The Kansas state track meet this weekend in Wichita will feature nearly 3,500 high school athletes competing at the 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A levels.
Events start at 8 a.m. Friday and wrap up Saturday evening in Cessna Stadium.
Cox Kansas 22 will televise 72 races beginning 3 p.m. Saturday with the girls and boys 4x100 relays, 400-meter dash, 300 low hurdles, 300 intermediate hurdles, 800 runs, 200 dashes and 4x400 relays. Team awards will be presented after the conclusion of the last 4x400 race.
County schools Pittsburg (4A), St. Mary’s Colgan (3A), Frontenac (4A), Girard (4A), Northeast (2A) and Southeast (3A) will be represented by several.
The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers are back in the state tournament following a one-year absence, making their first appearance in Class 3A* after being a dominant force on the 2-1A scene for several years.
The jubilation was apparent on the field of Galena High School when Colgan defeated Riverton 3-2 in last week’s regional final.
“Before the game, that’s all we talked about,” senior V.J. Piccini said. “We want to go back to state. I missed it personally and I know these guys have. I’m excited.”
“You could see the excitement there when Christian made the catch to end the game,” Colgan head coach Mike Watt said. “The kids dogpiled . . . that’s awesome. That’s why we play, that’s why I coach, to see that great sense of accomplishment and hopefully, we can get to do that again at the state tournament.”
Colgan enters play today at Tointon Family Stadium with a 17-5 record (counting a regional bye), facing No. 4 seed Lyons (18-3). The Panthers and the Lions have first pitch at approximately 1:30 p.m.
The Frontenac Raiders had both of the preseason favorites — baseball, softball — in the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League.
Both teams held up their end of the bargain by claiming league titles — back-to-back for both — and the baseball and softball teams returned 17 of a possible 18 starters, led by a strong, veteran senior group on both sides.
Headed into the Class 4A state tournament in Salina, seniors Lindsey Gorham, Jennifer Long, Nayna Fields, Libby Warrick, Sam Bonner and Ashton Alex have played on Raider teams with a combined record of 75-15 (.833 winning percentage) and 48-10 CNC (.828).
St. Mary’s Colgan senior David Misasi, who had been playing his best golf late in the season, went out in style Monday at the Class 3A state tournament on the links of the Spring Creek Golf Course.
Misasi posted a round of 76 to finish second behind individual state champion Ryan Hoover of Phillipsburg. Misasi, behind Hoover by three strokes after the front nine, shot a 37 on the back nine to narrow the deficit to two.
With the next Colgan golfer finishing in 45th (Bailey Beykirch, 90), the Panthers finished ninth in the 12-team field.
It was only a year ago Monday that former Central Missouri assistant coach Matt Murray started three consecutive days of finalist interviews for the Pittsburg State head baseball coach position left vacant by the retirement of longtime head man Steve Bever.
Murray beat out former Pitt State player and former assistant Daniel Esposito and University of Indianapolis assistant coach Alan Ready for the job and the Gorillas made their first MIAA Tournament appearance in nearly a decade, recording their most wins (29) since 2005 during Murray’s first season.
“The first year’s been incredible,” Murray said during an interview Monday in the parking lot of JayCee Ballpark a couple hours before the storm came through. “No. 1, when I think about family and getting my wife and family here and settled in, that was a big part of the transition from leaving Warrensburg. Once that piece was taken care of, that was a great feeling. Professionally, just a wonderful coaching staff we were able to bring in late and the fact that our players responded fairly well. I just felt like for the first year and what we’re going to do, it was a solid first step.”