Morning Sun
  • 2012 featured many historic achievements in sports

  • We’re almost there, almost to the final newspaper of 2012. Compiling this list of sports stories and working on each individual write-up brought on a flood of memories, and the fact that 2012 was an incredible year for sports.

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  • We’re almost there, almost to the final newspaper of 2012. Compiling this list of sports stories and working on each individual write-up brought on a flood of memories, and the fact that 2012 was an incredible year for sports.
    Brown breaks Ronnie West’s record
    Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown has made a major impact since his arrival in Pittsburg from Coffeyville Community College: vital component in the 2011 National Championship, dangerous return man and a legitimate threat to score every time he touches the ball.
    In the season finale Nov. 10 against Missouri Southern, Brown established a new Pitt State record for career receptions with his third and final grab of the game and of the 2012 season, passing 1991 Harlon Hill winner Ronnie West.
    The record now stands at 124 receptions and Brown will have a chance to build on that record in 2013.
    “The thing about John Brown,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck said. “As good a football player as he is and I think he’s a darn good football player, he’s a better kid. He’s a great kid and man, he’s fun to watch, he’s fun to coach and it’s exciting having him. We’re sure glad we’ve got him for one more season.”
    Brown’s receiving line: 124 receptions, 2,189 yards, 20 TDs. The Gorillas posted a 20-4 record the past two seasons.
    Abenoja sets school record in first start
    Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Abenoja first made waves in the 2011 Spring Game with 238 yards passing and three scores. He spent his redshirt freshman season backing up Zac Dickey on the road to a National Championship.
    Abenoja not only earned the starter’s job for 2012, he was selected one of seven team captains by his peers.
    In the highly-anticipated season opener against Northeastern State, his first collegiate start, Abenoja passed for a PSU single-game record 378 yards and three touchdowns during a 41-20 win.
    “I don’t know,” Abenoja said. “Records are records. They’re meant to be broken, I guess, but it goes to our entire offense. I couldn’t have done it without them. I couldn’t have done it without the o-line and the receivers, they did a great job catching the ball. The running backs caught the ball. . . . That goes to them. I just throw short passes and they go the field and get the yards.”
    In the first half alone, Abenoja was 16-of-19 for 240 yards and two TDs, completing passes to eight different receivers.
    Porter establishes freshman scoring record
    Every season brings with it exciting new players and the Pitt State men’s basketball team brought in several for the 2012-2013 season, including freshman point guard Kaleb Porter.
    Page 2 of 4 - In only his second collegiate game, Porter scored 34 points, not only a career high but a Pitt State freshman single-game record.
    “He can really shoot it,” Pitt State head coach Kevin Muff said. “He’s such a hard guard because he can drive it. He didn’t facilitate tonight but he didn’t really need to because every time he did take a look, I thought it was a good shot . . . he might have forced a couple. He got in the paint, nobody came to take him and he’ll just shoot layups. He’s a good player.”
    More importantly, Pitt State won the game 86-78; Porter scored all 11 PSU points of a 5-minute stretch (14:49-9:48) in the second half as the Gorillas went from behind 53-51 to ahead 62-57. He scored 20 points after halftime.
    The Gorillas have developed into a solid team and finished December with a 9-1 overall record, 2-0 mark in the conference and six-game winning streak, best in the MIAA.
    DeCastro sets home run records
    Amanda “Mannie” DeCastro emerged on the collegiate scene in 2009 as the MIAA Freshman of the Year and a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American (third team).
    After two more solid seasons, DeCastro truly outdid herself as a senior: .439 batting average, 42 runs, 69 hits, 16 doubles, three triples, 55 RBI, 142 total bases, .904 slugging percentage, 12 walks and nine strikeouts, .482 on-base percentage, .922 fielding percentage and 45 games played, good enough for MIAA Player of the Year and NFCA All-American second team honors.
    DeCastro slugged 17 home runs her senior year, a school record, and established a PSU career record in homers with 46, taking advantage of the friendly confines of the PSU Softball Complex.
    “She’s a stud,” Pitt State head coach Elizabeth Economon said. “She’s a great kid, a great competitor. She is easy to work with, she understands the game, she wants to win more than anybody else on the field and players like her don’t come around very often. . . . I’ve had a few coaches come up and tell me they’re glad she’s gone. She did a lot of damage in those four years.”
    PSU softball ties school record win streak
    Fifteen games without a loss. The Gorillas started their winning streak with a doubleheader sweep of Arkansas Tech on Mar. 13 and it ended with a 9-1 win over Missouri Southern on Apr. 4.
    Pitt State won both ends of a doubleheader against seven consecutive opponents: Arkansas Tech, Wisconsin-Parkside, Northwest Missouri, Truman State, Missouri Southern, Lindenwood and Lincoln. Four of those sweeps came on the road.
    The Gorillas’ record improved from 7-16 to 22-16.
    Herlocker breaks single-season scoring record
    Girard point guard Hadyn Herlocker developed into a premier scorer her junior year and as opponents began to throw the kitchen sink defensively at Herlocker, this played right into the hands of the team-oriented basketball style of Girard.
    Page 3 of 4 - Herlocker finished her junior season with a school-record 467 points and 19.5 points per game. She made 56 3-point shots and had 21 games in double figures, nine games of 20-29 points and three games of at least 30, including a career-high 31 twice. She also averaged 5.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.3 steals for the 18-6 Trojans.
    The previous record was 456 points by former Pittsburg State point guard and current PSU assistant coach Amanda Davied.
    After six games this season, Herlocker averages 24.2 points per game and through 77 career games, she’s totaled 944 points (12.3 average).
    Girard girls win their 16th straight CNC track title
    Death, taxes and Cher. Death, taxes and Madonna. Death, taxes and the Rolling Stones. Death, taxes and the Girard girls track team winning the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League title every spring.
    The Girard girls won their 16th straight title in May, a streak going as far back as 1997 and running through the presidencies of Bill Clinton (his second term), George W. Bush (both terms) and Barack Obama.
    Girard’s CNC winning streak ends at 50 games
    While the girls track streak endured 2012, three streaks for the Girard girls basketball team ended: a 38-game home winning streak (a 51-47 loss to cross-state rival Webb City), four straight years of winning the Wilson County Classic (a 42-33 semifinal loss to PIttsburg) and 50 straight CNC wins (a 67-60 loss to Frontenac).
    The CNC win streak began Jan. 31, 2006, with a 80-19 win over Northeast and lasted 2,190 days, two presidents (George W. Bush, Barack Obama) and two head coaches (six games under Sunny Pierce, 44 under Brad Herlocker).
    Over this 50-game span, Girard defeated Colgan, Riverton and Southeast seven times, Baxter Springs, Erie, Frontenac and Galena six times and Northeast five times. The 2010 and 2011 senior classes never saw the Girard girls lose a CNC game.
    Barone walks on KU football team
    St. Mary’s Colgan graduate Austin Barone contended for playing time at the University of Kansas his freshman year, a walk-on placekicker in competition with Ron Doherty and Nick Prolago.
    At one point of a 1-11 season, Kansas head coach Charlie Weis listed Barone as co-No. 1 kicker on the depth chart and as early as September, Barone and Prolago entered the discussion.
    “We have a couple of young guys here, a couple of walk-ons, that have kicked pretty well in camp,” Weis said. “(Austin) Barone has done a better job kicking field goals and (Nick) Prolago has done a better job of kicking off.”
    Prolago eventually secured the job and finished 5-6 on field goals, 14-14 on extra points for a total of 29 points.
    Charlie Weis visits Pittsburg
    Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis hit various college towns and cities on a tour of the state and stopped at Chatters Bar and Grill on a Tuesday night in late May.
    Page 4 of 4 - He made a few remarks, fielded a round of questions from Jayhawk fans, fended off a heckler bringing up Mike Leach, complimented Pitt State head coach Tim Beck, and signed a few autographs.

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