricks won the compact car ?Figure 8? race.
Julia Zeiner became Marion High?s first multiple-event state champion in track-and-field since Gary Melcher when she won gold medals in the triple jump and long jump. She also won a silver medal in the 300-meter hurdles and was a member of the fifth-place 4×100 team.
Dakota Kaufman turned in the top individual performance for HHS at the state track meet when she won the silver medal in triple jump.
Peabody-Burns speedster Lauren Pickens repeated as the champion in the Class 2A girls? 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. Goessel?s Craig Banman won gold in the Class 1A 200 and 400, anchored the Bluebirds? wining 4×400 team and placed second in the 100.
The HHS softball and baseball teams lost in the first round of their respective state tournaments. The softball team lost to undefeated Thomas More Prep 10-0 to finish 13-11 for the year while the baseball team fell to Galena 6-2 to finish 17-6.
Hillsboro?s Daniel Jost and Jacob Edwards were first-team selections for the MCAA all-league baseball team while Jacob Fish received honorable mention. Marion?s Brian Fruechting was a first-team pick while Adam Maag made the second team and Wil Case received honorable mention.
Six members of Hillsboro High?s softball team received MCAA all-league recognition: Taylor Nikkel, first team; Briana Loewen, Sammy Koons and Franny Gottsch, second team; Stephanie Sanders and Courtney Weber, honorable mention. For Marion, Alex Cain and Brooke Johnson received honorable mention.
Max Heinrichs, principal at Hillsboro High School, was also named its head football coach for the upcoming season. He succeeds Len Coryea, who will rejoin the staff as an assistant coach.
Tabor College hosted an after-business-hours tour for Hills?boro Chamber of Commerce members of the Joel A. Wiens Stadium, which is nearing completion.
It was made official that Hills?boro will be joining the newly named Central Kansas League starting with the 2010-11 school year. The other members of the league will be Halstead, Haven, Hesston, Lyons, Nickerson, Smoky Valley and Sterling from the current MCAA, as well as Kingman and Pratt.
Marion snapped a seven-year losing streak in volleyball when the Warriors defeated Hillsboro in the third-place match at the MCAA preseason tournament in Lyons.
Test drivers of new cars at Hillsboro Ford raised around $2,000 for the Hillsboro High School Booster Club through the ?Drive One 4 Your School? fund?raiser. Each test drive generated a $20 donation from Ford Motor Co.
Chilly weather didn?t keep the Tabor College community from dedicating the new Joel A. Wiens Stadium during this year?s homecoming weekend, Oct 9-10.
The Hillsboro High volleyball team qualified for the Class 3A state tournament in Salina by beating Remington in the sub-state tournament championship match at Sedgwick Oct. 24.
MHS football team defeated Hillsboro, 21-20 in overtime. But it was Hillsboro that advanced to the first round of the state playoffs because of the point system in district play.
The HHS?volleyball team went 1-2 in pool play, ending its run for a state title at the Class 3A state tournament in Salina.
Marion freshman Jordan Hett placed ninth in the Class 3A state cross-country race in Wamego. Lauren Pickens placed sixth in the Class 2A girls? race. Nathan Vogel, Hillsboro?s only qualifier, finished 52nd in Class 3A boys.
Wichita Collegiate, the eventual state champion, ended Hillsboro?s run in the state football playoffs Nov. 7 with a 48-0 win in the regional championship game. The Trojans finished 7-5.
Mike Gottsch announced Nov. 11 he would resign as head football coach at Tabor College following his team?s season finale game on Saturday. The Bluejays finished 0-10 for the season and were 3-27 during Gottsch?s tenure.
Tabor College announced Dec. 1 that Mike Gardner would be returning to Tabor College as the new head football coach, effective Dec. 16. Gardner led the Bluejays to the NAIA?playoffs in 2004 and 2005 and was the KCAC ?Coach of the Year? those years. He had been coaching at Malone University in Ohio since leaving Tabor.
Representing Hillsboro on the final MCAA all-league football team were: Ben Bebermeyer, Ethan Frantz, Jacob Fish, Jacob Edwards, Taylor Hagen, Caleb Hilliard and Chance Reese. Representing ?Marion were Nick Klenda, Parker Ash, Sheldon Boone, Eric Vogel, Tylor Neil and Mitch Cody.