The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on November 3, 1996 · Page 36
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 36

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Sunday, November 3, 1996
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D4 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1996 SPORTS THE SAUNA JOURNAL V HIGH SCHOOL STATE VOLLEYBALL Weskan rallies to edge Centralia for 1A crown Coyotes finish 41-0 and extend winning streak to 53 matches By JIM MISUNAS Harris News Service HAYS — Wendy Okeson was at the mountaintop, waiting for her Weskan Coyote teammates to join her. When hitter Pamela Welsh raised her play to championship level, the rest of the Coyotes quickly followed suit in a 9-15, 15-12, 15-8 comeback victory over Centralia in Saturday's Class 1A state volleyball title game. "Those were two very, very good teams that played right there," said Weskan coach Dave Hale. "That's what a state championship match ought to be played like." Weskan, with an enrollment of 36, brought the state trophy back to Wallace County with a perfect 41-0 record while Centralia lost for the first time in 39 matches and for the second straight time in the 1A state finals. Weskan's second consecutive three-game victory over Centralia pushed the Coyotes' winning streak to 53 matches. Centralia, the 1994 state champion, beat Weskan in the semifinals two years ago. Centralia led 8-4 in the second game when the versatile Okeson finally got a lot of help from her friends. Tania Funk and Byrnne Cox chipped in key plays at the net, and Welsh ripped several momentum- swinging spikes that toppled over Panther players. "Some of those spikes were 10s," Welsh said. "It picked everybody up. Once I get in a groove, I got the confidence to keep hitting it hard." Once Welsh ended the second game with a big spike, Weskan never trailed again. When Weskan's lead was sliced to 11-8 behind Kristen Rethman, Welsh responded with two spikes which were followed up by match-ending blocks by Funk and Cox. "Centralia's setters hit the ball so high, our timing was off at the start," Hale said. "Once we timed it better and watched the setters hands, we were able to get some blocks on the outside, which slowed Centralia's offense down." Setters Stacey Welsh and Michele Smith set the table perfectly for Weskan's heavy hitters Okeson and Pamela Welsh. "Pamela's a great athlete, who really swung the momentum with some hits, but the real key was we started passing the ball better to our setters," Hale said. Both teams played exceptional defense, showed off superb setters and finished with big spikes. The match was filled with big spikes by Centralia's Brooke Strathman and Kristen Rethman, who were eventually matched by Weskan's frontline. "Centralia just outplayed us early," Hale said. "They were passing the ball extremely well. "But as far as pure athletic talent, I thought we'd eventually get them. The three games last year went exactly like this." In the third-place match, Jewell beat Argonia 15-11,15-10. Centralia rolled through the semifinals and pool play without losing a game, but Weskan was pushed to three games by pesky semifinalist Jewell. Class 2A Garden Plain captured the 2A championship with a 15-4, 13-15, 154 triumph over Goessel at Gross Memorial Coliseum. KELLY PRESNELL/The Salina Journal Members of the Hesston volleyball team anxiously await the officials decision on whether a match- point spike by the Swathers was tipped by a Nemaha Valley player in Saturday's Class 3A State Volleyball Tournament championship match. The decision was to replay and Hesston lost the point, eventually the game, 16-14, and the match. Nemaha Valley slips past Hesston in 3A title match Champions rally from 10-1 deficit in third game to claim crown By ERIC BROWN The Scilina Journal Nemaha Valley successfully defended its Class 3A state title by the narrowest of margins. In a rematch of the 1992 and 1994 state championship matches, the Lady Raiders, 30-5, turned back top-seeded Hesston, 15-6, 6-15, and 16-14. After winning the first game, Nemaha Valley watched the Swathers go on a 24-4 run to claim the second game and take a commanding 10-1 lead in the decisive third game. The Lady Raiders battled back and cut the Hesston lead to 13-12. Nemaha Valley had to with- stand three match points, the third of which they almost didn't survive. A Swather attack that may have deflected off a Lady Raider block, landed out of bounds. The back judge initially ruled that it was indeed off the block, which would have given Hesston the match, while the other two officials ruled the hit out of bounds. The three officials huddled and, after an unresolved discussion, ruled to replay the point. Nemaha Valley then tied the score and went on to win the third game, 16-14. "I'm disappointed for our girls to have it end like this. It was obvious to everyone in the gym that it was off the defender," Hesston coach Vickie Annable said. "I don't want to take anything away from Nemaha Valley, but our kids played their hearts out and they know in their hearts that they are the best team in the state." "I was real pleased we came back after the way we started out," Annable said. Nemaha Valley scored the first nine points of the match but Hesston answered in the second, erasing a 3-1 deficit in the second game to take a 15-6 win. "Our girls knew what it took," Lady Raider coach Betty Peterson said. "This is my first year and so the girls wanted to start a tradition for me. It's a great group of girls." Hesston went deep into the semifinal game as well, downing Silver Lake 15-11, 16-18 and 16-14. Nemaha Valley also used three games to get to the final, downing Riley County 12-15,15-7, 15-12. In the third-place match, Riley County rebounded to down Silver Lake, 15-12, 15-2. Third time the charm for Santa Fe Trail in 4A final Second the last two seasons, the Chargers beat Ottawa for title By ERIC BROWN ne Salina Journal After playing the bridesmaid for two years in a row, Santa Fe Trail wasn't to be denied this yeaf. The Chargers, who have lost in the state finals each of the past two seasons, downed Ottawa, 7-15, 15-1, 15-4 Saturday in the finals of the Class 4A State Volleyball Tournament at the Bicentennial Center. It was a long-awaited matchup between the schools. The regular-season match between the two was cancelled due to a snow storm and they never met in Ottawa's host tournament as the Cyclones failed to advance from their pool. Ottawa, 37-7, stormed through the first game, scoring the first five points and, after Trail cut it to 7-5, Ottawa went on a 8-2 run to take the first game. That would serve as a wake-up call for the Chargers, who would allow just five points the rest of the match. "We had a very hard, big sub- state and I guess it's kind of hard to be up two weekends in a row," Trail coach Susan Averill said. "It feels much better leaving this time." Trail, 35-3, jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second game and never looked back. "We started hitting the ball," Averill said. "Our girls did a good job blocking. Our size advantage was important and I think that was as much mental as anything." The two teams see-sawed early in the third game with several side- outs. The game was knotted at 2-2 before Trail opened things up again closing out the Cyclones with a 13-2 run as Jarrafi Myers put the final exclamation mark on the match with a decisive kill. Trail did it with a roster full of underclassman so AverilTs Chargers will have high expectations to live up to next season. Santa Fe Trail juniors Myers and Megan Carter made the 4A State Tournament Team. Ottawa had three players selected — Mindy Brown, Ashley Beets and Sara Ostmeyer. Trail defeated Perry-Lecompton 15-13,16-18,15-3 in the semifinal and Ottawa advanced by downing Haven, 15-11 and 15-10. Perry-Lecompton claimed thurfl place downing Haven 17-15,15-1. ''• Classes 5A, 6A At Topeka, Wichita Carroll defeated Shawnee Mission Miege, 159, 9-15,15-8, in the 5A final. In the 6A final, Blue Valley Northwest whipped Leavenworth, 15-11, 15-6. i T HIGH SCHOOL STATE CROSS COUNTRY Title streak ends for Southeast girls Riley County puts halt to five-year Trojan reign in Class 3A By ARNE GREEN The Salina Imimal WAMEGO — The Southeast of Saline Trojans were victims of their own success Saturday at the Class 3A state cross country meet. So dominant has Southeast been in recent years that a third- place finish by the girls and the boys fourth-place showing were not up to the Trojans' lofty standards. "We ran OK, but it definitely wasn't one of our better races," said Southeast coach Wayne Sager, whose Trojan girls saw their state championship streak end at five. "We knew Riley County would be a tremendous challenge for us. Riley County ran well and we weren't able to stay with them. Then Belle Plaine came in and ran a good race. "We're disappointed, but I'm still very proud of our kids. You can't expect to run your best race every time and we got beat today by some good 3A competition." It was Sacred Heart's Sara Wells who turned in the day's top performance by a Saline County runner, placing fourth in the girls 2-1A race. In Class 3A, Southeast's girls finished with 89 points, while Riley County won with 55 and Belle Plaine was second at 74. Riley County's Amy Mortimer was the medalist in 11:51.65. For Southeast, sophomore Leslie Brady was the top finisher, placing ninth with a time of 13:11. Freshman Stacie Justice also received a medal with a 14th- place time of 13:22. "I was pretty pleased with it," said Brady, who placed fourth last year. "I went out a little too fast, but I had to go out strong so I wouldn't get boxed in. "Individually, my goal was just to be up there in a good place and do well for the team. I thought we ran a good race. It was just Riley's day, I guess." Southeast's boys, who came into their race with a No. 1 state ranking, scored 132 points to finish behind Eudora (83 points), Leoti (87) and Wabaunsee. Riley County's Ben Sigle won with a time of 16:27. Sophomore Daniel Craig led the Trojans with a 17th-place time of 17:47. He was 19th last year. "I guess I gave it my all and that's all I can do," Craig said. "I placed better than last year, which was good. There was a lot of good competition here and we knew coming in that there were a lot of teams that could win." Mike Willis finished 32nd (18:11) and Jason Evans 37th (18:22) for the Trojans, who had no seniors on the team. Class 2-1A In the 2-lA girls race, Wells found herself unable to keep up with frontrunners Dodie Martin of Stanton County (12:26.27), Katherine Black of Chase County (12:46.16) and Jackie Stiles of Claflin (12:46.38). Her fourth-place time of 12:59 was 10 seconds faster than the next finisher. "I probably ran better," said Wells, a senior who improved on last year's eighth-place finish. "I was more confident because of the training I had this year." Ell-Saline's Kristine Isaacson, the Cardinals' only runner at the meet, finished 34th in 14:19. In the boys race, Sacred Heart finished 10th with a score of 224. Quinter won with 66. Ryan Pickett was 32nd for the Knights (18:38) and Frank Milazzo 33rd (18:39). Williams paces Central with 16th-place finish Wahlgren leads South boys to seventh place in Class 5A team race By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal LAWRENCE — Previous experience at the Kansas State Cross Country Championships is supposedly to a young runner's benefit. All it did for Salina Central sophomore Jessica Williams was make her nervous. Williams made her second appearance at the state meet Saturday and despite a serious case of nerves prior to the start of the two-mile race, earned a state medal with a 16th place finish. "Winning a medal was definitely a goal of mine," Williams said, "but I was just so nervous before the race. Even more nervous than last year. This year I knew what to expect and I knew there was a lot of good competition here." Williams was running well back in the pack as she covered the first half of the Rim Rock Farm course, but moved up a number of positions as she neared the finish line. She finished with a time of 12:16.6, cutting 20 seconds off her time a year ago on the same course. "I came out of the chute and wanted to keep a pace," Williams said. "I didn't want to go out real hard like a lot of runners do. With a little more than a half- mile to go, I heard somebody say I was around 40th place, so I made up a lot of ground from there." Williams had the best finish and earned the only medal among Salina athletes competing in Lawrence. Central sophomore Adam Moos finished 21st, one spot short of a state medal. The Salina South boys placed seventh in the team standings, despite No. 2 runner Brandon Ebert being slowed considerably by a foot injury. Ebert completed the race but was the last member of South's seven-man squad to cross the finish line. "We came in ranked seventh and finished seventh," South coach Jay Edwards said. "We essentially ran without our No. 2 runner. Brandon's been hurt about three weeks and it just got worse and worse. "I think this proved out that we had a tough regional last week, with four teams in the top seven. "The girls finished eighth but a lot of them had personal records here. We' really pleased with that and we have nearly all of them coming back." South senior Chad Wahlgren, making his third state appearance, led his team with a 24th- place finish. Wahlgren ran a 17:08.7 and cut nearly two minutes off his time from a year ago. "I was shooting for the top 20 and put myself in position to be there," Wahlgren said. "We're much happier than we were last week after regional when we ran scared and timid. "You have to be more aggressive here or you'll find yourself on the ground like I did last year." Moos was running for the first time at state and his time of 17:01.5 was only one second shy of finishing 20th and earning a medal. "It was just great," Moos said. "It was exactly the way I wanted to run, but I wish I could have caught some of those guys at the end. "This has just been the best season. It couldn't have been any better and next year I hope we can get the whole team here." Central's other state qualifier, junior A.J. Young, was unable to compete after suffering a wrist injury Friday night. The South girls were led by their two seniors. Jami Scoville placed 30th with a time of 12:40.8, with teammate Tina Baxa 38th in 12:53.6. Senior Matt Perry followed Wahlgren across the finish line for the South boys, placing 39th in 17:36.5. "We were all excited about running today," said Baxa, who was one of the South athletes to run a personal best. "We were kind of shook up before the start because it was the last race for some of us, but we were ready to go. Most of our team thought they did pretty good beacuse a lot of people had personal records on this course." Blochlinger runs second Minneapolis runner challenges Sigle for first in 3A boys race By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal WAMEGO — Nito Blochlinger would have loved to end his high school cross country career with a state championship, but simply turning in an injury-free performance was reward enough for the Minneapolis senior. Smith Center sophomore Lindsey Barnes had loftier goals in the girls race. Yet both runners had to be satisfied with second-place finishes Saturday in the Class 3A state cross country meet at Wamego Country Club. Blochlinger, who battled illness as a sophomore and missed last year's race altogether with a foot injury, challenged Riley County's Ben Sigle most of the way over the hilly 3.1-mile course before losing touch with the Falcon junior in th,e last quarter rnjle, tvTf'Slgle, a fffih-$sWfifc last year's meet, won with a time of 16 minutes, 27 seconds, followed by Blochlinger in 16:36. Northern Heights' Jeremy Wilson was a distant third in 17:18. "I was pleased with my time. I couldn't ask for more," said Blochlinger, who also finished second to Sigle at last week's Riley County regional. "My goal was to place in the top two in the state this year and I did. "Hats off to Ben. He just had a good, hard pace at the end and I couldn't handle it. It was a good race. I'm happy for him and happy for myself." In the 3A boys team race, Eudora was the champion with 83 points, led by Kenan Staples' sixth-place finish (17:29) and Eric Bloom's ninth-place time of 17:37. Leoti was a close second with 87, Wabaunsee third with 105 and Southeast of Saline fourth at 132. In the girls race, Smith Center's Barnes lost her bid for an unbeaten season when Riley County's Amy Mortimer caught and passed her about halfway through the two-mile course. Mortimer, who led Riley County to the team title with 55 points, finished in 11:51.65, followed by Barnes in 12:12 and Northern Heights' Kristi Sheeley in 12:27. "She did to me the same thing I . did to.hpr.at their meet (earlier in tnfr season)," Barnes said of Mortimer, who succesfully defended her 3A title. "I didn't run a very smart race. I tried to get out in front and I knew I had gone too early, so I just tried to keep it up. I knew she was a better sprinter than I. "I could tell she was behind me and I figured that's what she would do." Class 2-1A The 2-lA boys race was a triumph for Quinter, which finished first with 66 points. Meade was second with 78 and defending champion Stanton County third with 82. Sophomore Landon Porter led' the Bulldogs with a third-place time of 17:34 and junior Greg Zimmerman was eighth in 17:45. "It's a fantastic feeling," Quinter coach John Maack said of the championship. "Especially considering we have all of them back (next year) but one." Rolla senior Junior Vasquez was the individual winner with a time of 17:04, followed by Hill-, crest's Waylon Lawson in 17:30. Stanton County's girls won their fifth straight team championship with 34 points. Class 4A Clay Center's girls fell short in their effort to repeat as 4A champions, losing by 10 points to Ottawa. Ottawa finished with 62 points, Clay Center with 72 and Wamego with 76. The individual champion was Abby Friggeri of Girard in 12:28.85. Clay Center's Stacy Kahrs fourth (12:40). -4-

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