Girls basketball heads to state for the third time in five years

The Chargers basketball team is #ALLIN for the state tournament.

The Chargers enter state as the top seed at 20-3 and face 9-12 Heritage Christian 3 p.m. Thursday at Gross Memorial Stadium in Hays.

The team entered sub-state as the number one seed and was able to dominate the teams and bring home the sub-state championship. They first played Goessel, the eighth seed, at home and won 58-24. From there they faced the fifth seeded Hillsboro and defeated them 52-19. For the championship the girls played second seed Northern Heights winning 59-43, qualifying the team to state again.

The players have been preparing themselves since the beginning of the season for this moment.

“We have practiced and prepared ourselves for the moment and when it comes, I think we will be ready,” junior Madelyn Hutley said.

This hard work and preparation makes this team special to head coach Shanna Perine.

“We are all on the same page. We know what we want and we knew from the beginning what we had to do to get there. Everyone bought into our goal and worked hard everyday to get to this point,” Perine said, “The sky’s the limit for this group. They are all very unselfish and want to win for each other. We know there are no shortcuts to the top and it will take all of us to get there.”

About half of the girls traveled to state two years ago, but only a few of them were able to have the experience of playing on the court. But senior Abby Oliver said this year is different.

“This team has a certain chemistry on the court that is like something I’ve never been a part of. If we keep playing like we have been, I think we’ll put up a tough fight at state,” Oliver said.

“Nothing surprises me about a group of kids who are #ALLIN,” Perine said.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @Kaytlyn_nelle

Scholars Bowl places 5th at state

Jarett Bolinder, Luke Barber, Maddie Alderman, Dillon Spellman and Sean Dugger do a buzzer check before beginning play at the state scholars bowl meet in Inman. The Chargers went 4-1 in pool play and finished 5th overall. Photo by Jan Hutley.

Team to graduate 6 seniors

The Wabaunsee Scholars Bowl team ended its season with a 5th place finish at state.

Seniors Maddie Alderman, Luke Barber, Jarrett Bolinder, Sean Dugger, Dillon Spellman and junior Eleanor Badeker traveled to Inman Elementary School to compete in the state meet after qualifying by placing 2nd in the regional meet. The state meet would be tough as it included eleven other teams who placed in the top three from other regional scholar bowl meets including teams like Wichita Independent and Goessel.

“I felt excited and much more nervous than I ever had,” Spellman said.

The format of the state meet is similar to the format used by the regional tournaments. The teams were separated into two pools and the teams competed in a round-robin with the top three teams from each pool moving on to the championship rounds.

WHS won its first four matches of the tournament against Syracuse, Sacred Heart, Oswego and Sublette. The last round of pool play would be against the other undefeated team in the pool, Wichita Independent.

The Chargers gained a lead in the first few questions but would be overtaken quickly after Independent correctly answered nine consecutive questions. Independent won 30-95. WHS would move on to the finals with a 2nd place finish in pool play.

“It felt good to go to the finals,” Spellman said. “But getting destroyed in that final match was very discouraging.”

The championship rounds began with a match against Sublette, a team that got 3rd in the same pool. A tough set of questions would result in a very close round with only a 10 point difference. WHS took a first-round loss of 20-30.

The next match would be against Heritage Christian Academy, a team who placed 3rd at the Wabaunsee regional. Once again, a tough set of questions would produce a 20-point difference, but another loss with a score of 20-40.

A rematch Wichita Independent would be the next match and would prove to be a difficult with Independent interrupting most of the questions. Another loss with a score of 20-100 would put the team in a poor spot for placing.

“When we lost three and still had one of the top teams to play, the mindset changed to get at least one win,” Alderman said.

Northern Heights, the champion of the Wabaunsee regional, was the next team up. The questions in the round may have been difficult, but WHS would overcome the challenge to gain its first victory, 40-10. Another win would make it possible for a top four finish. The last match of the meet would be against Goessel, first place of the other pool during pool play. WHS would fight hard but would prove to be tough a result in a loss with a score of 40-70.

“I thought we tried our best but it was disappointing coming up short,” Bolinder said.

Heritage Christian finished first in 2A after handing Wichita Independent it’s only loss. Independent  finished 2nd and Sublette finished 3rd.

A 5th place finish is one of the many accomplishments the team gained throughout the year. WHS finished second at Council Grove, league and regionals as well as coming very close to entering in the final rounds in two meets. Alderman would lead the team through the year as captain, scoring 1650 points. Spellman scored 755 points, Barber scored 160 points, Bolinder and Dugger scored 100 points each and senior Jessica Vanstory got 10 points.

“I knew this would be a strong team because we returned so many talented players from last year. I think they were really driven and competitive. We were only a couple of questions away from a better finish against some of the best teams in the state,” scholars bowl coach Brendan Praeger said.

— Sean Dugger, @seandugger01

Scholars Bowl returns to state

WHS scholars bowl does a buzzer check in the finals round against Northern Heights. The Chargers dropped the match 40-50, finishing second and qualifying to state for the second straight year.

WHS finishes second to Northern Heights

Wabaunsee scholars bowl finished second at the regional tournament, qualifying to state for the second consecutive year.

Seniors Maddie Alderman, Luke Barber, Jarett Bolinder, Sean Dugger, and Dillon Spellman placed second after 13 rounds in the regional tournament that took place at WHS. Alderman lead the team by scoring 360 points with Spellman scoring 100 points and Barber not far behind with 90 points.

“We’ve been competitive at every meet this year, so I knew we were an experienced team with a chance to have a lot of success,” scholars bowl coach Brendan Praeger said.

The format of the tournament separated 16 attending teams into two pools of eight teams each. After playing a round against all teams in their respective pool, the top three continued on towards the championship rounds.

Pool play began poorly with the first match against Kansas City Christian. The team was filled with nerves, competing at home with familiar spectators, judges and moderators. Faced with a difficult selection of questions, the team was destroyed, 80-20 to begin the tournament.

“It was a sketchy way to start the tournament, but we knew it was far from the end,” Spellman said.

The team rebounded to win its next five rounds against Horton, McClouth, Mission Valley, Rossville and Valley Heights. The Chargers dropped the final round of pool play 40-50 against Jefferson County North, ending 5-2 and resusulting in a tie between Jefferson County North, Mission Valley and Wabaunsee.

“Pool play ending in a three-way tie for second made us very nervous heading into the championships,” Alderman said. “Learning that we would have to compete against three private schools did not help with the nerves.”

Tie-breaker rules landed the Wabaunsee team on top of the tie giving them second place in the pool. The six teams in the championship rounds would compete in a round-robin with the top three qualifying for a trip to state. The first three rounds took away the nerves as they resulted in a victory over three private schools. The fourth round was against Northern Heights, with both teams entering the match undefeated.

“Northern Heights was 6-1 in pool play, and they had done well at other meets this year. I had the feeling it would end up being the championship match,” coach Praeger said.

A close 10-point match allowed Northern Heights to take sole possession of first place.

“There were a few questions where we were simply beat to the buzzer,” Praeger said.

IMG_1396With only one loss, a state trip was almost guaranteed, but one last match against Mission Valley would confirm it. Having beat the opposing team before in pool play, the team was confident a victory was in sight.

With only a 5-point lead going in the final question, the year-in review category, the match was intense. Alderman sealed the victory with a buzzer race to answer a question about Rosie the Riveter.

“As soon as I hit the buzzer, I heard the other team sigh and it made me nervous, but I was glad I didn’t mess up,” Alderman said.

The Chargers placed fourth at last year’s state tournament, and look to bring home a bigger trophy this year.

The state tournament begins at noon Saturday at Inman High School. Follow their progress on the Charger Twitter page.

— Sean Dugger, @seandugger01

Cross Country finishes 6th at State

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Cross Country ends season

The boys Cross Country team ended a successful season with a 6th place finish at State.

In Wamego Saturday, the boys ran hard to place as a team in the top half. Even though they only got 6th place, the team was only 7 points away from third.

Five of the varsity runners ran state last year, all of which improved by more than one minute. Sophomore Alex Warner was the top runner of the team and placed 29th individually. “I feel like I could have done better and it was not the way many of us wanted to end the season,” junior Bryce Tharman said.

The team already begins to look at next year in the hope of placing even higher at the state. They will only graduate one member from the boys and girls team, seniors Sean Dugger and Jessica Vanstory.

“We’re going to miss our two seniors,” coach Roger Alderman said, “But are excited about all of the talent we are returning.”

The boys team ends its season as league and regional runners-up with an overall record of 54-9.

“I appreciate all the work our whole team has put in throughout the year,” Alderman said. “We had a great effort to finish the year.”

Sean Dugger, @seandugger

Volleyball finishes 2nd at state

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WHS volleyball placed second at the 2A State Volleyball Tournament Saturday, ending the season with a 32-12 record.

The state tournament began pool play on Friday, with the Chargers as the sixth seed. The team went 2-1 for the day, making them the 2nd seed in their pool and qualifying them for Saturday’s bracket play.

The Chargers didn’t go out without a fight Saturday, knocking off the 1st seed in tournament, undefeated St. Mary’s Colgan. The team won the semifinals in two sets, 27-25, 25-22.

“We came together and really played like a team,” junior Alexis Hafenstine said. “We keep each other positive, and didn’t let anyone get in our way.”

The Chargers were set to play Garden Plain, the fifth seed in the tournament, for the championship. The team controlled most of the first set, but lost 27-25. They struggled to find their rhythm in the second set, losing 25-11.

“Going into the tournament we were the sixth seed,” senior Alyssa Lohmeyer said. Lohmeyer received postseason honors of KVA 2018 State All Tournament Team, along with teammate Laurel Barber. “ We were never expected to make it where we did, and I’m proud of my team for that.”

— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27


State Bound! Charger cross country and volleyball to compete for championships; Football gets first win

Boys cross country returns to state

The boys cross country team earned one more race.

The team qualified for state, 10 a.m. Saturday at the Wamego Country Club.

Competing at the Wabaunsee course, one well known by the charger runners, resulted in another team qualifying for state, making it the 11th boys or girls team to do so in the past 10 years. With a second place finish as a team, the boys qualified the second year in a row. Junior Luke Stuhlsatz and sophomore Alex Warner ran strong individually as well, placing in the top 10.

Luke XC
Junior Luke Stuhlsatz runs in the home cross country meet in September. The boys finished 2nd at regionals and compete 10 a.m. Saturday in Wamego.

The team had the goal of making it to state from the beginning of the season which was seen early as the boys team remained undefeated until the Riley County meet. They head into state with an overall record of 48-4.

“We were definitely wanting to go to state since the beginning of practice as it was the end goal in mind,” junior Bryce Tharman said.

The running roster is not unfamiliar with competing at state. Most of the team that will be running at Wamego were on the roster that finished 5th place last year. Senior Sean Dugger and sophomore Austin Henderson were alternates on the roster before but will be part of the top seven members that will compete.

“It feels great as I was bummed out that I didn’t get to run at regionals or state last year,” Henderson said.

The state meet will be the first time that the boys have ran against many of the other participating teams such as Central Heights and Stanton, which are the top-ranked boys teams in 2A. Northern heights beat the boys team at regionals by only 5 points and will be seen at the state level.

“We have always been enthusiastic and worked hard,” cross country coach Roger Alderman said.

The girls cross country team’s season ended at the regional meet. The team balanced injury recovery and competition for most of the season but still showed their toughness by placing 6th as a team. Junior Madelyn Hutley and freshman Kyndal Maike competed strong individually but were not able qualify themselves for state.                   

“Our girls team came up short, but we’ve made great progress from last year,” Alderman said. “Looking ahead we should be continuing to improve over the next few years.”

— Sean Dugger @seandugger01

Volleyball advances to fourth state tournament in five years

Volleyball advanced to the state tournament after a win over Herington Saturday.

The Chargers defeated the Mission Valley Vikings 25-12, 25-13 and the Northern Heights Wildcats 25-16, 25-22 to advance into the sub-state championship. The Chargers played a close game with final scores 25-23, 25-22 against the Herington Railers.

The Chargers enter the state tournament seeded 6th out of 8 teams and will play at 10 a.m. Friday at Ft. Hays Gross Memorial Coliseum. “Even though we are the 6th seed we have a good pool that is easily beatable and we are definitely planning to play on Saturday,” junior Autymn Schreiner said. The team will also play games at 1 and 2. The top two teams from pool play will advance to the semifinals 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Being a senior and a leader of the team makes this year special since I’ve looked up to them since my freshman year,” senior Alyssa Lohmeyer said.

“It will be great bonding time and we will have great support from our fans like we did at sub-state,” junior Macy Falk said.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, Hannah Mumpower

Football gets first win under new head coach Jess Rutledge

Spirits ran high Friday night after the Chargers took home their first win of the season against the Northern Heights Wildcats, 16-7.

“They played really good defense and for the first time played with total confidence all four quarters,” head coach Jess Rutledge said.

The players hope to build on last week’s success. “When you get a win you just get hyped. All the hard work we put in finally paid off a bit. We’ve gotta keep grindin’,” junior Eli Wollenberg.

The team will now proceed to the playoffs with a game Friday against the Troy Trojans. “It was a big step in the right direction,” Rutledge said, “This week we will find what we did well and build on it to get better and take what we didn’t do well and work hard to correct it.”

The team plays the Troy Trojans 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of playoffs.

— Hannah Mumpower

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