Fall 2002 Sports Updates
Men’s/Women’s Cross Country
Often, it takes years for a new program to establish itself as a legitimate threat to win the conference title. Casey Belknap’s men’s and women’s cross country teams appear to be progressing ahead of schedule. After the inaugural season in fall 2001, in which both men’s and women’s teams placed third in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division, Belknap has the Tigers poised to make a run for the conference title.
The teams opened the season at the Harrier Invitational in Great Bend. The women finished second to Butler County, while the men's team was fourth behind Butler, Barton, and Cloud. Ruth Kinyanjui was Cowley's top female finisher and second overall, running the two-mile race in 12 minutes, 22 seconds. Kevin McDougal, a two-time outdoor track All-American, was the top men's finisher for Cowley and fifth overall, covering the five-kilometer race in 15:34. Also returning are sophomores Travis Blackburn, Richard Brammer, Bobby Goodman, Jesse Palmer, Chris Schuetz, and Josh Spence. Belknap is being assisted this season by Robert Marney.
Head Coach Joanna Howell’s rookie season started with promise. The Lady Tigers were 11-6 by mid-September, and it looked like Cowley would enjoy one of its most successful seasons in recent memory. Not so fast. Cowley struggled to stay above .500 most of the season, went 2-2 in the district tournament and finished with a 21-20-3 year. Howell admits that she learned plenty during her first season as head coach. She also knows what solid sophomore leadership can do for a team. And that’s what she has this season. "Last year, we had a good solid team, but we didn’t have the leadership that could finish the tight match situations," Howell said. "We were 5-4 in the conference, and three of our losses went five games. I think we lost those 15-13 or 16-14.
This year, I think we have the personnel to finish those games." Sophomore leadership plus solid freshmen give Howell and the team reasons to be optimistic in 2002. Cowley already is off to a 5-2 start. The Lady Tigers went 4-2 in a tournament in Hutchinson, then won their first Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division match against Kansas City.
Results from the Hutchinson Tournament:
Cowley def. Colby 21-30, 30-15, 15-13
Cowley def. Hesston 30-15, 30-21
Cowley lost to Barton 22-30, 13-30
Cowley lost to Westark 15-30, 24-30
Cowley def. Allen County 33-31, 30-20
Cowley def. Cedar Valley 29-31, 30-9, 15-9
Cowley's Chelsey Fooshee made the All-Tournament Team
The Lady Tigers defeated Kansas City 30-13, 30-16, and 30-24.
Despite having just one player returning from the 2002 season, Cowley golf coach Rex Soule thinks his young team is a good one heading into the 2002-2003 season. “I think I have the deepest team ever as far as top to bottom,” Soule said. “I honestly feel I do.” Louie Girardi, who tied for 39th place at the 2002 NJCAA Division II Tournament, is the lone returning sophomore. Girardi, a ninth-place finisher in the conference, will be leading the team. Joining Girardi is sophomore transfer Justin Hoppock, who came from Neosho County after it dropped the program, and freshmen Nick Anneler, Jimmy Ginal, Tyler Bryson, and Tanner Smith.
The team has many goals for the season, including winning districts and playing well in the Jayhawk Conference. Last season, the Tigers placed fourth in the conference, and Soule knows his team can at least match or improve that placement. “I think we can surpass that,” he said.