BIG SPORTS YEAR AT McPHERSON HIGH — We started in August, unsure if there was even going to be a 2020-21 McPherson High sports season.
It began with minimal masked fans at the fall sporting events. When it moved inside for the winter, we started with no fans, then eventually limited fans, all with masks.
Then it moved to spring and the outside, where masks were optional and social distancing was encouraged. It finally somewhat resembled normalcy as a vaccine proved mostly effective.
In between it all, McPherson High turned in another great year, with nearly half the sports winning AVCTL Division III championships.
Eight Bullpup teams were crowned champions, while some that didn’t win league titles fared well in the postseason.
Fall champions were football, volleyball and girls tennis. In the winter, boys basketball and girls basketball captured championships, then in the spring we had girls track and field as well as baseball stake their claims to being Division III’s best.
The fall and winter were especially outstanding. Football and volleyball both made the Final Four at state and girls tennis took fourth. In the winter, girls basketball lost in the state finals to Miege and the boys made the Final Four, losing to Miege.
In the spring, the girls soccer team made the Final Four, with the familiar pattern of losing to Miege in the semifinals before coming back to take third place. The MHS boys tennis team lost by scant 2 points for the 4A title and the doubles team of Brady Gipson and Conner Glazner qualified for the Wall of Fame by blitzing the field. Girls swimming standout Danica Brunk had a huge state meet and will be a potential state champion in her final 3 years.
Many of the McPherson teams had a strong underclassmen presence, so it promises to be another big year in 2021-2022. And barring a second wave of the pandemic, we should return to normal thought everybody should still stay as safe as possible.
SMOKY WAS DOMINANT – A special shoutout to Smoky Valley track and field coach Jay Myers and his girls’ team for obliterating the field at the Class 3A State Championships on May 29 at Wichita.
The Vikings scored 85 points to easily blow away second-place Eureka, which tallied 43. Colby and Chaparral were a distant third with 33 apiece.
The Vikings sailed through the season undefeated as they were tremendous on the track, while in the field Belle Peters finished her career as the No. 2 female pole vaulter in Kansas history.
Peters wound up with three golds (pole vault, 200 and 100 hurdles) and a bronze (100 meters), while Gracie Lambert, as she did all year, ruled the 800 meters. Smoky Valley also won two relays – the 4 x 400 (Lambert, Abby Rose, Keira Mullen and Kajsa Peterson) as well as the 4 x 800 (Mullen, Rose, Lambert and McKinley Johnson).
Rose nearly won another gold medal as she was second in the 400. Breanne Peters chipped in with more big points with a third in the pole vault.
The Vikings graduate Belle Peters, Johnson, Ellise Peterson and Kajsa Peterson, so they’ll return plenty of firepower for a run at a repeat.
ROYALS, TWINS SPLIT – After winning the first two games of their four-game series with Minnesota, the Royals lost their final two games for a split. Both setbacks were by a single run and were tough losses because in both games the Royals had the tying run in scoring position with less than 2 outs in the ninth inning.
The Royals scored 9 runs in the first inning on Friday and blew out the Twins 14-5, but the bats were somewhat quiet the final two games.
KC is still a game over .500 with a 7-game West Coast trip coming up to the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland. The Angels are struggling mightily, but the A’s are among the best teams in baseball. It’s a three-game series in LA and a four-set with the A’s. I would say KC would probably take a 3-4 record for the trip as it doesn’t beat Oakland often.